The 53 man roster is set. The prep is done. Week one of the NFL season is here and we’re all hyped. So, we’re going to preview the Sunday matchup with the New England Patriots as an excuse to sort of sum up the final picture for the Miami Dolphins going into the Dolphins week 1 matchup.
Where do we start with the Miami offense? Will Ryan Fitzpatrick break his tendency of: go to a new team; play well; get the second year start; play terribly? Will Tua take the reins? Can DeVante Parker repeat his terrific performance from last year? Can Preston Williams pick up where he left off after injury last season? Does Miami have any other viable receivers, with Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns opting out? Can Matt Breida and Jordan Howard be the one-two punch at running back we hope they are? What is Malcolm Perry? Can the offensive line be better than the absolute dumpster fire that they were last year, with such a huge turnover rate at the position? Will Mike Gesicki finally take the leap that many of us have quietly expected since he was drafted?
It’s a lot of questions…I know.
The most important of those questions is, immediately, the offensive line. The unit was worst in the league by most metrics, including the eye test. Unless they can come together with the new additions to show definitive improvements, the other issues are moot. Unless that unit manages to improve, no other position on the offense will have much hope to improve, much less thrive.
Week one will be our first look at an almost entirely reconstructed roster, compared to last year, and the offensive line will be the key to the entire puzzle. New England’s defense, though reduced slightly from last year, is still coached by the hooded mastermind, Bill Belichick. And they’re likely coming at the Dolphins week 1 still angry about the results of week 17 last season.
Where the Dolphins week 1 offense is a black hole of what to expect, the defense is the polar opposite. With a strong finish last year and a litany of strong additions through both the draft and free agency, fans have high hopes for the Dolphins D.
Of particular note is the secondary, where Byron Jones will line up across from Xavien Howard. In week one, this hopefully means feasting on what is a truly anemic Patriots wideout room. Only five wide receivers made the final roster, with Julian Edelman as the lead wideout. The biggest threat will be Cam Newton‘s mobility.
Mobile quarterbacks gave the Dolphins fits last year (see Josh Allen) and could potentially open up the rest of the game for the Patriots. Furthermore, the Dolphins were last in the league in sacks last year, leaving Newton’s prodigious ability to break out of the pocket an even greater threat.
Between the Patriots offseason losses and the Dolphins massive changes, this is a classic case of week one showing us what they have. Both teams are hard to judge right now, and fans on both sides should be watching closely to see what exactly they might need to expect. It’s not the most fun answer going into a new season, sure. But Sunday will be when fans finally see what the offseason has brought them.