Projecting the Miami Dolphins starting offense in Week 1

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The Miami Dolphins will open their 2021 regular season one week from today — a clash with the rival New England Patriots awaiting Miami for the second consecutive year. Miami will hope to get off to a better start in 2021 than they did in 2020; where the Dolphins fell to 0-1 with a loss to New England and subsequently tumbled to 1-3 before making a run and finishing the year 9-3 over the final 12 games.

We now know which members of the Miami Dolphins have survived the initial cut down to 53 players. But who is going to be most responsible for securing the win against New England?

Here’s our forecast for the first-team offense next Sunday:

Aug 21, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin (37) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Backfield

  • QB Tua Tagoviloa

  • RB Myles Gaskin

No. 1 rotational player: RB Salvon Ahmed

The backfield feels pretty straight forward other than which back is going to be rotating in for which specific game situations. Gaskin is the most well-rounded so we will defer to him; much like the Dolphins did last year when he was healthy.

As quarterback, there’s no more Fitzmagic in town. This is Tua Tagovailoa’s show. What he does with it from here is going to help dictate the narratives around the team for years to come.

Oct 13, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins offensive guard Michael Deiter (63) plays his position against Washington Redskins defensive end Noah Spence (54) in the fourth quarter of the game at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Line

  • LT Austin Jackson

  • LG Solomon Kindley

  • C Michael Deiter

  • RG Robert Hunt

  • RT Jesse Davis

No. 1 rotational player: OT Liam Eichenberg (?)

Eichenberg will crack the starting lineup before too long for Miami. But a rookie who has been bounced around the offensive line between right tackle and left guard throughout camp? Against Bill Belichick? It may be best to keep Eichenberg in the wings before assuming a starting role — especially with him getting dinged up recently in practice.

The rest of the line is chalk and in-line with expectations entering into the season as of the start of training camp. Deiter has held the starting center job since Day 1 and the other three are high draft choices from the 2020 season. Now we just need their play to take the expected step forward, too.

Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki (88) makes a one handed grab over Buffalo Bills strong safety Dean Marlowe (31) in the third quarter at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, September 20, 2020. [ALLEN EYESTONE/The Palm Beach Post]

Pass Catchers

  • TE Mike Gesicki

  • WR DeVante Parker

  • WR Jaylen Waddle

  • WR Albert Wilson

No. 1 rotational player: TE Durham Smythe

If the Dolphins need a tight end to play with his hand in the dirt, Smythe is likely the guy. But Miami is bringing an offense that is expected to spread things out against New England — and that likely means plenty of Gesicki in the slot and a fair amount of 12 personnel to have the best of both worlds.

WR Will Fuller is suspended for Week 1 and is out of the picture — but there’s plenty of speed to be had between Waddle and Wilson when Miami aligns in 11-personnel with three wide receivers on the field.