No matter the outcome in an early season game, there are always going to be things the team learns about themselves and things the fans learn about their favorite team. That's true about the Miami Dolphins this week, who opened the season with a 23-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns yesterday. What did we learn? Let's take a look.
1. Ballhawking is the name of the game. We heard all offseason that the team was focused on forcing turnovers. Talk is great, but how would the team respond once the games actually counted? Three interceptions later, it seems like the coaches did the right work to pull off the switch in turnover differential. The team nearly had a fourth pick, if Reshad Jones had been able to hold on to a ball that magically bounced to his feet. The Dolphins are clearly going after balls on deflections and tipped passes, something we did not see them do with such effort last year. This defense wants that ball. They need that ball.
2. Offensive line is still figuring it out. The offensive line clearly struggled at times on Saunday, allowing sacks or pressures too often. A huge part of that is how impressive the Browns' front seven were during this game. They were able to simply shut down any attempt to run the ball by the Dolphins, and, without any semblance of a rushing threat, were able to pin their ears back and get after Ryan Tannehill. The line has to get better, but they will as they get more experience playing together.
3. Ryan Tannehill is clearly more comfortable. Is there any doubt after that game that Tannehill is more comfortable in this offense than he was last year? Tannehill was decisive with where to put the ball, and he made the right decisions. There were a few cases of him trying to force the ball into a space, especially when it came to Mike Wallace in the second half, or an overthrow or two, but overall, Tannehill was making his reads, progressing through his receivers, and throwing to the correct receiver. This isn't to say Tannehill will have a season of epic proportions, but he definitely looked more comfortable making decisions on Sunday.
On a side note - the pass rush is not mentioned because, as Dolphins fans, we didn't learn about that on Sunday. That was a known commodity - although maybe not to that degree
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