Team Profiles Miami Dolphins by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles
There have only been ten head coaches for the Dolphins franchise. The current head coach being Joe Philbin, who took over in early 2012 following Tony Sparano’s dismissal. Philbin’s head coaching career has been a turbulent one so far, with .500 or below records every season and a publicly embarrassing “bullying scandal” amongst Miami teammates while under his helm. On November 3, 2013, the Dolphins suspended Miami player Incognito for misconduct related to the treatment of fellow teammate Jonathan Martin, who left the team a week earlier. Incognito’s conduct was said to be detrimental to the team. Despite some fan outcries to have Philbin removed, Owner Stephen Ross says the head coach will return in 2015.
2015 team outlook-
The other bully in the AFC East is the New England Patriots, who have won the division 6 years in a row. They have also been to the Super Bowl twice in 4 years, and won the “whole-shebang” in 2014. Like the AFC South where the Colts dominate while the other 3 teams struggle just to have a season above .500, so goes the AFC East with the Pats dominating, and Miami, Buffalo and New York struggle just to have a season above .500. At least Miami knows who their quarterback will be in 2015. Buffalo and the Jets do not. For this reason, I like Miami to easily place 2nd in their division in 2015.
2015 Fantasy outlook-
QB– Ryan Tannehill is a competent quarterback that Miami selected eighth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Tannehill isn’t a fancy Ferrari sports car like QB Tom Brady is, but more like a Chevy Malibu. He’ll get you where you need to go without a lot of tinkering or maintenance. The Miami QB ended the 2014 season as the 10th ranked QB in the NFL, finishing with 4045 passing yards, 27 TDs and 12 INTs. He has gotten more efficient in every year he’s played. UPDATE: Miami signed QB Josh freeman to a one year deal, but it would be a shock if Freeman made the final 2015 roster.
RBs– Cleveland wasn’t the only team to bring in a guy to be the workhorse the team needed, only to have him get injured early on and be replaced by someone already had on their roster. On March 27, 2014, the Dolphins signed former Denver Bronco Knowshon Moreno to a one-year contract worth $3 million. On September 14, 2014 Moreno sustained a dislocated left elbow in a loss to Buffalo and later,on October 14th, 2014 it was announced that Moreno is out for the season with a torn ACL. The Dolphins were forced to hand the ball off to RB Lamar Miller for the rest of the season, which turned out just fine. RB Miller took full advantage of the starting opportunity, and turned in 1374 total yards from scrimmage and scoring 9 TDs. He ranked #10 among running backs in 2014. Miami needs to address so many other deficiencies in the team via the draft and in free agency, so Miller should return in 2015 as Miami’s clear feature back. UPDATE: Miami selected 6’0″ RB Jay Ajayi in the 5th round of this year’s NFL Draft, but Miller proved himself in 2014, so Ajayi won’t start, he’ll just irritate Miller owners by stealing some carries.
WRs– Miami recently cleaned house releasing Dolphin WR Brian Hartline and Berandon Gibson, with WR Mike Wallace said to be on the team’s trading block. Currently listed as Miami’s #1 wide receiver Jarvis Landry, a second round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, and one of the many star receivers to enter the draft last year. WR Jarvis ended the 2014 season as the 42nd WR in the NFL, with 758 yards receiving and 5 TDS. Seventh rounder WR Richard Matthews from the 2012 Draft has reportedly asked for his release, and openly clashed with coach Joe Philbin in 2014, for spending most of the season as Miami’s No. 5 wide out. UPDATE: Miami Acquired WR Kenny Stills from the Saints in exchange for LB Danelle Ellerbe and a 2015 third-round pick. They also acquired a 2015 fifth-round pick from the Vikings in exchange for WR Mike Wallace and a 2015 seventh-round pick.The fantasy world fully expected WR Landry to build significantly on his 2014 rookie season, but with so many weapons around QB Tannehill now, 758 yards receiving and 5 TDS may be Landry’s range again in 2015.
TEs– The most productive of the Miami tight ends for the past 2 seasons has been TE Charles Clay, ranking in the 7th & 16th in the NFL for 2013 and 2014 respectively. Clay is a free agent this year but Dolphins executive VP Mike Tannenbaum confirms that the team would like to re-sign him. UPDATE: Miami signed former Brown TE Jordan Cameron to a two-year deal.
K– The 2014 place kicker for the Dolphins in 2014 was Caleb Sturgis, a fifth round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Sturgis has missed 16 of his 71 field goal attempts through two seasons, so he very much is in danger of losing his job to Zach Hocker, who’s also currently on Miami’s roster.
DEF– The Miami defense has improved every year for the past 4 years. They were terrible 4 years ago, bad 3 years ago, fair 2 years ago and better in 2014. But now that they have an OK defense, they also have a mess to deal with, having so many of players that Miami could rely on heading for free agency. UPDATE: The Dolphins reportedly will sign free agent Ndamukong Suh to a six-year deal worth roughly $114 million with $60 million guaranteed when the signing period opens on Tuesday. UPDATE: In one of the biggest moves of free agency, Miami signed former Lions DT Ndamukong Suh to a six-year deal.
2014 Miami Fantasy Surprises– I’m always surprised at QB Tannehill breaking into the top 10 of NFL quarterbacks. What he does best, is throw an accurate pass. But making check-downs from receiver 1 to receiver 2 to receiver 3 like QB Aaron Rodgers and QB Drew Brees do…forget about it. RB Lamar Miller’s output and his ability to play all 16 games was a nice surprise. His best game came in Week 16-178 yards and 1 TD.
2015 Free Agents that Miami Needs to Address– QB Matt Moore- RB Knowshon Moreno- RB Daniel Thomas- WR Brian Hartline (released)- TE Charles Clay (signed w/ Buffalo)- OT Jason Fox (re-signed)- G Daryn Colledge- DT Jared Odrick- LB Jason Trusnik- LB Kelvin Sheppard (re-signed)- S Louis Delmas (re-signed)- S Jimmy Wilson (signed w/ SD)
2015 NFL Draft– The immediate needs of Miami are on their O-Line, at wide receiver and in the secondary. The Miami Dolphins led the AFC in team yards per carry, but need young help in the run game (OG), the Dolphins need to decide on WR Mike Wallace, TE Clay and they’ve released 2 other wide receivers mentioned previously (WR & TE) and Miami needs a No. 2 corner back plus a slot corner (CB). UPDATE: Miami’s entire 2015 NFL Draft can be seen at this link- MIAMI’S DRAFT
Did You Know– Former Miami head coach Don Shula had only two losing seasons in his 36-year career of coaching in the NFL. He is the all-time leader in victories with 347. He is first in most games coached (526), most consecutive seasons coached (33). Only HC George Halas had a longer coaching career than Shula (40 years…1920-1967).
Team Home Page: www.miamidolphins.com