Sunday, August 10, 2014

2014 NFL PREVIEW - Miami Dolphins

MIAMI DOLPHINS                                                  

2013 Record: 8-8-0

Key Additions: RB Knowshon Moreno; CB Cortland Finnegan; WR Damian Williams; DB Louis Delmas; DL Earl Mitchell; OL Shelley Smith; OL Jason Fox.

Key Losses: OL Richie Incognito; OL John Jerry; DB R.J. Stanford; DL Paul Solial; S Chris Clemons; CB Nolan Carroll; OL Jonathan Martin; CB Dimitri Patterson.

HEAD COACH: Joe Philbin

Offense: The Dolphins will have Ryan Tannehill back at quarterback after an up and down 2013 season in which he passed for 3,913 yards with 24 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Backing him up is Matt Moore.
The running game has Knowshon Moreno coming over from the Denver Broncos after going for 1,038 yards with a 4.3 ypc average and ten rushing touchdowns. He alo had 60 receptions for 548 yards and three more scores. Lamar Miller (709 yards with a 4.0 ypc average and two TD) is also available to give the Dolphins a decent running duo. Daniel Thomas (406 yards, four TD) adds depth to the backfield.
Brian Hartline is the top wide receiver in Miami after making 76 receptions for 1,016 yards and four scores while Mike Wallace (73, 930, five TD) is the other starting wideout. Rishard Matthews (41, 448, two TD), Brandon Gibson (30, 326, three TD), Damian Williams and rookie Jarvis Landry (LSU) are ready to play as well. The tight end is Charles Clay, who had 69 receptions for 759 yards and six touchdowns.
The offensive line will be without two starters from last year's "bullying incident" fallout that made waves and really hurt the team. Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito are gone this year and the line will be anchored by center Mike Pouncey. The guards are Shelley Smith and Dallas Thomas and the tackles will be Ja'Wuan James (rookie from Tennessee) and Branden Albert.

STATS - This team ranked near the bottom of the NFL in running and passing last year, finishing 27th overall with an average of 313 yards per game. The running game went for only 90 yards per game while the passing game ranked 20th with 223 yards each week. Miami tuned the ball over 26 times with 19 picks and seven fumbles. Dolphins quarterbacks were sacked a league high 58 times.

Defense: Miami has Cameron Wake (8.5 QB sacks) and Oliver Vernon (11.5 sacks) playing end with Randy Starks and Jared Odrick at the tackle spots in the 4-3 look this season. Backups include Derrick Shelby, Earl Mitchell, A.J. Francis and Dion Jordan.
The linebackers Koa Misi and Philip Wheeler on the outside with Dannell Ellerbe manning the middle. Jelani Jenkins, Jonathan Freeny and Jason Trusnik provide depth.
The secondary has corner men Brent Grimes (four INT) and Cortland Finnegan while Reshad Jones and Louis Delmas or Jimmy Wilson will be the safeties. Michael Thomas, Jamar Taylor, Will Davis and possibly rookie Walt Aikens (Liberty) will be on hand as well.

STATS - The Dolphins seemed to a bend but don't break type of defense last season, giving up yardage (359 yards per game which was 21st overall) but allowed just 21 points per game, which was eighth in the NFL. The Dolphins gave up 125 yards on the ground while opponents passed for an average of 234 yards per game. Miami registered 42 QB sacks and intercepted 18 passes.

OUTLOOK: Miami blew a chance to make the playoffs by losing the final two games last season and will be looking to improve in enough areas to get over the hump this time around.
Head Coach Joe Philbin may be on the "hot seat" if the team stumbles once again, especially after all the in-house turmoil last year.
As long as QB Ryan Tannehill continues to show improvement in this his third season as the starter, the Dolphins should be fine on offense. Moreno and Miller give the team a decent one-two punch in the running game. The defense has to avoid the mistakes that lead to big plays, which hurt the team down the stretch last season.
All in all, Miami is decent enough to make a run for a wild card playoff spot as they chase the New England Patriots in the AFC East division. With some breaks here and there, they could make it into the post-season in 2014. The call here is another 8-8 finish for the Dolphins, which would leave out of the playoffs once again.

Week 1- vs. New England
Week 2- at Buffalo
Week 3- vs. Kansas City
Week 4- at Oakland (London, England)
Week 5- BYE WEEK
Week 6- vs. Green Bay
Week 7- at Chicago
Week 8- at Jacksonville
Week 9- vs. San Diego
Week 10- at Detroit
Week 11- vs. Buffalo
Week 12- at Denver
Week 13- at NY Jets
Week 14- vs. Baltimore
Week 15- at New England
Week 16- vs. Minnesota
Week 17- vs. NY Jets

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