2015 NFL Preview: Miami Dolphins

2015 NFL Preview: Miami Dolphins

Since 2009, the Miami Dolphins have been the definition of painfully average. During that span, the Fish have finished 7-9 three times, 8-8 twice, and 6-10 once. Again, average, or to be exact, below average. A series of botched draft day decisions and free agent blunders executed by former General Manager Jeff Ireland were supposed to bring the Dolphins closer to the Patriots in the AFC East race. Instead, they collectively mired the franchise in a pit of mediocrity. That mediocrity continued in 2014 under new GM Dennis Hickey and Ireland coaching hire Joe Philbin. It’s fair to assume that another 8-8 or worse campaign will result in Philbin’s exit. He just doesn’t look comfortable in the head role, and it’s questionable as to whether players view him as a leader worth following. That said, an active offseason has the team and fanbase hoping for big things on the horizon. Here’s a preview of the Miami Dolphins in 2015.

Outlook: The front office committed $77 million through 2020 to quarterback Ryan Tannehill, thus going all in on the up-n-down signal caller. Tannehill has been solid in his first three years and is coming off a 4045 yards, 66.5% completion percentage, and 27-toucdown season in 2014. The front office also overhauled the wide receiving corps, and apparently hung a vote of confidence around running back Lamar Miller’s neck. And last but certainly not least, they added a big ticket free agent to the middle of a defense that has struggled to stop the run and deliver in the clutch in recent years. Another foot forward for Tannehill and a huge leap from the defense cold be enough to dethrone the mighty Pats. If everything goes right.

Later, dude: One of the aforementioned free agent misfires was wide receiver Mike Wallace, who pouted his way through two seasons of so-so football only to be traded to the Vikings for a 2015 5th-round draft pick on March 13. He won’t be missed. Tight end Charles Clay took his 161 career receptions to Buffalo. The front seven trio of Randy Starks, Jared Odrick, and Philip Wheeler were key fixtures over the past few seasons, but all three were allowed to walk to make room for a guy named Suh. Brandon Gibson never advanced past number four receiver status and is now a Patriot. Safety Jimmy Wilson was serviceable on the back end, but not worth the $4.85 million the Chargers coughed up to acquire him.

Welcome aboard: Ndamukong Suh is a very good player. Is he worth $114 million and $60 million guaranteed? That’s debatable. Nevertheless, he joins a potent front four that already boasts Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon. His presence should vastly improve a suspect run defense, as well as the inside pass rush. Kenny Stills and Greg Jennings were brought in to supply Tannehill with more reliable targets. Ditto tight end Jordan Cameron, who replaces the departed Clay. Rookies DaVante Parker and Jay Ajayi are two to watch once camp opens.

Over/Under wins – 8.5: The Phins have some cream puffs early in the schedule before hitting a middle stretch that features matchups against the Pats, Bills, Eagles, Cowboys, Jets, and Ravens in consecutive weeks. They also finish the season at home versus Indy and New England. Uh, good luck with that.

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