July 18, 2016
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The Miami Dolphins have not made the playoffs since the 2008 season and enter with a new head coach in Adam Gase. Fans of the Dolphins are optimistic about the upcoming season but also keeping their expectations realistic given the way things have gone over the years.
Here is how the Miami Dolphins look entering the 2016 season.
Key Player Losses: Offensively, the Dolphins watched running back Lamar Miller and wide receiver Rishard Matthews leave due to free agency. Miller is a young running back who shined when actually given the ball and Matthews was a good No. 3 option on the outside. Defensively, linebacker Kelvin Sheppard and defensive end Olivier Vernon left for the New York Giants. Those two were key contributors Miami will miss. The Dolphins also lost three cornerbacks in Brent Grimes, Jamar Taylor and Brice McCain.
Key Player Additions: The Dolphins made their key additions on the defensive line with Mario Williams and Andre Branch, a duo that has racked up a combined 110 sacks in their career. Cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonso were acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles and are two players who could shine with a change of scenery. Miami clearly spent all offseason focusing on the defensive side of the ball, mainly due to all the players they lost.
Draft: The Dolphins got the steal in the draft with offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, who is a top-five talent but dropped due to off-the-field issues. Tunsil could start right away and be an anchor of an offensive line for a decade. Xavien Howard is a physical corner who fills in a position of need and running back Kenyan Drake is a speedster to add to the physicality of Jay Ajayi. Leonte Carroo is also a sure-handed receiver who reminds me a bit of Jarvis Landry.
Outlook: The Miami Dolphins have the talent to be a wild card team, but I’ve been saying that for years now. In order for the Dolphins to take that next step, it all comes down to the improvement with quarterback Ryan Tannehill. If he’s able to take that next step and become more of a difference maker, the Dolphins could make the playoffs for the first time since 2008. If not, the Dolphins will be another mediocre team that limps towards the finish line.
Miami Dolphins 2016 Schedule:
Sunday, Sept. 11 - at Seattle - 4:05 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 18 - at New England - 1 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 25 – CLEVELAND - 1 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 29 - at Cincinnati - 8:25 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 9 - TENNESSEE - 1 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 16 – PITTSBURGH - 1 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 23 – BUFFALO - 1 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 30 - BYE WEEK
Sunday, Nov. 6 - N.Y. JETS - 1 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 13 - at San Diego - 4:05 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 20 - at Los Angeles - 4:05 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 27 - SAN FRANCISCO - 1 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 4 - at Baltimore - 1 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 11 – ARIZONA - 1 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 17 - at N.Y. Jets - 8:25 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 24 - at Buffalo - 1 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 1 - NEW ENGLAND - 1 p.m.