DAVIE, Fla. -- It's been a somewhat odd week with the Miami Dolphins when it comes to media interaction.
With the season almost over for Miami (6-9), the primary interest of the media is looking at the big picture and assessing all that's gone wrong this season. But coaches are trying to remain focused on the finale against the Buffalo Bills (8-7).
However, the Dolphins know they have plenty of needs to fix in the offseason. Here is a preview ranking Miami's top five holes:
No. 1: Guard
Miami's offensive line was below average this season and has plenty of issues, but none are bigger than guard. The Dolphins need two for 2018. Starters Jermon Bushrod and Ted Larsen were both injured at different times this season and will become unrestricted free agents. In addition, 2017 draft pick Isaac Asiata hasn't developed fast enough. Expect a reboot at this position for next season.
No. 2: Tight end
Head coach Adam Gase's system works best when he has an effective tight end in the middle of the field. Gase has yet to have that in two seasons in Miami. The Dolphins thought Julius Thomas could be the answer, but that wasn't the case. Thomas finished with 41 receptions for 388 yards and three touchdowns.
No. 3: Right tackle
The Dolphins picked up former first rounder Ja'Wuan James' fifth-year option for about $9 million next season. That's a lot of money for James, who has been injured and in and out of the lineup during his time with the Dolphins. Miami can take the offer back and look for other options via the draft or free agency.
No. 4: Linebacker
Miami's had linebacker issues for quite some time. The Dolphins spent a lot of resources on the position last year and assumed it was fixed. They signed free agent Lawrence Timmons, gave Kiko Alonso a big contract extension and drafted Raekwon McMillan in the second round. However, Alonso has struggled this season with his tackling and covering tight ends, Timmons hasn't made enough impactful plays and McMillan tore his ACL during the preseason. The Dolphins need at least one difference-maker at this position.
No. 5: Quarterback
This is a tricky situation for the Dolphins. Although the decision hasn't been made, the safe moves appears to be for the team to revert back to starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is already under contract for $18 million next season and rehabbing his knee. But there is no guarantee Tannehill will be the same quarterback he was two seasons ago. With that said, the Dolphins need insurance for their most important position. This happens to be a good year for quarterbacks in the draft, and Miami would be wise to select one in the top half of the draft.