More than any other team this offseason, my perception has been rather bipolar when it comes to Miami Dolphins. In the end I have them repeating last season’s record despite improving in overall play.
I think Miami made some excellent moves this offseason to better equip Ryan Tannehill and transition this defense to a younger, more aggressive unit personnel-wise. Mike Wallace provides the necessary field-stretcher for this offense while players like Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler should give their defense more flexibility in attacking the passer. Each of these facets are good in the long-run yet we might not see the full dividends immediately here in 2013.
Wallace’s injury hasn’t helped, and I’m still not convinced that he and Tannehill are totally in rhythm as of yet. This may develop over the course of the season but I’m not sure how quickly the full positive impact of this addition will be felt. Tannehill did seem to find quick chemistry with tight end Dustin Keller, that is until this promising connection was destroyed by a season-ending, career-threatening knee injury to the receiving tight end midway through preseason.
Perhaps second-year running back Lamar Miller can pick up some of that offensive slack, behind an offensive line that should be more effective with Jonathan Martin having a year under his belt and Tyson Clabo taking over at right tackle.
The secondary also faces their own challenges in quickly gelling as a unit, with the complete cornerback overhaul bringing in new faces including Brent Grimes — arguably the NFC’s best corner two years ago before getting injured for 2012 — and rookies Will Davis and Jamar Taylor. Having an elite edge-rusher like Cameron Wake will surely help the coverage effort.
Predicted Regular Season Record: 7-9 (2nd in AFC East)
Predicted Finish: Miss postseason