Forget Chad Ochocinco: The Media Should Be Hyping These 5 Dolphins
Chad Ochocinco's one season in New England was an unequivocal bust.
In his only season with the Patriots, Ochocinco had only 15 catches for 276 yards and one touchdown.
If the plan was for Ochocinco to learn the offense during the regular season, then break him out for the playoffs, then that was a failure, too. He only recorded one catch for 21 yards during the NFL's second season, and that was in the Super Bowl.
Yet Ochocinco is going to be the star of Hard Knocks, and he's already getting more media attention than any of his teammates.
By default, he's the No. 1 receiver. But that speaks more to the lack of depth and talent in the Dolphins' receiving corps than it does to Chad's abilities at this time.
But he shouldn't be the most hyped Miami Dolphin on the roster. While this team isn't the most talented in the NFL, there are plenty of players more worthy of hype than the former six-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro.
Keep an eye on these guys instead going into 2012.
Last season in Green Bay, tight ends were considered a key part of former offensive coordinator Joe Philbin's West Coast offense.
Between Jermichael Finley, Tom Crabtree, Andrew Quarless and D.J. Williams, Packers tight ends accounted for 66 receptions for 854 yards and nine touchdowns.
While Finley is responsible for the majority of those numbers, the Packers were never afraid to use multiple tight-end sets, giving quarterback Aaron Rodgers plenty of big targets to choose from.
In Miami, Charles Clay, Anthony Fasano, and third-round pick Michael Egnew from Missouri look to form a unit of tight ends that's perfect for the West Coast offense.
As Fasano will likely be used more as a blocking tight end and Egnew looks to get his feet wet in his rookie season, Clay is expected to be the primary pass catcher of this unit.
Going into his second season, Clay has already shown a lot of promise. As a rookie, he hauled in 16 receptions for 233 yards and three touchdowns, and couldn't seem to drop a ball that was thrown his way.
One regret that former head coach Tony Sparano should have is the fact that he didn't utilize Clay as much in the passing game as he should have, with many of those catches coming later in the season.
The versatile Clay can also be used as a pass-catching fullback out of the backfield as well, similar to how Dan Marino used to use Keith Byars.
Clay looks to be an important part of the Dolphins offense in 2012, and with one season under his belt, improvement will be seen. More receptions, more yards and more touchdowns will likely ensue.
It wouldn't surprise me at all if at the end of the season, Clay had more receptions and touchdowns than Ochocinco.
Jimmy Wilson is a tremendous story considering the struggles he went through to make it into the NFL that included almost three years behind bars and an acquittal for the murder of his aunt's boyfriend in 2009.
Despite thinking his NFL dreams were over after the ordeal of the incident itself and the trial, Wilson was drafted by the Dolphins in the 2011 draft in the seventh round, then quickly impressed his coaches and teammates.
After a rookie season where he had one start at cornerback and was primarily used on nickel and dime packages, Wilson will now play safety, where he has some big shoes to fill replacing Yeremiah Bell, who's now with the New York Jets.
Wilson's first season saw him amass seven tackles with three assists and an interception; however, his hard hits were also able to force a fumble, and he still accounted for five pass deflections.
In a new position that better suits his skills as a hitter, as well as his already stellar ball-hawking abilities, expect to see Wilson make a big impact in the Dolphins secondary; especially now that he has more playing time.
Last season, Reshad Jones started 11 games for the Dolphins while appearing in 15 of them. In that time, he recorded 45 tackles and 18 assists with four pass deflections and an interception.
Overall, Jones was what you wanted out of a safety, but you got the feeling that he could produce a little bit more.
This season with the departure of Yeremiah Bell, Jones is now expected to become more of a leader.
He has already impressed his new coaches with his strong play in mini-camp, and unlike last season when he was competing with Chris Clemons for the starting spot, he looks to have it already wrapped up.
Despite the impressive numbers in his three seasons with the Dolphins (96 tackles, 17 assists, four forced fumbles, eight pass deflections and 28 sacks), along with his new contract, I don't think Cameron Wake gets the hype from the local or national media that he deserves.
You don't see too many stories about Wake, despite the fact that he went undrafted out of college and played in the CFL before signing with Miami to become the force of nature that he is.
Teams have to game-plan around him on offense. Wake demands a double-team if you want to keep him out of the backfield; and sometimes that's not even enough.
So why does Ochocinco get all the hype he does just by signing with the Dolphins, while Wake, who has gotten the job done and will be a Defensive Player of The Year candidate in 2012 barring injury, almost get nothing?
Oh, because he doesn't self-promote. That's understandable. He won't sink to that level. Well, I'll continue to promote him; he's just that good.
The only Dolphins rookie I feel comfortable hyping up this season is Lamar Miller.
Part of that might have to do with the fact that he's the one I saw the most in college, but once you see what he can do with a football, you don't forget it.
In drafting Miller in the fourth round, Jeff Ireland got a steal, not just on the football side, but on the Public Relations side as well. Miller is a Miami kid through and through, going to Miami Killian High School, then getting recruited by the University of Miami.
In his final season as a 'Cane (in his case, I don't like saying "at Miami" because it's ambiguous along with the fact that technically he's still in Miami, plus he's playing in the same stadium he did in college), Miller was second-team all-ACC and rushed for 1,272 yards on 227 attempts and scored nine touchdowns.
His longest run came for 79 yards, and he averaged 106 yards per game.
I thought he was the second-best running back in the draft class; only Trent Richardson was better. Finding out that the Dolphins drafted him was like finding an extra $20 bill in an old birthday card.
His durability at the NFL-level might be a concern, however with Reggie Bush poised to become more of a pass-catching back, Daniel Thomas likely to be used in short-yardage situations, and the use of Miller's speed and quickness on punt and kick returns, Miller is likely the most exciting rookie the Dolphins have had in quite a long time.
If you're going to buy a new jersey for the Dolphins fan in your life, make it a Miller jersey, because Sunday afternoons at Sun Life Stadium will be Miller time.
Of course, Lamar Miller is only the second most popular Miller in Miami right now.
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