Hope and Concern: Miami Dolphins

May, 13, 2013
5/13/13
11:00
AM ET
Welcome to our latest edition of "Hope and Concern" in the AFC East. This is where we take an updated look at where teams in the division stand and provide a reason to be hopeful for 2013 and a reason to be concerned.

Let's start Monday with the Miami Dolphins.

Biggest reason for hope: Improved roster

It is no secret that the Dolphins have one of the league’s most improved rosters. That is why they are my sleeper pick for 2013 in the AFC East. The Dolphins added playmakers all across the board via free agency and the draft. Miami signed dynamic receiver Mike Wallace, pass-catching tight end Dustin Keller, former Pro Bowl corner Brent Grimes and starting linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler. The Dolphins also had a strong draft, led by No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan. On paper, Miami looks like a team that can do some damage this season. But it will be up to the coaching staff, led by head coach Joe Philbin, to put all the parts together.

Biggest reason for concern: Brutal schedule

We will find out right away if the Dolphins are legit. Their first five games are at the Cleveland Browns, at the Indianapolis Colts, home vs. the Atlanta Falcons, at the New Orleans Saints and home against the Baltimore Ravens. The Dolphins could find themselves playing catch up to the reigning AFC champion New England Patriots early. Miami also has the eighth-toughest strength of schedule in the NFL. The Dolphins will not benefit from a cupcake schedule this year. They need to be ready to play from Week 1 to Week 16 in order to make a push for the postseason.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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