So what are the Dolphins chances in the AFC East?
As I write in my Miami Herald column today, it depends on whether the Dolphins are improved at all and where that improvement might happen.
Look, let's be frank. (Frank is a cool guy). There are not a ton of tangible and obvious improvements on this team at this time. Yes, the season might tell a different story but right now we're more leaning on hope than certainty.
Miami's other AFC East rivals are leaning more on certainty.
In New England, the Patriots can say they’re better simply because starters Rob Gronkowski, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Sebastian Vollmer are back and healthy after missing much of last year and, oh yes, the team signed Darrelle Revis, too.
In New York, the Jets are boasting they’re better because lightning fast Chris Johnson is now the running back, they signed wide receiver Eric Decker and Michael Vick is on board to guard against the realistic possibility that Geno Smith isn’t a special quarterback.
And the Bills? The team that swept Miami last season -- still cannot believe that one -- suffered a terrible blow when it lost Kiko Alonso for the season because he was arguably their best player last season. But rookie receiver Sammy Watkins, perhaps the best player in the draft, is catching everything in sight in training camp, their starting QB, unproven and all but still an upgrade for them, is back from injury. And GM Doug Whaley has said his team is in win-now mode.
So where does that leave the Dolphins?
Hoping that the one position of obvious improvement can get company from other spots.