By DJ Siddiqi @DJSiddiqi on June 17, 2014
Like any franchise that hasn't won a playoff game in 14 seasons, the Miami Dolphins have many red flags entering 2014. After all, the 2013 squad had a chance to clinch a playoff berth in the last two games of the season. All they had to do was win just one of those two games. In typical Dolphins' style, Miami lost both games and missed out on the playoffs for the fifth straight season. Here are the Dolphins' five biggest red flags entering 2014.
During OTAs, the 30-year-old Cortland Finnegan emerged as Miami's best cornerback not named Brent Grimes. As it stands now, Finnegan will likely serve as the No. 2 or the nickel CB by the time the season opens. This is worrisome because Finnegan ranked as the second-worst CB of all qualifying players during the 2013 season, according to Pro Football Focus.
While the idea of utilizing four or five reads in Bill Lazor's offense seems exciting at first thought, it could also pose problems for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill has never been expected to make four or five reads on typical passing plays. In 2014, Tannehill will be expected to do so in Lazor's new offensive system. The third-year quarterback's ability to develop and adapt under Lazor's system will dictate Miami's fate in 2014.
Lamar Miller has clearly emerged as Miami's No. 1 running back. Throughout OTAs, Miller took first-team reps, while Knowshon Moreno took backup reps. This is a concern seeing as how Miller has never proven to be a viable starting running back in the NFL. Moreno was expected to be the guy that cured Miami's rushing woes, but he showed up to OTAs out of shape. There are rumblings that Moreno is not a fit in Lazor's offensive system.
The defense had a superb season in terms of points allowed per game, as the team ranked eighth in the aforementioned category. As far as yards allowed however, the Dolphins were below average. The team ranked 21st in yards allowed, while ranking 28th in average plays per drive. Considering Miami's offense ranked 29th in average plays per drive, the defense needs to help the offense out by getting off the field sooner.
In each of the last two seasons, the Dolphins entered the final week of the season with an opportunity to clinch a playoff berth. In both of those seasons, the Dolphins fell short of clinching a playoff berth. A big reason why Miami has been unable to have any sort of lasting success over recent years has been due to their struggles against their divisional foes. During the 2012 and 2013 seasons, the 'Fins finished 2-4 vs. AFC East opponents.
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