It is time. As Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson would say, it is time to “getcha popcorn ready.” The NFL season has arrived! In less than four days, the Baltimore Ravens will face off against the Denver Broncos in the first regular season game of the year. In a little under a week, our very own Miami Dolphins will open their season in Cleveland against a rebuilt Browns team. The preseason is now irrelevant. Say what you want about this team and analyze them as in-depth as you wish. None of that matters anymore. The slate has been wiped clean. A new season is upon us! That being said, here are three things I will be looking for on Sunday as the ‘Fins take on the Browns.
1. Ryan Tannehill and the Miami O-Line: All eyes will be on Ryan Tannehill and his progress from last season to this season. How accurate will he be? How will he do throwing to Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson? How much will Dustin Keller be missed? All of these questions are fair, but a lot of their answers rely on the big guys in front of Tannehill. Miami’s offensive line undoubtedly struggled throughout preseason, but at times it proved to be more than adequate. I believe Miami’s success this year rides on how well this O-Line does and it will be interesting to see how they do Sunday playing an entire game together for the first time. Expect Tannehill’s performance to reflect the offensive line’s level of play.
2. Lamar Miller vs. Trent Richardson: Miller and Richardson were arguably the most talked about running backs this off season, and both are expected to have successful years toting the rock for their respected offenses. I think this game could feature big runs from both backs. Richardson is a nightmare to tackle, which isn’t exactly one of Miami’s strengths. If Miller can build momentum early, he could be the key to a successful Dolphins’ season and would help relieve some of the weight on Tannehill’s shoulders. It will be both intriguing and entertaining to see what these two studs have in store for us on Sunday!
3. Miami’s Secondary and D-Line: The Miami secondary was the weakest part of the entire defense last season, which is why it wasn’t surprising to see Jeff Ireland bring in CB Brent Grimes and draft corner backs Jamar Taylor and Will Davis. Will this secondary finally hold it’s own? Will someone step up and make a play? As for the defensive line, it has been Miami’s most consistent and dangerous asset. It will be interesting to see Dion Jordan’s role, and which interior lineman will be Miami’s anchor this year. This defense has top 5 potential and I can’t wait to see Brandon Weeden on his back.
Regardless of how Miami’s team has played or will play on Sunday, the return of the NFL season is refreshing. That being said, the Dolphins have an incredible amount of potential this season and the sky is truly the limit for Joe Philbin’s team. Sunday marks the beginning of a long journey for this Dolphins team and will set the tone for the season. Everyone warm up your TV screens and grab your jerseys and more importantly, getcha popcorn ready!