Five Takeaways From 2014


A week following the Miami Dolphin’s final defeat of the season, we have all had time to analyze the Dolphin’s positives and negatives from the 2014 NFL season.

The Dolphins finished with an 8-8 record following their loss in week 17 to the New York Jets, a loss that placed the Dolphins third in the AFC East. 2014 featured a rollercoaster season for the Dolphins as they had high playoff hopes, followed by a late-season disappointment.

Here are a few key takeaways from the 2014 Miami Dolphins’ season:

1. Tannehill is here to stay

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Coming into 2014, the quarterback position was arguably one of the many positions on the hot seat among the Dolphin’s organization. Coming into his third NFL season with no playoff appearances, and a combined 15-17 record, an unproductive 2014 season could wind Ryan Tannehill onto the bench.

To combat the Dolphin’s previous inconsistencies on offense, the Dolphins fired former offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, and hired former Eagle’s quarterback coach Bill Lazor.

Lazor brought several positives to the Dolphin’s offense, including a sense of speed, as well as a boost in quarterback productivity.

According to, Ryan Tannehill rushed the ball 56 times for 311 yards and one touchdown, resulting in a 19.6 rushing yards per game, the highest in his three-year career.

With Tannehill’s apparent ability to run, opponent’s defenses were often overly cautious while defending the read option resulting in greater possibilities for the Dolphin’s backs. This sense of speed was transparent to Dolphin’s fans throughout the season and was paramount to the Dolphin’s rush game.

Aside from his rushing success, Tannehill contributed his best passing season in his career in 2014.

Tannehill posted a 92.8 passer rating in 2014, a trend that has steadily increased since his debut in 2o12. This rating ranked him at 14th in the NFL. Tannehill had a passer rating of over 100 in six of his 16 games this season.

Alongside Tannehill’s passer rating, he showed he can post large statistics. In eight of his game this season, Tannehill completed 25+ passes, ultimately nabbing Tannehill as the franchise record holder (prev. Dan Marino, 1994).

Tannehill ultimately completed his 2014 season with 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, a considerable increase over his past few seasons. Tannehill was only intercepted on 2.2% of his passes.

Coming off of a season where Tannehill was sacked most in the NFL in 2013, Tannehill held cool and confident on his short passes, with a 66.4 completion percentage. On the contrary, Tannehill’s longest pass of the season totaled 50 yards to Mike Wallace in week 15 against the New England Patriots.

Another concept of the game Tannehill needs to improve is his pocket awareness. With a hole-filled offensive line due to injuries, Tannehill was sacked 46 times in 2014, totaling 104 sacks in the past two years, the most in NFL history.

Although Tannehill has a few improvements for his future, he has proved to the Miami Dolphin’s organization and the NFL that he has the characteristics of an elite quarterback.

2. Discordant Defense

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Early on in the 2014 season, the Miami Dolphins showed flashes of an elite defense. With additions including Louis Delmas, Cortland Finnegan and Earl Mitchell, the Dolphins were poised to improve from their 11th ranked defense just a season before.

At one stage in the season, the Miami Dolphins held the #1 defense in the AFC, as they prepared for battle against the Detroit Lions, the #1 defense in the NFC.

The Dolphin’s defense ultimately gave up the defensive battle as Mathew Stafford’s Lions defeated the Dolphins on a last possession comeback.

Following the Thursday night victory over the Buffalo Bills, the Dolphin’s defense went downhill.

In a costly game against the Denver Broncos in late November, the Dolphins held an 11-point lead heading into the fourth quarter before the Dolphin’s defense allowed the Bronco’s to light it up for 22 points in the final quarter, handing the Dolphins a 39-36 loss.

In the final three games of the season, the Dolphins allowed 41, 35, and 37 points, ultimately ending their season.

The Dolphin’s defense ultimately ended 20th in the league in points allowed, despite being ranked #2 early on in the season.

Despite the late season decrease, the Dolphins defense has shown flashes of greatness throughout the season. With losses of Louis Delmas, Jamar Taylor, and Dannell Ellerbe due to injury, the Dolphins defense may look a little more prosperous in 2015.

Cornerback Brent Grimes and defensive end Cameron Wake were both named to the NFL second-team, as well as both being assigned to the 2014 Pro-Bowl.

3. Stephen Ross content with Philbin

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Following an astonishing victory in week 16 against the Minnesota Vikings, Dolphin’s owner Stephen Ross displayed excitement with their victory, and took Dolphin’s head coach Joe Philbin off of the hot seat.

Although eliminated from the playoffs in their thrilling victory, the Dolphins advanced to 8-7 prior to their season-ender against the New York Jets.

This bold statement by Ross left many Dolphins fans flustered, while others agreed with his decision.

Many Dolphins fans expressed frustration with Philbin’s use of time-outs, as he arguably gave several teams free breaks during crunch time.

In his three years with the Miami Dolphins, Philbin is 23-25, along with no playoff appearances. The 2014 season was the second consecutive season the Dolphins concluded at 8-8, a complaint many Miami Dolphins fans have expressed.

On the opposing side Philbin and the Dolphins have shown progression throughout his coaching career, including progression to Tannehill.

When looking at head coaching jobs across the NFL, head coaches are often given a minimal amount of years without success before they cut the cord. This move often creates personnel disruptions, as well as changes among the organization. With this move to keep Philbin, the Dolphins look to continuously improve multiple assets of their game.

4. Uncertain future for wide receivers

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Most apparent in the final week of the season, Dolphins fans realized they may have a slight problem with their receiving corps.

Despite a widely successful season across the board for the receivers, one stumbled as they season ended.

Receiver Mike Wallace expressed frustration around half-time in their final loss of the season after not having any catches heading into the half-way point of the game.

Disputing reports claimed Wallace benched himself due to frustration, while other reports claimed he was benched due to a coaching decision.

Whatever the move was, the Dolphins have an uncertain future ahead of them at the receiver position.

Meanwhile, success came in bunches for rookie wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who took his rookie season by storm by receiving kicks, as well as receiving passes. Landry ultimately lead the team in receptions with 84 receptions.

For veteran wide receiver Brian Hartline, he totaled 39 receptions in 2014, his lowest total since 2011 with the Dolphins.

Brandon Gibson suffered a season ending injury in 2013 following impressive showings in his first year with the team. This season he snagged 29 receptions for one touchdown.

The Dolphins without doubt contain a very talented wide receiving corps, yet host several uncertainties heading into the 2015 season.

5. Dolphins can’t close

2014 was a devastating season for many Dolphins fans, as they could not live up to expectations, and also couldn’t close out the final minutes of games.

The first devastating loss came in week six as the Dolphins hosted the Green Bay Packers. Following taking a lead in the second half, the Dolphins had possession of the game before handing the ball to Aaron Rodgers with minimal time remaining. Rodgers rallied the Packer offense on an 80 yard drive resulting in a Rodgers passing touchdown.

This was the first of several devastating losses for the Dolphins.

Following a blowout win against a tough San Diego Chargers team, the Dolphins traveled to Detroit to face the Lions. Once again the Dolphins handed the ball to an elite NFC North quarterback with minimal time remaining, as Stafford sent the ball to Theo Riddick for the game winning touchdown.

In the end, the Dolphins lost three games by less than four points or less, while winning only two within the same margins.

Other notes:

  • The Dolphins continued to take one game against the New England Patriots at home, for the second straight year. The Dolphins ultimately split one game against each of the conference opponents, ending in a 3-3 conference record.
  • The Dolphins also split both of their home and away games, resulting in a 4-4 record respectively.
  • The Dolphins scored 15 points in net, when looking at points scored vs. points allowed.
  • The Dolphins will have the 14th overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft following an 8-8 record.
  • Running back Lamar Miller had his biggest season of his career following the injury of Knowshon Moreno. Miller ran for over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career.

What were your major takeaways from the 2014 Miami Dolphins?