It’s a marathon, not a sprint for a successful NFL season. Luck and health all play into who holds the trophy in February and I would submit that we appear to be lucky at the moment with the hiring of Adam Gase and the coaching staff. As well as appearing to be lucky with personnel management decisions.
First, focusing on Thursday night, we can finally breathe a bit easier knowing that the offensive will not be the lowest producing and highest sack yielding unit in the history of the game. We learned that (qualifying that pre season W-L record is meaningless) it has the potential to be the SUCCESSFUL version of the fast breaking West Coast style unit we have been expecting around here for years. Coach Gase appeared to be in control of calling the game and knew what he wanted to do and Ryan Tannehill seemed to feel confident and in control. He was accurate, fast (running), respected, and organized (unlike in the Giants game and to a lesser extent vs Dallas.) The Offensive Line appeared to be improved and in synch as well. I can foresee a strong future with Steen anchoring us for many years to come. Hopefully injury prone and finesse Mike Pouncey’s days could be numbered at center. Dont get me wrong I love the guy, but we have been losers with him at center and wont cry to develop a younger and stronger HOG for the future.
Continuing on the offense, I think the cameo by Foster only solidified the front office faith in signing him to a low risk and cheap deal. It is plainly obvious in his limited action that he is the number one RB on the team and he is obviously confident in his ability as a successful veteran. He knows where he needs to be and is just a natural at the position. Foster will prove to be a phenomenal pass catching safety valve out of the one back set and Tannehill can throw to him all day long and watch for serious YAC and TD’s!
Love Jay Ajai and want him to be great, but Foster is the man of the moment. If that works out for us, watch out! Could be season defining situation and the front office will appear to have made a genius decision, no matter what Lamar Miller does this season. They saved a ton of money and have the naturally better (albeit more worn) player. Again, this would be filed under the luck and health headlines.
Back to Gase, assuming all continues on the up arrow and the kid appears to have “IT” (passion, drive, enjoyment of his job, no fear) we will be lucky if it all continues and he remains steadfast and true to himself in the face of the many adversity’s sure to arise over the coming six months (yes I said six, not four.) We are lucky to have Tannehill behind center and I cannot think of many teams (maybe ten, that would not swap their starter for ours at this point). The receivers still leave him with less than 100 percent success though. Devante Parker had a drop, Cameron Jordan has had multiple drops, even Jarvis Landry had a drop. These guys need to ball out to make it all work.
As far as the defense, it appears to be a longer term project at the moment as we have yet to see Xavien Howard be available, and the defensive line has to be brought along slowly. However, after watching the Miko Grimes debacle last night and Jamar Taylor in Cleveland, I feel no worse off with enduring the growing pains of my younger, larger studs, than having ridden another year of Miko and Mediocre. Jamar Taylor was never going to be the answer as well as he was a marginal to bad player. Again, if we get lucky here and things work out in our favor for a change the front office again will look like geniuses.
As far as the linebackers it was good to see good Koa Misi play well. I’m not crazy about the guy as he is far from a playmaker but we need a big year from him. I think Kiko Alonso is settling in and I still like Neville Hewitt and Mike Hull. We will be ok at linebacker as long as the defensive line performs to expectation. I love the depth along the defensive line with Warmsley settling in and playing well. I’m excited for the future of this team and realistically, not expecting anything other than a complete turnaround in team psychology, philosophy, and respect this year knowing and feeling that better times are just around the corner.
Today’s prediction for the season from me is 2nd place in the AFC EAST and 9-7. After a 1-3 start we begin to gel by mid season and finish a strong 8-4 and have a shot at the second wild card spot and could be a real threat to get to the conference championship game.