Dolphins preseason capsule
MIAMI DOLPHINS (7-9)
OPEN CAMP: July 21
LAST YEAR: Dolphins had new coach (again) and new quarterback (again), and may have finally found some stability with both jobs. Joe Philbin won favorable reviews from players in first year as NFL coach, and rookie QB Ryan Tannehill played well and showed progress. Lack of playmakers was biggest problem. No WR scored more than one touchdown for offense that ranked 27th, and defense tied for fourth worst in takeaways. Miami endured fourth consecutive losing season, franchise’s worst such stretch since pre-Don Shula 1960s.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: WR Mike Wallace, rookie DE Dion Jordan, CB Brent Grimes, LB Dannell Ellerbe, LB Philip Wheeler, TE Dustin Keller, WR Brandon Gibson, T Tyson Clabo, rookie CB Jamar Taylor, rookie CB Will Davis, G Lance Louis, DT Vaughn Martin, rookie PK Caleb Sturgis.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: T Jake Long, RB Reggie Bush, LB Karlos Dansby, LB Kevin Burnett, CB Sean Smith, WR Davone Bess, TE Anthony Fasano.
CAMP NEEDS: Getting Tannehill comfortable with new supporting cast following changes at RB, WR, TE and both tackles. Wallace provides much-needed deep threat, and Dolphins believe second-year pro Lamar Miller has big-play ability to rival departed Bush. Second-year T Jonathan Martin moves to left side to replace Long, with Clabo taking over on right side. Quickly incorporating top draft pick Jordan into pass rush. Ellerbe and Wheeler are expected to provide more big plays than Dansby and Burnett. Rookies Taylor and Davis will battle for CB job left vacant with Smith’s departure.
EXPECTATIONS: It’s 13 years since Dolphins won playoff game, 21 years since reaching AFC championship game, 29 years since making Super Bowl, and 40 years since most recent NFL title. Attendance has declined, and Miami Heat now rival Dolphins in popularity in South Florida. But Dolphins’ offseason was widely judged a success, and they believe they’re ready to win — perhaps even in postseason.