*** This post comes with a disclaimer that we as fans did not see or hear much, of the OTA's and mini camp outside of limited media coverage. However, we can still assess many aspects as we head into training camp.
* How great is it that we have had an offseason without the QB position being a question mark or an overbearing weakness. Think just a year ago we were debating on starting David Garrard vs. Matt Moore with Ryan Tannehill holding a clipboard. There is no doubt that the season's success is dependent largely on RT's progression. However, it is great to see the confidence in the kid going into the season and in the near future.
* The same can be said for the receiver position...take a second and think of the depth chart last year at this time vs. now...
* It is great to see the confidence the organization has in Lamar Miller. It is good to see that Miller has confidence in himself as well. I have been the biggest supporter of Miller since last year's draft process. I love the kid and I am excited to see what he does this year. He has an "it" factor to him. Also, I am interested in seeing what Mike Gillislee does this summer. There is something about him that makes me think he will be a steal.
* Brian Hartline having an injury-free OTA and mini camp.
* Tyson Clabo is a rock-solid pick up. Love it.
* The front 7 is rugged and improved its athleticism. The depth is excellent as well. More turnovers have to be created for the Fins to go to the next level. You do that by creating higher impact collision plays in which the ball might come free and by disrupting the timing of pass plays with pass rush and jumping receivers' routes.
* Brent Grimes was a heck of pick up. His athletic ability paired with his confidence can allow the secondary go to the next level. Plus, a CB's transition to a new team can be quicker than other positions. I think he is motivated to have a big year and wants to get paid. Good luck to him.
* Caleb Sturgis really hit a 58 yard field goal in practice? Wow. I am in the minority that I like Dan Carpenter, but it is obvious that Sturgis will have puke in his mouth not to get the job.
* I like this team's depth. I love the Marv Levy quote, "depth is great until you have to use it." That is so true, but this team is as deep as it has been in years.
* Jesse Agler is an awesome voice for the franchise. I very much enjoyed Finsiders this offseason. Great listen. Also, see below on what I think of the radio booth decision.
* Perhaps most important, the team did not lose any player to a significant injury during OTA's and mini camp.
* It is too bad that Dion Jordan (school and an injury), Jamar Taylor (injury) and Dallas Thomas (injury) were so limited this offseason. I suppose they can catch up, but it might be a major setback to being able to help the team early on.
* For those that actually thought that Will Yeatman was a possible answer at starting LT, shame on your player personnel skills. I love projects...especially up front on the lines. However, Will Yeatman has no business as being an initial answer as a starter on this team....hence him practicing more and more at guard.
* It was a terrible decision to bring back Jimmy Cefalo as the play-by-play guy this year. He is a great Dolphin name, but he is a bad announcer. He needs to be eased out. I was even shocked that the Super Bowl committee used him as their spokesperson. I know it had no bearing for getting a Super Bowl to South Florida, but Cefalo? Jesse Agler's talent is being wasted and he will end up in another market if the team is not careful...and that would be very unfortunate. I have no issue with Bob Griese, but he is "losing his fastball" to be fair. Joe Rose is great....and while we are at it....God bless Jim Mandich...the best announcer we have ever had...
* The Dolphins Pro Shop has done an awful, awful job unveiling gear for the fans to buy. Just awful. I have gone to lids.com, footballfanatics.com and fansedge.com to get my gear. I have been willing to buy the new logo stuff, which I have, but I am tried of the team continuing to pump the old logo merchandise. Nobody wants it!
* While on this idea of the old and new logo, where was the business end of the franchise having new gear for the coaches and players to wear for mini camp? For example, how can a loser like me have the new workout shorts and the team is still using the same old, orange shorts with the new helmets? Joe is walking around with a new logo lid and still has last year's trash bag jacket. The new gear should be on the players and coaches so it is being advertised to the fans. It just looks disorganized and sloppy. That is on the business and marketing side of the organization.
* The Pac 12 quarter system (which prevented Dion Jordan from being around the team) is completely stupid.
* I am a nerd fan. I do not miss preseason games on the radio and on tape delay via NFLN. I stay with EVERY snap...pregame and postgame as well. The last few years, I admit, the end of the preseason games were brutal. This year, though, I think Miami will be interesting from the opening snap. Obiviously, we will want to see the new faces, but at the end of the games it will be fun to see the depth on this team. As stupid as it sounds, Miami will have a good team in the preseason.
* We must be patient with this draft class. A few of the picks are nicked up and we might not see an immediate impact. In fact, put pressure on players in year two and three as opposed to the rookies. Paging Jonathan Martin. Paging Jared Odrick. Paging (my guy) Olivier Vernon. It is there time to shine.
* The team's 11 Personnel....3 WR's, TE and RB will be their best formation this year. I am interested in Vonta Leach...I think he can help, but I think the O spreading it out is their best formation for success.
* Before we get excited about players like Brian Tyms, Michael Egnew and Armon Binns, lets see what happens when contact starts. What do they do when they are jammed? What do they do the rocked after the catch? I am waiting to be wowed by the young receivers after the pads are on.
* I think Dion Sims and Kyle Miller will go by Egnew and Charles Clay this summer. Egnew might get another reprieve after cutdown day in late August. I think Clay is in trouble. I have seen Clay make plays and think he has value. However, he just is not progressing.
* Obviously, Tannehill's play will be a major determining factor of the team's success. However, just as vital is the ability of the defense to take the ball away. The inability for the D last year to get picks and fumbles was laughable. It MUST improve this year. The turnover differential is the key for this team to take the next step.
* Along with the TO differential, Miami must get more explosive plays. If the big plays can occur with some consistency, Miami could be really tough to deal with. Its been years since Miami has had big play material. Yes, explosiveness will come most from the QB connecting with the receivers. However, other parts of the team can contribute to explosiveness. Getting carries for Lamar Miller, the returns of Marcus Thigpen and the defense taking a turnover the other way are also big play elements for the team. Miami must get more explosive to win.
* I am concerned about how all the new parts will fit in. I am on record for supporting the moves this offseason. I loved it. If they do not work out in the end, I will take the bullets with Jeff Ireland and Joe Philbin. How quick can things come together? How well does the team do with a tough early schedule? The extended camp will help, though a longer camp can expose players to injury. However, based on the new faces this offseason, the extended training camp and extra preseason game is a must. If any coach and staff can get all these new players to play as one EARLY in the season it is Joe Philbin and his crew. I think they find a way to make it work earlier than people think and they "survive" the early part of the schedule making the Dolphins relevant the last half of the year.
* I am demanding MORE progress this year. I want the team to win more than it loses. I think posters that are saying "playoffs or bust" are setting a bar very high. I understand the passion of getting to January....I feel it too. However, there is a strong foundation being built in Miami. There is an outstanding nucleus that can branch outward in the coming years. Let's keep pressing forward and not trash it if the Fins miss the playoffs. If it goes ugly this year, than I suppose everything can be on the table. However, I like what is happening in terms of the personnel and coaching staff. Let's continue forward and look for additional progress compared to last year.
**** Cannot wait for training camp....see you July 20th!