The Miami Dolphins are heading into their most anticipated season in recent memory. During Friday’s scrimmage at Florida International University, Fins fans caught a glimpse of what they can expect from this squad in 2015.
There is a considerable amount of hype surrounding the team this year due in large part to the acquisition of Ndamukong Suh and the evolution of Ryan Tannehill. In addition, a recent Harvard study calculated that the Miami Dolphins would dominate the AFC in 2015.
Here are 5 things to expect from the Miami Dolphins this season.
1. Receivers to Remember – This may be the most impressive lineup of pass catchers we’ve ever seen from the Dolphins. Greg Jennings was brought in for his veteran skill set and leadership qualities while speedster Kenny Stills and emerging star, Jarvis Landry, A.K.A. Juice, look to establish definitive roles as the “go-to guys” in Miami. Add 1st round pick DeVante Parker and TE Jordan Cameron to the mix and you are looking at one hell of headache for defensive coordinators around the league. Each one of these guys brings something unique to the table in 2015.
Watch Devante dominate at Louisville here:
2. Divine D-Line – It should go without saying that Miami’s defensive line will be a dominant force in the league this season, starting with the best DT in the game, Ndamukong Suh wreaking havoc up front. The Dolphins also bring back perennial pro-bowler and sack aficionado Cameron Wake to defend the outside and make lunch meat out of opposing quarterbacks. Suh and Wake are both fiercely competitive individuals. Look for them to challenge each other and feed off each other’s energy all season long. Unsung hero Olivier Vernon, who has tallied 18 sacks in the past two seasons, will round off the group along with Earl Mitchell backing up Suh. Running the ball against this team will be like diving head first into a Suh-nami. Don’t expect to make it out unscathed.
3. Tannehill’s Time – Ryan Tannehill is no stranger to hype. Since being drafted out of Texas A&M in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, there has been a certain level of expectation. While we’ve seen flashes of brilliance, we’ve yet to witness that consistency out of the 4th year man that is so valuable at the quarterback position. However, this year there is something brewing in training camp that has coaches, players, and NFL analysts equally impressed. Jon Gruden recently stated that Tannehill is “poised for a breakout year.” He looked sharp in Friday’s scrimmage, even completed a deep, over-the-shoulder touchdown pass to TE Jordan cameron. He certainly has a number “safety net” options if and when he faces trouble. Look for him to throw to Jordan Cameron early and often as he establishes confidence in his new group of receivers in 2015.
4. Philbin Getting Comfortable – There have been questions surrounding Joe Philbin since he landed the HC job with the Fins in 2012. There have even been doubts as to whether or not he is true “Head Coach” material. But this year, there is a confidence; a comfort and familiarity surrounding Philbin that is readily noticeable in camp. Players and executives around the organization are seeing a more focused, determined Philbin as of late and the team seems to be following suit. Word around Fins camp is that Philbin has been much more vocal about vying for a championship this season as opposed to just going out and competing on a week to week basis. On paper, this is the best squad he’s ever coached and experience from years past only helps.
“I don’t know why, but I like it. I don’t know the specific reason behind it, but I love it. I love the confidence. I love the mindset that it instills in the entire team. It’s contagious, it starts with him, if he’s confident, if he’s outspoken about what we’re going to do, what we expect to do, then it’s contagious throughout the entire team.” – Ryan Tannehill on Coach Philbin’s confidence.
5. Divisional Dominance – The 2015 season presents a prime opportunity for the Miami Dolphins. The New York Jets will be operating under a new head coach and still don’t have a viable option at the quarterback position. The Buffalo Bills are in a similar boat; new coach, no clear-cut standouts at QB. When it comes to the Patriots, the division likely still runs through them. However, New England must start its season without Tom Brady as he faces a 4-game suspension for his part in the “mysterious” events of DeflateGate. That, in addition to immense media pressure and heightened fan base expectations after coming off a Super Bowl, may hurt the Pats’ chances of continuing their decade-long dominance over the division. Having said that, this division is no cake-walk. The Jets and Bills both possess defensive lines and play in systems designed to eviscerate the run and disrupt opposing quarterbacks. While the Fins have their work cut out for them, don’t be surprised to see Miami atop the AFC East standings come January.
Written by Grant Cohen