Training camps have begun in the NFL. It's the time of year when every team, even the bad ones, believe they have a chance at the playoffs.
All 32 teams have question marks to address and the Miami Dolphins are no exception. So what are the Dolphins' biggest question marks with rookies and veterans set to report to training camp on July 29?
1. What will the offensive line look like?
Last season, Branden Albert was the Dolphins' best offensive lineman before he tore his ACL and MCL in the team's November loss against the Detroit Lions. During minicamp and OTAs, Albert didn’t practice with the team and was seen noticeably limping while working with trainers.
If Albert isn’t healthy for Miami's season opener against the Washington Redskins, that will force the team to reshuffle its offensive line. Miami also has questions at both guard positions.
Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner and Jamil Douglas will compete for both guard spots. Thomas has been one of the worst offensive linemen in the NFL during his first two years in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. The coaches said during training camp that they will give Thomas every opportunity to win the job, but his prior history says the team can’t depend on him.
Turner has very limited experience as he only played in two games during his rookie season. Douglas, the team's fourth-round draft pick in May, could be the best guard out of the three, but he lacks NFL playing time.
Playing against the Dolphins' defensive line every day during camp should only improve the offensive line to some degree. But Miami needs Albert to be ready for Week 1.
2. How much will Ryan Tannehill improve this season?
Every season since his rookie year, Tannehill's play at quarterback has progressively gotten better, but yet the Dolphins have finished 7-9, 8-8 and 8-8 in his first three years. Even though Miami hasn’t made the playoffs since Tannehill has been under center, the team rewarded him with a $96 million extension in May.
Pocket presence and accuracy down the field are the two things Tannehill has to improve on. The Dolphins' offensive line wasn’t great last year, but Tannehill would often hold the ball longer than he should have.
Tannehill and former No. 1 wide receiver Mike Wallace never got on the same page with their deep ball chemistry. That's one of the reasons the team traded Wallace during the offseason. Miami added receivers Kenny Stills, Greg Jennings and drafted DeVante Parker over the offseason, so maybe Tannehill’s accuracy will improve with better weapons.
Tannehill threw for 4,045 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2014, but there’s room for improvement. A quarterback is only as good as his fourth-quarter performances and Tannehill needs to become more of a clutch player if the Dolphins are to make the playoffs in 2015.
3. Is the Dolphins' defense better than last year?
Last year, the Dolphins defense started out well, but it gradually got worse in the second half of the season. The defensive line couldn’t stop the run and the pass rush was non-existent. That’s the main reason the team signed Ndamukong Suh to a six-year, $114 million contract.
Miami finished 24th in rushing defense and the addition of Suh along with Olivier Vernon, Cameron Wake, Earl Mitchell, C.J. Mosley and second-round pick Jordan Phillips will be a terror for offensive lines to stop. The amount of depth Miami has will also keep its front four fresh.
The linebacker position appears to be the biggest weakness on this defense. Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi will be the starters, but depth at linebacker will be a question.
Miami moved on from veteran linebackers Philip Wheeler, Dannell Ellerbe and let Jason Trusnik leave for the Carolina Panthers in free agency. The team signed Spencer Paysinger as well as a number of undrafted free agents, with the goal of improving its linebacker depth.
Cincinnati’s Jeff Luc, Utah State’s Zach Vigil, Penn State’s Mike Hull and Marshall’s Neville Hewitt were all considered Day 3 picks in the 2015 NFL Draft. Miami will hope it can find a diamond in the rough (or two) with one of these undrafted players.
— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.