5 Keys to success this year
- Protection of Ryan Tannehill. This kind of goes without saying but the way Miami addressed the giant holes at OG makes you wonder. I still wake up in a cold sweat watching Dallas Thomas get treated like _____________ (You fill in the blank with your favorite punching bag example here because everything I came up with was way too non-PC). I’ll state the obvious by saying that having a healthy Alberts back is mandatory to success here. I listed this number 1, because when the protection began to break down last year, so did the Dolphins.
- Coverage –Given Miami was 24th against the run, this might surprise you. However, when you analyze Miami’s pass defense there are some unsettling facts. They were 20th in TDs allowed and 18th in QB rating against them. So opposing QBs were very effective against Miami even when the Dolphins were limiting the amount of damage in the total yards department. You can blame scheme, personnel or anything you want to blame. The problem as I, and a few others, saw it was scheme. Miami would often run a lame zone blitz that was highly telegraphed. The inside backers would be in the gaps and the DBs would be in zone coverage. Big problem. All the QB has to do is isolate his RB in the flat against one of those ILB’s who is currently wedged between the DT’s or simply hit his WR on a quick pass to the outside. The CB is 10yds off and the play is a quick 5-7 yards. The net result is a very efficient QB playing against a very poor scheme.
- Run Defense – Miami was bludgeoned on the ground. Suh will likely single handedly fix this problem. I just don’t see teams running up the middle against him like they did last year.
- Passing game – moreover, the big play passing game. Miami was 30th in plays over 40yds. They were only marginally better in plays over 20yds and were ranked 28th. Life for an offense in the NFL is really tough when you have to earn every yard. Defenses tighten up, they make you play against a short field. Safeties inch closer making it tough for the running game. Big plays ignite players emotions and are vital to this team achieving anything in 2015.
- Teamwork – Every team goes through emotional ups and downs but Miami hasn’t fielded a cohesive unit on either side of the ball in a long time and it shows. This really can’t be measured; however, having success early in the 2015 campaign will likely help. I really disliked the fact that 1 teammate tweeted congratulations to RT after signing his contract this year. Paramount for a team to succeed is their desire to help each other and to have each other’s back.
I think if you were to label coaches on the hotseat, Philbin’s name would have to be near the top. I’m not saying he has to win the superbowl to keep his job but I do think he needs to make the playoffs. Even then, I think an early exodus without a good showing on the field may still be his undoing. A lot of things have to go right. Miami has pretty good starting tackles on both sides of the ball but no depth. They have a thin, and average LB corps that can only be described as serviceable. They have a completely revamped WR corps and nothing will be known until they take snaps in September. Although I will go on record as saying the decision to trade Wallace was good for both parties involved. Finally RT has to take this team on his shoulders. He’s been the best option Miami has had at QB since Dan the Man retired. He has shown remarkable growth and solid fundamentals. Miami needs him to take it one level higher and start winning games with his arm.