The Miami Dolphins kicked off the 2019 season with a 59-10 loss to Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. The loss did not come as a surprise to fans around the league. The Dolphins spent the off-season releasing and trading veterans, forging a youth movement with tons of roster turnover. The surprising part was the manner in which they lost. It was never a close game. They did not look like they even belonged on the same playing field as the Ravens. After Week One, the Dolphins rebuild may take longer than expected.
The Miami Dolphins Rebuild Plan
The Dolphins gutted the roster with the intention of building a young foundation through high draft picks or simply “tanking.”
The plan in the off-season and during the 2019 season was to find and develop young talent, especially in the trenches. While only 1/16th of the season has been played, Week One showed the plan may take longer than expected. The offensive and defensive lines were punished at will by the Ravens.
The idea of building the trenches first made sense. Gather some talent on the offensive and defensive line and with 2020 draft picks, find a quarterback, some skill position players, and fill in some holes in the trenches. But if the trenches are still talent barren following the season, current assets will have to be spent on fortifying the two position groups. The Laremy Tunsil trade made this plan harder to obtain, but the Dolphins are working with rookie guards and many rookies on the defensive line rotation. None of them played well, especially guard Michael Deiter, outside of a few plays by first-round pick Christian Wilkins and undrafted Jonathan Ledbetter.
There is still time to turn things around. But if Week One was a sign, the 2019 off-season plan did not work.
What Is Next?
The Dolphins must figure out their offensive line. The unit was completely flipped around after the Tunsil trade, leaving the team a week to scramble and put something together. It was interesting to see the Dolphins roll out two players they acquired the week of the game, guard Danny Isidora and tackle Julie’n Davenport. The key for the coaching staff is to get those two up to speed quickly. If not, the staff should take a look at two players they acquired in April, sixth-round rookie tackle Isaiah Prince and undrafted rookie guard Shaq Calhoun.
The defensive line is in a similar position. Two newcomers who were added during game week preparation, Avery Moss and John Jenkins, played a ton of snaps. These two players are veterans who should get up to speed quickly and be a positive influence on the defensive line unit. The following rotation of Wilkins, Ledbetter, and Davon Godchaux was expected. Getting Moss and Jenkins up to speed and continue the development of Wilkins, Ledbetter, and Godchaux.
The coaching staff has a lot of work to do to develop the young players on the team. While winning is not of the utmost importance, developing players is, especially in the trenches.
If not, the Dolphins rebuild may take a year longer than initially expected.
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