The Comeback is previewing all 32 NFL teams from worst to first between now and the start of the 2018 regular season on Sept. 6. Today, we kick things off with the Miami Dolphins.
2017 in a nutshell: We all ask if they’re pretenders after a 4-2 start without quarterback Ryan Tannehill. We’re all proven right when they lose eight of their final 10 games, revealing themselves as one of the worst teams in the NFL.
What’s different: Tannehill is healthy again, but they lost arguably their best offensive player (Jarvis Landry) and arguably their best defensive player (Ndamukong Suh).
Why they could be awesome: Tannehill was playing the best football of his career before suffering his first knee injury late in the 2016 season.
Why they could suck: That injury took place 21 months ago and he hasn’t played an NFL game since. He’s also got less support now than he did then.
Major additions: Wide receiver Danny Amendola, running back Frank Gore, center Daniel Kilgore, guard Josh Sitton, defensive end Robert Quinn, rookie tight end Mike Gesicki, first-round defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Major losses: Landry, Suh, linebacker Lawrence Timmons, tight end Julius Thomas, center Mike Pouncey.
Breakout watch: Defensive end Charles Harris disappointed as a rookie first-round pick in 2017, but the South Florida product really improved late in the year and should have a chance to build his presence as part of a deep but aging rotation on the edge.
Position to watch: That edge is interesting, because veterans Cameron Wake and William Hayes, the newbie Quinn and the rising Harris will have to do a lot of heavy lifting with Suh no longer dominating inside. They’re extremely deep with Andre Branch also on board, but it’ll be tough to get the most out of all of those guys.
Prediction: In many other years, these Dolphins wouldn’t be at the bottom. But there aren’t many truly terrible teams in the NFL right now. The Dolphins were terrible last year, and on paper they’re a lot worse this year. Even if Tannehill gets it together, this team will struggle to win five games.
4-12, 4th place in the AFC East