MIAMI DOLPHINS (6-10)
OPEN CAMP: July 26, Davie, Florida
LAST YEAR: Dolphins regressed in second season under Adam Gase. As rookie coach he led them to 10 wins and playoff berth, but in 2017 Dolphins never recovered from quarterback Ryan Tannehill‘s season-ending knee injury in training camp, and deteriorated into wildly inconsistent, undisciplined team. They led to start fourth quarter in only two games and were outscored by 112 points, fourth worst in NFL. Owner Stephen Ross decided to keep organization’s core leadership intact, but Gase and executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum may need turnaround to keep jobs beyond this year.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: S Minkah Fitzpatrick, G Josh Sitton, DE Robert Quinn, WR Danny Amendola, WR Albert Wilson, C Daniel Kilgore, TE Mike Gesicki, RB Frank Gore, RB Kalen Ballage, QB Brock Osweiler.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: DT Ndamukong Suh, WR Jarvis Landry, C Mike Pouncey, G Jermon Bushrod, K Cody Parkey, QB Jay Cutler, QB Matt Moore, TE Julius Thomas, LB Lawrence Timmons.
CAMP NEEDS: Dolphins will count on two players with no NFL experience to assume significant roles. Linebacker Raekwon McMillan, their most promising rookie in 2017, is back after knee injury in first exhibition game ended his season. Fitzpatrick is expected to make immediate impact after being taken with 11th overall pick in April. Most of all, Gase needs to keep Tannehill healthy as quarterback comes back from two serious injuries to left knee since December 2016.
EXPECTATIONS: Tannehill became starter as rookie in 2012 and has still never taken postseason snap, and there’s plenty of reason to doubt that will change this year. While he returns, Dolphins bid adieu to three players with Pro Bowl resumes in Suh, Landry and Pouncey. There were financial reasons, and Gase also wanted change in culture. He believes addition of such veterans as Gore, Amendola and Quinn represents upgrade, but oddsmakers disagree. They project Dolphins to again be six-win team.