But, with an aggressive offseason approach, the Dolphins are looking to closing the gap between the Patriots and the rest of the division.
Dustin Keller, a Jet turned Dolphin last week, knows the division dynamic as well as anyone and thinks his new team is on the right path to compete with the Patriots. He joined the Jim Rome Show on Thursday, explaining that signing with the Dolphins will give him a chance to grow as a player.
“It’s clear to me that the team is ready to win and win right now,” Keller said. “That was the biggest thing for me, to go somewhere where I could be an impact player and we have a good chance to win. That’s exactly what we have here.”
As it did in New York, New England looms large; the Patriots have won the AFC East eight out of the last nine seasons (the lone exception being 2008, when the Dolphins won). Building blocks were set in the first year of Joe Philbin’s tenure, which, at 7-9, exceeded mosts experts’ expectations. Now, though, some may start to wonder if the Dolphins are ready to give the Patriots a run.
Keller expects that to start this season.
“This year, we have a team that’s capable just to challenge that, and that’s what it’s all about,” Keller told Rome. “I’ve played the Patriots, and we’ve won a couple against those guys. We know what it takes to beat them – it’s just a matter of doing all the small things this offseason.”
Ryan Tannehill’s ability to come in and start 16 games his rookie season only helped the Dolphins’ pursuit of offensive weapons like Keller and Mike Wallace. Keller, despite missing parts of last season, saw Tannehill settle in nicely in Miami and is ready to get to work the young quarterback.
“He’s a great decision maker. He’s just a smart guy that loves football, and he’s going to spend that extra time in the film and do whatever it takes,” Keller said. “Just sitting there talking to him, I think it’s going to be a great fit. We’re both guys that are just going to do whatever it takes to make it happen.”
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