The Miami Dolphins made their first playoff appearance since 2008 this past season. It was a relative surprise that they made it considering that they were 1-4 after their first five games. However, they found consistency on offense thanks to the emergence of Jay Ajayi and the steady play of Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore at quarterback. The Dolphins finished 10-6 and with the second wild card spot despite parting ways with quality players over the past couple of years. Which players from recent teams would have played a role on this year's team?
Mike Gillislee Would Have Been Quality Depth at Running Back
Mike Gillislee was a member of the Miami Dolphins during the 2013 season when he was let go before being picked up by the Buffalo Bills in 2015. He went on to score eight touchdowns this season as the capable backup to LeSean McCoy. In fact, he has become so valuable that the topic of releasing McCoy to save money only sounds slightly absurd. In Miami, he would have allowed the offense to play a ball control style in an effort to keep that awful defense off of the field.
Brent Grimes Could Have Made a Play In the Secondary
Brent Grimes has had at least four interceptions a year since 2013 when he first joined the Dolphins. He would continue that streak as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2016. While Grimes may have been memorable for his wife's Twitter account, he could make plays on the field when needed. That was sorely needed this season as the team failed to generate a pass rush for games at a time. In fact, Tyrod Taylor had his first career 300-yard game against the Fins in December 2016. Grimes’ playmaking ability would have been of use in the Dolphins’ secondary.
Lamar Miller Could Have Been the Workhorse
The Dolphins wouldn't have needed Jay Ajayi if they had simply allowed Lamar Miller to play to his potential while with the team. Despite never getting more than 216 attempts in a season with Miami, he managed to average 4.5 to 5 yards per carry and scored eight touchdowns on the ground in 2014 and 2015. The census feeling was that the Dolphins misused Miller’s skillset during his tenure with the team.
Mike Wallace Was Cut For Some Reason
Mike Wallace averaged 12.8 yards per catch and scored 15 touchdowns in his two seasons with Miami. Last year in Baltimore, he finished with 1,017 receiving yards and four touchdowns. It was the first time since 2011 that he had more than 1,000 yards in a season. While some consider him a bust or a disappointment, it is clear that he could have contributed to the Dolphins success if given a chance. Although they have Kenny Stills as a primary deep threat, Wallace is faster and has more talent than Stills does.
The Miami Dolphins are a team that has a bright future if they can fix their defense. It looks like they have a quarterback who they trust and a running back who can keep opposing defenses honest. As long as they get their share of luck during the season, they could be playing in late January for many seasons to come.