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2014 NFL Season Preview- Miami Dolphins
The 2013 campaign ended in disappointment for the Miami Dolphins. No one really expected the team would be better than 8-8, but losing their final two games when winning one of those would have resulted in a playoff birth for the team.
The team overcame a lot of setbacks during the year including the Jonathan Martin- Richie Incognito scandal. The team had two three-game winning streaks during the year and played well against playoff bound teams. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill showed great improvement from last season throwing 24 touchdowns on the year. Wide receiver Brian Hartline had another 1,000 yard receiving season and proved that he's one of the most underrated receivers in the league. The rest of the offense was a mess however. The offensive line allowed a league and franchise worst 58 sacks on the year and the running game only averaged 90 yards a game. Wide receiver Mike Wallace was signed to a big free agent contract but was dropping passes all season.
Defensively, defensive end Cameron Wake proved himself as an elite pass rusher and cornerback Brent Grimes showed to be a great shutdown corner and playmaker in the secondary. The defense finished at the middle of the pack in pass defense but gave up almost 125 yards rushing a game.
In the end, Miami was able to beat talented teams like Indianapolis, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and New England. But they also loss to mediocre teams like Tampa Bay, New York Jets, and Buffalo twice. Other than kicker Caleb Sturgis, the rookie class severely underperformed. Defensive end Dion Jordan was a disappointment as a situational pass rusher with just two sacks. The rest of the class showed they were injury prone and nothing more than backups.
Dolphins 2013 Ranking
Opponent Passing yds
Opponent Rushing yds
NFL Rank- 20th
NFL Rank- 26th
NFL Rank- 16th
NFL Rank- 24th
NFL Rank- 27th
NFL Rank- 21st
Head coach Joe Philbin improved the team from last season but didn't really do anything special. Which perfectly fit the description for the 2013 team.
After the offense finished ranked 27th overall, offensive coordinator Mike Sherman was fired. The team then hired former Eagles quarterback coach Bill Lazor to be the teams new offensive coordinator. General manager Jeff Ireland was also fired after six years for bringing in sub-par talent and the team record being only 46-50 in that time period. His replacement was former Buccaneers front office member Dennis Hickey.
Notable additions- RB Knowshon Moreno, T Branden Albert, CB Cortland Finnegan, FS Louis Delmas
Notable departures- T Tyson Clabo, T Jonathan Martin, G Richie Incognito
Dolphins 2013 Highlights
2014 NFL Draft
Having the 19th overall pick in the draft, the Dolphins had many positions that needed to be tyaddressed. Most Notably the offensive line.
Tackle Tyson Clabo proved he wasn't fit for the offense as he struggled to pass or run block. The left tackle has also been an issue since Jake Long left the team. With Incognito gone after the bullying scandal, the line needs a pro bowl caliber guard to replace the intense lineman.
The team ended up selecting Tennessee tackle JaWuan James with the 19th pick. James was seen as the ideal right tackle and proved to be a great downfield blocker but was criticized for his bad technique when run blocking. It was considered a questionable decision by many people for a couple reasons. First of all, James wasn't seen to be drafted until the third round at best. And secondly, he wasn't even the highest rated offensive lineman on his team. His college teammate Antonio Richardson was compared to former Dallas Cowboys tackle Erik Williams and was seen as early second round prospect.
The team also notably drafted LSU wide receiver Jarvis Landry in the second round. Landry was seen as a great blocker and showed great toughness. He was criticized most notable for his bad footwork when running routes.
Jarvis Landry Highlights
What to Expect
With the addition of JaWuan James and Branden Albert, the team now has a reliable pair of tackles to protect Ryan Tannehill. Knowshon Moreno gives the offense a running back that can be a dual threat coming out of the backfield. The addition of Jarvis Landry gives Tannehill another receiving threat to go along with Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, and tight end Charles Clay.
Defensively, the addition of Cortland Finnegan and Louis Delmas to the secondary makes the pass defense even more of a threat to offenses. The run defense is still in question. The linebackers will have to step up by being better tackles and recognizing plays better. Dion Jordan has to prove he is worth the third overall pick in 2013 and bring the production he brought at Oregon. Randy Starks, Cameron Wake, and Jared Oderick are a stable on the defensive line and need to maintain a strong presence on that team.
As long as the Patriots are as dominant as they are and as long the Jets and Bills possess strong defenses, Miami will struggle to take control of the AFC East. This season should be an improvement of production over last season but it wont be enough to amass the win needed to make the playoffs.
Best record they can hope for- 9-7