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Week 2: Dolphins at Bills
The season gets underway on sunday, finally, and with 5 new starters on the offensive line many, if not all of us fans will be keenly interested in the play of these 5 new friends.
There will be one returning player to the line when pro bowl center Maurkise Pouncey returns, hopefully for week four, which is his targeted date. Right now however these are five new players to the Dolphins line.
Well sort of, Samson Satele was drafted by the Dolphins back in 2007, but was traded after the 2008 season. He is now back, but really is a new player to the team... again. He was a pick up due to the Pouncey injury, and failed Shelly Smith move to center.
He joined a line that had new free agent pro bowl left tackle Brandon Albert, who was lured away from the Chiefs, veteran journeyman Daryn College at left guard, the afore mentioned Satele at center, career back up Shelly Smith at right guard, even though the team wanted second year player Dallas Thomas to grab that spot, he wasn't very good in the pres-eason however and lost his job, and rookie first round pick Ju'uan James at right tackle.
So, will this be the right mix of players, or at least some of the right players, third round pick Billy Turner is expected to earn a spot at guard, perhaps not this season but next season most likely. Ju'uan James is thought to be the right tackle for some years to come, Pouncey is an elite center, Brandon Albert is still fairly young for a lineman at 29,could this be the core of the Dolphins line for the next several years.
It certainly could be, but what about right now, the Patriots coming up on sunday, how well will this line perform, will they create running room, will the protect Ryan Tannehill. It certainly is no secret that our offensive success relies heavily on how well this line performs, as does every team, but every team doesn't have five new starters, will it take time to gel, will some of the players actually be good enough. Time will tell, it would be hard to be worse than last year, but like I said at the top, everyone will be watching this offensive line, let's hope these five new friends work well together.
Is there anything that needs to be said about this game? Do I need to say that the Patriots have been the most dominant team in football the last 15 years? Do I need to say that Tom Brady will be a first ballot HOF’er? I could speak about their great run defense, the small chinks in the armor that I see, but really this game is more about Miami than NE. We know what NE is capable of. What we don’t know is what this Dolphins Team is capable of. So lets get to the questions.
The Dolphins Offense looks better than it was in Preseason’s Past. Will that translate to the regular season? In order to beat NE, Miami will need to unleash a passing attack that hasn’t been seen in S. Florida since a man Named Marino was the QB. It will need to do so while minimizing big mistakes and turnovers. That is a tall order against a Belichick Defense that will give you small yards all day and then feast on the mistakes you make. Tannehill doesn’t have to be perfect, but he has to be close. NE’s run defense looked like it was in mid-season form during the preseason. So the question of whether Miami will have a running game this year will be answered. Can Moreno and Miller….M&M for short, find any yards to take pressure off the passing game. Finally, with Chandler Jones and Ninkovich, NE can dial up the pressure so Miami fans will know if the OL is truly fixed or is it simply patched.
Defensively, will Miami's revamped secondary hold up? Will Coyle be able to dial up pressure on Tom Brady? Will they tackle? The offense could put up 30 but if Miami's Defense is missing tackles, it won't matter. Coyle has had plenty of time to figure this out. I'm hoping having both him and Lazor on the sidelines will be a boost to their units. In any case, the defense will be seeing one of the NFL's best offenses, so any cracks will show under the pressure they'll bring. Miami's best case is to have guys living in the backfiled. Mr. Wake...you're up to bat.
I guess the bottom here is simple: to be the best, you have to beat the best. Miami will get opportunity right off the bat this year as they host the Patriots. Miami has to win these division games at home if they hope to even get into the playoffs. A win here would be a huge boost to the confidence of this team. It would also send a message to NFL that the Miami Dolphins have arrived. One final thought: We have a special weapon that even the great Darth Belichick doesn’t’ know about. Finhead34, his lovely wife and beautiful baby granddaughter will be at the game. Miami is almost undefeated over the past 10 years when Karl attends the game.