Are The Miami Dolphins Finally For Real?
By Brian Miller
Top ranked defensive unit? Yes. Quarterback with a higher completion rating than all other quarterbacks over the last three games? Yes. A top ten running back? Yes. Are these Miami Dolphins finally for real? Yes, for now.
The Miami Dolphins are one of the top teams in the NFL. I know you can feel free to laugh, I did but it’s true, sort of. Maybe I should say they are one of the more underrated teams in the NFL. Statistically the Dolphins are surging at a time when you would think they were regressing. Let’s face it the team is only 3-3 but if not for poor coaching decisions against Green Bay the Dolphins would be looking at a 4-2 record and it’s safe to say that fan confidence would be skyrocketing.
The Dolphins are ranked 4th overall defensively, 4th overall against the pass, and 10th overall against the run and they are getting Dion Jordan back and just got back Koa Misi, Reshad Jones, Phillip Wheeler, and Derrick Shelby over the last few weeks and let’s not forget that Randy Starks didn’t make the London trip. In other words this is the healthiest the Dolphins have been defensively and they don’t look to be slowing down. Offensively the Dolphins are starting to make some waves as well.
Ryan Tannehill won’t be listed on any leader boards just yet but over the last three weeks Tannehill has a higher completion percentage than any other QB in the league and it appears that OC Bill Lazor has finally found a way to use his strengths to the teams advantage. Rolling out, read option, play action pass…yes, yes, and yes. The thing about Tannehill is he is proficient when he doesn’t have to stand in a pocket and think and then make a throw. He needs to rely on his athleticism and his ability to throw on the run. It’s what he does best because when he is running he doesn’t have the time to second guess himself or worry about making a mistake.
The Dolphins are playing good football and despite the loss to Green Bay, a game many in both the media and fans in the forums believe should have been a win, the Dolphins are actually 2-1 in their last three games. We tend to forget that they were on a bye week coming back from a win in London. The two consecutive losses seemed so long ago that the win against the Patriots to open the season is a distant memory.
The Dolphins have to start being graded out on what they do on the field now. Green Bay was a messy game but not because the team on the field didn’t play well. Especially Tannehill. The Dolphins simply had momentum taken out of their control by their head coach who couldn’t stomach making a winning decision. Against Chicago the play it safe mentality went out the window and as a result the Dolphins never truly came close to losing the game.
This week the team will face the Jacksonville Jaguars and while many will point to this game as a let down or a game against a far inferior team, the reality is that the Dolphins could go out and blow this game open quickly like they did against Oakland and sit back and wait for the clock to expire. The Dolphins will show who they are on Sunday. They will either be this new killer instinct team we saw a Sunday past or they will come out flat and uninspired. The latter will tell us everything we need to know about these Miami Dolphins. Win or lose.
If the Dolphins truly are the team we have seen the last three weeks of play then the future for the franchise in 2014 looks pretty good. This is not the same team that lost to Kansas City or Buffalo and if this trend continues they will not be a team that loses to San Diego or Detroit and might even have the internal drive and fire to knock off the Denver Broncos.
Yes, I am fully aware that the Miami Dolphins are a far distance away from being in the same category or line as the Denver Broncos but it starts somewhere. There is always a starting point and if you look at the body of work over the teams last three games (despite Joe Philbin) there is a trend that this team is playing at a level that doesn’t simply show up in the standings.
The reality is these Miami Dolphins might be the best team the Dolphins have fielded, despite their head coach, since 2008 when they rolled out Chad Pennington and the Wild Cat offense. Only this time there are no gimmicks, but they will need to continue to move forward because they haven’t left themselves a lot of room to move back. Simply put the Miami Dolphins must continue to get better each week and keep this consistency.