Miami Dolphins Early August Scouting Report
Jimmy The Finger
One week into Training Camp and the 2017 Miami Dolphins Season is already in the crapper. QB Ryan Tannehill goes down with the dreaded non-contact injury. They showed video on the News. In case you missed it, the guy was simply running, came up lame, apparently re-injuring the knee which knocked him out of the final four games last year. Tannehill opted out of surgery, got some sort of stem cell therapy. Sounded like a good idea at the time. Now, of course, seems about as effective as Steve McQueen running down to Tijuana for that holistic cancer treatment.
We should’ve seen this coming. This is a franchise whose tradition for the last couple of decades has been shooting themselves in the foot. All the stories in the local press were talking about the high hopes for the upcoming Season, how the Fins finally had an off-season with no drama, no regime changes, now they could finally focus on football. Talk about jinxing yourself. One story totally stuck its nose up Stephen Ross’ butt – after owning the team for nine years he finally had a playoff team. Guess the local beat reporter wanted to get into Ross’ luxury box. Doesn’t realize in the Owner’s Box they got Roadrunner cartoons on the TVs. They certainly can’t be watching the Miami Dolphins. To paraphrase the immortal Yogi (Berra, not Bear) fifty percent of the problem is 90% Stephen Ross. He’s the guy kept Tony Sparano around for an extra two years after everybody else in the League (and all ships at sea) knew he was a putz (wiping out 2010 and 2011), then let Todd Bowles walk so he could hire Clueless Joe Philbin, who he also brought back for 2015 after everyone in the NFL (and all ships at sea) knew he was a putz, wiping out that Season.
After some perfunctory lip service about Colin Kaepernick Miami quickly signed Jay Cutler. Cutler has history with Head Coach Adam Gase, having been his Offensive Coordinator in Chicago and milking a halfway decent year out of the guy in the aforementioned 2015, while Miami floudered. I daresay Gase might be able to milk another halfway decent year out of the guy again, but at this point Cutler is pretty much a known quotient. If Miami can run the ball, play a little better defense, they might figure into the Wild Card chase, but tough to like their chances of advancing too far in the Post Season.
Meanwhile, a couple other items have gotten lost in the news cycle while everyone is fixating on Tannehill and Cutler.
First, RB Jay Ajayi is currently in Concussion Protocol. Concussions are like hamstrings, they linger, keep popping up, so it’s somewhat concerning to see Ajayi get his bell rung in the first week of camp, especially when you consider the physical nature of his running style. This was supposed to be his year to establish himself, carry the team, when the Dolphins were going to run the ball. Well, it was also supposed to be the off-season of no drama. How’s that working out?
Secondly, Offensive Guard Ted Larsen tore his biceps, is probably out for the year. Not exactly an All-Pro, he was battling for the Start, but you want to run the ball, Offensive Line kinda helps. Mind you, this is apparently news to the Fins Front Office, who are undoubtedly in the Owner’s Box, watching the Roadrunner instead of Dolphin games. One highly respected Fantasy Football Analyst keeps harping on the lack of depth along the Miami O-Line, how the Fins only draft one guy here every year, how Tannehill’s been sacked more than any other QB in the League since he was drafted, how most teams would call that "The First Clue." Who is that incredibly intelligent Analyst again? Oh, yeah. It’s me. (I just hate being right all the time.)
Fantasy-wise I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of drop off from Tannehill to Cutler, nor would I expect the ripple effect from this development to dramatically alter prospects for the Dolphins receiving corps. I know most Fantasy Analysts seem to be all over the map, some predicting a break-out year for WR DeVante Parker, some now suggest since RB Jay Ajayi has been so far unimpressive as a Receiver (I’m being nice here) WR Jarvis Landry might be the recipient of all those short throws Gase and Cutler threw to Matt Forte. What about Kenny Stills and the newly acquired TE Julius Thomas? Miami signed Stills to a big contract, are still holding off on extending Jarvis Landry, and Stills figures to be the deep threat, and the new OC thinks Thomas might be good for 10-12 TDs.
The point, I guess, is that it’s really anybody’s guess to begin with. Not to mention Miami (under Tannehill) really spread the ball around. Of course, when Cutler had years he fixated upon Brandon Marshall. What happens if he develops a particular rapport with Stills or Parker or Landry.
This is all dependent upon the theory RB Jay Ajayi remains healthy. The ultimate beneficiary of all this, Fantasy-wise, might be RB Kenyan Drake. If Ajayi can’t play, Miami will probably go to a rotation of Drake and Damien Williams. Williams is another known quotient, a journeyman back, but Drake is fast and a good receiver who could easily become the Matt Forte of this offense. The question might become whether or not Drake is given the Goal Line carries Williams might vulture some if that scenario unfolds. If you’ve got Ajayi on your roster, Drake might be a handcuff with high upside. Or you might take a flyer, stick it to the owner who does have Ajayi.
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