The Miami Dolphins won 8 games last year and missed the playoffs by 1/2 game. They beat some really good teams including the Colts and Steelers on their home turf. Their young quarterback who set team rookie passing records in his first season progressed into a leader in his second despite not having much time to get comfortable in the pocket. Did anyone else notice Tannehill shoving a teammate to the sideline late in the Cleveland home opener rather than risk a stupid personal foul as things were getting a bit scrappy with the Browns? I see leadership. I see a young quarterback who clearly does not hear the naysayers and does not lose his cool. Remember the two minute drill ending with Tannehill tossing a soft end zone lob in the end zone to win the game? Calm cool and collected.
True there are major gaps that need to be filled. Obviously the offensive line was the worst group assembled in team history as evidenced by team records for sacks allowed and a dismal result running the ball. As a result we really do not know what we have in Lamar Miller and to some extent we do not know what we have in the Tannehill to Wallace down field connection. Again, optimism that once there is some serviceable blocking Miller could find the first down marker and Wallace could find the end zone.
Defense. Again optimism. Some time in the weight room and Dion Jordan could be a game changer. Wake/Jordan 1-2 punch... good luck Tom Brady keeping upright. 90+ yard pick 6 by our newly resigned shut down corner, walk off safety to win against a very good (playoff) team on national TV. One of the best young safeties in the game in Jones. Optimism.
Coaching. Much can be said about the toxic atmosphere in the Dolphins locker room this past season. Truthfully none of us were there and nor was Ted Wells. However somehow Philbin kept the team together and ripped off some impressive wins in the midst of the cloud of doubt coming from the Incognito/Martin harassment issue. 9 out of 10 on challenges. Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach shown the door. Replaced by good up and coming talented coaches in Lazor and Benton.
FA, and draft. Optimism. Needing desperate offensive line help the FA market has some good ones available and the group of lineman in the upcoming draft appear as deep as any in recent memory.
The Dolphins have talent at skill positions, a new GM and a good amount of available cap space to buy improved play in the trenches. Optimism.