The roster has been trimmed to the 53 man roster and our team is ready to begin the 2021 NFL season, it’s longest season ever, 17 games. The Dolphins head to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough to face off against their long time division rival New England Patriots. Bill Belichick always has a surprise and this season it was cutting then starting QB Cam Newton to make way for the newly drafted QB of the future, Mac Jones. By doing so, Belichick has now enabled a division of fine young QB’s, most drafted within the first 10 picks of their respective drafts, except Jones who fell to #15. Josh Allen, the elder at 25 (Pick #7), Tua Tagovailoa next at 23 (Pick #5), Mac Jones who just turns 23 today (Pick #15) and the baby of the group, Zach Wilson who is 22 (Pick #2). This should make the AFC East a competitive division for some time.
On to the Dolphins roster. We speculated for months as to how it would shake it and we all got it mostly right, but there are always surprises. The first bomb was LB Benardrick McKinney getting released. I’d say the second biggest surprise to me was WR Lynn Bowden going on IR and out for the season. It was a good move which allows us to stash him for another season, but it also makes you wonder if the kid has it or not. Next year will almost surely be his last chance. OLB Vince Biegel also went on the IR ending his season as well. WR Allen Hurns was also shelved on the IR with a wrist injury which made their decision to keep 6 WR’s relatively easy. I did think Kirk Merritt would make the 53 but he ended up on the PS. So, this our roster now . . .
Will Fuller * (suspended Game 1)
Andrew Van Ginkel
So that’s the 53 man roster and this year the practice squad has been expanded by the NFLPA and the NFL accordingly to 16 players, including veteran players. Our PS consists of . . .
DE Jason Strowbridge, WR, Kirk Merritt, C Cameron Tom, RB Gerrid Doaks, RB Patrick Laird, QB Reid Sinnett, DT Durval Quieroz-Neto, OL Adam Pankey, LB Shaquem Griffin, DE Jabaal Sheard, CB Tino Ellis, WR Brandon Powell, LB Calvin Munson, LB Milo Eifler, OL Kion Smith, CB Javaris Davis.
So the Dolphins travel to New England, which formerly was a house of horrors, but we have been flipping that script in recent years. We did lose last season to Cam Newton and the RPO for which we had no answer 20-11. We upset the Patriots 27-24 in ’19 with a Fitzpatrick to Gesicki TD with :24 seconds remaining. In ’18 we were massacred 38-7 with HC Adam Gase, as if we expected any different. Gase in over his head at every stop in the NFL as head coach. I’m hoping we have something closer to the 2019 game, but I’d like to beat them by at least a TD, send them a message! The Patriots will have their new QB along with 2 new TE’s, Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, as well as WR Nelson Agholor. I would expect both TE’s to get a lot of looks as BB tries to exploit mismatches. Besides, the TE is a young QB’s best friend. On our side on offense I expect us to have long drives moving the chains with a good combo of rushing and passing, and I expect our TE’s to be busy as well, along with RB Myles Gaskin getting lots of touches in the rushing and passing game. Both defenses will be similar in approach. Create pressure from where it’s not too obvious, disguising blitzes and pass rushers. I want to see a crisp game from our squad and most of all I want them to make Mac Jones look very bad. We don’t him gaining confidence beating a better team in game 1, and yes, I said we’re the better team. Instead, I want the new Tua to have a great game and give NE a taste of what’s to come for the next decade or so of Miami Dolphins dominance!