There will be quite a few new faces added to this defense, some coming via free agency and some through the draft. This is going to be a young defense, especially the front 7. The oldest guy on the front 7 is LB Kyle Van Noy at 29 years old and the youngest is LB Jerome Baker at 23. Even the depth is young with players like Emmanuel Ogbah, Andrew Van Ginkle, Vince Biegel, Elandon Roberts along with rookies Raekwon Davis, Curtis Weaver and Jason Strowbridge. When you have a young defense, especially in a season with limited practices and no preseason games, there are going to be mistakes. Even veterans like Van Noy and Lawson will be playing aside so many new faces that there will be little if any familiarity with their teammates. Every team will be in this situation but I think the Dolphins have added more new players to their roster compared to most likely every other NFL roster.
What this means fellow Dolphins fans is we’re going to have to be patient. Keep in mind, this is year 1 of the rebuild. Last year we tore it down, and tore it down good. This was the first free agency period followed by the first draft. I think we did extremely well on both counts. Our secondary may be one of the best in the NFL and any added pressure we might generate from our front 7 will complement the shutdown potential of that secondary. If we don’t get a better pass rush and create more pressure and sacks a good secondary can only hold up for so long, especially against teams with better QB’s. The Patriots took a huge step backwards with Cam Newton, The Jets stand pat with young Sam Darnold as the Bills do the same with Josh Allen. Besides the downgrade at QB for the Patriots, the amount of players opting out for the 2020 season is now at 7, and there are some quality players in that 7.
I’m actually starting to feel a little less sure that a 2020 season is actually going to happen. The fact that so many Patriots players are opting out makes me nervous. Sure, maybe they’re trying to get a better pick in the 2021 draft or maybe they know something due to relationships with Goodell. Not starting a conspiracy theory here but you have to find it odd that one team has so many more that any other. In any case, if the season does proceed it will help us that the team that has taken the division 11 years in a row has not only lost their future HOF QB but has already lost 7 players to the opt out clause. The Bills should be the favorite probably followed by the Jets because of continuity with their young QB who showed improvement the 2nd half of 2019. We should be in the mix as a young upstart team as well, I’m not discounting us. If somehow our O-line can play like an average NFL teams and our pass rush can improve we could be right in that race. Then if at some point we start Tua Tagovailoa and he plays as well as he did at Alabama, well . . .