One way that the Miami Dolphins could have a successful 2018 season is to avoid any major injuries. This is hard because you are talking about NFL players not getting injured. Unfortunately, this is apart of the game, but somehow Dolphins have to avoid major injuries.
Last year the Dolphins lost their QB Ryan Tannehill to a knee injury on a non-contact play. That was the first blow to the Dolphins 2017 season, but that was not the end. In the first preseason game, the Dolphins end up losing their second-round selection LB Raekwon McMillan to a torn ACL on the first play of the game; another blow to the Dolphins, who were heavily expecting McMillan to help out the defense and especially the linebacking corps. That group was an issue in 2016, and once the Dolphins drafted McMillan they had high expectations for the rookie. They believed that McMillan would fill that void, but all that changed once he went down with the injury.
Another key injury was when CB Tony Lippett went down with a torn Achilles injury. He suffered the injury during a practice on an August morning. Lippett played 13 games the year before and had 67 tackles, including a career-high four interceptions. The nightmare didn’t end for the Dolphins as G Ted Larsen suffered a bicep injury and was placed on injured reserve. Larsen, missed the first eight games of the season and the Dolphins went again to plan B. The time that Larsen missed was crucial because he was expected to become an instant starter at guard. This position was viewed as being a weak point for the Dolphins and it was true. The previous year the Dolphins had cut G Dallas Thomas, who struggled mightily during tenure with the team.
The Dolphins also had to place LB Koa Misi, WR Rashawn Scott, WR Isaiah Ford, and T Sam Young on injured reserve. According to pro-football-reference, the Dolphins reported players that were listed as questionable 67 times and 54 of those times players were able to play. It hurt the Dolphins when those players were out for a short period of time or missed the regular season.
If the Dolphins want to have a successful season those players must play a significant portion of the season. Tannehill must be on his A game and start off the season rolling. The team shouldn’t have any more slow starts like the one they had in 2016 where they started 1-4. Despite the Dolphins making the playoffs in 2016, everything seemed lost for the 2017 season as Tannehill went down with a knee injury.
The online must improve as this has been a unit that has struggled in the last two years. The Dolphins signed G Josh Sitton this offseason and will become an instant starter for the team. Furthermore, the Dolphins had to release pro-bowl center, Mike Pouncey because he didn’t want to take a pay cut. The Dolphins eventually traded for San Francisco 49ers center at the time Daniel Kilgore that resulted in a seventh-round draft pick. The addition of Sitton to the online is going to be crucial in the regular season. He must be able to perform at a high level during the regular season. The addition of Sitton will push the o-line to a higher level, but the key is for Sitton to stay healthy.
The defense must be on their A game as well. This unit could become extremely powerful during the regular season but must grow together and hopefully avoid any major injuries. The Dolphins will have a successful season if the unit performs at a high level. Jordan Phillips and Davon Godchaux must fill the void left by DT Ndamukong Suh who joined the Los Angeles Rams as a free agent. The Dolphins recently added Akeem Spence, who played recently with the Lions. The Dolphins knew that they needed to add another defensive tackle and they did that through a trade. The Dolphins also will be relying on 2nd-year player Vincent Taylor. Those players understand they have big shoes to fill and must play collectively in the regular season.
The running backs and wide receivers unit are something to keep an eye on. The addition of Frank Gore and rookie Kalen Ballege is a plus for the Dolphins offense on paper. The Dolphins added a veteran presence in Gore, who rushed for almost 1,000 yards last season with the Colts. The rookie Ballage out of Arizona State is receiving a lot of praise from draft experts and he could potentially become a steal for the Dolphins. Let’s not forget about Kenyan Drake, who took over as the number one running back last year once Jay Ajayi was traded to the Super Bowl Champions Philadelphia Eagles. Those will most likely be the Dolphins three running backs heading to the 2018 season.
The Dolphins traded WR Jarvis Landry to the Browns, but added veteran Danny Amendola from their nemesis New England Patriots. They also added WR Albert Wilson, who played for the Chiefs last year. Furthermore, the Dolphins have WR Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker. Parker is the receiver that is certainly under the microscope. A lot of questions still surround Parker, who the Dolphins drafted in 2015. Is he a number one receiver? Is he going to show the Dolphins front office that they can rely on him? Those questions remain unanswered at the moment, but definitely, that can change if Parker has a stellar season. The Dolphins will have a successful season if Parker plays at a high level. The Dolphins also have WR Leonte Carroo, Jakeem Grant, Isaiah Ford, Drew Morgan, Malcolm Lewis, and Francis Owusu. It’s yet to be seen if all of those players will make the active roster for this season.
I just listed in this article on what needs to happen in order for the Dolphins to have a successful season. On my next article I will be writing about the TE and how they can become an instant offensive weapon for Tannehill.
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