2017 Miami Dolphins Preview
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Key Additions: LB Lawrence Timmons, LB Raekwon McMillan, DL Williams Hayes, S T.J. McDonald, TE Anthony Fasano, OG Isaac Asiata, DE Charles Harris, S Nate Allen, TE Julius Thomas, OG Ted Larsen
Key Subtractions: OT Branden Albert, DE Mario Williams, DT Earl Mitchell, CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, TE Dion Sims
Ryan Tannehill is getting up there in age, but he’s still the undoubted strength of this Dolphins team. The 29-year-old quarterback thrived in Adam Gase’s offensive scheme last year, posting career bests in completion percentage (67.1), touchdown percentage (4.9), yards-per-attempt (7.7), and quarterback rating (93.5) before a knee injury in Week 14 put an abrupt end to his season.
Surrounded by top wide receivers Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills (combined for 2,606 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns last season), Tannehill has a vast array of weapons at his disposal for the upcoming NFL campaign. With a full off-season to recover from his ACL injury and also gain an increased knowledge of Gase’s offense, Tannehill should be able to bounce back strongly for the Dolphins this year.
Whatever the Dolphins’ offense giveth, their defense taketh away. That was the outstanding narrative for Miami last season, when the team barely did anything on defense to resemble an organized unit. It was a total mess for the Fins’ defense that was the fourth worst in yards allowed (382.6 per game) and tied for worst in average yards per carry allowed (4.8).
The Dolphins surely hope that they’ll find the Wide Nine defensive scheme much to their liking under new coordinator Matt Burke. For what it’s worth, that system did bring out the best in defensive end Cameron Wake and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Wake notched 10.5 of his 11.5 sacks after returning to the starting lineup in Week 6 while Suh ranked third among all interior linemen with 72 tackles.
Key Player – Jay Ajayi
Jay Ajayi surpassed expectations last season, turning Miami’s running game from a supposed weakness to a strength. The second-year tailback burst into the public’s consciousness with three 200-yard games last campaign, joining an elite group that included Earl Campbell, Tiki Barber and the infamous O.J. Simpson. The next step for Ajayi this season is consistency. Ajayi, who was named the team’s MVP after rushing for the NFL’s fourth-most yards, finished with 79 or fewer yards in 12 games last season, including the Dolphins’ first-round playoff loss to Pittsburgh.
Key Game – vs. New England (December 11)
If the Dolphins are to shockingly win the AFC East this coming season, they might need to beat the New England Patriots at least once. Their best opportunity to do just that comes in a December 11 home game against Tom Brady and company. Beating the reigning Super Bowl champions in that Monday Night Football showdown would also go a long way in terms of instilling confidence in the Dolphins, who are 3-1 SU and ATS in their last four home games against New England. The Dolphins are pegged at +800 to win the AFC East.
2016 Team Stats
|Points per game||22.7 (#17)|
|Passing yards per game||218.8 (#26)|
|Rushing yards per game||114.0 (#9)|
|Scoring defense||23.8 (#18)|
The Dolphins, who are priced at +6,000 to win the Super Bowl, finish second in the AFC East with an even 8-8 record.
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