It truly does astound me that despite all we've done so far this offseason, the world seems desperate to try and keep the Miami Dolphins on the bottom of the scrap heap and let Tom Brady's precious New England Patriots remain the jewel of the AFC East. Why does the media see it as a must to protect Tom Brady and everything he does? That's an honest question I'll let my fellow Dolfans answer for me in the comment box...it's not like he's Tim Tebow or anything, at least he has qualities that warrant protection...funny how he's the most attacked...oh, where was I?
Anyways, the "experts" of ESPN (Skip Bayless, President of the Tom Brady fanclub; still think you're awesome though) find it a necessity to keep Tom Brady on a pedestal. Why is that? Are the Patriots a better story somehow? Whatever the reason, I predict that everyone will soon see that they'll have no choice but to admit that the Miami Dolphins have (on paper at least) become a force to be reckoned with in the AFC East!
But still some Patriot fans might scoff and say, "Miami still sucks, we still have the greatest QB of all time in Tom Brady!" Well to that I say New England fans, and a specific Tom Brady fan who is merely a fan because she thinks he's "Gorgeous"...but she feels the same way about Colin Kaepernick, so I won't take it personally...lost track again.
The first thing I would say to those Patriot fans is this: "Cease with your blasphemy!" Why would I say that? Because I think the majority of football fans (even my fellow Dolfans) would admit that Joe Montana was the greatest QB of all time...don't get mad now, really can't argue with all those Super Bowl rings...but Dan Marino was a very close second in my book!
But just speaking today's NFL...to quote a phrase from one of my favorite analysts: Mr. Stephen A. Smith: "Aaron Rodgers is a BAAAAAAAAD man! By the way Stephen A. is one of the few analysts who agrees with what we've done so far, so no shame in bringing him up. So that takes care of that argument. Then fans might say, "Well we've got the greatest coach of all time in Bill Belichick!"
Yes, you have a very competent coach...who happens to be the worst loser as far as I know in history. I'm still young, maybe my fellow Dolfans can tell me of a worse one? The point is Belichick makes it very easy to root against New England, I don't understand why the media protects him. I applaud Shannon Sharpe for calling him out after the AFC Championship loss, it put a smile on my face. Heh heh heh.
Well without Brady and Belichick, now we can analyze the rest of the team, as in everyone not named Belichick or Brady. With them out of the way, is New England really that impressive? Now we get to the non-ranting part of this post, where I explain how I, as in a regular fan with personal biases, think our Miami Dolphins stand right here right now. Let's start with the Quarterback position.
There he is, our new franchise Quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. Now while his numbers from last year weren't that impressive, they don't tell the whole story. Tannehill suffered from a lot of close losses due to errors on both sides of the football. Admittedly a couple of times they were his own fault, but we can attribute at least two of our losses to Dan Carpenter, who lately seems to be having accuracy problems. Maybe he needs to cut his hair...
But this young man out of Texas A&M has proven to be a very legitimate answer to the Dan Marino conundrum. He broke the Miami Dolphins rookie record for passing yards (previously held by Dan Marino himself) by throwing for 3,294 total yards, and that's with very limited weapons. Now with all the new toys the Dolphins have given him, he's poised to come out and possibly be a top ten Quarterback. He's got a cannon for an arm, his accuracy is improving, he's got the ability to run with the football, and he can throw on the run. Playaction passing? Don't even get me started!
If Tanny could do that with Hartline, I can't wait to see what he can do with Mike Wallace. This is the first glimmer of hope Miami Dolphins fans have had since Chad Pennington, so I'm excited to see what he can do come next season. He does have his faults though. Many times Tannehill bombed an ill-advised deep ball down the sidelines when it wasn't necessary, but overall his decision making is good, and it will get better.
However Tannehill isn't the only QB on the roster, we've re-signed arguably the best backup QB in the NFL. His name?
Matt Moore. In the 2011 season, Matt Moore stepped up when Chad Henne went down, and proved that he could be a competent starting Quarterback in the NFL, but ultimately lost out to Tannehill in the 2012 Preseason. But Moore got a chance to remind everyone what he could do when Tannehill went down with a knee and left quad injury against the New York Jets. He led the Dolphins to victory and made the Jets look absolutely ridiculous...but that isn't hard, remember the butt fumble?
It's mandatory since I brought it up lol. Now that we've had our laugh at the New York Jets' expense, let me continue with my post. What I heard about Matt Moore was that he was struggling in trying to understand the offensive scheme of Joe Philbin and Offensive Coordinator Mike Sherman, but after watching him perform during the 30-9 blowout versus the Jets, it looked like he had a pretty good idea of what he was doing. In fact, that performance only intensified the cries from those fans who wanted Tannehill benched in favor of Matt Moore, that seems to have quieted down since, but nevertheless it's comforting to have an excellent backup in case something happens. But Quarterback is only one position, we also need to have a running game, and with the departure of Reggie Bush, that will be up to the platoon team of...
Lamar Miller (left) and Daniel Thomas (right). At first I was livid over the fact that the Dolphins let Reggie Bush walk, but I guess the bright side is that he'll be playing in Detroit, so we won't have to go up against him any time soon, and we have seen flashes from Lamar Miller, flashes like these for instance.
It's very possible that Lamar Miller could be a star in this league...my only question mark is Daniel Thomas. Thomas was supposed to be the big bruiser, the power back, and to a certain extent he's fulfilled that reputation, but he seems to be injury prone...concussions, knees, hamstrings, I mean he's been beat up all over the place, and it feels like he's turned the ball over at the most inopportune times possible. If Daniel Thomas can stay healthy, then we might have a decent platoon, but again, the passing game will be the biggest aspect of the offense, which goes back to Tannehill...
And his new Wide Receiver Corps. We all know the very first big story when free agency started was that Mike Wallace signed a long term big money deal with our Dolphins, and the deal was under intense scrutiny due to the sheer amount of cash going to a "one trick pony" whose only claim to fame was his elite speed...well as we all know, that's precisely what we needed! Something else that occurred to me however...we've seen the Dolphins struggle to sign top free agents in years past, let's not forget the whole Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn fiasco...could it be that we had to overpay? Money talks, throw enough of it out there and people will listen no matter where the team is located, it could be we were insecure in our negotiating abilities and in an attempt to ensure the services of Mike Wallace, we had to give him big time cash.
But I digress, whether or not we overpaid, we have him now and it's up to Tannehill to capitalize on Wallace's speed. Stephen A. Smith on First Take said to Steelers Wide Receiver Antonio Brown that they "needed" to get Wallace back, that proves that there are certain analysts out there who thought Wallace was a big part of that Steelers offense, and I'm interested in seeing what he can do for us.
That's what he did for Big Ben in Pittsburgh, now let's see what he does in Miami. Now we have our #2 guy who was our #1 last year, Brian Hartline. Hartline is an excellent possession receiver, but he'll never burn anyone in a footrace which is what prompted Miami to go out and get Wallace in the first place. Last year Hartline was Tannehill's favorite target and in turn Hartline became a 1,000 yard receiver and was able to show what he could do. I won't bother to look for highlights for Hartline because we already saw the 80 yard catch against Arizona, and all year long Tannehill targeted him and he looked like one of the stars on the team. Now with Wallace on the roster, Hartline should be freed up for even more catches since Wallace will be busy taking on opposing teams' top corner.
Not everyone seemed to get along with Ryan Tannehill though, and I don't mean they weren't friends or anything, it's just that they didn't have the same dynamic with Tannehill as Hartline. Throughout the 2012 season I observed that Davone Bess wasn't getting as many touches as I felt he should have. I've always said that Davone Bess is the most underrated slot receiver in the NFL, and having him running around is always a great security blanket for any QB. Luckily, later in the season, Tannehill found a rhythm with Bess and began getting him the ball more, hopefully we'll see more of Davone Bess this season.
And finally we have Brandon Gibson, the newest wide receiver of the bunch. Grabbing him made a lot of speculation about whether or not Davone Bess would be leaving or not, but it seems like they'll both be staying after all. Hopefully the addition of Gibson, who is now our fourth legitimate wide receiver, will spread the field wide for Ryan Tannehill...besides, now he won't be able to make catches like this against us anymore.
That catch is still sticking in the craws of a few fans...including me, so I'm hoping to see some catches like that for us. He's a great target for touchdowns, he's...freaking awesome. My brain is fried from all of this typing. At a later date I will continue this series of highlights for the new Dolphins, as I continue to learn just how this whole outline of writing articles here works.