Miami Dolphins Season Preview

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Ray Burton
Ray writes mostly in-depth analytical pieces covering a range of sports from a more statistical perspective drawing his inspiration from the fanalytics movement. Ray is a fan of all sports, but mostly the NFL (Dolphins), Premier League (Man Utd), MLB (Mariners), NHL (Ducks), NBA (Heat) and NRL (Warriors) and motorsports. Usually to be found in front of the TV or in a stadium somewhere cheering on one of his teams. Never short of an opinion Ray is always ready to talk sports and is a co-founder of Lazy Fan Sports.

Much of the Miami Dolphins 2018 season can be summed up the same way as 2017, or 2018, an injury to Ryan Tannehill derailed what may have been a promising season.

Miami started the season with three straight wins over the Titans, Raiders, and Jets. However, a 38-7 thrashing in New England bought expectations back down to earth in a hurry. As the team traveled into Cincinnati it was time to find out who this team really was.

The Fins jumped out to a 17-0 early in the second half and then the wheels came off as the Bengals scored 27 unanswered points. To make matters worse Ryan Tannehill suffered an AC joint sprain in his throwing shoulder that would keep him out for five games.

It was the last thing that Tannehill needed having missed three games at the end of 2016, and the entire 2017 team with an ACL injury. Brock Osweiler took over from Tannehill and showed once again that he is not a long term solution as a starting NFL quarterback.

In Osweiler’s five games the Miami Dolphins would win only twice, despite only playing two teams who would win more than six games in the season. Indeed one of Osweiler’s two victories came in spite of the offense putting up just seven first downs and 168 yards of offense.

In fairness to Osweiler, Tannehill seemed to regress after he returned from injury as well, producing an anemic 37 yards passing against the Vikings, and breaking the 20 point mark only three times for the remainder of the season.

After the latest injury, Tannehill seemed to lose confidence, and his long ball suffered all season, likely due to the AC joint injury, and an unwillingness to step into his throws under pressure as he looked to protect his damaged knee.

After another 7-9 season, the Dolphins began what was to turn out to be a clear-out of epic proportions, starting with head coach Adam Gase. Unsurprisingly Gase was snapped up before the ink was dry on his firing.

Ryan Tannehill, Cameron Wake, Kenny Stills, Laremy Tunsil, Vincent Taylor, John Denney, TJ McDonald, and Kiko Alonso were among the veterans ejected from Miami over the course of a turbulent summer.

Amassing 14 draft picks for the 2020 season already, the Miami Dolphins have hit full reset mode and will spend this season evaluating the young players on the roster and maybe reaching three wins.

Miami Dolphins Season Preview: Minkah Fitzpatrick leads the Dolphins Young Prospects © Miami Herald
Miami Dolphins Season Preview: Minkah Fitzpatrick leads the Dolphins Young Prospects
© Miami Herald

Coaching Changes

Brian Flores – Head Coach

Brian Flores becomes the 13th Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins, a number that holds a special place in the hearts of Dolphins Fans. Flores has spent 15 years with the New England Patriots, working his way up from coach. He is a feel-good story of dedication and hard work, and his career progression is similar to that of Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.

Most recently Flores served the role of defensive play-caller for the Patriots on their most recent Superbowl run. It is a massive step up for Flores, and the extensive overhauling of the squad only makes the job harder. It will be interesting to see how he brings this group together.

Chad O’Shea – Offensive Coordinator

Technically replacing Dowell Loggains as OC, O’Shea will be looking to make better use of the weapons at his disposal this season. Having spent the last 10 seasons in New England as wide receivers coach he will be well acquainted with the defenses he is likely to face. During his time with the Patriots, he helped developed WR’s to have career years, including some well known to Dolphins fans in Chris Hogan, and of course, Wes Welker.

Patrick Graham – Defensive Coordinator

Graham steps into the role vacated by the dismissal of Matt Burke. With some good young talent on board, improvements will be expected this season. He began his career as a coaching assistant in New England in 2009, where he spent seven seasons. He was then defensive line coach for the Giants for 2 years, before moving to Green Bay to become defensive run game coordinator/inside linebackers coach.

Danny Crossman – Special Teams Coordinator

Replacing longtime Dolphin Darren Rizzi, Crossman has big, and popular, shoes to fill. He is a 16-year veteran of NFL coaching and has been a special teams coordinator with the Panthers (2005-2009), Lions (2010-2012), and Bills (2013-2018)

Offseason Signings

Ryan Fitzpatrick – QB
Replacing long-time starter Ryan Tannehill, Fitzpatrick comes in as a stop-gap measure while the Dolphins find their quarterback of the future. A 14-year NFL veteran, Fitzpatrick joins from the Buccaneers where he started 7 games last season. A gunslinger by nature, Fitzpatrick will likely throw a few touchdowns but, if his career thus far is anything to go by, he will turn the ball over more.

Josh Rosen – QB

Acquired during the draft for 2nd and 5th round picks, Josh Rosen may, or may not, be the quarterback of the future. The 2018 tenth pick in the draft has shown a lot of progress over the course of the preseason, but the lack of offensive line may hinder his progress over the season. Having lost the opening game starter battle despite outplaying Fitzpatrick in the preseason, Rosen will have to bide his time until the opportunity comes his way.

Robert Nkemdiche – DE

The former 29th draft pick of the Cardinals is a physical specimen, but he’s not even close to being fit, and his motor has been questioned since he was in college. He’s also recovering from a torn ACL so don’t expect too much from him unless he can finally get himself together.

Allen Hurns – WR

Former Jags receiver Hurns was released early in July by the Cowboys after failing to lock down a significant role in his only season in Dallas. Hurns has only played more than 10 games in a season twice and is on his way back from a gruesome dislocated ankle and broken fibula. However, he gives the Dolphins good depth at the receiver position and was one of the reasons they could afford to trade Kenny Stills.

Dwayne Allen – TE

Eric Rowe – CB

Jordan Mills – RT

Chris Reed – G

Tyler Patmon – CB

Terrance Smith – LB

Adolphus Washington – DT

Clive Walford – TE

Ricardo Louis – WR

NFL Draft

RoundSelectionPlayerPositionCollege
113Christian WilkinsDTClemson
378Michael DeiterGWisconsin
5151Andrew Van GinkelLBWisconsin
6202Isaiah PrinceOTOhio State
7233Chandler CoxFBAuburn
7234Myles GaskinRBWashington

Undrafted Free Agents

PlayerPositionCollege
Ryan AndersonCWake Forest
Shaq CalhounGMississippi State
Wesley FarnsworthLSNevada
Terrill HanksLBNew Mexico State
Montre HartageDBNorthwestern
Dewayne HendrixDEPittsburgh
Tyler HortonCBBoise State
Trenton IrwinWRStanford
Patrick LairdRBCalifornia
Jonathan LedbetterDEGeorgia
Aaron MonterioOTBoston College
Chris MyarickTETemple
Nik NeedhamCBUTEP
Rob RolleSVillanova
Cory ThomasDTMississippi State
Tre’ WatsonLBMaryland
Preston WilliamsWRColorado State
Stone WilsonPFIU

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