The Miami Dolphins started last season with a rookie starting quarterback and a rookie head coach, and finished the season with a 7-9 record.
Looking to improve for next year, the Dolphins made some bold moves this offseason. The Dolphins decided not to resign Reggie Bush and former number one overall pick Jake Long. Bush signed with Detroit and Jake Long signed with St. Louis. Miami also cut Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett, two starting linebackers from a year ago.
In free agency, Miami signed wide receiver Mike Wallace and tight end Dustin Keller to help out second year QB Ryan Tannehill. On the defensive side of the ball, Miami brought in linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler to replace Dansy and Burnett.
With all these offseason changes, expectations are high for the Dolphins. Here is their 2013 season preview.
The Dolphins 2013 season rests solely in the hands of sophomore QB Ryan Tannehill. In his rookie season, Tannehill played pretty well, throwing for 3,294 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. As the season progressed, Tannehill looked more comfortable running Joe Philbin’s offense. Of all the sophomore quarterbacks (Luck, RGIII, Wilson, Weeden), Tannehill has the most room to improve from last year.
Tannehill now has speedster Mike Wallace to work with on the outside, and a big target in Dustin Keller to work with in the seams. Wallace’s ability to take the top off the defense should allow Hartline to work the intermediate routes, and should give Miami a very versatile passing game.
With Reggie Bush gone, the Dolphins are going to have to rely on the young running back duo of Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller. Miller is expected to be named the starter, and is a speedy, shifty back. Thomas will be used as the third down and short yardage back.
With Jake Long gone, the Dolphins are going to need Jonathan Martin to step his game up from last year. When Martin filled in for Long at the end of last season, he didn’t play very well and looked out of place. Martin played mostly right tackle in college, and was asked to play left tackle when Long went down. Let’s see how Martin holds up at LT after going through an entire training camp at the position.
Miami’s defense played pretty well last season, and looks to be even better in 2013.
Defensive end Cameron Wake recorded 15 sacks last season, and finally
has a pass rushing partner in rookie Dion Jordan. Opposing teams double-teammed Wake all the time last year because the Dolphins didn’t have another pass rusher to line up opposite of him. Miami’s next leader in sacks was Jared Odrick with 5.
Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett were the Dolphins two leading tacklers last year, and neither of them are with the team any more. Ellerbee and Wheeler aren’t necessarily an upgrade over Dansby and Burnett, but they should be able to come in and do the job.
As far as the secondary goes, losing Sean Smith hurts. Miami brought in Brent Grimes to replace him, but he’s not the same caliber player as Smith. The Dolphins ranked 27th in the league against the pass last season, but look for that to improve as they generate more pressure on the quarterback.
2013 Prediction: 9-7
Tannehill takes a large step forward takes over this team. Miami has the pieces on offense and on defense to be good on both sides of the ball. Look for Miami to sneak up on some people.
Wins: @Cleveland, Baltimore, Buffalo, @Tampa Bay, San Diego, Carolina, New England, @Buffalo, New York (Jets)
Losses: @Indianapolis, Atlanta, @New Orleans, @New England, Cincinnati, @New York (Jets)