Welcome to the Podcast AF offseason review series, astutely titled “The Probe” – the unofficial official NFL offseason review series of the Vegas Golden Knights. Here, like most NFL “writers”, I will regurgitate takes I read or heard somewhere else and pass them off as original thoughts. Will Ryan Tannehill breakout in 2018? Was Mike McCarthy abandoned by the run game as a child? Does Saturn have a playoff atmosphere? Your questions, answered! Sponsored by “Ready Player One”, in theaters now!
#5 The Miami Dolphins (6-10, 3rd AFC East)
How am I to critique the team that without I would not have achieved subtle, nameless notoriety whilst putting my phalanges on the line at last year’s Patriots Super Bowl parade?
I still don’t like that I was referred to as a “guy.” I feel it implies some degree of maturity that my Star Wars bed sheets are sure to contradict. I may be allowed to buy alcohol but I still drink Mountain Dew when I play Zelda.
Anyone who follows me on Twitter will see I have used magical powers to replace “2017” with “2018”. The question now becomes this: do I abandon the schtick and actually explain if Tannehill is any good? Hard to say. We made it this far, so it seems a decision has been made. Anyone who actually sees my Star Wars sheets have already made up their mind; the Star Wars sheets sure aren’t changing it.
Fun fact: from 2012 through 2016, a year in which he missed the final three games and a playoff loss, no QB was sacked more than Ryan Tannehill. He is still 5th even after missing all of 2017, only 13 sacks removed from being #2 behind Russell Wilson. Tannehill stubs his toe watering his garden and only cries for 20 minutes. When Laremy Tunsil slips in the shower, Tannehill dives under the 350-lb Wicked Tuna to break his fall, ensuring the Pineapple Turnstile lives to let up another sack.
Metaphorical analysis: Tannehill takes big hits and elevates his teammates. He’s been under constant pressure due to having a horrible offensive line. It’s clear that noted “all lives matter” guy Adam Gase feels the same, as he’s emphatically supported Tannehill in the past and cut offensive lineman who can’t do what they’re supposed to (aside from the Pineapple Turnstile).
So how’s the offensive line shaping up for 2018?
It was bad, AND THEN they released Mike Pouncey, who mayyyyy have just had a bad year (but, was due to make $10M). Every guard the Dolphins started last season was horrible. But hey, they signed veteran OG Josh Sitton and traded for C Daniel Kilgore from the 49ers, two Tannehill-sized steps in the right direction!
Ja’wuan James, the 17th-ranked OT according to Pro Football Focus, is back at RT after missing the final 8 games of last season, and is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie deal.
That leaves LT, RG, and the possibilities of Kilgore being the Kilgore of 2017 and /or Ju’wuan James being injured again. Jesse Davis could start at RG, and the I’m sure the Pineapple Turnstile will be back at LT, although Tunsil is a major cut candidate for camp.
Offensive line has been the most apparent need for the Dolphins since they drafted Tannehill. They didn’t have the most cap space going into free agency, but instead of dealing with the offensive line they signed Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola. The thought process could be get a receiver with a big catch radius to pair with DeVante Parker in Wilson, and a faster receiver who can get open quicker in Amendola. There was a similar thought process in the Giants’ front office last offseason.
Kenyon Drake will be the man Adam Gase uses to stretch the field horizontally. The TEs currently on the roster are journeyman MarQeuis Gray and Zach Sudfeld part two electric boogaloo: AJ Derby.
Most offensive lines aren’t 5/5. When fully healthy, the closest is the Eagles. Most operate with a weak link or two. The Dolphins’ ceiling is probably 3/5 with a floor of 1/5. If Gase can scheme around a couple weak links on the OL and Tannehill stays healthy, this offense may not be all that bad, but I don’t see this as even a 3/5 OL.
Movie Comparison: “Rouge One”. Imagine a line graph. Y-axis is talent, X-axis is yards away from the line of scrimmage (assume outside CBs press). The slope of the line is pretty much 1.
So the Dolphins cut Ndamukong Suh, ostensibly for two reasons: he’s a pain in the ass and he’s on a huge contract. But then they traded for Robert Quinn. At least Suh was good, Quinn hasn’t played well for a few years and also has a fat contract. Quinn joins 36-year old Cameron Wake and padawan Charles Harris at DE, leaving Jordan Phillips and Jordon Godchaux on the inside. That’s about as average of a DL as they get.
With Suh it was easier to force runs to the weak-side where Kiko Alonso, a sneaky bad linebacker, is expected to make tackles but also react to the pass faster than the rest of the LBs. Raekwon McMillan will be back at MLB, so the Dolphins just need a strong-side backer to have a nice corps (if Alonso can have a bounce-back year and avoid being a moron).
Reshad Jones and TJ McDonald are an elite safety duo. Cordrea Tankersley and Xavien Howard are Walmart versions of starting CBs, although both are young and heading into their 2nd and 3rd seasons respectively. You can’t give up on players that quickly, especially when they’re recent 3rd and 2nd round picks, but the Dolphins could look to try others at CB1 and CB2 if either don’t progress this season. A pass rush might help them with that, but the Dolphins seem to be leaning more on the DBs this year. Luckily for them, Bobby McCain is a pretty good nickel corner.
* I’m not sure what the future holds for Tannehill. He’s on a big deal and needs are mounting for the Dolphins. I could see them moving on from him sooner rather than later, mostly from a team-building standpoint and less from a performance standpoint. I don’t see this happening this year because most teams either don’t need a QB or think they don’t need a QB, and those who do are drafting one this year.
Major Draft Needs: LT/RG, SLB, DT, future CBs?
*I mention DT because as of now they’ve got two guys, and one of them is more of a rotational piece (Jordon Godchaux).
I noticed a Weezer reference in the last post, you a Weezie? – Brian from U-Pitt
As a diehard Weezer fan, never refer to us as Weezies again. I actually don’t know what we’re called but that’s not it. I’ll do the quick rundown of answers to questions by which Weezer fans are judged:
Blue or Pinkerton? Pinkerton
Worst Album? Make Believe/Raditude. They’re both so bad, I can’t pick one.
Worst Song? “Beverly Hills”
Best Song? “Only In Dreams”
#3 Album? Everything Will Be Alright In The End
Hidden Gem? Maladroit
Best Deepcut? Rough version of Tired of Sex
Underrated Album? Hurley
Good Song, Bad Album? “Trainwrecks”
In honor of Pete Prisco telling me I’m dumb and that I’ll fail, here’s this entry’s edition of “Prisco’s Pickanosis,” where I highlight something the Tom Brady of acting like an infant on Twitter was completely wrong about.
Context: he’s saying Cutler is better than Kaep.
And on that note…
I have a theory Kenny Stills will be cut sometime in camp.
This picture must be cursed. Julius Thomas sucks so I understand him being cut. But they could’ve kept Michael Thomas, a captain and very good player, for cheap. It was a little more convenient to let him walk. The Dolphins just signed tow big name WRs in free agency, and their owner and coach have been very outspoken of their views about kneeling during the anthem…