Dolphins camp preview: Still a long way to go
Editor's note: These camp previews are up to date as of the start of preseason games. For the latest changes since then, check our updated rankings, projections and profiles.
Well, let's just say 2007 didn't go well. The team won a game -- one game -- then cleaned house. Bill Parcells has fixed franchises before, and he'll likely fix this one as well, but the first thing this team has to do is forget about last season and realize Rome wasn't built in a day. Believe it or not, pieces are in place in South Florida for a competitive season now that Parcells has made the obvious decision to start building the lines.
Parcells has the time to change the culture of losing in Miami, and he might need a few years to do it. But make no mistake: Fantasy owners can't simply ignore this team. The defense probably will struggle, but offensively, things should improve.
Jake Long will lead the remade offensive line in the hopes of improving the ground game.
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Fitting in: Ted Ginn Jr. was last season's first-round pick, a move that was mostly panned, and it's about time he gets a chance to show his ability on more than returning punts and kicks. Ginn did catch 420 yards worth of passes. That's 5 yards more than Chris Chambers, who was sent to San Diego at midseason, and isn't too far behind leading receiver Marty Booker, who is now a Bear. Ginn should emerge, and joining him will be former Jaguar Ernest Wilford, a possession receiver who got a bit lost in Jacksonville. Here he should start and immediately complement Ginn, which is a good thing. Though Ginn is the home run threat, Wilford should become an instant goal-line option because of his size and the attention defenses pay to Ginn.
On the line: Something had to change here. In retrospect, it's a bit hard to believe how well Brown was running before getting hurt, considering the problems on the line and the necessary overhaul. By virtue of having the NFL's worst record, Parcells had the first pick to play with, and he chose Jake Long from Michigan. He should start at left tackle right away. Fourth-round pick Shawn Murphy could start at right guard, and signing Justin Smiley from the 49ers was another wise move. This revamped line should be better than most when it comes it run blocking, and that's the type of offense Miami wants anyway.
On the defensive line, Jason Taylor is headed to Washington, which obviously makes this unit weaker. The team will miss the pressure he puts on quarterbacks. Two defensive ends were taken in the first three rounds of the draft, and former Cowboy Jason Ferguson should help shut down the run. Make no mistake, however, this is not an attractive fantasy defense, and it'll miss Taylor.
This is Parcells' team: He brought in the coaches, he's making the big decisions, and he shopped for the groceries, so to speak. No other NFL squad can say its top executive -- vice president of football operations, officially -- is more recognizable than any of the players. Maybe that's not such a bad thing when you come off a 1-15 season. Though the Dolphins should have a pretty good running game, assuming Brown continues his recovery from a torn-up knee and Williams can help him out carrying the ball more than six times, the focus will be on how well Pennington adapts at quarterback. He could decide whether this team sinks or swims.
Eric Karabell is a senior writer for ESPN.com fantasy. You can e-mail him here.
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