Week 1 of the 2016 NFL Season is upon us and the Adam Gase Era in Miami is about to officially begin as the Miami Dolphins travel to play the Seattle Seahawks.
After all of the offseason moves and all of the changes on the Dolphins team, it is finally time to see if the Gase-led Phins can put it all together against one of the tougher teams in the league. Adam Gase will be pitting his football mind, as a first year head coach, against the experience and expertise of Pete Carroll. Gase is no doubt looking to redeem himself from the 43-8 stomping that Carroll’s Seahawks gave the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII when Gase served as offensive coordinator for Denver. At the same time, Russell Wilson is going to be trying to redeem himself from his last meeting with the Ryan Tannehill-led Dolphins in 2012 when Tannehill led the game-winning drive in 1:32 after having thrown a 35-yard TD pass on the previous series.
So we have a Dolphins coach wanting to prove himself against a coach he lost big to in the Super Bowl and a Dolphins QB that is ready to prove that leading the Dolphins to victory against the Wilson-led Seahawks in 2012 was not just a fluke. So what exciting things do we have to look forward to in this match-up?
The Gase Advantage
Normally when preparing for a game, the coaches study game film of the coaching style of their opponent. Well, with this being Adam Gase’s first year as a head coach, there is no film for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks to study on Gase’s coaching style, except for preseason, which was likely quite vanilla compared to what we should see in Game 1. Yes, the Seahawks can look at game film of Gase as an OC, but there is a big difference between being OC and head coach. I think the Dolphins have a distinct advantage with this being Gase’s first year as HC and I think we will see a lot of the unexpected thrown at the Seahawks.
Time for Tannehill to Shine
Ryan Tannehill for the Miami Dolphins has been something of a riddle wrapped inside an enigma. At times over his first 4 years with Miami he has shown flashes of greatness…..flashes that one day he could be one of the elite QBs in the league (like the 2 4th qtr scoring drives to win against the Seahawks in 2012). At other times his play has seemed less than stellar (like the last two games in 2012 when the offense only scored 7 points in 2 games). However, much of his struggles can be easily attributed to horrible coaching (like not allowing him to audible), multiple coaching changes and one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL over the last 4 years.
Despite all of the questions over Tannehill, he has looked good in what we have seen of the Gase offense. He seems to be emerging as a leader for the team, both on and off the field, and he seems to finally have a coach that actually believes in him and his ability and wants to build a team around that ability. With a much improved offensive line and a strong set of weapons, as well as the freedom to take charge and a gameplan that looks to take advantage of his athletic abilities,this game should be the start of something good for Tannehill and the Dolphins…..a chance for his talent as QB, his athleticism, and his leadership to shine.
Defense to Dominate
Last year, the Miami Dolphins defense was expected to be one of the strongest in the league. Instead they ended in the year near the bottom of the NFL in almost every statistical area. Part of this was due to injuries and part due to poor coaching and poor play. This year, Miami looks to change all of that and with new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph leading, become the defense everyone thought they would be last year. This year they start the season with three different four-time Pro Bowlers on their line in Ndamukong Suh, Mario Williams and Cameron Wake. This combined with a lot of depth and a new mode of attack bodes well for what this defense can do. With such a strong line, expect this defense to shut down Wilson’s running ability and keep him from getting into any kind of rhythm. This should be the key to winning this game on D.
Dolphins 35 – Seahawks 28