Black Monday came and went, leaving six head coaching spots open. Immediately, all of the attention went to the New York Giants opening because of the fame of the coach that was let go, the fact that it is the biggest market in sports, and because it is perceived to be the most enticing head coaching vacancy in the NFL. Now there is no doubt that Tom Coughlin is a huge name in this sport and that New York teams always get more media attention, but the opening in the Big Apple may not be the best place for a coach that wants immediate success.
The Giants do have a lot of appeal compared to most of the teams looking for a new leader, except for one. There is one roster that is better overall, has a bigger arsenal of weapons, and, under the right leadership, could be one of the better teams in the league for years to come. That team, of course, is the Miami Dolphins.
Let’s break this down by position starting with the quarterback. Obviously Eli Manning is the better of the two QBs as of right now, but Tannehill has age on his side. At 27 years old, Tannehill has the prime of his career in front of him and has shown flashes of greatness in his four-year career. Eli, on the other hand, just turned 35 a few days ago and despite being almost completely injury-free his entire career, he is still heading into the twilight of his career.
Tannehill didn’t improve as much as most thought he would this season, but that doesn’t mean the future isn’t bright for the former Aggie. Just take a look at the chart below that compares Tannehill’s fourth year as a pro to Eli Manning’s fourth year.
|Attempts||Completions||Comp %||Passing Yards||Yards/ Attempt||TDs||INTs||Passer Rating|
Eli is more the more enticing QB right now, which gives the Giants the edge in the ability to have immediate success. However, Tannehill is absolutely no slouch of a young NFL arm and could be only a season or two away from his prime.
Moving on to running backs, despite being pretty close statistically, the edge has to go to the Dolphins. Lamar Miller is a step above Rashad Jennings, even if it is only a small step. Miller rushed for more yards on less carries, but both only in small margins. Don’t forget that Miami also has an up and coming back up rusher, Jay Ajayi.
At wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr stands out, but Victor Cruz is constantly injured and the Giants have been unable to find a reliable second target. The Dolphins have OBJ’s close friend and former college roommate, Jarvis Landry. Landry isn’t at the level that Beckham is right now, but his ball skills are comparable. The dolphins also have the rookie DeVante Parker, who has shown some serious skills this year. Add in Matthews, Stills, and Jennings and you have a lot of depth at wide out. The Giants have the better number one receiver, but they don’t have the depth that the Dolphins do.
Jordan Cameron may not get a lot of targets, but he is easily the most talented tight end among both teams.
As far as the offensive line goes, the Giants get the edge here. They only allowed 27 sacks this year compared to the 45 given up by the Dolphins. Part of the reason the Giants have fewer sacks is because they have a far more experienced quarterback, but a gap in sacks that big is not just QB play. This is one of the few areas were the Giants have a large advantage over Miami.
Defensively, you can point to almost every position and the Dolphins have the better player. The Dolphins’ defensive stats are far superior to the Giants’, and they didn’t even play up to their potential. With all of the talent that Miami has on defense, there is no reason why they would not be a top 5 defense next season. That is something you definitely cannot say about the defense the Giants have. The Dolphins have guys like Wake, Suh, Grimes, Vernon, and Jones that are difference makers on this defense, but they need to be under the right coach in order to get the most out of this talent.
Miami has the better roster top to bottom, but they do have one distinct disadvantage that might make them less sought after than the Giants: The Dolphins play in a much tougher division. The AFC East is a much harder division to win than the NFC East. The Jets went 10-6 and missed out on the playoffs in the AFC East, while the Redskins won the NFC East with a 9-7 record and they were the only team in the division with a winning record. This makes it much easier for the Giants to make the playoffs every year.
All in all, Miami is definitely going to be highly sought after and could end up landing one of the biggest names in the offseason.