5 Positives the Miami Dolphins Can Take into the 2012 NFL Season
With the last game of the NFL regular season on Sunday, the Miami Dolphins are ready to move on and focus on next season. This is a very talented team that can surprise a lot of people next year if they can fill some holes that have cost them some games this year.
There is no doubt that this is a season for the Miami Dolphins to forget, but they can also take a lot of positives from this season into next season. The Dolphins defense came on strong during the second half of the season, Reggie Bush proved that he can can be a lead back and Cameron Wake will make the Pro Bowl in the near future.
Let's take a look at these positives and some other ones that the Dolphins will want to take into next season.
The Defense Will Continue to Play at a High Level
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The Dolphins defense was one of the biggest disappointments at the beginning of the season. They were predicted to be a top five defense and one of the reasons the Dolphins would be a playoff contender. They were embarrassed on national television on Week 1 when they allowed Tom Brady to pass for 516 yards and allowed 622 yards of total offense.
The defense turned it on in Week 9 against the Kansas City Chiefs and came out with a 31-3 victory. During the first seven games of the season the Dolphins' defense gave up 23.7 points per game. The next eight games proved that this defense can be one of the best defenses in the league when they managed to give up only 16.5 points per game.
During their three-game winning streak where they beat the likes of the Kansas City Chiefs, the Washington Redskins and the Buffalo Bills, they only gave up 6.6 points per game. If this unit can continue to play at this level and improve some holes in the secondary, they will be a force to be reckoned with next season.
Cameron Wake Will Make the Pro Bowl
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Cameron Wake is one of the best rush linebackers in the NFL. He has the speed to run around a tackle and the power to run through him. His motor is one of the best in the league and all quarterbacks fear him. He ranked second in sacks last year with 14, but his productivity dropped a little this year as he has recorded 8.5 sacks with a game left. Offenses are now prepared for him and will constantly double-team him.
If Miami can get a linebacker that has the ability to rush the passer for next year, Cameron Wake will have a big chance at leading the league in sacks and lead what could be one of the best front seven in football. The Dolphins thought they would have a dynamic duo with Wake and Jason Taylor this year, but Taylor proved that he has nothing left in the tank and will retire after this season.
Reggie Bush Is the Lead Back
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And people were saying Reggie Bush could only catch the ball out of the backfield and return punts. Well, he has proven everybody wrong (even me). Since he was drafted as the second overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft, Reggie Bush had never rushed for more than 581 yards in a season. He rushed for 2,090 yards in his five-year stint with the New Orleans Saints and rushed for 904 yards in his last three seasons.
This year, Bush has rushed for 1,086 yards and six touchdowns with a game left and is averaging 5 yards per carry. He has helped the Dolphins rushing offense rank 10th in the league with an average of 127 yards per game. Bush has also caught 43 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown.
He has helped take some of the pressure off Matt Moore and is a big reason why the Dolphins were able to turn their season around and go on a three-game winning streak while finishing the season 5-3 with a game against the Jets looming.
The Offensive Line Is a Right Tackle Away from Being Elite
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All they need is a right tackle. I mean, did they really think Marc Colombo was going to solve their problems? Jake Long is still the best left tackle in the game and made the Pro Bowl this year yet again.
Richie Incognito is not the best lineman, but he has been solid this season. Mike Pouncey has shown great promise and has been one of the top rookies this year. Vernon Carey has had to adjust to playing guard but did a nice job towards the end of the season. John Jerry has also showed great promise filling in for injured players after many people wrote him off.
The question is, if Miami can not draft Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, will they take a tackle in the first round? They have already taken Long and Pouncey in the first round, and it has paid off for them (Vernon Carey was also a first-rounder).
Will fans be happy if they take another lineman? Why not take a top corner to help out the secondary? Could they possibly reach for Landry Jones?
These are questions that will be answered in draft day, but if Miami can get a top tackle in this year's draft, this line will be scary good next season.
Vontae Davis Will Be a Top Corner
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So all it takes is a little alcohol in the bloodstream and for a teammate to use you as a punching bag. Vontae Davis has sure come on strong after those incidents early in the season. He proclaimed himself, along with teammate Sean Smith, as the best corner back duo in the league. He was right about one of them.
Davis has had four interceptions since he was suspended one game for attending practice hungover. He had a two-interception game against the Buffalo Bills, which helped the team come out with a victory.
He has been short of spectacular since his suspension and will look to take his high level of play into next season. If the Dolphins can get him some help on the other side, he will blossom into a Pro Bowler and will become an elite corner.