2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Stability for a change at the top for Dolphins

By STEVEN WINE - AP Sports Writer
    2012-12-31 15:24

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) - The most dramatic difference for the Miami Dolphins this offseason will be what won't change: the coach or quarterback.

The Dolphins courted a new coach in January each of the past two years and have perennially been in the market for an upgrade at QB, but both jobs are settled now.

Coach Joe Philbin and quarterback Ryan Tannehill are certain to be back for a second season with Miami. Other positions are less secure, however, with a significant roster shake-up expected in the wake of the Dolphins' fourth consecutive losing season.

A 28-0 loss Sunday at New England underscored the yawning talent gap between the Dolphins and the AFC East champions. Miami finished 7-9 and is 27-37 since 2009.

``Seven-and-nine is not good enough,'' Philbin said Monday. ``Your goal is to compete for championships. So there should be nobody on our team satisfied with where we're at. We've got a lot of work to do.''

General manager Jeff Ireland has stockpiled draft picks and created sufficient salary cap space to provide lots of flexibility this offseason. Philbin prefers to build through the draft, and 10 picks, including five in the first three rounds, will give the Dolphins plenty of chances to address their multitude of needs.

With more than $40 million in cap space, Ireland might be active in free agency, but some of that money will be used to re-sign players whose contracts expire. Among those who could become free agents are running back Reggie Bush, injury-plagued tackle Jake Long, receiver Brian Hartline, tight end Anthony Fasano, defensive tackle Randy Starks, cornerback Sean Smith and safety Chris Clemons.

``We have a good nucleus of guys, building blocks we can build on going into next year,'' Tannehill said. ``It's just going to be a matter of taking advantage of the offseason and making the right moves. I'm excited that the guys upstairs will do a good job of bringing guys in here, and we can plug them in and grow from there.''

While the Dolphins managed only one more victory than in 2011, and remain without a postseason win since 2000, the additions of Philbin and Tannehill provided a sense of stability for a change. Both won rave reviews from the locker room.

``I like where this team is headed,'' Bush said. ``What coach Philbin brings to this team is really special.''

Tannehill, the first quarterback drafted in the first round by Miami since Dan Marino in 1983, became the first Dolphins rookie QB to start all 16 games. While touchdowns were tough to come by, he threw for 3,294 yards, more than acclaimed rookie classmates Robert Griffin III or Russell Wilson.

``Tannehill's great, man,'' center Mike Pouncey said. ``We got lucky when we picked that kid. He's going to be a great player in this league for a long time.

``Obviously we've got to get him some help out there.''

That will be the priority. No wide receiver scored more than one touchdown, reflecting the lack of a pass-catching deep threat. If Bush departs, there will be even more need for playmakers to bolster an offense that ranked 27th in yards.

A cornerback, pass rusher and tight end are among the other needs. Most of all, the Dolphins need stars - defensive end Cameron Wake was the only player to make the Pro Bowl.

Pouncey was candid in his postseason assessment.

``This team did a great job this year,'' he said, ``for what we had.''

Long finished the year hurt for the second season in a row, and he may be allowed to depart even though he's a four-time Pro Bowl tackle. More likely to return are Hartline, coming off the best year of his career, and Bush, who played in every game for the first time since 2006 and fell just shy of his second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season.

``It has been a pleasure to play here these last two years,'' Bush said. ``I've really enjoyed; I feel like there's some unfinished business left. We'll see what happens when we sit down and contract time comes, but hopefully I'll be back.''

For now, the Dolphins will scatter. Tannehill wants to explore the city of Miami - he has spent a total of three hours there - and catch up on TV shows. Pouncey's heading to Hawaii to watch his brother play in the Pro Bowl. Smith looks forward to forgetting about football for a while.

``I'm going to kick back, relax, chill out,'' Smith said, ``and enjoy the beach.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Mike PounceyJul 23 12:33p

Miami Dolphins C Mike Pouncey (hip) could miss the first eight weeks of the season because of the hip surgery he had this offseason, according to a source. He [ More ]

Evan RodriguezJul 23 12:23p

Buffalo Bills FB Evan Rodriguez (cramps) and TE Chris Gragg (cramps) were hospitalized because of complications from cramps and were getting hydrated, according to head coach Doug Marrone. Rodriguez [ More ]

Dustin HopkinsJul 23 12:20p

Buffalo Bills PK Dustin Hopkins will have to try to make the roster as a kickoff specialist, according to head coach Doug Marrone.

Vernon DavisJul 23 12:13p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis has reported to camp Wednesday, July 23, according to an Instagram post from 49ers S C.J. Spillman.

Jason BabinJul 23 12:03p

New York Jets signed DE Jason Babin (Jaguars) to a two-year contract, with the second year being a team option. He's expected to serve as a situational pass rusher.

Reggie WayneJul 23 11:13a

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (knee) said he has been medically cleared to practice. He's expected to be limited, though, especially in the near future.

Kraig UrbikJul 23 10:53a

Buffalo Bills OG Chris Hairston continued to receive first-team repetitions at right guard in the red zone drills Wednesday, July 23. OG Kraig Urbik struggled with first-team the previous day.

Jamaal CharlesJul 23 09:53a

Updating previous reports, Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles will not report to training camp Wednesday, July 23, barring a major contract breakthrough.

Vick BallardJul 23 09:33a

Indianapolis Colts RB Vick Ballard (knee) reported to camp and has passed his physical.

Rob GronkowskiJul 23 08:53a

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) has been cleared for contact and will not be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list, according to head coach Bill Belichick.

Evan RodriguezJul 23 08:43a

Buffalo Bills TE Chris Gragg (cramps), FB Evan Rodriguez (cramps) and CB Brandon E. Smith (leg) were out of practice Wednesday, July 23. OT Seantrel Henderson (hip) returned to action.

Rashad JenningsJul 23 08:23a

New York Giants RBs Rashad Jennings, David Wilson and Andre Williams could be used in a three-man rotation this season to keep Jennings fresh.

Caleb McSurdyJul 23 02:53a

The St. Louis Rams waived four players Tuesday, July 22, as they cut loose OL Abasi Salimu, WR Diontae Spencer, LB Caleb McSurdy, and LB Tavarius Wilson.

Carl NicksJul 23 02:43a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Bobby Rainey, G Carl Nicks and DE Da'Quan Bowers may be fighting for roster spots once training camp begins due to other competition for their [ More ]

Chris CulliverJul 23 01:13a

San Francisco 49ers CB Chris Culliver (knee) has been cleared to take part in practice when training camp opens this week. He suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament to [ More ]

Ben TateJul 23 01:13a

Cleveland Browns RBs Ben Tate and Terrance West will compete for the starting tailback job during training camp and the preseason, and it's a battle head coach Mike Pettine [ More ]

Joel BitonioJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns OG Joel Bitonio (ankle) lined up with the first-team offense during organized team activities (OTAs), and he held the spot until he suffered a sprained ankle June [ More ]

Paul McQuistanJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns OLs Garrett Gilkey, Paul McQuistan and Jason Pinkston are fighting for position in the pecking order at right guard, and one of them might even push OG [ More ]

Craig RobertsonJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns LBs Christian Kirksey and Craig Robertson will compete for an inside linebacker job during training camp, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Joe HadenJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns CBs Justin Gilbert and Buster Skrine will compete for the starting cornerback job opposite CB Joe Haden in training camp. 'We weren't going to hand Justin that [ More ]

Gary BarnidgeJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge and Jim Dray will battle for the No. 2 tight end spot during training camp and the preseason.

Eli ManningJul 23 12:23a

New York Giants QB Eli Manning (ankle) has shown no ill effects during camp from ankle surgery that sidelined him for earlier offseason activities.

Tom CoughlinJul 22 11:53p

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was not happy that several players were forced to leave practice with dehydration issues Tuesday, July 22. 'It pisses me off,' Coughlin [ More ]

Brandon LloydJul 22 11:23p

San Francisco 49ers WR Stevie Johnson is the frontrunner for the No. 3 WR job, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, but he added that neither Johnson nor WR [ More ]

Darren SprolesJul 22 11:13p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Darren Sproles' ability to win one-on-one matchups in space is what head coach Chip Kelly plans to exploit this season. Kelly said opposing defenses played a [ More ]

Thaddeus LewisJul 22 11:03p

Buffalo Bills QB Thaddeus Lewis and WR Tori Gurley had miscommunications on three occasions Tuesday, July 22, resulting in two incomplete passes and an interception. Joe Buscaglia of WGR [ More ]

Thaddeus LewisJul 22 10:53p

Buffalo Bills QB Thaddeus Lewis and QB Jeff Tuel are in an open competition for the backup quarterback job, head coach Doug Marrone said Tuesday, July 22.

Brian MoormanJul 22 10:43p

Buffalo Bills P Brian Moorman was more effective than P Jake Dombrowski on punts in terms of both average hang time and average distance Tuesday, July 22.

Titus YoungJul 22 09:53p

Updating a previous story, free-agent WR Titus Young (Lions) was charged with felony battery with serious bodily injury from an alleged July 8 incident inside a Los Angeles-area hospital. [ More ]

Ryan MathewsJul 22 09:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews' rookie contract will expire after the 2014 season, which means this could be his final year with the organization, in the opinion of [ More ]

Mario WilliamsJul 22 09:43p

Buffalo Bills DE Mario Williams, DT Marcell Dareus and DT Kyle D. Williams were all rotated out of the lineup at times during team drills Tuesday, July 22. LB [ More ]

Nigel BradhamJul 22 09:23p

Buffalo Bills LB Nigel Bradham was one of eight players to record sacks during team drills Tuesday, July 22. The team's pass rush has been consistent since camp began, [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group