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Afterall, it is the beginning of a new year of football in South Florida. To add to the excitement, Miami has a new headcoach going into the season. That makes him the 10th headcoach since Don Shula retired. That count is only superseded by  the number of QB’s since Dan Marino’s retirement. That is astounding and pretty much summarizes the last 12 years for Miami.  Adam Gase is young, hungry and a high energy guy and he is definitely differs from Campbell in that he has a solid grasp of the X’s and O’s. Campbell was a pure motivator but a solid position coach, but even his players sensed the gameplans were ineffective.  It still remains to be seen whether Gates can right the ship. It is a monumental task because the previous regimes left some gaping holes.

                 Let’s start with optimism. Gase has rolled the dice with quite a few boom or bust players. Players like Kiko Alonso who would be the steal of the off season if he regains his pre injury form. Byron Maxwell is another guy who could have a great impact if he remains healthy.  Arian Foster, a late pickup, needs no introduction. When healthy, he is a premium NFL quality back who does it all. So there is potential if these guys work out and stay healthy.  WR corps are deep and talented. Ryan Tannehill is entering his prime. It is now or never for him.  He has been the most sacked QB in the NFL during his tenure, a stat that Gase must get corrected. DL is deep and talented but was arguably better last year and got off to a slow start. LB with Jenkins, Misi (another guy who needs to stay healthy) and Alonso should be formidable. Safety is manned by Jones and a guy I like, Michael Thomas. Thomas was undersized but shows up all over the field. I haven't paid close attention this year but if he's added some good weight, he could be legit. While the above is all good and can lead to a 10-11 win season, let’s focus on the reasons that might not happen.

                OL, OL, OL and yes OL. I’m speaking of the guard position in particular. Larry (Laremy) Tunsil  was a tackle in college and a good one. Good enough to be drafted by Miami in the first round. He’s now Dallas Thomas’s backup at LG. Yep, the one and same Dallas Thomas who was the play toy of anyone that played across from him. All pros would simply steamroll him on the way to pan caking Tannehill. Average players would beat him all day as well. He was an embarrassment the last few years, yet here we are. 3 coaching staffs later…all former OC’s and Thomas is again starting. It is mind boggling to those who have watched Miami’s OL struggle each year.  Guys like Thomas were the source of that struggle. Look on the other side and you have the marginally better Billy Turner. Turner is a couple years younger and has less experience so there’s hope there. The question that will nag me all season if Thomas struggles will be why.  Why stay with a player proven not to work? My only guess is each former OC comes in with the hope that their system will fix the issues with the line. A line of thinking that has cost many of them their jobs.  Here’s hoping Dallas has a banner year and I’m forced to print this article out and eat it. I’ll do just that and youtube it if he has a great season.

CB – Miami has had 100% turnover here and it is showing. Their rookie is nursing a hamstring while Lippett is losing snaps to little known Chimdi Chekwa. Yes I googled that. Fresh off the rumor mill is Miami is set to sign former Redskins Chris Culliver. This alone tells me Gase is not happy with his current crop of CBs and again shows his quick read of that situation and dealing with it in an aggressive way. I like his style.

Finally, the game is won in the trenches. Miami’s season will hinge on  both defensive and offensive lines. All the great skill positions in the NFL wouldn’t matter if RT is being sacked on key drop backs in the game. If teams can neutralize Suh because the rest of the DL is stinking up the field, then the defense will mirror last year’s version.  The key will be a fast start for both units something Miami has struggled to do over the last decade. I'm guarded to my opinion or prediction this year. There are just too many new faces in some areas and not enough in others to jump on the 10-6 bus. We have all seen how the appropriate coach and scheme can make a huge difference and if I have optimism, it lies with Adam Gase being the guy. 

Go Tannehill

GD2

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