The Dolphins made their way to the playoffs last season for the first time in eight years, a brilliant accomplishment after a 1-4 start and a 6-10 record the year before, and that feat automatically raises expectations for 2017.
“Next year nobody will care about all that,” coach Adam Gase said. “We’ll be 0-0 when we start that first week of the season and nobody will care what we did the year before.”
As Gase, Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier look toward a long-term progression, the team hasn’t been making massive offers to outside free agents this year. Their plan is to develop their own talent and keep costs fairly even across key areas, and that led to a quiet free agency. The team kept Andre Branch and Kenny Stills, and its main acquisition was linebacker Lawrence Timmons.
Is that enough to keep them in the playoffs? Yes. The other factor with Miami is health, which was brutal last year. If guys like Mike Pouncey, Reshad Jones and Ryan Tannehill come back strong from their injuries, those will essentially be roster additions as well. The Dolphins certainly would expect to be better than the Bills and Jets, though they’ve got a lot to prove when it comes to New England. Here’s where I see Miami in the AFC at this point:
That would put the Dolphins as the top wild card selection, earning them the No. 5 seed for the playoffs.
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