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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Giovani BernardOct 31 11:12a

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) is unlikely to play in Week 9.

Trent RichardsonOct 31 10:32a

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is not on the injury report for Week 9, and should be able to play Monday, Nov. 3.

Rashad JenningsOct 31 10:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) is aiming to return for the Week 10 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Ronnie HillmanOct 31 09:12a

Updating previous reports, Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (shoulder) is expected to have his normal workload in Week 9, despite his limited practice repetitions.

DeAngelo HallOct 31 08:52a

Washington Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall (Achilles') tore his Achilles' again at home and had surgery to repair it Thursday, Oct. 30.

Ron JohnsonOct 30 08:22p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (back), DE Michael Bennett (toe), C Stephen Schilling (knee), CB Tharold Simon (knee), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), LB Malcolm Smith (groin), DT Jordan Hill [ More ]

Patrick WillisOct 30 07:52p

San Francisco 49res CB Tramaine Brock (toe) and LB Patrick Willis (toe) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Jimmie Ward (quadriceps) and CB Chris Culliver (hamstring) practiced in full.

Chris MatthewsOct 30 07:42p

The Seattle Seahawks re-signed WR Chris Matthews and TE Brett Brackett to their practice squad Thursday, Oct. 30.

Scott WellsOct 30 07:42p

St. Louis Rams OG Rodger Saffold (shoulder), CB Janoris Jenkins (knee), DT Aaron Donald (shoulder) and S Cody Davis (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Rodney McLeod [ More ]

Luke JoeckelOct 30 07:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars OT Luke Joeckel (concussion) has recovered nicely from the concussion he suffered in Week 8, and he could play in Week 9 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Joeckel [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

Arian FosterOct 30 07:12p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (knee) was limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Johnathan JosephOct 30 07:12p

Houston Texans LBs Brian Cushing (knee), Brooks Reed (groin) and Jeff Tarpinian (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. RB Alfred Blue (ankle), LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee), CB Johnathan [ More ]

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Justin TuckOct 30 06:42p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin), CB Carlos Rogers (knee) and WR Kenbrell Thompkins (non-injury) did not [ More ]

Anthony CollinsOct 30 06:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Anthony Collins (foot) and LB Brandon Magee (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee), WR Trindon Holliday (hamstring) and DE Michael Johnson (hand) were limited.

Brian RobisonOct 30 06:32p

Minnesota Vikings DT Shariff Floyd (ankle, knee), TE Chase Ford (foot), CB Jabari Price (hamstring), CB Josh Robinson (ankle) and DE Brian Robison (glute) were limited in practice Thursday, [ More ]

Louis VasquezOct 30 06:22p

Denver Broncos S Quinton Carter (hamstring) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Lamin Barrow (concussion), TE Virgil Green (calf), LB Steven Johnson (ankle) and OG Louis Vasquez (illness) [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 30 06:22p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (shoulder) was limited in practice for the second straight day Thursday, Oct. 30.

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Jordan CameronOct 30 06:12p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Chris JohnsonOct 30 06:12p

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Tom CrabtreeOct 30 06:02p

The New Orleans Saints waived TE Tom Crabtree Thursday, Oct. 30.

Patrick PetersonOct 30 05:42p

Arizona Cardinals S Tony Jefferson (head) and TE Troy Niklas (ankle) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DE Calais Campbell (knee), LB Kenny Demens (knee), S Rashad Johnson [ More ]

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Kansas City Chiefs CB Jamell Fleming (hamstring) and LB Josh Martin (hamstring, knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Eric Berry (ankle) and CB Christopher Owens (knee) were [ More ]

Demario DavisOct 30 05:22p

New York Jets CB Darrin Walls (calf, knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OT Oday Aboushi (shoulder), CB Phillip Adams (groin), LB Antwan Barnes (knee), OG Willie Colon [ More ]

Keenan RobinsonOct 30 05:12p

Washington Redskins S Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) and OT Trent Williams (knee) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Ryan Kerrigan (wrist), LB Trent Murphy (knee), CB Tracy [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 05:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) practiced in full for the second straight day Thursday, Oct. 30.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 05:02p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) will start against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 9, barring any setbacks this week in practice, according to head coach Jay Gruden. [ More ]

Mike PounceyOct 30 05:02p

Miami Dolphins OG Daryn Colledge (illness, back) LB Chris McCain (foot) and TE Dion Sims (toe) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Nate Garner (neck), LB Koa Misi [ More ]

Andre BranchOct 30 04:42p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Will Blackmon (finger), DE Andre Branch (groin), DE Chris Clemons (non-injury), LB Geno Hayes (non-injury) and DT Roy Miller (non-injury) didn't practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB [ More ]

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