And so it begins. The 2015 Miami Dolphins season is officially underway with the start of training camp today. The team has been putting in some solid work up to this point but now we see what’s what. Answers to questions like, who will start at guard and who will start at corner opposite Brent Grimes, will present themselves in the next month. But heading into Joe Philbin’s fourth training camp there are plenty of things for Dolphins’ fans to be optimistic about.
Year two in Bill Lazor’s offense should have an impact on offensive production. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill will benefit the most from this. His decisions should come quicker this year and his familiarity with the playbook means we should see more audibles at the line. Obviously the receiver’s are new but teammates are encouraged by the way “people have stepped in and caught on quickly.”
When asked about year two in Lazor’s offense on the Finsiders, backup quarterback Matt Moore said, “Just like anything else times is good. You love to go into the huddle and spit out [terminology] like it’s your own. It puts confidence in yourself and your guys.”
The Dolphins are set at the quarterback position (feels so good writing that). After over a decade of has-beens and never-will-be’s, save Jay Fiedler and Chad Pennington, the Dolphins have a quarterback that is trending up. The Dolphins put their faith in Tannehill by rewarding him with a 96 million dollar contract this off season.
According to Moore, “if anything it’s made him work harder.” His completion percentage, passing yards, and touchdown passes have improved every year as a starter. Tannehill seems poised for a breakout season.
The Dolphins have a revamped wide receiver corps. Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, and Mike Wallace are all out. In comes world champion and veteran wide receiver Greg Jennings; third year speedster from New Orleans Kenny Stills; and the Dolphins were fortunate enough to land Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker in the draft.
Add second year slot receiver Jarvis Landry to the mix and the unit has some potential. Parker is recovering from foot surgery to repair a screw but is expected to be ready for week one. I think as a group this unit will be faster than last year’s receivers. The front office tailor-made this unit to suit Tannehill’s strengths. I think they’ll help him take it to the next level.
Adding All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to the defensive line makes the entire defense better. Offensive coordinators and linemen are going to have nightmares trying to figure out how to block Suh and “the most complete 4-3 defensive end in the game” in Cameron Wake. And I’ve seen Earl Mitchell take on two blockers himself.
The left side of that defensive line is going to make right end Olivier Vernon a lot of money. He’s going into the last year of his rookie contract and will probably benefit more than anybody else from Suh and Wake’s fury. The linebackers aren’t great but they’re solid. Coaches pet Koa Misi returns from injury and is stout against the run. Jelani Jenkins led the defense in tackles last year.
Second year player and fan favorite Chris McCain will get a chance to show what he can do. The defensive line should make up for any deficiencies by the linebackers. I’m not overly concerned about the open cornerback position. The secondary should be fine under the leadership of Louis Delmas, Reshad Jones, and Brent Grimes.
Delmas is like the glue that holds that group together. We already know what to expect from Grimes. Jones’ season was overshadowed by his four game suspension for PEDs. When he returned to the team he went on a tear and ended up with 70 tackles (2nd on the team), 7 passes defended, 3 interceptions, and a sack.
Last but not least is my X-factor; tight end Jordan Cameron. Cameron has had three concussions in three years and missed some games last season with the Cleveland Browns. The Dolphins are hoping he can return to his 2013 form where his 80 passes for 917 yards and seven touchdowns and earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl. If he can stay healthy he is an upgrade at the position and will be a great red zone target for Tannehill.
This column was written by Carlos Hernandez. Follow him on Twitter: @LosDez
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