2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Dolphins should be more exciting in 2013

By STEVEN WINE - AP Sports Writer
    2013-08-27 11:19

MIAMI (AP) - Another training camp practice had just ended, and Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill walked toward a lectern to field the latest round of media queries.

``Is this going to be good?'' someone asked as Tannehill approached a cluster of microphones.

``It's going to be great,'' Tannehill answered with a smile, emphasizing the last word. ``Real exciting.''

Instead, the interview session was predictably humdrum. Tannehill and the Dolphins are saving any excitement for the season.

After four consecutive losing years, the franchise's longest such skid since the 1960s, the Dolphins should be more fun to watch in 2013. They upgraded their unimposing corps of receivers by acquiring Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson, and an already formidable defensive front seven became faster and younger with the additions of linebackers Philip Wheeler, Dannell Ellerbe and Dion Jordan, the No. 3 overall draft pick. But an unsettled offensive line raises questions about the Dolphins' ability to run and protect Tannehill, which means they may again have trouble moving the ball.

Last year Miami lost five games by a touchdown or less, scoring 21 points or less in all of them, en route to a 7-9 finish. A succession of low-scoring games is again likely in 2013.

---

Here are five things to watch as the Dolphins try to win the close ones:

TANNEHILL'S TARGETS: The quarterback threw for 3,294 yards last year - more than fellow rookies Robert Griffin III or Russell Wilson - but totaled just 12 touchdown passes, including only three to wideouts. So Miami upgraded the pass-catching corps by acquiring Wallace and Gibson to join holdover Brian Hartline. Wallace ranks among the NFL's fastest players and totaled 32 touchdown catches in four years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he gives Tannehill the deep threat he lacked last year when the Dolphins ranked 27th in total yards. New TE Dustin Keller's season-ending knee injury eliminates one important potential pass target, and Miami is now expected to use a lot of three-wide formations.

TACKLE TO TACKLE IMPROVEMENT? Blocking has been inconsistent the past several seasons and remains the biggest question mark for second-year head coach Joe Philbin, who coached the offensive line as an NFL assistant. Second-year pro Jonathan Martin has moved from right tackle to left tackle and must prove he's a worthy replacement for the departed Jake Long. There's little depth behind Martin, and the starting job at right guard went unclaimed during training camp. Running backs Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas both started slowly this summer in their competition to replace Reggie Bush, and Miami might not muster the kind of ground game that would take pressure off Tannehill.

TAKEAWAYS WANTED: Miami tied for fourth-worst in the NFL in takeaways last year, and improving that ranking is Philbin's No. 1 priority. His staff hung footballs from the walls of defensive meeting rooms so players would become more accustomed to swiping at them. Three speedy newcomers - Philip Ellerbe, Dannell Wheeler and top draft pick Dion Jordan - are expected to make the defense more disruptive. New cornerback Brent Grimes has 13 career interceptions and won raves in camp for his ball-hawking skills.

DOMINATE DEFENSE UP FRONT: The front seven has the potential to control the line of scrimmage, with the charge being led by 340-pound nose tackle Paul Soliai and defensive end Cameron Wake, who has 43 sacks in four NFL seasons. The group is so stout Jordan will likely see only spot duty in passing situations even when he's fully recovered from shoulder surgery last winter.

IS STABILITY A GOOD THING? For the first time in the past three offseasons, the Dolphins conducted no head-coaching search. The quarterback situation is also settled for a change, with Tannehill returning after he became the first Dolphins rookie QB to start all 16 games. And much-maligned Jeff Ireland is back for a sixth season as general manager. Owner Stephen Ross endorsed all three and said the emphasis is on long-term success for a franchise that hasn't won a postseason game since 2000. ``We certainly want to make the playoffs,'' Ross said. ``But I want to see growth in the team in building the foundation for this season and future seasons. I don't want to be a one-shot wonder.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve-Wine

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Josh GordonJan 25 09:12p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will be under contract through the 2016 season, and he will only be a restricted free agent after that year due to his looming [ More ]

Josh GordonJan 25 04:12p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon has reportedly failed another drug test and will be subject to a one-year banishment, according to multiple league sources.

Earl ThomasJan 23 09:02p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder) will play in the Super Bowl, head coach Pete Carroll said Friday, Jan. 23.

Dennis PittaJan 23 04:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) met with some specialists last week, but the team is not expected to have an update on his status for a few weeks, [ More ]

Johnny ManzielJan 23 01:12p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel had a big proponent last year in owner Jimmy Haslam, but Haslam now thinks the team needs a quarterback in order to get their [ More ]

Jimmy GrahamJan 23 10:32a

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder) said he'll rehabilitate his shoulder injury after the Pro Bowl, but he hasn't made a final decision on surgery. 'It's something we [ More ]

Mark IngramJan 22 06:42p

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram, who will be eligible for free agency this offseason, wants to return to the team next year, and he thinks the interest is [ More ]

Vernon DavisJan 22 06:22p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis had just two touchdowns in 2014, and they both came in Week 1. He also wasn't targeted at all in the red zone [ More ]

Geno SmithJan 22 05:32p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith has a lot of talent and promise, according to new head coach Todd Bowles. At the same time, Bowles acknowledged that the quarterback [ More ]

Brian HoyerJan 22 04:52p

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer could be re-signed this offseason, according to his agent. Hoyer is expected to meet with general manager Ray Farmer and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo in the near future.

Johnny ManzielJan 22 02:43p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel will be working with a new offensive coordinator this year in John DeFilippo, but DeFilippo is unsure if the team's quarterback next year is [ More ]

Joe FlaccoJan 22 12:52p

Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco will have his fourth difference offensive coordinator in as many years in offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. However, head coach John Harbaugh is confident Flacco [ More ]

Tom BradyJan 22 10:12a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is now scheduled to speak to the media Thursday, Jan. 22, and he could come under fire due to the report of deflated [ More ]

Vontaze BurfictJan 21 09:03p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (knee) has had knee surgery, head coach Marvin Lewis confirmed Wednesday, Jan. 21. While there has been concern Burfict might have to begin the [ More ]

Mike WallaceJan 21 09:03p

Miami Dolphins WR Mike Wallace's future with the team is unclear. General manager Dennis Hickey would not say Wednesday, Jan. 21, whether Wallace will be back or if his [ More ]

Johnny ManzielJan 21 04:43p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel could benefit from new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, according to Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr. Carr said DeFilippo will do great with Manziel, adding [ More ]

Richard ShermanJan 21 04:23p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (elbow) said he will practice in a brace, but should not have any limitations on gameday.

Marc TrestmanJan 21 03:53p

Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said he wants to learn the specificities of the team's offense instead of changing it. Head coach John Harbaugh said Trestman's familiarity and [ More ]

Blake BortlesJan 21 03:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles should be able to develop under new offensive coordinator Greg Olson, according to general manager Dave Caldwell. Caldwell said Olson has the ability to [ More ]

Blake BortlesJan 21 03:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles developed bad habits and may need to start over, in the opinion of NFL Films guru Greg Cosell.

Latavius MurrayJan 21 12:53p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray is likely to be the team's lead back in 2015, and new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave plans tailor his system to Murray's talents. Musgrave [ More ]

Peyton ManningJan 21 11:03a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning plans to return in 2015, pending the results of his annual physical, according to three sources The Denver Post's Woody Paige trusts. The test [ More ]

Rashad JenningsJan 21 10:23a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings could have a veteran running back to complement or compete with him next season. The team could possibly add a change-of-pace back and [ More ]

Trent RichardsonJan 21 09:13a

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson was suspended and deactivated for the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 18.

Joique BellJan 20 11:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell had minor surgery last week to clean up his knee and Achilles' tendon. He is expected to return in time for organized offseason workouts.

Doug MarroneJan 20 05:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said the team is committed to remaining a zone-blocking team. However, new assistant coach and offensive line coach Doug Marrone didn't use a [ More ]

Peyton ManningJan 20 05:13p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning remains unsure of his future with the team, but head coach Gary Kubiak said he plans to sit down with Manning and talk about [ More ]

Tyler BrayJan 20 04:23p

Kansas City Chiefs QB Tyler Bray (knee) has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Marc TrestmanJan 20 03:43p

Free-agent head coach Marc Trestman (Bears) was hired by the Baltimore Ravens as the team's offensive coordinator Tuesday, Jan. 20. Trestman was previously the head coach of the Chicago Bears.

C.J. AndersonJan 20 01:33p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson, who finished the year with 849 rushing yards, 324 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, is looking forward to his role in new head coach [ More ]

Latavius MurrayJan 19 09:53p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray could benefit from offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who has used a run-heavy style in the past.

Reggie WayneJan 19 07:03p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (triceps) is unsure if he will be returning for another season. Wayne was targeted just twice in the loss to the New England Patriots [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group