Summary: The Dolphins special teams have been solid for several years but could never produce long kick returns. That changed last year after the arrival of rookie Wes Welker, who had a 71-yard punt return and then a 95-yard kickoff return, which just happened to be the team's first kickoff return for a touchdown in 15 years. The punting game appears in good shape after Matt Turk had a very good 2004 season (particularly in terms of net punting). Olindo Mare once was one of the top placekickers in the NFL, but he hasn't reached 80 percent in field goal accuracy since 2001. His kickoffs remain impressive, however.
The battles: Based on the roster, there won't be much competition when it comes to the specialists because the Dolphins currently are carrying only one punter and one placekicker, that being Mare and Turk. Welker would appear to have the job as the kick returner, unless somebody comes out of nowhere and has a tremendous camp and preseason. And when it comes to the long-snapping, it would seem almost impossible for first-year William Delahoussaye to unseat veteran Ed Perry, who has been doing this -- and doing it well -- for a long time.
Projected starters: Mare (kicker), Turk (punter), Welker (return man), Perry (snapper)
Projected on the 53-man roster: Same