FanPost

The X's and O's : What are the Fins' strengths and weaknesses, and how do they compare to last season.

Hello fellow Phinsiders, this is my first post here, so I hope I do well. I am going to go over what I view as our team's strengths and weaknesses on both sides of the ball, and compare them to where we were last year. I am going to base the rankings on a 5 tier system. Poor, Below average, Average, Above Average, Excellent. These are going to be based on a mixture of stats and my opinion.

Okay, let's start with our Defense. The first position I'd like to go over on our defense is going to be our Cornerback position.

Last year: Average

This year: Above average, near Excellent

Last year I think our CB position was average. Some people may believe it was poor just because of the sheer yardage our cornerback unit gave up (ranking 27th overall in the league) but as far as TD's our team ranked 6th in the league against the pass. To me this is far more important than yards allowed, simply because this is what decides who wins the game. We replaced Sean Smith, a player who tended to give up big game winning plays, with Brent Grimes, an all-pro caliber CB who was injured last season, but looks to be back to full health. Some may think i'm being a little bit too optimistic on this, but I think with this change our CB unit has moved up to above average, very near Excellent. Grimes has looked like his old self, defending against Wallace in OTA's and making a few picks, while limiting his production. Yes it's just OTA's, but he at least showed that he can keep up with the fastest in the league, this coupled with the lackluster group of WR's in the AFC East bodes very well for our team.

Our next Defensive position, the Safeties.

Last year: Average

This year: Above Average

Again, our safeties gave up yardage last year, but I ranked them as average because of the low number of TD's allowed by them last season. I know we made no changes at safety from last year to this, but the reason for the improvement is simple, we all saw the difference from year 2 to year 3 with Reshad Jones, and I believe he makes another jump this year, with the added help from the much improved CB unit and pass rushing (i'll get into that in a bit) that our team has made. Reshad can continue to play to his strengths, an aggressive ball hawk with a great ability to make the big defensive interception when we need it. I believe our passing defense is going to stay very good at not allowing big TD plays, and keeping TD's low all together, but I also see a vast reduction in yards allowed this season.

Next, the Box (LB/DE/DT)

Last year: Average

This year: Excellent

First, the reason I grouped these 3 together is because we have added new versatility to those positions, with a few different people being able to switch roles and fill different areas. We released Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett, and went younger and faster with the additions of Jelani Jenkins, Phillip Wheeler, Dannell Ellerby and Dion Jordan. While 2 of those names are rookies and are unproven, based on their sheer athleticism we can see at least one of the rookies making a huge impact on this team, if not this season then next. We also went with players who can stop a QB by either getting in his face, or dropping back and covering the flat and middle of the field. Our DL hasn't changed, but if it isn't broke, don't fix it. The guys up front are surely going to clog up any type of running game that opposing offenses try to do. The only real dilemma (if you could call it that) this unit has is finding spots for all of the talent we've added and kept.

Overall Defensive rating last year: Average

This year: Excellent

Our defense wasn't bad last year, yea we gave up lots of yardage, but our defense ranked 6th in passing td's allowed, and 8th in rushing td's. With the improvements we made, it's hard to see this not improving.

Now, on to our Offense

Our first offensive unit, the OL

Last year: Average

This year: Above Average

Yes, that's right, I believe even though we let Jake Long walk, that our OL improved this year. Let's start with the biggest question mark on our OL, will Jonathan Martin perform well. It's unfair to base this off of last year for him. He was asked to play RT instead of his natural LT position, then Mid season was asked to switch to LT. While he didn't look too hot paying LT last year, allowing the QB to get rushed quite a bit, he didn't allow a sack at all. This is no small feat when asking a rookie to switch positions mid season. I believe with the added weight he put on, plus knowing that he is set in his natural position, he will improve. Then we added another pro bowl caliber player in Tyson Clabo.

Next position, RB

Last year: Average

This year: Above Average

Yes, we replaced Reggie Bush (a pretty good RB) with a virtually "unproven" talent in Miller, but really how much does unproven weigh in on ranking a position. A lot of sports networks are saying our RB situation has declined because of this, but the same ones are saying that the Jaguars OL has improved because of them drafting Joeckel, who hasn't played a minute of pro ball, yet he doesn't get the "unproven" label. With Miller's average of 4.9 ypc last year, I'd say he's a bit more proven than anyone drafted this draft. That coupled with the fact that our line has actually vastly improved as far as run blocking goes, we're going to see some big numbers from him this year (depending how much we actually get to run the ball)

Next position WR/TE

Last year: Poor

This year: Above Average (with the possibility to be excellent)

We all know why it was poor last year, and why it's changed so much now, two words: Free Agents. Our front office are solely responsible for this, deciding to put all of their chips on Tannehill. A lot of people give Hartline flack for his inability to score regularly, but I don't think you can lay all of the blame on him. Having 1000+ yards in a season and only scoring once doesn't make you bad, just ask Michael Irvin. Also, saying that he was supposed to be better being a #2 to Marshall is a bad assessment, since the QB we had at the time had a noodle for an arm and couldn't throw a deep ball. Now that we have a wideout that can burn past defenders, and a QB who can launch it to him, Hartline is going to show the league what a competent #2 can do. Then you look at our TE improvement. Granted, Fasano is probably the best blocking TE in the game, but Keller is a much improved receiving TE. He's proven he can be effective with Captain Buttfumble throwing him the ball, teams are going to be hurt by him when he's actually got a QB throwing it to him. Not to mention we also added a guy in the slot by the name of Brandon Gibson.

And last, but certainly not least our QB

Last Season: Average

This Season: Above Average (also with a great chance to be excellent)

Last year Tannehill's worst stat was TD to INT ratio. Take that out of the equation, and he was a top 10 QB last year as a rookie. A lot of those came against a really tough Houston team, which were mostly tipped balls at the line. Tannehill fixed that and you didn't see nearly as many tipped balls later in the season. He is a QB with a very high intellect for the game, and his work ethic is second to none. Plus, if 3 missed field goals went the other way, there would have been 4 rookie QB's in the playoffs last year.

Overall Offense last year: Below Average

Overall Offense this year: Above Average, near Excelent

With all of these factors our team has a really good shot at taking over our Conference this season, we don't have to settle for next. I don't know about you guys, but I'm looking forward to being able to wear my Dolphins jerseys in public come November and December, and not having to worry about being ridiculed about it. This Is Our TIme

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

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