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"Hope" is a good thing...

In the classic movie The Shawshank Redemption, Tim Robbins' character says, "Hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things."  Every year, as we enter training camp, I'm often reminded of that line.  After all, last season officially means nothing anymore and in the NFL, things can change quickly.

As a Dolphin fan, all we can ask for to start each and every season is "hope."

Armando Salguero wrote a little blurb on his blog yesterday about what he's hopeful for this season.  But the thing is, he really isn't a Dolphin fan.  He doesn't have the passion for the Dolphins that die-hards like all of us have.  So reading his list really doesn't mean much.  In fact, reading his 5th reason makes me cringe.  He hopes the Dolphins don't suck, but are bad enough to have a top 3 pick.  I'm sorry, but it isn't until December when I start thinking about the draft.  Until then, it's all about the "W's."

So as we sit here on the day that the players are to report to practice and less than one day from the first official practice of training camp, I want to know what you are hopeful for.  I want to know why you are excited for this upcoming season.

To get us started, below are the 5 biggest reasons that I'm filled with hope as we enter this new era of Dolphins football.

1. Getting one step closer to identifying the QB of the future for the Miami Dolphins.  Both John Beck and Chad Henne could potentially be franchise QBs, something this team has lacked since #13 wore the aqua and orange.  And while this year may not tell us that we do indeed have a true franchise QB on the roster, it will certainly help us figure out who might not be the QB this team needs.  Either way, we're definitely getting closer to solving this puzzle.  And like many of you know, I just have a feeling that Beck will be the guy.  But if that's so, now is the time for him to prove it.  He doesn't need a great year, but he certainly can't afford a bad one.

2. The offensive line will be much improved.  The addition of Justin Smiley and drafting of Jake Long will provide a huge boost to this offensive line.  When you consider that Vernon Carey's move back to the right side will have even more of a positive impact and that Samson Satele will only improve on what was a surprisingly effective rookie season, there's a lot to be optimistic about in terms of this starting offensive line.  Just please, keep the starters healthy!

3. Ted Ginn's development.  I really enjoyed watching him improve last year from where he was in training camp to where he was in week 17.  The kid's got a ton of talent - and I'm not just talking about his speed.  He proved all the critics wrong and showed exceptional hands last year.  With improved route running and a better offensive system, Ginn has a chance to really open some eyes this year - leading to a breakout 2009 season (remember, it usually takes WRs 3 seasons to put everything together).

4. The defensive line will be far better than last season.  We all remember how this team got run on the entire 2007 season.  Well this new regime really made the defensive line a priority this offseason.  The selections of Phillip Merling (if he ever signs) and Kendall Langford will really help solidify a line that was already improved earlier in the offseason thanks to the acquisitions of Jason Ferguson and Randy Starks.

5. A new coaching staff with a new attitude.  I really can't wait to see how this team responds day in and say out to a new coaching staff - one which the players seemingly respect.  I think we're going to see all new highs in terms of work ethic and heart.  Many players - especially those on the defensive side of the ball - already have sung the praises of this new staff and their new attitude.  Now we get to see how this translates into on-field production.

So that's why I'm hopeful and extremely excited as we enter camp.

Oh, and just one side note: If either of the two 2nd rounders (Merling and Henne) hold out of camp and miss even one single practice, they're absolute turds in my book.  In no way should a 2nd round pick ever miss any of training camp due to contract issues.  It's ridiculous and it'll take time for me, once they are in camp, to warm up to them again.  Just my 2 cents.

Anyways, tell us why you, as a Dolphin fan, have hope for this upcoming season.  What are you excited to see?