Each week Breaking Burgundy checks in with a media member or interested party of the Washington Redskins' next opponent for the "Five W" questions. With the Miami Dolphins in Washington for the season opener, we check in with South Florida native, D.C. resident and political reporter Kelly Cohen.
1: WHO are the 2015 Miami Dolphins?: The Miami Dolphins have not made the playoffs since 2008, nonetheless won a playoff game since 2000. And under head coach Joe Philbin, they have remained a strongly … mediocre team, going 7-9 in his first year, followed by 8-8 in both 2013 and 2014. They have been so consistent in how consistently average they are, that they are poised for that breakout season. You can feel it in the air when the players and coaches talk. Headed into 2015, they are a team that sits in the middle of the pack and can either go way up or remain the same. But based on the offseason additions, as well as other things, I think they will FINALLY throw us Fins Fans a bone, go 10-6 and make the playoffs. They are a team that has been long forgotten and long laughed at, and thus a team finally ready to make a splash in the league after years of mediocrity.
2: WHAT is your comfort level with the usually middling Dolphins receiving ample amount of praise entering this season? As a loyal Dolphins fan, I have learned over the years to taper my excitement for the team. As my life motto goes- Hope for the best, but expect the worst. I think we have to look at the 2015 Dolphins team realistically, and not with extreme optimism. Best case scenario is that by the time we play New England in Week 8, we are undefeated behind a throttling-on-all-cylinders Ryan Tannehill, while Lamar Miller and Jarvis Landry are having crazy break out seasons and the defense is performing strongly for all 60 game minutes. Suddenly the Fins are 12-0 and winning the AFC Championship game. But, this is a dream. Realistically, like I said above, we will probably go 10-6 and make the playoffs via wildcard and make the Divisional Round before losing to the AFC’s Super Bowl team. The thing is, our offensive line is a liability and injuries are a #ThatsSoDolphins right of passage. In addition, two new starters are now in the secondary, so seeing how it holds up will be really important for how far the offense goes. Bottom line: The Dolphins start off hot (no unnecessary losses to bottom-dwelling teams by one or two points), then cool down (against legitimate playoff contending teams) and then FINALLY make the playoffs. From there, the world is their oyster.
3: WHERE are you watching the game (Feel free to set the scene and share any gameday superstitions?): Because the Dolphins have been so bad for so long, I have long left behind any superstitions. In fact, last season, when I was able to watch games on TV, they lost every single one. This year, I’m dedicating a lot of time and effort to the team because of the high expectations - but most importantly because Miami football fans finally deserve something good. On Sunday, I’ll be in my new Dolphins shirt (all my old ones were my fathers and thus horrid, and so are back at home in Florida) and my new Miami Hurricanes SnapBack (I’m also a die-hard Canes fan and SnapBack enthusiast), yelling the absolute loudest at FedEx Field. The DMV-area Dolphins group on FaceBook put together a huge tailgate and we’re all sitting in the same section (aka a couple hundred of us crazy Florida men and women up at SRO). As a crazed football fan, pray for me.
4: WHEN did you begin thinking Ryan Tannehill is better than Robert Griffin III assuming you think that at all? This question makes me chuckle, because when the Dolphins drafted Tannehill, I cried. With anger and sadness. Looking back, we should have taken Russell Wilson, huh? Anyway, for some reason, I never wanted us to draft Tannehill, even though anyone was better than Matt Moore and Chad Henne. When I see now the list of Dolphins quarterbacks dating back to 2000, I realize that Tannehill is in fact the best quarterback we have had since Dan Marino. However, I went to a Big 12 school (Missouri) and watched Robert Griffin III light it up at Baylor, so I was his biggest fan. Embarrassingly enough, I have a RG3 shirt. Not that the Dolphins could have drafted him, but I had prayed to a billion football gods that somehow we would have. Looking at Tannehill and RG3 now, you see two players that were thrust into environments not necessarily the best for growing quarterbacks into stars. But when you compare the two teams the past two years, you see where the roads diverge and you see that Tannehill came out on top. Sure he struggles, but his 2014 campaign was nothing to sneeze at, and his 2015 one will be even better. MVP talk? Perhaps if not this season, 2016 for sure.
5. WHY do you ultimately think the Dolphins win or lose this game against the Redskins?: The Dolphins losing to the Redskins would be the ultimate Worst Case Scenario. I would leave Fed Ex Field and walk straight in front of a bus. No offense, Washington fans, but you guys are so bad that if the Dolphins lose to you, we deserve to go 0-16. Dramatics aside, the Dolphins win because we have to, because we want to and because we need to. They will likely start off slow in the first quarter and then suddenly, boom, our team chemistry will erupt - Tannehill will throw some ludicrous bomb down field (this is when he finally tosses aside criticism that he can’t throw the deep ball) and then we will blow the Skins out. Whoever is taking snaps for the Redskins better be wary of our defensive line, because we are coming in big and we are coming in hot.
Extra point -- WHICH is the better name, Ndamukong Suh or Cameron Wake?: I love love love Cameron Wake - more so because of his story into the NFL, and because he has stuck around on the Dolphins during some rough years. But to be honest, Suh won me over with best name because of his tweet after the Dolphins first home (preseason) game of 2015: “Nothing like a win at home in front of our great fans! #HomeSUHweetHome” - That hashtag though! Suh joining the Dolphins, to me, is what we need to get our defense back to the feared defense it used to be. You can see the Dolphins is now full of new energy, new confidence. It starts with a loud offense, yes, but also ends with a loud defense.
Kelly is a political journalist who hails from South Florida. As a die-hard Miami sports fan, she can often be found yelling about her sports teams at all times. Aside from sports, she enjoys working out, finding hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Washington, D.C. and spending as much time as possible in the sun. Find her (aka debate with her) on Twitter: @politiCOHEN_.