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First practice for a playoff-caliber or rebuilding team

The Dolphins take the (artificial) field in the bubble for the start of their first 2012 training camp practice today. Forty-minutes later, they'll be on the (natural) grass field outside to show themselves to their faithful fans who came to watch the work.

What do those fans expect to witness?

Fans trekking to Davie the past three seasons to watch practice saw what eventually would be losing teams -- 7-9, 7-9 and 6-10 last season.

What do you expect the Dolphins to be this year?

I would expect they'd be a rebuilding team because after three consecutive losing seasons, my logic dictates something ain't right and needs serious reworking. But as I write in my column in today's Miami Herald, the team insists it is not rebuilding.

Head coach Joe Philbin, general manager Jeff Ireland and owner Stephen Ross believe this team just needs minor tweaks to be a playoff-caliber collection of talent.

Me? I see the need for a QB, some playmaking at safety, a solid defensive end, a better option to Koa Misi at weakside linebacker, stability on the right side of the offensive line, and improvement at wide receiver as something of a rebuilding project.

And all that assumes, Reggie Bush stays healthy, Daniel Thomas improves and plays like a second-round draft pick should, Karlos Dansby is in shape the entire season (he wasn't last year), Jake Long comes back healthy of struggling with that issue the past two seasons, and Philbin is a good head coach -- which he has yet to prove.

And because it's difficult to find six good-to-excellent players to add to a team from one year to the next while changing the scheme on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball and having all those other factors fall just right, I see this as something of a rebuilding year.

The Dolphins don't see it that way. They see themselves as simply tweaking and on the cusp of a playoff berth if a couple of things go right.

The season's results will tell the tale.

But what do you see? Like now. What prophetic insight can you offer on this team before it hits the field? Go on the record. Make a call!!!!

Is this team playoff-caliber, as the Dolphins seem to think? Or are they a couple of years from the playoffs, as I believe?

[BLOG NOTE: As practices begin today, practice updates begin today. I'll have what happened and what everyone is saying following the practice. You should also follow me on twitter for real-time updates. That's @armandosalguero on twitter. Come back after practice and throughout the day for the updates.]

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