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Confidence in Miami Dolphins Offense

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

When was the last time we were more confident in the lackeys running the Miami Dolphins‘ front office compared to the participants running around on the field?

Those lackeys have the luxury of batting 1.000%* since they haven’t done anything wrong (yet), which means they have the fans on their side and (most of) the media in their good graces.

*Chris Grier is like that skeptical player with an asterisk next to them during the Steroids Era in baseball. He’s finally the main man in charge, but he was also previously “in charge”…

After swinging a value-trade for former first-round quarterback Josh Rosen – and essentially slow-playing the market into his favor – Grier and his staff have given us enough reasons to trust his process just a few short months into it.

Our confidence is growing, even if the 2019 win total isn’t expected to follow.

But our confidence is growing in Brian Flores and Chris Grier, not necessarily the roster they’ve put together. That roster is a bit….frail.

In reality, there are only a handful of players we have genuine confidence in. You can skew that number a bit if you want to include Jason Sanders, John Denney and the special teams version of Walt Aikens; but truth be told, this team is a long way away from being properly built.

Is all of that 2020 draft capital for a quarterback? Or was it to build a better team around a player they knew they could obtain cheaply this year (Rosen)?

Free agency hasn’t concluded, but free agency isn’t going to yield Miami any more “confident” starters. Miami may fill out the rest of the roster by splurging for players other teams don’t want, but you’re not making your 2020 playoff run with any of these characters.

Below are the offensive players we are confident will be productive players for the Dolphins, both in 2019 or in the future:

Offensive Line
Confidence Level: 1
Confident Players: 1

Assuming the Dolphins front office has any kind of competence, Laremy Tunsil is expected to remain on the Miami Dolphins long-term.

He’s one of the best players at his position, and, assuming he’s healthy, will be an elite talent at the position for another 5-7 years.

Outside of Tunsil, are you confident in newly acquired 3rd-round pick Michael Deiter? He’s a completely different player and situation than any of these other previous draft picks, but when was the last time the Dolphins drafted a competent offensive lineman outside of the 1st-round?

Answer: Rex Hadnot
Year: 2004

Since then, the Dolphins have drafted the following offensive linemen between the 2nd and 5th rounds: Isaac Asiata, Jamil Douglas, Billy Turner, Dallas Thomas, Jonathan Martin, John Jerry, Shawn Murphy, Samson Satele, Joe Toledo, and Anthony Alabi.

Since becoming the director of college scouting in 2007, Grier hasn’t drafted (or convinced his general mangers to draft) a single competent starter on the offensive line outside of the first round. The team’s 1st-round picks? Jake Long, Mike Pouncey, Ja’Wuan James and Laremy Tunsil. All of them very good players for stints of time, but only one of them is worthy of being a franchise player.

I’m not going to exile Deiter from the offensive line before he plays a snap, but you can see why my confidence in this pick is timid at best.

Besides Deiter and Tunsil, you have Daniel Kilgore returning at the age of 31 to play center, and you have Jesse Davis playing somewhere on the right side of the offensive line.

Kilgore missed 11+ games last season after tearing his triceps in Week 4 against the New England Patriots. Aside from returning from a gruesome injury, Kilgore is another year older and isn’t all too great to begin with. He was supposed to act as the weakest link between Tunsil, Josh Sitton, Davis and James. Now he’s expected to anchor the middle of the offensive line as the 3rd-best player in the unit.

We expected much more out of Jesse Davis last season, and he certainly disappointed, but at least we know he’s durable, reliable, and will be in the starting lineup each week. That counts for something. It also leads to increased sack totals for the opposing defense, so that value only goes so far.

I’m not considering Davis a hole on the line, but I’m not confident in him either – and that’s a downgrade from where I would have viewed Davis after 2017.

The biggest problem for the offensive line hasn’t even been listed out yet, and that’s the fact that Miami only has four starters. You need five.

6th-round draft pick Isaiah Prince will have a fair shot at manning the right tackle position, but who knows how well that camp battle will go.

Without a solidified right tackle, Miami is tiptoeing dangerously into the regular season – especially with a quarterback they’re hoping to properly judge within a 16-game span.

The good thing about expectations is when you (literally) don’t have any, it can only pleasantly surprise you. Or it goes exactly as intended and you don’t even have to break a sweat.

Tight Ends
Confidence Level: 2
Confident Players: 0

An upgrade from the offensive line mainly because the position group isn’t as necessary and the Dolphins will be able to get by with Dwayne Allen as an average combination of receiver & blocker, the tight end group is about as barren as the team’s offensive line depth.

Former 2nd-round pick Mike Gesicki has gone from being the sexiest draft pick of 2018 to being overlooked as a productive player. For as likely as he is to have a breakout season, don’t be surprised to see him released if he has a subpar training camp. Gesicki is going to need to prove to this coaching staff that he belongs as a receiving threat – or that his blocking isn’t a complete liability.

If Gesicki can work on his route running, he might become a reliable target for Rosen or Ryan Fitzpatrick. Though do you have any confidence that’ll happen?

His fellow 2018 draftee Durham Smythe should find a spot on this roster a bit more easily, but how valuable is a blocking tight end when Allen serves the same purpose?

I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Smythe off this roster if the team feels it doesn’t want to lose another player on the bubble (such as Dee Delaney or Jonathan Woodard).

Nick O’Leary received a contract extension shortly before Mike Tannenbaum and Adam Gase were relieved of their respective duties. Whether or not he remains on the team after training camp depends on how this coaching staff believes it can utilize O’Leary.

As another generic tight end, he has an equal shot of making or missing the roster as both Smythe and Gesicki do.

The only player “guaranteed” to make the 2019 roster is Allen, and, unless he doesn’t mind becoming a mentor assisting from the bench, it’s unlikely he’s still around in 2020. If he is, your plan for the position went more awry than the Jordan Cameron and Julius Thomas experiments the past few years.

Wide Receivers
Confidence Level: 4
Confident Players: 1

This rating doesn’t reflect the “talent” the Miami Dolphins have on their roster.

I firmly believe that the combination of Kenny Stills, a healthy DeVante Parker and…..oh….wait….there is no combination anymore. That combination ceased in 2017 when Jarvis Landry played his final games for Miami.

Albert Wilson filled in admirably and was a better player (in terms of value) than Landry was in 2018, but that was only for the first 7 games of the season.

Landry played all 16 games, like every other year of his career, while Wilson limps into 2019 with the possibility of not making the roster. While unlikely for him to be released, if the team feels it cannot utilize Wilson properly at the start of the season, and a stint on IR (with the designation to return) doesn’t match his timetable to return, Miami may release the dynamic receiver.

That’s the last thing we want to happen to one of our 2018 Offensive MVPs, but we also didn’t expect Tony Lippett to be released following his torn achilles either.

This league is cruel and cutthroat, and for a team building towards 2020, it seems unlikely Wilson is around for the rebuild. Why block the growth and potential of other prospects while trying to rehab a player on the field?

Jakeem Grant proved to be a desired returner and supplemental receiver when the formation calls for it. His hands might as well have stared right into Medusa’s eyes with how hard they are, but his shiftiness was a welcomed compliment to an offense that thrived off of deception.

An achilles injury in Week 10 caused him to miss the remainder of the season, and possibly a bid to last year’s Pro Bowl. It also may have hindered the promising progress he was making up to this point.

Though his injury didn’t seem as detrimental as Wilson’s, at this moment, you can’t confidently say Grant is a reliable receiver worthy of the 3rd starting spot on the roster.

Like the rest of this century, this offensive group offers a lot of hope. Which, as Dolphins fans, means it’s most certainly going to disappoint…

Running Backs
Confidence Level: 6
Confident Players: 1

Outside of Ryan Tannehill individually, Miami’s running backs have received more excuses than anyone else on the team.

Whether it was an anemic offensive line, incompetent play calls from a former offensive guru, or quarterback play that was so putrid that opposing defenses knew to stack the box, Miami’s running backs have been let off of the hook.

Maybe it’s due to the fact that it’s the only position group that effectively produces on offense, fans have favored players like Jay Ajayi, Reggie Bush, Ricky Williams and Travis Minor. Fans let former #2-overall pick Ronnie Brown off the hook for being the most influential draft pick this century (could have had Aaron Rodgers). Even former flame-outs like Mike Gillislee get the benefit of the doubt for their unmemorable time in Miami.

These position groups perform, but do they perform as well as we believe or is this just a byproduct of having a piss-poor passing game?

Since Ricky Williams decided to retire the first time in 2004, the Dolphins have averaged 17th in rushing yards, 14th in yards per carry and 18th in rushing touchdowns:

Their best rushing season was 2009 (4th), but they only had 2 seasons within the top-10 (out of a possible 14 seasons – 14.3%). Only one of those was a top-5 season (7.1%) and only 6 seasons are within the top-15 (42.9%).

I’m confident Miami has running backs that will produce, but how well will they produce? Frank Gore left for the Buffalo Bills, and he had only 4 less rushing yards than Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage combined in 2018 (722 vs 726).

This is where the excuse of mismanagement comes into play. We have to think this coaching staff will figure out how to utilize Drake better than Adam Gase ever did, but is that guaranteed? In his three NFL seasons, Drake has averaged 453 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns per season.

And he’s the player we’re confident in.

Chandler Cox and Myles Gaskin look like powerful additions to the roster, but we have no idea how either will perform in training camp.

Ballage is the wildcard of the bunch – his evolution can turn this rushing attack into a legitimate duel threat. It can also hinder this unit from becoming any kind of threat at all.

If the offensive line can’t keep Rosen up long enough to establish a feared passing game, how is the running game going to thrive?

We hope Ballage’s evolution is legitimate, but we don’t know any of that until training camp begins.

What we do know is that the Dolphins have 3 offensive players we’re confident in. You play with 11 plays on each side of the ball. I’m no Dawn Aponte, but that ratio is atrocious.

Growing up a passionate Dolphins fan in Jets territory, Jason learned from an early age that life as a Dolphins fan wasn’t going to be easy. Previously the Sports Editor for his university newspaper, Jason has experience writing columns, creating game recaps and conducting interviews with Hall of Fame athletes (Harry Carson and Yogi Berra are two of his proudest interviews). When he’s not dissecting the latest sports news, you can find him perplexed over the Dolphins offensive line woes or involuntarily introducing music to his neighbors.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Tinindian

    May 1, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    I guess I have a lot more confidence in our receivers than you do, except Devante Parker. I’d take Albert Wilson over Parker 100 times out of 100. Parker has been nothing but a disappointment and I’m really aggravated he didn’t get shipped out in the off season.

    • Jason Hrina

      Jason Hrina

      May 7, 2019 at 10:16 am

      I would take a healthy Albert Wilson over DeVante Parker every year. My biggest concern is Wilson’s healthy. Will he be the same, shifty receiver he was for us in 2018? I’m hopeful, but I can’t say I’m firmly “confident” in Wilson at this moment (we’ll know more when Training Camp rolls around).

  2. Avatar

    David Holcomb

    May 1, 2019 at 2:41 pm

    DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills are unstoppable when both WRs are on the field. Just look at the highlights in 2016 when Matt Moore took over the reigns. Josh Rosen is going to have a field day when he take the riegns, Miami will have a potent offense and I predict that they will win 11 or 12 games and win their division this season..

  3. Avatar

    Joe

    May 2, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    David, lemme get some of what you’re smoking please

    • Jason Hrina

      Jason Hrina

      May 7, 2019 at 10:18 am

      I do like David’s optimism, though I may be more inclined to join you, Joe.

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins 2019 Training Camp Guide – Safeties

Travis Wingfield

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Over the next two weeks, Locked On Dolphins will bring you your one-stop shop for all things Miami Dolphins 2019 training camp

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Tight Ends
Wide Receivers
Offensive Line
Defensive Interior
Defensive Edge
Linebackers
Cornerbacks
Safeties
Specialists – 7/24

Game-By-Game Predictions Part 1 – 7/24 (Part 2 coming in September)

Prologue:

For the majority of the Ryan Tannehill era, the Dolphins entered training camp as dark horse candidates to seize a wildcard playoff berth. Things have changed for the worse in 2019, but the step backward comes with the hopes of constructing a perennial AFC East contender capable of winning games in January.

That’s the big-picture snapshot of the Miami Dolphins rebuild. In the interim, however, establishing the core principles of the Brian Flores program, as well as developing young talent, both capture the forefront of this year’s training camp objectives.

Over the next two weeks, we will get you familiar with each player on the roster. With biographies, quick-hitter scouting notes, and a prediction on the player’s ultimate role on the 2019 Dolphins, this serves as your guide for Miami’s summer practice session.

Safeties

Overview:

Cross-training promises to serve as the buzz phrase of this rendition of Dolphins camp. No position offers more dual functionality than safety, especially in a defense undergoing sweeping schematic changes.

In the past, the safety spots have been directionally based, opposed to the traditional strong and free distinctions. This round-peg-in-a-square-hole philosophy led to frustration; so much so that Miami’s longest-tenured defensive player pulled himself from a game last November.

Now, these safeties will have specific roles designated to suit their respective strengths. The universal trait of the group will be the ability to come down and cover the slot, tight ends, and running backs.

Tony Oden is one of two holdovers from the previous staff. Oden has been coaching defensive backs since 1996, including a GA stop at Brian Flores’ alma mater Boston College.

Reshad Jones – 9 years of service (10th in MIA)
Jersey: 20
College: Georgia
Opening Day Age: 31.5
Contract Details: 3 years remaining, $35M total, $13M guaranteed

Jones’ Film Study by Locked On Dolphins

Jones’ absence was the story of voluntary organized team activities. Amidst rampant trade rumors, Jones was present for mandatory work and an understanding has, apparently, been achieved between he and Coach Flores.

Jones is still a punishing hitter that excels defending both the strong and weak-side C-gaps on the defense. This scheme will put him back in a familiar situation playing in close to the line-of-scrimmage and sending him on a variety of run and pass blitzes. Jones played single-high, 20 yards off the ball, far too often last season.

Declining coverage ability, the occasional poor angle, and considerable medical concerns all add up to an uncertain future for Jones in Miami. The age and contract aren’t doing Jones’ long-term prospects any favors either.

2019 Projected Role: Strong Safety, 100% snap-taker

Bobby McCain – 4 years of service (5th in MIA)
Jersey: 28
College: Memphis
Opening Day Age: 26.0
Contract Details: 4 years remaining, $22M total, $9M guaranteed

McCain’s Film Study by Locked On Dolphins

After a stellar 2017 season, injuries and position changes led to a down year for McCain. Among the game’s best slot corners two years ago, McCain was rewarded with a new contract, but he was outplayed in the slot by 2018 rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick. In 2019, the two could be interchangeable working in slot coverage and as a single-high safety (as well as two-deep looks).

This scheme utilizes three safeties the majority of the defense’s snaps. McCain could serve as the middle of the field man in those three-safety packages, and come down in two-slot looks for man-coverage responsibilities.

McCain is a terrific leader, astute tackler, and an occasionally effective blitzer.

2019 Projected Role: Free Safety, Slot Corner 85% snap-taker

T.J. McDonald – 6 years of service (3rd in MIA)
Jersey: 22
College: USC
Opening Day Age: 28.4
Contract Details: 3 years remaining, $17M total, $3.6M guaranteed

With one more year of guaranteed salary, McDonald needs to successfully transition into a new role to have a future in Miami. Inexplicably taking the job previously manned by Reshad Jones, McDonald’s inclusion into the defense wasn’t a positive one.

No longer among the top four, or even five, defensive backs on the roster, McDonald will come onto the field in sub-packages. He’s effective working downhill and should provide Miami’s dime package with a quality tackler and sound cover-man in the underneath shell.

2019 Projected Role: Third Safety, Dime Linebacker (Dollar) 60% snap-taker

Maurice Smith – 2 years of service (3rd in MIA)
Jersey: 26
College: Georgia
Opening Day Age: 24.3
Contract Details: 1 year remaining, $645K total, $0 guaranteed

It’s difficult to assess Smith’s value the last couple of years. He rarely made it onto the field, but that could just be another indictment of incompetent coaching. At his best, Smith plays the robber role, dislodges footballs, and steps in front of intermediate passes.

With 10 players acquired in the secondary since Smith arrived in Miami, he has an uphill battle to fend off the newcomers for a job, but he has another year remaining of practice squad eligibility.

2019 Projected Role: Camp cut, practice squad

2019 Dolphins Safeties at a Glance:

The decision to forego any acquisitions at safety this offseason was surprising. The most important position in the defense, Miami comes up a couple of bodies short unless McCain’s conversion is a success. He’s a bit undersized for the position, but he offers the instincts, tackling, and ball skills to provide some promise.

Jones’ role, and subsequent impact on the defense, is one of the more intriguing storylines of the year for the Dolphins.

With a lot of questions and fewer solutions, this group could be in for more changes next offseason.

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins sign cornerback Tyler Patmon

Shawn Digity

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Tyler Patmon Miami Dolphins USA Today Sports
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

The Miami Dolphins have filled out the final roster spot by signing a familiar face: Tyler Patmon

After a Sunday night visit on July 21st, the Dolphins have officially signed cornerback Tyler Patmon. The corner was with the team during the 2015 season but failed to leave his mark during his first stint with the team.

Tyler Patmon has, however, managed to keep his career chugging along with time spent in Dallas in 2014 and 2015 and Jacksonville in 2017 and 2018.

The news was broken on Twitter by the official DEC Management account, who represents Patmon.

The team makes reference to Patmon’s first attempt with the team, but this time should be a better fit for Patmon considering the team’s roster makeup. With a few more years of experience under his belt, Patmon stands a better chance of getting a foothold and making an impact.

Tyler Patmon is also a special signing because of his being the 91st player under contract. The Dolphins have found some value in signing a player internationally, which has allowed them the ability to sign Patmon as a bonus player.

I can’t say for certain if Patmon will ultimately end up on the final 53-man roster. My initial inclination is that it’ll be an uphill battle, but stranger things have happened. He might be able to step in and make some waves with the experience he has over some of the younger defensive backs.

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Miami Dolphins

Remember The Dolphins (Part 3: The 2010s)

Chris Kowalewski

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True. The final chapter of the Dolphins’ current decade has not yet been written.

At the dawn of the 2019 training camp, the stars of Miami’s 2019 Super Bowl Champion team have not yet emerged and had their names stamped into the NFL history books.

But going by on the widely-held assumption that the Miami Dolphins figure to be at the very bottom of the league in 2019, we’ll draw a line under the decade of the 2010’s as the Dolphins begin their ‘hard’ reboot to bring the franchise back to glory.

In this third part of our Remember The Dolphins series, we’ll trudge up some painful recent memories by taking a look back at the years 2010-2018 and try to pick out those individuals who perhaps deserve some more recognition for the part they played despite the team’s overall lack of success.

For the Miami Dolphins, the 2010’s was a decade filled with unfortunate drama. The Jonathan Martin bullying fiasco; Richie Incognito; the resulting ever-changing revolving doors which built the offensive line; Mike Pouncey’s “Free Hernandez” hat; Dion Jordan; overpaid Free Agents; terrible draft picks; Chris Foerster bringing his out-of-office habits into the team facility; Brent Grime’s wife; a queezy, litter-picking coach; Vontae Davis’ grandma; the “Go” and Go, Go” offense; Matt Burke’s incomprehensible defensive scheme; and last but by no means least, Adam Gase. 

It was not exactly a fun-packed decade for fans.

From one year to the next, the 2010’s barraged the Dolphins with national embarrassment off the field and an on-field product which no one could quite figure out.

The 2010’s undoubtedly will be most remembered, for better or worse (depending on which side you sit) for the Ryan Tannehill years. 

Landing in the NFL as a franchise’s heralded saviour is generally tough enough. But landing in a city already drowning in football mediocrity, with a fanbase tired of the lacklustre QB carousel and desperately thirsty for a leading passer under the scorching South Florida sunshine was inevitably going to be a recipe for division among fans. 

Add in the ever-present shadow of Dan Marino and the unforeseen successes of other young QBs around the league and anything less than spectacular would be deemed a failure.

And that is the past decade of Dolphins in a nutshell… 

Unspectacular. 

Inconsistent.

Divided.

Cameron Wake was nothing short of awesome as the team’s premier defensive player and remains a living legend, seemingly ready to finish his career in Tennessee. It’s scary to think that Wake spent 10 years with the Dolphins (2009-2018) in which he started 126/146 games, accumulated 98.0 sacks, 358 combined tackles, 97 tackles for loss and 213 QB hits. As Dolfans, we have just witnessed the end of the most successful Dolphins tale of the decade. But that alone was not enough to gain the team anything more than one playoff game.

Save for a handful of highlight performances in 2016 to drag Miami to the playoffs, including Jay Ajayi’s back-to-back 200 yard games and Andrew Franks’ overtime field goal over the Bills on Christmas Eve, the Dolphins continued their desperate struggle for success for another decade.

2010 started badly for Head Coach Tony Sparano, then entering his 3rd year. Chad Henne (301 of 490) threw for 3301 yards, 15 TDs and 19 INTs. The Dolphins had broken the bank to bring in WR, Brandon Marshall to help in Henne’s development and aid a struggling offense. Although Marshall hauled in 1014 yards, a lowly 3 TDs was the ultimate result. The Dolphins found themselves sitting at 30th in the league in points scored and achieved a 7-9 record.

Things didn’t exactly improve quickly, if at all.

2011 saw the firing of Coach Sparano who was temporarily replaced by defensive co-ordinator, Todd Bowles after a 4-9 start to finish 6-10.

2012 saw the arrival of Joe Philbin and rookie quarterback, Ryan Tannehill which produced a now-familiar 7-9 record. The QB/HC relationship lasted 3.5 years and left everyone a “little queezy”.

The Dolphins scraped .500 records in 2013 and 2014 before falling to 6-10 in 2015 under the final year of Philbin’s reign. 

Nothing of note had begun to shine out from the shadows of mediocrity and the patience of Miami fans was beyond tested. 

Enter, Adam Gase.

The Peyton-Manning-endorsed offensive ‘genius’ arrived in 2016 taking the Dolphins to the playoffs despite a season-ending knee injury to the starting QB. And whilst the victories of 2016 weren’t repeated, the rare taste of playoffs had bought Gase enough stature that even the team’s brightest stars weren’t safe from his methods and relationships continued to sour to the point of breaking and eventual trade.

Jarvis Landry had stolen headlines with some highlight-reel catches and was unanimously adored by the Dolphins fanbase. Jay Ajayi had bulldozed his way into the history books before his relationship with the head coach turned to ash. Both players were quickly gone, uncerimoniously – their departures embodying the Dolphins’ constant inability of retaining success.

A number of players publicly spoke out against Adam Gase, as prime examples of what the Dolphins had become at their core – divided, unstable and without direction.

But looking back over the dysfunction of the 2010’s, let’s try to pick a handful of names out of the rubble who (outside of the Miami Miracle) deserve to be looked at in a brighter, warmer light and be remembered despite the team’s on-field and off-field failures.

Reggie Bush

Position: Running Back

The Saints’ 2nd overall pick of the 2006 draft found his way to Miami in his 6th year, following a trade with the Saints in July 2011. That season, he provided a spark of electricity to Miami’s offense and rushed for 1000+ yards for the first time in his career and scored 6 rushing TDs with an average of 5.0 yards per carry. Bush remained with the Dolphins for 2 years (2011-2012) and despite having been labelled as injury prone during his time in New Orleans, managed to be a dependable on-field presence, rushing for 2072 yards and 12 TDs as a Dolphin, whilst hauling in a further 588 receiving yards and 3 TDs. He was named the AFC Offensive Player of The Week in 2011 following a 203 yard performance against the Buffalo Bills in Week 15.

Lamar Miller

Position: Running Back

The homegrown running back was drafted in the fourth round by the Dolphins in 2012 out of the University of Miami, sharing his rookie year with Reggie Bush. By his second season, Miller had adopted the starting role, but it wasn’t until 2014 when he really began to find his feet out of the Dolphins’ backfield. Miller’s totals of 1099 rushing yards and 8 TDs in 2014 remain his career highs, with a highlight 97 yard TD run against the Jets on 28 December 2014. Over the course of his 4 years in Miami, Miller started 48/61 games and rushed for 2930 yards and 19 TDs whilst catching 117 passes for 887 yards and a further 3 scores, before signing a 4-year $26m deal with the Houston Texans in March 2016. 

Karlos Dansby

Position: Linebacker

Karlos Dansby came to Miami in 2010 after 6 years in the league with the Arizona Cardinals. His final 2 years in Arizona saw him tally 228 combined tackles including 17 for a loss, 5 sacks, 3 INTs and 3 forced fumbles. He was therefore a big-name target for the Dolphins in 2010 to help solidify the linebacker group under Tony Sparano. Dansby joined the Dolphins on a 5-year, $43m contract which (at the time) was the highest paid contract for an ILB in NFL history. In his 3 years at Miami, Dansby started 45/46 games and racked up 332 combined tackles, 1 INT, 5 forced fumbles and 6 sacks. 

Paul Soliai

Position: Defensive Tackle

An absolute man-mountain, Paul Soliai was drafted by the Dolphins in the fourth round of the 2007 draft. He became a staple on Miami’s defensive line and spent 7 years in Miami (2007-2013), working his way to a full-time starting spot in 2010. Soliai started 62 of 99 games in his Dolphins career and had a knack for swatting down passes with 12 deflections. A huge body in the middle of the Dolphins defense, Soliai was predominantly a space-eater but also racked up 117 solo tackles (160 combined) including 25 TFLs and 4.5 sacks. He signed with the Falcons in March 2014 and the Panthers in March 2016 before signed a one-day contract to retire as a Miami Dolphin on 19 April 2018.

Brian Hartline

Position: Wide Receiver

A productive fourth round pick of the Dolphins in 2009, Hartline spent 6 years in Miami (2009-2014). Hartline’s best years came in 2012/2013 following the arrival of Ryan Tannehill and he developed into something of a trusted safety blanket for the young QB and set a Dolphins franchise record for receiving yards (253) in Week 4 of 2012 against the Cardinals. With over 130 targets in each of those years, Hartline caught 150 passes for 2099 yards, but only 5 TDs which is an indication of the team’s lack of productivity in the red zone. Injured early in his career, Hartline started 69 of 92 games in Miami hauling in 4243 yards and 12 TDs with a catch rate of 57.1% and 8.1 yards per target. In the final game of 2014, Hartline suffered a PCL injury which ended his tenure at the Dolphins and a quick year in Cleveland saw the end of Hartline’s NFL career and he is now WR coach at Ohio State.

Davone Bess

Position: Wide Receiver

Similar to Hartline (and more recently Jarvis Landry) Davone Bess spent his first NFL years with the Dolphins before being signed by the Cleveland Browns. Arriving with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Hawaii, Bess quickly exceeded expectations. He was primarily positioned at slot receiver until injury forced Greg Camarillo off the field. Bess finished his rookie year positioned 3rd amongst rookie WRs in receptions. During his time as a Dolphin, Bess hauled in 12 TDs and had dependable hands (63.8% catch ratio) with a 6.9 yards-per-target average and he amassed a total of 3447 yards receiving. Bess was traded to the Cleveland Browns in April 2013 before troubling issues saw him placed on the non-football illness list in December 2013 prior to a series of arrests.

Kevin Burnett

Position: Linebacker

After 4 years in Dallas and 2 years in San Diego, Kevin Burnett signed as a Miami Dolphin in July 2011. He started all 32 games at linebacker during his 2 years with Miami (2011-2012) and stole 1 Pick-6, had 5 sacks with 216 combined tackles and 15 TFLs. Although always the truest of professionals, the productive and dependable player was released following the mistake-riddled free agent signings of Darnell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler in March 2013.

Jared Odrick

Position: Defensive End

I liked Jared Odrick. Generally considered a surprising first round pick (28th overall) of the Miami Dolphins in 2010, he unfortunately suffered a foot injury in October 2010 cutting short his rookie season. Returning with a strong 2011 season, he registered 6 sacks and and an INT as a backup DE and didn’t take himself too seriously, evidence by his very odd Pee Wee Herman sack dance. Odrick spent 5 years in Miami (2010-2014) but suffered with injuries and started only 41 of 65 games. Alongside his INT, Odrick swatted down 11 passes and caused 3 forced fumbles, had 16.5 sacks and 129 combined tackles including 30 for a loss and 47 QB hits. Following his Dolphins career, Odrick spent 2 years in Jacksonville before his retirement after being placed on IR in December 2016.

Nolan Carroll

Position: Cornerback

A fifth round pick (145th overall) by the Dolphins in the 2010, Carroll was seen as a promising rookie and played a considerable amount on special teams. Fans will recall that during a kickoff return on 13 December 2010, Carroll was tripped over on the sidelines by the Jets’ strength and conditioning coach, Sal Alosi. Carroll was promoted to a starting role in 2012 and over the course of his 4 years in Miami he started 26 of 58 games, grabbed 5 INTs with 23 passes defended, 1 forced fumble and 3 sacks. He racked up 123 combined tackles before signing a 2-year $5m contract with the Eagles in March 2014. 

And there we have it.

At the dawn of the 2019 season, with the imminent start of training camp, the Dolphins now have an opportunity to write the decade’s final chapter.

Under the leadership of Head Coach Brian Flores, the Dolphins seek to change the story of their long-term mediocrity. With a young group of talented players ripe for development, we can only hope that many of them will seek to etch their names into the future of Dolphins’ history from 2020 and beyond.

Fins Up.

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