The Seahawks will try to start strong against the Miami Dolphins today at the CLink, a feat that eluded them last season.
Last year, the Seahawks struggled early in the season and it cost them in December and January, when the Arizona Cardinals ran away with the division and left them to duke it out for a Wild Card spot, a playoff berth that caused them to travel to Minnesota and play in sub-zero temperatures, then to Carolina, where the Panthers built a 31-point lead in front of their fans in the first half. You know the rest.
2015 saw the Seahawks drop their season opener to the pesky Rams, who always have a special gear they seem to engage against Seattle. This year, they get a nonconference opponent with a brand new coach, running back, and offensive system.
Yet Another Change for Ryan Tannnehill
The Seahawks will see Dolphins’ anointed franchise quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who, despite years of solid but unspectacular play, rarely receives blame for the Dolphins’ perennial tailspins out of playoff contention. Instead, Dolphins ownership blames everyone else. They have replaced their General Manager twice in the past three seasons, and their head coach and offensive coordinators approximately a million times since they drafted Tannehill.
Tannehill is still a tantalizing talent. The general thought in Miami seems to be that if they can only get him some good coaches around him, he’d be ready to shine. Tannehill has been remarkably consistent throughout his four years in the league, despite all the changes in offensive systems. He set a career-high in yards-per-attempt last year–7.2 and yards–4208, in a disastrous season for Miami. How he responds to new head coach Adam Gase’s high-flying offensive system will be a key for the Dolphins against the Legion of Boom.
Tannehill will also be handing the ball off to different running back in Week One. The oft-injured veteran Arian Foster has replaced the talented and under-utilized Lamar Miller in the Miami backfield. Hopefully the Seahawks will stop Foster but not rupture his Achilles tendon again, which sidelined him for most of last season.
More from Seattle Seahawks
- Seattle Seahawks: To rest or not to rest, that is the question
- Seattle Seahawks: 12s still waiting to exhale
- Seattle Seahawks: 4 Takeaways from 26-23 Loss to the 49ers
- Seattle Seahawks: Four Takeaways from Week 14 21-7 victory
- Seattle Seahawks: Three Takeaways from the Week 13 43-16 victory
Watch Out for Suh
Miami went on a spending spree before last season to sign Ndamukong Suh to the richest contract for a defensive player in NFL history–a gargantuan six-year $114 million dollar deal. Last year, Suh played well when he felt like it in a lost season. The Portland native will likely be a disruptive force against a Seahawks’ offensive line full of question marks. Speaking of which…
Head Coach Pete Carroll has been cagey all offseason, training camp, and preseason about the health of Jimmy Graham, who has been working his way back from knee surgery to repair the dreaded patellar tendon tear. He is officially listed as Questionable as of this writing. I’d be surprised to see him for more than a few snaps, if at all.
A more damaging injury for the Seahawks against Miami’s star-studded defensive line is Germain Ifedi’s ankle injury, which held him out of practice this week and earned him a Questionable designation. For a unit widely-regarded as the worst in the league, that figures to be a matchup problem for the offense against Suh and company.
The Seahawks-Dolphins game, and season, will kick off today at 1 p.m on CBS. A side note: according to receiver Doug Baldwin, the Seahawks will be standing with interlocked arms during the National Anthem. Are you ready for some football?!