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The 5-8 Miami Dolphins, coming off a tough 31-24 loss at home on Monday Night to the New York Giants, travel to San Diego to take on the 3-10 Chargers, coming off a 10-3 loss on the road to the surging Kansas City Chiefs.  The game is a 4:00 kickoff.

 

At this point, both teams are playing out the season and taking a look at young players and planning for the draft.  Both teams could be looking for new head coaches as well, as interim HC Dan Campbell probably will not be retained, and Chargers HC Mike McCoy has to be on the hot seat with the Chargers at 3-10.

 

In regards to Dan Campbell and his chances for the Dolphins HC position, I do believe he has come in and done a solid job with what has become very apparent over the last few months, a very flawed team with talent voids that have to be addressed.  After a 1-3 start and firing Joe Philbin, the Dolphins have gone 4-5 under Campbell.  Along the way, he fired OC Bill Lazor 2 weeks ago because of a lack of balance on the offensive side of the ball in regards to run-pass ratio.  Miami did a nice job of having a balanced attack in grinding out a 15-13 win over the Baltimore Ravens 2 weeks ago, but reverted back to the pass happy Dolphins against the Giants in the 2nd half in a game that Lamar Miller had 89 yards on only 12 carries, most of that coming in the 1st half.  If Campbell could bring in a rock solid offensive and defensive coordinators, I believe Campbell could be successful.  Whether he is given that chance remains to be seen.

 

Campbell has tried to make this more of a power team, a more physical team.  But it very apparent that pieces are missing.  Miami has been trying to build a solid OL for an extended period of time.  Both offensive guards, Billy Turner and Dallas Thomas have struggled, and both were 3rd round picks for Miami.  The Dolphins once and for all NEED to address BOTH OG spots.  Miami will not be able to TRULY know what they have in QB Ryan Tannehill until they put a compotent offensive line in front of him.  No quarterback has been sacked more than Tannehill since he came into the league.

 

The lack of physicality has REALLY showed for the Dolphins in divisional play, as the Dolphins are 0-5 in the division, 0-2 against the Jets and Bills and 0-1 against the Patriots with the last game of the year coming in Miami against New England.  In those games in the division, the Dolphins have been DOMINATED.  The offensive lin in particular, has been exposed time after time in the games within the division facing teams with very good defensive fronts like the Jets and the Bills have.  New England defensive front is not as good, but they are solid, and the Dolphins could not generate any push or offense against the Patriots earlier this year.

 

Defensively, Miami has some nice pieces in place along the defensive line in Ndamankong Suh, Derrick Shelby, Terrance Fede and Jordan Phillips.  Miami in recent weeks has added DE Quintin Couples and Damontre Moore from the New York Jets and New York Giants respectively.  Both are talented, but both have struggled with their respective teams.  Hopefully a fresh start will help revive their careers, as Couples is only 25 years old and Moore is 23 years old.  DE Olivier Vernon has come on strong after getting off to a slow start, and is a free agent after the year.  The Dolphins will have to make a decision on him.    While I would like to see more consistency out of Vernon, he is an ascending talent and drafted and developed talent, and he is only 25 years old as well.  Vernon is hitting his prime and the Dolphins should look to re-sign Vernon.  I also believe that the Dolphins should look to bring back DE Cameron Wake, who even though he has not played since that New England game, still leads the Dolphins with 7.0 sacks, while Vernon is at 6.5 sacks.  Cameron would have to come back on a restructured, team friendly deal though.  Wake is 33 years old and coming off an torn Achilles Tendon, a tough injury to come back from.  Wake is a work out monster, and I think he can come back and be effective as a spot player, and he would provide a veteran voice on a young defensive line.  I believe DT Earl Mitchell may be released to help create cap space, as will other players.

 

Miami has to address the MLB spot and the cornerback and safety spots on this defense.  MLB Kelvin Sheppard is a journeyman player, who plays hard, but is just not an impact player.  I would not mind adding talent to challenge Koa Misi and Jelani Jenkins.  This unit has to be upgraded, as the lack of playmakers at the LB position in my opinion, is more of the problem in regards to the run defense than the DL for Miami.

 

CB Brent Grimes is having a ROUGH year and carries a high cap number, and is on the wrong side of 30 at 32 years old.  The only way I see him back in Miami is if he takes a reduced, cap freindly restructured contract.  Opposite of Brent has been FA signing Brice McClain and last week, rookie Bobby McClain was given a chance to start.  Today in the San Diego game, there is a buzz that you will see a lot of rookie CB Tony Lippett, a big CB that has an intriguing upside.  Time to see what you have in Tony and the rest of these young players.  One young player that is running out of chances is CB Jamar Taylor.  Dave Blake, aka Big Dave on the boards made an interesting comment and one I would not mind seeing.  He mentioned the idea of looking at Jamar at safety, and I actually think he could be a solid safety.  He does not mind coming up and tackling, and while he has not been what you wanted as a CB in coverage, he would not match up with wide receivers as much and could match up with tight ends pretty well in my opinion.

 

At Safety, SS Reshad Jones has had a very good year, but the FS spot has been a REAL struggle for Miami, as both Walt Aikens and Michael Thomas have not been good.  Shamiel Gary came in and played against the Giants last week, and Miami will probably take a further look at him and see what eh has to offer.  The FS position has to be addressed.

 

Mark, aka swere has already started looking at the draft and I have started as well.  Just looking at some possible impact players that Miami could look at in the 1st round, Notre Dame OLB Jaylon Smith has the play making, explosive hitter type of abiltiy that Miami would like, and he can and has played ILB for the Fighting Irish as well.  He has very nice size at 6'3, 240 lbs, and would be an immediate upgrade at the MLB position.  Another possible candidate is UCLA LB Myles Jack.  Jack is coming off a knee injury that occured before the season started and has missed the entire 2015 season.  But make no mistakes about it, this kid makes plays.  He also has nice size at 6'1, 245 lbs.  At the cornerback position, Florida State CB Jalen Ramsey is that big, athletic CB that the NFL is trending towards, especially with the bigger wide receivers in the NFL.  We saw how Brandon Marshall OWNED Brent Grimes a few weeks ago, as he basically over powered Grimes.  Ramsey is 6'1, 202 lbs, is a willing hitter and has the hips and speed to be an excellent NFL CB.  He has also played safety, so he has that added versatility as well.  The other premier cornerback is Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves.  Vernon also has excellent size at 5'11, 199 lbs, and is an aggressive, bump and run cornerback.  This group of 4 are impact players, and at this moment, the Dolphins have the 9th pick in the draft, so they could be in position to grab one of these kids.

 

We have a few weeks left in the season, but I will start to look at the draft more becuase of the fact that Miami is out of the playoff race.  Once again, the Dolphins will be on the outside looking in regards to the playoffs.  Miami will also be looking to make a BIG decision in regards to a new HC, a decision which will shape this orginization.  Owner Stephen Ross has to get it right FINALLY.

 

 

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