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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.]

Comments

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First

And on that note, my prediction is 5-11. Offense is gonna be terrible and one dimensional. Defense will keep is in, and win us, some games. But just not enough talent on offense to be consistently competitive. Wish I could offer a better prediction, but I'm callin it how I see it on paper. Looks like déjà vu to me.

second

9-7 no playoffs but improved just with the coaching change tony was terrible

Hey Rob,

I like the confidence!!! 5 wins? No chance of that.

Tannehill must be throwing a hissy fit b/c he isn't the guy... and with his weak arm and small hands he may never be the guy so he needs to cash in now so he can go be a doctor in 4 years. "Speed of the game" is code for an arm that can't get the ball where it needs to be on time and in the right spot. Good job Ireland! How many pro bowlers did you miss this year to appease the corporatists in the FO and their marketing plans?

12-4 easy schedule

I think the dolphins will be a much better team than expected. They could win as many as 10 games. I like the offensive approach and the fast tempo will challenge teams coming to Miami early in the season. I am concerned about the defensive secondary, but feel the rest of the team can be successful. It will be fun to see how it turns out.

8-8. I think we win some suprise games and we take a couple ugly loses. I do think the coaching staff is going to be an upgrade so we might not see some of the real dumb stuff on the sidelines this year.

I personally would like to see Matt Moore the starter, and if we are at the point of no return, replace him with Ryan. Loosing Marshall isn't as big of a deal as everyone is making it, and Bell had to go.

My key points -
-QB has to throw 60% completion and have 10 int's or less this season.
-RB has to have a 1000 yrds. Dont care which one, but we need a back that we can depend on.
-WR must not drop the easy catch. I dont see huge plays, but I do think we can play the 10-20yrd pass game.
-D cant give up the easy big play. Keep things contained and dont make the huge mistake.

There you have it.
Well, in my view anyhow.

If Garrard starts, then we will win our division and go to the big dance. If philbin sees that the rookies wide receivers are not ready, then he should have T.O. to come in for a tryout immediately! I believe that Fuller and Matthews will shine in practice. You have to be able to score more than two touchdowns each week to have a winning record. We need to score at least 4 touchdowns every game and if we do, then we will win the division.

Football is upon us again, with it comes crazy people. They are just putting pads on and we already have doom sayers....well sorry to tell ya but we are goin to b great on the best side of the ball....top 5 D and 12-4

This is what happens when corporatists put the Org Chart ahead of the Depth Chart in their myopic decision making process. They have disguised themselves as football people but in reality they are not and never will be. This FO starting with Ross is a JOKE! Last year they pass on Mallet AND Gronk... This year I bet they will regret missing on Fletcher Cox and perhaps Cousins...

I think we will see a better conditioned team and a more exciting team. I only consider it a rebuild if they start Tannehill from day one. I think with our defense (defensive line has to be top 5 or so) and a revamped o-line (thank god Columbo is gone) as well as our running game (loving Lamar Miller) we have a good chance to win 9 games. I do agree that our WR are somewhat of a concern but remember Marshall over that past few years has dropped the most balls in the NFL and seemed to have a knack for dropping touchdowns so I don't think he's as big a loss in talent as he is in name. I like Bess and Hartline and if 85 can do contribute we should be ok. I also like the prospects of Egnew in our offense as well as Clay in his second year. QB play will be big but Garrard can hold the fort for a year, this team is not as bad as the National media and sadly the local media portray. Philbin by the way is a huge upgrade from Sparano and he may be our biggest acquisition this year. Let's get some work done Miami prove your critics wrong.

7-9 or 8-8

Whatever the record this team will show improvement over the last couple of seasons. We will not be perfect and mistakes will be made, but there will be clear signs that there is something to build on for the future.

Biggest prediction though is that we will finally beat the Texans. Don't know why but think this will be one of the games we surprise a few people in.

Now watch it all go badly wrong :-)

The WR , TE and RB will all be very effective in the passing game so thoughts of this team being one dimensional or a 4 win team is ridiculous. They were beating the Super Bowl Champ in week 12 last year. They took that foundation of players, dropped some dead weight and added a few key peices. Vernon will easily replace JT who wasnt what he once was, young strong and fast, Vernon is. Brandon does not fit this scheme Chad J will show he's got a little left and will provide vetran leadership to yound WR BM did not.
Garrad will be QB and if healthy the guy can play at a high level. Sure ther is some changes but should be for the better.

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.

Armando, the Dolphins had a very good QB last season who was rated #12, Matt Moore remember him. He did not have protection on the right side, or a strong WR group other than Marshall who dropped a large amount of passes. The Dolphins were good on defense but had the personnel better suited for the 4-3. I still believe that the Dolphins made a major mistake in their playoff chances by not drafting a WR at number eight in the first round in place of the holdout Tannehill, who should have been a second round pick for another team.

10 and 6 at worst this year.

Players will actually be conditioned this year, big improvement with staff this year. Remember the players bitching last season about how slow the practices were? They weren't in shape until the second half of the season.

I think the play calling will be a lot better this year as well. Last season, every single 3rd down we threw it to Bess; not too hard for defenses to plan that.

I think it's going to be a kick ass season. Jets are going to be comical, they'll be lucky to win 5 games. We'll be competing for the 1 and 2 slot in our division this year.

The last time the Dolphins were in the playoffs was also a rebuilding year(which the Dolphins have been doing since Marino) with a retread QB...but they had a soft schedule and got to the playoffs. Do i believe this team is a Superbowl team, No way. Do i think a soft schedule combined with an average team can make for the playoffs, yes i do. There are big factors. I think the loss of Colombo is huge, the right side of the O-line is instantly improved..I think a slice of bread would be better than he was last year. Marshal was horrible last year dropping several passes , some that could have been touchdowns that could have won games. I think Ocho does not drop them this year. I think one of these QBs will step up enought to make throws when needed and i think our Running backs will be very good espically with the addition of Miller. The defense will do its part to give us a shot to win...i see a winning record and a slight chance at a playoff birth.

Based on our schedule I think 10-6 is possible. If that's the case, I hope 10-6 would be good enough for a wild card spot. I would really love to see us make the post season. We need it and when I say "WE" I mean the fans, team, city, etc. GO DOLPHINS!!!

Yeah, the Dolphins are one player away from making the playoffs. That player is Tom Brady. Once he retires, they will be closer to the playoffs.

Mando, DON'T listen to the team (I know you don't). This is 100%, DEFINITELY GUARANTEED a rebuild year. The media is propping up Matt Moore as a "starter in this league" which basically means he's competent enough not be worse than Curtis Painter of the Colts. And just as they're all touting him as a starter, most likely he'll be a backup to David Garrard this Season, who might still have something in the tank, but his best days are behind him.

Tannehill is the future, but you wouldn't know it based on what the GM feels, which is he might be a bust within 4 years. The defense should be decent, but by no means is it guaranteed they are stout (they weren't for 10 games last year). We've seen this story here, offense sputters, defense is called on ALL GAME to keep the team in the hunt.

The wild card to me is the offense. I don't KNOW that they'll be impotent. They might be able to put it together. It's a longshot, but it's probably going to determine if we're 10-6 or 6-10.

14-2 with sweep of Pat and Jets and one hiccup loss to the Bills. Alarm going off now...dream over...

Dear Mr. Salguero

"The Dolphins take the (artificial) field in the bubble"
Its pronounced The Nick Saban memorial bubble.

I look for the Dolphins defense to killer this season with the implementation of the Bath Salts formation.

Game day sales of liver with some Fava beans and a nice Chianti will make Mr. Ross Millions at the concession stands.

Yeah, I'm going to hell...but I will be riding in first class

Soiled :)

In our division AFC you got to have more than 10 to even sniff a wildcard spot!!
9-7 8-8. IMO won't give us a wildcard spot, unless. New England tanks. The Bills tank!
Yes the Bills are going to make a push for a playoff spot! So I just don't know if this team has a 10 wins in them or not! But it's going to be fun finding out!!!! LETS GO PHINS!

Everything is contingent upon the QB play, whether he has enough time to throw and the decisions that he makes. If these intangibles are good, then the Fins will have a great season. If not, well then look for another high pick in the first round so that JI can screw it up.

Is this were blogger,Home does his Dolphin Training Camp reports?

I agree Ray, you need 10 wins to have a shot in the AFC. I am rooting like hell for a playoff berth but if not, I really want to see this new coaching staff start developing some of the young guys that we have been told have so much upside. That was Philbin's model in GB and they did a good job of it. Let's hope he can do the same for us.

Back to Football. No more Basketball, and Baseball. I love it. Fins Up!!

Check the stats on teams with losing records that make the Playoffs the next year. Probability is they go back to having a losing record the year after they make the Playoffs (just like the Miami Dolphins in 2009). So watch out what you wish for.

I'm hoping for steady progression. That we will more than 6 games this year, more than what we won this year next year, and so on, until we're READY to compete and actually WIN a Playoff game, and then win on a CONSISTENT basis. THAT'S THE GOAL. Become an elite team, not a 1-year wonder!

Armando thinks Bess is a lock at WR I think WR is a open competition Hartline Bess have been here for a couple years now and none of them make my toes tingle! I say put in the Best WR from that group to start it's time for a change in that position Yes we are rebuilding if so it should be open competition in every position on the team!

4-12 Ireland gone by midseason!!!

Now guys are claiming Tannehill has small hands? Where did someone read that? Is it typical to have a guy play wide receiver in College with small hands? Isn't he like 6' 4" or something? Do most quarterbacks that sixe have small hands? Did Joe Montana or Drew Brees have small hands? I must be missing something.

Not buying the 'rebuild' stuff either. If NO can win a Super Bowl after going 8-8 the year before we are certianly capable of at least getting a wild card spot. I see the Colts and Browns, as rebuilding. We didn't gut our roster ad the turnover is in line with most other teams. EVERY team drafts and signs FA to improve their roster. I don't see what we've done as being much different than most teams in the league.

6-10 or 10-6, I don't want to make a Prediction Yet until I See the Qb's play in the Pre-Season.

Hey genius "speed of the game", Means Ur Slow of Mind. Not Weak Arm. Or is Gates having Trouble with the Speed of the game cause he's Slow of Foot?

T-Hill won't Start because his Daddy(Sherman) will know when he's ready. Why U looking at his hands? T-Hill can eat a Whopper. He's bigger than U RG3 and Faster than Luck or Cam. I'm not saying he's as polished as both or will be as good as both.

.500 team that could do better or worse depending on several previously mentioned factors. None more important than QB play.

Could slip into playoffs if a few things go their way but also could fall below .500.

The season all depends on how the offense functions. There are big ?'s there, but the system can make the ?'s into !!!!!'s. I am excited to see what Philbin and Sherman bring to the table. It seems this team is in better shape than last year, and coaching has a better grasp on the team.

So My guess will be 9-7, however the schedule lends itself to be better.

If the O is a bust, it is rebuilding.

A lot of first year stuff for this team, coaching, philosophy, ect... So it is impossible to predict.

But so far, I am a BIG fan of Philbin.

Someone is impersonating HOME as he is at Dolphin Camp live today.

I wonder if Home is with Mando?I wish I was at camp instead of here working.Sucks!

Well, perhaps "remodeling", but certainly 7-9.

You gonna be there, Armando? The Pabst Blue Ribbon beer is going to be warm

btw, you forgot to include in your write here at what Time does practice starts Today.

The bills have Major Questions. The Whole O-line, and is Fitzpatrick really the answer? Who replaces him if he gets hurt? Wannstedt is the DC.

Not really concerned with the record this year. I just want to see a marked improvement. I'm not expecting playoffs, but it would be a real nice surprise though.

I love all of the false confidence. You guys are amazing. We should check back at how many of you were predicting 10 wins last year. Instead we get 10 losses. New coach, new system, we lose our most productive WR on an already defunct offense and you are all STILL predicting 9+ wins. We go backwards are are gonna crank out 3+ wins? Riiiiggghhhttttt. Unbelievable. This is why most of the country laughs at Dolfans because seriously 95% of you are either blind or just stupid or both.

Not so Rob M, the downbeat Home is predicting 5-11 and last place in the division for the phins.I,m going to wait until after the last preseason game to make predictions.

THis team is seriously downgraded this year!!

Look, it's not being a bad fan to be realistic. The blinders have been on long enough. Countless failed QB's, coaches, schemes, personnel moves....have decimated this franchise. Every year it seems like a new "something" and people get all giddy and excited and predict playoffs and then the wave of failure washes over everyone. I love the Dolphins, but after everything that we have all gone through, I've learned to temper my excitement and go with a "show me" approach before I get excited again. 6-10 last year, no B Marshall, new scheme on both sides of the ball....sorry....but I'm certainly gonna temper my expectations and id be fairly shocked to see much improvement. Hope I'm wrong.

No,that sounds accurate Rob M.Too many homers telling fish tales about ten wins and playoffs only to start like last season 0-7.

TOO! many new parts for this team to go anywhere this year 6-10

i'll make my prediction based largely on THREE intangible facts, yes they could've made some better offseason moves and at certain positions(on paper) they might have even regressed(reciever), but here is my prediction: 1) miami STILL has a decent team, the same one that SPORANO said "no one should underestimate". but the weak conditioning that brady exploited in game1 that traumatized the teams mentallity and spawned a 7 game skid will NOT happen again. 2) the added pressure of the HBO cameras will bring out the teams best effort. they will play to their potential, they will try to back up the hype that will soon be heard from every player on the series "hard knocks". 3) and this is the big one, a NEW, RESPECTED head will bring a ONE and done post season performance as did parcell.

PREDICTION--- a wild card birth in which they loose.
(note) - clay will step up, PHILBIN will pad the loss of marshall by throwing a lot of balls to clay, egnew will surprise, and fasano will have an improoved year, but the downgrade at reciever(marshall to ochosinco)will hurt. what hurts even more, is to thimk that miami COULD have bolsterd this position by retaining marshall and signing michael floyd. the dark horse of marlon moore or roberto wallace will be the juggernaught. here's to hoping for the best.

Trent Fuller = Home

Craig, i'm with you....

In my opinion, the biggest rebuild that needs to take place is the south Florida fanbase. They are already pushing to say Tannehill is a bust without even seeing him play once. They are sabotaging him just like they did with Tedd Ginn who despite not being a good receiver is still a top special teams player and still would've been of great use to this team.

On top of whining and crying and acting like complete idiots, they can't even bother showing up to the games. Every Miami home game sounds like a road game. It's disgusting.

In addition, they are saying Miami should've drafted a linebacker or DT when they already have one of the best front sevens in the NFL.

isn't that the same philosophy Dave Wannstedt used to draft jamar Fletcher over Drew Brees??? I mean what potential impact would a 6 or 7 sack DT or a 100 tackle linebacker have on this team? Make them half a game better per year? Sure there is a perceived bust factor with the Qb but so what? He also has the highest reward factor. he is the one that could bring the best reward to the team - this team has played it way too safe for too long and it has cost them dearly. So for once they go for it and the fanbase cries and whines. Can someone ever win???

And some will say Tannehill didn't have a great season well neither did Jake Locker the year before when Tennessee drafted him but he was taken in the exact same spot based on talent and projection alone. Yet, you don't hear the massive bust cries coming from their fan base.

Oh wait ... they actually show up.

Rob M - Spoken like a true downtrodden fan. With Philbin as Coach, I expect us to be more disciplined, and I expect his preparation, and in game adjustments to be far better than Sparano's.

On the other hand, we are installing a new offense, a new OC, a new offensive line blocking scheme, and possibly a new QB (Garrard)Subtract the PITA Marshall, and the WR corps is a big question mark.

On defense, we have a new DC, a new scheme (4-3), so there are going to hiccups on both sides. That being said, I still expect improvement from last year. It may not show in in wins and losses, but this team will come out of the gate better than last years team did. That was a disgrace.

NO went to the SB after going 8-8 but they had Drew Brees. Big difference.

Good Morning,

I feel Miami's biggest reason they were stuck in neutral under Sparano was him and his staff couldn't develop players. Miami needs guys to mature and develop as players. Some guys show flashes but Sparano lacked the ability to develop guys and allow them to be play makers.

I look forward to seeing a few guys hopefully develop into good players who make plays

2nd year guy:
1. Charles Clay - H-back match up problem for LBs and safeties to cover.

2. Jimmy Wilson - he had more heart then just about every DB on the roster aside from Y. Bell last year.

3. Edmund Gates - Is he or is he not an NFL player?

The vets:
1. Vontae Davis - its now or never for him. He has the ability and talent to be Pro Bowl caliber. When does he get it?

2. Karlos Dansby - Best LB in the NFL? Play like it for 16 games then. Highest paid non-pro bowler in the league.

3. Jared Odrick - I loved what I saw last season from him. He's physical and although not a true pass rusher in 4-3 I expect at least 7 sacks and even more pressures.

The rookies:
1. Ryan Tannehill - He will get a chance probably late in the year because Miami won't mathmatically be eliminated from playoffs until around December. The future of everyone rides on him (Ireland, Philbin, Miami).
2. Lamar Miller - Miami needs a steal of the draft type of talent. Speed kills and he has plenty of it.
3. Michael Egnew - Jealousy is a MF-er and I have plenty of it watching New England and 2 star TEs.
4. Josh Kaddu - I simply think Misi is a scrub. I hope Kaddu is a player.

I too am not sold on the Bills. Why? because they spent a lot of money on Mario Williams to miss half their games injured?

last I checked Fitz is still their QB and he sucks balls.

From the very beginning you can see that Jeff Fuller will make the Team

I think they could go 10-6. I think they ARE better. They won 6 of the last 9 last year and 2 of those losses were close. Moore will be better than Moore was last year as he got better with time. And if he is not the starter, that means we will have someone even better than him. I thought we should run the hurry-up for so long, I am glad we are finally going to do it this year. I believe our skill players fit in very well with this scheme. So much comes down to close calls, injuries and freak plays that it can go either way but no one wanted to play us the end of the year last year and we will bury teams early in the year with the hurry up this year. We were too predictable under Sparaono. Won't be this year. I do hope we find a starting 5 on the O-line and stick with it. It would be nice to have some cohesiveness for a change.

Most importantly I hope we all go to Heaven which really is the only thing that matters. This will be difficult for the fornicators. A few moments of pleasure for an eternity of Hell. And being proud of it no less.

In Christ the King
and Mary the Immaculate King,
John

Hey silly boy - do not call me Home again.I like the guys reports but we all know Home is a crazy nut job that needs medication.

Glad your back Armando! Missed your updates.

Toronto Mark,

Fitzpatrick from the Bills despite going into a slump and having the best RB in the league at the time go out for the season with a broke leg, passed for almost 4,000 YDs, 24 Tds and 62% completions.
All players have slumps and set backs once in awhile.
While the Miami Dolphins went 0-7, Fitzi went 7-0.
Also Fitzi played better then any Miami quarterback.
Once again your statements hold now merit.
Please get with the USA football program.
Canada sucks balls.

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