The Miami Dolphins were the team of the offseason, as they brought in players such as Mike Wallace, Dannell Ellerbe, Phillip Wheeler and Brent Grimes. They traded up to draft Dion Jordan third overall, and they believe these moves have positioned them to become a playoff team. However, the winners of the offseason are not always the winners of the real season, and that has to be a major concern for the Dolphins.
The Dolphins are a very difficult team to pick a best and worst case scenario for, because they could really end up anywhere and no one would be that surprised. There are a few concerns with this team that could lead to them finishing closer to the worst case scenario, so let’s take a look at those.
First off, the offensive line is a huge question mark, particularly left tackle Jonathan Martin. He’s is moving to left this year, and he has not looked good in preseason. Poor pass protection can derail any team’s season, and it will hamper the development of second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
The other concern is the whether or not the free agents will actually improve the team. Many people have questioned the Wallace signing, believing the Dolphins overpaid badly for a receiver who is not much more than a straight-line deep threat. Grimes is coming off a torn ACL, and there is no guarantee he will return to his once very impressive form. Finally, Ellerbe is leaving the Baltimore Ravens, and he may not be as successful with the weaker supporting cast he will have in Miami.
If the passing game struggles because of lack development from Tannehill, poor protection or inferior receivers, the Dolphins will have a hard time putting up points. If the defense doesn’t adjust well to the new 4-3 scheme and the FA signings don’t perform, the Dolphins will struggle to stop anyone.
Put those together, and you have the worst-case scenario. Promising teams have failed many times before, and the Dolphins could be next. These issues could lead to the team finishing with as low as a 6-10 record.
However, it is unlikely for the Dolphins to be that bad. The AFC is weak, which works in their favor, and they will have a shot at a wild card spot. This team is still not ready to challenge the New England Patriots atop the AFC East, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t make a run at a playoff spot.
If everything breaks right, the Dolphins could finish with a 10-6 record and wild-card berth. Even a 9-7 record might be just enough to get them in. Their best-case scenario is clearly making the playoffs, regardless of whatever record gets them there. If you want to be greedy, maybe they could spring a first-round upset, but that’s as far as this team can go for right now.
Making the playoffs would be a tremendous step forward for this young team, and it would give them great hope for the future. It is certainly their best-case scenario, but it is also one that is very realistic.