The new logo for the Miami Dolphins provides a fresh snapshot glimpse into the next era.
Coach Joe Philbin enters his second season at the helm, right along with quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Miami had entered the 2012 campaign minus controversial receiver Brandon Marshall, which opened the window of opportunity for free agency this offseason. According to NFL.com's Jeff Darlington, former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Mike Wallace joined the Dolphins:
As great as the addition of Wallace will help Tannehill's development and the passing game in general, Miami also saw offensive departures of running back Reggie Bush, tackle Jake Long and tight end Anthony Fasano.
Bush signed with the Detroit Lions, as reported by Tim Twentyman of Lions.com, Long moved to the St. Louis Rams (via Pro Football Talk) and Fasano remained in the AFC, joining the Kansas City Chiefs per Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star.
The main defensive player to split was cornerback Sean Smith, who joined Fasano in KC, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.
All that said, the Dolphins brought in other solid additions, such as linebackers Dannell Ellerbe (Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun), receiver Brandon Gibson (ESPN.com's Adam Schefter), tight end Dustin Keller (also from Schefter) and guard Lance Louis (Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk).
Ellerbe was an awesome addition for the defense as he accounted for 92 tackles, 4.5 sacks and forced two fumbles last season. Given Miami's impressive pass rush that collected 42 sacks in 2012, Ellerbe will thrive in South Florida.
Despite failing to retain Smith in the secondary, the draft does offer impressive talents worthy of a Round 1 selection in Dee Milliner, Xavier Rhodes, Desmond Trufant and Johnthan Banks.
Obviously Milliner is the toughest to land in the draft, because he'll be off the board soon, figuring to go in the top 10. Nevertheless, replenishing Smith's absence won't be difficult.
The same can be said for the offense as this draft class provides an abundance of top-heavy depth along the offensive line.
Should Miami opt for a tackle or guard in Round 1 there are plenty of choices. Trading up would present the opportunity for Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher or Chance Warmack, but remaining at No. 12 keeps the Dolphins' chances open for Lane Johnson, Jonathan Cooper or D.J. Fluker, who may be a reach.
More prospective talent also resides in Rounds 2 and 3 with Justin Pugh, Kyle Long and Terron Armstead.
Swapping Fasano for Keller at tight end is a wash.
Fasano brings solid reliability to the passing game in catching 120 passes for 1,502 yards and scoring 10 times between 2010 and 2011 with the New York Jets. Keller dealt with some injuries last season, but is only going on 29 years old and has the run-blocking ability to act as a sixth offensive lineman.
Running back may not present a slew of first-round talent for April, but impressive depth does exist for the middle rounds. Ball-carriers such as Johnathan Franklin, Andre Ellington, Montee Ball and Stepfan Taylor are worthy picks to replace Bush and complement Daniel Thomas.
Summed up, former coach Don Shula is excited for the changes and new direction:
Fans should also be ecstatic, because we've seen other franchises receive a change and then find immediate success. Entering the 1997 NFL season the Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers switched to their current helmet logo.
Well, the Broncos went on to win Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII, while Tampa bashed the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.
As for Miami, it will be fascinating to see how the Dolphins kickoff 2013 after a 2012 campaign that saw numerous nail-biting losses. Nevertheless, change is good.
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