Miami Dolphins: All smiles in Miami


As the summer draws to an end, I can’t help but remember what this time of year was like as a kid. Growing up, I had two types of friends: the ones that would be excited to start the school year, and the others that got sick to their stomach at just the thought of word “school.” I was consistently the latter. I hated going to school. I hated that my summer was over—my free time had been taken away from me and replaced by teachers, books, and snobby kids. Simply put, words couldn’t explain the disgust I had of starting another school year.

And for the past 6 years or so, I’ve been reverted back to my inner-child—but instead of school, it’s the NFL season I’ve been apprehensive about. I, being a Dolphins fan, hated the fact that I had to endure another heartbreaking season; like school, it made me sick to my stomach. I wanted it to always be the offseason—that way, there was always hope. But this year, I’ve changed. I’m actually excited for the upcoming Miami Dolphins to take the field.

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I haven’t been this optimistic since my childhood idol Danny Marino was under center for my beloved Miami Dolphins. Every single year, as the season got underway, Dolfans from all over the country (particularly my pals in South Florida) were ecstatic for the start of the NFL season. We knew that every year #13 was at the helm, we had a chance.

As a matter of fact, since Dan Marino has retired, that’s all we, Dolfans, have ever wanted—a chance. We wanted a chance to be good again. But now, finally, after years of torment and frustration, this year’s Dolphins team has given us that chance. No, it might not render the same feeling as Marino’s quick release, resiliency, and will to win, but at least it’s something.

This year’s Miami Dolphins look crisp; they look like a new team; hell, Coach Philbin even looks like a new man—the man raps now and wears a top hat for God’s sake. But in all honesty, now that we’ve had the pleasure of watching this team play three-preseason games, we see the writing on the wall and it resembles a beautifully crafted manuscript—not the doctor’s ugly handwritten chicken scratch to which we had become accustomed.

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  • This team has found their quarterback and their offense has been outstanding. In the three games this preseason, Tannehill is 33-of-41 passing (80.4 percent) for 303 yards, three touchdowns, no turnovers, and has a quarterback rating of 121.8. Despite limited playing time, the first team offense has scored a touchdown in every single preseason game. The receivers are as deep as the ocean; the running game has loads of talent, particularly fourth year Lamar Miller; and their offensive line (although battling injuries at the moment) are forming into a respectable unit, especially once starters Branden Albert and Mike Pouncey return to action.

    The defense, however, is the essence of the 2015 Miami Dolphins; it’s what is going to give this team that special edge. In fact, this defense has the chance to be great. With arguably the best defensive line in the NFL, Miami is going to be circled on the calendar of every quarterback they face. Just ask Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Before Saturday night’s preseason game in Miami, Ryan was a perfect 10 for 10 with two scores this preseason. Against the Dolphins, however, Ryan, a pro bowl quarterback, looked perplexed as Miami’s defense routinely penetrated the line of scrimmage with ease, suffocated Ryan’s pocket, and planted him on his back three times.

    “We’ve seen some positive things and there’s excitement here.”–Ndamukong Suh

    To put the dominance of the Dolphins defense in perspective, the starting unit has only given up one measly field goal in four quarters of play—those three points being the result of a bad snap resulting in a fumble recovery by the Falcons deep in Miami territory. Of course, a big reason why this defense has been so dominant thus far is Ndamukong Suh. Suh is the monster in the middle. He demands constant attention from opposing offensive lines that have routinely double-teamed him—which frees up Cameron Wake to have the luxury of going one-on-one with tackles.

    “We’ve seen some positive things and there’s excitement here,” Suh said per ESPN’s James Walker. Never shy or short on words, Suh explained: “We’re understanding how to play with each other, especially with the rush game and stopping the run is first and foremost. That’s what we pride our self on — trying to hold the offense to as many negative yards as we can.”

    Although Dolphins fans have been excited before, this year just feels different. There’s something in the air. Maybe it’s the delicious Cuban food from Little Havana marinating the humid South Florida air. Or maybe, for the first time in forever, it’s South Florida’s NFL franchise. South Florida is salivating for both.