The rebuilding Dolphins exceeded everyone’s expectations when they won 5 games in 2019. Now they have taken the next step in their process by adding key free agents and spending their amassed draft capital. However, this rebuild has always had the intention of coming to fruition in 2021, and that still remains the goal in Miami. A successful season for the Dolphins in 2020 does not require 10+ wins or a playoff appearance and success for the 2020 Dolphins can be judged by more than just wins.

Yes, the AFC East is now wide open with Tom Brady’s departure from New England, but Miami should not be expected to immediately take the throne. Instead, an ideal 2020 season for the Miami Dolphins should meet specific criteria that won’t necessarily show up in the W-L column.

The number one goal of the 2020 season should be keeping Tua Tagovailoa off the field. Miami has zero incentive to rush their future face-of-the-franchise into game action this season. This rebuild was always designed for 2021, and though the excitement surrounding Tua is enticing the team cannot misplay this situation. The Dolphins will be featuring an almost entirely new offensive line group in 2020 too, and Tua’s debut will not come until the O-Line has proven it can protect the QB and that may not happen at all in 2020. This is still firmly Ryan Fitzpatrick’s team for now. Tua could see the field late in the season if the right conditions are met, but no one should expect him to break camp as QB1. 

The development of key players still on the roster from last year will be at the forefront this season as well. Players such as Mike Gesicki, DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, and Jerome Baker all had promising 2019 campaigns and each will be expected to build upon that work. This season will be much about taking the next steps as they continue to lay the foundation for becoming a yearly threat starting in 2021. 

Mike Gesicki put together a 2019 season that proved he can be a legitimate threat in the offense for years to come, and he’s poised for a full-on breakout this year. I truly believe that 2020 is the year that the rest of the league will start taking serious notice of Gesicki at the tight end position. The same goes for DeVante Parker, who silenced most of his doubters with his production in ‘19. If Parker can build on his success and Preston Williams can continue to look like a hidden gem, then the Dolphins will have a concrete WR pair in place for Tua when he’s fully ready. 

The immediate return on investment from the rookie class will obviously be another goal for the Dolphins, but overall if the Dolphins are able to produce 5+ wins while protecting their future franchise QB and developing some of their newly gathered talents, then that should be the barometer for success in South Beach this year.

Don’t lose patience now, and understand where Miami is in their process.