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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
I'm not abandoning my general concerns about the team after a win over Jacksonville. No flippity-floppity just yet. I will however give a tip of the cap to Thursday's win. The coaches wisely game planned to run the ball and set the tempo. Ryan Fitzpatrick and the receivers will get the credit but Myles Gaskin was the unsung hero in this game. He helped Miami jump to a comfy lead forcing Garden Minshew to have to throw Jacksonville to a comeback. Minshew Mania is the younger version of Fitzmagic. To quote both Forrest and Mama Gump, "ya never know what yer gonna git." The coaches went after Jacksonville's weakness in a manner that would make Brian Flores's mentor crack half a smile (that is all you get from Belichick). The defense settled down after disastrous showings in previous contests and at least played like a unit that can compete with more than the bottom feeders of the league. The coaches went in with a strategy, the players executed and Miami walked away victorious over a team that previously looked good versus quality opponents. Why is this important? Look at Miami's next nine games.
The Dolphins and we fans will more than likely come back to earth next Sunday against Seattle. Russell Wilson is playing on a level that is inexplicable and he is your clear leader in the MVP clubhouse. Miami is coming out as the underdog by 6.5 points per the odds from Sports Betting Dime, however, Seattle's defense is statistically unimpressive but they faced three high-powered offenses and have forced seven turnovers so far. After Seattle, Miami has a long list of winnable games.
San Francisco should not be easy but the injury bug has bitten them and it is difficult to say how strong of a team they are with victories over cupcakes like the Jets and Giants. They lost Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas for the year. Jimmy Garropolo, who would normally be a priority fantasy team starter against Miami, is nursing a high ankle sprain that doesn't simply go away after a few weeks. What should have been an L in the record column is suddenly a winnable game. Then you face the injury decimated Denver Broncos, a rookie led LA Chargers, an unpredictable Arizona Cardinals, and two teams struggling mightily in the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals. Not mentioned in that group are the Los Angeles Rams because I expect them, in their current state, to roll over Miami without an issue.
Everything can change in a flash and injuries could deplete Miami to the point of being a pushover. You also have the whole "Any Given Sunday" which is what makes this sport so much greater than its competition. But you cannot discount that Miami may have been gifted a streak of very winnable games from the usually evasive Lady Luck. If Miami can win six of those nine games then they would be looking at a 7-5 record after three-quarters of the season. That is not a typo, folks.
I really hope Brian Flores and company embrace this opportunity. Please do not go back to Fitzpatrick throwing the ball 30 plus times per game. Please put a huge emphasis on improving your rushing defense. Make these young, opposing QBs try to air it out. Let the big money secondary earn those dollars with interceptions and quality defended passes. Let the pass rushers pin their ears back. If Myles Gaskin gets banged up then get Matt Breida and/or Jordan Howard more involved. Finally, please start pursuing a winning attitude. I love that Fitzpatrick keeps his teammates loose and promotes having fun, I just worry that too much of it leads to complacency. Teams that get too loose suffer a lack of discipline and that will cost the Dolphins victories if they aren't careful. Have fun, but go for the throat and demand overachievement from everyone. As I said last week, this is no longer the band of merry misfits. Lady Luck is giving the Dolphins a chance to finally avoid the second year curse we witnessed under the Saban, Sparano, and Gase regimes. Let's go, Miami!