Since 2009, the Miami Dolphins have won between six and eight games every season except in 2016, when they won 10 and made the playoffs.
Adam Gase was hired before the 2016 season with the task of turning Ryan Tannehill into a long-term franchise quarterback. Tannehill was making good progress in Gase’s first season, going 8-5 until injuries forced him to miss the rest of the season, all of 2017, and five games last season.
Along with firing Gase, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier shipped Tannehill and a sixth-round draft pick to Tennessee, and in return got a seventh-rounder this year and a fourth-round pick in 2020.
Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick was brought in to hold down the fort, so it stands to reason that Miami will look for their next potential quarterback of the future in this month’s NFL Draft, where they hold the 13th-overall pick.
Brian Flores is the new head coach. Flores was the linebackers coach in New England, but he was the unofficial defensive coordinator under Bill Belichick for the defending Super Bowl champs.
Flores’ stock is high after engineering a game plan that held the high-powered Los Angeles Rams offense without a touchdown in the Super Bowl. He inherits some solid defensive players like Kiko Alonso and Xavien Howard, but Miami’s sack leaders from 2018 – Robert Quinn (6.5) and Cameron Wake (6) – are both gone.
Offensively, Kenyan Drake will be leaned on to carry the load at running back after the departure of Frank Gore, while a solid receiving corps of Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, and Albert Wilson all return from 2018.
Hard Rock Stadium is going into its fourth season after a massive renovation that reduced seating capacity and added covering over much of the spectator area. The concession areas were also given a makeover with the inclusion of several local flavors – including Shula’s: a famous steakhouse owned by legendary former Dolphins coach Don Shula. The stadium will be hosting the Super Bowl at the end of this upcoming season (a record 11th for the South Florida region), along with the College Football Playoff Championship Game in 2021.
Miami’s 2019 schedule ranks as the 18th-most difficult by CBS Sports. It features seven games against 2018 playoff teams and includes two matchups each with the defending champion Patriots, Buffalo Bills, and New York Jets. Other opponents coming to Hard Rock Stadium are: Cincinnati, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, and the Los Angeles Chargers. The rest of the road slate includes games at Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Indianapolis, and the New York Giants.