The 2013 Miami Dolphins look a lot different than the team that started the 2012 season. General Manager Jeff Ireland and Head Coach Joe Philbin clearly planned to get younger and faster this offseason, and that's what they have done. Here's a look at the 2012 starting roster versus the 2013 projected starters.
|Ryan Tannehill||Quarterback||Ryan Tannehill|
|Reggie Bush||Half Back||Lamar Miller|
|Jorvorskie Lane||Fullback||Jorvorskie Lane|
|Brian Hartline||Wide Receiver||Brian Hartline|
|Davone Bess||Wide Receiver||Mike Wallace|
|Anthony Fasano||Tight end||Dustin Keller|
|Jake Long||Left tackle||Jonathan Martin|
|Richie Incognito||Left Guard||Richie Incognito|
|Mike Pouncey||Center||Mike Pouncey|
|John Jerry||Right Guard||John Jerry|
|Jonathan Martin||Right Tackle||Tyson Clabo|
The offense will see changes at three of the four skill positions, with Miller, Wallace, and Keller taking over this season, leaving Hartline as the only returning starter among the receivers/tight ends and running backs (note - Hartline is listed ahead of Wallace on this only because I didn't want it to look like Hartline starting in place of Bess was another changed starter).
On the offensive line, Martin moves from left tackle to right tackle, with Clabo being the new starter among the five. Jerry could be out of the starting lineup if Lance Louis shows he is healthy, meaning another change in starters from last year. Rookie offensive lineman Dallas Thomas could be a dark horse starter this year, and could take over the left guard position, moving Incognito to right guard.
|Cameron Wake||Defensive end||Cameron Wake|
|Jared Odrick||Defensive end||Jared Odrick|
|Paul Soliai||Defensive tackle||Paul Soliai|
|Randy Starks||Defensive tackle||Randy Starks|
|Koa Misi||Linebacker||Koa Misi|
|Karlos Dansby||Linebacker||Dannell Ellerbe|
|Kevin Burnett||Linebacker||Philip Wheeler|
|Sean Smith||Cornerback||Brent Grimes|
|Richard Marshall||Cornerback||Jamar Taylor|
|Reshad Jones||Safety||Reshad Jones|
|Chris Clemons||Safety||Chris Clemons|
The defensive line returns intact this year, although Odrick could see his playing time slip as the team looks to involve Olivier Vernon and rookie first round pick Dion Jordan in the scheme as well. The front seven did not come out untouched, however, as the linebacker corps looks much different than it did last year. Misi returns, however Dansby and Burnett are both gone, with Ellerbe and Wheeler in their slots.
The secondary also sees massive change, as both starting cornerbacks are likely to change. Smith is now in Kansas City, and Marshall has to prove he is healthy in training camp if he wants a chance to beat out free agent signing Grimes and second round pick Taylor. The safeties remain the same with the re-signing of Clemons to a one year deal this offseason.
|Brandon Fields||Punter||Brandon Fields|
|Dan Carpenter||Kicker||Caleb Sturgis|
|John Denney||Long Snapper||John Denney|
Carpenter and rookie fifth round pick Sturgis are going to have a camp battle to decide who serves as Miami's kicker this year. Carpenter came to Miami as an undrafted free agent in 2008, beating out incumbent kicker Jay Feely in training camp. Now, it looks like the same thing could be happening to him. DC$ is going to have to be money in camp if he wants to beat out a kicker the team used a draft pick to select, a kicker who is already kicking multiple 50 yard field goals in rookie minicamp, and a kicker who comes into the league with the reputation as being an extremely accurate kicker.
The Dolphins signed long snapper Patrick Scales this offseason, but I don't see him beating out Denney. Fields remains the punter as long as he is averaging an NFL best 50.2 yards per kick.
The Dolphins have nine new starters, according to this list. Add in the potential of Jerry to lose his place, and an outside shot at someone beating out Odrick, and it could balloon up to 11 of the 25 starting positions being manned by someone new in 2013 - with the majority of those being players who are new to the club. That's a massive amount of turnover in one offseason, and how well the players work together and figure out their chemistry is going to be key to how Miami starts the season.
The Dolphins volunteered for the preseason Hall of Fame Game for that specific reason. The two teams that take part in the annual preseason opener in Canton, Ohio, play five preseason games instead of the normal slate of four. Philbin has stated the team asked to be in the game because they knew how much turnover they would have this year, and it gives them a little more time to work into a rhythm.
Hopefully, that works.