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Old 09.07.2018, 01:26 PM
Team Captain
Join Date: 30.10.2005
Posts: 487

Just some rambling thoughts about some of the Dolphins's defense and some offseason moves as it's pretty quiet out there!

I actually have some optimism for the Dolphins this year at a time when the national media are absolutely slating the moves which Miami made this offseason. They consider the departures of Pouncey, Suh and Landry to be key to a further drop in pre-season rankings.

To those who followed the dolphins closely, it was clear that Pouncey’s health was a liability in recent years to the extent he couldn’t even practice. His level of play had fallen off a cliff from his former Pro-Bowl level and whilst he was still a serviceable centre, he was not the player he used to be.

Enter, Dan Kilgore, a veteran who lacks the accolades of Pouncey and the draft pedigree, but is a solid starter and will likely produce at the same level, if not better, than Pouncey has done over the past couple of seasons.

Landry was a target monster and Miami’s QBs (mainly Tannehill) propelled him to the giant contract which he has finally found in Cleveland. His attitude didn’t fit in line with Gase’s vision of the team and whilst his departure means one less consistent target, it also opens up the playbook and raises opportunities elsewhere across the field.

Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola bring a combination of speed, veteran leadership, work ethic and discipline which could do wonders for this receiving group, including an extra option in case of injury. The Dolphins want to throw the ball a lot this year with the return of Ryan Tannehill, who now has complete command of the system. The excision of Landry’s immaturity and the addition of discipline should be a huge beneficial factor to this offense.

Talking of huge, there’s Ndamukong Suh. He was an elite player and one who left a giant, expensive hole at DT. Despite his top-tier talent and ability, his paycheck wasn’t bringing more wins to the team and the defense still struggled as a whole. The man is a wrecking ball but reportedly not a leader of the defensive group – not one to rally the troops in times of need. He does what he does, and he does it extremely well, if not better than anyone else in the league not named Aaron Donald.

Returning players Vincent Taylor, Davon Godchaux and Jordan Phillips will form the DT rotation together with newcomer Akeem Spence. With any luck, newly appointed DL coach Kris Kocurek knows what Akeem can bring to the table from Detroit and can get the DT group playing up to the best of their ability.

Whilst they may lack some high-level star-power with the departure of Suh, the Dolphins seem to be acknowledging that doing the same thing over and again expecting different result is the wrong mentality to have. Gase seems to have significant control over the roster and the characters who will make his team. Freeing up cap space and room for development of other promising players, there is still reason for hope along the defensive front.

At DE, the addition of Robert Quinn also bolsters the pass rush and the Dolphins are now armed with an array of QB hunters – Cam Wake, Charles Harris, Andre Branch, Willie Hayes and Robert Quinn. Consistent pressure on the QB should do wonders for the Dolphins’ secondary which includes a fantastic and promising mix of veteran savvy, young talent and raw ability in Reshad Jones, TJ McDonald, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Walt Aikens, Xavien Howard, Cordrea Tankersley, Tony Lippett and Bobby McCain.

The LBs still give the most concern regarding the defense. Kiko Alonso didn’t live up to expectation after an impressive 2016 campaign, although he was playing out of position. Raekwon McMillan, the 2017 rookie LB, will undoubtedly be relied upon to command from the MLB spot and lead a trio of LBs to include Alonso, Stephone Anthony, Terence Garvin, Jerome Baker, Quentin Poling and Mike Hull. I'd expect that another LB will be brought in at some point over Training Camp or during the pre-season to compete, but on paper this certainly looks to be the weakest group on the defense. However, if they can outplay their perceived flaws and inexperience, despite the loss of Suh, the defense could be a pleasant surprise in 2018.
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