Miami Dolphins: What We Learned From the Future (Season Recap)
Why Can’t Miami Be in the Playoffs?
When it comes to the city of Miami, we should be proud.
Antonio Brown had one of the biggest games of his life when he played in the NFL playoffs against the Cincinnati Bengals. Because of his game, Brown was a victim of a classless and tasteless hit from Vontaze Burfict and it still didn’t matter because the Pittsburgh Steelers won.
Brown’s high school, Miami Norland Senior High is literally less than two minutes away in driving distance from Sun Life Stadium.
That was the thought that ran across many native Dolphins fans watching on Sunday. Their thoughts are all justified because, in Dade-County, we’re spoiled with the best athletes like Brown, Teddy Bridgewater, Ricky Jean Francois and Sean Spence, who all have made their appearance in this year’s playoffs.
Needless to say, it’s tough seeing all of the talent that leaves the city each year and the Dolphins are still the same position. Thankfully, here are a few things we’ve learned this season from the team that can make them better next year.
Need a Second-ary?
For as good as Brent Grimes is at cornerback, one person cannot do the entire job for the secondary. Grimes has been the Dolphins most consistent cornerback for the last three seasons and has needed more help in the secondary. Grimes doesn’t have complete absolution because he did get torched by wide receivers like Dez Bryant, Odell Beckham Jr., and Sammy Watkins but he did hold his own against most of his competition for the season.
Nevertheless, the Dolphins were still terrible in the secondary as a whole ranking 22nd in passing yards allowed. They were also tied for 25th in passing touchdowns allowed. Next year they need to get Grimes and safety Reshad Jones more help in order to get a better defense.
Getting another safety to play next to Jones, or getting another cornerback to play on the opposite of Grimes would help tremendously. Each position is of equal importance so Miami couldn’t address either issue wrong.
Now Hiring Linebackers
Ok, so maybe getting Ndamukong Suh to stop the run didn’t work out the way everyone intended. Unlike most popular opinions, it’s still not the time to trade Suh or even think about restructuring his contract. Instead, the Dolphins need to embrace the fact that they have one of the best defensive players in football and find a way to get enough talent around him to win.
In Houston, they’re not complaining about J.J. Watt’s contract, and their winning because of the talent around him defensively. Just as Watt has Brian Cushing and Whitney Mercilus, behind him, the Dolphins have to get some talented younger linebackers to place around Suh. For as bad as the Dolphins have been with their pass defense, they’ve been worse at stopping the run. Miami is only one of six teams in the league to allow 2,000 rushing yards.
1,000 Ways to
The great thing about football is that there are so many different ways to win the game.
A lot of teams in the NFL have been trying to copy teams like the Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints, by airing out the football and allowing your quarterback to make plays. The great thing is, it’s not the only way to win football games.
Unlike those teams, some of the teams that the Miami Dolphins should start taking their philosophy from is the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2007 & 2009 New York Giants, and the 2015 Seattle Seahawks by building their team around defense and a solid running game. The Dolphins need a tougher team which is why Dan Campbell was so beloved during his small time as head coach. However, when the organization gets better defensive players they need to start building a different mindset in order to win.
What the biggest takeaway that the Dolphins should’ve learned from last season is the offense needs to begin and end on the shoulders of Lamar Miller. Miller is a top five player at his position that gets treated like a top 15. Meanwhile, his quarterback Ryan Tannehill is paraded around the media like a top five quarterback when he’s closer to the below fifteen.
Miller made the most of his 194 carries as he neared capped 1,000 yards only rushing for 895, (#13 in the league). This comes a year right after when Miller had 1,099 yards rushing. Next year the Dolphins have to get Miller back to his running ways and give him the football more. With Tannehill having a steady running game it will only improve each of the two players.
For as much as we’ve seen this season from the Dolphins, it’s safe to say that the best is still yet to come from the franchise.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey.