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Tank Season!!! I am almost afraid to do this write up because names I mention could be gone within hours. Just prior to my starting the blog the Miami Dolphins released Nate Orchard who seemed like a lock for the final 53. This is out of control!

 

So let's address the elephant in the room

What on earth are General Manager Chris Grier and Head Coach Brian Flores doing? In my opinion they assembled a team of players to evaluate who could be a foundational piece and who isn't worth having beyond two or three years. Now there are some anomalies like Reshad Jones who has an almost unmovable contract, but for the most part they are purging guys who won't stick. Now, to hedge against this type of dramatic purge they originally mixed some serviceable veterans and upside youngsters to see if an overachieving season was possible. During Training Camp and Preseason they must have concluded there was no way they were winning more than a handful of games. They will now see which young guys can endure what could be the most humbling experience of their careers.

 

There are definitely positives on the roster ....

but I'm only mentioning names that I'm certain will be in Miami next Sunday. The defense should be respectable if nothing else. First Round pick Christian Wilkins had a nice camp and made his presence known in Preseason games. Second year Linebacker Jerome Baker seems poised to have a breakout year. Miami locked up franchise Cornerback Xavien Howard and he'll continue to scare Quarterbacks across the league. Minkah Fitzpatrick should be a jack of all trades who can take away the middle of the field or kick out to the boundary if needed. And of course there is Linebacker Sam Eguavoen who could prove to be the next great unexpected surprise in Miami.

 

On offense there are some really nice running and receiving weapons.

I don't know if Kenyan Drake is trade bait, but behind him are both Kalen Ballage and Patrick Laird. Ballage could be the bell cow type while Laird seems primed for the 3rd Down Back role. The trade of Kenny Stills will open up a lot of opportunities for Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant and Devante Parker to log targets and make some noise on the field. Oh, and Miami has a Fullback again! Hello Chandler Cox! Finally, Nick O'Leary could just end up being the all around Tight End Miami has been searching for if he's given a legit opportunity.

 

Of course they could all end up doing little if Miami's Offensive Line is, well, offensive.

This unit went from concerning to a disaster after Laremy Tunsil was traded. We are five days from the Baltimore game and they are holding tryouts for Left Tackle. Yeesh! Center Dan Kilgore and Right Tackle (or is he the new left tackle?) Jessie Davis should at least be serviceable. Left Guard Michael Dieter certainly has potential but it will be a baptism by fire for him. I'm not sure the label of Swiss Cheese is kind enough for how these guys could perform early on.

 

On to the Quarterback circus.

Miami traded for a promising talent in Josh Rosen. He looked pretty good in the Preseason and progressed as the summer went on. His arm talent is undeniable and his pocket presence is a breath of fresh air. But, we have to accept that this coaching staff didn't trust him enough to start after a competition with Ryan Fitzpatrick. That is a bad sign and their purging of the roster tells me they don't see Rosen as a viable option beyond this year. I suspect they would have kept several pieces if they had faith in him. Fitzpatrick is the pitcher who cannot accept that he has lost his fastball. If you watch him attempt even immediate level throws you'll see him have to use every ounce of strength. That is a really bad sign and opposing secondaries will sit on him forcing throws he has no business attempting. Expect Rosen to start at some point but his support level will be minimal.

 

So how do I see this season playing out?

Miami should be in the ballpark of 3 to 5 wins. They have some talent at the skill positions and Brian Flores doesn't seem too small for the stage. I imagine he'll dial up some creative defensive alignments to keep games close, and the offense will catch a few lucky breaks as they have some home run hitters. I just wouldn't hold my breath hoping for miracles. When Adam Gase took command a few years ago he had a serviceable Quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, a tough runner in Jay Ajayi, a decent Offensive Line, and a defense solid enough to keep opponents honest. Brian Flores won't be afforded those luxuries. If he gets the team to 5 wins he'll have made chicken salad with chicken doo doo.

 

There will be many tough Sundays to come.

Keep your chins up and cheer that some of these young guys turn out to be diamonds in the rough. Maybe Rosen lives up to his hype. Maybe the defense produces several Pro Bowlers. And maybe Brian Flores is the coach Miami has been searching for since the mid 90s. And if all of that fails, let's hope that Tua does more for the franchise than the Tuna ever did.

 

Phins up!

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