“Under previous coach Adam Gase, Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake’s workload would fluctuate from averaging 18 carries per game in the last five weeks of 2017 to having just 7.5 attempts per outing in 2018.
Even as Drake flashed potential last year, not many people around the team were advocating more playing time for him. No one said it outright but the suspicion is that his work ethic wasn’t up to snuff. Apparently working with the veteran Frank Gore didn’t bring it out of him.
It sounds like Drake is embracing his opportunity to work with the new staff and is looking at it as a fresh start. Here’s hoping it results in a more professional attitude and, as a results, benefits the Dolphins in a big way.
“There’s no doubt Miami must upgrade from last year’s starting duo of Davis and Ted Larsen, who is now with Chicago. Davis was the league’s 77th-rated guard last season according to ProFootballFocus, allowing seven sacks. Larsen, who started 14 games, was even worse, ranking 125th and allowing four sacks.”
This article highlights the past problem at guard and the fact that Jesse Davis is currently still the leading candidate to play right guard is an indication that the Dolphins have a long way to go at this position. And the fact that third round draft pick Michael Deiter will likely beat out current starting left guard Chris Reed doesn’t make me feel a lot better. The fact is that this problem probably won’t be solved this year, at least on both sides.
Many people have a habit of underestimating the importance of the guard position. In fact, I used to be one of them. But experience has taught me that this is the most important position on the offensive line. It's easier to find guards like Deiter in the middle to late rounds of the draft. But guard position, itself, is more important than tackle. Quarterbacks can step up in the pocket to escape defensive ends coming off the edge if the interior linemen do their job. But no quarterback can throw with pressure in his face.
This is a huge problem that will likely stunt the performance of both Josh Rosen and Ryan Fitzpatrick along with the performance of the rest of the offensive players, which will have to be judged with this in mind.
“Four different assistants — [outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino, [safeties coach Sean] coach Desai, [defensive line coach Jay] Rodgers and new linebackers coach Mark DeLeone — suggested that new voices should help combat complacency from players.
This is why analysts who are predicting things like ridiculous 0-16 seasons for the Dolphins are wrong. It's because it takes more than lack of talent to result in historically bad teams.
No first year head coach has ever gone 0-16. Rod Marinelli was in his third with the Lions in 2008 and Hue Jackson was in his second with the Browns in 2017.
The Dolphins do have holes all over the field with important positions on the offensive line, at pass rusher and at cornerback filled with mediocre to less than mediocre players. But all of those players are, or should be, laser focused as new playbooks are installed and as relationships with new coaches are built. And every job is wide open as new coaches without preconceptions watch practices with a neutral eye that may decide that a long time starter shouldn’t be given his position and that maybe a relative unknown should be given a shot.
Dolphins coaches will naturally have an easier time getting the most out of their players this year. And that could produce a pleasant surprise with a better than expected season. But at worst, it won’t produce anything historically bad.
“Luckily for [Josh] Rosen, he has had some recent experience in a similar scheme.
Rosen is very lucky here and so are the Dolphins. Young quarterbacks can sometimes take a full season with a new coach before they get to the point where they can stop concentrating on their own offense and start concentrating on the gameplan for the upcoming opponent.
What is more likely to hold Rosen back is how the other players on the field adjust to the new scheme rather than how he does. Nevertheless, this is yet another reason why the Dolphins coaching staff should be able to get a good handle on Rosen over the course of just one season to make a judgment about whether he should be the franchise going forward.
Washington Redskins - 5/5
Oakland Raiders - 5/2
New York Giants - 3/1
Detroit Lions - 7/2
San Francisco 49ers - 9/1
I understand why Daniel Snyder’s Redskins might be the favorite. Snyder seems like just the entrepreneur who would see this as an opportunity rather than a detriment. Nevertheless my money’s on the Raiders.
Mark Davis has been adamantly against this team appearing in the past. But getting permission to move his franchise to Vegas undoubtedly came with a lot of strings attached behind the scenes. The bet here is that it’s not coincidence that the Rams both appeared on Hard Knocks and went to London to play after permission to move to Los Angeles was given.
Oakland plays a home game against the Bears in London this year and it would surprise no one if they ended up being forced to volunteer to be on Hard Knocks as well.
This story was written by Tom Shannon. Follow him on Twitter: @bearingthenews
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