TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: Miami Dolphins At Cleveland Browns

Miami Dolphins
Cleveland Browns
(credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
(credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
(credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Quarterback
Winner The Dolphins are coming off a 7-9 season in which they surprised a lot of observers. Rookie head coach Joe Philbin seemed to steady the ship in Miami and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill claimed the quarterback job. Tannehill showed a sense of calm under pressure and he also threw the ball with greater accuracy as the season progressed.
Brandon Weeden did enough last year to hold on to the starting quarterback position in 2013. Weeden has a good arm and showed improvement each month last season. That steady progress is largely the result of his courage under fire when facing a stiff pass rush. He doesn’t back down from any challenge.
Offense
Winner The Dolphins are most likely going to struggle with their ground game, but Philbin thinks that the passing game will be much improved this year. In addition to Brian Hartline’s consistency as a receiver, the Dolphins picked up free agent Mike Wallace during free agency. Wallace has game-breaking speed. If Charles Clay can give them a receiving threat from the tight end position, the Dolphins will have a chance to challenge in the division.
The running game has been fairly dependable for the Browns, thanks to Trent Richardson. The Browns expect Richardson to become a dominant rusher who can take the pressure off of Weeden. Davone Bess is going to have to serve as Weeden’s top receiving weapon because Josh Gordon is serving a two-game drug-related suspension. Bess has good hands, but he is not a deep threat.
Defense
Winner The Dolphins know that they are going to have to depend on their defense this year if they are going to have a winning record. The key is DE Cameron Wake, who is coming off a dynamic 15.0 sack season. Free safety Chris Clemons is a potential game changer who had 99 tackles last year.
The Browns ranked 23rd in overall defense last year and they were better against the run than they were against the pass. LB D’Qwell Jackson is coming off a solid year in which he had 118 tackles and 3.5 sacks. CB Buster Skrine is a decent cover man who impressed coaches with his tenacity and improvement. He is on the small side but he is aggressive.
Special Teams
Winner The Dolphins were unhappy with Dan Carpenter last year and they have replaced him at the PK position with rookie Caleb Sturgis, who is supposed to be quite accurate. P Brandon Fields averaged a robust 50.2 yards per punt last year and dropped 29 kicks inside the 20.
Special teams had been one of the Browns’ greatest strengths – perhaps their only one – in the last few seasons. However, PK Phil Dawson and P Reggie Hodges have both moved on and head coach Rob Chudzinski starts the season with question marks at both positions. Travis Benjamin will try to give the Browns a lift with his punt return skills.

The Winner Is

(credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Winner Miami Dolphins
4 out of 4

The Browns would be in better shape for this game if the explosive Gordon was able to be in the lineup. The Browns are also hurt by the loss of Dawson because he is one of the most consistent placekickers in the game. The Dolphins made steady progress and they should start the season with a win on the road.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 4: Tight end Dennis Pitta #88 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with teammate quarterback Joe Flacco #5 after scoring a second quarter touchdown against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 04:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks to throw a pass during the second half against the Los Angeles Rams at Gillette Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
    Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

    The Ravens and Patriots meet again in Gillette in what should be another great game.

  2. MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 1:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys hands the ball off to Ezekiel Elliott #21in the first half of the game agains the Minnesota Vikings on December 1, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 04:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants drops back to pass in the first quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 4, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
    Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

    The NFC East rivals meet again in the Meadowlands as the Cowboys look to avenge their only loss of the year.

  3. SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 04: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes during warmups before a game against the Carolina Panthers at CenturyLink Field on December 4, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 04:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers is pressured by Christian Covington #95 of the Houston Texans during the first half of a game at Lambeau Field on December 4, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
    Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers

    The Seahawks travel to Lambeau for a match-up with the resurgent Pack.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Drip Pan: CBS Local App
Drip Pan: Weather App
Drip Pan: Restaurant Week 365

Listen Live