Football

Just Keep Swimming

The Miami Dolphins are on the rise again. The defense showed how great they can be under Brian Flores. The offense was okay, but not great. Consistency was hard to come by. They have the blueprint to get better, here’s what it looks like.

An offense hipper than Flipper

The Dolphins knew they had to get Tua Tagovaiola some help. In the first round, that came in the form of Jaylen Waddle. Together at Alabama, they lit up the SEC. Waddle brings an incredible amount of speed that will take the pressure off DeVante Parker. Free agent Will Fuller also brings dynamic ability, but he will be suspended the first six games. Jakeem Grant is probably the favorite to fill in for him. Don’t be surprised if Lynn Bowden Jr or Malcolm Perry also get some chances. Third round pick Hunter Long from Boston College should have no problem landing the second tight end spot behind Mike Gesicki.

Miami drafted running back Gerrid Doaks from Cincinnati in round seven. Myles Gaskin and Savlon Ahmed ran Jordan Howard and Matt Breida out of town in every sense of the word. Malcom Brown was also added from the Rams. Gaskin will likely be the starter, while Ahmed will have to prove himself all over again after only getting in due to injuries.

Young Protectors

The offensive line features young talent. Austin Jackson has the blindside responsibilities. Solomon Kindley will play left guard. 2020 second round pick Robert Hunt will get a fulltime opportunity to start at right guard. Matt Skura at center is the big concern here. He had some major snapping issues in Baltimore which left a sour taste in fans mouths. It lead to death threats and Skura felt he needed a fresh start. Tyler Gauthier is the backup in case these snapping issues continue. He has bounced around the NFL and played in the XFL.

Second round pick Liam Eichenberg from Notre Dame has a very good chance of beating Jessie Davis for the starting right tackle. Seventh round tackle Larnel Coleman from UMass Amherst likely won’t see the field much to start. This has potential to be a franchise offensive line if Gauthier and Eichenberg can break through.

Deep water defense

This really is a unit with a lot of youth and depth. The 3-4 front starts with Christian Wilkins, Raekown Davis, and Zach Sieler. New addition from New England Adam Butler could give Sieler a run for his money in camp. Jaelan Phillips was their second pick in the first round from Miami. He will transition from defensive end to weakside linebacker and hopes to pick up wear he left off. Emmanuel Ogbah is back to reprise his role at the strongside. Jerome Baker and Benardrick McKinney will handle the inside backer duties. McKinney was traded from Houston for Shaq Lawson. LBs Elandon Roberts, Duke Riley, Andrew Van Ginkel, and Vince Biegal have also played big minutes and provide depth. They will most likely come in as sub package players along with Butler.

The starting secondary isn’t looking so good. Byron Jones is back at corner which is good news. Second round pick Javon Holland from Oregon is the likely starter at free safety. Putting Eric Rowe at strong safety is puzzling to say the least. Lately he hasn’t been great as a corner, and he doesn’t have the abilities a traditional SS would have. However, Brandon Jones is right behind him. The 2020 third round pick from Texas has a good chance to beat out the 28 year old declining vet. There is also a chance Miami swings a trade.

Pending the Xavien Howard hold out, it may be former first round pick Noah Igbinoghene finally getting a chance to prove himself. If Howard returns, Igbinoghene will probably shift to the nickel. Fellow backup corner Nik Needham played important downs his rookie year and shouldn’t have a problem beating out the aging Jason McCourty and Justin Coleman for other DB sub package roles.

The Dolphins hope that a new offensive coordinator will help get things going with an already stout defense. It’ll be on Tua to make the magic happen.

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