We’ve seen the lists elsewhere from both Armando Salguero and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald: Adam Gase needs to make changes to get the Dolphins back to where they wish to be in 2018-making the playoffs and ready to roll.
When I look at the Dolphins roster, I look at a failure to be comfortable with change.
Surely, the Dolphins relied on the 2017 draft to add some defensive depth with DE Charles Harris, DT Vincent Taylor, DT Davon Godchaux, MLB Raquon McMillan, and CB Cordrea Tankersley.
In fact, all except for McMillan due to injury contributed in a major way this season.
The old adage about drafting players for your roster today rang true as almost all draft picks played this season except for McMillan (torn ACL in preseason week 1) and Asiata (“redshirt year”).
On the plus side, drafting defensive talent will allow Miami flexibility the next few years as their aging defensive stars are cut/waived/ or retire.
However, there is some age on this defense and a lot of it expensive parts from LB Kiko Alonso (lowest rated LB by PFF) to DE Andre Branch and maybe Ndamukong Suh. I’m of the opinion that Wake- nine sacks can still play at a high level.
Nevertheless, here are my five resolutions for the 2018 Dolphins:
1. Even though Ryan Tannehill is coming back stronger from his surgery (he’s out on the practice field as of today via a foto by Omar Kelly), draft a quarterback. The Dolphins shouldn’t just settle on having Tannehill be the guy if a better option is out there to provide true competition for the future. I fully expect the Dolphins to be a player in the first round of the draft especially if Baker Mayfield is available. Mayfield has a special presence about him and might be the guy that Miami can either trade away to another team for more picks or draft him outright. If Mayfield were to fall in round 1, Miami might be tempted. Josh Allen is no exception. He’s a fit for this offense and the Dolphins could benefit by having a project in their quarterback room. Going forward, quarterback should’ve been the focus of the Dolphins scouting department this season after having been through a summer of uncertainty after Tannehill went down and not feeling comfortable with Matt Moore. Quarterback should be a focus moving forward and I expect the Dolphins to draft a QB and find a capable backup as insurance. Is Tannehill the quarterback in 2018? I’d say yes, but stranger things have happened-but the Dolphins should handle this gradually and determine if the Dolphins have a healthy and season ready quarterback in Tannehill before it’s too late.
2. Sign Jarvis Landry to a new contract. I’m sure that Landry is more than ready to negotiate. Since he’s done nothing but play harder than anyone on the roster and actually be the saving grace of the offense. After Josina Anderson’s report (ESPN), the ball is clearly in the Dolphins court. It’s not quite 4th down yet, but it’s getting close. The Dolphins haven’t changed their stance-they could franchise or transition tag him. Depending on how much cap space they have, I’d say it’s safer to tag him. He’s been a consistent contributor and integral part of the Dolphins offense and most of all, he hasn’t dropped off despite working with Tannehill to Moore to Cutler.
3. Decide what to do about Ndamukong Suh. Is Suh prepared to take a pay cut on a restructured deal? For every time Suh jumps offsides, it sends his defense into a backpedal. Perhaps jumping offsides is correctable, but it seems that the defense looks to Suh for direction. Mistakes happen, but when they do on second down and long, those penalties hurt. If the Dolphins move to a 3-4 defense as was rumored the other day-I could see the Dolphins moving on from Suh and finding a Nose Tackle in the draft. Suh isn’t a nose tackle. Expect a change on the defense and the Dolphins may discard the wide 9 completely. With just 24 sacks this season, the defense has taken a step back.
4. Dolphins need to draft a running back: If Adam Gase’s vision for the Dolphins offense anything but complete, look for Gase to bang the table for a running back. Don’t get me wrong, we all like Kenyan Drake, but he needs a full season to prove himself rather in the limited opportunities he has had. Having a younger running back to spell Drake would be wise. Durability, catching a football, and speed would be critical for the Dolphins. Gase likes a big back, but a speed back to complement the downhill running style would be nice.
5. Provide DeVante Parker and get him a good training regimen: Parker is a Dolphin and will be a Dolphin next season. I’m going to simply ignore everything people are writing about him right now and realize that despite the injuries, he can still play and thrive in this offense. Parker to me is a better fit with Tannehill who in which we saw glimpses last season on deep throws and as a red zone threat. I fully expect Parker back next season and I’m sure Adam Gase will find ways to involve him more.
There you have it. I wish everyone a happy new year!