Miami Dolphins top five questions for 2018

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 10: Ryan Tannehill
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 10: Ryan Tannehill /

The Miami Dolphins roster is still fluctuating and will until the start of training camp. Then it will get tinkered with some more before the season start.

Heading into the off-season the Dolphins had gaps and holes to fill and created a couple of their own but there is little question that the Dolphins are hoping these changes will equate to more than six wins in 2018.

Adam Gase has overhauled his team. He is done with what he inherited for the most part and is adding players that fit his opinion of what football players should be. Whether he is right or wrong is unknown but changes were made nonetheless.

How well this team molds itself under Gase will be the determining factor about this years win/loss record. Here are five questions that will need to be answered.

Offensive line

The offensive line has been poor the last five years and the Dolphins made a few moves to fix it. Did they? With Mike Pouncey out and Daniel Kilgore in at center, Miami will have a new line assignment caller but Kilgore is not the only change. The Dolphins added Josh Sitton to play left guard and Sitton is a fantastic addition to the team both in leadership and quality of play.

The rest of the line is unchanged. Miami is banking on its problems being a result of poor left guard play and inconsistency from Pouncey, his injuries, and the time he needs off during the week from practice.

Did the Dolphins make the right decisions? Maybe, maybe not. On paper the line looks as though it could be the best in a long time but reality is always something that changes that perception.


Remember this? “The Dolphins linebacker unit is the biggest weakness on the team and needs to be changed”. This is not a direct quote but a statement made by just about every member of the media and the teams fan base.

The Dolphins added a veteran linebacker in Terrence Garvin but Garvin adds depth rather than fixing the problem. The Dolphins will get Raekwon McMillan back in 2018 as well but remember McMillan hasn’t played a single NFL snap on defense. The 2017 rookie missed all of last season with a knee injury on the opening kick-off of the pre-season schedule.

Kiko Alonso has some help but can he turn around a poor performance from 2017? Miami added two linebackers in the draft but neither of the mid-round picks are expected to be anything more than special teams players in 2018 and provide more depth.

Chase Allen started to show some flashes towards the end of the season and the Dolphins like what they have seen in him. Can he turn the corner in 2018 and start making an impact?

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The Dolphins not only have one kicker on their roster they have a 7th round rookie on their roster from New Mexico State. Jason Sanders is supposed to have a big leg but he has been inconsistent and really didn’t get the opportunities for more field goals at the collegiate level. The Dolphins passed on Florida kicker Eddy Pineiro who had a better college career.

Miami will add a veteran this off-season at some point ahead of training camp, more likely after June 1st when they get the Ndamukong Suh salary cap relief. Kicking wasn’t a problem last year with Cody Parkey but Parkey left for a big contract this off-season. Miami needs to find a kicker because Sanders may not be the answer.

Run Defense

The Dolphins are not a good run stopping defense. They weren’t with Ndamukong Suh on the roster and with Suh now gone the question is can Miami improve in this area? Well they can’t be any worse. Miami traded for Akeem Spence last week and Spence grades out at least statistically close to Suh. He will provide quality depth in a rotation that includes Davon Godchaux, Jordan Phillips, and Vincent Taylor.

Stopping the run is more than the front line. The linebackers and safeties also contribute to its success and failure. The addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick should help as he is able to slide up to add support. Miami has to find the right players that can take away opposing rush lanes and force teams to challenge the young corners who are showing a lot of positive growth.

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Ryan Tannehill

Many Dolphins fans were upset that Miami didn’t draft a quarterback and to some degree they can make that argument. The question with Tannehill is not whether or not he can take another step forward in Gase’s system. It’s whether or not he can take a step forward and not get hurt again.

One plant, one slip, one freak hit and Tannehill is out. The good news is that Tannehill’s knee was surgically repaired this time around and his rehab is almost complete. There should be little concern over Tannehill’s knee. His mind on the other hand is different.

Players who go through major injuries often come back a little shy of re-injuring themselves. Will Tannehill be able to run like he did or will he be more cautious? Will Gase ask him to stay in the pocket more and not run as much?

Regardless of what side of the Ryan Tannehill fence you are on, it is a question that will not be answered until the 2018 season begins.