Ryan Tannehill Will Be the Best Quarterback in the AFC East This Season
You heard me.
Photo by Morgan Coleman
Miami Dolphins training camp is just over a week away, so that means it's time to break out the good old spicy-hot take machine and shoot some sriracha-covered ghost-chili sports takes into the sky. This is a win-win situation. If we're right, you praise us, lift us up on your collective shoulders, and carry us through downtown chanting our name. If we're wrong, none of you will remember these predictions.
Don't remember that last sentence, though — remember the part where we tell you that everything in this piece will straight-up happen in your face this season.
Ryan Tannehill will be the best quarterback in the AFC East this season.
Tom Brady will be 38 years old this season; he's going to decline eventually. That isn't to say Brady still won't be fantastic most of the time — look what Peyton Manning still does at 39 — but even Manning has seen some decline in his game after a renaissance season with Denver. It happens. We saw it happen to Dan Marino. Quarterbacks don't play at the same level in their late 30s. Tom Brady hasn't exactly had the most mentally focused-on-football offseason either. Between the celebrations and that little Deflategate thing, he's had other things on his mind.
Tannehill is ready to take over the AFC East QB crown this season. His numbers only continue to trend up every year. Armed with the best group of wideouts he's had in his time with Miami, a group of running backs that will be the most explosive he's had behind him, a red-zone-threat tight end, and an offensive line that has another year of playing together under its belt, Ryan Tannehill will rip the crown from Tom Brady's cold, dead, beautiful hands.
Cameron Wake will break the all-time single-season sack record.
Cameron Wake is about to be a problem out here. Wake had just 11.5 sacks last season — by his standards not up to par — but this season will be much different. Wake is on the verge of another contract and will see so much less attention now that Ndamukong Suh is in the middle — it will seem like a different game he's playing. Speaking of contracts, Olivier Vernon is set to play out the last year of his deal, which means he'll be playing like his hair is on fire (probably a good thing) on the line as well.
Strahan broke the single-season sack record with 22.5 in his tenth season in the NFL, and this is Wake's seventh. He still has plenty left in the tank. For the first time, maybe ever, Wake isn't the best player on the defensive line, and that's bad news for other teams.
Jarvis Landry will lead the NFL in catches this season.
Landry is looking at hauling in around 120 catches — a 7.5-catch-a-game average. That's point-per-catch fantasy-football gold.
Entering his sophomore season, Jarvis Landry must be looking around the wideout group in workouts and wondering how the hell he did what he did last year. Surrounded by the corpse of Brian Hartline and a pissed-off Mike Wallace, Landry still caught 84 passes in his rookie year, good for 17th in the NFL. Landry did all of this while not being a true part of the offense to begin the year; he was targeted one time for zero catches in week one!
With a stretch tight end in Jordan Cameron, a deep threat in Kenny Stills, and a new rookie to take the pressure off him on the other side in DeVante Parker, Landry will be running around free this season. Book him to be top five in the NFL in catches.
At some point this season, the Dolphins will sign Michael Vick.
Whoa, crazy, right? Nah, not really.
Vick is begging to catch on with a team in a leadership role, and the Miami Dolphins are always in need of new leaders. Why not make Vick their third-string-break-glass-emergency QB? Vick was in Philadelphia when the Fins OC Bill Lazor was the quarterbacks coach there, so he's familiar with what Vick brings to the table.
You might be scoffing at the notion that the Dolphins could sign a 35-year-old Vick, but they have Josh Freeman in camp — is he so much better? Normally, a team's third-string QB looks like a fan dragged out of the stands. Why not have the experience of a Michael Vick over a no-name backup if all hell breaks loose? If you get down to your third-string QB, you're royally screwed anyway. So it might not be such a bad idea to have Michael Vick and his experience there in case shit hits the fan.
Worst-case scenario: Vick provides locker-room leadership and another coach on the field for pennies compared to what he used to make. Best-case scenario: Vick looks like a capable backup, and the Dolphins can listen to late-round trade offers from desperate teams for Matt Moore.
DeVante Parker will be named Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Oakland Raiders rookie wideout Amari Cooper seems to be the odds-on favorite to win this award, but DeVante Parker will have quite an advantage over Cooper on a game-to-game basis. Parker won't be the focus of the opposing teams' defense every week like Cooper will be, and Parker will have a quarterback much more advanced and accurate than Oakland's Derek Carr. Parker is set up for greatness in Miami from the jump and has a veteran in Greg Jennings to help him along the way if he needs some tips. In Oakland, Cooper is on his own.
Parker has the QB to get the ball to him, a fellow WR corps that will draw much attention, a stretch-the-field tight end, and a capable running-back tandem that will garner its own attention. It's all perfectly set up for him to show his entire skill set right off the bat in the NFL.
Now, please bookmark this post and shove it all back in our faces when the Dolphins go 7-9 again this year.