As we get closer to the start of training camp, I wanted to let you guys and gals know what storylines I’ll be spending my time in training camp observing. There are other question marks on this team outside of Tua that need answering before we can take seriously this playoff or bust attitude most seem to have.
One of the biggest storylines the entire offseason has been the “need” to improve the run game by drafting or signing elite talent. Names like Aaron Jones, Najee Harris, and Javonte Williams have all been talked about in insufferable amounts, but Myles Gaskin remains as the “workhorse” back heading into the 2021 season. The only addition to the RB room is Gerrid Doaks and Jordan Scarlett, which leads me to believe they expect (or hope) that the Oline developing is how they’ll be able to improve on a rush offense that finished 22nd in total rush yards with 1688, 29th in ypc with 3.9 and coming dead last for the longest run at 31 yards.
One of the things Belichick always preached is the ability to stop the run first and then worry about the pass second, making teams one-dimensional. Last year at times it felt like teams could run at will against the Dolphins. In 2020 as a team, they finished 16th in overall rush yards p/game given up at 116.4, 24th in yards per away game with 132, and gave up 4.5 yards per carry which were tied for 16th in the league. The team expects further development from Raekwon Davis who at times showed dominance, as well as the additions of Adam Butler, John Jenkins, and Bernardrick McKinney helping add to Baker, Wilkins, and Ogbah who all played well last season.
Battle at WR
Excluding the top 3 guys in Parker, Fuller, and Waddle, the next 3 maybe 4 jobs are up for grabs for players like Lynn Bowden Jr, Albert Wilson, Preston Williams, Mack Hollins, Robert Foster, Malcolm Perry, and others. Will position flexibility help some stay on the active roster like Perry who can play slot, RB, and special teams, or Mack Hollins who can play WR, special teams, and even TE in a pinch? WR4 will be a crucial position on this team as most of the WRs have injury histories so expecting them to play more with one extra game is imprudent, especially when you consider WR4 will be a starter week 1 due to Fuller’s suspension. All the ingredients on paper, are there for one of, if not the most, explosive WR room in the league. It’s almost time to see if they can all put it together on the field.
Heading into Flores’ now 3rd season and being on his 3rd and 4th Offensive Coordinator makes it a pivotal factor in how this season can go. From everything being put out, it will be a run game/ pass game coordinator situation with Godsey calling the plays on gameday due to his experience doing it with the Texans while having Studesville give major input throughout the week as well as handle anything needed on the field as Godsey will most likely be in the press box. Whatever way they decide to roll, they need to be quick and decisive in the decision because a certain 2nd year QB is fighting for his NFL life and needs people in his corner who are a help not a another obstacle, also I’m not sure how it will look to be hiring your 5th OC heading into your 4th year as a Head Coach.
Rookies & Second Year players first training camp
You know you can’t have a Dolphins article and not talk about Tua, who yes does need to improve but so many other players must perform, and it all starts in training camp to see if they can handle it. Can Brandon Jones, Jaelan Phillips, and Jevon Holland earn the trust of the staff to play large snap counts for 17 games? How about Lynn Bowden, Jaylen Waddle, Salvon Ahmed, and Gerrid Doaks who may all be integral parts of the offense at different points in the season. How are Austin Jackson, Noah Igbinoghene, Solomon Kindley, and Robert Hunt going to respond from shaky rookie years and with some staring at potential position switches to have a chance to play. These are all questions that need answering to have a successful season full of progress and development from your first and second year guys.
Ultimately if this team wants to have a playoff or bust attitude, the foundation begins on July 27th as a training camp with games and also 2 scrimmages against other teams, will allow the team the ability to gel and improve in a “normal” atmosphere that some have never even experienced.
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