The Miami Dolphins have a lot to work on coming into the 2016 NFL season. Last season, Miami finished last in their division, statistically didn’t fare much better, and the fans saw yet another dreaded rebuild fail at the end of the season. However, while last season was a mess, Dolphins fans should be looking up. There’s enough young talent on their roster to build a solid foundation and a winning team. If their team doesn’t perform up to expectations, who has the most on the line?
Check out five players with the most to lose as the Dolphins begin training camp this week.
Cameron Wake has had a career in Miami that would have you never question Miami bringing him back. However Father Time waits for no man. Wake turned 34 last season just after a season ending injury. Even though Miami signed him to a contract extension, if he isn’t as explosive on game day he might see decreased playing time. While Wake has never been the type to give up, Miami spent some time on offseason acquiring depth in case of emergency. Good news for fans, though. Cameron Wake has big shoes to fill and not many on the roster can fill them. If he’s healthy, he’s still trouble. Miami doesn’t have long to get him a ring.
Arian Foster has had a career that has been both exciting and painful to watch. Foster has been one of the more explosive backs in the game. If not for injuries he may have never left Houston. Choosing to go with a younger running back, Houston signed Miami cast away Lamar Miller and Foster was out of a job. Not too many teams kept him on their radar except Miami until he signed with them. Turning 30 next month isn’t doing Foster much favors, but the back says he’s got some juice left in the tank. Miami signed him for next to nothing compared to his once pro bowl form and if he can stay healthy in that Florida sun it could be the steal of the offseason. If not, this very well could be his last contract.
While he’s still young, Kenny Stills career is far from over. His skill set helped him shine while running routes for Drew Brees. If he doesn’t bounce back in Miami he’s sure to get a chance elsewhere because of it. On the other hand, if he doesn’t excel this season it’ll be hard for him to see a big pay day. Having one of the best quarterbacks in the league rifling the ball your way can make anyone look like a star. Stills must return back to his New Orleans days to keep his career on path. Miami proved this offseason, via the draft, adding depth at receiver is always a possibility. Receivers are a dime a dozen but standout receivers are hard to come by. With his potential replacement on the current roster, Stills better show up on game day or he’ll quickly be shown the door.
At over 300 pounds, it’s not hard to believe Branden Albert would eventually be prone to injuries. Teams look to get better, stronger and faster every year. To do so it often comes with replacing the older, often injured, cap heavy players. With the NFL draft this offseason the Miami Dolphins may have done just that drafting Laremy Tunsil. Tunis has tremendous upside and Miami got him cheaper than expected. With Miami constantly trying to upgrade the offensive line Albert needs to have a career year in order stick around. As soon as the season finishes, his cap hit dramatically decreases. If Tunsil has any success, the Dolphins could look towards next years draft to secure another lineman, and Albert’s days in Miami could be numbered.
Football fans have to wonder, if there was a better quarterback who was actually available, would he still be suiting up come game day for the Dolphins. Miami seems to be in a hold pattern with Tannehill and could be scared to cut their losses. While he has improved statistically in each season under center, he has lacked the game day guts to turn stats into wins. If he can’t win football games his stats won’t matter to fans. If Tannehill ever wants fans to forget previous seasons he will need at least one playoff win under his belt. Just showing up won’t get the job done. He needs a win. Getting to the Super Bowl would be great, but if he can’t show his guts come the playoffs Miami should move on. Potential doesn’t win football games.
The Dolphins as a team have a lot to lose this season. Fans have grown tired of excuses. The media has all but forgotten them. The excitement left when the Wildcat stopped working. Now could be their only chance to get back to relevancy. Tom Brady is out for the first four games. Buffalo hired yet another Ryan. The Jets decided to roll the dice and not pay a 10-5 quarterback. Then there’s Miami. All the talent in the world, none of the drive to use it. Adam Gase might be the coach to do it, but as always fans, don’t get your hopes up too early.