- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Yes, the start of training camps is two months away, but it's never too early to consider the coming season. A look at the best-case and worst-case scenarios for the Dolphins in 2012.
Dream scenario (9-7): So much has to go right for the Dolphins to have a winning season in 2012. For example, one of the quarterbacks -- Matt Moore, David Garrard or rookie Ryan Tannehill -- will have to step up and have a stellar season. An unproven group of receivers must play above their talent level. Rookie head coach Joe Philbin has to push all the right buttons in his first year, and the defense must make a smooth transition to the 4-3. The chance of all these things falling perfectly in place for Miami is slim. But if it does, Miami could string together some wins in the AFC East and have a respectable season. Can the Dolphins carry over late momentum they gathered at the end of last season? Miami was 6-3 in its last nine games. But that was with a different coaching staff and different schemes. The Dolphins are not very talented, but they are a tough group. They could make it hard on a lot of opponents, and perhaps steal more wins than people expect.
Nightmare scenario (2-14): Miami is in the process of rebuilding. There's always an element of danger in that teams can fall apart and lose confidence when they’re not in contention. I think the Dolphins are probably a five- or six-win team next season. They could win a few games with their tough defense alone. But if nothing goes right and things fall apart, the worst-case scenario could be an ugly two-win season. The offense is a rough project. The Dolphins are installing a new West Coast offense and don't have the receivers to make it run smoothly. The biggest key is quarterback. If Moore and Garrard both struggle or get hurt, the Dolphins have no shot. It could also lead to Miami playing its first-round pick too soon. Tannehill could find himself leading a bad team before he’s ready. Think of what happened to Blaine Gabbert last season. That’s a nightmare the Dolphins want to avoid.