Starting 0-2 isn’t fun. And the Miami Dolphins are certainly not where they want or need to be as a franchise after the first two games of the 2020 season. But even amid the poor results on the field, the Dolphins should be encouraged by some of the individual player development that we’ve seen materialized through this two game stretch. Consolation prizes can only make you feel so much better — but there are a number of them that could ultimately have a hand in the Dolphins getting over the hump with time this season.
Here are some of the silver linings to the Dolphins’ slow starts.
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]
Mike Gesicki’s continued emergence
Gesicki’s dominant performance in Week 2 against the Buffalo Bills should have Miami fans feeling very excited about the development of their third-year tight end. With Gesicki continuing to trend upwards as a player and the successes proving to not be dependent on a certain offensive playbook, the Dolphins have to figure they’ve got a cornerstone player to work with here moving forward. That is, of course, provided the progress continues throughout the course of this season. But Gesicki is a player Miami should probably look to feed week in and week out given his early play.
Aug 18, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Austin Jackson (73) and offensive tackle Robert Hunt (68) run drills during training camp at Baptist Health Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
The play of rookie LT Austin Jackson
Jackson was a polarizing player when the Dolphins selected him with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He’s physically gifted but also raw — but he has stepped in at left tackle and not looked overwhelmed by what he’s been given through two tough matchups against successful defenses. Jackson isn’t dominating on a play by play basis — but he’s clearly handling his assignments effectively and that’s a great start. The Dolphins still need to get the ground game going and Jackson can be better here, but his pass protection has looked strong to this point.
Dec 22, 2019; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (94) reacts after sacking Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Christian Wilkins’ next step
Two high-level performances from Wilkins on the inside should have the Dolphins feeling really good about their No. 1 pick from the 2019 draft. The success of the defense as a unit hasn’t come yet, but Wilkins is showcasing himself this season much more consistently and with better complementary pieces around him on defense, that figures to continue. The Dolphins have to hope their young team can continue to pick up new pieces of the playbook quickly so that they can play more flexible on defense for the overall success of the defense. But at the very least we know we’ve got an anchor in Wilkins up front.