Heading into the offseason, I personally had so many things written down that the Dolphins would need to do to compete with the likes of New England in 2017.
We saw how the Dolphins faltered down the stretch by failing to stop the run and how it ultimately did them in during their first playoff appearance since 2008-09.
In the playoffs, the Steelers ran roughshod with their stellar back Le’Veon Bell who couldn’t sustain his hot streak two weeks later after pulling up lame versus New England. The Patriots seemingly had an easy path to the Super Bowl gobbling up the Texans after toying with them and then taking care of the Steelers.
However, when good teams become great, it’s when they can be consistently good in all phases of the game.
The 2017 Dolphins got better first by improving their defense.
Starting with the linebackers, they got Lawrence Timmons in free agency who can play middle linebacker joining Kiko Alonso and Koa Misi.
At safety, the Dolphins snatched up an Oakland Raider (Nate Allen) and a Los Angeles Ram (T.J. McDonald). The Dolphins expect Allen to contribute right away and for McDonald to be available after serving an eight-game suspension. The old Dolphins during the Philbin era would’ve never taken a risk on a player recently suspended-but head coach Adam Gase knows what he’s getting with this acquisition of McDonald.
In addition, the Dolphins added to their offensive line and tight end corps. Ted Larsen was added to shore up the guard spot or even at Center should Mike Pouncey not be ready in time for the season.
Both Julius Thomas (acquired via trade from Jacksonville) and Anthony Fasano (signed via free agency) will catch passes and block for the Dolphins. The addition of Fasano, who played with the Dolphins from 2008-2012, could be the difference and fill in quite nicely after losing Dion Sims to the Bears in free-agency.
With that being said, the Dolphins did quite well in the 2017 draft locking down a stud pass rusher-Charles Harris, Cordrea Tankersley, Raekwon McMillian, Davon Godchaux, and Vincent Taylor to get new blood into their up and coming defense.
Offensively, the Dolphins scored big during the 2017 draft with a mauler in Isaac Asiata at guard and Isaiah Ford (a smooth route runner) from Virginia Tech.
All in all, what excites most fans about the 2017 Dolphins is the x-factor, another season with quarterback Ryan Tannehill who is chomping at the bit to continue where he left off prior to injury-mistake free and continued continuity with Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills.
Dolphins should win early in the season and must get off to a great start.
One thing I can assure you of, this team is far from satisfied with last season’s results and to get off to a good start and fulfill the promise from Jarvis Landry of sweeping New England, it’s not out of the question they finish 11-5 and win the division.
That’s what I’m going with-11-5 or bust!
Have a wonderful 4th of July!