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 »This Week in History
Miami Dolphins
INSIDE SLANT

  Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel | Player Wire

  The Miami Dolphins can head into training camp with a full head of steam, knowing they did practically everything they could to improve the team during the offseason.

Things seemed to go well, whether it was hiring executive Mike Tannenbaum, signing free-agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, giving contract extensions to quarterback Ryan Tannehill and center Mike Pouncey, trading wide receiver Mike Wallace, or drafting wide receiver DeVante Parker in the first round.

Of course, there are a couple of health concerns. Branden Albert, the Pro Bowl left tackle who is crucial for offensive line success, is still recovering from two torn ligaments in his right knee. The Dolphins said he should be ready for the Sept. 13 opener at Washington, but they haven't said when Albert would return to the practice field.

It's a similar situation for Parker, who had a screw replaced in his left foot during OTAs (Organized Team Activities). Miami says Parker should be ready for the opener, but they haven't said when he'd return to the practice field.

Even with another key player on the shelf kicker Caleb Sturgis (thigh), who was injured during a team-sponsored kickball game, should be ready for training camp it's been a productive offseason for Miami.

Head coach Joe Philbin requested defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle simplify the defense (the Dolphins allowed 922 rushing yards in the final six games and went 2-4 in those contests) and Philbin thinks it's going well.

"I like our pursuit on defense," he said. "I think with the way we've been running to the football. I think that in my mind if we now combine that with tackling that should eliminate some or limit some explosive plays."

Philbin, whose team still has two major offensive questions at right guard and left guard, seems pleased with the offense's work.

Tannehill had a good offseason throwing the ball. He seemed to reduce mental mistakes and was throwing the ball accurately. But that wasn't the impressive part for Philbin. The Dolphins worked hard on red-zone offense, two-minute offense and third-down offense, and Philbin thinks he saw improvement.

"As a whole I think we feel better about our plan, our scheme, our utilization of people and our execution with where we are in the season."

Miami, which finished 8-8 last season, is 23-25 in the three-year reign of Philbin and Tannehill.

It's a 50-50 proposition whether the Dolphins will earn their first playoff berth since 2008. Along with questions at both guard spots, right cornerback and the linebackers are still being eyed with suspicion. Sturgis, who was 28th in field-goal accuracy last season (78.4 percent), is also going to be watched closely.

And it's a bit of a disappointment that Parker couldn't complete the offseason workouts.

But with the addition of Suh, and a few other key moves, Miami thinks it's ready to hit the ground running heading into training camp in late July.


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