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For Dolphins, a year of big changes

You could argue that no team has been in the headlines more often this offseason than the Dolphins, who have jettisoned their leading rusher, No. 2 receiver, top two tacklers, and franchise left tackle in the last two months. There have been changes aplenty in Miami — for the better, it hopes.

OFFENSE

There should be no question this is Ryan Tannehill’s team now. Miami re-signed Brian Hartline, added free agents Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson as deep threats, and brought in tight end Dustin Keller and right tackle Tyson Clabo to help a passing attack that ranked 26th last season. Instead of investing in Reggie Bush, Miami will make do with a group of runners that includes potential rookie sleeper Mike Gillislee.

DEFENSE

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The plan was the rebuild the 27th-ranked pass defense and the Dolphins did that

in several ways. They cut linebackers Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett and signed younger replacements in Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler. They franchised tackle Randy Starks and moved up to draft edge rusher Dion Jordan. And they upgraded at cornerback with free agent Brent Grimes and drafted two corners early in Jamar Taylor and Will Davis.

TEAM IDENTITY

Three years after Bill Parcells left, the team continued to dissolve its ties with the Tuna by letting go of Jake Long, Davone Bess, and Anthony Fasano. It’s almost entirely Jeff Ireland’s roster now. There’s also a new, slicker logo (above, right). A costly loss came when the Florida House of Representatives denied the team’s bid for subsidized improvements to Sun Life Stadium — likely dashing the Dolphins’ hopes of landing Super Bowl L or LI. CEO Mike Dee called the team’s future in South Florida “clearly bleak.”

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