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5 Musts For Dolphins To Make Playoffs

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  • 5 Musts For Dolphins To Make Playoffs

    1. Career Year from RYAN TANNEHILL

    In order for Miami to even be considered in playoff talk, it is going to need a career year from quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Entering his fifth season in the league, Tannehill has continued to provide hope for Miami at the quarterback position, but hasn’t been able to put everything together and lead the Dolphins to a postseason berth.

    Despite throwing for more than 23 touchdowns each of the last three years, it’s becoming clear that Tannehill may need to reach the 30-touchdown mark if he plans on leading Miami to post-season play. Every once in a while you’ll find a team that makes the playoff with less-than-stellar quarterback play, however, more often than not these teams either make their living with the ground game or have one of the league’s top defenses — neither of which Miami is expected to have.

    With the leagues’ offensive scoring averages growing by the year, it is clear that the Dolphins will need to score more points on offense and this inevitably will fall on Tannehill’s shoulders. With hopes of an improved offensive line, a more balanced offensive attack, and a solid stable of wide receivers, Tannehill will be put on the spot as the offensive leader that needs to provide a career year for Miami to have any hopes of reaching the playoffs.

    2. Strong play from the secondary

    One of the biggest question marks on the team this year is the defensive secondary. In order for Miami to take the next step and reach the postseason, the secondary is going to have to be at least average – if not a little better than average.

    There isn’t a person out there who will tell you that this unit is going to all of a sudden be great, and no one should expect greatness at this point from this group, but it is going to have to step up in several games throughout the year to help keep games close going into the fourth quarter.

    Early reports have been fairly positive on former Seahawks and Eagles cornerback Byron Maxwell, but we are still quite a ways away from learning who will be the boundary corner on the other side. Regardless of who earns the starting position, we do know that it is going to be someone with little to no NFL experience.

    It’s clear that the Miami Dolphins like rookie cornerback Xavien Howard having moved up to select him in the second round; but starting a first-year player at boundary corner is sure to have bumps along the way.

    If Miami decides to let the rookie corner learn and grow a little more before throwing him into the fire, another candidate to start with very limited experience is second year corner, Tony Lippett. Regardless, if Miami goes with one of these young guys, or any other option that is currently on the roster, it will be crucial that these starters perform at an adequate level to ensure teams don’t jump out to an early lead each week and put the Dolphins in an insurmountable hole.

    While everyone should feel confident in returning starting safety, Reshad Jones, it’s yet to be determined what we can expect from the other safety position as current options include Isa Abdul-Quddus, Walt Aikens and Michael Thomas. While these players are young and may provide upside down the line, it’s critical for one of these players to emerge from training camp with a solid hold on the position.

    Second-year corner Bobby McCain will also need to improve on his performance from last year as the nickel corner position seems to be his for the time being. McCain flashed a few times for Miami last year, but will need to perform more consistently in a league that continues to target slot receiver options on crucial third downs throughout the game.

    3. Pressure the opposing quarterback

    One way to help this young and fairly inexperienced secondary will be to provide pressure on the quarterback from the front four. Continually forcing opposing quarterbacks to make quick decisions will help both the secondary and the unproven group of linebackers.

    It’s no secret of how Miami plans to attack the quarterback after signing free agent Mario Williams and extending the contract of returning starter, Cam Wake. With these two veteran pass rushers, paired with one of the best defensive tackles in the league in Ndamukong Suh, it will be on this unit to provide constant pressure and be disruptive when teams are looking to exploit Miami’s potentially shaky secondary.

    Whether it’s second-year defensive tackle, Jordan Phillips, or returning starter, Earl Mitchell, one – or both – of these players are going to have to step up and eat up blockers to free up Miami’s linebackers to make plays against the run.

    But at the end of the game if Miami is protecting a lead, the most important players on the field for the Dolphins will be the unit they have rushing the passer. If this unit can get to the quarterback and create sacks or force hurried decisions, the defense should have no problem protecting late-game leads. However, if this unit is unable to create any pressure, it could get ugly watching opposing teams’ quarterbacks provide fourth-quarter comebacks against the previously mentioned unproven secondary.

    4. Perform well against division rivals

    Another key area Miami has to thrive in this year is games against AFC East opponents. It will be crucial for the Dolphins to finish above .500 in these games if they have any hope of making the playoffs.

    In a division that has basically been a race for second place for more than a decade, it’s hard to imagine anyone besides New England emerging as the top team in the AFC East. However, since you see these common opponents for a combined six games every year, close to 40 percent of your scheduled games come against these teams which not only gives you opportunities to notch some tallies in the win column, but you also have the ability to worsen the record of those you are directly competing with for an automatic spot in the playoffs.

    The Dolphins, and Tannehill especially, have continued to struggle with road games in New York and Buffalo, so weeks 15 and 16 may prove to be very critical to a playoff run. If Miami can stay competitive throughout the season, it will be these games – and more than likely week 17 against New England – that will determine if Miami ends its current playoff drought.

    5. Establish the running game

    The fifth thing Miami must do in order to make the playoffs in 2016 is it must establish some sort of running game to add another dimension to the offense.

    Not only would having a formidable rushing attack provide relief to Tannehill and the recently pass-happy Dolphins’ offense, but it would also help make offensive possessions last longer meaning less time that the defense has to be on the field.

    A running game that can be counted on late in games will help protect leads, wear down the opposing teams’ defense, and bring a sense of power and domination that has been non-existent in Miami for several years.

    If Miami ball carriers can combine for over 2,000 yards on the ground, it will mean that it played with the lead in several games and hopefully this results in wins that could be a large part of a playoff berth in 2016.
    Last edited by DolphinsFreak; 07-01-2016, 06:07 PM.
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking." - George S. Patton

    “The only thing worse then a liar is a liar that’s also a hypocrite!” - Tennessee Williams

  • #2
    1. Tannehill has to make more impactful plays. If you look at his stats at the end of the year they look pretty good. 4200 yards 24 TD's 12 INT's and 61% completions. A lot of his stats were put up when the game was not on the line. He has to make more impactful plays when the game is on the line. He has to get better on 3rd down, the red zone and the 4th quarter. Hopefully Adam Gase's offense suits him.

    2. The secondary is probably the biggest question mark on the team. Its hard to know which Byron Maxwell we will get and relying on rookie Xavien Howard to start is quite a gamble. Nobody else on this unit McCain Lippett and Lucas have much if any experience so this is very concerning. I would really make a strong effort to sign Leon Hall just so we have some more experience and he is also familiar with VJ's scheme. This is the unit that gives me the most concern.

    3. The D-line along with the WR corps should be the strength of the team. If we get a motivated Mario Williams and a healthy Cam Wake along with Suh there is no reason why we should not have a very good pass rush. I have even been hearing good things about Andre Branch so its good to know that we also have some quality depth in this unit. Its also important that Jordan Phillips takes a step forward after a disappointing rookie season.

    4. Assuming the Patriots win their usual 12 or 13 games we will be competing for one of two wildcard berths. Its crucial that we at least split with the Bills and Jets. The best case scenario is that the AFC East gets one of the two wildcard berths so if either the Bills or Jets sweep us that means we have to make up three games on them in the remaining 14 games on the schedule which seems unrealistic to me. As long as we go at least 3-3 in the division and beat the Bills and Jets at least once each then we will at least have a chance to compete for a wildcard berth.

    5. Establishing a credible rushing attack is very important as it will make our offense more unpredictable and take some pressure off Tannehill. I think Ajajyi can be a good feature back. I wish we had drafted Dixon instead of Drake because Drake is more of a complementary back and he was plagued by injuries in college. I think our rushing attack will be better because our o-line should be improved.


    • #3
      1) Brady suspension upheld to full 4 games.

      2) Jets go with Geno Smith.

      3) Bills have distractions galore ( big mouth Ryans, incognito ain't so Incognito, Wadkins gets lazy, they get massive wintry stormpalooza.)

      4) do you remember The McDLT? Where the cool side is cool and warm side is warm? Let' me introduce the McHTS ( Half tarp stadium ) lets keep us cool and let them bake!

      5) last but not least ( drum roll....................... ) ONE WORD GASE!
      Last edited by AquaXI; 07-01-2016, 11:35 PM.
      Just frolic and live in the now like Dolphins and Man's best friend.


      • Phintim Menace
        Phintim Menace commented
        Editing a comment
        I do remember the McDLT, they were great, no wilted lettuce or tomatoes! That was a really long time ago. Almost back to our last Superbowl win.

      • AquaXI
        AquaXI commented
        Editing a comment
        I see it now, McDLTs, bell bottoms, VW wagons, Air Supply, and feathered bangs. If all this is what it takes for the Dolphins to have Super bowl Karma then bring it on!

    • #4
      Was this article written by Captain Obvious?

      TL;DR version: The team must play well from all positions and we need better coaching that during Philbin's tenure.


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