2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Dolphins open camp with 'college mentality'

By STEVEN WINE - AP Sports Writer
    2013-07-18 16:45

MIAMI (AP) - The Miami Dolphins' 2012 finale dispelled any illusion they could compete with the AFC's best. Joe Philbin's first year as coach ended with a 28-0 loss at New England, an ugly exclamation point to Miami's fourth consecutive losing season.

Philbin, though, won mostly favorable reviews despite going 7-9, and rookie Ryan Tannehill's promising play was a plus, so for a change Miami went into the offseason with stability at coach and quarterback. But the need for significant shakeups elsewhere was clear, and general manager Jeff Ireland spent the offseason revamping the receiving, linebacker and cornerback corps.

As a result, the Dolphins could have 10 new starters this season. Their roster appears faster and deeper, and it's definitely younger.

``Everybody has the college mentality around here,'' said former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Mike Wallace, the most heralded free-agent acquisition. ``It's a lot different coming from where I come from with the older guys. I think everybody is hungry, everybody wants to get better, and everybody wants to be what we need to be to have a winning record.''

Five things to watch as the Dolphins try to finish above .500 - and perhaps even win a playoff game for the first time since 2000.

1. DOLPHINS WILL IMPROVE IF TANNEHILL DOES: The first-round draft choice became the Dolphins' 17th starting quarterback since 2000, then became their first rookie QB to start all 16 games. His passer rating was 27th in the NFL, and touchdowns were tough to come by. But he threw for 3,294 yards - more than fellow rookies Robert Griffin III or Russell Wilson - and the Dolphins believe a better supporting cast will allow Tannehill to improve dramatically in 2013.

---

2. JEFF IRELAND NEEDS GOOD SEASON: The general manager has been much-maligned due to their 27-37 record over the past four years, and may need a breakthrough by the team in 2013 to keep his job. A stockpile of draft picks and considerable salary cap space allowed Ireland to be aggressive during the offseason, and in free agency he signed Wallace, the top available receiver, and six other likely starters. He also traded up nine spots in the draft to select linebacker-end Dion Jordan of Oregon with the No. 3 overall choice. Dolphins fans, including team owner Stephen Ross, are certain to grade Ireland on how the newcomers perform.

---

3. BIG PLAYS MAY BE ONLY A SNAP AWAY: The Dolphins ranked 27th in yards last season, when the wideouts totaled three touchdowns, and Philbin lost his biggest playmaker via free agency when Reggie Bush signed with Detroit. But the coach believes speedy second-year pro Lamar Miller will provide a breakaway threat to rival Bush, and a revamped receiving corps might be Miami's best group of pass catchers in 20 years. Wallace gives Tannehill the deep threat he lacked last year, and Ireland also acquired tight end Dustin Keller and slot receiver Brandon Gibson to team with Brian Hartline, who had a career-high 74 catches in 2012 and will now benefit from single coverage.

---

4. BALL-HAWKING A PRIORITY: Miami forced only 10 interceptions and recovered just six opposing fumbles last year to tie for fourth worst in the NFL in takeaways. That was the biggest deficiency in an otherwise solid defense, and to address the problem Ireland went shopping. Jordan is expected to help as a pass rusher to complement veteran Cameron Wake. Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett, the team's top tacklers, have been replaced by two younger, faster free agent acquisitions, Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler. Miami also signed veteran cornerback Brent Grimes, who won raves in offseason practices, and added cornerbacks Jamar Taylor and Will Davis in the second and third rounds of the draft.

---

5. DOLPHINS CHASE LEBRON: From the Don Shula Expressway to Dan Marino Boulevard, Miami has always been a football town in a football state. But LeBron James and the two-time NBA champion Miami Heat gave South Florida a serious case of hoops fever. Now it's the Heat who are the talk of the town, even in July, while the Dolphins have lately played home games in a half-empty stadium. Everyone agrees about what would bring fans back to the Dolphins: winning.

----

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Benny CunninghamAug 29 10:18a

St. Louis Rams RB Benny Cunningham has been the team's best running back during the preseason and could push RB Zac Stacy for playing time this season.

Cam NewtonAug 29 09:37a

Updating a previous report, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ribs) said Wednesday, Aug. 27, that he will be ready for the regular season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsAug 29 08:52a

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (ribs) suffered an injury to his ribs in the same area as his previous one, according to sources.

Martavis BryantAug 29 08:42a

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant (shoulder) suffered a sprained right AC joint in his shoulder in the final preseason game Thursday, Aug. 28.

T.J. YatesAug 29 03:32a

Atlanta Falcons QB T.J. Yates threw for two touchdowns and 243 yards in his team's 24-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Dan OrlovskyAug 29 03:22a

Detroit Lions QB Kellen Moore was 17 of 28 for 172 yards and two touchdowns in a shutout of the Buffalo Bills Thursday, Aug. 28. It is not known [ More ]

Jeremy HillAug 28 11:52p

Cincinnati Bengals RB Jeremy Hill (elbow) returned to the team's preseason finale Thursday, Aug. 28, after being evaluated in the locker room at halftime. He finished the game with [ More ]

Nate PalmerAug 28 11:52p

Green Bay Packers OT Aaron Adams (knee) and LB Nate Palmer (knee) left the team's preseason game Thursday, Aug. 28.

Devonta FreemanAug 28 11:22p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman had 12 carries for 42 yards and a touchdown and five catches for 45 yards during the team's preseason finale Thursday, Aug. 28.

Cecil Shorts IIIAug 28 10:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring) said he will be ready for the team's season opener.

Sammy WatkinsAug 28 07:32p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (ribs) left the team's final preseason game with an apparent injury. There was no indication if Watkins aggravated his ribs.

Kyle Van NoyAug 28 07:12p

Detroit Lions LB Kyle Van Noy (abdomen) underwent surgery Thursday, Aug. 28, to repair a core muscle injury. Van Noy's timetable for a return is unknown this early in the process.

Tim BenfordAug 28 07:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR Jace Davis, Dallas Cowboys WR Tim Benford, Kansas City Chiefs C Ben Gottschalk and Seattle Seahawks OG Greg Van Roten cleared waivers and became free agents Thursday, Aug. 28.

R. Griffin IIIAug 28 05:52p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III isn't playing consistently, according to ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski. Jaworski said Griffin must learn to throw from the pocket [ More ]

Geoff SchwartzAug 28 05:32p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring), WR Trindon Holliday (hamstring), CB Prince Amukamara (groin), OT Charles Brown (shoulder), OT James Brewer (back), OG Geoff Schwartz (toe), OG [ More ]

Navorro BowmanAug 28 04:02p

San Francisco 49ers LB Michael Wilhoite appears to be the leading candidate to start at middle linebacker while LB NaVorro Bowman (knee) is out of the lineup.

J. CunninghamAug 28 03:52p

St. Louis Rams TEs Justice Cunningham and Alex Bayer likely are competing for one roster spot. Cunningham is considered a blocking tight end, while Bayer is a pass catcher. [ More ]

Michael SamAug 28 03:52p

St. Louis Rams DE Michael Sam is competing with DE Ethan Westbrooks for a spot on the final roster.

Alameda Ta'amuAug 28 03:32p

Arizona Cardinals DTs Dan Williams and Alameda Ta'amu are expected to rotate at nose tackle this season.

David GarrardAug 28 03:12p

Free-agent WR David Garrard (Jets) would like to return to an NFL roster, and thinks he has a chance to do that once rosters are cut down. I actually [ More ]

Phillip TannerAug 28 02:22p

The Dallas Cowboys have signed free-agent RB Phillip Tanner (Colts). Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The team also waived CB B.W. Webb.

Gabe CarimiAug 28 02:13p

Atlanta Falcons OTs Lamar Holmes, Gabe Carimi and Ryan Schraeder are all candidates for the starting right tackle job. Holmes appears to be the favorite for the job because of his experience.

Scott TolzienAug 28 01:52p

Green Bay Packers QBs Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien are expected to play in the final preseason game and still are competing for the No. 2 quarterback job. Head [ More ]

Jordan MillsAug 28 01:42p

Chicago Bears OT Jordan Mills (foot) may play in the final preseason game so he can get some game action before the start of the regular season. Mills has [ More ]

Josh GordonAug 28 01:02p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is not eligible to play in the CFL while serving a year-long suspension in the NFL, according to a league source.

Aaron MurrayAug 28 12:32p

Kansas City Chiefs QB Aaron Murray (knee) could land on the Reserve/Injured list, in the opinion of Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star.

Tony McDanielAug 28 11:52a

Seattle Seahawks DT Tony McDaniel (knee) and CB Jeremy Lane (groin) have not been practicing so they can recover from minor injuries. The team hopes both players will be [ More ]

Billy TurnerAug 28 11:22a

Miami Dolphins OG Billy Turner (foot) hopes to return to practice next week even though he has been wearing a walking boot this week. Turner has a bone bruise [ More ]

Jarrett BoykinAug 28 10:42a

Green Bay Packers WR Jarrett Boykin has taken the next step, according to head coach Mike McCarthy. 'He's physical, his toughness, he's relentless,' McCarthy said. 'I think he's exceptional [ More ]

Mike CampanaroAug 28 09:13a

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro remains in the mix for a spot on the 53-man roster. If the team elects to keep just five receivers, he would be competing [ More ]

D. Heyward-BeyAug 28 09:10a

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Darrius Heyward-Bey appears to be in good shape for a roster spot, as the team will likely keep six receivers on the 53-man roster. WRs Antonio [ More ]

Cam NewtonAug 28 12:53a

Updating a previous report, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ribs) said Wednesday, Aug. 27, that he will be ready for the regular season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers [ 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