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State of the Teams: Miami Dolphins

Discussion in 'Visiting Locker Room' started by Deus Irae, Jul 16, 2009.

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  1. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Ok, there's no way that I'm going to be able to break down every team in time for the regular season, but I'll do the best that I can. Today, it's a look at the Dolphins.

    Record last season: 11-5

    Major departures: None

    Major Additions: Jason Taylor

    Free Agent signings: Jason Taylor, Eric Green


    Recent History:

    Last season, the Dolphins were coming off one of the worst seasons in NFL history. A 1-15 record led to mass firings, and Bill Parcells was brought in to return the franchise to prominence. A new coach, a shiny new left tackle and a late blessing in the form of Chad Pennington helped to give the team a new attitude, and it didn't take long for that attitude to pay off. In week 3 against the Patriots, the Dolphins trotted out their own version of the 'Wildcat' offense and steamrolled the Patriots. The easy schedule for the season, combined with the strong play of Pennington, Long and Porter, helped the team to have a tremendous bounce back season, as the formerly pathetic Dolphins shocked the NFL by winning the AFC East.

    The euphoria of the turnaround was short-lived, however, as the Ravens crushed them in the Wildcard round of the playoffs.


    Off season news:

    It's been a relatively quiet offseason for the Dolphins. Jason Taylor is back in the fold, and he could be a major addition if he's healthy and able to terrorize quarterbacks as he did just a couple of seasons ago. Pennington is firmly in place as the team's starting quarterback. Pat White was drafted in the second round, however, leading to speculation that the Dolphins will implement even more aspects of the 'Wildcat' offense. Miami also spent a first round and second round pick on defensive backs in an attempt to find ways to cover the receiving corps of Buffalo and New England.


    Outlook:

    Last season was only the second time in his NFL career that Pennington managed to start all 16 games in a season. The Dolphins need him to stay healthy that way if they want to have any chance at all of competing in the division. Brown and Williams are back and still form an effective running back tandem. The highest drafted punt returner in NFL history, Ted Ginn, Jr., showed fleeting signs of becoming almost useful as an NFL receiver, and continued improvement by him would be a big help to the Dolphins offense. Unfortunately for the team, this year's schedule is much more difficult and teams around the league solved the problem of the Wildcat pretty quickly.


    Prediction:

    A team that was almost uncanny in its ability to avoid injuries is not likely to be that fortunate again. Combine the likely increase in injuries, the much more difficult schedule and the return of Tom F'in' Brady, and you've got a recipe for a pretty big step backwards. I could see this team winning as few as 5 games this season, as I can see losses against NE (*2), ATL, IND, SD, NO, CAR, NY Jets, TEN, HOU and PIT. I can see them winning as many as 9 if things break well for them. My personal guess is 6-7 wins.


    P.S.: If anyone would like to breakdown other NFL teams, please feel free to do so. A major change in circumstances has insured that there's just no way for me to break down every team before the season starts. And remember, things can change between now and the end of training camp!
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  2. Synovia

    Synovia Rookie

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    We're talking about the same Jason Taylor who got cut by the Redskins right? The guy who wasn't good enough to stay on a team that has almost no pass rush?
  3. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Rookie

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    If Taylor is healthy we might see some interesting drame between him and Joey Porter, I don't think Porter would appreciate Taylor stealing his thunder.
  4. MoLewisrocks

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    Neither getting signed by or cut by the Redskins in the Dan Snyder era says much about a player. That Belichick wanted to sign him as at least a rotational passrusher potentially speaks volumes. He is 2 years removed from being the DPOY, but also a year past his oddly timed flirtation with off season dancing, he's recovered from a nearly career ending injury. We won't know 'til we know, though. The smart money says Synder made another mistake and BB and Tuna saw value once he did.
  5. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Some other viewpoints on the State of the Dolphins:


    CBS Sports Power Rankings by Pete Prisco Rank: 26 - "They are the step-back team this season. But in 2010, look out. I think Chad Henne will take over at some time this season."

    Sports Illustrated Power Rankings by Peter King Rank: 17 - "The difference between this year and last might just be the schedule. This one's a bruiser, starting with Atlanta on the road, Indy at home and San Diego on the road, and ending at Tennessee and home with Houston and Pittsburgh. Every one of those teams could win 10 games, and that's how the Fins have to start and end the season. I really like the Pat White second-round pick, but if Chad Pennington doesn't stay upright, playing Chad Henne with White in relief could be a major pothole.

    NFL.com Power Rankings by Pat Kirwan Rank: 17 - "The Dolphins could be ranked higher if they stick with Chad Pennington this season. The addition of Jason Taylor helps the pass rush, and the selection of the two big corners in the draft (Vontae Davis and Sean Smith) help in a division that has Terrell Owens and Randy Moss. The added dimension of Pat White to the "Wildcat" package will win a game or two this year."

    ESPN Power Rankings Rank: 15 - "An encore performance will be difficult, but under-the-radar moves made them better on defense and on the offensive line."

    Rich Gosselin's NFL off-season rankings Rank: 15 - "The Dolphins introduced the Wildcat formation to the NFL in 2008 and take the next step with it in 2009 with the selection of West Virginia QB Pat White in the draft. Chad Pennington's arm, Ronnie Brown's legs and the pass rush of Joey Porter and Jason Taylor will keep defending AFC East champion Miami competitive in the division."

    Walter Football post-draft Power Rankings Rank: 17 - "I stand by what I said in my last Miami write-up: The Dolphins have a solid squad, but I feel as though their ceiling will always be a first- or a second-round exit until they transition to Chad Henne. No defender is scared of Chad Pennington's girly arm. Just ask Ed Reed."

    They also went more in depth to the Dolphins offseason giving them a B- on the draft and predicting a 3rd place 5-11 season. The site gives a decent summary on all the roster changes.

    "2009 MiamiDolphins Analysis: The Dolphins were really lucky last year. Had Tom Brady stayed healthy, they wouldn't have made the playoffs. Had Brett Favre not self-destructed in the final few weeks, you could also make the case that Miami would have missed out on the postseason.

    But the Dolphins did make the playoffs, which in turn exposed their weaknesses - the quarterback position and their pass rush. Chad Pennington doesn't have the arm strength to consistently beat tough defenses, while the two players asked to get to the opposing passers will be 32 and 35 during the 2009 campaign. Throw in a tougher schedule, and I can't see Miami getting back to the playoffs.

    The record I have below for Miami is a worst-case scenario; the team is better than 5-11, but the schedule is packed with tough spots and fierce opponents. The Dolphins must avoid an 0-3 start.

    Projection: 5-11 (Tied for 3rd in AFC East)"
  6. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Think that the Wildcat will be prepared for by all teams and less effective this year... what concerns me about them, is their running backs..
  7. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yeah, I think Ronnie Brown will be a lot better this year than he was last year, being a full year after his knee surgery. Ricky Williams may be on the wrong side of 30 but he has a lot of tread left on the tires.

    I'll be curious to see how they do with all the rookie defensive backs.
  8. HEY BRO! WHAT UP?

    HEY BRO! WHAT UP? Banned

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    Another one of these threads?:confused: You want to know the state of the Dolphins? They aren't going to beat the Pats for the division as long as Brady is healthy. The end.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  9. Rob0729

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    I think the Dolphins will take a step back this year. They weren't as good as their record was last year and teams that have big jumps like this typically take a step back the next year. I will say 7-9 wins.
  10. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Feel free to avoid reading and commenting on these threads.


    Really.


    Please feel free to take such (in)action. They are pretty obviously titled, after all, so it should be easy for you.
  11. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Good job with the breakdown etc. Deus--these threads certainly do have value and importance, most importantly because our team plays them 2x this year. I always appreciate your stuff, and it also helps the time pass a little quicker.
  12. HEY BRO! WHAT UP?

    HEY BRO! WHAT UP? Banned

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    I just don't understand why you would take the time to analyze another team. You know they won't beat the Pats for the division as long as Brady is healthy. They are a fluke. What else do we need to know?
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  13. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Again, feel free to avoid the threads. If you use Firefox, it's become easier than ever to put entire threads on ignore. Here's the addon:

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/7023
  14. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    With respect to you, Miami has the tendency to play us tough over the years, and certainly has given Tom some problems. They're also the defending AFCE champs, whether it was somewhat of a fluke or not. I can guarantee you that Bill Belichick probably doesn't see it as a fluke, and if he does he certainly won't admit to such. They pounded us in one game, and played tough through 3 quarters of another.

    Since they're in the immediate division etc, I don't see why some of us wouldn't be curious about off-season moves, schedule strength and other stuff.

    And I'm not trying to be a d!ck or anything, but what else is there really to discuss right now? I didn't realize breaking down divisional foes was such a waste of time, although I respect and appreciate your optimism.
  15. PatsChamp88

    PatsChamp88 Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    You got that right they do give us trouble from time to time, I think a lot of their success hinges this year on their defense especially how their secondary performs and if they can keep teams guessing on defense. I'll be interested to see how Davis and Smith have an impact if all and if White can succeed and start running the wild-cat formation or his impact if he plays other positions. I'm also really interested in how they will run their offense this year I can't imagine them running it the "exact" same as last year since teams will know what to look for, maybe they will come up with different wild-cat plays that utilize White or if they will come up with a different formation, hard to say but they need to stay creative to keep teams defenses guessing. I know they want to groom Henne to be the starter next year (I think this is Pennington's contract year?) so it will be interesting to see if White can out-play him in the preseason although Henne should have the edge and if the team takes a dump who will be starting quarterback will be. It will be interesting to see what Jason Taylor has left in the tank.

    I guess perhaps we could start more threads on how the pass rush sucks, how terrible Woods is, etc etc :D
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  16. wockenbauss

    wockenbauss Rookie

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    Hey, I realize the Dolphins are only an afterthought in Patriots fans minds... not even a speed bump on the the juggernaut Pats road to the Superbowl; but this write-up is pretty pathetic.

    Starting S Renaldo Hill - Bronco's.
    Starting CB Andre Goodman - Bronco's.
    Starting DE Vonnie Holiday - Cut.
    Starting C Samson Satelle - Traded, Raiders.

    Don't know exactly what "major" means to you... but departing starters fits that category for me.

    ????

    FS - Gibril Wilson - Raiders, 2008 stats - 129 tackles, 2 INT's, projected starter.
    C/G - Joe Berger - Cowboys, 2008 stats - 3 games started, projected backup.
    C - Jake Grove - Raiders, 90.6% POA win rating by KC Joyner for 2008, projected starter.
    CB - Eric Green - Cardinals, projected to compete with 1st and 2nd round rookies for starting position.
    OLB - Jason Taylor - Redskins, projected pass rush specialist.
    OLB - Cameron Wake - CFL Defensive MVP last two years, projected to compete for pass rush specialist.
    DT/DE - Tony McDaniel - Jaguars, 6'7" 310 lbs - projected to compete for backup DL position.

    Not to minimize the importance (in your eyes) Miami places on being able to cover Bills and Patriots receivers.... but it MIGHT have been an attempt to cover the losses of two starting members of the secondary don't you think? I mean in the 12 games the Dolphins will play against teams not named the Bills or Pats, don't you think it likely the opposing teams will field WR's as well? :)

    I tend to overlook such comments (as those bolded above) as rank jealousy over the fact that the Pats brain-trust has proven to be darn near incapable of drafting a decent WR on their own. LOL

    Everyone knows that WR's take time to adjust to the Pro game... and Ginn's #'s put him directly in line with some pro-bowl level receivers as far as their first two years in the league.

    Year Team G Rec Yds Avg Yds/G Lng TD 20+ 40+ 1st FUM
    2008 Miami Dolphins 16 56 790 14.1 49.4 64 2 7 4 36 3
    2007 Miami Dolphins 16 34 420 12.4 26.2 54 2 5 1 18 0

    This APPEARS to be a much tougher schedule I grant you... although its nothing but speculation based on last year - til the season starts.

    That said... the statement that "teams around the league solved the problem of the Wildcat pretty quickly" is nothing but wishful thinking.

    The Dolphins introduced their "Wildcat" package in the 3rd game of the season last year, and here is the breakdown between season halves:

    Wildcat snaps:

    First 6 games- 32 attempts, 206 yards, 6.43 YPC
    Last 8 games- 42 attempts, 290 yards, 6.9 YPC

    In the few games where the formation was mostly ineffective (most notably the Baltimore playoff game)... far from "solving the problem" of the formation, teams were able to take advantage of mismatches with the interior of the Dolphins offensive line - which by the end of the year had lost both starting guards, and had a starting center playing with a dislocated shoulder.

    You mean the team who took a career RDE/ROLB and moved him to a normal run defense first position of LDE?

    This is the Joey Porter who lobbied publicly for the team to resign Taylor this off-season?

    Yeah... could never happen.

    10/07/01 -- at Miami 30, New England 10
    10/06/02 -- at Miami 26, New England 13
    12/20/04 -- at Miami 29, New England 28
    01/01/06 -- Miami 28, at New England 26
    12/10/06 -- at Miami 21, New England 0
  17. HEY BRO! WHAT UP?

    HEY BRO! WHAT UP? Banned

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    For some reason, I edited my post but it didn't save it, which really pisses me off. I meant to say that the Dolphins won't be able to beat the Pats for the division crown as long as Brady is around. I'm going to edit it again.
  18. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Always glad to have the input from other teams' fans. I think your definition of "major" needs a bit of adjustment especially if you think that cutting loose the rotting corpse of Vonnie Holiday was a 'major' depature. I should have put Wake on the F.A. list (the others are bit characters and don't matter as of this moment), the schedule will be much more difficult and teams did solve the Wildcat.

    As for Ginn, time will tell, but you really do need to relax a bit and take a joke. As for jealousy, you've got the wrong guy. And, regarding the DBs, the whole point of bringing them in was because those that they let go could not cover the wideouts of teams like the Patriots and Bills. Why you're contesting that statement is a curiousity, but nothing more, really.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  19. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    Yes - we're talking about the player cut by the Redskins and not the guy that the Patriots wanted to sign who they felt could help their team. :rolleyes:

    I'm sure the cap savings of $8.5 million didn't enter the Redskins equation either.

    Regardless nice simple breakdown by Deus - tougher schedule, no major additions or subtractions, combined with a realistic normal year for injury (including an injury prone QB) could really see the Dolphins come back down to earth.
  20. wockenbauss

    wockenbauss Rookie

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    Likewise to you. Holiday may not have been "major" in your view... but he did start 16 games for the Dolphins at LDE last season, and to overlook that AND three other departing starters with your "None" description is ridiculous.

    A brand new starting center (Jake Grove) and a brand new starting Free Safety (Gibril Wilson)... are NOT "bit players". I'd argue that Wake, Green, and Taylor are more of a "bit players" than either of these two.

    And no, no one "solved" the Wildcat... unless you think relying on the Dolphins to lose two starting guards and to also play with an injured starter at center is a "solution" for it. LOL

    I've taken all too many "jokes" at Ginn's expense already (especially from Pats fans who have traded for more excellent Dolphins WR's in the last five years than they've been able to draft). Hows that Brady Quinn thing working out by the way?

    I'm contesting the point because both Hill and Goodman got high dollar contracts with the Bronco's... and replacing them was a given - regardless of how highly you think of your Pats and the Bills WR's. :)
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