- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The regular season is less than three weeks away for the AFC East.
Here are reasons for hope and concern for the Miami Dolphins:
Reason for hope: Ryan Tannehill
Miami’s first-round pick was considered the least ready of the top quarterback prospects in this year’s draft. But despite starting just 19 college games, Tannehill is showing poise this preseason and was named Miami’s Week 1 starter. Tannehill has good command of the offense and is 25-of-44 for 267 yards and one touchdown this preseason. It’s clear he can make all the throws. But perhaps the thing I liked most from Tannehill in Miami’s loss to the Carolina Panthers is the rookie stood tall and didn’t get skittish in the pocket, despite being sacked three times. Starting Tannehill now will be good for the team's long-term future.
Reason for concern: Rest of the offense
Despite the flashes by Tannehill at quarterback, the rest of the first-team offense has been shaky. The pass protection has been inconsistent, there have been drops by the receivers and the running game has been nonexistent. Some things you cannot get a firm read on in the preseason, but execution and winning one-on-one battles are two things to watch. Miami’s starting offense just doesn’t have the talent to score a lot of points. No one is stepping forward as the No. 1 receiver, and the offensive line is struggling with both run and pass blocking. The defense is struggling, as well. But much of that is due to key injuries to starting linebackers Karlos Dansby, Kevin Burnett and defensive end Cameron Wake.