Projected statistics are a lot of things, accurate is rarely ever one of those. That being said, as the weeks progress and we get closer to the end of the season their likelyhood’s accuracy increases as the highs and lows of the season have balance out a bit and we get a larger pool of data to work with. Being that we’re currently ten games into the season, I thought I would revisit the statistical projections for some of the offensive starters.
When looking at what some of the players are on pace for in Miami, you can see a bit of the picture of how they are performing to this point. For example, while Miami may not have a receiver projected to go over one thousand yards this season, they have three players currently projecting to go over 65 catches and 750 yards, and if you factor in Rishard Matthews picking up right where Daniel Gibson left off, Miami’s WR3 position is on pace to also exceed those totals. Speaking statistically, this makes a compelling case for Tannehill as he is utilizing all of his weapons and spreading the ball around well.
Below we’ll break out the current statistics for several of the key contributors on offense, their projected statistics and a quick breakout of their performance and the expectation going forward.
Ryan Tannehill is still young, and has only been a quarterback for a very short time. Looking at that, he has shown significant improvement from last season. Through ten games, he has already surpassed his rookie season in several categories, and has spread the ball around to ten different receivers, keeping the spread of the ball fairly even amongst the various common targets.
Looking at the projections, Tannehill is on pace to nearly double his TD’s from his rookie season, while being one additional 42 yard pass away from being the (I believe) first 4000+ yard passer since Marino. What do Tom Brady, Andrew Luck and RGIII have in common? All of these players have thrown for the same number of touchdowns thus far as Tannehill with 14 total. Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Colin Kaepernick, Alex Smith, Geno Smith and Jay Cutler? All of these players trail Tannehill in the TD department.
While he still leaves plays on the field, Tannehill has shown a great deal of progress as he grows into the position. He left far more plays on the field last season, and I expect that progress to continue. He is showing more upside and delivering on it than any quarterback in Miami since Marino. Tannehill will most likely never be Marino, but honestly how many can achieve the level that Marino played at. Given continued growth and progression, Tannehill just may turn into something special in Miami – and indications are that he will turn into the answer that the franchise has sought since Marino was pushed out by Wannstedt.
- Current Statistics: Att/Comp – 366/224, 2474 Yds, 14 TD, 11 INT
- Projected Statistics: Att/Comp – 586/358, 3958 Yds, 22 TD, 17 INT
Many fans lament the loss of Reggie Bush. Reggie was a great player in his time in Miami, but also a player that would start strong and falter down the stretch, and wasn’t worth the asking price that was being conveyed. Miami is not on pace to have a 1000 yard rusher this season, but given the scheme issues and coaching that isn’t likely to happen in the near future with Mike Sherman as the coordinator. A lackadaisical approach to the run game by Miami without a true commitment to it, as well as telegraphing the plays with everything down to the snap count giving away whether it is a run or pass to the defense has presented challenges for the Dolphins. In spite of that, both Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas have flashed promise this season, and given the right offensive coordinator, signal caller and scheme they could thrive in Miami as a 1-2 punch.
Lamar Miller’s season has not lived up to expectations to this point. Barring an AP style emergence for Miller over the next 6 games, Miami will not have a sole 1000 yard rusher this season. That being said, lack of commitment to the run game and tipping the plays has hurt Miller’s chances at big production numbers. In his limited role early, he failed to distance himself from Daniel Thomas, and given Thomas’s development beginning in the Bills game in Miami, expect the probability that this is a running back by committee. If Miller can break a few long runs that he has flashed the potential for, he can exceed these numbers, but these projections could have a great deal of volatility in either direction. Keep in mind, Miller is still averaging 4.5+ yards per carry for the year.
- Current Statistics: Att – 104, 467 yds, 2 TD; Rec – 17, 101 yds
- Projected Statistics: Att – 166, 747 yds, 3 TD; Rec – 27, 161 yds
Daniel Thomas, by all appearances, was a man on the down slide with potential of Lamar Miller, his injury history, his ineffectiveness early in the season and the drafting of Mike Gillislee. Over the past several weeks, outside of the Tampa Bay game, Thomas has shown steady signs of progression that came to a head in the Chargers game. Gone was the runner who couldn’t see cutback lanes, and while he doesn’t posess breakaway speed he is picking up yardage in chunks. Expect his numbers to possibly rise above projections given his emergence and several cold weather games in December possibly establishing a commitment by Sherman to running the ball a bit more often.
- Current Statistics: Att – 74, 271 yds, 3 TD; Rec – 10, 52 yds, 1 TD
- Projected Statistics: Att – 118, 434 yds, 5 TD; Rec – 16, 83 yds, 2 TD
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:
Miami, in one offseason, has gone from having limited weapons on offense to a team with a dearth of weapons at the receiver and tight end position. While some of their top weapons have gone down with injuries in Dustin Keller and Daniel Gibson. Tannehill and Wallace have struggled to build a rapport, but Tannehill and his other targets have shown a strong connection as evidenced below. The coverage shifts to Wallace, in having him covered by the top corner from each team (many times with safety help over the top) have also assisted in the production out of Tannehill’s other receiving targets. The other aspect of the receiving corps is that none of the top receiving targets are near the projected twilight of their careers and are under contract for several years to come.
Miami’s young, underappreciated wideout got a new contract that will keep him in Miami for the next several years following his breakout season last year. Hartline has deceptive speed, and gives everything to attempt to make seemingly impossible catches thrown in his direction. Hartline is a very solid receiver who is often overlooked, and could possibly eclipse the 1000 yard mark this season.
- Current Statistics: 48 Rec, 599 yds, 2 TD
- Projected Statistics: 77 Rec, 958 ds, 3 TD
Mike Wallace is the guy that everyone wants to talk about. His chemistry with Tannehill and the utilization of his skills in this offense have not been present thus far. While his effort has been lackadaisical at times, getting him better engaged and utilizing him properly should help alleviate some of that. His chemistry with Tannehill should also improve over time, and quite frankly his numbers should be appalling given the number of issues that they have had. While he is not on pace for 1000 yards currently, he could very easily see a heavy boost in production when and if he and Tannehill can click this season. His “terrible” season of this year is still on pace statistically for numbers we would have been happy to see from many receivers in their time in Miami, and the only direction they can go from here is up. Given that Tannehill has spread the ball around a great deal makes it even more impressive what “could be” here if they can get on the same page. If Tannehill and Wallace are able to get on the same page here in the next two weeks, these numbers could easily get blown out of the water, giving Miami has an outside shot – however unlikely – at having dual 1000 yard receivers. In any event, every time I look at his stats, I’m surprised to see him amongst the team leaders and at the production he actually has for the very reasons listed here.
- Current Statistics: 44 Rec, 534 yds, 1 TD
- Projected Statistics: 70 Rec, 747 yds, 2 TD
Charles Clay flashed a great deal of promise in his rookie year, showing a knack for big plays. Underutilization by the coaches, combined with regression and poor practices out of Clay had him on the outs. Lack of a true “position” for the man, combined with the drafting of players such as Egnew and Sims, the signing of Keller and other moves gave the appearance that Clay might be a roster cut this offseason. Fast foward to the injury to Keller and Miami’s inability to find a fullback and suddenly Charles Clay emerged as a legitimate weapon on offense. Whatever caused this to click, he has been a reliable option for Tannehill and has moved all over the field thus far with a knack for the big play. Expect this to continue, and Clay is on pace for 60+ receptions for over 700+ yards.
- Current Statistics: 42 Rec, 474 yds, 4 TD
- Projected Statistics: 67 Rec, 758 yds, 6 TD
Wide Receiver #3:
This is more of a “hybrid” statistic. If not for the disheartening blow to Gibson, this statistic would be his and his alone. Rishard Matthews only had limited opportunity prior to Gibson going down but lit it up and showed good chemistry with Tannehill as soon as he stepped in for Gibson. While Matthews had a handful of catches prior to Gibson’s injury, the most direct linear comparison that I could draw here was by only counting Matthews stats since Gibson went down with an injury, and combining with Gibson’s prior to the injury. Between the talent level in Matthews and Gibson, and the coverage that Hartline and Wallace command on the outside, these two could put up some dominant statistics in the years to come.
- Current Statistics: 50 Rec, 552 yds, 5 TD
- Projected Statistics: 80 Rec, 883 yds, 8 TD