The Miami Dolphins could go from worst to first in the AFC East, again

MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 08: Head coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins looks on against the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 08: Head coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins looks on against the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
4 of 4
Xavien Howard
MIAMI, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 29: Xavien Howard #25 of the Miami Dolphins in action in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at Hard Rock Stadium on September 29, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

1st – AFC East – Miami Dolphins (5-11) – . The Dolphins had the most money going into free agency and they spent it well. Coach Flores prides himself on having a flexible defense that can give you many looks and those are the types of players the Dolphins went after. The addition of cornerback Byron Jones alone improves the Phin’s pass defense tremendously. The duo of Howard and Jones can be put into the conversation of the best in the NFL. The Phins didn’t stop there as they added Kyle Van Noy, Emmanuel Ogbah, and Shaq Lawson to the defensive front seven giving Miami a plethora of DE/OLB/Edge players to fit any situation. That doesn’t even include the additions of Elandon Roberts or Kamu Grugier-Hill to the linebacking corps. The Dolphins also addressed the glaring holes on the offensive line by signing center Ted Karras and Ereck Flowers to help bolster that unit.

The Dolphins also added power and speed to the running back position by signing Jordan Howard via free agency and trading a draft pick for Matt Breida. Free agency wasn’t where the Dolphins stopped. When the draft rolled around the Dolphins were again strategic with their selections. The obvious selection at fifth overall was the quarterback of the future Tua Tagovailoa from Alabama. They also added an offensive tackle in USC’s Austin Jackson at number 18 overall as well as another cornerback in Noah Igbinoghene from Auburn later in the first round. In the second they added move size when they drafted offensive guard from Houston, Robert Hunt and Alabama defensive tackle Raekwon Davis.

The Dolphins continued to fill their roster later in the draft picking up safety Brandon Jones from Texas in the third round, another guard in Georgia’s Solomon Kindley in the 4th and two more DE/Edge rushers in the 5th round in Jason Strowbridge from North Carolina and Curtis Weaver from Boise State.

Make no mistake about it, the Miami Dolphins are still in rebuild mode but that rebuild may be a little more advanced than people think. People who didn’t watch this team week in and week out last year don’t realize how good of a job Coach Brian Flores did. Most focused on the “Tank for Tua” narrative and were blind to the fact that Coach Flores was able to cobble together 5 wins with a roster that oftentimes signed guys on Tuesday and had them in the lineup playing meaningful minutes on Sunday. Coaching matters in the NFL.

The Patriots dynasty is a prime example. They don’t always have the best talent, but they have far and away had the best-coached team year in and year out. The Dolphins seem to be becoming one of those teams as well. This roster is far and away better than last year so I would expect quite a bit of improvement over the 5 win season last year. The Dolphins will obviously benefit from the departure of Tom Brady from the division. For the first time in years, the AFC East is actually up for grabs.

Related Story. Keim - Robbing rivals to improve Dolphins. light

In a previous article I wrote (link above), improving the Dolphins by stealing a player from division rivals, I looked at all the rosters in the AFC East. The Patriots do not have that good of a roster. It’s an aging team that will be missing half of the Brady/Belichick tandem. That doesn’t mean the Dolphins can look past them, but if there is one team that tends to have the Patriots number, it’s the Dolphins. The NY Jets are still a team without a direction in my opinion. They have a young signal-caller in Sam Darnold but their head coach is Adam Gase.

Dolphins fans have been there and done that and know-how that story ends. The favorite to win the division right now would have to be the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins and Bills are being rebuilt in the same way, with the Bills being a year or two ahead. The big question with the Bills is, will Josh Allen take the next step at quarterback. If he does, this is probably their division to lose, if not then the Dolphins will have something to say.

We will have to wait and see how it all plays out but if I were a betting man and had to choose one team to go from worst to first, my money would ride on the Miami Dolphins!