(4) Return of injured players
This season was good to Miami in many ways. They established a good coaching foundation, showed resiliency in game-after-game and took some major steps forward as an organization.
One area where Miami wasn’t ‘blessed’ was on the injury front. Miami lost several starters for large chunks of the season and were pretty beat up by the end of the year.
With a new year, though, comes a clean slate. The healthy return of players like C Mike Pouncey, QB Tannehill, SS Rashad Jones and FS Isa Abdul Quddus will help raise the talent level of the team for 2017.
(5) Playoff experience
Don’t underestimate the value that comes with getting a playoff game under your belt. Miami’s players went into the 2016 playoffs with the least amount of playoff experience of any team in the postseason.
Despite what you will hear from the coaches and players, I believe there was a part of this Dolphins team that was overwhelmed by the experience. Whether it was the atmosphere or something simpler (like dealing with getting tickets for family and friends), if Miami returns next year, expect a much better showing from the team now that they know what to expect.
The 2017 Dolphins will be returning 2/3 of last year’s starters (including multiple starters returning from injury) and have plenty of cap room to upgrade the depth/competition on the roster. They will have another year under the guidance of Adam Gase and the team got some much-needed playoff experience. Not bad for a team that was expected to finish with 6 or 7 wins, right?