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Jay Ajayi has head start on Arian Foster.

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  • Jay Ajayi has head start on Arian Foster.

    The Miami Dolphins open training camp on July 29 at the Baptist Health Training Facility in Davie, Florida. Here's a starting lineup projection:

    Offense

    Quarterback (Ryan Tannehill): He's learning his third offense in four seasons under new head coach Adam Gase. Despite back-to-back 4,000-yard seasons, Tannehill must improve his pocket presence to take the next step.

    Running back (Jay Ajayi): It's going to be a close race between Ajayi, who has just 187 career rushing yards, and seven-year veteran Arian Foster. But Ajayi has a four-month head start during the spring, and Foster is coming off an Achilles injury.

    Receiver (Jarvis Landry): Landry is a star in the making who proved to be more than a slot receiver in 2015. It's going to be difficult to top his team-record 110 receptions.

    Receiver (DeVante Parker): The 2015 first-round pick might be the most physically gifted player on the Dolphins. A history of foot issues is the only concern with Parker.

    Receiver (Kenny Stills): Entering a contract year, Stills is out to prove last season's career low of 27 receptions with the Dolphins was a fluke.

    Tight end (Jordan Cameron): The former Pro Bowler failed to get on the same page consistently with Tannehill last season. There are more expectations from Cameron in their second year together.

    Left tackle (Branden Albert): At 31, Albert said he's in his best shape in years. Tannehill is often at his best when Albert is protecting his blindside.

    Right tackle (Ja'Wuan James): The former 2014 first-round pick is coming off a toe injury that forced him to miss nine games last season. James is a steady player when healthy.

    Left guard (Laremy Tunsil): Despite off-field concerns, the Dolphins were ecstatic to draft Tunsil at No. 13 overall in April. The former left tackle must play out of position as a rookie, but he should be a sizable upgrade at guard.


    Jermon Bushrod is familiar with Adam Gase's offense from the coach's time with the Bears. Matt Marton/USA TODAY Sports
    Right guard (Jermon Bushrod): This position is really wide open, with several contenders. But Bushrod has the most starting experience, and he knows Gase's offense well from their time together with the Chicago Bears.

    Center (Mike Pouncey): The three-time Pro Bowler continues to be a leader on offense and inside the locker room. Pouncey must stay healthy for the offensive line to reach its potential.

    Defense

    Defensive end (Mario Williams): The Dolphins expect a bounce-back year from Williams, who registered just five sacks for the Buffalo Bills in 2015.

    Defensive end (Cameron Wake): He's 34 and coming off an Achilles tendon injury. In order to stay fresh, Wake might get fewer snaps than in the past.

    Defensive tackle (Ndamukong Suh): Miami's best overall player must dominate more consistently in the middle of the defense. A change to the “wide 9” alignment should help play to Suh's strengths.

    Defensive tackle (Jordan Phillips): The 2015 second-round pick is in a close battle with veteran Earl Mitchell. Phillips has more upside, but he needs to work on consistency.

    Outside linebacker (Jelani Jenkins): The former fourth-round pick is in a contract year and must prove he's a long-term solution. Injuries derailed his 2015 season.

    Outside linebacker (Koa Misi): Misi gets a chance to return to his natural position after an inconsistent 2015 at middle linebacker. He has missed eight games over the past two seasons due to injury.


    Middle linebacker (Kiko Alonso): Miami acquired Alonso in an offseason trade to plug a big need in the middle. Alonso was shaky last year with the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Cornerback (Byron Maxwell): The Dolphins also acquired Maxwell in a trade to boost their secondary. His size and ability to press fits defensive coordinator Vance Joseph's scheme well.

    Cornerback (Xavien Howard): Miami's second-round pick showed plenty of athleticism and potential in spring practices. He should beat out challenger Tony Lippett in training camp.

    Safety (Reshad Jones): The Pro Bowler isn't happy with his contract, but that won't be an issue in training camp. Jones said he will not miss additional time after his one-day holdout at minicamp. He led Miami in tackles (135) and interceptions (five) in 2015.

    Safety (Isa Abdul-Quddus): The free-agent pickup remains a bit of a mystery; he is on his third team after starting just 16 games during his five-year career.

    Special teams

    Kicker (Andrew Franks): Miami's kicker only had 16 field goal attempts last season, including 13 makes, as a rookie. Franks still has plenty to prove.

    Punter (Matt Darr): The former undrafted punter was a nice find for Miami last season. He averaged 46.7 yards per punt and could improve that average in year two.

    Long snapper (John Denney): Miami's longest-tenured player is entering his 12th season with the Dolphins. He rarely has a bad snap, which is exactly why he has stayed employed for so long.
    While it takes two to have an argument, it only takes one to walk away.

  • #2
    Ajayi will get a chance to prove himself through the first half of the season. Gase would be wise to bring Foster along slowly letting him learn the system while gradually getting up to full speed. I'd sprinkle in Foster here and there early on with week 8 being my target to unleash him. We'd get a very talented RB closer to 100% healthy, fresh and ready for the...playoff drive? If Tannehill is the Ryan Tannehill we remember, we'll be 2-6 or 3-5 after eight games, at which point, Gase should emphasize the development of our rushing attack each and every game with his sights set on finding a new QB for 2017.

    Comment


    • cuchulainn
      cuchulainn commented
      Editing a comment
      I think you have faulty memory... ;-)

      Do agree on Foster and emphasizing the rushing attack. As long as the OL is improved, we won't be forcing the QB to pass from 3rd and long constantly and allowing defenses to tee off on a scrub LG and backup RT.

  • #3

    An improved OL is going to fix a lot of the issues with the offense and defense regardless of what we're doing. We'll have more balance and options other than asking the QB to pass constantly, which will make the passing game more efficient and less predictable.

    I disagree on Landry. IMO, he should get no where near 100 catches. 60 to 70 catches at most, with more perimeter catches going to Parker and Carroo. Also, hoping to see our TE's more involved in the RZ this season.

    I think is a situational pass rusher at this point. 1st and 3rd downs mostly. Keep him fresh and work that rotation.

    Most excited about Kiko in the middle and having Maxwell and Howard on the outside. IAQ is the forgotten man at safety, but I like that Joseph talked about using both Jones and IAQ interchangeably.

    Ready for some camp. Gonna be a long 7 days till the 29th... ;-)

    Comment


    • cuchulainn
      cuchulainn commented
      Editing a comment
      Caroo is bigger, stronger, and has better hands. He can get off press coverage and break tackles. I'd be surprised if he doesn't end up starting over Stills by at least game 3.

      That's not to say that I don't like Stills skillset, just that he's more limited and isn't physical. I see him as a 4th WR and deep option. I'm very high on our WR corp overall though.

    • Dolfan1
      Dolfan1 commented
      Editing a comment
      Good Points. I like Stills and I think last year was just an off year for him. He and RT didn't hook up but I'm hearing they are both working well together so far this year. It'd be great if we had 4 great wr's in the rotation.

    • cuchulainn
      cuchulainn commented
      Editing a comment
      Stills fought hammy problems last season and jumped for too many balls allowing him to get pushed out of bounds at times when he should have just caught the ball with his hands. Been good reports all the receivers working with Tannehill this off-season on their own.

      #nojuggsmachines

  • #4
    There are things Tannehill does well. But I'm not going to say a guy is going to be a great mechanic just because he has every imaginable tool in his garage, which Tannehill may have this year. I'm not saying Tannehill lacks ability. I'm talking about his easy going willingness to accept failure and his penchant for misfiring when he gets good looks in clutch situations, especially when a lot hasn't been going right. There's just so much room for improvement. I honestly don't know if he has the football IQ, killer instinct and positive thinking to tap that "potential".
    Some suggestive positive affirmations for him:
    1. I will beat the defense to the punch. If they attempt to outquick me, they will pay over the top.
    2. It's third down. I am getting this first down no matter what. I will not give up and accept defeat.
    3. I will use my athleticism to allow my receivers to maximize theirs. I will create the space and time to create a clear throwing lane, I will plant my feet, throw a strike and take the punch in the mouth.
    4. I can kill this defense with my legs. Turn your back to flood my zones and I will run it up your a$$ every time.
    5. Anticipate throws, soft catchable passes and trust my receivers to snatch up everything in the air.
    Tannehill makes or breaks this season for us. Period. We'll know quick. If he's on, Seattle takes a big opening day home L and we can be real excited for week 2.
    I remember saying I'm waiting for his proverbial nutsack to drop a few years back. Still plays with the mental toughness of a child.
    Tough teams run the ball. Let's at least be tough. That'a good starting point. And it definitely will help Ryan grow.

    Comment


    • #5
      Originally posted by kelbail2.2 View Post
      There are things Tannehill does well. But I'm not going to say a guy is going to be a great mechanic just because he has every imaginable tool in his garage, which Tannehill may have this year. I'm not saying Tannehill lacks ability. I'm talking about his easy going willingness to accept failure and his penchant for misfiring when he gets good looks in clutch situations, especially when a lot hasn't been going right. There's just so much room for improvement. I honestly don't know if he has the football IQ, killer instinct and positive thinking to tap that "potential".
      Some suggestive positive affirmations for him:
      1. I will beat the defense to the punch. If they attempt to outquick me, they will pay over the top.
      2. It's third down. I am getting this first down no matter what. I will not give up and accept defeat.
      3. I will use my athleticism to allow my receivers to maximize theirs. I will create the space and time to create a clear throwing lane, I will plant my feet, throw a strike and take the punch in the mouth.
      4. I can kill this defense with my legs. Turn your back to flood my zones and I will run it up your a$$ every time.
      5. Anticipate throws, soft catchable passes and trust my receivers to snatch up everything in the air.
      Tannehill makes or breaks this season for us. Period. We'll know quick. If he's on, Seattle takes a big opening day home L and we can be real excited for week 2.
      I remember saying I'm waiting for his proverbial nutsack to drop a few years back. Still plays with the mental toughness of a child.
      Tough teams run the ball. Let's at least be tough. That'a good starting point. And it definitely will help Ryan grow.
      That's a good analogy about a mechanic and tools. I largely agree as long as no one is dropping an care engine on a mechanic while he's working on the suspension or exhaust... ;-)

      One of the ''knocks'' on Tannehill coming out was that he was ''too coachable'' as in he'd do exactly what the coaches asked him too even when it went against his instincts. I think we've seen that very thing. Also didn't help that Philbin, Sherman, and Lazor all handicapped him with no real QB coach and complete shat at receiver and at OG and for depth. He's never going to be a Marino or Favre who says fk it and does his own thing regardless of how it was drawn up.

      I think this very well may be the year we can actually evaluate him in isolation. If Gase does nothing else for him, I hope he provokes him to play ''his game'' using his natural instincts and running ability as opposed to standing in there and taking body blows trying to make a play from a non-existent pocket.

      I disagree on the mental toughness. I think he's easily one of the toughest SOB's for a QB in the game. He handles the reporters and fans with class even when other QBs are having meltdowns with less controversy and he handles shitty teammates like Wallace better than they ever deserved.

      Let's hope this is his season to shine and put the negatives to bed. Agree on being tougher as a ''team'' overall. Philbin's teams were weak and it showed. Let's see what Gase has got.

      Comment


      • #6
        Bad coaching, bad play calling, bad blocking, Tannehill has quit on way too many plays. Throwing well short of the sticks on 3rd downs is quitting. Scrambling from the pocket and not re-setting your feet before throwing downfield is quitting. I can't remember Tannehill getting out of the pocket, resetting and waiting til the last second to deliver a strike to a receiver shaking loose and then taking a shot in the mouth. Obviously overthrowing receivers instead of lofting a pass and trusting your receiver to go up and get it is quitting. Forcing passes into coverage instead of running for a first down is quitting.
        Let me see him break off a drop and hit a receiver in stride flaring out of the backfield before the LB has a chance to get out and square up. Let me see him lay a nice soft pass while still dropping just over the LB to his TE so that he can make the catch in time to stiff arm the Safety and continue on downfield. Let me see him rise up in a tight game and be responsible for us winning a game when all is not going right. If all of his inconsistency derives from the adversity he's faced, then a solid running game and better blocking should erase all of what I see as fundamental physical and mental flaws in his game.
        A boxer with a great, muscular physique that stands in one place, throws weak jabs and gets his face pounded in is seen as tough by some, stupid by some and scared by the rest. I guess it's just your point of view. But unless he suddenly wakes up and starts exploiting his opponent after getting a good look at everything they've thrown at him, we will all say, "This guy is just not a very good fighter." God knows I want to see him do it. Every play. Every game. Against the very best. And most definitely against the not so good.

        Comment


        • cuchulainn
          cuchulainn commented
          Editing a comment
          Lazor's offense was a variation of the Chip Kelly offense in which the QB is supposed to reach his drop and put the ball into the hands of the receiver. It was receiver's responsibility to get the 1st down, not the QB. Lazor specifically stated that Tannehill had to deliver the ball to the receiver and trust both the design of the play and the receiver to do his job. He did what was coached to do - stay in the pocket and trust his coaches and receivers. He's not a sandlot QB ala Favre, but he'd much better than you give him credit for. Hopefully, he'll reach his full potential under Gase and Christensen in an offense designed to take advantage of what he is capable of.

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