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

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