Although I’m not expecting a Super Bowl run for the Dolphins this season, with the vulnerabilities of the Patriots right now, the Fins have moved to +500 to win this division in the NFL odds. Could the Dolphins be that improved, or will they just present us with some nice value in our 2013 NFL picks?
The first season under Ryan Tannehill was probably as expected in Miami. The then-rookie quarterback threw for just over 3300 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. While the young QB showed signs of brilliance against the likes of Arizona, Indianapolis and Jacksonville, he showed just as many rookie mistakes.
The running game was made possible by the return of Reggie Bush. Bush had yet another good season with Miami, rushing for almost 1000 yards and another 6 touchdowns. Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller chipped in as well, but as we know, the Fins will need to rely on them much more this season.
Now that Reggie Bush is in Detroit, Miami will have to rely more heavily on Miller and Thomas. Neither have that great of a track record. Thomas looks like a draft bust, as injury and inconsistency has plagued him throughout his short career. Miller is the more likely of the two to take over as the lead back after Bush’s exit, however he is only a sophomore in the NFL, and he has approximately 57 touches in his entire career.
If that tandem of backs can at the very least hold down the fort, the Dolphins could be very balanced on offense this season. The Fins signed a multitude of new weapons for Tannehill, and now all it will take is for him to start growing a bit faster. The Dolphins have the ability to win now if their young QB can live up to those Ben Roethlisberger comparisons, but he will now have to take a much larger role in the offense now that Bush is no longer there. While I expect somewhat of a sophomore slump for Tannehill, I also believe that he has the ability to make this offense much more potent.
The Fins added Dustin Keller, Brandon Gibson and of course Mike Wallace to their receiving core this offseason, and that will add a bunch to Brian Hartline and Davone Bess. All of a sudden, the Fins might be the best offense in the AFC East (Okay, maybe that's a reach, but you see where I’m getting at).
All in all, if it wasn’t for the question marks surrounding the running game, this could have been an "A" performance from the Dolphins and their front office staff this offseason. If Miller and Thomas can effectively run the ball, and if Tannehill can manage the game and not turn the ball over, this team could very well be a playoff contender in the AFC. On top of being a potential threat, the Dolphins could have some serious upside in the NFL odds this season.
My Grade: B+
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