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Team with no questions? I have some

A couple of weeks ago, amid the feel-good reflections of the offseason, guard Richie Incognito said the Dolphins had no questions. No, he wasn't suggesting the team is winning a championship in 2013. He was making the point he sees no obvious weaknesses or holes.

I suppose that could be fair.

Last year at this time, for example, we already knew the receiver corps was a problem. We already wondered about a rookie quarterback. We wondered where the sacks would come from if not from Cameron Wake.

Some of those issues have been addressed.

But are the Dolphins free of issues?

I'm not certain. (And neither can you be, by the way, because only a season of games will tell).

I can, however, present to you questions that will have to answered somehow in 2013. I'm not saying they're going to be problems. I'm simply marking them down in the uncertainty file.

Here we go:

Uncertainty 1: Will Ryan Tannehill be the QB everyone expects? Will he be a much-improved player from Year 1 to Year 2 or will the improvement -- assuming he makes some -- be more gradual? This is a big deal, by the way, because as Tannehill goes so will the Dolphins.

There's no doubt Tannehill is growing into his job.

"Last year at this time my head was spinning," he said. "I was just trying to figure out how things worked. I didn’t really know how the day went, how the offseason went, how practices went. So being in it a year, I am completely comfortable. Now I can go out and focus on all the little things that go into the game."

Now the question is will his play reflect his greater comfort level?

Uncertainty 2: Who is going to carry the running game? The question is obvious because Reggie Bush is gone and everyone who is left is unproven. The Dolphins love Lamar Miller. As I've written before, he is the heir apparent and is so talked within the team, owner Stephen Ross has mentioned him as a big playmaker for 2013. It's obvious someone internally has been telling Ross to expect big things from Miller.

But the Dolphins do have other choices. Daniel Thomas is a former second-round pick and he sees himself as the successor to Bush. He'll have to prove it. And he intends to prove it. So we have a competition building.

The darkhorse here is rookie Mike Gillislee. I keep hearing his name from club sources. There is an internal excitement about him. There is hope he can factor and perhaps even surprise everyone -- except you, of course, because I just told you what might occur.

Uncertainty 3: Health. Let's face it, the Dolphins are a skyscrapper of cards. Yes, they are looking like they can reach into the heavens. But they have a lot of fragile pieces. Brent Grimes, Richard Marshall, and Dustin Keller all had season-derailing injuries last season and are trying to stay healthy now. Can they? Rookies Dion Jordan (shoulder), Jamar Taylor (hernia), and Dallas Thomas (shoulder) all have injuries that are keeping them on the shelf until training camp the earliest. This issue deserves attention.

Uncertainty 4: Jonathan Martin as a left tackle. Yes, it's his job now. He succeeds Jake Long. And while Martin is expected to be healthier than Long, it is anyone's guess if he'll be any better. Indeed, Martin was no better in his stint as a left tackle last year toward the end of the year than Long was previously even though the veteran was constantly nicked. Perhaps that's the reason the team tried to re-sign Long and then flirted with both Brandon Albert and Bryant McKinnie as left tackle answers ahead of Martin.

This raises the question, 'How confident were the Dolphins in Martin?' Martin is a natural left tackle. He likes the position much more than he does the right side. Let's see if he plays like it.

Uncertainty 5: Can Dannell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler live up to the hype? Both players have performed well as complementary players, players signed on the cheap, players stepping in for stars, players without any pressure.

But now both these guys are very, very, very highly paid. They were brought in to not only start but make big plays. They were brought in as upgrades. That's a far cry from what they're used to.

Wheeler, you'll remember, played for Oakland on a one-year, $700,000 contract last year. He signed a $26 million deal with Miami. He played well last year. Will be play 40 times better for the Dolphins now that he's making nearly 40 times the money?

Ellerbe was supposed to be the heir apparent for Ray Lewis in Baltimore. But the Ravens couldn't afford to keep him. He had very good moments in Baltimore. He had some bad moments in Baltimore, particularly earlier in his career. Will he be the playmaker that Karlos Dansby was supposed to be but really wasn't? Or instead of another Ray Lewis, will Ellerbe be more like Dansby?

We'll see.

Prove it time begins in a couple of months.

Comments

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The potential this years team has compared to last year is much higher,tanny has a year under his belt, he has a valid receiving core, Joe Philibin is in his second year and has let go of the last regimes players that do not fit his mold,Hopes is all you have each year, they came very close to being a 10/6 team, they hae added speed and and youth, the key is gelling, the key is being hungry, and I believe this team will play hard and do some things that critics did not see happening!


Agree with all of those questions except:

"Will he (wheeler) play 40 times better for the Dolphins now that he's making nearly 40 times the money?"

The relationship between pay and performance isn't linear, its kind of S shaped. NFL teams pay an awful lot of money for a small improvement because that small improvement can be a tipping point to a transformative difference - winning games.

It does annoy me when NFL colunmists use numbers and logic poorly.


Otherwise all good questions - I can't help feeling that other teams have tougher questions to answer, I really don't mind Miller and Thomas possibly being our biggest 'problem'.


Despite of, or perhaps because of, the questions these dolphins have the makings of a good team.

10-6 should get the Dolphins into the play offs. 11-5 could win the AFC east (so long as one of the wins is against the Patriots).

I can see the Dolphins playing the Patriots, Bengals or Colts in a wild card game. Sure I'm getting way ahead of myself but remember where you heard it first :-)

Good job outlining this for us, Armando. I agree with your uncertainties. I would also include the two guards and how well all these changes come together. I think the team has something like 20 new players on the team. That's a lot. Two biggest ones for me are Tannehill and Martin. They will go a long way in determining how much success this team has.

Mando

Nice Post.

Especially #3
If all injured players come back @ 100 were fine.
Never works like that though does it.
Can u imagine how disappointing another 7-9 would be now?

I actually like this article. I thing what Jeffy did was inject youth and competition into this team. I really couldn't be happier about the direction of this team..

Lets Go Fins 2013:D

Well Mike you all maybe In for another disappointment cause I see this team no better than 7-9-9-7 and they better beat the AFC Central Indy and San Diego if they seriously wanna make the playoffs in 2013 !! They cannot split those 6 conference games no less than 4-2-5-1 if they do that they should be a shoo in if not no playoffs for Miami in 2013 !!

I'm not sure if these question are shocking....I'm pretty sure everyone is thinking this and even discussing it. QB still an unknown, health for all team is a concern, most can agree there isn't a proven RB on the roster, and Martin is a concern on the o-line....but I guess we are passing off obvious as insight...

And what players from the draft & free agency will surprise in training camp & preseason ala Zach Thomas???

Mando you left out this:

Bush + Fasano + Bess in 2012 = 2400 yds 14 TDs

Gibson + Wallace + Keller in 2012 = 1900 yds 15 TDs

How come neither you nor Walker nor Clayton published this comparison?
Where exactly is the big improvement?

Character! Will be the element that will drive this team to greatness! Walk slw, drink water, its a long road to the Super Bowl!

-Letting Reggie Bush walk for no compensation
-Letting Long walk for no compensation
-Letting Smith walk for no compensation
-Failing to sign/draft a legitimate LT
-Turning top CB spot over to player coming off torn achilles
-Turning RB over to Miller who couldn't even get past D. Thomas because he can't pass protect
-Paying Wallace $12mil following a season in which he was targeted 128 times but put up only 900 yards playing with a 2 time SB champ QB & Coach

THESE ARE ALL IRELAND MOVES

@Mace there hasn't been a AFC Central since the conference went to four divisions (around 2002?) and even then neither San Diego nor Indy played in the "Central". Given that you started the post out in left field and this isn't baseball (lol) the rest of your comment about the 2013 Dolphins holds no weight!10-6 or 11-5 Bring back the glory days of the Shula era!!!

All good questions Mando. And that's why they play the games. I agree the team has uncertainties. And they don't deserve trust that they finally got it right. BUT, what's different to me, which is why I have FAITH in them, is they are trying new things. Doing things differently to hopefully get different results. 4 WR set is just one. Imagine any of the past teams in the last DECADE employing that. I can't.

Really, everything rests with Tannehill. All the other issues can be overcome IMO if he's the real deal. We'll be on our way if we finally have our franchise QB.

the dolphins are going to when six of the next ten super bowls im just happy imma be alive to and i guarantee four of six and know it's not wishful thinkung mando i can

Im not Cleo but i can really see it

lol

I completely agree with these being the core questions entering the season. I also agree that issue #1 is Thill. Will he advance quickly and be a difference maker?

I definitely think he will. I love his smarts and athletic ability.

I am thrilled with the offseason moves and I am more excited this year than I have been the past 10.

Nat wait for preseason to start and see this new squad on the field together.

Of course we have more questions than answers going into the OTA's or camp just like every other team (even the SB champs have these). This is our 2013 team ready or not.

It's really all on the coaches and T-Hill at this point. However, mostly everything I've heard from the players, coaches and media (other than here)is positive so I'll go with that instead of focusing on things we can't control.

Tanny is the only real question mark, IMO. every team is at risk to injury, can't think about that. I have blind faith that Lamar will become what we all hope, and as for the defense, the dolphins are going to be a sack machine. Outside of Tanny this team looks good.

Valid Questions. Think overall they are in a better spot than last year.


Good Laugh:
http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000205529/article/mark-sanchez-disappoints-rex-ryan-in-jets-practice

Nice stat
"Once seen as the face of the franchise, Sanchez's stock has plummeted thanks to 52 turnovers in his last 31 games."

The LBers that we signed cant be any worse than Dansby and Burnett, these guys couldnt make any plays and sucked in Pass Coverage, Bush was a dancing fool and went down always on first contact, I dont think he's ever broken a tackle in his life. Like other bloggers said we'll go as far as Tannehill takes us, IMO were the second best team in the division and knocking at the Pats front door, Brady is 35 expect rapid decline from him this year

Hey, Jose

We picked up six players in FA with no compensation.
And, I think, Keller was injured last year.

Which team doesn't have questions? they all do because there are unknowns about every team in a new year.
Ravens have questions, niners have questions, the pats have questions, the broncos have questions. They all do.
You have to play the game that's what counts

It's good that people are pessimistic of 2013 Dolphin season. The surprise of their success this year will be that much more enjoyable.

Last years 7-9 team had many questions and weak spots. Still they had some strengths and lost 2 OT games that could have gone either way because of a kick and two other losses that could have gone the other way as well. It was clear they were not good enough to make the playoffs even before that season started. Rookie coach and QB among other itsues. Glad they did not make it as they did not have a real chance to go far.

It is clear this team has upgraded in many areas and eliminated all the glaring weak spots. All the former weak spots may not be strengths yet but definately not weak any longer. It also helps that the Jets keep taking steps backward as have the Pats. The Welker defection will hurt Brady more then most realize at this time. Pats go as Brady goes.

Miami has a shot to win the division for the first time since Brady has been a starter (not counting 2008 when Brady was hurt & Miami won the division). If Miami does not win the division which I believe they will, they will get a wildcard.

Buckle up fins fans it will be a fun season!
Fins Up!

Jose the reason nobody has that comparison is that it isn't one Bush is a RB and Gibson is a WR. Gibson , Keller and Wallace VS. Bess, Harline and Fasano. Redo your numbers now. Big difference! 2000 yards and 7 TD's. Gibson played for a bad passing attack much like ours, Keller was hurt and played with Sanchez and Wallace had Charlie Batch who couldn't throw deep!

Tannehill will b much improved & will lead this team to a winning record & playoffs not as a Wildcard team but as tha Division leader,Yea I said it! Lamar Miller will carry tha load n is much better than Bush,you'll see this season,Thomas,Gillislee will b awesome backups n compliment Miller,All of our newly signed n drafted players will b healthy n gr8 all season,Jon Martin has bulked up n is goin to b fine at his natural position at LT,plus goin against Wake & other DEs will only make him better,he'll surprise alotta people! Ellerbeast n Wheeler are huge upgrades at LB,no doubt about it!They both will flourish in this Defense!Let Bush,Long,Smith walk they were FA n not worth tha $$$ to resign em, Miller,Martin will step up in year2 & Grimes is so much better than Sean Smith I'm not even going to justify it,He's healthy n actually catches interceptions,Grimes is a impact player unlike Smith,let garbage Chiefs have em! Miller has been working out wit Frank Gore & working on his pass protection which is only thing he has to work on,even if he's not much improved Thomas & Gillislee r gr8 pass protectors much so I'm not worried about it,Wallace was worth every $$$$ n wilpay dividends when he & THill have breakout seasons,becoming best QB to WR combo in league,watch! N yes Ireland made gr8 moves this off-season,especially in tha draft,well played sir,even if this was cuz his job was on tha line at least Ireland will go out like Scarface,he went all in n I respect Ireland for finally doing what he was brought here to do,it wasn't all his fault even though fans were quick to blame him,Irelands had a plan all along,and now it will begin to unfold,Phination is on tha Rise,we're coming to take tja league by storm or hurricane,whatever it takes! "Haters Gonna Hate"

Why do people think we get compensation for FREE AGENTS!! Are people that remedial

Every team has questions to be answered. I believe this team is very much improved, they need to transfer the on paper improvement to on the field improvement.

The off-season is full of uncertainty and here is one for the books.

Where is that RB that can get that tough yard in this roster, you know the old fourth and go. I do not see him

Any time there are changes there are questions. We been floating these questions around for a month...where you been?

You are a complete and utter joke Mando. Sure these are some valid questions. However, you jsut had the OTAs to have the opportunity to get some indication on what the early returns where on some of these questions and report back to your loyal followers. Sure OTa don't give us the final answers but they provide some early indications. For example from other sources I've read that;

1. Tannehill is miles ahead of where he was last year and showed a ton of composure commanding the offense. he also reportedly completed 3 of 4 deep balls in one session (fodder for those who say Tannehill has no accuracy).

2. Keller, Grimes, and Richard Marshall all looked good in returning from injury.

3. J. Martin has returned noticeably bigger and stronger especially in his upper body development which was a major problem for him last year.

4. Wheeler and Ellerbe were very strong in coverage. And by the way, what kind of stupid thing is it to say that Wheeler has to play 40 times better now that he's getting paid more. Dolphins paid him on his performance from last year so if he can match or in the vicinity then the team will be happy.

But no, you prefer to plant darkness and ignorance in your readers' minds instead. You are sorely lacking man ...

chip > jose

Mark it cound be worse, you could be reading Omar Kelly blogs. LOL

A fair look at these uncertainties...
Uncertainty #1 T-Hill....is there really anything we can do about his development? Nope we just have to let him learn and wait for him to take the next step.

Uncertainty #2 the RB's...is there anything we can do about this? Nope and why would they if they believe in stable of RB's we have. These guys can't do any worse than disappear half the year like Bush. Do I really need to break out his game stats again?

Uncertainty #3 Health...is there anything we can do about this? Nope...Every team has to deal with this problem and why you hope to have depth. We do. The best part is mostly all of our guys should be ready to go by the time camps opens and if not we have options.

Uncertainty #4 LT...is there anything we can do about this? Nope this has been extensively explored. But if T-Hill trusts the guy with his blindside then I can too.

Uncertainty # 5 LB'ers living up to the hype...What hype? Isn't the consensus view that this is a cheaper upgraded unit that can do no worse than the zero impact plays we got from Dansby and Burnett?

I believe Tannehill is a good QB and maybe a great QB. But, Even if Tannehill can't be a "franchise QB", I think he or Moore can get us in the playoffs.

I don't think Wilson, Kapernik or Flacco are "franchise quarterbacks". That is why there are 22 players on the field.

Philbin is trying to build a team that does not need a hero to win.

Think Griese in '72, not Marino in '94.

Propaganda.

OTAs Just Went On.

And Mando Is Over Here Complaining.

I Hear From Team Sources Mando Is A Hack.

He Knows The Only Way To Rile Up Blog Hits Is To Talk Bad About The Home Team. Makes You Wonder Who The Troll Really Is.

Last years team might have been 9-7 if Dan Carpenter performed to prior standards. Lots of improvement by anyone's standards and of course you don't go through an NFL season without injury. I'm optimistic about this fall. Call me crazy.

One more thing was Wheeler s 26 Million for one year only ?

Guys You Have To Remember All These Sfla Writers Use To Get Their Gossip From Dansby. The Writiers Hate That Dansby Left. He Always Talked About The Team And The Coaches.

Dansby Was The Highest Paid MLB For The Last Couple Seasons. Yet He Didn't Even Play Like A Top 10 MLB. Value. Dollar For Dollar, Dansby Was One Of The Worst Players On The Team. At Least Jake Went To Probowls.

Ill give it to you Dashi, you was the first person on this blog calling out Dansby, never realize how good Zach was until all these other bustas started playing MLB for the Dolphins after Zach

mark,


ARE YOU SAYING MANDO TRYING TO BE (( A MONDAY QB )) ASKING ALL THESE DUMB QUESATIONS AFTER

Haha Clue, touche!!

Kelly's blogs suck but at least he provided some insight and analysis from the first glimpse we've had of this team.

Mando let this blog down big time. We come here on the regular and he knows how passionate we are - and nothing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we get definitive answers for the OTA's but we get indications.

For example, Sanchez continues to eat hot dogs in NY and Geno doesn't look anywhere close to even what Tannehill looked like last year even. On the bright side for NY, they will be drafting top 5 and have the chance to add yet another QB, hahaa!

There are alot of questions but the possibilties for the answers look much more positive than seasons passed.

I find it very unique that they made moves with an eye towards the future while making immediate impact moves as well.

In my crazy Dolphin fan head it seems like all the chips are on the table for sure to see if we are just plain snake bit or not.

Although there are a lot of questions, there doesn't appear to be any reason to be just awful at any position or as team in general. There are a lot of positions where we have high odds at being really good.


Even if Tanny doesn't turn out to be elite he seems completely capable of being a solid game managing qb.

Even if Grimes doesn't return to his probowl form, Marshall is healthier than last year and there is more talented depth at the position than last year.

Even if Martin doesn't master the LT position there is depth on the O-line, money left to make an emergency move, and plenty of time to figure it out even before the real games start.

I'm actually as optimistic as I've been since 2009. Of course we remember what happened that year. Pennington is injured and we haven't recovered since. Like I say.....snakebit. Time for that to go away!

No ALoco, I'm saying Mando is providing some shoddy analysis. He's asking questions that we could've asked a month ago. Now there is updated information out there that can help at least give indication which way things can go and comments on none of it. Guess just too many good things happened in Davie this week for him to bother.

Nice post Rick

I think it would be a huge accomplishment and would consider this upcoming season a monumental success if the team makes it to 8-8.

1. Schedule is extremely difficult
2. 2nd year inexperienced QB
3. Mediocre offensive weapons. (Seriously, Hartline a #2? Get Wallace some help!)
4. No running game
5. A revamped roster, offense and defense, that needs time to gel
6. Half the rookie class is injured already

All signs point to a 5-11 or 6-10 season. To get to 8-8 would be amazing I think, and would warrant contract extensions for both Joe Philbin and Jeff Ireland.

These worries don't change the feel good vibes coming from this team being reported...nearly everywhere but on this blog. I'm going to run with that until I see valid reasons to be worried. I have faith in the direction from these coaches and these players. We are in great shape to be contenders for the playoffs and even the AFC East.

Well, I wish we were SB Teams like the Dolphins, Steelers, SF were but we are not there, just yet.

Mando you left out this:

Bush + Fasano + Bess in 2012 = 2400 yds 14 TDs

Gibson + Wallace + Keller in 2012 = 1900 yds 15 TDs

How come neither you nor Walker nor Clayton published this comparison? Where exactly is the big improvement?

Posted by: JoseCuervo | May 23, 2013 at 07:49 AM

_____________________________________________________________

Who Here Can Skew Statistics To Such Asinine Levels To Try And Make A Point In Their Favor. Comparing Rushing Stats To Passing Stats. RBs To WRs. And #3 WRs To #2 WRs.

We All Know Who. The Guy That Has Been Hiding In Plain Sight The Last Few Days.

RBs

Miller 4.9YPC
Bush 4.3 YPC

Wallace 17.2 YPC
Bess 10.7 YPC

Keller 11.9 YPC
Fasano 8.1 YPC

Hartline Is The Common Denominator. Gibson Is Our #3 WR. Per Catch Or Per Carry The Fins Are Much Better.

Meaning If The Team Attempts The Same Number Of Plays They Will Have Way More Yards And TDs This Season.

Common Sense, You Idiot. The Fins Are Almost A Whole 10 Yards Better Combined Per Play In Just Those 3 Players.

But Keep Comparing A RB That Touches The 250+ Times A Year. To A WR Who Only Caught 60 Passes. Or Compare Him To A RB That Only Got 50 Carries.

Project L.Miller Over 250 Carries Like Bush. LOOK AT THE DIFFERENCE.

R.BUSH

Attempts 227
Yards 986
YPC 4.3

L.Miller Projection

Attempts 227
Yards 1112
YPC 4.9

See The Difference, Idiot.

Thanks Mark. The only thing thats truly bothering me about the team right now is Stark's attitude.

It seems most players are buying in and want to be a part of this team. We don't need a veteren infecting the the young guys with a negative attitude.

I would also compare our defense to '72. Our best known player is probably Dion Jordan, and , he hasn't played a down yet.

This defense will be "special". We were good last year in spite of the revolving door at cornerback. Lots of injuries. This year we are establishing depth in the off-season, not culling idiots like Vonte.

All the second year players look like body builders. Did you see Olivier Vernon? Any QB who was watching him on Finsiders has to be scared.

No Name II

That's it Dashi! That was a purely idiotic post by JC. Also consider Keller only played 7 games.

We are not happy at all. That was high-school basketball. You 3 points ahead with 10 seconds left and they have it, what do you do? You foul the man, man.

Oscar, do you feel any concern for the series after game 1?? The only thing good to come out of that was the W for Miami...could you be in trouble?..

Clue,

The Sad Part Is Everyone Here Saw Z.Thomas Play And They Forgot What A MLB Looks Like. What A Qb Of A Defense Looks Like.

They Were Comparing Dansby To C.Crowder. While Dansby Was Getting More Money Than R.Lewis Or P.Willis Or B.Urlacher.

That Is Like These Clowns Comparing Reggie Bush As A RB. WHEN WE ALL SAW RICKY WILLIAMS. RICKY IS THE STANDARD I JUDGE RBs BY, Not R.Bush.

L.Miller Won't Be Ricky Williams Good. But You Can Tell He Has What It Takes To Be Better Than R.Bush. L.Miller Isn't Scared To Get Hit. He Doesn't Hesitate Before Hitting The Hole.

We have to look at the glass half filled. Its a new team, new coach, new QB, young players, new schemes (hopefully), new kicker, new mindset, and hopefully all of this will bring in a new winning attitude. The questions are; is Tannehill really the answer after Marino FINALLY? Will the o-line play cohesive and well? And did Ireland finally make the right picks in the draft?

Rick, Starks better wake up. he has no traction here. If he doesn't want to play ball, the Dolphins can just cut him. They have Soliai, Odrick, Martin to rotate inside. Actually if he doesn't shape up soon, I'd look to trade him. I know KC would be interested. Starks needs the Dolphins and their $9M more than the other way around.

Philbin won't tolerate that nonsense.

Side note, from the beginning, I actually said they should just let him walk. Not because he isn't a good player but because he isn't worth extending to the team and he justifiably wants as much money as he can get and the value just isn't there on Miami's part.

In the end, I think they come up with some contract so he can get more money this year and the Dolphins can just cut him after this year without any cap hit if they so choose. This will involve Ireland asking for some more of Ross' money though, haha

Not at all, Jack! I've always had confidence in Great Teams with Great Players in it.

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