Three thoughts as training camps open around the NFL:
One thing I'm certain of: “Hard Knocks” will be a good thing for the Dolphins. This is a team in need of exposure and a better national perception after another poor 6-10 season. The Dolphins started last season 0-7, and the rest of the league pretty much forgot about them.
The storylines in Miami are not sexy, but they are plentiful. There is a quarterback competition, a new coaching staff and colorful receiver Chad Johnson. HBO does a tremendous job on these shows, and it will be up to the Dolphins to put their best foot forward.
One thing that might happen: We might see a resurgence from the 34-year-old Johnson in training camp. But he cannot be as bad as the player we saw last year with the New England Patriots. Johnson, who recently changed back to his birth name, never fit the system in New England and recorded just 15 catches. He still might be Miami’s most dynamic receiver entering his 12th season. Perhaps that’s more of an indictment of Miami’s receivers.
Johnson looked pretty good in minicamp. He still has a quick first step and made several big plays against Miami’s secondary in practices. The Dolphins need the old Johnson to return -- or least a player close to it. Johnson needs a solid camp and preseason to earn a starting job.
One thing we won't see: Ryan Tannehill will not be a factor in Miami’s quarterback competition. It’s being billed as a three-way race, but Tannehill is a long shot. David Garrard and Matt Moore are the two legitimate quarterbacks battling for Miami’s starting job. Both veterans have looked far ahead of the rookie Tannehill in offseason workouts.
Tannehill had just 19 career starts at quarterback in college. It is hard to make that jump to the NFL with limited experience, and Tannehill is already showing that with his uneven offseason performance. It would be shocking if Tannehill can make up so much ground on Moore and Garrard in a few weeks.