Training camp is open for the Miami Dolphins and every year there are a few players that should be paid particularly close attention to.
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This year is no exception. With question marks on both sides of the ball, five players stand out as players who need to make an impact this training camp ahead of the regular season.
Everyone knows and everyone’s eyes will be on Ryan Tannehill and Adam Gase. The progression of Tannehill under Gase in this new system is paramount to the success of the team but for Tannehill, that progress has to come with some degree of higher level connection to his wide-receivers.
Parker is known for his fantastic hands and after missing most of the 2015 season due to injury recovery and Joe Philbin stupidity, Parker began to show a connection to Tannehill late in the season.
Parker needs to continue that rapport with Tannehill this year as it will give both players an opportunity to take their game to the next level. The tandem of Tannehill and Parker could be a great combination but the two must get on the same page and then stay there.
Wake is coming off a season ending Achilles injury and throughout OTA’s and mini-camps his participation has been limited. Wake himself admitted to being a little gun-shy early and that is understandable.
The Dolphins are not thick at defensive end and the Dolphins opted to retain Wake this past off-season as opposed to saving almost $8 million in cap space by releasing him. How well and how quickly Wake can get to full speed confidently will go a long way to helping the defensive front who already lacks depth at both linebacker and corner.
It’s easy to follow the ball at practices and Alonso my be flying around it. In his three previous NFL seasons Alonso has had one fantastic season and two disappointing ones mostly due to injury. And that is where the watch begins.
Alonso has missed considerable time the past two years but the Dolphins believe that he can stay healthy. So much so that they didn’t bother to address the position in free agency or the draft leaving the team relatively thin at the middle linebacker position. If Alonso can stay healthy the Dolphins defense could improve.
You could insert Dallas Thomas’ name here as well. Something has to give with both of these players but at minimum with one of them. Regardless of whether the trend is up or down for both or either, Turner and Thomas have run out of time.
The Dolphins have invested their time in both players and the results have been miserable. Yet here we are once again heading into camp hoping one of them can step up and become a serviceable starter.
Laremy Tunsil is going to draw most of the line views from spectators and that comes with draft position and the fall on draft day but Tunsil has time to learn and acclimate and if he can’t quickly enough, it’s Turner or Thomas that will take his place.
Last season Phillips started the season playing better than starter Earl Mitchell. Joe Philbin and Kevin Coyle continued to start Mitchell. This year Phillips needs to take another step forward and assume the role of starter on the defensive line.
A former 2nd round pick, Phillips has not had the chance or forced a change through his play to earn the spot full-time next to Ndamukong Suh. The Dolphins have had horrible luck in round two aside from Jarvis Landry and Phillips can not continue that trend.