Barry Jackson

Dolphins player says ‘we are going to shock a lot of people.’ And historical data offers hope

Miami Dolphins Albert Wilson talks learning new offense

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson talks in the locker room about offense and how the preseason is going at the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University on Sunday, August. 19, 2018, in Davie.
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Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson talks in the locker room about offense and how the preseason is going at the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University on Sunday, August. 19, 2018, in Davie.

Some Dolphins notes on a Wednesday night:

Las Vegas oddsmakers think so little of the Dolphins that not only do the Dolphins(and the Bengals) have the longest Super Bowl-winning odds of any team at the MGM Grand and 10 other major Las Vegas properties (80-to-1), but most bettors at those properties have bet Miami will win fewer than seven games.

These people are sadly mistaken, Dolphins receiver Albert Wilson apparently believes.

“I think we are going to be amazing,” Wilson said Wednesday. “I think we are going to shock a lot of people. We are going to stretch the field, getting the ball in a lot of peoples’ hands and watch them make plays.”

Here’s some encouraging historical perspective: This decade, more teams coming off a 6-10 season – like Miami had last season –have had a winning record the following year than finished 6-10 (or worse) again.

In fact, 14 of the 20 teams that went 6-10 from 2010 through 2016 had better records the following season. Of those, seven had winning records, including the 2016 Dolphins.

Only three teams went 6-10 again and three others were worse.

The bottom line is that nearly 75 percent of those 6-10 teams improved their win total a year later. And many of the teams that improved had a different quarterback the next year, much like the Dolphins will this year, with Ryan Tannehill returning from knee surgery.

The 2010 Lions went from 6-10 to 10-6 after moving from Shaun Hill (and three games of Matt Stafford) to 16 games of Stafford. The 2010 49ers went from 6-10 to 13-3 after going from 10 games of Alex Smith to 16. of Alex Smith.

The 2010 Titans went from 6-10 to 9-7 in moving from Kerry Collins/Vince Young to Matt Hasselbeck.

All this reminds us that fast turnarounds happen a lot in the NFL, and that’s why Ryan Tannehill’s return shouldn’t be understated amid bleak predictions from NFL magazines and Las Vegas sports books. Remember, Tannehill had a 100 passer rating his final eight games in 2016 before his knee injury.

“When you think of the Miami Dolphins, you think people are just going to walk all over us,” Wilson said. “Not just as an offensive group, we are going to play great on the defensive side of the ball, great on special teams and do good overall.”

With DeVante Parker expected to miss Sunday’s opener with a broken finger, Wilson – who played primarily slot in Kansas City – will get a lot of boundary receiver snaps against Tennessee on Sunday.

Coach Adam Gase has said he prefers Wilson on the boundary to the slot.

Wilson said the advantage to playing on the boundary, for him, is “my speed. Take advantage of my speed and being able to go deep and catching the ball and making them have to tackle me.”

The Dolphins also have spoken of the ability to use Wilson at running back for a play or two.

Keep in mind that Wilson led the NFL in missed tackles per catch from 2014-17 and last year averaged a remarkable 9.4 yards on receptions behind the line of scrimmage (far better than Jarvis Landry). That’s something Miami hopes to exploit.

One other thought from Wilson: He said that what tight end Mike Gesicki will do this season is “going to shock them. The kid is very athletic. He can do it all. I am excited to see what he’s bringing. Game brings another notch out of people. For me to be amazed by him at practice, I can’t wait to see what he has on Sundays.”

Anthony Frascone of 305sports.com did some research on how quarterbacks have fared on third down since 2012, and a couple of interesting things emerged about Ryan Tannehill:

During his career, only 37 percent of Tannehill’s third down passing attempts resulted in first downs, among the worst for quarterbacks who have been starters the last few years. Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady are at 46 percent.

Only Blake Bortles had a lower yards per attempt on third downs among 20-plus quarterbacks studied. Not only must Tannehill’s completion percentage improve on third down (from 58), but the Dolphins need to trust their blockers and allow Tannehill to throw past the first-down yard marker more often.

On 3rd and 11 to 15, Miami has gotten a first down only 12 percent of the time with Tannehill under center,worst among multiyear starting quarterbacks.

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson talks in the locker room about offense and how the preseason is going at the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University on Sunday, August. 19, 2018, in Davie.

Here are a lot more Dolphins nuggets from Wednesday, including what Adam Gase likes about new quarterback Luke Falk, some interesting self-analysis from Leonte Carroo, injury news and more.

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