Dol-Fans should be excited about 2020, but should be REALLY excited about 2021 *New Writer Editorial*
By: Jorge Hinojosa
I know, excited about 2020 it felt weird to even write it, but that’s where we are right now Dol-fans. As the Dolphins seat at .500 for the first time in the Brian Flores era, with a new starting Quarterback (you heard the news about Tua, right?) and a Defense that seems to be coming together nicely the Dolphins have a real shot at making the playoffs this year. That’s great and while I am doing my best to have a Brian Flores mindset and focus on one game at a time, I have to be honest 2021 is the year I’m really excited about.
That’s not only because we will be out of the dumpster fire also known as 2020 but the Dolphins will be in year 3 of the Flores-Grier rebuild and things are looking great. Not only do we still have 2 1st rounders and 2nd rounders but players that have come on board the last few years are also becoming big-time contributors while other players are maturing nicely into premium roles.
Let’s start where the game is won and lost, in the trenches. Despite what ESPN says (and this is coming from a guy that respects and admires both Mina and Dan), Austin Jackson, Solomon Kindley and Robert Hunt all seem like great picks and seem to have the makings of solid starters for years to come. The rookies have more than held their own and at least one of them (Kindley) has already gotten the attention of national media members with his play. You add free agent addition Ereck Flowers who has really grown into a solid guard in the league and the Dolphins are 4/5 of the way to having their best O-line in years.
Oh, but what about Karras, you ask. I love him, but the Dolphins only gave him a one-year contract so who knows if he will be with the team next year. Oh, but this line is not elite, you say or even consistently good. Well to that I would say that this is the first time in at least 4 years where the Dolphins QB has been able to work around a functioning pocket and while their run-blocking needs to improve a lot, their pass protection has been getting the job done. That being said if the Dolphins use one of their first rounds on Creed Humphrey then this line from goes good to potentially elite in a very short time.
Moving on to running back, I love Miles Gaskin he is a hard worker, and embodies the Dolphins culture, I believe that a one-two punch with him and Breida can be successful in this league, that being said if the Dolphins move on from him I don’t think anyone will hold it against them. That brings us to my first point of worry or need: the receivers. DeVante Parker is probably the most underrated wide-out in the league right now, but after him the group is a concern. Williams could be a solid starter but he still has to prove he can recoup his form from last year on a consistent basis and while Isiah Ford is a solid option in the slot he is not going to make big plays.
On Jakeem Grant Sr, at this point, I’m not sure he can be a starter on this offense and while his speed is a weapon, and he is way tougher than he is given credit for, his presence in the offense should not keep the Dolphins away from adding more and better weapons. The Dolphins need to address the position and find a speedster to complement DVP. Chase (LSU), Waddle and Smith ( both-Alabama) are options in the draft but who know if a) they’ll be there when the Dolphins pick (even with the Texans selection), and if the need at WR will outweigh other needs. Either way the Dolphins need to find options that can help Tua turn small completions into big gains. The jury is still out on Bowden Jr, as he has yet to catch up on the offense but he could become dangerous in the middle of the field. I am also very excited to see how this staff develops and employs Malcolm Perry.
The former Navy QB seems to have the mental makings of a very solid player who could make a living in the slot if his route running improves, he should be active in the later parts of this season and that should give us a solid idea of what the Dolphins have with him. On the other hand, Tight end should not be a concern, nor a need for the Dolphins. Gesicki while being a ‘big slot’ has proven he can be consistent and makes plays for the offense and Smythe and Shaheen are solid complements to him.
So, Dol-fans as we continue to enjoy this year and make the most of it, let’s remember that no matter what happens, the plan was never about 2020, it’s always been about 2021 and beyond and I one for one can’t to see how it turns out.
Please welcome Jorge Hinojosa to the PhinManiacs team! Please follow him on Twitter @FranciscoHinoPe
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