5 Biggest Issues Facing the Miami Dolphins This Offseason
The Miami Dolphins were one win short of an AFC wild-card berth, but back-to-back losses in Weeks 16 and 17 ended their playoff hopes. If the Fins can plug up a few holes, they can find themselves in the hunt once again.
With no No. 2 cornerback and the departure of almost their entire starting offensive line, the Dolphins have a lot of issues heading into this offseason. A few of these problems have been improved, but some are still a disaster.
Here's a quick look the top five issues facing the Miami Dolphins this offseason.
Honorable Mention: Wide Receiver
Even though the Dolphins receiving corps looks good on paper, the unit is still a cause for concern.
Last offseason, the Dolphins signed veteran receiver Mike Wallace to a five-year deal worth $60 million, but he consistently had problems clicking with quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Wallace's final stats seemed solid with 73 receptions, 930 yards and five touchdowns, but in several moments he was a no-show.
The speedy receiver recorded only four receptions or less in eight games last season, but Wallace's struggles weren't entirely his fault. Several times last year Tannehill under-threw Wallace on wide-open deep routes that could have resulted in touchdowns.
Another concern with the receiving corps was the void at slot receiver. Last year Rishard Matthews and Brandon Gibson were not consistent enough to earn the spot, so the Dolphins drafted Jarvis Landry. Even though Landry has looked good in minicamp so far, we still do not know how well he will produce in actual games.
5. Running Back
The Dolphins let Reggie Bush walk last offseason in hopes that Lamar Miller would take over as their featured back. Unfortunately he was unable to produce consistently. Miller ran for 703 yards and only two touchdowns in 2013.
To fill this gap, the Dolphins signed Knowshon Moreno to a one-year deal. Last season was his most productive by far, as he ran for over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career and found the end zone 10 times.
Moreno is a solid running back, but he has dealt with several injuries throughout his career. Last season was the first time he played a full campaign since 2009. Only time will tell if Moreno is the future running back of the Dolphins or just a temporary Band-Aid.
According to ESPN.com, the Dolphins ranked 16th in passing yards allowed. Brent Grimes shined for Miami and even made it to his second Pro Bowl, but the Dolphins do not have a solid No. 2 cornerback.
This offseason, the Dolphins signed veteran defensive back Cortland Finnegan, but at 30 years old, he is better suited for the slot position.
Many fans are expecting second-year player Jamar Taylor to step up and win the No. 2 spot, but he missed most of last season due to injury. Taylor was a standout player at Boise State, but he is still unproven in the NFL. In his rookie season, he record only three tackles and zero interceptions.
3. Tight End
Charles Clay shined last year, proving to be one of the Dolphins' biggest offensive weapons. He recorded 69 receptions for 759 yards and six touchdowns in 2013. The Dolphins have a great tight end, but once again they lack depth.
Behind Clay, Miami has Michael Egnew and Dion Sims, who have a combined 13 career receptions. Usually a team's No. 2 tight end is not a big deal, but if Clay goes down with an injury, the Dolphins would be in a panic.
They could bring back Dustin Keller as a cheap backup, but who knows how good he'll be after tearing his ACL, PCL and MCL just last August.
2. Offensive Line
Last year, the Miami Dolphins dealt with a scandal involving Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin that shook the football world. This incident forced Miami to get rid of two starting offensive lineman. As of right now, Mike Pouncey is the only starter returning.
The Dolphins have added a few pieces in order to fix this problem. At the start of free agency they signed left tackle Branden Albert to a five-year, $46 million deal that includes $25 million guaranteed.
Miami also added strength to its offensive line by drafting Ja'Wuan James with the 19th overall selection. The Dolphins have taken significant steps to improve the line, but they still have a few holes at the guard position.
Tannehill needs all the help he can get after being sacked a league-leading 58 times in 2013.
In the 2013 offseason, the Dolphins spent a large amount of money to bring in Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler as inside linebackers. Both players struggled mightily during their first season in Miami.
Alex Parish of ThePhinsider.com claimed that Wheeler "was one of the worst, if not the worst, 4-3 outside linebacker in the NFL last season."
The Dolphins did draft Jordan Tripp in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL draft, and he is expected to be a Week 1 starter. It's usually bad news when a fifth-round draft pick has a chance to make an immediate impact.
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