Miami Dolphins 2015 Preview

28
Aug

2014 Record – 8-8

Key Additions

WR Kenny Stills, DT Ndamukong Suh, TE Jordan Cameron, WR Greg Jennings

Key Departures

WR Mike Wallace, TE Charles Clay, LB Dannell Ellerbe, OG Shelley Smith, WR Brian Hartline, LB Philip Wheeler

Breakdown

Ryan Tannehill put his name on the list of franchise quarterbacks last season when he joined Dan Marino as the only Miami Dolphins QB to throw for over 4,000 yards in a season. Which probably helped Joe Philbin hold on to his job for another year. Tannehill did that along with a 92.7 passer rating and 27 touchdowns. The fourth-year player now has a cast of Greg Jennings, Kenny Stills and first round pick DeVante Parker, which should be an upgrade from the Mike Wallace experiment. Lamar Miller also had a breakout season in 2014, rushing for 1,099 yards and 8 TD’s, though there isn’t much of a safety net behind him, he is good enough to make the Dolphins a legitimate offense.

The defense instantly got better by signing the free agent of the year in Ndamukong Suh. The Dolphins were a middle of the pack defense in 2014 and the addition of Suh gives the team top-10 potential. He joins veteran Pro-Bowler Cameron Wake on what will be one of the most feared defensive lines in the NFL. However, behind them the Dolphins aren’t as strong. Other than Brent Grimes, an elite corner who is now 32 years old and blossoming fourth year player Jelani Jenkins, the Dolphins really have no one that will make an offense scared. Though on paper the team has gotten better, being slightly above average in a top-heavy conference and one of the league’s toughest divisions won’t get this team into the postseason.

X-Factor – Jordan Cameron

Coming over from Cleveland on a two-year deal, Cameron will be a red-zone favorite for Tannehilll. With guys on the outside who are capable of getting open the Dolphins should have no problem moving the ball. However, with no real big end-zone threat the 2013 Pro Bowler will likely be a consistent target inside the 20.

2015 Breakthrough Player – Kenny Stills

Kenny Stills managed to put up 931 receiving yards last year in New Orleans with teammates Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham hogging up most of the receptions. Tannehill is going to need a number one receiver and this will be Stills chance to show that he deserves to be amongst the league’s elite.

Best Case

Tannehill continues his success with his new toys and the defense clicks immediately, the Dolphins become Super Bowl contenders. 12-4

Worst Case

The Dolphins don’t stay healthy and never really put everything together. 5-11

Key Game

December 20 @ San Diego Chargers

The Dolphins start the 2015 season by playing 8 of their first 11 games on the road (including a “home game” in London). The lone road game in their last five weeks? A trip to San Diego. If the Dolphins can survive the early road trip, their last road game could be against a fellow wild card contender with the ability to knock out the Chargers and put themselves in playoff contention with two home games remaining on the schedule.

Projected Record 8-8

About the author: Matthew Palmateer