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Dolphins Under The Radar: Expectations Are Incredibly Low For Adam Gase's Team

Alex Donno
June 28, 2018 - 12:46 pm

You'll have a tough time finding anyone in the national media with anything nice to say about the Miami Dolphins. As a fan, should low expectations frustrate you, or excite you for the challenge of shutting up the critics? If the Dolphins are looking for bulletin board material, here are some of the highlights. 

Sports handicapper Odds Shark lists Miami's Adam Gase as the second most likely NFL head coach to be fired first during the 2018 season. It's safe to say you aren't expecting a team to be successful if you don't expect their coach to retain his employment through the full campaign. 

Both CBS Sports and the NFL have released a list of the Top 100 Players in the league. Pete Prisco's CBS list contains zero Miami Dolphins players. On the NFL list, only Cam Wake makes an appearance, at number 74.  Personally, I think Reshad Jones was snubbed from both lists, but clearly he doesn't get the national respect he probably deserves. 

Another CBS list ranks the Dolphins 23rd out of 32 in their 2018 power rankings. Only 12 teams make the playoffs, and number 23 would not be considered a competitor. 

Get the picture? The Dolphins, who went 6 and 10 last season, aren't expected to improve in 2018. 

If you ask me, a chance to fly under the radar is exactly where we want to be. Back in 2016, the Dolphins weren't expected to be any better than a .500 team. No one in the media took them seriously, as I imagine was also the case with opposing coaches and players. The Fins won 9 of their final 11 games to punch a ticket to the postseason for just the second time in 15 years. 

I'm not saying history will definitely repeat itself, but I will offer you some reasons why the Dolphins should exceed the nonexist expectations of the media. 

  • Ryan Tannehill is back. Even if you're not a true believer in Tannehill, you cannot deny that his return will offer superior quarterback play to that of Jay Cutler and Matt Moore a season ago. In 2016, Tannehill enjoyed a career year in completion percentage and passer rating, and ranked second in the league in deep ball percentage (behind Derek Carr of the Raiders.) His receiving corps lost Jarvis Landry but gained a proven Danny Amendola and a promising Albert Wilson. Plus, I think Jakeem Grant (if not FINALLY DeVante Parker) could have a breakthrough season. 
  • The offensive line should be better. Gaining Josh Sitton and Daniel Kilgore at the expense of a past-his-prime Mike Pouncey offers a net gain in my eyes. Plus, it's hard to imagine Laremy Tunsil not showing at least marginal improvement after a tough start at left tackle in 2017. 
  • Improving depth at linebacker and DB. I won't ignore the fact that losing NDamukong Suh from the defensive line will hurt. Of course it will. But I also expect the linebacker and defensive back play to improve. At LB, the return of Raekwon McMillan, a full year with Stephone Anthony, and the arrival of Jerome Baker can only make things better. At safety, you've got first round draft pick Minkah Fitzpatrick joining Reshad Jones and TJ McDonald. At corner, I still really like Xavien Howard and Bobby McCain, and I'm expecting Cordrea Tankersley to make some second-year strides. 

The low expectations will surely annoy and discourage Dolphins fans, but I guarantee you Miami's players and coaches are taking notice, and loving it. This team fell flat a season ago when the spotlight was on. Now, they can fly under the radar with a heavy chip on their shoulder.