Over on SBNation.com, Ryan Van Bibber recently took a look at some of the typical offseason soundbites you will hear from NFL teams, and how most of those soundbites do not really say anything. Each of these quotes will fit in someway with every NFL team, despite all the differences between the franchises, players, fans, and cities. You could simply cut and paste the headline, replace a player's name, and you would have the same story . And, across the media, these stories will be used for each team in the league.
Since we are smack in the middle of the only dead-time the NFL has all year, it's time to take a look at some of the generic storylines that could fit for the Miami Dolphins.
"He's got a chance to start": Olivier Vernon will probably fit this storyline the best. The Dolphins selected the University of Miami defensive end with the first of the team's two third round picks, and will be looking for him to fill the pass-rushing role opposite Cameron Wake. The competition here is with Jared Odrick, who showed last year he can be a threat to opposing quarterbacks, but is not the dynamic pass rusher the team needs. Vernon has a chance to start, but it will be based on which one of the two, Vernon or Odrick, really does disrupt the pocket the best.
"He was the player we wanted all along": There are multiple ways to go, here. The Dolphins could use it for B.J. Cunningham, the first wide receiver the team selected in the draft, waiting until the sixth round despite the glaring need to address the position. We've already heard a version of this storyline, as owner Stephen Ross told the media at FinsWeekend that the team had fourth round pick, running back Lamar Miller, as a first round grade, and were happy to get him so late. But, I think this storyline really belongs to Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins selected the Texas A&M quarterback with the eighth overall pick, after failing to land Peyton Manning (the one free agent you can say for sure the team tried to sign), as well as not signing Matt Flynn or Alex Smith in free agency. At some point, this story will be a headline - and it may actually be true.
"He looked great out there": The easy answer here is to continue the "player we wanted" topic here, saying you could pick any of the three QBs (I haven't forgotten about Pat Devlin, but seriously, he's not in contention here), and say they looked great out there. "Matt Moore looked great out there." "David Garrard looked great out there." "Ryan Tannehill looked great out there." See. It works. But, I think you will probably hear this about the wide receivers, specifically Brian Hartline, or running back Daniel Thomas the most. The team has to sell the fan base that the wide outs will be effective this year, and Hartline is the top guy on the depth chart. As for Thomas, the team spent a second round pick on Thomas last year, only to have the former Kansas State rusher injured most of the year. The team will be looking for a rebound from Thomas, especially with fourth round pick Miller looking over his shoulder. (Honorable mention to tight end Les Brown, who is trying to convert from basketball to football after signing this season with the Dolphins.)
"He bulked up over the offseason": Sean Smith has reportedly added to his already impressive size at the cornerback position. Smith is coming into a make-or-break year for the 2009 second round draft pick, and everything he does will probably come under scrutiny, like the fact that he shaved off his customary dreadlocks this offseason. This will be a story at some point this offseason.
"He's really making the most of a second chance": Again, the quarterback could fill this role - Moore getting his second chance to start with the Dolphins, Garrard getting a chance to get back into the league after sitting out 2011 with a back injury. You could also turn toward the wide receivers, with Legedu Naanee. But, most likely, you will hear about Gary Guyton in this role. The four-year veteran left the New England Patriots to come down south to Miami this offseason, and will be looking to fight for a starters role. As an undrafted free agent in 2008, Guyton has climbed all the way up to fighting for a starting role.
What else? What other generic, doesn't really mean anything, stories can you think of? What stories can you come up with that apply to every team in the league, despite all the differences between franchises? Let us know below.