By Tyler McMullen @Direct_Snap on July 15, 2014
The Miami Dolphins will welcome players to their facility on July 21, 2014, but will not begin practices until July 25. The Dolphins just missed out on a playoff berth last season and ended the year on a low-note, scoring just one touchdown in two games against division rivals. In 2014, Miami will look to redeem itself while the team is entering a make-or-break season.
The Miami Dolphins will expect players to be in attendance on July 21, but the team will not hold its first practice until July 25. The team will practice July 25, 26, 29 and 30 and then will take on the hot summer heat of August practicing on Aug. 1, 2, 4, 6, 10, 11, 12 and will wrap up their training camp season on Aug. 14. Miami's preseason games kick off on the Aug. 8 and conclude Aug. 28.
Ryan Tannehill is Miami's franchise quarterback and, until otherwise noted, he will be Miami's signal caller in Week 1. Matt Moore is one of the NFL's more capable backup quarterbacks and provides a nice insurance policy in case Tannehill were to go down with an apparent injury for a significant amount of time. UDFA Brock Jensen and third-year QB Pat Devlin will battle for the No. 3 QB position this year behind Moore.
Third-year RB Lamar Miller is the odds-on favorite for the No. 1 running back duties this season. Miami brought veteran RB Knowshon Moreno in to compete with Miller for those duties, but Moreno's progress has been slowed due to arthroscopic knee surgery. Moreno and veteran Daniel Thomas will compete for the No. 2 back duties, while Marcus Thigpen, Mike Gillislee and UDFA Damien Williams will compete for playing time.
Miami will go with Wallace and Hartline as the starting duo out wide, but the backup jobs are quite a battle between Rishard Matthews, Brandon Gibson, Damian Williams, Armon Binn and second-round pick Jarvis Landry. Matthews, Gibson and Landry will all vie for the slot receiver role.
Charles Clay is the team's top TE target, but who steps up behind Clay is anyone's guess. Rookie Arthur Lynch will compete with Mike Egnew and Dion Sims for time.
After allowing a league-high 58 sacks last season, Miami addressed the offensive line heavily this offseason by bringing in big-name free agent LT Branden Albert, G Shelley Smith, T/G Jason Fox and drafted two studs in RT Ja'Wuan James and G Billy Turner. Albert, Smith and James will join Pouncey and G Dallas Thomas as the team's starting offensive line once Pouncey recovers from hip surgery in mid-October.
Perhaps the strongest unit on Miami's squad, the defensive line features Pro Bowl caliber players such as DEs Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon and DTs Earl Mitchell, Randy Starks and Jared Odrick. DE Derrick Shelby will compete for a bigger role this season, while DE Dion Jordan also fills his role as a pass rush specialist once he returns from suspension. Look for UDFA DT Anthony Johnson to be Miami's No. 4 DT.
After struggling in 2013, Dannell Ellerbe and Koa Misi will swap positions in 2014 in an effort to boost Miami's linebacker play. OLB Philip Wheeler will compete with second-year OLB Jelani Jenkins for the WLB position, which could get quite interesting. Keep an eye on rookie LB Jordan Tripp, who could carve out a role at some point this season on passing downs. Jason Trusnik and Jonathan Freeney round out the depth in this unit.
Brent Grimes will be Miami's No. 1 corner, but the No. 2 job is up for grabs between Cortland Finnegan, Jamar Taylor, Will Davis, Jimmy Wilson and Walt Aikens. Look for Finnegan, Taylor and Davis to compete heavily for that job.
Reshad Jones returns to show his 2012 season was no fluke, but his running-mate Chris Clemons is gone and will be replaced by Louis Delmas, a hard-hitting safety who could present an upgrade over Clemons.
PK Caleb Sturgis returns for his sophomore season and will look to improve upon a somewhat disappointing rookie year. P Brandon Fields returns to his throne as one of the NFL's best punters as well. Miami could have one of the league's better special teams units if Sturgis can improve upon his rookie campaign. He certainly has the leg to hit from anywhere but struggled mightily with his accuracy in 2013.
Miami's biggest and most intriguing battle has to be the three-way battle that will commence for the slot receiver role this season. Second-round pick Jarvis Landry has been impressive thus far in just a few short weeks working with the team, but veterans Rishard Matthews and Brandon Gibson played well last season as the team's slot receiver. It could get quite interesting, but Landry has something about him that will win him this job.
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