NFL Miami Dolphins

5 Questions the Miami Dolphins Must Answer During Training Camp

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5 Questions the Miami Dolphins Must Answer During Training Camp

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes a team’s record does not tell the entire story. When rosters fail to fulfill expectations disappointment follows from their fan base. In other cases, though, patience should be practiced as potential is present. This is true for the Miami Dolphins when reviewing their 2012 campaign.

A 7-9 finish last season left Miami missing the NFL Playoffs for the fourth consecutive time, but there should be optimism going forward. The quarterback position has not really seen great success since Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino retired after the 1999 season. It appears that they might have finally solved this issue with a young signal caller. Big splashes are now common for their sports market where stars like LeBron James rule South Beach. Trying to follow such a pattern has caused owner Stephen Ross to make high price additions as the team added several key free agent pieces in the offseason.

One big move was made when the Dolphins seemingly addressed their need for an electrifying receiver. With an offense that ranked 27th overall last season, Miami struggled to consistently move the ball and put pressure on their defense. Changes at running back could either improve matters or cause even more issues.

This coming season will be the second for head coach Joe Philbin . As a former offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers, Philbin helped lead quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay with a prolific passing attack. Hopefully such explosiveness will transition to his new team. Of course they must also hurdle a certain team to recapture the AFC East for the first time since 2008. Here are five questions the Dolphins must answer during training camp.

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Can Dannelle Ellerbe Repeat Last Year’s Success?

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Entering 2012 linebacker Dannelle Ellerbe was a virtual unknown for the Baltimore Ravens. Last year he showed to be solid in pass rush and run support. Ellerbe’s career-high 92 total tackles and 4.5 sacks enticed Miami into giving him a contract for five years, $35 million. While these statistics are impressive he previously never had more than 41 stops in a single season. Now there is also no Ray Lewis to take up double teams and create fewer blockers.

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Will Lamar Miller Step up?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Reggie Bush never quite lived up to expectations with the New Orleans Saints, but he proved capable of being productive in Miami. In his first season in 2011, Bush had 1,086 yards where he had never run for more than 581 yards before. Now second year player Lamar Miller must take over that burden, which could be tough as he only accumulated 250 yards and one touchdown in 13 games. Miller does show physical abilities that inspire hope.

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Is Mike Wallace Worth the Money?

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

This question obviously takes more time to answer, but an idea should be provided as to how Mike Wallace fits with his new team. Sometimes players receive massive deals and fade away. Wallace faces pressure to prove he is different. Blazing speed presents an exciting capability to make plays down field. Despite registering 26 touchdowns in three seasons, this receiver has never had more than 72 catches in one year. Signing a five-year, $60 million contract places demand to be elite.

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Could Ryan Tanehill Continue to Progress?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Tannehill has all traits that one looks for in an elite quarterback. His height of 6’4’’ makes it easy to see over offensive linemen and make every throw. Tannehill also possesses tremendous arm strength which works well in Miami’s offense. Even though he only had 12 touchdowns with 13 interceptions last year there is a great potential given these factors. Second-year slumps are common at this position, but I feel this signal caller will avoid these struggles.

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Has Dion Jordan Added Enough Weight?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Getting pressure on quarterbacks is vital. Playing sound defense becomes even more important when in the same division as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan was viewed as undersized while at Oregon. The 6'7'' Jordan has put on about 20 pounds from his original weight of 240, but he remains better suited to play outside linebacker at this level. He possibly could serve as an end similar to Jason Taylor, and after Miami traded up to the third spot in 2013's Draft to select Jordan there is extra pressure to thrive.