The Miami Dolphins open training camp on July 25 at Baptist Health Training Facility in Davie, Florida. Here's a closer look at a few storylines:
What must Josh Rosen do to convince the Dolphins they don't need to draft a first-round quarterback in 2020?
The hand Rosen has been dealt isn't ideal. The Arizona Cardinals gave up on him after one season with the NFL's worst roster and shipped him to the rebuilding Dolphins for what seems like a one-year tryout. The Dolphins are strong contenders to take one of the heralded quarterbacks in the 2020 draft in hopes of ending their two-decade quarterback search. To put that plan on hold, Rosen will need to show leadership, success on third down and in the fourth quarter, and glimpses of long-term promise. Ryan Fitzpatrick appears to be the favorite to start in Week 1, but Rosen should get his chance to start and the pressure will be on him to shine.
Which training camp battle aside from quarterback will impact the Dolphins all season?
Right tackle could be a lingering problem if veteran Jordan Mills doesn't improve on his performance during training camp. Mills is the favorite to replace long-time starter Ja'Wuan James, but he's struggled at times with the Buffalo Bills and in his brief Dolphins tenure. Mills' leading competition -- Zach Sterup and sixth-round pick Isaiah Prince -- are unproven developmental players. Moving guard Jesse Davis to right tackle is a break-glass option that would open another hole on a thin offensive line. Miami needs somebody to step up or the quarterbacks will be running for their lives.
What is a realistic timetable for Dolphins GM Chris Grier and head coach Brian Flores to make this team an AFC contender?
Circle the 2021 season as a realistic goal to compete for the AFC East title and the 2022 season to compete for the conference title. This Dolphins team is about three-to-four years away from the latter, which ironically might line up with when Tom Brady and/or Bill Belichick are ready to retire. Patience will be important as Grier and Flores work to rebuild this team. Dolphins fans should forget about wins as a barometer for each of the next two seasons as Miami searches for answers at quarterback and along both lines. Judgment should begin in Flores' third and fourth seasons.
What expectations should we have for Kenyan Drake's on-field impact and in fantasy football during his contract year?
Drake has a clear path to the starting running back job with Frank Gore now in Buffalo. Drake has been one of the NFL's best big-play weapons, but how big a load he'll be able to carry has been a career-long question. Expect Kalen Ballage to earn a healthy share of running back snaps. Offensive coordinator Chad O'Shea loves to use backs as receivers, and Drake studied the Patriots' James White in anticipation of his 2019 role. Early stat projection: 175 carries, 750 rushing yards, 65 catches, 550 receiving yards and eight total touchdowns.