Miami Dolphins impressing but are they legit?
The Dolphins enter the Coliseum on a 4-game win streak. Despite recent injuries to the offensive line, the team feels confident that their success is sustainable moving forward.
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“I haven’t felt this feeling about a team I’ve played on in a long time. To have the guys next to me and competing at a high level and winning like we are, it’s something that definitely picks you up out of bed in the morning,” said Dolphins wideout Jarvis Landry.
It’s clear the confidence is there which is good, however, is this run by Miami merely fool’s gold? Is this yet another mirage that us Dolphins fans have become used to? Or is Miami’s stud receiver on to something – that this team is special, that this team is different.
A popular saying is that a team will take on the personality of their head coach (something we saw during the previous four seasons with Philbin), but the culture change is apparent. Unlike previous teams, this Dolphins squad has an attitude about them. Nearly every game begins to get chippy with skill players barking at the opponent while the offensive line sets the tone early. The defense is attacking with players chasing down the ball carrier and gang tackling. The coaching staff has this team humming.
But is it sustainable?
A closer look at Miami’s win streak shows that this team is playing solid football across the board, something that happens when there is effective game planning and when players buy into the coaching being given to them. Miami has scored at least 27 points in every game of the streak showing a clear increase in the offense’s understanding of what to do on the field. Tannehill has yet to turn the ball over keeping Miami competitive in the field position battle, and the Dolphins are using more clock with a solid ground game. The emergence of Jay Ajayi no doubt plays a hand in this turnaround, but it is also clear that the offensive unit as a whole is beginning to get what Gase expects from them.
Defensively the team has also stepped it up, allowing their four lowest completion percentages to opposing Quarterback’s during the streak. This statistic is another example of an entire unit working in harmony. Miami is doing a better job stopping the run which increases their pass rush opportunities. This coupled with better overall play from the secondary has given the Dolphins defense a boost that no one truly expected… and without second round pick Xavien Howard.
Does this mean that the Phin’s are locks for the wild card? No. The season is long and injuries do happen as we have seen over the past week, but there is reason for hope and excitement. Adam Gase has a roster playing above their talent level, a clear sign of good coaching. The way in which the Dolphins are approaching and playing against their opponents over the past 4 games shows that this is a completely different team and they deserve to be taken seriously.
It has been a while since this franchise has given us reason to be optimistic, however, I believe this to be different. This new look team has proven over four games that they will compete until the end, and for a team as young as them, the only way is up.