EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the 17th of 32 preseason previews in 32 days leading up to the NFL season opener Thursday, Sept 5.
Win total last 5 years: 38
LVH over/under wins (7½)
The Miami Dolphins have gone back to the original shade of aqua uniform, but when you’re not winning it’s viewed as soft instead of snazzy.
Miami looked to be turning the corner in 2008, winning 11 games and making the playoffs. But four straight misses and just 27 wins has fans wondering if this franchise is ever going relive the memories of Marino, Shula and the unbeaten ‘72 Dolphins.
Certainly head coach Joe Philbin would like to think so as he starts his second year with Ryan Tannehill, the guy that management is backing to finally be QB to challenge the Patriots.
Tannehill showed signs in his rookie year, but gone is Reggie Bush and in comes fleet wide receiver Mike Wallace. Miami’s strength is the defensive front led by Cameron Wake (15 sacks).
The weakness could be the offensive line if a suitable replacement for Jake Long (Rams) isn’t found. The Dolphins are picked as the No. 2 team in the AFC East (7/2) behind the overwhelming favorite New England at 1/7.
Athlon Sports rated the Miami draft a B with the top pick being defensive end Dion Jordan from Oregon. The schedule starts off brutally – Cleveland, Indianapolis, Atlanta, New Orleans, Baltimore. The first two games are on the road.
It’s totally conceivable the Dolphins could go 1-4 or even 0-5. That would put them closer to the Jets, a scenario that won’t sit well with ownership.
If Tannehill takes the next step and a running game emerges from Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas or rookie Mike Gillislee (Florida) then there’s hope for at least a winning season. But Buffalo’s picture looks brighter than Miami’s at this time.
Sunday: Minnesota Vikings
Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Reach him at [email protected].