The Miami Dolphins play back-to-back Ohio based teams in the span of four days when they move from their home game against the Cleveland Browns in Week 3 to their Thursday Night Football contest at the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4. The Bengals will mark the third-road game against a 2015 Playoff team for Miami in the first four weeks of the season. It is a rough start to the year, but one that should allow us to get a good idea of what the Adam Gase Miami Dolphins will be in 2016.
We are working our way through the Dolphins’ 2016 schedule, posting team previews from each club as we go. Below, you will see Miami’s schedule, as well as links to the previews already completed and a link to the team’s SB Nation blog site.
(Note: We would recommend going ahead and joining the team sites for each of Miami’s 13 opponents this year if you are not already a member of their site. This will prevent you from running into any waiting period those sites may have established for membership, allowing you to join in pre-game discussions with their fans.)
Week 4 - @ Cincinnati Bengals team preview (TNF) - Cincy Jungle
Week 5 - vs. Tennessee Titans team preview - Music City Miracles
Week 6 - vs. Pittsburgh Steelers team preview - Behind the Steel Curtain
Week 7 - vs. Buffalo Bills team preview - Buffalo Rumblings
Week 8 - BYE
Week 9 - vs. New York Jets team preview - Gang Green Nation
Week 10 - @ San Diego Chargers team preview - Bolts from the Blue
Week 11 - @ Los Angeles Rams team preview - Turf Show Times
Week 12 - vs. San Francisco 49ers team preview - Niners Nation
Week 13 - @ Baltimore Ravens team preview - Baltimore Beatdown
Week 14 - vs. Arizona Cardinals team preview - Revenge of the Birds
Week 15 - @ New York Jets team preview (Saturday) - Gang Green Nation
Week 16 - @ Buffalo Bills team preview (Saturday) - Buffalo Rumblings
On to Week 4:
Cincinnati Bengals (via Cincy Jungle)
Notable free agent additions: WR Brandon LaFell, LB Karlos Dansby, LB/S Taylor Mays
Notable free agent departures: WR Marvin Jones, WR Mohamed Sanu, RT Andre Smith, DE Wallace Gilberry
Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies: Tyler Boyd (2nd round, WR), Andrew Billings (4th round, DT)
Biggest offseason addition: Uhhhh…. LaFell or Boyd, I guess, hopefully?!
Biggest storyline heading into training camp: The wide receiver battle is hands down the biggest storyline heading into training camp. The position is essentially completely up in the air, other than A.J. Green being the No. 1. Will LaFell get the No. 2 job? Will Boyd play in the slot? Those things are fairly certain, though still questions. But just about everything else including the No. 4-6 wide receiver spots is up in the air are available for the taking without many (cough, any) big names competing for the jobs. It comes down to 2014 seventh round draft pick James Wright who is coming off microfracture surgery and hasn’t played since 2014; 2015 seventh round draft pick Mario Alford who played one game in 2015; Brandon Tate, who has a way of always making the roster due to his return abilities, and then a bunch of undrafted players.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp: The Bengals have a new offensive coordinator, their long-time quarterbacks coach, Ken Zampese due to Hue Jackson leaving this offseason to be the head coach of the Browns. No one really knows what to expect with Zampese calling the shots and 2016 will likely prove just how big of an impact Jackson had on the Bengals’ offense as well as Andy Dalton’s development. Will the Bengals be able to continue their winning ways without Jackson? Some are more optimistic than others when it comes to asking this question.
Notable injuries heading into training camp: Tyler Eifert injured his ankle in the Pro Bowl and now is expected to miss all of training camp and potentially the first few weeks of the regular season. Darqueze Dennard is coming off of a season-ending shoulder injury and is hoping to be back for training camp. Other than that, everyone is fairly healthy. Though, given the wide receiver position, Eifert is a huge piece to the Bengals’ offensive puzzle and having him miss time would be a major loss.
Also of note: Vontaze Burfict starts off the season with a three game suspension and Taylor Mays starts off the season with a four game suspension. There’s no guarantee Mays will make the roster when his suspension ends. The Bengals play the Jets in Week 1, the Steelers in Week 2 and the Broncos in Week 3 so playing without Burfict during that stretch is far from ideal.