Legit article on why Miami wins the east!
Ten games into the 2005 season, the Miami Dolphins were 3-7 and looked like a team with marginal talent. However, to their credit they somehow rallied and put together six victories in a row to finish the season with a respectable 9-7 record.
There is now rampant optimism in the Dolphins' camp and some believe they are poised to replace the New England Patriots atop the AFC East. Are the Dolphins that good or are we overrating them as we head into training camp?
It all starts with head coach Nick Saban, who has total control of this organization in both coaching and personnel and is not afraid to make tough calls. Much like his friend, Bill Belichick in New England, Saban makes decisions based on facts and not emotions. He knows exactly what he needs to build this team and nothing will make him waver from what he thinks is right.
How many coaches have enough job security and confidence to hire two ex-head coaches as coordinators? Mike Mularkey (Buffalo) will run the offense and Dom Capers (Carolina and Houston) will run the defense. In typical Saban fashion, however, both the offensive and defensive schemes are already in place. Instead of forcing the players to adjust to a new system, Mularkey and Capers will have to make adjustments.
Offensively, success revolves around the health of new quarterback Daunte Culpepper. He is coming off a devastating knee injury, but the medical reports out of South Florida are positive. He is participating in throwing drills and his mobility and movement are way ahead of schedule.
There is quiet optimism that Culpepper will be ready to play on opening day. If that's the case, which Culpepper will we see? Will it be the one who threw only six touchdown passes and 12 interceptions before his injury a year ago, or the player who threw 39 TDs in 2004? If we get the latter, the Dolphins will be off and running. The offense will be balanced, with a strong run game led by Ronnie Brown. However, they will take more vertical shots in the passing game to stretch the field and soften up defenses.
Nick Saban has built a strong nucleus and created a winning culture in Miami.
The Dolphins were 18th in the NFL in 2005 in average gain per pass play and would like to improve on that, especially with Culpepper's gifted deep arm. Another tweak to the passing game might be more roll-outs and bootlegs to pressure the perimeter of opposing defenses. A year ago that was a non-factor as part of the playbook because of quarterback Gus Frerotte's limited mobility. Both Culpepper and backup Joey Harrington are agile and will add another element to the offense.
Culpepper has decent weapons to which to throw, but there is an alarming lack of depth at wide receiver. After Chris Chambers and Marty Booker, the Dolphins do not have a legitimate No. 3 or No. 4 threat. As a result, tight end Randy McMichael might have to assume a bigger role, although there is hope that rookie wideout Derek Hagan will develop quickly.
As good as the running game can be, Miami's coaching staff has to be concerned about depth. Brown gained 907 yards as a rookie, but he ran the ball only 207 times. Although he's added 10 pounds of muscle this offseason and seems motivated to be a workhorse, you cannot expect Brown to carry the ball 300 times. With Ricky Williams now playing in Canada as a result of his one-year suspension, the Dolphins must find someone in training camp capable of giving Brown a rest.
Miami's offensive line, a huge success story in 2005, returns intact. Offensive line coach Hudson Houck took a group of no-names and turned it into a very respectable unit. This group cut its sacks allowed total from 53 in 2004 to 26 in 2005 and helped the run game improve from 3.2 yards per carry in 2004 to 4.3 in 2005. The addition of blocking fullback Fred Beasley from San Francisco was more good news for Miami's skill-position players.
The biggest challenge for Miami's offensive coaching staff will be improving red-zone efficiency. In 2005, the Dolphins were 26th in red-zone touchdowns, converting only 21 of 52 opportunities. Mularkey is known as a creative play-caller who loves trick plays, which should make the Dolphins fun to watch in the red zone.
Defensively, the Dolphins were rock solid last season in the front seven, but the secondary was another story. Saban is a secondary coach by trade and employs a very complicated scheme with a combination of coverages, but his personnel wouldn't allow him to integrate those schemes. A year ago, the lack of speed in the secondary made it difficult to play tight man-to-man coverages and blitz because Miami's defensive backs could not be trusted on an island.
Miami was 20th in the NFL in 2005 in passing yards allowed per game despite the fact that it produced 49 sacks up front, which tied for second in the league. To Sabans' credit, he has given his secondary a complete makeover. Gone are defensive backs Sam Madison, Reggie Howard, Tebucky Jones and Lance Schulters. The new arrivals are Will Allen, Andre' Goodman, Renaldo Hill, Deke Cooper, and rookie first-round pick Jason Allen. This new group has more speed, versatility and playmaking possibilities and should be able to handle Saban's multiple schemes.
Up front, the Dolphins quietly are implementing a lot of 3-4 alignments. Even when they are in a 4-3 front, they tend to line up the big Keith Traylor at nose tackle. Speaking of Traylor, he is a big key to this defense. When he is right, he is an unmovable object and can neutralize the inside run. However, he is aging, gets nicked a lot, wears down and recently was arrested with a DUI charge. There is virtually no depth behind him and if Traylor struggles, this interior run defense could suffer.
There is good depth in the rest of this defensive line, along with the versatility to play difficult fronts. Jason Taylor is coming off a 12-sack season and can line up at right defensive end in the 4-3 or at right outside linebacker in the 3-4, although even when he is at linebacker he usually pass rushes with his hands in the dirt.
Left defensive end Kevin Carter can play on the edge in both fronts and can move easily inside to defensive tackle in pass-rush situations. This is a perfect example of a defensive front with a lot of interchangeable parts. Although Capers has the title of special assistant to the head coach, his real job is to make this Miami defense even more productive and unpredictable. He is a defensive guru with great experience in the 3-4 defense and will add some unusual blitzes and new looks out of the varied fronts to confuse opposing offenses.
So how good will the 2006 Dolphins be? In my opinion, they will win the AFC East if Culpepper is healthy. They do have the challenge of adjusting to two new coaches (Mularkey and Capers), they must survive depth issues at running back and linebacker, and a totally revamped secondary must jell quickly. However, when you look at this division, the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets have new coaches and a lot of personnel questions, while the Patriots did little in the offseason to improve.
Miami has a favorable schedule, with no tiring West Coast trips and has only one cold weather game (at Buffalo on Dec. 17). The Dolphins' other cold weather trips, to New England, N.Y. Jets and Chicago, all come before the bad weather hits the East.
With Saban in charge, there are no gray areas in this organization. Players know what is expected of them and they either live up to those expectations or they are gone. Saban preaches conditioning in the sweltering summer Miami heat and the Dolphins test for body fat, muscle mass, and they even conduct hydration tests with all of their players. As a result, this team will be in great physical shape in September and October and should get off to a quick start. The AFC East race likely will come down to the Pats and Dolphins and I predict both finish with 10-6 records. Miami will win the division because of tie-breakers, while New England will make the playoffs as a wild card. A lot of people think the Dolphins are still a year away from being a legitimate playoff contender. I think they are ready now. This will become a model organization that a lot of teams will try to copy.
With all that written, as soon as the Dolphins tank another season and miss the playoffs come back and explain to us how much of a waste that article was.
I seriously cannot wait till the season is in full swing. If you guys believe that you will walk through this division again, you are in for a rude awakening. Seriously, I want to know how it is you believe this division is all yours. Seriously, enlighten me.
You wanted enlightenment, you got it!
Let's break it down...
New England - Brady (Cassell)
Miami - Culpepper (Lemon, Harrington)
Edge - Pats (though I like Miami's depth)
New England - Dillon (Maroney, Faulk)
Miami - (Brown, Minor)
Edge - Pats (could be Miami if Ricky laid off the ganja)
New England - Branch, Jackson (Caldwell, Brown)
Miami - Chambers, Booker (Welker, Hagan)
Edge - Even (big upside in NE with Jackson and Branch's contract year)
New England - Watson, Graham (Thomas)
Miami - McMichael (Peele)
Edge - Pats (hands down)
New England - Light, Mankins, Koppen, Neal, Kazcur
Miami - Shelton, James, McKinney, Hadnot, Carey
Edge - Pats (though Miami is underrated here
New England - Seymour, Wilfork, Warren (Green, Sullivan, Hill)
Miami - Carter, Traylor/Holliday, Taylor/Roth
Edge: Pats (Miami's line good in 4-3, below average in 3-4)
New England - Colvin, Beisel, Bruschi, Vrabel (TBC, Mincey)
Miami - Hodge, Thomas/Crowder, Taylor (Spragen, Pope)
Edge - Pats (Miami's 3-4 unit is close)
New England - Harrison, Samuel, Hobbs, Wilson (Sanders, Warfield, Gay)
Miami - Daniels, Tillman, Allen, Allen (Cooper, Poole, Hill)
Edge - Pats (Miami lacks depth to match)
Edge - Pats
RB- Please. Dillon is washed up. Brown averged 4.6 YPC last year. We are way better than you at RB (Miami)
WR- You're joking right? We have a pro bowler top 10 WR and your best guy is holding out (Miami)
TE- What? No way are Watson and Grahm better than McMike, not even combined. Especially not hands down. You are such a homer (Miami)
OL- You got that too but youre right, we are much improved (New England)
Front 7- Taylor and Thomas are both top 10 defensive players in the league, Carter and Holliday are both solid. Crowder is a soon to be superstar. You guys lost one of your big peices in McGinnest but you still got Bruschi and Seymore. (Miami)
DBs- We have a brand new secondary and a lot of depth. At the end of the year it could be great or just ok. It depends on how Will Poole comes back and how Will Allen and Jason Allen transistion. You were beat up in the secondary last year but for now I'll give it to you. (New England)
You are such a homer man. NO WAY, can you give the Pats TEs, RBs and a tie at WR. Running backs is the only one that might be even close but that's only because Ronnie is young. He is still way better than Dillon however.
Wow can you say KING HOMER...Pats have less depth at RB, QB and TE then Miami.
QB - Miami has the depth, Pats have the consistent star. Edge: Pats at this point.
RB - I would give Miami the slight edge at RB. Dillion was injured and is old. He wont last an entire season.
At TE...Miami has McMike which is better then any TE Pats have.
OL - Miami added LJ Shelton on the line, while the Pats lost a long time starter.
WR - Is really a no brainer. Chambers and Hagan is a star duo in the making. Pats are not even sure their #1 option will be on the field, and he still is no Chambers, plus Miami has Booker.
DL - Even to slight edge for Pats
LB - Are you kidding...Miami hands down
CB - Pats at this point. Although age is a concern.
Coaching: Easy Miami...Miami has a brain trust of experienced smart coaches. The New England brain trust is gone and BB has to do everything. Head coach may go to Pats at this point, but overall coaching is Miami.
QB - Again, Brady trumps Culpepper by miles and Harrington by lightyears. It doesn't matter what kind of depth either team has behind their starters, because neither team will be in good shape.
RB - So Jason Allen is God while Laurence Maroney is nothing? Even if Dillon can't rebound from an injury-plagued 2005, you can't think Maroney doesn't count for anything. He's a first round pick who'd be starting for a lot of teams right now. The jury is still out on Brown, too. Don't go expecting some 2,000 yard season from him. The Pats have less depth? Give me a break! Travis Minor was a liability when he started. Same with Morris. Meanwhile, the Pats have Dillon and Maroney, Faulk and Pass, and Mills and Evans. That's depth.
WR - Does it matter if he's holding out? Seymour held out last year, but that didn't make any Dolphins player better than him. Branch edges out Chambers. Between Jackson, Brown, and Caldwell, the Patriots have sufficient production at the WR position, but their entire offense will supply the yards in the passing game, not just at WR. The Pats may be thin here, but it's certainly balanced out with their depth at TE and RB.
TE - To think McMichael is without a doubt better than either Graham or Watson is crazy. What is clear is the Pats have, and will, use many 2 TE sets. Add Thomas and Mills to the equation, and the Pats EASILY edge out the Dolphins, as all 4 will likely be used.
OL - Who's this "longtime starter" the Pats lost? Ashworth? He wasn't anything special in 2003, was injured in 2004, and was also injured off-and-on in 2005. The Pats now have Light back, who is the true "longtime starter." He has been one of the better OTs in the league since his arrival in 2001. Shelton only does so much to help the shaky unit that is the Dolphins OL, and is certainly not top-tier. The Pats will have Light, Kaczur, Mankins, Koppen, and Neal starting, which can be certainly one the best units in the league if healthy.
DL - "Slight" edge to the Pats? For starters, Seymour is one of the best, if the THE best, defensive linemen in the league. Kevin Carter is 33, Traylor is 37, Zgonia is 37, and Holliday is 31. I wouldn't want to depend on a unit that old. The Pats have yet-to-reach-their-peak players in Warren and Wilfork, both first-rounders. They have and will continue to improve.
LB - If you think Miami wins hands-down on this one, I can't believe you actually had the mental capacity to type. Bruschi, Vrabel, and Colvin are all borderline Pro-Bowl level players. The Dolphins match with Thomas and Taylor, and Crowder is promising, Hodge and Spragan are OK, but there's just not enough from either side to propel any team above the other.
DB - Two words: Rodney. Harrison. - when healthy, he'll trump Tillman, Allen, Cooper, Daniels, Allen, Goodman, Hill, and any other Miami DB by miles. Add-in 4 solid young players in Wilson, Samuel, Hobbs, and Gay, some extra veteran support in Warfield, C. Scott, Jones, and Hawkins, and finally some young projects in Sanders, G. Scott, Ventrone, and Andrews, and the Pats take the cake. The only team with the age issue here is the Dolphins.
Coaching - Until Saban has a fist full of Super Bowl rings, you're making a fool of yourself thinking the Dolphins have the edge in coaching. Pees, McDaniels, Pepper Johnson, and Belichick's right hand man, Ernie Adams, aren't any bums.
P.S, you're view is completely homerism pal. You compare the 4 tightends up against Randy and the truth is, not a single one of them can every carry McMike's jock.
Pats have- QB, OL, DL(because ours is old) secondary, coaching(for now)
Miami has- RB, WR, TE, LB (slightly)
There it is.
The division race will be over by midseason and we wont see you again until the next offseason predicting Miami dominance again while continuing to look like a complete fool, LMAO.
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