The Miami Dolphins will open training camp in ten days. Yes, ten days. Interestingly enough the off-season this year didn’t seem so long and daunting perhaps in part due to the change in draft month. Whatever the reason we are all ready for some football.
There are a lot of questions surrounding this team regardless of whether some fans want to believe it or not. There are issues on both sides of the ball. We know that Mike P0uncey will not be in camp but what we don’t know is exactly how long he will be out of action. Some say three months is on the early side while others expect him back after the teams bye week which follows their trip to London.
We do know the time frame of one Dion Jordan. He is suspended for the first four games of the season following a failed drug test that was positive for PED’s.
What we don’t know about is how this team will take the next step in their turnaround. How will this team find the formula to win one more or two more games to get back to the post-season? It all starts in training camp so let’s start with the ten things we need to watch for. We start with number 10.
The Offensive line
There is no question that the Miami Dolphins will need to fix the offensive line if they are to have any shot at the post-season. Last year’s embarrassing 58 sacks can not be repeated. Frankly Ryan Tannehill still being able to stand is shocking enough. The Dolphins recognize the need along the offensive line unfortunately whether they actually have fixed it is another story.
The team is relying on Branden Albert to hold down the left side. Albert has a history of back problems so the Dolphins would do well to go easy on him in training camp. On the right side the team is looking at rookie first round selection Ja’waun James. If James can hold the right side down the Dolphins offensive line will be much improved over last season. With Pouncey out the Dolphins will look at Daryn Colledge, Sam Brenner, and Nate Garner. Colledge is far more suited to the guard position so it’s likely the team will look at moving one of their other guards to slide into the middle.
Guard is going to be an issue but not as much as we think. The team has added David Arkin and the aforementioned Colledge, as well as Shelley Smith. In addition the Dolphins have Brenner who can play guard and Dallas Thomas who is looking to make a big jump in his sophomore season.
There is no question that the Dolphins have improved their line on paper but how that translates to the field of play is something completely different, and that is why it is on this list. The protection of Ryan Tannehill will be the largest factor in offensive production.
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