DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins walked into the team’s practice facility on Wednesday for the first day of 2017 training camp.
They still won’t be taking the field for the first time until Thursday, but knowing the team is back in the building and that football season has finally arrived is enough to give most fans a big smile.
The Dolphins enter training camp in a unique position.
Winning seasons have been few and far between over the past couple decades, so coming off a 10-win campaign and a playoff appearance is uncharted territory for many of Miami’s players and coaches.
Combine that with the Dolphins coming into camp with more talent on the roster than they had last season and it’s easy to see why many people expect another playoff appearance out of Gase’s crew.
Here are some of the top questions surrounding the Dolphins heading into training camp.
How is the health of Ryan Tannehill’s knee?
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was having the best season of his career when it was suddenly cut short last December. Tannehill sprained the ACL and MCL in his left knee but fortunately did not need surgery. He was able to participate in all aspects of the Dolphins offseason program and appears to have no lingering issues from the injury, but a close eye will be kept on the sixth year QB.
What’s the deal with Mike Pouncey’s health?
Pouncey’s career appeared to be in jeopardy last season when his hip problems flared up again. All indications from Miami’s coaching staff have led us to believe that Pouncey will try to play all 16 games this season, and on Tuesday night the former first round pick posted a pretty positive message on his social media.
Pouncey being cleared by his doctor means that he could be on the practice field with his teammates at any time during camp, but Gase will likely keep his reps limited. Miami’s offensive line will look a bit different than last year as the left side will have two different starters (Laremy Tunsil moved from left guard to left tackle and there is an open competition for Tunsil’s old spot at left guard).
Will the Dolphins linebacker unit be better than last season?
Linebacker was not a position of strength for Miami last year. The two big additions at the spot came through free agency (Lawrence Timmons) and the NFL Draft (Raekwon McMillian, 2nd round).
Depth at linebacker was already a question which makes the loss of Koa Misi, who was placed on season-ending IR on Tuesday, sting that much more.
Beyond Timmons, McMillian and Kiko Alonso, Miami’s best two linebackers are Neville Hewitt and Mike Hull.
The team will want at least one or two other linebackers to step up during training camp.
- OTHER NOTABLE QUESTIONS
Who will win the starting left guard spot?
In contention are Ted Larsen, Kraig Urbik and rookie Isaac Asiata.
How will the cornerback position shake out?
The early favorites to start on the boundary are Byron Maxwell and Xavien Howard but Tony Lippett is very much in the conversation. As for the slot, Bobby McCain and newly signed Alterraun Verner will likely battle it out. Rookie Condrea Tankersley is a wild card.
Will the pass rush be as advertised?
When you have Ndamukong Suh in the middle, Cameron Wake on one side and another tenacious pass rusher (rookie Charles Harris, perhaps) on the other side, it begs the questions of how teams will stop someone on Miami’s defense reaching the quarterback before he has a chance to think.