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Monday, July 19, 2010

Miami Dolphins 2010 Analysis and Preview

Last Years Record            7-9
Wins: Bills, Jets (x2), Bucs, Panthers, Patriots, Jaguars
Losses: Falcons, Colts, Chargers, Saints, Patriots, Bills, Titans, Texans, Steelers
Biggest Playmaker            Brandon Marshall
WR, Central Florida, Drafted #119, 5th Year
Has yet to be a playmaker for the Dolphins as he was just traded to Miami this offseason.  A 2x Pro-Bowler, big and fast, he is just what young quarterback Chad Henne needs to become a great NFL quarterback.  If Marshall can keep his off-field issues at a minimum, look for him to break 100 catches for the fourth straight year as the Dolphins go-to receiver
Impact Player            Jake Long
LT, Michigan, Drafted #1, 3rd Year
A good left tackle can be as important to an offense as any other position.  Blocking any young quarterback's backside is vital, and the Dolphins have a great asset there in Jake Long.  After giving up just four sacks in 2009, Long will lead an offensive line that led the Dolphins to the fourth highest rushing total in the NFL.
Biggest Free Agent Addition            Brandon Marshall
WR, Central Florida, Drafted #119, 5th Year
Even though Marshall was drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft, it was an absolute steal for the Dolphins to pick him up for only a second rounder.  The Dolphins were in desperate need of a standout receiver, and they picked up a top 5 wideout in the prime of his career.  Great move.
Biggest Offseason Loss            Gibril Wilson
FS, Tennessee, Drafted #136, 7th Year
The loss of free safety Gibril Wilson left a big question mark in the Dolphins secondary.  Wilson amassed 93 tackles in 2009, a year after posting 129 tackles for the Oakland Raiders.  Currently the Dolphins are looking at Chris Clemons as their starting FS, their 2009 5th round pick, with rookie fifth rounder Rashad Jones backing him up.  
Biggest Draft Steal            A.J. Edds
ILB, Iowa, Drafted #119, Rookie
A.J. Edds is by no means a household name, but the Dolphins chose a player in the 4th round that could see some immediate playing time.  A good athlete at 6'4" 246 lbs and a sub 4.7 runner, Edds was very effective in pass coverage, racking up five interceptions in his senior year.  He could see some action his rookie year in nickel situations as well as on special teams.
Biggest Draft Reach            Nolan Carroll
CB, Maryland, Drafted #145, Rookie
Nolan Carroll started six games at CB at Maryland.  He has major durability issues after being injured multiple times, and the Dolphins drafted him based on his combine performance.  Not a fan.  
Offseason Grade            A-
The Dolphins made a huge pickup trading for Brandon Marshall.  This move essentially made their offseason.  Returning both of their running backs, their quarterback and an offensive line (plus RG Richie Incognito), a playmaker at WR was huge for their offense.  
X-Factor            Ronnie Brown
RB, Auburn, Drafted #2, 6th Year
Ronnie Brown's health is the x-factor.  He has been consistently hurt during his five-year career, appearing in all 16 games only once (2008) and twice appearing in less than ten.  If Brown can stay healthy he could lead a very dangerous offense.  The Dolphins run game should improve with the improvements made in their passing game (Brandon Marshall).
Name You Should Know            Yeremiah Bell
SS, Eastern Kentucky, Drafted #213, 8th Year
Yeremiah Bell enjoyed another solid season in 2009, tallying 114 tackles and three interceptions.  Certainly not a household game, this hard hitting safety has a huge impact on his defense, and look for that impact to increase with the loss of fellow safety Gibril Wilson.
Rising Star            Vontae Davis
CB, Maryland, Drafted #25, 2nd Year
Vontae Davis enjoyed a successful rookie season with 53 tackles and four intercptions, with one for a score.  Davis has a lot of potential, but will have to improve to become an elite corner...he allowed 46 catches in 71 attempted passes, ranking 61st in the NFL.
Offensive Outlook            B+
Much of this grade rests on the development of QB Chad Henne.  He experienced moderate success in his first year at the helm, completing over 60% of his passes, but will need to cut down on the mistakes (14 interceptions to only 12 touchdowns).  The addition of WR Brandon Marshall will definitely help, and he has the luxury of a very impressive rushing attack.
Defensive Outlook            C+
In 2009, the Dolphins were 24th against the pass and 18th against the run (in terms of total yards) in the NFL.  With no major changes to the defense other than the addition of Karlos Dansby, who will have a big impact, the Dolphins defense will likely not improve drastically.  With many young players in the lineup it may be a few years before the Dolphins have a great defense.  
Special Teams Outlook            B+
Dan Carpenter has been very solid the last two years as the Phins' kicker, hitting 84% and then 89% of his field goals.  Punter Brandon Fields also enjoyed a great 2009 season, and with these two returning the Dolphins should once again have a solid kicking game.  Davone Bess handled punt returns last year and needs to step up if the Dolphins want to win the field position battle, averaging only 7.5 yards per return and fumbling three times.  Ted Ginn Jr. is gone as the Kick Returner and the Dolphins will likely look to backup RB Patrick Cobbs, who had 16 returns in 2009, to fill that role.
Projected 2010 Record            8-8
Playing in the AFC East this year will not be easy (except when they get to play the Bills!).  It may be the second toughest division (to the NFC East), but expect the Dolphins to do very well outside of their division. I just don't think their offense is good enough to carry their poor defense to an AFC East title this year...Chad Henne go prove me wrong!

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