The 2013 version of the Miami Dolphins began with buzzing expectations and ended with thunderous destruction.
Despite just barely missing a playoff spot with an 8-8 record, the Dolphins turned in a disappointing performance after making a huge splash in free agency in the offseason last year.
The draft class was especially weak once again, and it is very apparent now that the Fins have several glaring needs that need to be addressed if they want to be considered serious contenders in the AFC in 2014.
The Dolphins should not be considered anything more than wild-card contenders until they prove they can go toe-to-toe with the almighty New England Patriots on a consistent basis. Miami finally snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Patriots with a last-minute win in December, but they had to do it to a team severely weakened by injuries, as they played without studs Rob Gronkowski and Vince Wilfork.
The gap is still significant.
The Dolphins offensive line was arguably the worst in franchise history, surrendering 58 sacks on quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The ground game was non-existent at times. The defense could not stop the run. The team seemed to lack fire and often came out of the gates flat, even in crucial divisional games.
With offensive coordinator Mike Sherman now out of the picture, it allows the Dolphins to re-focus on offense and find a new identity (or an identity at all, for that matter). Although much of the blame has been put on general manager Jeff Ireland (and deservedly so), he remains on the team for now, so the Dolphins must focus only on how to improve its personnel in every way possible.
Here are some moves that would help the 2014 Dolphins take the next step.