We could go position by position analyzing the 2017-2018 Dolphins squad, but not only have a few thousand writers already done that but, more importantly, no one really knows the answers to how good they are until at least the start of pre-season on August 10 or, more likely, early into the regular season that begins September 10 for the Dolphins.
It is more fun to speculate on what kind of offense the team will sport this season. For starters, and assuming Jay Cutler can pick up where Tannehill left off at the time of his leg injury, the team has a very good quarterback and a very good back-up QB. He will also have terrific receivers to throw to and they have the ability to gain large chunks of ground after catching the ball. The Dolphins also have a rough, tough running back in a healthy Ajayi. If there is a weakness, it is probably in the depth of the offensive line especially with the injury to Larsen. If that is the case, it is likely that the offense will be structured to get rid of the ball fast to keep the defensive pressure off the quarterback and to rely on the speed and quickness of the receivers to make big gains after their catches. Ajayi will be used on unexpected bursts into the line to keep defenses honest, but he will also be a part of the quick-hit passing attack. With the talent of its receivers, the team can almost count on someone being free in the secondary on pass plays. If the quarterback has the time, he will find the open receiver and the Dolphins will score more points per game than in the last several years.
This approach minimizes the need for all-star talent on the offensive line and overcomes any weakness that may exist there, either in the starters or in their back-ups if there are injuries, which there always are.
So, it should be an exciting season to watch, with the win-loss prediction depending on how well the defense plays and whether it is able to contain the opponents’ scoring opportunities. If it isn’t as strong as we hope, the games should be shoot-outs, which makes for good viewing as well as a few ulcers.
Many of the “experts” are predicting that the team will win fewer than eight games. I don’t happen to agree, but if the games are as close as I think they will be, anything can happen.
Let’s just sit back and enjoy the season. Can’t wait!
My take on Jay Cutler is that he was 51-51 as a Bears starter, has a powerful arm, but takes unnecessary chances with the ball. In the past, he has had mammoth days as a passer but has also had days when he has struggled to make the right decisions. He very likely will have a win-loss percentage with Miami close to what he had in Chicago. In the end, he was the only option for Coach Gase, primarily because Kaepernick would not have been welcome in Miami.