Found August 27, 2013 on
Robert Griffin III
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
BEST OF MAXIM
The Miami Dolphins seem to think that they’re ready for the regular season. They kick off in exactly 13 days, are you confident they’ll be able to beat the Browns? One player that looks to be ready is Ryan Tannehill. After slow starts by the offense in each of the first 3 preseason games, the Dolphins young QB lead the Dolphins opening drive down the field. The problem...
The Miami Dolphins have had their share of injuries this preseason. Well today, the Dolphins welcomed back their 1st round draft pick, Dion Jordan. Jordan suffered a setback when he reinjured his shoulder during the Dolphins second preseason game (vs. Jaguars). Jordan, you will remember, had surgery earlier this year to repair a torn labrum. Jordan practiced for about 2 weeks...
The Dolphins have cut their roster down to 75 players after releasing 9 players on Tuesday via the team's website.
DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins first-round draft pick Dion Jordan returned to practice in full pads Tuesday after having been limited since the second preseason game due to a shoulder injury.
"He looked good. I gotta watch the tape a little bit closer but he moved well, and worked on the some of the the basic fundamentals and techniques. We'll see how it looks on tape,"...
The final preseason game gave Dolphin fans one last look at the team before next week’s regular season game.
With much interest in seeing who will step up and replace Dustin Keller, the Dolphins displayed some great signs of finding other ways to replace the injured tight end.
At many times, the Dolphins were lined up with three receivers. Receiver Brandon Gibson caught 5 passes...
Randy Starks like many franchise players held out this offseason in order to try to get a long-term deal. What is unusual is that this franchise player won’t be starting this season. Starks believes that that is because of his holdout.
“I’m not going to say nothing bad about it. It is what it is. I wasn’t here so I guess this is my punishment.”-Randy Starks via Chris Perkins...
Despite it being an exciting day for most fans due to the release of Madden, today is a day which most players around the league are not looking forward to. By 4pm this afternoon teams need to cut down their roster to 75 players.
Notable cuts included:
Special teams WR Julius Pruitt
Pruitt came back to the team in attempts to help provide depth to the unit. Some might...
The Miami Dolphins rookie defensive end Dion Jordan participated in drills for the first time in several weeks after tweaking his surgically repaired shoulder on Aug. 9th. Jordan will miss Thursday’s preseason finale against the Saints, but appears to be working his way back for the regular-season opener. After practice Jordan talked about how he is feeling:
A case could be made that Miami and Florida Atlantic are football brothers.
After all, the programs have the same father.
The Hurricanes and the Owls play Friday to open their seasons and pay tribute to former coach Howard Schnellenberger - who led Miami into the spotlight by winning the school's first national championship in 1983, 15 years before he began building Florida...
DENVER -- If the Miami Dolphins had gotten into a bidding war to bring back Jake Long, could they have won it?
While it is generally believed the Dolphins weren't willing to pay the left tackle as a free agent an amount similar to the four-year, 36 million deal he got last March from St. Louis, Long said the Dolphins had little chance of signing him after his first...
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) A case could be made that Miami and Florida Atlantic are football brothers.
After all, the programs have the same father.
The Hurricanes and the Owls play Friday to open their seasons and pay tribute to former coach Howard Schnellenberger who led Miami into the spotlight by winning the school's first national championship in 1983, 15 years before he...
BY SEAN DONOVANWhen tight end Dustin Keller's season was ended by a catastrophic knee injury earlier this preseason, the Miami Dolphins lost one of their best vertical receiving threats, and one who was expected to improve the offense's ability to attack the middle of a defense.Filling the void created by the loss of Keller will be difficult, but the Dolphins feel that another...
The Miami Dolphins were very active this offseason with the signings of Mike Wallace, Philip Wheeler, Dannell Ellerbee and Brent Grimes among others. Another popular topic of conversation has been how quarterback Ryan Tannehill will improve from a rookie season in which he led Miami to a 7-9 record. While Tannehill, Cameron Wake and the newcomers will get most of the spotlight and...
Offense: Ryan Tannehill made strides at quarterback in his rookie season, and will now have a new weapon on offense with the addition of wide receiver Mike Wallace. Both Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas figure to see time in the backfield for the 'Fins, but expect Miller to eventually beat out the plodding (and fumble-prone) Thomas to replace Reggie Bush as Miami's feature...