The Morning After: What We Learned About the Miami Dolphins in Week 1
It's never a good idea to overreact to what happens in the first game of a regular season. It's also important to note that the Miami Dolphins' last two playoff appearances came after they lost their opener that season.
So all is not lost just because they dropped a 10-point decision against the New England Patriots in Week 1.
But the game also served as a reminder that, as much as the Dolphins improved their roster in the offseason, it's fair to question whether this team is ready to contend, as some pundits predicted they would.
It truly was fashionable as the regular season approached to project the Dolphins as an up-and-coming team ready to shock the NFL just one year after fielding an opening-day team that had some questioning whether they might go winless.
But how realistic was it?
Again, we don't want to overreact to one game, but there were some very disturbing things we saw, starting with the inability to stop the run when it pretty well had been established that's the route the Patriots were going to take on offense with Cam Newton now at quarterback instead of Tom Brady.
The Dolphins allowed 217 rushing yards against the Patriots, and that turned out to be the highest total in the NFL through the Week 1 Thursday and Sunday games.
And if the Dolphins had their problems with Cam Newton, guess who's coming to Hard Rock Stadium next Sunday? Josh Allen.
Sure, his passing can be erratic, but he's also a very large quarterback who can and will run. You know, kind of like Cam Newton.
The biggest concern, however, based on what we saw at New England is the offense.
And, no, we're not talking about the performance of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
As I explained in the video at the top of this story, his performance on paper was a whole lot worse than it truly was.
No, Fitzpatrick wasn't great, but look at his interceptions and look at every play in the game, and you'll see Dolphins receivers having a very hard time creating separation. Yes, New England has a great secondary, but still.
Of course, it doesn't help that DeVante Parker had to leave the game in the second quarter because of his continuing hamstring issue. And nobody is going to blame a single Dolphins fan who's thinking, here we go again with Parker.
And, let's face it, the Dolphins receiving corps without Parker just doesn't scare anybody.
That's a problem.
And what's the solution if Parker has to miss some time to let that hamstring completely heal? And what happens if it's one of those things that just keeps lingering?
And what about the running game? Jordan Howard was brought in to be the feature back, but it was 2019 seventh-round pick Myles Gaskin who was the go-to guy against the Patriots.
That's because Howard had 7 yards on eight rushing attempts, which needless to say is not ideal.
Again, this was only one game and Miami figures to get better in all areas as the season moves along because that's what all teams do — even the talent-deficient 2019 Dolphins. But, again, that's what all teams do.
Then it becomes a question of each team's ceiling and which teams can reach those ceilings.
The Dolphins certainly figure to be better later in the 2020 season, but it's fair to wonder whether that will be good enough to meet the lofty expectations of those who expected a dramatic one-year turnaround.