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The Miami Dolphins begin the 2015 at Washington in a 1:00 kickoff on CBS.  The Dolphins go into the 2015 season with very high expectations, playoff expectations.  For Head Coach Joe Philbin and his coaching staff, 2015 is a make or break season, and no one can really question that Philbin needs to get this team into the playoffs in 2015 if he wants to maintain his job.


Offensively, the Dolphins are led by QB Ryan Tannehill, who coming off a 4,045 yard, 27-12 TD-INT ratio season for Miami.  Ryan has improved EVERY YEAR, and the expectation for Ryan, now that he is going into his 2nd year in OC Bill Lazor offense is to take that NEXT step for the Dolphins, becoming one of the top echelon quarterbacks in the NFL  His continued improvement is key to Miami taking the next step, and he has plenty of young, talented weapons to work with.


RB Lamar Miller, coming off a 1,099 yard, 38 catch season leads a group of talented playmakers.  2nd year WR Jarvis "Juice" Landry is coming off a 84 catch season, and only seems to be getting better.  Miami drafted that BIG WR they have needed for a long time in DeVante Parker, and after missing most of the preseason with surgery on his foot to replace a screw that was inserted his last season at Louisville, he appears to be a go today for the Dolphins in the season opener.  Miami also added speedy Kenny Stills and veteran Greg Jennings, remaking the WR corps from 2014.  WR Rashard Matthews rounds out what is a deep, young WR corps.


Miami lost TE Charles Clay to Buffalo, but may very well have upgraded the position when they added Jordan Cameron.  As fast as Clay, and much more of a Red Zone threat due to his 6'5 frame, Cameron gives Tannehill something he has not had since he has been at Miami along with Parker, big, Red Zone threats.  The concern about Cameron is his history with concussions.  This is where Dion Sims could be a key, but the hope is Cameron can remain healthy.  He a weapon that can cause match up problems.


But we as Dolphins fans know the BIGGEST key to the 2015 season for this offense is the Offensive Line.  OLT Brandon Albert, coming off a season ending knee injury in 2014 is scheduled to make his first apperance on the field in a game since Detroit TODAY.  His health will be big, as he, ORT Ju"Waun James and OC Mike Pouncey give the Dolphins a solid trio on the OL.  The BIGGEST questions on the offensive line is the two offensive guards spots.  A pleasant surprise in Dallas Thomas will man the OLG position.  Thomas, a huge concern going into preseason has been rock solid for Miami during the preseason and has played very well, and his continued growth is KEY.  The surprise for the Dolphins is that rookie Jamal Douglas has come in and beat out 3rd round 2013 pick Billy Turner for the ORG position.  Thomas and Douglas play at the guard position will be KEY for the Dolphins and their playoff hopes.  If they play well, this offense could go to another level.  If they struggle, this offense will struggle.


Switching to the defensive side of the ball, going into the game today, Miami could have one of the most dominant defensive lines we have seen for the Dolphins in a LONG TIME.  Miami signed Ndamakung Suh during the offseason along with Detroit Lion teammate C.J Mosely, and drafted DT Jordan Phillips out of Oklahoma in the 2nd round.  Adding this group of players to an already talented group, Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon and a group of talented, hungry group of young players give Miami a deep group that can stay fresh and come with pressure ALL GAME LONG.


The group that needs to prove a lot is the linebackers for the Dolphins.  Jelani Jenkins has emerged as a solid player for Miami, but can he become a playmaker.  Koa Misi is solid when HEALTHY, the key is when he is healthy.  MLB Kelvin Sheppard is getting his chance with the Dolphins to be a starter.  His play will be key, and the Dolphins have a lot of youth at linebacker backing up the starters.  I believe their jobs will be made much easier playing behind the defensive fron the Dolphins have.  They just have to go out and make plays.


In the secondary, you have proven commodities in All-Pro CB Brent Grimes and FS Reshad Jones.  SS Michael Thomas and CB Brice McCain are the other starters in the secondary.  Expect CB Jamar Taylor to play a lot along with Will Davis and FS Walt Aikens.  Rookies Bobby McCain and Tony Lippett could also see time this year in the secondary.


One thing that needs to be mentioned is Miami will be starting rookies at punter and field goal kicker, as Matt Darr and Andrew Franks now man the punter and field goal kicker positions for Miami now.  Did Miami make the right move here, time will tell.  But we all know how key special teams are, and getting solid play out of the special teams is essential.  Miami ranked 29th in field goal accuracy in 2015, and that had to improve.  Brandon Fields hang time on punts had become a BIG problem, and Miami feels they have upgraded with Darr.


There are many questions that will be start to be answered today, starting with the season opener in Washington.  They face a Redskins team that has been in disarray for most of the preseason and beyond.  Teams with the expectations that the Dolphins have go out and win games like this on the road.


It's time to live up to the EXPECTAIONS Miami.  Let's Do This.  Play Ball.

First off, let me start by putting an * by that comment. Miami fans are cautiously optimistic this year the team will finally break down that playoff door. To be honest, the first team is looking like a contender.

Defense is stout against the run and pass. Pressure on the QB is consistent. The ofense finally looks like it can build a lead on teams and allow the defense to pin their proverbial ears back. The running game looks solid.

Are there any holes? It is hard to tell. Even Dallas Thomas looked good this preseason (holds breath). The tell tale sign is the large dropoff between the 1's and 2's. In years past we'd be arguing for quite a few 2's to be starting, but not this year. In comparison, the twos look terrible...no pun intended. That's where the asterick comes in. If the injury bug parks in Miami and infects the right positions LB and G to name two, it could be a rough season. So on to this weeks Match up.


Miami   VS  Washington 


Miami typically has fared well against teams from the NFC East. 24-22 overall and 8-5 against Washington. The last time these teams met was in 2011 and Miami won that game 20-9. If we were to go by preseason results, this would be a mismatch with the redskins favored to win by 10. It is really hard to look at the Redskins Team and find standout veteran players. The roster has talented young players like Cousins and Rashad but outside of those guys the team looks pedestrian on the surface. New coach and new system usually mean the team is gonig to struggle out of the gate. It really is tough to say how bad, or good they will be.

Miami on the other hand, appears poised to have a breakout season. I've never seen Ryan Tannehill looking this composed and sure of himself. Suh's presense in the middle is huge for the defense. This is the 2nd season in Lazor's offense and it is showing up in the preseason. It is very machine-like. I would expect Miami to come out of the gate hot on this one and build a good lead before settling in to defend it. Cousins is very streaky. He can look awful one moment and like a pro bowler the next. Miami needs to build a good lead before playing boreball. If this comes down to a kicker's leg, I'll just say up front I'm worried. It shouldn't do that but just putting it out there. 

So even though its not a marquee matchup on opening day, I'd send momma to the mall with money just in case Miami puts on a rout. Those high fives can get out of control and one slip up and you could find yourself slappin' your momma. 





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