After a variety of additions and subtractions to the offense, the Dolphins have created an offense that can attack from every aspect. This 2017 season has the potential to be a record-setting season for the Miami Dolphins offense.
Just look at the names, how many players on the offense have a shot at the Pro Bowl? Jarvis Landry has made it for two years straight. If Mike Pouncey has a mostly healthy season, he’s a lock. Laremy Tunsil is on his way to many more to come. Jay Ajayi has the line and confidence from his coaches to put up some big numbers. Julius Thomas helped Peyton Manning set a record-setting season in 2013. Devante Parker could have a breakout season. Ryan Tannehill has weapons all over the offense, maybe he sneaks in.
Let’s back up a bit… what makes an offense elite? Well they’ve got to be able to attack you in many ways. They must be able to throw the ball down the field. They have to be able to dump it off to running backs who can gain their own yardage. There has to be some receivers to draw attention out of the middle of the field. There must be some efficient production out of the tight end position. The offensive line must do their job in both run and pass. The running back has to be able to carry the load from time to time.
Looking at Miami, let’s start with the quarterback. Ryan Tannehill definitely has what it takes. He assuredly has the athleticism (report after report claims his knee injury will not hinder his abilities). He played wide receiver in college; he absolutely has the speed and ability to stay clean in the pocket and buy time for his receivers. He’s improved in nearly every statistic each year in the league. He knows this team and displays great leadership abilities.
Many people look at the quarterback situation in Miami and immediately jump to false conclusions. He is said to not have what it takes to be elite in this league. But he has a full supporting cast that knows he can and will get the job done. Similar to Matt Ryan in 2016, the entire fan base is just waiting for everything to click for Tannehill and have a breakout season.
On to the running back, Jay Ajayi. You cannot have a lethal offense without production from the running back. He must be able to run, catch, and block. Jay Ajayi can run. I’ll say it again, because you might not have seen him run for 200 yards in one game (THREE TIMES)… Jay Ajayi can RUN. Pass blocking is something every running back can work on, so he can assuredly improve there. In terms of catching the ball, offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen has praised his improvement in that area over the offseason.
Many thought 2016 was a breakout season for Jay Ajayi, and it was. But 2017 should bring an even better outcome for the young stud. He knows the offense better. He is going through the offseason with 100% commitment from his coaches. Adam Gase has already claimed that he will try to give Ajayi the ball 350 times this season. Jay Ajayi will soon become a household name, he just needs a consistent season on a winning team.
Who are we throwing the ball to? Oh, just three of the best young wide receivers in the game. Kenny Stills, Devante Parker, and Jarvis Landry provide one of the strongest young receiving cores in the league. Stills has the speed and route-running ability to take it to the house on every touch, hence his nine touchdowns last season. Devante Parker (whom I just wrote an entire article about) has everything you want in a number one receiver, he just needs to piece it all together. And Jarvis Landry is the best receiver in the game today when it comes to short and intermediate throws.
Jarvis Landry’s pro bowl nods are nothing to be shrugged off. He is an elite talent and the league knows that. His effort is second-to-none and his mind is in the right place. He plays with heart and it shows on the field. He is a great leader for this offense when he’s playing and when he’s in the huddle.
Tight ends also catch the ball, right? Yes. In fact, Julius Thomas caught 12 touchdowns in both 2013 and 2014, totaling 24 touchdowns over two seasons. He is one of the more efficient pass-catching tight ends in the game today. Early reports have said he is already working to improve his blocking en route to become a more complete tight end. Having finally reconnected with Adam Gase, could we see the old version of Julius Thomas this year?
There’s another really talented tight end on the roster. Actually, it’s his second time to join the Miami Dolphins. Anthony Fasano is a veteran tight end who brings great leadership to the room. He is also widely regarded as the number ONE blocking tight end in all of football last season. That sounds really good for Jay Ajayi. Running a double-tight formation with these two tight ends is going to be a scary look.
What about the guys that make all of this happen? Right, right. The offensive line is the backbone of this offense. Mike Pouncey, the leader of the group, is still one of the best centers in this game, he just has to stay on the field. Laremy Tunsil has the abilities to be a perennial pro bowler. Ju’Wuan James has been fairly good in each passing year, perhaps he takes that next step this season.
The lone spot on this offense that scares people is the offensive guard. Between Ted Larsen, Isaac Asiata, Jermon Bushrod and Kraig Urbik, Adam Gase and Clyde Christensen feel that there will be enough competition to provide the team with a promising pair of interior linemen. Asiata can move bodies in the run game. Bushrod has the experience under his belt now, and could look to improve this season. Larsen has the flexibility to play anywhere along the middle. There is assuredly something to work with.
That’s everybody, right? Nope. No team goes through an entire season without injuries. Matt Moore is a man I would start over many starting quarterbacks in the league, today. He understands the offense and would be a great fill-in for Ryan Tannehill. Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams have showed enough talent to assure the fans that they can easily handle the run game if Ajayi were to go down.
Between Leonte Carroo, Jakeem Grant, Rashawn Scott, and Isaiah Ford, there is definitely some talent to work with should Jarvis Landry or Devante Parker go down. Anthony Steen has done his job before, and he is ready to step in again if needed. Sam Young is a great role player, ready to sub in whenever Tunsil or James need a breather.
This offense assuredly has talent, there is no question about that. In year two of Adam Gase’s system, I fully expect a breakout season from the entire offense. Each year, there is a surprise offense that excels at the top of every offensive rating (2016 Atlanta Falcons). The Miami Dolphins could shock the world in 2017, and I hope that everyone comes back to read this article after it is all said and done.
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