NFL Season Preview: The Miami Dolphins Build a Solid Team Overnight
The Miami Dolphins have a fully stocked cupboard and are not only ready to make the playoffs, but challenge for AFC East supremacy. Each of their moves since the 2012 Draft, including free agency last summer, the 2013 Draft and this year’s free agency has been a message to the NFL that the Dolphins are ready to return to relevance. The team made nice progress in 2012 with rookie QB Ryan Tannehill leading the way, along with continued productivity from RB Reggie Bush, who is now a Detroit Lion. The Fins also have a pretty active defense that only figures to get better, as they have added more speed and veteran leadership alike.
Tannehill figures to build off his up and down 2012 season, which was mostly up more than it was down. He earned valuable experience while taking his lumps as the starter out of the gate for the Joe Philbin Fins. However, Miami knew that they were going to pass on re-signing Reggie Bush and therefore needed to re-stock the position. As such, they picked up Mike Gillislee (Florida) and Cameron Marshall (Arizona State), while retaining Lamar Miller. Charles Clay and Jovorskie Lane will continue to juggle fullback duties.
The real question is what the Dolphins are going to do at the WR position. Davone Bess is now a Cleveland Brown. Although the team shelled out a king’s ransom to pay Mike Wallace and to retain Brian Hartline, Bess was a crucial intermediate route runner, who worked the middle of the field. Hartline is more of an outside possession receiver. Wallace is virtually a one-dimensional deep threat only (in the Alvin Harper mold), with suspect hands. The Fins did snatch away Dustin Keller from division rival Jets, but if there are any concern about the Dolphins’ fortunes entering 2013, it is the uncertainty of their WR corps outside of Wallace and Hartline.
Miami drafted rangy DE Dion Jordan out of Oregon, hoping to give an edge to their pass rush. The plan is to alleviate some of the double teams that Cameron Wake sees (and still beats often), and the Fins have brought in a number of defensive tackles hoping to create a rotation that can remain fresh. Koa Misi and newly-signed Dannell Ellerbe figure to buoy the LB corps, while Reshad Jones and Brent Grimes lend veteran leadership to an extremely young secondary. Things are looking up for the Fins.
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