The Miami Dolphins are even at 3-3 through Week 8 of this NFL season. They are second in the AFC East behind the 4-3 New England Patriots and ahead of both the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, both with records 3-4. This season has already been a huge improvement on last seasons 0-7 start. The ‘Phins are in the thick of the tough (or mediocre) AFC division which features only three teams over .500 in the Houston Texans (6-1), the now Ray Lewis-less Baltimore Ravens (5-2), and the aforementioned Patriots.
The Dolphins have outperformed many fan expectations this season, due in large part to an efficient passing game that wasn’t supposed to exist. Instead of Matt Moore and Brandon Marshall the ‘Phins have Ryan Tannehill to Brian Hartline, otherwise known as, Tan-Line (or Flat-Line when Hartline disappears for the game). Led by the poise and growth of Tannehill, the Dolphins are 21st in the NFL in passing, with 224.2 yards per game. That is 31 yards more per game then last seasons average, could you imagine what that number would be if we still have Marshall?
After Tannehill’s chaotic Week 1 performance against the Houston Texans, where J.J “Swat” Watt officially kicked off his Defensive Player of the Year campaign, he has played very well. This year the Dolphins are undefeated (3-0) when Tannehill doesn’t commit a turnover; a very telling stat with some of the weaker defenses in the NFL up next on the schedule (@ NY Jets, @ Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, @ Buffalo Bills). If Tannehill continues to improve week by week, this passing attack is only going to get better.
The Dolphins running game has been inconsistent this season, but effective in spurts. The Dolphins are 11th in the league in rushing averaging 119.0 yards per game.
Reggie Bush was the second leading rusher in the league till Week 3, that is until the Jets put a little too much of their “hot sauce” on him; slowing him down with numerous injuries ever since. However, with a Bye this past week he should be all healed up for Week 8.
The second and third string running backs in Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller, respectively, have had up and down seasons thus far. Thomas is without a doubt the teams best pass blocking back, but when you trade up into the second round for a player, he should be producing more and fumbling less.
Miller has been many fans favorite addition to the team this year. He’s a local boy coming out of The University of Miami and he’s capable of taking it to the crib with every touch of the football. When spelling Bush due to Thomas’s concussion injury, Miller proved to be a spark plug to the offense, juking and dashing his way to long gains on the ground.
If the Dolphins can figure out a way to get all three backs Bush, Thomas, and Miller effectively involved, the ‘Phins could easily become a top 10 rushing team.
The often forgotten guys, the offensive line, can be credited with a huge part of the success of the Dolphins offense. The ‘Phins o-line is ranked 11th overall in the NFL giving up 12 sacks through the teams first 6 games. The line is anchored by franchise tackle, Jake Long, center, Mike Pouncey, and guard Richie Incognito.
It was expected that Long, Pouncey, and Incognito would continue their high level of play, but this season they have been aided by the shocking improvement of guard, John Jerry. Jerry has stepped away from Mcdonald’s and stepped up to become a solid starter in the trenches.
With the big three of Long, Pouncey, and Incognito, the raise in play by Jerry, and the young, but promising rookie, Jonathan Martin the Dolphins offensive live appears to be one of the stronger units in the game.
The Dolphins offense can be summed up in one word : surprising. Who knew that Tannehill would not only be able to adjust to the pro game, but also be effective? Who knew that Hartline would come out of relative mediocrity to set the single game receiving record for the Dolphins and prove to be the number one option for Tannehill (TANLINE!)? Who knew that John Jerry would go from one cheeseburger away from jobless to proving he is a starting offensive linemen in this league?
All I know is I’m not complaining.