As part of our mid-season analysis, RealSport are looking at reasons why the fans of the cellar-dwellers of each division still have reasons to be optimistic about their futures. We continue the series with a look at the Miami Dolphins. See the other editions below: AFC East | AFC North | AFC South | AFC West | NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West
The Dolphins came into the season viewed as a genuine threat to the New England Patriots’ AFC dominance with the addition of Ndamukong Suh on defense and the apparent development of the offense, most notably Ryan Tannehill, under Bill Lazor’s scheme. However, the Dolphins have done nothing but disappoint this season, stumbling to a 3-5 record and firing their head coach following a demolition in London. Furthermore, Cam Wake tore his Achilles and is out for the year, leaving the Dolphins without a leader and one of the most talented players on the team.
With that said, do not give up all hope, Dolphins’ fans. The offense has several players at key positions that can be building blocks for this team. Despite his struggles this year Ryan Tannehill has shown us what he can do in this system. Last year, Tannehill was threat as a passer and as a runner, and there is no reason to believe he can’t get back to that, especially considering he has an in form Lamar Miller in the backfield and a dangerous and still improving Jarvis Landry on the outside. Since Dan Campbell’s reign started, Lamar Miller has been the focal point of this offense.
Under Philbin, he ran for 131 yards in 4 games; under Campbell, he has run for 347 yards in 4 games. He has also been a much bigger part of the passing game, catching 7 more passes for 95 more yards. Meanwhile, Jarvis Landry has been the only consistent weapon for this offense. Though he only has 4 touchdowns this season, he is on pace for over 100 catches and over 1000 yards, along with being used a runner and being a dangerous punt returner. Even in losses he has provided the team with some sort of spark. He is also one of the more fiery and emotional players on the offense, so he is certainly player the Dolphins will want to keep around. Jordan Cameron, Brandon Albert and Mike Pouncey cannot be forgotten about either.
They have all made Pro Bowls and are likely be around for the foreseeable future. Their defense doesn’t lack talent either; the defensive line alone boasts a 1st team all pro Ndamukong Suh and 2nd team All Pro’s Cam Wake. Along with Wake and Suh, Olivier Vernon isn’t too bad either. Before Wake was injured, this DL was getting quite a lot of pressure on opposing QBs so his absence this year is not too encouraging, but the future is bright. The defensive line is not the lone bright spot on this defense. Jelani Jenkins, Brent Grimes and Reshad Jones mean this team boasts quality players at every level of this defense.
Yes, they have not played like the force that was expected, but with very good players at every level of the defense, not all hope is lost. Going forward, if Dan Campbell can get the most out of this host of talent, the Dolphins are set up to be a very good team in the near future.