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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
40 years. 40 seasons of hopes, of surprises, of disappointments. 40 times we fired up the championship bus only to see the wheels fall off at some point in the season. Sometimes in a playoff loss, others much earlier in the season. But in each season there were memorable moments; some good, some otherwise. The following is a description of one game from each decade that is etched in this fan’s heart and mind as a core memory. Yours are different, no doubt; there is no right or wrong with this. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments.
1983-1992: 1984 Conference Championship vs Pittsburgh Steelers 45-28 (W)
This was very hard to choose, because there were so many obvious great choices. Ultimately I had to go with the 1984 conference championship win against the Pittsburgh Steelers that earned the Dolphins the right to represent the AFC in the Superbowl, where they ultimately lost to the buzz saw that was Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers.
1993-2002: 1999 Divisional Playoff vs Jacksonville Jaguars 62-7 (L)
On the opposite end of the spectrum from why the previous game was memorable. The 62-7 shellacking at the hands of the Jags ushered Jimmy Johnson into retirement and placed the very talented roster in the hands of Dave Wannstedt, who actually led the team to a better record in his rookie season as the Dolphins head coach (11-5) than Jimmy had managed. In any case, this game was a pivot point in the Dolphins history and still one that I cringe when I think of.
2003-2012: 2008 Week 3 against the New England Patriots: the “Wildcat” Game 38-13 (W)
I went with this over the Cam Cameron “led” week 15 win over the Ravens in 2007 which prevented a “perfect” losing season. In the Patriot game, Bill Belichick had no answer for Ronnie Brown as he executed the “Wildcat” offense to perfection. The Dolphins rolled up over 200 yards on the ground, with Brown running for 4 touchdowns and throwing another to TE Anthony Fasano.
2013-2022: 2019 Week 17 against the New England Patriots: the “Miracle in Miami” 27-24 (W)
Short of a playoff win, no game could possibly beat out this one for being the most memorable in this decade. The drama, the unlikelihood of it all and the iconic “Gronkowski doesn’t have the angle!” (he still doesn’t!) makes this hands down the most memorable game in recent history for me. Have there been more important games? Perhaps… but memorable? This one takes the prize in a landslide for me.
Obviously there are other strong contenders from each decade listed, but these are the highlights (or lowlights, in some cases) for me.
Free agency made its mark. Players were added, the team was improved. We gained tons of talent on the offense and retained significant players on the defensive side of the ball. Then, the trade for Tyreek Hill. Next, Dolphins fans everywhere watched the draft unfold with limited expectations due to the fact that the Dolphins were the first team ever to not have ANY of their own original picks at the time of the draft, and only chose players in the 3rd, 4th, and two in the 7th rounds of the 2022 draft.
So what do we have to feel good about? Here are 3 “Under the Radar” things that I think we as Dolphins fans should feel excited about going into the 2022-2023 season.
1. Offensive Coordinator Frank Smith
Frank Smith comes to us from the LA Chargers where he was the run game coordinator and offensive line coach. Previously in his career, he has served as tight ends coach (Raiders & Bears) and offensive line coach (Saints.) His experience and background give me reasons to be optimistic that our offense will seek to establish the running game as the cornerstone for the offense. We know that the head coach will call the plays, but the two seem to be a very good fit together in terms of overall philosophy. If he can help the offense become balanced, all the shiny new toys on offense will have a chance to really put pressure on opposing defenses.
2. Defensive continuity
Chris Grier brought the band back together, resigning most of the team’s free agent defensive players. If they can pick up where they left off and continue the growth that they made throughout last season, there is good reason to be optimistic here as well. Especially considering the growth and development we saw in the young players like Jevon Holland and Jalen Phillips, as well as continued development from Nik Needham, Christian Wilkins, and Raekwon Davis. I like the addition of Channing Tindall, though I think he’ll be strictly a situational role player at first. And of course, there will probably be some late free agent additions to bolster depth.
3. Pro-bowl caliber punting
It would be a mistake to underestimate the significance of signing punter Thomas Morstead. Throughout his career, Morstead has been one of the league’s top punters on a consistent basis. The difference in field position that he gives his team regularly translates to points on the scoreboard. Pin the opposing offense deep in their own territory and it makes it harder for them to score, and it also gives your own defense the ability to play very aggressively, hopefully providing a short field for your offense. Over a season, this may mean the difference between making the playoffs or staying at home.
Obviously, there are other reasons to be optimistic (Tyreek Hill, Teron Armstead, etc.) but these are some factors that may not be as immediately obvious. Hopefully, everything works out well for the new additions and we’re able to watch our Dolphins make a noise in the playoffs this year. Fins Up!