I know exactly what you thought when you read that headline: Nothing. Nothing is going right for the Dolphins. The sky is officially falling. It sure feels that way sitting at 1-3 going into a matchup with the defending champs that seems doomed to end with another loss. It may be an exercise in futility, but I am determined to find at least a few things we can feel positive about in this season that has started almost as poorly as it could have.
Let’s start with the rookies Jaylen and Jaelan. Jaylen Waddle, selected 6th overall has shown flashes of greatness but his usage, much like most of the Miami offense, has been frustrating. The positive aspect of this is that it definitely seems to be a scheme issue and not a skill issue. Watching him on the field, Waddle is consistently finding ways to get open, showing his explosive potential, but the offense hasn’t been able to feed him the ball.
Through four games, Waddle has 25 receptions for 200 yards and one touchdown. With Jakeem Grant being moved to the Chicago Bears and Will Fuller being placed on IR, Waddle will most likely see more touches in the return game and more targets in the passing attack which will give him plenty of opportunities to show off his superstar potential.
The Dolphins desperately need to find a way to get the ball in his hands more, but what we’ve seen of his play so far shows why he was chosen in the top ten of the draft. (I’m trying to stay positive here so I won’t mention that the Dolphins definitely should have used that pick on Penei Sewell.)
Jaelan Phillips, the linebacker selected by the Miami Dolphins 18th overall in last year’s draft is showing signs of being the player you’d expect to get drafted in that spot. Phillips got pressure on the quarterback six times in last week’s matchup against the Colts in addition to three quarterback hits and half a sack.
He only played 41% of the snaps against the Colts according to Pro Football Reference, so his numbers will continue to increase the more he can get on the field. In a less quantifiable way, he looks like he’s beginning to play the position with more confidence. The kid definitely passes the eye test and if he can keep improving, he will be a force to reckon with on the Miami defense for a long time to come.
Head coach Brian Flores said after the game in regards to Phillips, “I think he’s playing with a lot more confidence. Fast. Aggressive. Better.” With a lot of draft misses in the rear-view mirror, it seems like Phillips is on his way to being a worthwhile investment.
I really wanted to come up with three good things that were going on in Miami, but quite honestly I am having trouble with the third. I’ve got it: the Dolphins’ throwback uniforms are still the best in football. I’m sorry, I did my best. Buckle in, this is going to be a long season.