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Miami Dolphins Studs And Duds Prior To Week 6 Of The 2015 NFL Season

By Abraham Gutierrez

Desperately trying to put an end to one of the biggest collapses in franchise history, the Miami Dolphins went into the bye week hoping a new coaching staff could revive a team that's simply looked helpless through the first quarter of the season. Slow starts, lackluster defense, atrocious offensive line play, and no running game to speak of are just some lowlights of this year's Fins through four games.

Nonetheless, even as bad as things have been for Miami, there's still plenty of football left to play in 2015. Needless today, the coming weeks are going to be a great indicator as to how this story will end, as it is imperative this team gets on the same page prior to resuming their season.

Rising: Jarvis Landry, Wide Receiver/Special Teams: Even though his numbers don't exactly jump out of the screen, "Juice" is unquestionably one of the few players on this roster that truly cares about winning football games. And while his fervor got Landry in hot waters with the refs and departed coach Joe Philbin in Week 4, his competitive spirit is unshakable.

The second-year man out of LSU currently leads the team with 28 receptions for 270 yards, and is also the most productive player on special teams. As a punt returner, the former second-round draft pick has nine returns and four fair catches for an average of 20.6 yards per return, including a game-winning touchdown in Week 1. Returning kicks, Landry also leads Miami with 140 yards on six returns, for an average of 23.3 yards per touch.

Rising: Rishard Matthews, Wide Receiver: With the Dolphins' passing game being the most productive part of the offensive, it comes as no surprise that another wide receiver is also on the rise. However, no one expected the former seventh-round draft pick to put up the kind of numbers he has through four ballgames. Thus, the fourth-year man out of Nevada is also one of Miami's few bright spots in 2015.

The 26-year-old from San Diego went into the Week 5 bye second on the team with 17 receptions, but leads the locker room in both receiving yards (278) and touchdown grabs (3). Matthews' efforts are also good enough for ninth place in he National Football League, as his three scores have him in a 14-way tie with names like Odell Beckham, Eric Decker, Julian Edelman, A.J. Green and other elite wideouts.

Rising: Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback: Love him or hate him, Ryan Tannehill is also a player on the rise, particularly because of his ability to make something out of nothing while running for his life. Much like in the case of Landry, this signal-caller's numbers wont wow anyone, yet he is the reason why Miami's passing game ranks 14th in the NFL – by far the best statistical category for this offense.

In his fourth season out of Texas A&M, Tannehill has completed 97-of-171 pass attempts for 1,080 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions. The bad part is the fact that the offensive line isn't able to buy him any time to survey the field on passing situations. This is evident by the fact that Tannehill has been sacked a total of 10 times this season, which is the 14th most in the National Football League. His ability to abandon the pocket when everything collapses is yet another reason why his star is on the rise. Coming out of the bye, Tannehill is third on the team in rushing, collecting 27 yards on 8 scrambles. One would even go on to predict that if he had a semi-decent offensive line, he could make the case for a Pro Bowl selection.

Falling: Ndamukong Suh, Defensive Tackle: Listed as the highest-paid player on the roster, Suh is on his way to becoming arguably the biggest bust in the history of this storied franchise. This offseason, the controversial 28-year-old from Portland, Oregon, inked a six-year deal worth a reported $114.3 million. Through four games, Miami's mammoth investment has produced a dismal 10 tackles, and nothing else – other than dirty plays and "freelancing" during games.

Falling: Cameron Wake, Defensive End: It's almost impossible to understand how a defensive line that possesses a two-headed monster like Suh and Wake could ever rank last in the NFL in rushing yards (32nd), antepenultimate in total yards (30th), 20th in points allowed (25.2), and 16th against the pass (239 pypg).

But, as Dolphins fans are much too aware, that's the reality staring at interim coach, Dan Campbell and new defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo in the face. Wake is the fifth highest-paid player on the Miami Dolphins roster – at 5 years, $33.2 million – but much like Suh, has shined in absence. With the first quarter of the 2015 NFL season in the books, the seventh-year man out of Penn State has produced a single tackle, and…well, that's it.

Falling: The Entire Offensive Line: Everyone on the offensive line has been a complete dud, especially Branden Albert, who's the highest paid offensive lineman on the team at 5 years, $47 million. The O-line has been so bad through four games, that it would be impossible to single out one player that causing the biggest problem. Just like Suh and Wake, coach Campbell has to find a way to motivate these guys in order to get them to compete at a modest level. Certainly, benching some of these "stars" should they continue to provide the type of miserable production they are being paid to do should lead to a visit to the pine.

Abe Gutierrez's (Twitter: @GutierrezAbe) passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to, and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers), CBS-BayArea (Raiders), CBS-NewYork (NY Jets), CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers),, and other online publications.

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