*Updated comments listed below under "On Second Thought" category
Comment: The defense should be a beast, Ryan Tannehill will take a nice step forward and the AFC East has two teams in quarterback transition. But this season needs a lot of players with unproven records to come through to pick it any higher than nine wins.
ON SECOND THOUGHT: The defense ranked No. 8 in the league in points against, Tannehill took a step forward, but going 1-3 against Buffalo and the Jets doomed the season. And the Dolphins inexplicably have more holes to fill than last off-season - offensive line, running back and contractual decisions at cornerback and linebacker.
Comment: Questions at running back, offensive line and now tight end have me concerned about the team being able to generate the offense needed to win in this league. The defense will be among the best, but team faces tough task of playing first three of four games on the road.
ON SECOND THOUGHT: The offensive issues remained throughtout the season from the running backs and offensive line. The Dolphins discovered Charles Clay, who became a viable tight end option. However, the defense did not stand up when it was needed in key situations. The revamped linebacker crew will need another makeover this offseason.
Comment: The Dolphins have undergone a massive roster makeover, which should improve the franchise long term. However, there’s no guarantee it will drastically add to the team’s win total. This season will come down to two things: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s development, and the team’s turnover ratio, which needs to be on the positive side.
ON SECOND THOUGHT: Tannehill developed a little in his second season, but the Dolphins ended up negative-2 in the give-away, take-away department. However, the franchise's biggest issue in 2013 was that Joe Philbin’s team couldn't run the ball consistently, and couldn't stop the run regularly. The Dolphins strayed from the Bill Parcells blueprint for this franchise, and becoming a finesse team cost them games.
Online Sports Editor
Comment: Despite an overhauled roster, running back remains a concern with Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas. The young and unproven tandem will try to make up for the departure of Reggie Bush. Offensive line and tight end also are a concern, but the defense should dominate.
ON SECOND THOUGHT: Who knows how much of a difference Bush would have made with this offensive line, but one thing is for sure -- the Dolphins must upgrade both the OT and OG spots as well as RB. The defense didn't dominate, and wasn't as stout as advertised. The loss of Dustin Keller didn't prove too costly as Charley Clay emerged as one of NFL's most productive tight ends. Also, coaching turned out to be a major factor as the Dolphins just didn't show up in the final two games when it mattered most.
Comment: The loss of Dustin Keller will have huge ramifications. It's potentially the team's most costly injury since QB Chad Pennington. Unfortunately for Dolphins fans the story of the season is the same as last year - the defense is ready, the offense isn't.
ON SECOND THOUGHT: The offense failed this team, especially in the final two games. The OL was shaky since training camp. Losing WR Brandon Gibson (knee) hurt badly, but every NFL team suffered key injuries in 2013. The RB position was lacking. QB play was decent, not great. The defense was decent, not great. Simply put, the Dolphins need more talent.
Comment: The Dustin Keller injury is a major setback, and third overall pick Dion Jordan's shoulder makes one wonder what his effectiveness will be. That said, this defense looks like a potential top 5 unit. The uncertainty at guard and tackle is a major offensive concern, but the skill positions should all show improvement from 2012. Another positive: The AFC East may be the worst division in the NFL.
ON SECOND THOUGHT: Hard to believe the Dolphins will ever have a more disastrous three-win December than this.