The Miami Dolphins had a huge offseason after signing guys like Mike Wallace, Brent Grimes, and Dustin Keller, but the real question is whether or not all the money they spent on offseason upgrades will end up being worth it in the long run. At this point in time, however, the Dolphins clearly seem focused on the short-term, and the huge amount of talent injected into the Dolphins roster has many rightfully believing that a playoff run is in order for Miami. Although a lot hinges on the steps Ryan Tannehill takes in year two, the Dolphins are extremely confident in the fact that both second-year backfield guys Tannehill and Lamar Miller will have big seasons in 2013.
Just a few days ago, newly re-signed Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline exuded confidence in the upcoming season for the Dolphins, and now Mike Pouncey did the same on NFL Total Access (Hartline appeared on NFL AM). Here is what he said about his overall outlook for the Dolphins next season, via Pro Football Talk, “I think our football team is going to be great this year. We added a lot of key additions to our football team. We look good on paper right now, but it takes chemistry to get where we want to be, and that’s in the playoffs.”
The keyword here is “chemistry”, because the Dolphins will need all that talent to gel right away in order for the team to have a successful year. All of the signings didn’t fill up every hole on this roster (there are still a few issues on the offensive line and at corner), but the Dolphins look like a playoff team on paper.
However, the New England Patriots are still the top dawgs in the division, and they’ve been the top team in the division for a long time. Last season, the Patriots took all six division games, but the caveat here is that they have had some scares. But even as the Dolphins made the splashes in the offseason, the Patriots quietly improved and fortified depth, and they remain the class of the AFC East. Pouncey reflected this with a statement that my homerist instincts love, “That’s what it’s all about. Everyone wants to be just like the Patriots. They’ve dominated our division for a long time now. If you can go up there and win in Foxborough and beat the Patriots, you’re doing good.”
Division rivals always have a way of playing out tough games, no matter the talent deficit. I mean, the Dolphins did play the Patriots close last season in their first meeting before the Patriots shut down the ‘Fins to close the regular season. Now that the Dolphins look a lot stronger, the Patriots-Dolphins tilts in 2013 look significantly more uncertain from a Patriots perspective, but there is very little doubt that the Patriots still own the division. I mean, the Dolphins at least have to prove on the field that they are in the class of the Pats, and that’s going to be extremely difficult to prove. The big key for the Dolphins is getting all of that talent to mesh, as well as hoping that those offseason signings pan out. Just because you make big splashes doesn’t mean your dive was a “ten out of ten” (was that analogy too convoluted?), but they sure can help.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.