Many may say that they are still light years behind the New England Patriots in terms of the AFC-East, but in reality no pro team in the country is flooded with young and upcoming talent quite the Miami Dolphins are. Head Coach Joe Philbin has done an outstanding job arranging the roster these past couple of years, but 2013 might be the season that it finally pays off.
With two years of experience under his belt, quarterback Ryan Tannehill, with improved accuracy and incredible arm strength will surprise a lot of people this year and could lead his team to the playoffs if everything goes right.
Speaking of young talent, Miami is also brewing up another young star in running back Lamar Miller, who should get more carries in 2013 due to the departure of Reggie Bush. Daniel Thomas and the rookie Mike Gillislee are two other Dolphins backs that could see more action sooner than later.
At wide receiver, Miami returns only three players with more than 2 years experience, and none with more than 5, which could end up hurting more than helping. However, the only proven veterans in Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline should flourish with Tannehill at QB.
Luckily, the offensive line is a place where the ball club is strong, with Tyson Clabo and Jonathan Martin at tackles, Lance Louis and Richie Incognito at guards, and Mike Pouncey playing center. All are players with good reputations as blockers in the NFL, and will be able to open up big holes for the running game.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Dolphins bring in rookie draft pick Dion Jordan from Oregon, a defensive end who should add a sense of intensity to the defense. And while the secondary might not be filled with some of the big-named stars of the league, players such as the newly-acquired Rashad Jones should fit nicely into the scheme of the defense.
Obviously Coach Philbin is optimistic about the outcome of the 2013 season but says he demands players are willing to work hard to improve: “I want good human beings and guys that want to get better, guys that want to improve and guys that want to have some fun. I’m 51 years old and I don’t have all the answers, so I want to keep getting better and improving and be a better coach. I want guys that feel the same way.”
Philbin also feels great about starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, about which he said: “”He’s a team-first player. He’s smart. He has a tremendous work ethic. He’s the kind of guy I interviewed for the position and talked to Jeff about the kind of men we wanted to bring to this organization, and he’s a perfect fit.”
In the little playing time Tannehill received in Sunday’s Hall of Fame Game, he was 2-of-5 for 11 yards. Obviously this was a small representation of what he can do as a quarterback, but overall the team feels good about him as the starter.
The Dolphins’ next preseason will be Friday at Jacksonville, while the team’s regular season debut is Sunday, September 8 at Cleveland.