5 New Year’s Resolutions for the Miami Dolphins in 2014
5 New Year's Resolutions for the Miami Dolphins
The end to the Miami Dolphins' 2013 season was disastrous to say the least. An opportunity to qualify for the franchise's first playoff berth and earn its first winning record in half a decade was wasted with completely inept performances against two division rivals.
The Dolphins scored a grand total of seven points in two games in which the stakes were at their highest. It was a choke-job of epic proportions that has returned the team to its familiar residence at rock bottom. But there's one saying Dolphins fans have learned to adopt during hard times that has kept hope alive: there's always next year.
Although the regular season won't begin for another nine months, 2014 is only one day away. With a new year comes an opportunity for change. One popular way to inspire change when the calender changes is to commit to some New Year's resolutions. The Dolphins, given their dire standing, should certainly consider some themselves.
With all of Miami's flaws and with how the regular season culminated only two days ago, narrowing the team's resolutions to five is certainly somewhat of a challenge. Change is arguably needed in the front office, coaching staff and on the roster on each side of the ball, so five resolutions for change might not be sufficient.
Nevertheless, if the Dolphins can follow through with the following five resolutions, 2014 could finally foster a successful season.
Cody Strahm is a Miami Dolphins contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @CodyJStrahm.
5. A More Creative Offense
Despite quarterback Ryan Tannehill's progression, the Dolphins' offense was one of the league's least productive in 2013, finishing 27th in total yards and 26th in points per game. From a transparent pre-snap cadence to frequently abandoning the running game to lining up playmakers in the same positions on the field to not utilizing Tannehill's athletic ability enough, the Dolphins' offense was too predictable this season. And offensive coordinator Mike Sherman should be held responsible.
It would be a surprise if Sherman wasn't fired by owner Stephen Ross sometime soon. That's step one. Step two would be hiring a coordinator with the creativity Miami's offense is missing.
4. Light Fire Under Linebackers
Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler are due to make $6 million and $5 million respectively in 2014, so the Dolphins are likely stuck with what was one of the league's worst starting linebacker duos this season for at least another year. According to Pro Football Focus, Ellerbe was slotted 50th of 55 eligible inside linebackers and Wheeler finished dead last among 4-3 outside linebackers in overall efficiency in 2013.
That won't cut it in 2014 if the Dolphins hope to improve their porous run defense. Miami can't get rid of the two without significant repercussions so they must find a way to see improvement from both. Whether it be a scheme change or bringing in competition, something needs to be done to light a fire under Ellerbe and Wheeler.
3. Rebuild Offensive Line
Tannehill was sacked 58 times in 2013 -- more than any other quarterback in the league and more than any other Dolphins' passer in the history of the franchise. Throw in the league's 26th ranked rushing attack and a national controversy that involved two of Miami's offensive linemen, and it's no secret that the unit needs a complete makeover.
Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey should be the only member of the group who feels safe this offseason. The Dolphins could and probably should have new starters at all four other positions along the line.
2. No More Wasted Draft Picks and Detrimental Signings
As of Tuesday morning, general manager Jeff Ireland was still employed by the Dolphins. Owner Stephen Ross doesn't want to make a rash, emotional decision after Sunday's disaster, so he is expected to take his time deciding on Ireland's fate.
However, if Ireland is still making personnel decisions for the Dolphins when free agency and the draft arrive, Ross would have failed the team and its fans much like Ireland has with repeated blunders offseason after offseason.
1. Give Ryan Tannehill Fair Shot
Ryan Tannehill improved in his second year as the starter, but he still has a ways to go in order to develop into the franchise quarterback he's showed only glimpses of being. The inability to hit the deep ball is one example of an area he struggled with in year two. While Tannehill is at fault for several things, he never had a fair shot to really break out as a star this season.
Given the aforementioned protection issues and running game inconsistency, he faced an uphill battle since Week 1. The Dolphins must give him a fair shot to show he who he really is in 2014. That will begin with remodeling the offensive line and making sure he has a productive running game to lean on.