2019 NFL Season Preview- Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins expected to be back to the playoffs with a healthy squad, but couldn't sustain any serious momentum.
After a 3-0 start to the year, Miami suffered two embarrassing losses in a row which cemented to pattern for the remainder of the year, losing to five teams with losing records.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill returned after missing all of 2017 with a knee injury. He played well at the start of the year before a shoulder injury sidelined him for five games. He returned winning two of the next three games, including an exciting overtime win against New England now known as "the Miracle in Miami" but dealt with three bad losses to end the year. Brock Osweiler went 2-3 as a starter, but one win was over a good Chicago Bears team. Running back Frank Gore led the team in rushing with 722 yards at age 35. Kenyan Drake was a versatile weapon as he had 1,012 yards from scrimmage and a team best nine touchdowns. Wide receiver DeVante Parker was a disappointment as he set career lows in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. Kenny Stills remains a valuable deep threat but was used less and less in the passing attack. Danny Amendola is the ideal possession receiver as he led the team with 59 catches. Albert Wilson caught four touchdowns and threw another but played in just seven games. The offense needs more plays made by the tight ends. Nick O'Leary started seven games after Buffalo waived him and showed flashes in his few opportunities. The offensive line gave up the fifth most sacks in the league with 52. Left guard Josh Sitton played in just one game before tearing his rotator cuff and center Daniel Kilgore made it just four games before he was lost with an arm injury. Tackles Laremy Tunsil and Ju"Wuan James were the few bright spots as they were both graded very high by Pro Football Focus.
Defensive end Robert Quinn had just one sack in the first half of the year, but ended up leading the team with 6.5 after a strong finish. Cameron Wake had six sacks at age 36 while Charles Harris has yet to breakout with just three sacks in two years. Linebacker Kiko Alonso was among the league leaders in tackles and also forced six turnovers, but was penalized too often for late hits. Raekwon McMillan had a solid year after missing his entire rookie season with a torn ACL. Cornerback Bobby McCain played on the outside, but is better suited for the nickel corner.
Punter Matt Haack finished in the bottom half of the league in punting average. Return man Jakeem Grant had two return touchdowns but missed six games with an injury.
The team had just one Pro Bowler in cornerback Xavien Howard. Howard had a breakout year by tying for the league lead with seven interceptions.
The team got a lot of value from their rookie class. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick had 80 tackles, nine passes defended, and three interceptions as a reserve and could push TJ McDonald out of the starting free safety spot. Tight end Mike Gesicki didn't live up to expectations with just 22 catches, but still has potential. Linebacker Jerome Baker impressed with his speed and finished with 79 tackles, three sacks, and a pick six. Tight end Durham Smythe was used mainly as a blocker and should be better as he gets stronger. Running back Kalen Ballage is a big back with speed and averaged over five yards a carry in his limited touches. Kicker Jason Sanders was exceptional as he made 90% of his field goals.
Opponent Passing YPG
Opponent Rushing YPG
After the team finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year, head coach Adam Gase was fired. In his three seasons as head coach, Gase had a 23-25 record. The team then decided to hire former New England Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores to be the new head coach.
With a new head coach comes a new coaching staff. Former Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell was hired to be the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach. Former New England Patriots wide receivers coach Chad O'Shea was hired to be the new offensive coordinator and former Green Bay Packers linebackers coach Patrick Graham was brought in to be the new defensive coordinator.
On July 4, 2019, defensive tackle Kendrick Norton was involved in a car accident while driving on State Road 836, near Miami. He sustained multiple injuries that resulted in his left arm being amputated.
Notable Additions- QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB Josh Rosen, QB Jake Rudock, RB Mark Walton, WR Allen Hurns, TE Dwayne Allen, TE Clive Walford, T Jordan Mills, DE Tank Carradine, DE Nate Orchard, DT Aldolpus Washington, CB Eric Rowe
Notable Departures- QB Ryan Tannehill, QB Brock Osweiler, QB David Fales, RB Frank Gore, WR Danny Amendola, T Ja'Wuan James, G Josh Sitton, DE William Hayes, DE Andre Branch, DE Robert Quinn, DE Cameron Wake, DT Ziggy Hood, DT Sylvester Williams, LB Stephone Anthony
Dolphins 2018 Highlights
2019 NFL Draft
The Dolphins held the 13th overall pick in the draft with many positions to address. Primarily at wide receiver, offensive linemen, and defensive end.
DeVante Parker has largely been a bust as a first round pick and Danny Amendola was released after the season. The team needs a true No. 1 receiver that can stretch the field and open up opportunities for other receivers.
With Ja'Wuan James and Josh Sitton gone, Laremy Tunsil looks to be the only stable member of the line. The o-line from left guard to right tackle needs an overhaul.
The team lost six defensive linemen to free agency and Charles Harris has looked like a bust. Miami signed three new linemen, but none are the caliber of the previous starters.
On draft day, Miami selected Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins with the 13th overall pick. Wilkins was praised for his off the charts character and leadership traits, but is smaller than the ideal NFL defensive tackle.
Other Notable Draft Picks:
Michael Deiter, G, Wisconsin- Versatile and durable, shorter than ideal arms
Andrew Van Ginkel, LB, Wisconsin- Athletic former quarterback, injury concerns
Isaiah Prince, OL, Ohio State- Tough team leader, struggles with mental errors
Chandler Cox, FB, Auburn- Relentless and brave, short arms and small hands
Myles Gaskin, RB, Washington- Elusive cutback runner, won't fight for extra yards
Christian Wilkins Highlights
What To Expect
Even with a new head coach and some solid acquisitions, 2019 doesn't look too good for the Dolphins.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will likely be the starter entering training camp, but Josh Rosen has to be developed into the quarterback of the future. Having been dumped by Arizona after his rookie year, Rosen will likely have a chip on his shoulder and want to prove himself. The Dolphins have a lot of running backs who are capable of making plays, but Kenyan Drake will be the key thanks to his skills as a receiver. Having Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant back healthy will help the receiving corps, but new offensive coordinator Chad O'Shea has to incorporate Kenny Stills back into the offense. The team signed two tight ends, but the hope is Mike Gesicki will have more of an impact as a receiver in year two. The offensive line will likely have two rookies on the line with Michael Deiter likely plugged in at left guard and Isaiah Prince replacing Ja'Wuan James at right tackle.
The defensive line went from being one of the team's deepest units in 2018, to one of the team’s most depleted. Christian Wilkins will likely start alongside Akeem Spence, but their doesn't seem to be a game changing edge rusher at either defensive end spot. The starting linebackers are one of the most underrated groups in the league and could emerge into a dominant trio. Eric Rowe is a suitable complement to Xavien Howard on the outside which will allow Bobby McCain to be at home as the team's nickel corner. Minkah Fitzpatrick has a good chance to beat out TJ McDonald at free safety and could be a solid duo with Reshad Jones.
Considering the holes on both lines, Miami is at least two years away from being the team they need to be in order to challenge the rest of the AFC East.
Best Record They Can Hope For: 5-11