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As the Miami Dolphins season is coming around the corner, (53 days until kickoff) expectations from realistic Dolphins fans are set very low. At best, most people would think if this team wins 5 or 6 games this upcoming season, that would be successful. I am going to be honest with myself and say there are not many reasons to be excited about this team. Most recent seasons, I thought Miami would hover around 7 to 8 wins and be competing for a playoff spot. This season, there will be no playoff aspirations for us Dolphins fans.
The first season is always the most painful in a rebuild. On top of having a new Coaching staff, the Dolphins roster is lacking depth and talent at certain positions. Defensive Ends, Offensive Line, Defensive Lineman (not named, Christian Wilkins). To only name a few, we also have many questions even with their proclaimed starters.
For example, are Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker going to make strides this year? Is Chad O’Shea’s Offense going to replicate the Patriots? Will Mike Gesicki improve in his 2nd year? Is Reshad Jones going to be on the roster for week 1? Who is under center? Will they record a sack in any game? Will Charles Harris give them anything? Is Albert Wilson going to be the same? Will someone use Drake? I’m still wondering why DeVante Parker is on the roster. The questions don’t stop. So before getting upset with all the roster deficiencies, there are certain parts of this team that I do find worth watching during the rebuild.
I have been saying this since draft day in April, I really like the Josh Rosen trade. Chosen Rosen may be the answer to the biggest problem since Marino. Finding their future Quarterback has been the biggest problem. If Rosen can’t beat out Ryan Fitzpatrick to become the starter in Week 1 vs the Ravens, then the Dolphins have to draft their future Quarterback in next year’s upcoming Draft. If he can’t beat out a career journeyman like Fitzmagic then he is not the answer going forward for Miami.
What I like about the move is that like most smart gamblers, Miami hedged their bet. If Rosen is the guy and performs well, then they stole their Franchise guy for pennies on the dollar. If Rosen plays poorly, it only cost them a 2nd round pick in this year’s draft (which they received a 2nd rounder in next year’s draft in a trade with the Saints). Then it only cost them a pick in round 2 and they can get there guy this year with a top 1 – 4 pick. With 20 years of Quarterback mediocrity at best, I don’t mind them taking a few chances at finding the next GUY. Straight simple, will Josh Rosen be the guy or just another guy?
With what I am hearing from South Florida, the Phins will be running a Hybrid Defense. Sometimes players will be in a 3-point stance, next play drop back in coverage. Living in New England and watching the Patriots play, they have a bend and no break Defense. They let you drive the ball all the way down the field then they make a simple tackle, do their job and they’re off the field. It seems like the Patriots never have big named defensive players. It’s all in the scheme and Miami does have a solid young tandem in Minkah and X-Howard. Our Linebackers are athletic and can make plays. If the D-line can apply any pressure, then they can surprise you. Like New England, they give up a lot of yards, not many points. Even if the Dolphins don’t get many wins this year, it would be encouraging to see some growth and direction in the Defense.
I want to see if Coach Flores can hold the locker room down when the team is struggling. It is easy to buy into a direction before the season starts, but what about when they 3 wins heading into December? Will this be a smart disciplined group? Will everyone unite together and play their best football late in the season? Or will guys already be jumping off the ship. The Dolphins quit on Joe Philbin and Adam Gase. I want to see that respect and run through the wall attitude for Coach Flores. He will be involved in every aspect of the game.
I’m looking forward to following him take control this year and setting the tone for the culture. This season, like most recent in Miami, will be tough to watch. However, with a new direction this season it should leave reason for optimism. It feels like a direction worth following… for now.