As the Dolphins convene for OTAs starting Tuesday, there’s a lot more intrigue, media spotlight, and another word, too. The “E” word. Expectation.
Coming off their first playoff season since 2008, with head coach Adam Gase settling into his second season, and the Fins having added veterans like Lawrence Timmons, Julius Thomas and draft picks like Charles Harris and Raekwon McMillan, it’s there. Belief that Miami can not only contend to win the East, but actually topple the mighty Patriots and others to take the AFC.
Obviously, most eyes will be the return of QB Ryan Tannehill from his healed ACL injury. We have written about the Fins good fortune that Tannehill had with the injury that it did not require re-constructive surgery. So, now he’s back participating in the off-season gearing up for training camp and then the August truest test, live action in preseason games.
Speaking of expectation, another part of Miami’s OTAs will be the new placement of 2016 first round pick Laremy Tunsil at left tackle. Tunsil will slide over from guard to replace Branden Albert at the most important position on the offensive line for a right handed QB team. There will be many times when Tunsil will be asked to block some of the game’s premier defenders one on one in key situations. This is why his position has become so lucrative for those who do it well, but also very brief for those who cannot.
Finally, the Dolphins have a billionaire owner (aren’t they all these days?) in Stephen Ross, who has the biggest expectations of them all. He’s rebuilt what’s now “Hard Rock Stadium” over the course of the last three years to the tune of hundreds of millions of his own money. He has spent significantly on his own players: Tannehill, Cam Wake, Kenny Stills, etc. and free agents this past March, too.
Now, he wants to win. Lots. It’s not hoped for. It’s expected.