Rebuild was popular buzzword for Miami Dolphins. So, what’s the next phase for Brian Flores’ team?

Rebuild was popular buzzword for Miami Dolphins. So, what’s the next phase for Brian Flores’ team?
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If the Miami Dolphins were rebuilding in 2019 and 2020, what’s the state of the team in 2021?

Is this season another stage of the rebuild, or is there another word or phrase to classify it by?

Dolphins coach Brian Flores told NBC’s ProFootballTalk shortly after April’s draft: “The guys we got in ’19, the guys we got in ’20, the guys we got in ’21, that we get in this draft, that’s the team. … They’ll be the reason why we make noise or don’t make noise.”

So, maybe noisy could be the next stage for the Dolphins. But the Dolphins want to do more than cause a ruckus.

“The sky’s the limit, honestly, with this team,” starting linebacker Jerome Baker said Friday.

“We’re young. We’re hungry. And we definitely have some things we have to work on, but ultimately if we play together and play as a team, it could definitely be a big year for us.”

As the Dolphins held their last voluntary practice before mandatory offseason minicamp next week, Flores sees his team still living by his favorite mantra: One day at a time.

“I think we’re trying to improve and get better on a daily basis,” Flores said Friday.

“I think that’s in meetings and walkthroughs and practice. I think that’s the goal. It’s one day at a time. It’s building camaraderie, building chemistry, and I think you build that through reps in practice and that’s where we’re at.

“So, we’re taking it one day at a time,” Flores continued. “We’re trying to get better offensively, defensively and in the kicking game. As coaches, I think we understand that this doesn’t just happen. You have to put time in and work in. And when you’re dealing with … right now 90 players, you have to work to create the execution you’re looking for during the regular season. So, we do that one day at a time. That’s where the focus is.”

Flores and the Dolphins are entering their third season together, hoping to improve from their 2020 season of 10 wins and finishing just short of a playoff berth.

Still, the Dolphins are one of the youngest teams in the NFL, with the potential to make noise in the AFC East and AFC playoff race.

Starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa enters his second year with high hopes after a strong offseason, while Flores hopes a new offense led by co-offensive coordinators Eric Studesville and George Godsey isn’t his undoing with the franchise.

Cornerback Xavien Howard, in search of a new deal, hopes to pick up where he left off after leading the NFL with 10 interceptions, while fellow cornerback Byron Jones strives for consistency as the team’s highest-paid player.

The Dolphins have seen youngsters such as Baker, tight end Mike Gesicki, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and running back Myles Gaskin turn into valuable veterans, with Baker and Gesicki also looking for paydays before their rookie contracts expire after the season.

And there’s the wave of newcomers, such as first-round picks in receiver Jaylen Waddle and edge rusher Jaelan Phillips, plus second-round safety Jevon Holland and veteran receiver Will Fuller V, who hope to help the Dolphins reach that next level.

“Ever since I’ve been here, it’s been great. I love the culture here. It’s just been easy to be here, and I’ve been in the building as much as I can. I enjoy being here,” Fuller said.

“I’m going to take it one day at a time, but I know we have a very good team. There’s going to be a lot of competition in camp, and we’re just going to get better each and every day and see where that takes us.”

The Dolphins’ mandatory minicamp will be Tuesday-Thursday, with Flores expecting his entire team in attendance.

“The focus now is really on this year and today,” Flores said. “That’s kinda where we’re at and trying to improve today. Trying to get better today, and if we string enough good days together, hopefully we’ll put ourselves in position to be successful.”

Added Baker: “It’s still early, but we can be as great as we want to be.”

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