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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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Jonathan Martin -RT
Artis Hicks - RG
Mike Pouncey - C
Richie Incognito - LG
Jake Long - LT

I like that Martin is getting 1st team reps on day 1! Hicks will eventually be replaced by Steinbach IMO.

Mario Williams is much better than Cam Wake as you will see this season.

South florida fanbase!!
Look I'm speaking for my self as a long time dolphin fan for 42 years. I spend my hard earn money one the Phins I have bought countless merchandise, I was a ex-season ticket holder, I have gone threw 1-15 seasons, my feeling about this team have Been hurt multiple times, my emotions played with from this team, every year!! And now so people here wants us to rebuild our attitude toward this beloved team!!! Let me tell you something the PHINS need to earn their fanbase! They need to install again confidence in their FANBASE. To rebuild their FANBASE!!! The Dolphin orginaztion needs to put a better product on the field give back to the fans!! Like game ticket specials better in stadium service like less expensive food drinks etc etc etc... The PHINS want THEIR FANBASE BACK!! VERY SIMPLE PUT A BETTER PRODUCT ON THE FIELD
HIRE COMPETENT PEOPLE TO RUN YOUR ORGINAZTION!!! And than I start spending my money on the PHINS again!
But I will support them I bought the NFL package to see my team play! I live in Orlando now so l can't travel every Sunday to watch them, especially after Don Shula has been gone this team has gone down hill! But I pray and hope they finally turn it around!
LETS GO DOLPHINS!!!

The right side of the offensive line appears weak again.
How come they did not draft anyone good like DeCastro?
Did Tannehill sign? Why did we draft him and not want to sign him? what is management seeing wrong with our new franchise Dan Marino like quarterback?

Why do some of you want to put down other dolphin fans for having a different opinion than you? that is why people laugh at us as fans, we do more in fighting than with other fans. New Orlean Saint fans EVERY year for the last 10 years go in expecting a Super bowl. Prior to Drew Brees. I cover that part of the country for my job. They are predicting it again. Trying to look at the positives does not make you a bad fan.

Trent,
Dan Marino like quarterback? LOL* a reach do you not think so?

hahhaa, finfan1313.

Are you fitz' agent? His mama maybe??

Those are the only people who would say that he's better than any Miami QB.

If Fitzpatrick were on the Dolphins, he'd be a 3rd stringer.

Sure he threw for 24 tds, and 23 INTERCEPTIONS!!!

he finished 22nd in passer rating (79), behind Tavaris Jackson and just ahead of mark Sanchez!! Moore finished 12th in passer rating and Garrard has a career passer rating of 85.

Yeah, he's great!!

LOSER!!!

Things have to really really right for this team to be a Wildcards at most. I say 9-7

I'm having my eye on Pat Devlin, since year before last, along with Ireland.

Toronto Mark,
Why do you fight with everyone in America on a blog?
Fitzi is a good QB and outrageous stats before his team was decimated with injuries.
Little feminine man in Canada, do you feel safe insulting us from over 2000 miles away, you little puke!

Bess will be Bess, wherever he plays.

I think Fitzpatrick is good, but he had a TERRIBLE second half of a season, like a meltdown. So he has a lot to proove before we can say he is anything more than average.

Marlon Moore, like Bess, does not drop passes.

The Bills had the best RB in the league and then hebroke his leg.Then the injury bug took out many other good players.That is why everything fell apart in Buffalo.
Keep it real.

I'm not insulting all Americans, just those "fans" of the Miami Dolphins - a team I've adored since I was a small child - that berate the team's players and draft picks even before they play a game and on top of that don't even bother to show up to any games.

I live a million miles away yet show up in Miami. I show up and support the team on the road when they play locally.

I'm calling out those people - not "all Americans" like you say. I personally have a lot of family in New England and have had to face constant harrassment for over a decade now. And that sucks - from Pats fans of all people??? I remember that team absolutely sucking for most of my life and being an absolute joke.

So I'm calling for every facet of the Miami Dolphins to improve. From the management, to the coaching, to the players, to the fans!!!

If that makes me public enemy number one to be a foreigner for calling out local fans on their own turf - then so be it.

And finfan1313, I don't hide behind a computer, I show up in Buffalo in Dolphins colours and cheer for them loudly. If I do that in front of 80,000 fat, ugly, inbred Bills' fans - then surely you don't scare me either.

Poizen, Fitz' second half last year was beyond meltdown. he was as bad as there was in the NFL. Some people want to say injuries slowed him down? Pff, come on, he had one of the best receivers in the league last year and a major weapon in CJ Spiller left. No reason to be that bad. he sucks.

They are in need of some outside speed in the WR. Chad Johnson still has the ability to stretch the field but things have not gone well for him in recent years.

These guys like Gates and others take relatively high in the draft with the 4.35 speed have not materialized.
Perhaps they can get some up-grades at WR when teams begin to cut during the pre-season.

Martin the OT has the agility and ability to play right tackle but was not a huge weight room enthusiast at Stanford as evidenced by 20 reps or so with 225 as a 305 pound OT. That number is done and exceeded by quite a number of LBs and even some RBs

11-5 if Matt Moore starts, 7-9 (again) if David Garrard starts. Being a jethro from the wilds of N.FL. I know a thing or two about Garrard. He runs when he should pass and passes (usuallly to the opponent) when he should run.
I actually doubt he'll be able to run much after that back injury sustained in camp last year. That's a mystery as well. Del Rio said he was cut because he wasn't any good in camp. He's had several feet of intestines removed (Crohns disease I think it was). So my concern is he just won't be tough enough. Oh well, at least his neck hasn't been fused.

10-6 at the very least if our safeties can hold up. I think that's the biggest potential weakness of the team. Other than that I think we have solid talent across the board. Defense should keep us in games, Offense should surprise. As gassed as we looked early last season, the opposition should look the same with our 1 pm home games.

Go FINS!!

Fin fan, It is a great point, however a good QB makes the team still tread water, It is not like spiller played awful. Like I said I think he is better than advertised, but last year was no resume builder considering the second half.

Honestly, this team is on the cusp of going either way. Either they're going to be very good and finish with their first playoff berth in the last few years (or come close); or they're going to be mediocre and disappoint heavily.

Let's break it down game by game:

Houston (A) - L
Oakland (H) - W
New York J (H) - W
Arizona (A) - W
Cincinatti (A) - WL
St. Loius (H) - W
BYE
New York J (A) - L
Indianapolis (A) - W
Tennessee (H) - W
Buffalo (A) - L
Seattle (H) - W
New England (H) - L
SF (A) - L
Jacksonville (H) - W
Buffalo (H) - W
New England (A) - LW

If we sum that up, the Dolphins can go 11-5 or 9-7. If they lose each of their divisional games like some are predicting, than my number gets knocked down to 7-9 (which is where most folks have us). No team is going to go out and say let's play to be 9-7 this year or 7-9 because that's not going to get anyone excited. Not the fans, not the team, or even the new head coach.

Truth be told, we won't know where this team is headed until the bye week, and all we can do until then is be hopeful.

Some of you are bafoons for thinking the Dolphins will have a better record than 8 and 8. Weve been mediocare for the last 10 years outside of that fule 2008 season and some of you are predicint 10 and 6, 11 and 5, and 12-4. Are you insane? We cant even get Tannehill signed before the start of the first practice.

8 and 8 it is!

Hey guys I found this new Dolphins blog site, and the writer Jimmy Bourbon, is saying the Dolpins are going to go 10-6, breaking down each game. Even though it sounds a bit optimistic, it is concievable. Check it out athttp://phinsnews.com/

Clue, perhaps you should get one. Did you watch Matt Moore last season or were you watching the jets? Did you read the post? I also said 7-9 if Garrard starts.

Edmund Gates sucks, he flats out drops everything thrown to him in practice. My prediction is he'll be cut from the team.

gates is not even going to make the team

JaxDolphins,

Why dont you go look up exactly what team Matt Moore beat last season and the teams he lost too. Youll see that Moore can win against crappy teams but the good teams he tends to crap himself speaking of crappy how's Jacksonville?

clue

the thing is if you look at our schedule this year there are a lot of crapy teams we play. On http://phinsnews.com/ they are talking about 10-6. it seems ridiculous, but it is concievable

With Gates not making the team, suprise another one of Ireland draft picke arent working out?

Clue-less, for a person who can't spell buffoon or full you sure act superior. Get a clue, and a dictionary.

Dolphin Boy,

Good point, but if we do go 10 and 6 beating crappy teams, we'll get bashed like in 08 if we make the plsyoffs.

haha, i hear that, but i think charles clay is going to be a standout this year, and ireland did pick him

If the dolphins play like at the end of last season there is some hope. However they have changed everything in the scheme system. I think everything can happen: from 5-11 to the opposite 11-5. This team is a complete mistery to me right now. The first game of the regular season will unveil the truth. I suppose that the average of those two extreme predictions is more realistic 8-8. Who knows.

Gee, this blog looks just like last year: troll city. People who can't have a civil discussion about the Dolphins have no business here. I'll be back later after the trolls have to go to bed.

JaxazzDolphin

Who cares how I spell it this isnt English class, Im not getting a grade for spelling correct. As long as you know you are a "bafoon" thats the point. You sir can go F yourself.

Marchcool. I agree this year is a mystery until the team gets on the field. This new dolphins blog, i found is predicting 10-6. they make a compelling case. check it out at http://phinsnews.com/

There is no way Miami marches out the gate this year 0-7 like last year no way. One prediction down two to go. Going 50/50 in the first 6 is very doable so at the bye we’re 3-3 or better. The strength of schedule is agreeable to a decent record, preparing for Miami may be more difficult this year with the WCOffense and multiple tight end sets. To end the season 10-6, 9-7 or 8-8 is not a reach even Vegas gives the Dolphins 7 wins. If the QB play is solid example: 85% rating at 65% completion then through the first 9 games 5-4 is attainable or better. My bold prediction the O-line improves, the defense is stellar and the offense is good 11-5. Here’s the caveat to 11-5 out the gate in Houston we upset the Texans. Thanks SteFin

..We disscussed this a bit yesterday. But the difference between 6-10, 7-9. And 9-7, 10-6 teams are a few bounces here a few plays there. I think we are a team that could be either. The margin for decency in this league is a thin line. We can look at teams like Buffalo, and on paper. No doubt they should be better. You look at the Phins..and on paper. We look like a team that is going to struggle to win games. Luckily the games are played in real time rather then just in chat rooms, or on television specials.

Back to my point. I don't this team is going to be great. I don't think we will be horrible. I think somewhere in the middle is accurate. If we can make a few plays when it counts. Our record should fall in our favor. A playoff birth? Who knows how all the teams many have marked as wins will perform. I'm sure fans of those teams have Miami marked as a win in their columns. If we continue to come up short in crunch time, or fail to make a play when the moment presents itself..We could just as easily see another sub 500 season.

Dolfins arent playoff ready by a long shot, however i think 2nd place isnt that far fetched either for this team this year given that their schedule is overall pretty friendly considering all their early home games and playing a weak NFC West division...

7-9 and 8-8 look more realistic and would technically be a step up for them after last years debacle...And i am nowhere near sold that the wets and wagon slumping " OVERHYPED" bills are that much better at the qb position then we are this year, and for that much steps above this team in terms of winning or losing...

4-12 is what can be expected for this group.

Key to success>>> score touchdowns!! In order to be a playoff team you must be able to average in the30s. Teens and twenties get you a high draft pick!! Nuff said

Thanks Dolphin Boy, i check out http://phinsnews.com. Cool looking site and I kind of agree with them saying the phins go 10-6. it is a bold predictions, but they have a decent argument

19-0 : Bet your houses on it.

When is the last time the Dolphins had 3 potential Starting QBs? We are solid at running back and the running game showed that last season. You replace the weakest players on the offensive line, that same line that helped produce over a thousand yards on the ground and now we have the potential to be very good to great at running the ball. You get rid of a bone headed coach and replace him with an educated teacher. I see an improved team. I know Marshall is a big subtraction but if we run the ball well, like I know we will there are going to be open receivers. Kicking game is excellent so the close games we lost last year and before are history. That's remodelling not rebuilding.

tj - You got it man - Well said

TJ - not only that but the west coast hurry up offense if executed well will be a huge advantage for us especially down in the heat of MIami, early in the season. And as long as Philbin doesn't sit on leads like the fist pumping Jersey shore Tony Sparano did then, the Dolphins are already ahead in the game. I really exciting to see how they use Charles Clay, I read this article on http://phinsnews.com that was really hyping him up, and I agree, he is primed for a breakout year. What do you think TJ

:-) football time... Jeeze that was a long offseason

To say the Fins are rebuilding is pretty silly when you have a #6 ranked defense and the only new players on that D are Vernon and Marshall (a proven vet).

Rebuilding means you have LOT's of holes to fill.

On offense the Fins have no holes, many new faces for sure, but no holes unless you don't believe in Chad, Hartline, Bess, and don't believe that Garrard is going to play like he did in 09.

But Garrard has looked pretty darn sharp in mini camp so why doubt that he can regain his prior form? Just to be negative?

Retooling is the correct verb, when you have vets that have proven they can play in the NFL, but have not played together yet. I'm talking about the 0.

Fasano, Bush, Slaton, Hartline, Bess, Chad, Hicks, Steinbach are all proven vets, not to mention the left side of the OL - Garrard is the key, how well will he play?

Well, the WCO seems like a perfect fit for his skill set.

Hard Knocks now has a great story line, with Tannehill not signed. Oh the drama!

9-7, maybe 10-6 if they are lucky. Weak schedule is the biggest reason for this optimistic prediction. Expect a solid defense and a limited offense. It will take a lot of 12 and 13 play drives to score with no real deep threat. If Thomas and Bush can run, then maybe the passing game might be more of a threat.

This is an unkown. Is Philbin the next Cam Camaron or the next Bill Walsh? Is the defense taking a step back going to the 4/3 from the 3/4? How about injuries? I see them with the potential to be 9-7 or 10-6. If Philbin is not prime time ready to be HC though this could be ugly.

5-11 or, if they're lucky 6-10.

clueless,

remember you started this shyte, if you think you can intimidate someone with a keyboard and a poor vocabulary you are sadly mistaken.
Just another tard. I bet you voted for Obama too.

To everybody else:
So how 'bout them Dolphins? Wasn't the new CBA supposed to eliminate these holdouts? Sounds like Ireland is doing his usual ignorant job. Hey Jeff, you picked him, now sign him! Glad you asked Dez Bryant about his Mama's profession, though. You did us a favor by making him want to go to Dallas, thanks for that.

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