Welcome to the final week of ‘The State of the Miami Dolphins'! This week I have the privilege of welcoming three more members of thephinsider community - beneny, The_Heard and m0nstah. Lets hear what they had to say about all things Dolphins-related.
So without further ado, lets get the ball rolling with beneny. The OTA's have shown that this WR group is deep. Who do you think will make the roster? Any surprise names? I feel Chad Bumphis in particular has been interesting to watch.
I think Wallace, Hartline and Gibson are locks to make the roster because of past success and the money the team invested in them. Next, I feel that Binns and Matthews are very likely to also make the cut. Both contributed some last year and have more experience with the system than the rookies. Binns is also a big target and can help in the red-zone. The last spot is a complete tossup. Jeff Fuller has an edge because of a year of experience with the team and college experience with Tannehill. But I'm going to go with Marvin McNutt for the final spot - ‘cause really, who wouldn't want that jersey?
Leading on from the previous question, Lance Louis and Dallas Thomas are both the newcomers at the guard position. However, Louis is still injured, while Thomas has only just started to participate in practice. Do you think either of them could usurp Miami's starting guards? Do you think Nate Garner could be a surprise starter?
While Jerry was serviceable last year, I think the front office is looking to upgrade. I have to give the edge to Louis. He has more starting experience than Jerry. I like Thomas and the versatility he brings, but it may be tougher for the rookie, especially coming back from a torn labrum. It all comes down to how focused Jerry is - coming in at the right weight is big though, so he may keep it. Garner could surprise at guard, but he couldn't beat out the incumbents last year and the competition seems even stiffer this year.
Next up is The_Heard. Ryan Tannehill appeared on "NFL Total Access" on Monday and without hesitation said that Lamar Miller is way ahead of Daniel Thomas and Mike Gillislee as Miami's number one running back. What are your thoughts on that? Can Miller step up to be Miami's primary running back?
We have heard from Ireland, and Philbin about how it's an open competition, but isn't that standard coach-speak? That type of coaches response assures no player of a defined role, and keeps the completion tight. That my friends is a very good thing for this young football team. Having a guy that's ahead of the pack is much better then a log jam of mediocrity. Who was our 3rd best wide out last year? Exactly! What Tannehill has saw from his perspective is great, but what the coaches see on film is greater. B. Yes I believe in Miller Time! Ireland has gained my trust, and if he was willing to let a player he could have resigned like Reggie Bush walk for an unproven second year back, then he's seen enough to believe that Miller could help him get a G.M extension. Miller is bigger, stronger, and faster than Bush. What does that mean? We will see.
Jamar Taylor still has not featured in preseason as he continues rehab from sports hernia surgery. Where do you think he fits in once he's injury-free? Can he start?
I believe that Taylor would have been selected in the first round if he did not have kidney issues. His 4.39 speed and 22 bench is impressive for a 5-11 190 pounder. When he is healthy I see him competing will Carroll as our third corner. With his athleticism, it would be hard pressed for slot receivers to have big field days. By seasons end he could be our second corner behind Grimes (I feel so much better about our wr's and cb's this year).
Lastly, but certainly not least, lets welcome m0nstah to the floor. Randy Starks continues to sit out of OTA's. In his place, Odrick has been receiving snaps as one of the starting defensive tackles. Will Starks start this year?
It is hard to imagine a pro bowl player who is making significant money playing under the franchise tag not being a starter. I still expect Randy Starks and Paul Soliai to be the starters at defensive tackle. I do see both Starks and Soliai to get slightly reduced playing time so the coaching staff can give Jared Odrick playing time at defensive tackle. Since Starks and Soliai are both free agents after this season we will be able to resign one of them and then keep Odrick at defensive tackle if he plays well.
Name who you think will be the darkhorse player of the year. I'm thinking of a guy who unexpectedly steps up and makes a big impact this season.
I am going to go with tight end Michael Egnew as a darkhorse for us this year. After his first year which he only got playing time at the end of the season and caught 0 catches, he was already labeled a bust. However he has been receiving praise from the coaching staff which is a good sign for him. He doesn't need to be the number 1 tight end since we signed Dustin Keller for that. We just need him to make a huge leap from last year. If he can get 30-40 catches with 400-500 yards and a significant presence in the red zone that will be a huge boost for our offense.
Finally, where do you guys see the Dolphins finishing in 2013?
8-8 or 9-7. I think we've improved, but we face a really tough schedule. We've added a lot of new FAs and we're going to see a completely different team everywhere except QB, D-line, and safety. The question is whether our new players will mesh well and who can stay healthy. Assuming a couple of the new FAs don't work out and we have a limited number of injuries, we end up middle of the road, record wise, but poised to improve dramatically in 2014 with way fewer holes and a better understanding of what we have.
Miami will finish second in the division with a record of 9-7. I hope I'm wrong guys, but we have a lot of new pieces and these pieces need some time to become cohesive. I almost care more about dramatic improvements on PPG average and the progression of Tannehill as much as our final record. Our opening games outside of Cleveland is brutal and wins are unexpected, but I believe 100 percent that this team will be turning on all cylinders come late October. As Philbin said in Hard knocks, " Our goal is to be a better team in December then we were in September." That's what I am looking for out of this squad.
This is truly a difficult season to predict how the Miami Dolphins will do this year. We have a tough schedule and we don't know if all these free agent moves will work out. If Ryan Tannehill makes significant improvements from last year and most of our off season acquisitions work out then I can see us getting 10-12 wins and challenging the Patriots for the division title. If Tannehill struggles I can see us only getting 6-8 wins and that will probably get Jeff Ireland fired.
Thank you very much to benemy, The_Heard and m0nstah for taking the time out to share their views on the Miami Dolphins. Do you agree with what they had to say? Now it's time to hear YOUR thoughts. Hope you enjoyed the series!