Year two under head coach Adam Gase has officially begun in Miami, and the Dolphins look for back to back playoff appearances for the first time since the 2000 and 2001 seasons. Going 10-6 in your first year with a playoff appearance is great, but everyone knows that adaptation must occur in this league in order to stay at the top.
The Dolphins will look to keep improving but questions still remain. How is Ryan Tannehill and the knee doing? How will the new additions, especially on defense, blend with the old? And just who will emerge as the backup running back?
Tannehill was arguably having the best year of his career before going down with a knee injury ending his season. He threw for 2,995 yards and 19 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. He also had a career best 67.1 percent completion percentage and QBR of 93.5. The question is how ready is the rehabbed knee? Gase has warned the media not to ask Tannehill how his knee is feeling. He’s throwing and running just fine, and Tannehill has said much of the same. Time will tell everything and the fans and media will be eager to see just how well he plays against live competition in the preseason.
The Dolphins continued their swim to adaptation by adding a couple of rookies and a few veterans to the defense. Rookie Charles Harris will look to learn from veteran linemen like Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh, while Raekwon McMillan will learn from former Steeler Lawrence Timmons. McMillan will probably have a better opportunity to make an immediate impact thanks to the injury and departure of Koa Misi.
Back to Harris. He showed flashes of being a great pass-rusher in the spring. But how will he look as the Florida temperatures begin to rise, the practices get more physical by day, and the tempers begin to flare and egos collide? Also, newly signed corner Alterraun Verner will look to carve out a role for himself and may be Miami’s starting slot corner, when the season starts. Let’s not forget he is a former Pro Bowler. Verner has all the capabilities of beating out his competition but at the same time could also be cut when all is said and done
The Jay train was in full effect last season with Jay Ajayi running for 1,272 and 8 touchdowns in break out season. The Dolphins will want to see him take on some more carries and in turn become a little more consistent. With that being said just who will emerge to back up the work horse to be?
Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake were both on the team last season and both made some impacts. Drake is very quick and a great pass catcher, while Williams was great in the red zone. Of the two it looks like Drake may have the first crack at being the next man up. Don’t forget about rookie free agent De’Veon Smith, who begins camp on the PUP list. Though, a solid camp from Smith could leave him as the 4th back on the 53 man.
Gase and company will look to build on their 2017 playoff appearance and it all starts now. The more questions you can answer and holes you can fill in July and August lead to more important games being played in December and January.
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