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NFL 2012: Miami Dolphins Season Outlook

Will Ryan Tannehill be the starting quarterback in Miami in 2012?
Will Ryan Tannehill be the starting quarterback in Miami in 2012?Al Bello/Getty Images
Craig HortonCorrespondent IMay 9, 2012

Quick Review of 2011

Offense—22nd total, 23rd passing, 11th rushing.

Defense—15th total, 25th passing, third rushing.

The Miami Dolphins had a terrible 0-7 start. They lost quarterback Chad Henne for the year. Matt Moore led the team to a 6-3 finish. Moore was 12th in passer rating, even though his 192 passing yards per game was among the league's lowest.

The Dolphins had a perfect run/pass balance, throwing 469 passes and rushing the ball 469 times. The 6-10 record could have been better, but the Dolphins let four games get away in the fourth quarter—against Cleveland, Denver, Dallas and the Giants.

Despite the late-season wins, coach Tony Sparano was still let go at season's end.

 

New Additions

QB David Garrard, LB Gary Guyton, LB E.J. Henderson, G Artis Hicks, S Tyrell Johnson, CB Richard Marshall, WR Legedu Naanee, LB Jamaal Westerman.

 

Draft Choices

QB Ryan Tannehill, T Jonathan Martin, DE Olivier Vernon, TE Michael Egnew, RB Lamar Miller, LB Josh Kaddu, WR B.J. Cunningham, DT Kheeston Randall, WR Rishard Matthews.

 

Undrafted Free Agents

DT Chas Alecxih, C Terence Brown, LB Cameron Collins, G Derek Dennis, WR Jeff Fuller, RB Jonas Gray, CB Trenton Hughes, LB Shelly Lyons, S Kelcie McCray, WR Derek Moye, DE Jarrell Root, G Josh Samuda, CB Kevyn Scott, DE Derrick Shelby, DE Jacquies Smith, T Dustin Waldron.

 

Subtractions

LB Ikaika Alama-Francis, CB Will Allen, S Yeremiah Bell, G Vernon Carey, QB Chad Henne, RB Lex Hilliard, DE Kendall Langford, QB J.P. Losman, WR Brandon Marshall, LB Marvin Mitchell, LB Jason Taylor.

Are Matt Moore's days numbered in Miami?
Are Matt Moore's days numbered in Miami?Marc Serota/Getty Images

 

Outlook For 2012

Most would consider the Dolphins offseason a dismal failure.

After firing Tony Sparano, the team hired Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin. He hired former Green Bay and Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman as offensive coordinator.

The team failed to sign Peyton Manning, and also shocked the NFL by trading Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall to Chicago. It was later revealed, though, that Marshall had just had another run-in with the law. They also either didn't pursue, or just failed to sign any other big-name free agents. Despite poor pass defense in 2011, they didn't draft any defensive backs in 2012.

In the 2012 NFL draft, the Dolphins selected quarterback Ryan Tannehill from Texas A&M with their first pick. He is familiar with Sherman and his system.

This summer's camp should determine if Tannehill or Matt Moore will open the season at quarterback.

The million dollar question: Is Tannehill the quarterback the Dolphins have looked for since Dan Marino's retirement, or did they "reach" by taking him with the No. 8 pick?

 

Schedule

Sept.  9 at Houston

Sept. 16    Oakland

Sept. 23    New York Jets

Sept. 30 at Arizona

Oct.  7 at Cincinnati

Oct. 14    St. Louis

Oct. 28 at New York Jets

Nov.  4 at Indianapolis

Nov. 11    Tennessee

Can Joe Philbin lead the Dolphins back to glory?
Can Joe Philbin lead the Dolphins back to glory?Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Nov. 15 at Buffalo

Nov. 25    Seattle

Dec.  2    New England

Dec.  9 at San Francisco

Dec. 16    Jacksonville

Dec. 23    Buffalo

Dec. 30 at New England

Evidently the national media doesn't give the Dolphins much respect. All of their games are at 1:00 p.m. ET, except the two games out West—Arizona and San Francisco. Their only prime-time game is Thursday, November 15 at Buffalo.

 

Prediction

The Dolphins late-season surge last year, though respectable, was not against the top-tier teams.

If Matt Moore is the quarterback, can he lead the new offense, or will he be just a game manager?

If Ryan Tannehill is the starter, the team will have to suffer through his rookie mistakes.

The Dolphins will have to adjust to the new offense, and more than four wins might not be attainable.

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