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Dolphins Yin And Yang Of Improvements & Setbacks

Dolphins Yin And Yang Of Improvements & Setbacks

Improvements have been balanced by setbacks leaving the Fins in neutral

Improvements have been balanced by setbacks leaving the Fins stuck in neutral

Miami needs to make improvements without new setbacks creeping in

The Miami Dolphins may have lost Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles 31-38, but there were also improvements offering hope that the Fins are headed in the right direction. Of course, there were also several setbacks that took some of the wind out of Miami’s sails.

First, a key objective was achieved: NO major injuries.

That’s a big positive–BIG.

With the 4th Preseason game a few days away time is running out to fix some crucial issues, but at least there aren’t any new broken pieces to deal with.

A major positive is that Jay Cutler is gaining confidence and building chemistry with his new teammates. Many were hesitant–to say the least–about his acquisition. Now it seems Cutler might end up a bright spot to the season.

Cutler showed off his arm with the 72 yard pass to DeVante Parker and spread the ball to multiple receivers. Parker and Cutler appear to be en route to a special season in 2017.

But, while Cutler and Parker should be fine, there’s that ever present question about the quality of O-Line…

I’m not going to beat that dead horse–at least for this article. We all know that situation: So goes the Offensive Line, so goes the 2017 Season. I’ll tell you this, if the O-Line comes together by Week 1 and performs, Adam Gase should be given sainthood and the Nobel Prize.

But hey, let’s stay positive and grasp at straws with a smile: Mike Pouncey hasn’t broken down yet, and Jesse Davis appears to be a nice find!

Improvements need to far outweigh the setbacks for 2017 to be successful

Then there is Julius Thomas who is doing his best impression of Jordan Cameron at the moment. I have to believe that 5.5 Million spent on him could have been better spent elsewhere. Unfortunately, with a 7.5 million cap hit if he were to be released, there’s no going back. Thomas could end up being a real black eye for both the FO and Gase if he flops… fingers crossed.

On defense, pay per head sites were betting that the secondary would be a strength and the D-Line a weakness.

At this stage, it’s looking like the two have flipped flopped.

Tony Lippett’s injury hurt big time… And with Byron Maxwell at risk of losing his starting job less than 2 weeks before the opener, salt is being rubbed in the wound. But can you believe it, Jordan Phillips seems to have woken up and is gaining steam in both effort and production? If both he and Davon Godchaux keep their current trajectory, this could end up the best DL interior the Fins have had in some time.

And a nice cherry on top is that both Nick Williams and Vincent Taylor look to be quality role players.

Then there’s the LB’s: Lawrence Timmons looks to be a serious difference maker to go along with Kiko Alonso… but injuries to Neville Hewitt and Raekwon McMillan have left the core thin and scrambling to bolster the core. The addition of Rey Maualuga is an unknown and he might not even be ready for Week 1… but then again, maybe he will.

I’m running out of fingers to cross.

Many of the Dolphins failings are correctable

Overall it’s very difficult to gauge where the 2017 team is at. Both the Offense and Defense has had uneven outputs and every positive seems to be balanced with a negative. The theme so far this preseason has been inconsistency. But there’s still time… really there is.

With the 4th preseason game a final tryout for the roster-bubble players, the starters are going to have to be laser focused on making improvements over the next two weeks of practice. Then there’s the great purge of talent coming up with a 1000 players hitting the streets at once and the possibility of trades. This team isn’t in it’s final incarnation… so don’t lose hope Fin Fans. But man wouldn’t it be nice to only have positives to talk about. What are the rest of the Miami Dolphins News fans thoughts about how this preseason has played out for Miami so far, and what concerns you guys the most about this 2017 team?


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  • Samson

    If our O-line can somehow come together, like Bushrod being our biggest weak spot, then I believe our offense is top 10…. Top 5 maybe because this might be the best set of offensive weapons we have EVER had. A trio of stud WR’s, beast of a RB and a TE who should be able to do enough plus decent depth at all of them. Our pass defense has promise but I’m still worried about our MLB and the run game. If one of our rookie DT’s can be good next to Suh and Wake, Jones and Kiko stay healthy then maybe the defense can be middle of the pack… With this happening and Gase coaching we could see the playoffs again. Football season is upon us and I can’t wait…. GO FINS!!

    • admin

      I agree will you totally on the offensive weapons class of the 2017 Dolphins being arguably the best… Ajayi really changes everything. Not sure on Thomas and the TE’s… hope you are correct on that. If Bushrod is the weal spot on the OL, we will be in for an excellent season. I think DT will be the least of the problem… Phillips and Godchaux will likely end up battling all season for starter. I eve think you’ll see SuH out on some semi critical snaps to give him fresher legs down the road. DT will be the best we’ve seen in some time. Pass D has promise, but is thin. Howard must stay healthy. MLB is only a two down gig… but if Timmons or Kiko go down, that would be ugly. Miami is running a razors edge in a few places… it’s very possible those thin spots stat healthy… Let’s hope. Man, I haven’t been this excited for a season in sometime. Definitely some concerns, but overall I see good things. 7 days till we get rolling, Samson!!!

  • Fritz

    I’m very optimistic. I believe Cutler will be okay as long as the OLine is decent and Ajayi stays healthy. Pouncey has to stay healthy too. As long as the offense can maintain possession and put up points, the defense will be adequate. I agree that Jesse Davis is a find and will fill in admirably at LG. I am disappointed in Asiata, thought he would have been further ahead than he currently is. Matt Burke has a lot to prove.
    Injuries always occur during training camp and preseason games and because of our lack of depth it is painful for us. We just have to hope the injury bug has moved on and everyone else can stay healthy.
    There are so many IFs, but unlike Lemmus, I see the team doing well and not regressing, in spite of all the problems. Considering the schedule, a 9-7 season is not regression. I do agree with Lemmus “in Gase I trust” all others….

    • admin

      9-7 with some hard fought losses wouldn’t be a bad season given everything involved. Asiata is a guy who be groomed… not seen enough to stake my claim on that, so it’s a hunch. Burke is huge. We could have great pieces, but if he puts them in the wrong spot, then it won’t matter. It would be nice if he turned out to be brilliant wouldn’t it?!!!

  • Lemmus

    …in Gase I trust

    …that’s it in a nutshell

    …not be surprised if the team regresses from last season …the OL, the DBs, the injuries

    …but the offense could be awesome if the OL somehow gels

    …and if Burke can make the defense work better than Joseph, then look out NE

    …Saturday is going to be a roller coaster ride with bodies flying everywhere …I’m thinking we pick up at least 2 OL, maybe 3

    …the bottom line is simple …if Philbust was still the coach, I’d be looking for a top 5 draft pick in ’18 …but Gase …he makes me want to believe we can put the kibosh on NE once and for all

    …can’t wait to see it, eh …been a long time …a long, long, long, long time 😄

    • admin

      I’d like to see a quality Center and someone to replace Young at Tackle and some LB’s. Hewitt’s shoulder is pretty bad and will end up cut or on some list (IR or PUP). That makes he Lb’s thin. It will be crazy when the cuts happen. Gase is my hope… so far he has been on more than he’s been off. This season will reveal alot about the heights of his coaching skill… it won’t be an easy one. Burke is another IF… man, so many… maybe even more than last year.

      • Lemmus

        …it’s going to be a crazy week …Joe Haden was released, he could fill easily at CB for us but we don’t have the cap …and so it will go …tomorrow’s game will be scrubs fighting for a slot at the bottom of our 53 or the PS …then the churn over the next few days …and then the Bucs who seem to think the fins are a sure win

        • admin

          Meant to get back to you sooner… now jimmy’s got me doing video clips for his articles… it’s become an aqua sweat shop over here. I spent most of today writing an article about Maxwell and Haden, of course he signed elsewhere and most of it was wasted… after another bunch of hours in a redesign, my reply is in the form of another article… I’m tired and off to drink a bit.