Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 5/7/13
The sun on South Beach is just a little brighter this year for the Miami Dolphins. A week removed from the 2013 NFL Draft and a team that is still tinkering with its offensive line through free agency, the Dolphins are looking to make some noise in the AFC East and the NFL in general.There is still work to be done, but the blueprint is written and general manager Jeff Ireland and head coach Joe Philbin are looking to have the design implemented as soon as the 2013 regular season.The Draft produced top pass rusher Dion Jordan, Boise State defensive back Jamar Taylor and Tennessee offensive tackle, Dallas Thomas. That alone would make any head coach smile. But in addition to the signing of right tackle Tyson Clabo over the weekend and free agents like Mike Wallace of Pittsburgh to catch passes from Ryan Tannehill, tight end Dustin Keller, a former New York Jets player, Brent Grimes, a solid but often injured defensive back from Atlanta and Dannell Ellerbe, a linebacker from the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, and other additions and re-signings that show how serious this team is.With the open wallet of team owner Stephen Ross about to close for the offseason, what happens now? Don’t forget, Brian Hartline and Randy Starks signed to stay in South Florida.Does Tannehill, with another season and better talent around him, take the next step toward being a top 10 passer? He threw for 3,294 yards last season and 12 touchdowns. It will also be interesting to see how Tannehill operates without the services of Reggie Bush, who took his talents to the Motor City.It’s hard to accommodate Tannehill and have him become better in the Fins offense if the running game has been changed drastically. Daniel Thomas will have a lot to manage and deal with. Thomas is a good talent, but Bush was a great runner and receiver in an offense that needed him more than most teams need their lead runner.Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This is a team on the rise, with new parts and pieces for Philbin to play with and make fit inside the puzzle. But this was a team expected to be one of the worst last season, and the Dolphins surprised many. This could also be a better team overall this season and the Dolphins could lose just as many games if not more,I am hoping the team gets three more wins than last year and makes an appearance in the playoffs. But this is a division where all four teams could beat up on each other. I expect the Patriots will have a bit of company this coming season. Everyone seems to have gotten better (yes, the Jets, too).Years ago, Don Shula proved that it did not matter if former first round draft picks made up over a third of the team’s roster if they all could not meld into a winning combination. This is a team that in time can be “super” but it will take time. Do the fans and management have time to make this a reality?Time will tell.
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