Miami Dolphins disrespected by NFL executives in AFC rankings

Tua Tagovailoa

The Miami Dolphins had a resurgence last season, finishing just outside of the playoffs.

However, in a survey conducted by Mike Sando of The Athletic, NFL executives ranked the Dolphins 11th in the AFC for this season.

Of course, such a placement in the standings would once again leave Miami on the outside looking in.

Last season, the team finished with a 10-6 record thanks in part to a strong defense. It led the league in collected turnovers with 29. But one of the survey respondents does not see Miami doing it again in the 2021 season.

“History says they won’t repeat the performance of their opportunistic takeaway defense from last year, so they are headed for a mid-pack finish unless the offense takes a major step forward,” a voter said. “They aren’t running interceptions back to the 5-yard-line every other week.”

For the Dolphins to take the next step, they would likely need young quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to continue to make a big leap. He has to provide the rest of the offensive unit great opportunities to bring the ball to the end zone.

Another executive, who ranked the Dolphins 13th, expressed doubt in Tagovailoa’s ability to help lift up the offense.

“Their young head coach does a solid job, building with defense and special teams,” another voter said. “His biggest challenge is dealing with the demands of an absentee owner. And then I’ll believe it when I see it with their QB.”

Miami opens its regular season against the New England Patriots on Sept. 12.