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AFC East: Miami (4-4)

Pleasant: The job being done by first-year head coach Joe Philbin and his staff. After watching the team’s relative inactivity in free agency and rough showing on Hard Knocks, the Dolphins appeared headed toward a Cam Cameron-esque start to the Philbin era. But a slew of young players that Philbin inherited – notably wide receiver Brian Hartline, cornerback Sean Smith and outside linebacker Koa Misi – are on track to enjoy their best seasons. Excellent special-teams play under coach Darren Rizzi heavily contributed to two victories. And the best news of all -- the quick development of rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Unpleasant: Maybe injuries have taken a toll or he isn’t a good fit to Miami’s new zone-blocking scheme, but left tackle Jake Long has slipped from elite status. Depending on how offseason contract negotiations unfold, the Dolphins may have to make a difficult choice between franchising Long – which was once considered a no-brainer – or using the tag on Smith, who is clearly the top cornerback in a thin secondary. - Alex Marvez (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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