By Dave Hyde...
Have the Dolphins faced a five-game stretch of worse opposing quarterbacks than they will to open the season? Ever? As in, their full 50 years?
The purported opening opponent, Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III, suffered a concussion after being hit six times on eight plays – including three sacks – against a Detroit defensive line without two starters. You think the Dolphins offensive line has problems?
Griffin only completed two passes for 8 yards before that. So depending on Griffin's recovery, the opposing quarterback for the first five games will be:
* Griffin III, Colt McCoy or Kirk Cousins (does it matter?)
* Jacksonville’s Blake Bortels (good future – but just second year with a questionable cast)
* Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor (put up three points in a half against Cleveland on Thursday)
* Jets’ Ryan Fitzpatrick (got the job because his jaw works)
* Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota (rookie).
That’s five teams hoping they have a quarterback. The best of the lot is clearly Fitzpatrick, who did have a 95.3 rating last year with Houston (17 TDs, eight interceptions) and is reunited with his former Buffalo coach Chan Gailey, now the Jets offensive coordinator. But he’s entering journeyman status on his fifth team and was slated as a back-up until Geno Smith’s infamous jawbreaking incident.
The rest of the opposing quarterbacks? Bortels rated as the next best in 2014. He was 33rd in the league with a 69.5 rating. There are, to be clear, 32 teams. So, yes, 5-0 should be the target for the Dolphins to start the season.
Of course, nothing is certain, as the Dolphins showed to end last year when a struggling Geno Smith had a perfect rating against them. Also to note: The Dolphins end the season facing these five quarterbacks: Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Andrew Luck and Tom Brady.