Hindsight is 20/20. It is something Adam Gase preaches week after week, and something the media fails to preach year after year. The same media preaching that the road for the Miami Dolphins is tougher than last year’s path, fails to remember what they said just last preseason. They forget that just two years ago, this Miami Dolphins team was losing games like they won last year. They forget that a big part of the 6-10 record was a clean sweep by not one, but two division rivals in the Bills and Jets. They forget the fact that the Dolphins were 1-3 at the bye, a similar feat to the last season started, only with one more loss added, and even though they won three of the next five, there was no epic feeling that they could just come back and win their way into the post season.
Heck, one of the wins came against perennial post season team the New England Patriots. But the end result produced a one and five record against the other teams in the division, a record good for fourth place out of four teams.
Those media members say last year’s record is tarnished by being able to beat the bad teams, and, while this holds true against the Bills and Jets and Browns, it is safe to say that these same experts consistently talk up the Bills, and think every move the Patriots made this year is golden.
The thing is, Miami made the playoffs with pretty much middling stats. Its defense needed the overhaul it got this year. Its tight end group needed a new face, and it got one. Not to forget that it also managed to bring back an old one in Fasano.
This team managed to produce just enough stops with a single linebacker in the corps. It now has two with the addition of Timmons. Is age a concern? Sure. But its also a concern in New England who brought in David Harris as a key signing.
The offensive and defensive lines needed some new talent. It got two on the defensive side, moved Laremy Tunsil to his original position at left tackle and got back a healthy Mike Pouncey. The Patriots? They too needed offensive line and defensive line help, and settled it with a trade for a defensive end no longer on the team, and a guard Miami cut mid season due to an inability to perform.
The Dolphins also brought new Safeties into the fold. How this plays out will totally depend on Nate Allen’s ability to stay healthy for eight weeks while we wait for T.J. McDonald to serve his suspension.
Miami may not have covered every position of need this year, but they covered a lot of them. They replaced the starting QB with another, Jay Cutler, that has experience in the offensive system. They handed him the reigns to an offense featuring three of the most promising young receivers as starters, two more on the bench. Two tight ends that rival the tight ends Cutler had with the Chicago Bears, a running back who is just starting to reach his potential, and an offensive line featuring not one, not two, but three former first round picks.
A bulk of the off season was spent building a defense filled with promising youth, and productive veterans. The special teams was a burden in the off season, so both the kicker and punter were replaced, and the team was retooled in hopes that it fixes the third facet of the football team.
In this, I think the team only managed to get better. A combo of linebackers Lawrence Timmons,and Kiko Alonso build the foundation of support for the front four that features two of the best defensive linemen the game has ever seen in defensive end Cameron Wake and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Behind them is one of the most underrated safeties the game has known in Reshad Jones, and a group of promising young guys at corner.
Yes the competition has only gotten more difficult, but so has playing the Dolphins. This is why I think they make the playoffs again.