With official schedules being released and the 2020 NFL Draft in the rear view, fans get to see the Miami Dolphins take the opportunity full-force in becoming the new face of the AFC East. Not only for this upcoming season, but also for seasons to come.
AFC East Shuffling Teams Around
The AFC East endured some heavy blows during the off-season with the draft, free agency and other trades. It has made teams like the New England Patriots break down and start somewhat of a rebuild, given teams like the Buffalo Bills more pieces on each side of the football and also bolstered Miami to fast forward its rebuild.
With these events taking place, and the shuffling of players the Dolphins have hauled into Hard Rock Stadium, they have managed to surge out as possible playoff contenders even this year.
New England Power Duo No More
Divisional opponents should be scraping to try and compete with the new haul and faces of Miami. New England came out of the AFC East every year for the last 20 years pretty much under the dynamic duo of quarterback Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. However, that dynasty is over. Now that both Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski are in Tampa Bay, the biggest threat to the Dolphins in the division will no longer pose to be the problem.
Belichick will either spearhead second-year Jarrett Stidham or veteran Brian Hoyer in under center. He will have to work with limited weapons in the passing game and a patchy offensive line, most notably with the departure of center Ted Karras. To Miami.
Divisional Teams Have Questions on Both Sides of the Football
When looking at the New York Jets, and even the Bills, those are two teams that were able to win at least seven games last season. The Bills were better known for their defense as opposed to their offense, while the Jets on the other hand had one of the worst defenses last season but performed better on offense. QB Sam Darnold leads the Jets offensively, but he currently does not have a strong receiving core that can help put up points for him heading into 2020.
Miami Offense Becoming More Solid
Looking at the gaps that need to be filled, people can see where the other teams in the AFC East still have to get their offenses figured out, while the Dolphins do not. Why?
Because the offense for the Dolphins took a big leap forward when they drafted their franchise-hopeful quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa. There were arguments that said that Tagovailoa was better than the No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow for different reasons. While it can’t be proven either way up until this point, Miami is only worried about one of them.
While Tagovailoa will most likely not start right away because of veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tagovailoa will get the opportunity to become the face of the franchise even if Fitzpatrick is given a new contract after the 2020 season. Tagovailoa provides long-term stability and will be able to take around a season of learning this young Dolphins team as their sure backup.
Team Chemistry Needed to Propel Division Winner
As each game passes during the regular season, a team’s chemistry tends to improve more and more and that is what the Dolphins will be able to do with the way the future is looking for them. Being Super Bowl contenders are starting to look more and more likely in a shorter amount of time.
After Last Place Rushing Offense in 2019, Miami Can Only Go Up
Miami was ranked closer to the bottom in both offense and defense overall in the NFL in 2019, so it can only go up from there.
The Dolphins ranked 32nd in both rushing attempts and rushing yards. Those rankings alone showed where the team needed to focus their priorities on when the offseason began. It did what it could to fix those problems, by signing a running back in free agency, trading for one in the draft and ultimately drafting one as well.
Because they went 5-11 last season, and they now have this unique opportunity for the first time in years to make the playoffs because of rivals downgrading, the Dolphins can be one team that will make a statement in this new-look division.