Managing Expectations for the Dolphins

Adam Hunger/AP

Despite a splashy offseason for the Dolphins, many around the country as well as the national media do not expect much from this team going forward. This is evident in the fact that Miami will only have one primetime game, and that too is early on in the season when less stake is placed on high level matchups.

The team will face off with the Jaguars in Week 3.


Almost feels like the schedule makers put two “irrelevant” teams in one weekend to get them out of the way. Is that assumption fair? Or are the Dolphins going to surprise during the 2020 campaign?

First, it is important to take the current situation into account. Due to the lack of hands on time the coaching staff will have prior to opening the season, there will be initial growing pains. With such a young and inexperienced roster, the lack of reps will likely result in sloppy play. This can be said for every team, so the quality will be lowered across the board. However, in terms of chemistry and overall synergy of the units on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, losing OTA’s and minicamp will take a toll.

Second, the Dolphins face a daunting schedule. With both the AFC West and NFC West on the schedule, Miami will not have any “gimme” matchups and will have to earn each and every win. This is beneficial in the long run for a team just learning to walk, but again, the Dolphins may lose some heartbreakers throughout the season.

Considering the team finished 5-11 last year with the worst roster in the NFL, it is safe to assume the improvements across the board will only help. But how much?

Once the Dolphins coaches were able to get everyone playing in their proper roles and managing their assignments, the level of play rose significantly. Much is made of the 5-4 finish for the team, but the gradual improvement shows a lot. Not only is there an expectation of victory built into the locker room, but the finishing run of the season showcased the team’s ability to work with what they had and maximize the talent on hand.

For this reason, it is fair to assume the Dolphins will get better throughout the season. Based on the additions to the offensive line, backfield, and QB position the team’s offense should be vastly improved. The team had ZERO running game last season, so even a bottom third attack will result in a positive relative to last year.

The major improvements have come on the defensive side of the ball. The team has depth in the secondary as well as some elite level talent. Additionally, the front seven has some new faces who are proven commodities in the league. Namely Kyle Van Noy, Shaq Lawson, as well as Emmanuel Ogbah. The depth added with Elandon Roberts and Grugier-Hill will supplement the young studs Miami has developed in Jerome Baker and Raekwon McMillan.

We will get a clearer picture of how the team wants to attack opposing units once practice begins and as we get closer to August. Regardless, the 2020 Miami Dolphins will no doubt be improved. Many are throwing anywhere from 3 to 7 wins for the team, however, 7 wins will likely be the floor.

Realistically, a 7-9 season would be improvement but not what you would hope from a potential winner long term. If the team is able to go over .500, even just 9-7, there will be a clear statement sent across the league that this new era of Dolphins is serious and better days are on the horizon.

Although double digit victories are highly unlikely for this squad due to the aforementioned reasons, there should be no reason that the team cannot finish at least 8-8. What do you guys think? What should Miami Dolphin fans expect for the 2020 year? Let us know in the comments below.