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Monday, June 16, 2014
W2W4: Dolphins mandatory minicamp

By James Walker

The Miami Dolphins will begin their three-day, mandatory minicamp on Tuesday. We will be there live to take in all the action from practice.

Here are three things we will be monitoring closely this week:

1. Development of Bill Lazor's offense

Analysis: The Dolphins are running a new offensive scheme this year and are going through growing pains. There are days when Miami’s new offense looks explosive and other days when the group is sloppy and can’t seem to get it together. At some point, Miami’s offense will have to be more consistent and catch up with the defense. Yes, the Dolphins have been using the same defensive scheme under Kevin Coyle for three seasons. But the Dolphins can’t be an imbalanced team where the offense is lagging behind if they want to make the playoffs. These three days will be a good opportunity for Miami’s new offense to show growth and take another step forward before training camp.

2. QB Ryan Tannehill

Analysis: The biggest component to Lazor’s offense taking off is Tannehill. He continues to learn a new offense for the first time in his NFL career. This also happens to be a make-or-break Year 3 for Tannehill to prove he is a franchise starting quarterback. He is 15-17 as a starter in Miami and has yet to post a winning season. The Dolphins could take flight if Tannehill takes the next step and becomes top-12 quarterback. There are enough pieces around Tannehill where he doesn’t have to be elite for Miami to make the playoffs. But he must be consistently very good for the Dolphins to thrive -- and it starts in practice.

3. Position battles

Analysis: When you haven’t had a winning season since 2008, expect plenty of position battles. That is certainly the case for the Dolphins this year. There is competition on both sides of the ball to keep an eye on. Some of the biggest position battles are at running back (Lamar Miller, Knowshon Moreno), left guard (Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner), slot receiver (three-way competition) and cornerback (three-way competition). None of these positions will be settled by the end of this week’s minicamp. But this a good chance for all these players to leave a strong impression with the Dolphins’ coaching staff before everyone takes their summer break. The players who perform the best now will enter training camp with the inside track.