- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Remember the closing of the gap the Miami Dolphins talked about this offseason? Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said it was a priority to close the distance with the dominant New England Patriots in the AFC East. Therefore, Miami spent big to land quality free agents such as receiver Mike Wallace, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and tight end Dustin Keller.
None of that reflected much in the latest ESPN.com Power Rankings. The Patriots (No. 5) were still voted significantly higher than Miami (No. 19). According to the rankings, the AFC East appears to be set up for another easy year for New England without much competition.
Did the Dolphins get enough respect?
Miami was 7-9 last year and made major upgrades in free agency. The offensive skill players are better and more explosive, the linebackers are more athletic and quarterback Ryan Tannehill should be better in Year 2 of his development. Still, Miami was in the bottom half of the rankings.