The Miami Dolphins kicked off OTAs (Organized Team Activities) yesterday. The team is scheduled to complete OTAs May 20-23, May 29-31 and June 3-6. This will be the first time we will see the new-look Miami Dolphins in action after a complete make-over this off-season.
Since we have yet to really see the “new” and hopefully improved Miami Dolphins in action, here are some players to watch for in the coming weeks…
5. – Jonathan Martin – LT
We are fully aware that Martin had a putrid rookie season seeing time at both left and right tackle. We are also fully aware that Martin will be attempting to fill a huge void along Miami’s offensive line after the team let left tackle, Jake Long, slip out of their grasp. But Martin knows all of this also.
In an interview with NFL Network, Miami Dolphins’ Center, Mike Pouncey, explained that Martin understands he has to get better and grow. Pouncey also pointed out that Martin has added at least 20 pounds onto his frame in order to cope with the strength and speed of NFL pass rushers.
No, we are not saying that Jonathan Martin is Jake Long. Nor are we saying that he is Vernon Carey. But Martin is definitely a guy to keep an eye on. Whether or not Martin can hold his own at the left tackle position will somewhat determine the level of success Ryan Tannehill has in his sophomore season leading the Dolphins.
4. – Reshad Jones – DB
Jones had his break-out season for the Dolphins last year in which he totaled career highs across the board – 94 tackles (73 solo), 1 sack (career high is 2 excuse me), 9 passes defended, 4 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles.
Jones is also closing in on the end of his rookie deal. Sounds like a prime candidate for a contract extension, right? Jones’ party seems to think so. Dolphins’ GM Jeff Ireland is not sold apparently.
Jones, according to Armando Saleguero of the Miami Herald, recently came out and told reporters he would be skipping the ‘phins’ OTAs. Now all of the sudden, according to Saleguero again, Jones will be attending OTAs. Link Below:
This will be an interesting scenario to watch. Will Jones show up? Will he stick to his guns? Will he be awarded an extension before Defensive Tackle Randy Starks whom is also looking for an extension? Will he prove to be the leader that this defense now lacks after cutting MLB Karlos Dansby?
3. – Lamar Miller – RB
The former Miami Hurricane had a great rookie season for the ‘phins last year while seeing limited time. Miller saw action in 13 games (actually starting 1) in which he toted the rock 51 times for 250 yards (4.9 ypc) and scored one touchdown. Miller also contributed via the passing game grabbing 6 passes for 45 yards (7.5 ypr) and no touchdowns.
Miller was consistent at being patient while allowing his linemen up front to open the holes for him. Once they did, Miller hit the hole with explosion and burst, much like he did during his tenure with the Canes.
The knock on Miller is his poor pass blocking skills. It will be interesting to watch his development in that faucet of his game. If Miller cannot improve upon his pass blocking abilities, RB Daniel Thomas will likely become the team’s go-to-guy in such situations.
Miller will also be looking to compete with Thomas to become the team’s primary back, replacing last year’s starter, Reggie Bush.
Miller is definitely a guy to keep an eye on this off-season during OTAs.
2. – Mike Wallace – WR
Alright, I’m sick of hearing it from everyone. “Mike Wallace is a one-trick pony.” “Mike Wallace is ________” – fill in the blank. I’m sick of it.
First off, the team understands what this guy is. Wallace is a speedster. Why did the team sign him? The team was lacking a speed element on offense and Wallace was the best option via free agency, draft, etc. to fill that need.
We are surely over-looking this special element Wallace brings to Miami when we call the former Ole Miss Rebel a “one-trick pony”. Wallace is incredibly fast which allows an innovative offensive coordinator like a Mike Sherman to get quite creative on offense. Wallace can be used on reverses, screens, go routes, and just simply as a decoy.
Secondly, Wallace was indeed signed to be the team’s number one guy. But the team also has other capable options whom compliment Wallace’s skill set quite well. WRs Brandon Gibson and Brian Hartline are both excellent hands catchers and run precise routes. Both targets know how to get themselves open and were their respective team’s top receiver last season – Hartline with Miami and Gibson with St. Louis.
Okay, I’m done with that. Onto why he is on the list here at number-two.
Obviously we are not going to see how exactly the team will utilize Wallace’s speed here in OTAs, but that’s something I think all ‘Phins fans would like to see. How will Mike Sherman and Joe Philbin utilize that olympic level of speed?
Also, how in-sync are QB Ryan Tannehill and WR Mike Wallace? Tannehill has come out and said that Wallace is the fastest receiver he has ever thrown to. Is this a good thing? Or is Wallace’s speed too much for the second-year QB to handle? Keep an eye on it.
1. – Ryan Tannehill – QB
Are you even surprised? C’mon man!
We want to see Tannehill’s progression. Has this kid improved as much as he should have? And is he really going to break-out this season? Numerous sources believe he will.
Tannehill had a pretty good rookie season for the Dolphins last year throwing for 3,294 yards on 58.3 completion percentage. The former Texas A&M Aggie threw 12 touchdowns while also throwing 13 interceptions – he was also sacked 35 times.
Realistically, we would like to see Tannehill become more consistent. Basically meaning, we want to see more accurate throws to increase that completion percentage and to cut down on those interceptions. Playing smarter and protecting the football will be a big key in whether or not this kid makes a huge leap in his second season.
More touchdowns? That’s a given. Every fan, coach, player, etc. will be expecting more touchdowns out of this kid, especially given his new shiny toys on offense – WR Mike Wallace, WR Brandon Gibson, RB Mike Gillislee, TE Dustin Keller, TE Dion Sims.
Hopefully Martin can man the left tackle position giving Tannehill a consistent blind-side protector – let’s remember that even the great Jake Long struggled with his consistency last season. Bringing in Lance Louis to compete with John Jerry for the right guard position and signing Tyson Clabo will also present upgrades along the offensive line. This will allow Tannehill to find his weapons and cut down on the pressures/sacks.
While I could go on and on about players to watch during Miami’s OTAs, these are certainly the five main guys I will be watching. How about you?