It's time for some cold, hard truths about the 2019 Miami Dolphins for fans.
This medicine won't taste good going down, but you'll need it to stomach this upcoming season, which I expect will be one of the most painful experiences this franchise has endured since that disastrous 1-15 campaign in 2007.
Why? Because this Dolphins team has a serious lack of talent.
A lot of the team's early draft picks – players like DeVante Parker, Charles Harris, Raekwon McMillan and Mike Gesicki – haven't met expectations. And plenty of the team's personnel doesn't fit this new defense, which apparently has specific roles carved out for everyone but Jerome Baker, Xavien Howard and Bobby McCain.
Growing pains are expected in the first year of a new regime, the first season that follows a roster purge. And that's exactly what is happening.
Injuries are beginning to pile up and it's exposing the ugly underbelly of this roster.
While Miami won their preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons last week, and weren't over-matched by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during their two joint practices this week, the cracks in the foundation are beginning to show.
Miami's offensive line is a mess. And we're talking about a starting unit that features two rookie guards. The backups aren't even worth mentioning since they've been so bad.
The Dolphins defensive line continues to give up yards versus the run, which is nothing new for this franchise. But Christian Wilkins' selection in the first round of this year's draft hasn't fixed that. And Miami lacks a proven pass rusher to make opposing quarterbacks uncomfortable.
Injuries at linebacker have left that unit thinned out, and even when McMillan and Kiko Alonso are cleared to practice and play, there are legitimate concerns about whether or not they fit into this defensive scheme, or if they should be traded while they still have value.
Just like last season, the Dolphins are still searching for a boundary cornerback to play opposite Xavien Howard. Chris Lammons was the fourth cornerback to tryout with the starters Wednesday, and still no answer is in sight.
The regular season is on the verge of starting, and while a lot has changed about these Dolphins, nothing about this team has really improved.
At least not from a talent standpoint because rookie head coach Brian Flores is dealing with the same issues that he inherited from former coach Adam Gase's team.
And some of these issues are similar to the ones Gase inherited from his predecessor Joe Philbin, which makes you wonder if this is a talent evaluation problem since general manager Chris Grier and much of his staff have been here for it all.
These Dolphins will need a miracle to produce a winning season in 2019 because the roster simply isn't good enough.
I can come to that conclusion after watching four weeks of training camp, which has included two joint practices with the Buccaneers that sets up Friday night's preseason game against Tampa Bay.
Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will a roster that can transform the Dolphins into a perennial contender. But someone needs to address the fact that there are holes everywhere on this roster, and injuries make the product look even worse.
Baker's emergence as the team's top linebacker, and possibly its best sack producer, is encouraging. Howard's daily dominance is exciting to watch. And Laremy Tunsil's level of consistency, Kalen Ballage's development, and Preston Williams' intriguing upside creates interesting subplots, but there just aren't enough building blocks for this Dolphins team to deliver a winner unless someone puts on a cape and impersonates a superhero.
We never know for sure in the NFL. Nobody expected Chad Pennington to be an MVP candidate in 2008, or that Jay Ajayi would carry Miami's offense to the playoffs in that 2016 season in which he earned a Pro Bowl berth.
Miracles do happen. But that's exactly what the Dolphins would need this year as Flores works to build the culture he hopes will carry this franchise to prominence in the years to come.
The Dolphins have a long way to go, and plenty more medicine to swallow.