After a rough 2019 season for the Miami Dolphins, their early-season struggles finally began paying off as they finished the season 5-11. The team went 0-7 before getting their first win this year against division rival New York. Despite winning multiple games in the division, they finished last in the AFC East. It is fair to say they have some offseason work to do before next season starts.
Head Coach Brian Flores to continue scheme in 2020
To me, it would appear that head coach Brian Flores didn’t have his head coaching career begin the way he would’ve liked it to. However, his rebuilding efforts poise him to be the head coach next season for Miami, and for years to come. Flores is instilling a new scheme for the Dolphins, giving him a chance to continue working with the players in the new system he has brought to South Beach.
Dolphins DO need to focus on finding quarterback, despite keeping Ryan Fitzpatrick
I believe a key aspect of the team that Miami should be searching to solve in the offseason is looking AND finding its new franchise quarterback. Starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is nearing the end of his career and entering the final year of his contract with the Dolphins. When he takes the field for Miami in 2020, he will begin his 16th NFL season. Additionally, Josh Rosen is currently Miami’s backup, and Rosen had yet another disappointing NFL season in his second year as a professional. Fitzpatrick has played for eight NFL teams while Rosen has played for two in two years.
“I fully expect Ryan to be back and playing. He did a great job – the things he did with the young players, too, in the locker room, his leadership and just his enthusiasm. I mean, you guys saw him, how he is and carries himself. He did a great job for us,” Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier said.
The two combined for 4,096 passing yards on the season, 3,529 of those in favor of Fitzpatrick. The unfortunate circumstance, I feel, is that the Dolphins lack the number one pick in the draft, seeing how they turned their season around and went 5-4 in their final nine games after their 0-7 start. To me, this means they likely won’t be getting their hands on the number one quarterback in this years’ draft: Joe Burrow.
LSU’s Joe Burrow will not be a Dolphin
The Louisiana State University standout who led the Tigers to the National Championship will likely go to the Cincinnati Bengals with the first overall pick. However, I do think he could fall to the Detroit Lions at the third overall pick, as the Bengals drafted QB Ryan Finley in the 2019 NFL Draft. I see Detroit selecting him due to the health concerns of now-QB Matthew Stafford.
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“I think when you’re talking about the quarterback position, a lot of the intangibles are what separates a lot of guys because you hear stories (even) now. Like they said Tom Brady coming out didn’t have great arm strength or Drew Brees. But those guys are some of the all-time best to ever play the game. You look at everything, everyone’s skillset at the end of the day,” Grier said. “Do they win games? Are they leaders? Are they football smart? The intangibles, the character and stuff plays a big part at that position but also at any position. There’s a lot of guys that get overlooked – Zach Thomas is a perfect example. ‘Zach’s too small, too slow’ and stuff; but yet, he’s one of the best linebackers to play in the history for the Dolphins and (is) being considered for the Hall of Fame, which is great for him.”
Miami must still focus on OL, WR, defense consistency
I think Miami may also be in desperate need of an offensive line, with Fitzpatrick and Rosen going down for a collective 56 sacks on the season. Opposing defenses got to the Miami quarterbacks an average of three and a half times per game, the third worst in the league for the regular season.
Another place the Dolphins could use some assistance is with their receiving core, having only two receivers go for more than 500 yards. Wide receiver DeVante Parker went for 1,202 yards on 72 catches, capitalizing on his fourth year in the league, making it the first thousand-yard season of his career. Furthermore, tight end Mike Gesicki went for 570 yards on 51 receptions this season. No one else on the team caught more than 32 balls in 2019.
Lastly, I feel Miami could be in severe need for some defensive consistency. The Dolphins allowed 494 points this season, which was the most by any team and 45 more points than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who were second to last in the category. The Dolphins were also ranked 30th when it came to yards allowed per game.
With restructuring the OL and hopefully finding a QB it’s able to develop, Miami already proved it took minimal time to jump from signing players off NFL practice squads to pick up five wins in 2019. Checking off a few more boxes would quickly put them in playoff talks again.