The Miami Dolphins will travel to FedEx Field to open their season against the Washington Redskins this Sunday at 1:00 PM ET.
Miami has added a lot of pieces to its roster this offseason in hopes of claiming a playoff berth for the first time in the Ryan Tannehill-Joe Philbin era. The team's biggest (literally) acquisition was defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who signed a mammoth six-year, $114 million contract in free agency. He'll join defensive ends Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon to form one of the strongest lines in the NFL this year.
Miami finished just 24th against the run last year and 16th in sacks. Suh, who's equally adept at rushing the passer and stopping the run, will provide immediate help in both areas.
Suh is a sure thing, but the Miami offense is not. Even though Tannehill is coming off a season in which he posted career-bests in completion percentage (66.4), passing yards (4,045), passing touchdowns (27), interceptions (12) and rushing yards (311), the Dolphins still failed to make the playoffs. Miami as a team has faded down the stretch in each of the last three seasons, with Tannehill posting a record of 11-15 in the months of November and December. In an effort to combat this downturn, the Dolphins traded for speedy wide receiver Kenny Stills, drafted DeVante Parker in the first-round and signed Greg Jennings as a free agent. The hope is that with the abundance of weapons around him, Tannehill will continue to develop into a bona fide franchise quarterback.
Unfortunately for the Redskins, their "franchise quarterback" has fallen on hard times. Robert Griffin III failed to impress while playing behind an abysmal offensive line this preseason and is currently questionable with a concussion. Even if he is cleared to play, head coach Jay Gruden has already announced that 2012 fourth-rounder Kirk Cousins will be his starting quarterback.
Cousins threw nine interceptions in just six games last year and has been prone to streakiness in his scattered playing time in the NFL. In 14 career games, he has completed 59 percent of his passes while throwing for 3,030 yards with 18 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. With RGIII in the doghouse and Cousins prone to turnovers, it appears as if Washington is back to square one in their search for a franchise QB. Skins fans can hope that the defensive additions this offseason lead to respectability on that side of the ball, but it's hard to see Washington competing in the NFC this year as currently constructed.