With training camp right around the corner, I wanted to take a look at this year’s Miami Dolphins, unit by unit.
Looking at the Miami Dolphins Secondary, this unit played fairly well last season as a whole but definitely has room for improvement. Off-season subtractions and additions aside, this unit’s success hinges primarily on health and maturity.
The Projected Starters at Cornerback are hold over Ben Grimes, who turned in a fantastic Pro Bowl year in 2013, and Free Agent Veteran and former Pro Bowler Cortland Finnegan. Grimes signed a “Show Me” contract last off season, earning every penny and some, getting rewarded this off season in the process. Grimes provided Kevin Coyle with a true #1 corner to scheme his coverages around. With a unique ability to play press man and off man equally as well, Grimes is one of the elite Corners in the game.
Finnegan used to be known as a similar caliber type of player when he signed his big contract with the St Louis Rams a few years ago. Injuries and inconsistency plagued him during his tenure in the “Show Me” state, so its only fitting he had to sign a “Show Me” contract to play with his next team.
If Finnegan can stay healthy this year and show he still possesses past athletic ability, his sheer heart and savvy will make him a good compliment to Grimes and give Coach Coyle the best starting tandem he’s had with the Dolphins.
In the slot on Nickel Defense is Jimmy Wilson, returning to hold the fort down at that spot for the third year in a row. Pressed into action the past 2 years due to injuries, this will be the first year Wilson will hold down that spot from day one. A jack of all trades capable of playing every position in the Secondary, Wilson is a versatile asset to the defense with his play making ability, provided he controls his temper.
At Free Safety, Free Agent pick up Louis Delmas from the Detroit Lions returns to his hometown of Miami to show naysayers his career is not in decline. When healthy, Delmas provides a dynamic and physical presence in the back end. A passionate heavy hitter with range as a center fielder, hopefully playing on grass instead of turf can save his knees. If he stays healthy, Delmas may have his best year yet playing with the most talented Secondary he’s ever been a part of.
Reshad Jones returns at Strong Safety after a somewhat disappointing season. Following a spectacular campaign that landed him his contract, hopefully its only a mere coincidence for the decline in his impact and Jones bounces back. Touted as a play maker with range and power, Jones has everything needed to be a Pro Bowler. With a public declaration to practice and play harder this season, the hope is his words translate to the field, rebounding in a big way.
Maturity will be a huge theme for this unit’s success this season and if youngsters Jamar Taylor, Will Davis, Michael Thomas, Don Jones, & rookie Walt Aikens can all develop at a rapid rate and realize some of their potential, this unit will be deep and exciting. If not, the Dolphins will be woefully thin and one front line guy going down away from leaving the secondary exposed.
Bright side is, all of these young guys have talent and have shown glimpses in which coaches and fans alike can draw hope from. Thomas was a practice squad poaching turned fabled late game hero, Davis was an interception machine in training camp and preseason, Jones is the surprise seventh round pick, and Taylor was basically red-shirted last season with tremendous upside as a former high draft pick. Early signs from OTA’s were encouraging that things are headed in the right direction.
All in all, the potential is there to have a very solid unit, but injuries and inexperience hang over this unit as a potential black cloud threatening to rain on their success. The Miami Dolphins can definitely use some good fortune and a clean bill of health this upcoming season.