Miami Dolphins have talent but it is not enough to win
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins faithful believe that the 2019 team could surprise and win eight games this upcoming season. They cite the amount of talent.
When the Miami Dolphins take the field this year they will have talent at more than a few spots on the roster. Talent that they can build around and eventually win with but it will take more than that talent to win football games. There is where the questions begin.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is good enough to help the Dolphins win some football games but he is also capable of losing a handful on his own. There are a lot of questions surrounding the offense but there is also a team that can get points on the board if Chad O’Shea’s offensive system works early.
The Dolphins have Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage and that is a solid two-punch duo that can rack up yards on the ground and in the passing game. The depth behind them is non-existent, for now. For the running backs to succeed the passing game needs to work well too and that goes back to what kind of game Fitzpatrick is having on any given day.
Kenny Stills, Jakeem Grant, Albert Wilson, and maybe even DeVante Parker could have a really good year for Miami. Fitzpatrick has the arm strength to get the ball downfield but his consistency is a problem that could sway a game from good to really bad on a few plays. Parker is getting another chance but so far we have seen little from him.
The Dolphins believe that Dwayne Allen will be the blocking tight-end that will help the running backs and Mike Gesicki could develop into a good receiver if the coaches can get him involved. Behind them are question marks, not to say that Gesicki doesn’t carry a few of his own.
This is where it all comes together or falls apart. While Laremy Tunsil is a lock on the left, there is no set left guard, the center is a question, the right guard is a question, and right tackle is a hole. This is where the “but” comes in on offense.
Without good play from the offensive line, the running backs will have one side to run to, behind Tunsil. The right side is a mess, for now, and the running lanes on that side will be tough if they can’t fix it.
More from Phin Phanatic
- Tua Tagovailoa practicing with teammates is everything a leader does
- 4 offensive tackles Miami Dolphins could draft at 51
- Miami Dolphins don’t need CB help but these 5 could be available at 51
- 4 players that could replace Wilkins if Miami Dolphins don’t re-sign him
- Miami Dolphins have a starting point with Wilkins after Simmons deal
Pass protection is also a big problem and Fitzpatrick will need time to make plays. If he constantly being hit or sacked, the number of games he makes mistakes in will grow. Without a good offensive line, there is no passing game and there is no running game. Add them all together and you have an offense that doesn’t produce.
In a nutshell, Fitzpatrick has streaky talent and Drake and Ballage have a lot of talent but they need the offensive line to perform better than average to showcase that talent and that translates to the talent of Wilson, Stills, and Grant. And then there is Parker.
On defense it is much of the same. Players with talent surrounded by players who have not yet reached the level they need to be.
Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor are getting better but can they man the middle of the defensive line alone, together? Depth is a big concern which means rotation will be a problem until the Dolphins add depth. That could come in the form of a drafted player or maybe a street free agent but if they are off the street they carry question marks.
As of today the Dolphins have major issues at defensive end as they gutted the position and look to rebuild it completely. Getting pressure on the quarterback is key as it is part of the dominos that fall through the entire defense.
Kiko Alonso, Jerome Baker, Raekwon McMillan all have a lot of talent but can McMillan change and progress forward? Can Alonso shore up the holes in his game and will Jerome Baker take another big step forward or tumble back?
There is a problem across from Xavien Howard and more than a few safeties but the play from the secondary is dependent on what happens in front of them. While Minkah Fitzpatrick and Howard are build around type players, they can’t do it themselves.
If the defensive line can’t fill the gaps, the opposing offense will be able to challenge the Dolphins linebackers on the ground. If the defensive ends can’t get pressure, quarterbacks will have all day. The linebackers will have to be able to read quickly whether it is run or pass and that is nothing new but if there is no edge pressure and no push or gap fill from the DT’s, the linebackers will have a lot of problems.
When those problems begin to rise, the secondary will be targeted often and while there is talent there, the reality is that too much pressure on a single unit will eventually lead to collapses in coverage.
Everything is connected whether there is talent or not. The key will be how Flores and his staff can get the ball into the hands of the playmakers and defensively create opportunities to force offenses into bad situations thus taking pressure off the weaker areas of the team.
The run defense is going to be a problem again this year and that could lead to passing success if the Dolphins can’t stop the run. While Miami will win games in 2019 the question will be how many. Will this be a great coaching job by Flores and his staff or will this indeed be the rebuild year that many expect.
Miami will not likely finish at the bottom of the league but expectations for anything more than a five win season might be a bit much despite the talent that is on the roster. Of course a great draft could change some of that and if the team does find the right players, they will minimize some of the expected losing.