As the Miami Dolphins head into their offseason training program, weaknesses remain on the roster that could derail a promising season.
The most glaring need is at nose tackle. At 34, Jason Ferguson’s career is winding down, and to think he can play every down is unrealistic. He will see the majority of the snaps at that position, but the depth at that spot could prove to be the team’s biggest weakness.
While backup Paul Soliai showed flashes of potential when he was inserted into the lineup last year, he was also suspended twice during the season for discipline issues. There are also reports that he is having trouble controlling his weight during the offseason.
And addressing this problem during the season could prove problematic. Teams just don’t release quality nose tackles and if the Dolphins were interested in anybody on the market, they would have signed them by now.
To be successful in a 3-4 defense, the nose tackle has to clog the middle by engaging two people. After Ferguson and Soliai, the rest of the players are developmental projects who will be competing for the practice squad.
When Tony Sparano became head coach, he preached that a system must fit the players. And without that vital clog at nose tackle, the Dolphins may be forced to abandon the 3-4 defense, especially if anything happens to Ferguson.
Last year, the Miami Dolphins’ receiving corps was one of the least talented and undermanned positions the team had.
Drafting receivers Patrick Turner and Brain Hartline added much needed depth to that position, but the Dolphins still lack an elite receiver. Ted Ginn may develop into that role in his third year, and much of the receiving corps success will depend on whether or not he does.
Anquan Boldin is still available in a trade, but with a new contract and multiple draft picks needed to acquire him, the cost is too much for this regime.
Quality depth behind the interior offensive line also remains a concern.
With projected starters Justin Smiley and Donald Thomas both coming off season ending injuries, and beyond signing versatile guard Joe Berger as a backup, the reserves remain the same as last year.
Signing center Jake Grove will provide the line with more of a physical presence, but the Dolphins may regret trading last year’s starting center Samson Satele, as he could have been converted to guard to provide more experience and depth.
Unfortunately, the Dolphins may need to revert to the waiver wire, if injuries once again decimate the interior of the line.
As the Dolphins enter year two of rebuilding from a disastrous 1-15 season, much has been done to overhaul the Dolphins into a respectable franchise, but more depth along the lines and a playmaking receiver is needed before Miami can take the next step to annual Super Bowl contenders.