Know Your Opponent with PhinPhanatic.com
Week Two of the Houston Texans preseason and while one constant is that the games don’t count another view is that they certainly are fun. Especially when the matchup is against the rising AFC East Miami Dolphins. After a surprising 7-9 2012 season under the leadership of rookie Ryan Tannehill at QB, ‘Phins ”phans” have high hopes for 2013, making major waves in the offseason to help accomplish those goals.
The Texans ran into the Dolphins twice last year: once in the preseason and in week 1 of the regular seasons. Both of those contests resulted in Texans victories. The biggest stories for Miami versus Houston last season were Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas running the rock, Joe Philbin in his first appearance as NFL head coach and of course the premier of #17, rookie QB Ryan Tannehill, the 17th starting Miami Dolphins QB since the retirement of Dan Marino.
The Dolphins and their “phaithphul” (?) are heading into 2013 with an entirely different perspective. With their offseason moves to acquire big name talent on all sides of the ball and growth at both the head coach and quarterback positions, fans are poised for nothing less than the post-season. With a valuable word or several, we turn back to Brian Miller, lead writer at www.phinphanatic.com for his expertise regarding the team from South Florida as they prepare for a pre-season road trip to South Texas.
The Dolphins made some huge roster additions this offseason: Mike Wallace, WR; Danelle Ellerbe (LB); Dustin Keller (TE); Brent Grimes (CB), and many more. What have you seen from these new guys in training camp?
Brent Grimes has stood out the most. He has taken on a big time leadership role in the secondary. Dustin Keller is giving Ryan Tannehill a big seam threat target that the team lacked last season. The biggest standout however has to be the infectious leadership of Ellerbe. He is leading on the field and off with no ego. He is doing it by example bringing what he learned from Ray Lewis and in Baltimore to etch his own name.
Which of your new mega-signings do you see having the biggest impact in 2013?
While many will point to Mike Wallace it won’t be his numbers that represent the biggest impact but instead the opening of the rest of the offense. The biggest beneficiary of Wallace should be TE Dustin Keller who will face more one on one safety or LB coverage.
What have you seen from Ryan Tannehill as he prepares to enter his sophomore season and what do anticipate seeing from him as the season starts?
Tannehill has become a leader on the offense. The players respect him and they want to win for him. He now needs to develop consistency and better accuracy. It will come with time or so Dolphins fans hope. So far Tannehill has really taken control of his offense and has worked a lot of extra hours in this off-season to build relationships with his teammates.
In terms of draft picks, who was stood out in Dolphins camp? Has any player brought less than expected?
Will Davis brought more than a few boos when the Dolphins traded back up to take him after moving out of the third round. So far in camp he has been a solid ball hawking corner. Most tagged Davis as a project but thus far he is opening eyes and last week got his first game interception. RB Mike Gillislee and Dion Jordan, the Phins top pick are also displaying positive early marks.
Regarding all players: rookie, returning, newly acquired, which of these players do you see having the biggest impact on both offense and defense?
Defensively Danelle Ellerbe will be watched closely but Brent Grimes could be the biggest playmaker. Offensively it really comes down to how Ryan Tannehill develops. The team can not compete if Tannehill doesn’t improve.
Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller appear to battling for starting RB. Who is in the lead position and why?
There is no battle here. The job belongs to Miller. Daniel Thomas is holding on to his roster position but he will eventually get challenged by some of the younger backs for playing time. Miller is simply too explosive and Thomas is too erratic.
Most Dolphins fans expect a playoff appearance after the money that the Dolphins spent this year. It’s not an unrealistic desire but it may be an unrealistic outcome. The Dolphins are still young and are banking on a lot of one year contracts to veterans. The deal is this. The Dolphins will only go as far as Ryan Tannehill can carry them.
For a great time and all the lowdown on the new-look, exciting 2013 Miami Dolphins please follow friend of State of the Texans, Brian Miller at @TXMedic5 and at www.PhinPhanatic.com where he is the lead writer. Huge thanks to Phin Phanatic for letting us borrow Brian’s brain for a few thoughts on what the Dolphins will be bringing to Houston this Saturday.