NFL Miami Dolphins

Five Things We Learned From Miami Dolphins’ Week 1 Win

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Five Things We Learned From The Miami Dolphins Win

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the 2013 season, the Miami Dolphins were expected to contend for the AFC East title and perhaps even the Super Bowl. There were a few things that Dolphins fans felt confident in coming into the season. Cameron Wake is one of the best pass rushers and defensive players in the NFL and will cause trouble for any quarterback. Mike Pouncey is a top three center in the league and will anchor a questionable offensive line. And Brandon Fields can punt the ball as well as any punter in the history of the NFL.

Other than those sure things, there were a lot of players that are gone from last season and a whole lot of talent that came in. The Miami Dolphins allowed players like Reggie Bush, Jake Long, Karlos Dansby, Kevin Burnett, Sean Smith and Anthony Fasano to leave via free agency. They replaced them with Mike Wallace, Brent Grimes, Brandon Gibson, Dustin Keller, Tyson Clabo, Phillip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe. They got more skilled on offense and much more physical on defense.

In addition to those moves, they also traded up to the number three pick to get Dion Jordan, a pass rushing specialist out of the University of Oregon. They released former Pro Bowl Kicker Dan Carpenter and drafted Caleb Sturgis, a Lou Groza Award Finalist out of the University of Florida.

The Dolphins have a very tough first five games this year and we will learn very quickly if they are a contender in 2013. Even though it is hard to measure success based on what you do against the Cleveland Browns, these are five things we learned in Week 1.

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5. Offensive Line

Offensive Line
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Tannehill was sacked four times and hit seven times. The Dolphins as a team rushed for 20 yards on 23 carries. To say the offensive line was bad is an understatement, but they were still the better than Cleveland's. If they don't improve drastically over the next few games, they will dig themselves a 1-4 hole and regret letting Jake Long go.

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4. Ryan Tannehill

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the season, any hopes the Dolphins had of making the playoffs rested on the arm of Ryan Tannehill. He was chased and hit a lot early in the game but regrouped to dominate the second half. He still has great chemistry with Brian Hartline and has developed some with Brandon Gibson. If he and Mike Wallace can get on the same page, expect Tannehill to double his touchdown numbers this season.

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3. Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler

Ellerbe and Wheeler
Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

It was easy to see in the first game that Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler bring a physical presence that the Dolphins have not had at linebacker in a while. They each finished with six tackles and you could see them attack the line of scrimmage on every run play and on linebacker blitzes. Both Ellerbe and Wheeler will finish this season with over 100 tackles.

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2. Brian Hartline

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Hartline will be the leading receiver for the Dolphins this year. Even though he is surrounded by more talent at the receiver position, Ryan Tannehill still feels more comfortable throwing to the dependable Hartline who will be covered by the other teams' No. 2 cornerback.

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1. Pass Rush

Pass Rush
Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

There came a point in the fourth quarter where you started to feel bad for Brandon Weeden. He was sacked six times and hit 16 times by a deep and talented Dolphins defensive line. Cameron Wake, Randy Starks, Dion Jordan and Derrick Shelby combined for the six sacks. Jared Odrick, Paul Soliai, Vaughn Martin and Olivier Vernon also hurried Weeden and stuffed Trent Richardson at the line of scrimmage.