Things I Like, Things I Don't, Things To Look For Against the Redskins

Finally! The day Dolfans and football fans everywhere have been waiting for. I can't remember the last time a Dolphins team had so much promise and expectation to begin the season.  Some "experts' are calling for the playoffs, other's are calling for the Fins to rip the division crown off of the Patriots' cheating heads, and a few (very few) have whispered Superbowl. Let's not get to ahead of ourselves.  With all these expectations comes pressure, lots of it.  Pressure on Ndamukong Suh and Ryan Tannehill to live up to their big off season contracts. Pressure on Branden Albert to not only protect Thill, but to come back from a devastating knee injury. Pressure on  offensive coordinator Bill Lazor to fix the Fins redzone woes of last season. Pressure on Mike Tannebaum to show that he can be a good NFL executive. Pressure on Joe Philbin to keep his job. With all this pressure we will see who will rise up and who will fail. There is plenty to like going into the season, plenty of things that I don't like and some things to look for today against the Washington Redskins.

Things I Like 

  • Ryan Tannehill's progress. After an excellent preseason, all eyes are on Thill now. You still have plenty of doubters out there, but it is time Tannehill takes the next step. Miami has waited long enough, it is time for the Fins to have an elite QB again.
  • How could you not like Ndamukong Suh. He is the literal definition of the word beast. Last season teams ran all over the Fins. I saw too many plays where Miami's defensive tackles were handled one on one.  (Those DT's are gone.) Suh makes the entire defense better. 
  • The wide receiver corp. It seemed like for years the big complaint out of Miami was the Fins don't have any wide receivers. Sure the Fins tried with Brandon Marshall, and then again with Mike Wallace, and both put up some quality numbers, but not what anyone had hoped. Now look at this receiving corp. Hard to defend. If you take away one of them, the rest can all hurt you. I expect Jarvis Landry to have 100 receptions this year ( he better, I picked him on my fantasy team), and his progression to continue.
  • The atmosphere around the team. There was a stretch there for a while when the meme was nobody wanted to go to Miami. The NFL media loved portraying the stereo type that Miami was a grease fire - an idiot owner, a horrible GM, a old decrepit stadium. But those things have changed. Players were tweeting that Joe Philbin is the best coach in the NFL after their team building night this preseason. I saw the same praise this past week after surf and turf lunch to start the week. Players exclaiming how the organization is top notch, and takes care of it's players! A far cry from bullying scandals. I think that atmosphere is important. It breeds success, and Miami seems to be moving in a new direction and it is exciting to see. 
Other than the 1972 season, nothing's perfect. Even though I am a homer, there are more than a few things I don't like heading into the season.

Things I Don't Like:

  • Obvious, the offensive line. I am worried the Albert is rushing back too soon and wonder if Jason Fox had not sustained a concussion, would Albert already be out there. I feel like that the Fins probably could have gotten by with Albert on the bench a few more weeks. Further, Jamil Douglas starting at right guard after playing left guard his entire college career. Trust me folks, it is not easy just to switch sides on the offensive line. How worried am I about the offensive line, I'm 5 sentences in and haven't even mentioned Dallas Thomas, that's how much. 
  • LaMike James returning kicks. He's a turnover waiting to happen. I'm glad the Landry isn't doing it, (too much injury risk). I was hoping that Christion Jones would get the job as a return specialist. 
  • The entire defense minus the front 4. Whoever thought that Louis Delmas was going to be the Dolphins solution at safety for 2015 should be fired. Jamar Taylor seems to be made of glass. Further, I am in the minority, but I felt Grimes regressed last year. The Fins starting middle linebacker has been traded and cut; before coming here. Misi, back at SLB, can't stay healthy. Lots of worries.
  • A rookie punter, a rookie kicker, and a rookie holder. Enough said. 
So what does this all boil down to? As a life long Miami Dolphins fan, I am overly cautious, but optimistic. I think Super Bowl dreams in 2015 are not be a reality,  but the playoffs sure are and even though the Pats are NFL Champs, I think the AFC East crown is within grasp. Season Prediction 10-6. 

Now what about this week? I think the Dolphins have their hands full this week. I hate opening on the road against a team that everybody thinks you should beat. Miami needs to get out to a strong start this season . It starts today. Things To Look For against the Redskins:

  • The Redskins  will run the ball a lot. They were 2nd in the NFL in rushing during the preseason. Yeah, I know it's preseason, but  QB Kirk Cousins has been a turnover machine, handing the ball off may be the safest thing for the Skins. Also, rush defense was the Achilles heel of the Fins defense in 2014. 
  • Can the Dolphins secondary control WR DeSean Jackson? Jackson is highlight film waiting to happen, can the Fins inexperienced safety's provide the help over the top or will they give up the big play. 
  • Which player is key to the Dolphins defense today? Earl Mitchell. What? The Fins spent over $100 Million on Suh, how can it be Mitchell. Redskins start rookie RG Brandon Scherff (5th overall pick, Welcome to the NFL, let me introduce you too Mr. Suh) and RT Morgan Moses gets his 2nd NFL start. They are going to get help all day (and need it) That occupies the center and probably a tight end / back to that side all day. Skins LT will have his hands full with Olivier Vernon, which means Earl Mitchell will be one on one all day. I thought he was underrated last year and  he will live in Washington's backfield today. 

I don't think it will be pretty, and it scares the hell out of me.  In the end, I feel like the  Miami defense causes some turnovers, Lamar Miller shows everyone he is ready for a big year, and the Dolphins pull away at the end. Prediction: Dolphins 27 Redskins 13. 

Football is back!!! Everyone enjoy the game!!!!

@carlccrowley

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