The Miami Dolphins will need to find where their firepower will come from this year.
Most teams have strong points and it tends to come from the same sources. But what about the Miami Dolphins?
And will it come at all? After all, this is a young rebuilding team with what could be a long road ahead. But if they happen to hit the expressway here are some speculations in yet another mental exercise.
There is always that chance that they might just be an overall good team with no strong suits. Which is not bad and could work well, right into the playoffs. But setting that aside I feel that some thinking out of the box is needed for this guessing game.
Some strengths are obliviously shaping up, like having a good cornerback in Xavien Howard and then pairing him with the surprise pickup of Byron Jones. However Jones is not noted for his interceptions, so we shouldn’t just speculate that will change and these two will be a ball hawking duo. But if Jones somehow transforms and that is the case. It would take the defense up a notch with teams almost being afraid to pass to the intermediate and deep zones.
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Nevertheless, if they just do their jobs, with Howard getting an occasional interception (teams probably wouldn’t challenge him much) and both of them play good coverage with some pass breakups, that would hold down the fort for those zones and the turnovers could come from other areas. Kyle Van Noy could be one of those lucky recipients. And if he happens to take a turnover in for a score this coming season it would make three seasons in a row doing so.
Turnovers will be the firepower on defense, with the weakness at safety is my speculation. The reason being is the lack of trying to field a true free safety, they had one in Minkah Fitzpatrick but seemed to give up on it and plugged in anyone else. We are seeing the same callous attitude at FS that we have seen at fielding guards. And we have seen the results of that.
On offense, thinking out of the box is too challenging, with so many new players starting. There will be two new running backs and just about a whole new offensive line, a new rookie quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa is always a possibility. When a team has so many new moving parts it can be a recipe for disaster, but don’t forget how things turned around late last season.
Deep and intermediate passing could continue to be the firepower like it was with Ryan Fitzpatrick and would likely be similar to Tagovailoa, but with more emphasis on the slot. Having new backs Jordan Howard and Matt Breida and a mostly new line, along with a new offensive coordinator in Chan Gailey who is known for running a four-receiver set have me leaning in this direction.
On special teams, I have been getting duped every season thinking this will be the breakout year on returns. But that hasn’t happened to go all the way back to the times of Ted Ginn fielding them. And rule changes are not helping matters.
There could be some moving parts here as well if Jakeem Grant gets more of a receiving role. That would mean someone or more than one would need to field returns in his place. Grant has done admirably, even matching Ginn’s TD numbers for the last few seasons but Ginn has double and almost triple the total kick return yardage on the seasons both have played on the Miami Dolphins.
As far as speed, only a tenth of a second separates the two on their 40 yard dash times, with the nod going to Ginn. Grant has been active on social media with the fastest runner challenges and wants to find out who that might be in the NFL.
Some speedy replacements on returns might be needed and I offer up Noah Igbinoghene although 1st round picks don’t usually do returns, he was great at it. Malcolm Perry being picked last would be more suited for it, but his 40 time was on the slow end with 4.63 seconds. But his elusiveness could make up for that. Noah’s time of 4.48 seconds isn’t that much faster but he made it work well in college.
Back to the firepower on special teams. I will speculate it being field position. They will not be giving up long returns and having the defense in a hole that many times.