Miami Dolphins: 5 players who must improve

Miami Dolphins, NFL Offseason

One year after reaching the playoffs, the Miami Dolphins come off a very disappointing season. What five player need to get their act together in 2018?

The last time we saw the Miami Dolphins crowned division champions was way back in 2008. That was also the last occasion in which a team other than the New England Patriots won the AFC East. Since then, the ‘Fins have reached the playoffs just once. That was in 2016, when the club overcame a 1-4 start and won nine of its final 11 contests to finish 10-6.

This past season, head coach Adam Gase saw quarterback Ryan Tannehill injured in August and deemed out for the year. The club’s sideline boss coaxed veteran Jay Cutler out of retirement. But he wasn’t enough to overcome the team’s numerous problems. The Dolphins ended 2017 with three straight losses and finished 10-6.

But hope always springs eternal this time of the year. There have been lots of changes to the Miami roster. In regards as to who is with the club these days, which five players must do better this season if Gase’s club is to move up in the divisional standings?

5. Ja’Wuan James

Let’s make something very clear. Miami Dolphins’ right tackle Ja’Wuan James is far from being a disappointment. He ranks in the upper half of players at his position via the fine folks at Pro Football Focus. And when it comes to pass protections, only four tackles in the league have a higher grade.

But here’s the issue and we’ll use Kansas City right tackle Mitchell Schwartz as the perfect example. Both he and James rank 17th overall on PFF’s list with an 80.0 grade. But while the latter has pretty balanced marks in terms of run blocking (76.4) and pass protecting (81.0), James stands out as a pass blocker (85.3) but his numbers when it comes to blocking for the run (48.6) are substandard at best.

Simply put, the five-year pro and steadily-improving performer must get better when it comes to paving the way for his teammates out of the backfield. The Dolphins’ deficiencies up front are one reason the club ranked 29th in the NFL in rushing in 2017.

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