Tuesday, September 7, 2010

2010 Preview: Miami Dolphins

2009 Record: 7-9

2009 Rankings:
Total Offense - 17
Run Offense - 4
Pass Offense - 20
Scoring Offense - 15
Total Defense - 22
Run Defense - 18
Pass Defense - 24
Scoring Defense - 25

Miami went out and acquired Brandon Marshall from Denver to improve their passing game. With a healthy Chad Henne under center, Marshall could be a real weapon that finally gives the Dolphins...well...someone on the outside. Former Buckeye Brian Hartline becomes the #2 and Davone Bess, who led the team in receiving yards last year, moves into his more natural #3 role. The Dolphins offense is really built around running the ball. Ronnie Brown, when he isn't injured, is a beast in the backfield, both out of a traditional run formation and running the Wildcat with Ricky Williams. Williams is also a capable Wildcat back, but we may see less and less of the formation as Chad Henne grows into the leader of the offense. But who knows. The Dolphins sparked the wildcat craze that's going around the league now, and despite cutting former WVU star Pat White, Miami will probably still run a non-traditional offense on occasion.

On defense, Miami's defense got a lot of heralding last year as one of the better 3-4 defenses in the league, but when looking at the stats, one might wonder why. They weren't in the top half of the league in any of the major defensive categories, and finished 27th in the league in turnovers. Ouch. Pro Bowler and last season's leading tackler Yeremiah Bell returns at free safety, and young corners Steve Smith and Vontae Davis will continue to grow (and be exploited by veteran quarterbacks). When the leading tackler on your defense is a safety, that doesn't speak very well to your linebackers. In response to poor linebacker play, the Dolphins went out and got tackling machine Karlos Dansby from Arizona. The Fins defense will also feature two rookie starters: DE Jared Odrick (Penn State) and OLB Koa Misi (Utah). Misi will be starting in place of Joey Porter, who is now off with all the former Steelers in Arizona.

Miami's 2010 fortunes will most likely ride on their running game and their improved passing offense. Brandon Marshall is the type of player that can make things happen with the ball in his hands, regardless of where he is on the field. On defense, they will need to play better against the run if they want to make a run at the playoffs. The Dolphins gave up over 100 yards rushing to opposing teams 10 times last season, and they'll have to play better, particularly on the interior, to have success this year. Their defense will need to create more turnovers, after finishing 27th in the league. Most likely, it will be another mediocre season for Miami as their offense and secondary continue to develop.

Ian's Prediction: 8-8

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