It's Tony Sparano second year as Miami Dolphins head coach and after a 11-5 season a lot is expected from the team.
The team has invested money and draft picks to fill positions and adding talent to be a contender for the 2009 season and repeat a playoff appearance.
But how the starting lineup will look like after the draft and the FA signings?
Chad Pennington is the starter QB of the team, after a comeback season in 2008 he will try to improve the passing game in 2009
He is a perfect fit for the Dolphins right now, a guy that knows how to manage the clock and deliver the ball to any point of the field. His game makes the WRs better.
QB No. 2?
One question for the upcoming season is who will be the backup QB. If Pat White is listed as QB it means that he and Chad Henne will compete for that spot.
White adds a lot of talent for the wildcat offense but if he is listed as QB it means two things:
1. In wildcat plays Chad Pennington will no longer need to be on the field (one QB most be on the field), and that means that the Dolphins could add either other RB or WR to the play.
2. Henne will be QB No. 3, for Henne to play the other
2 QBs wont be available to return to the field after he plays.
Is a difficult situation for both Henne and White, they will need to work a lot during pre-season to show they are worth all the problems.
It's clear that Ronnie Brown is the face of the franchise right now, after a great 2008 season helped with the wildcat offense he needs to show that he can be a feature running back in the NFL.
His longest carry was a product of the wildcat, he will need to make more "traditional" plays to prove his value. And also the rival teams will make harder to be successful with the wildcat.
RB No. 2 - Ricky Williams
There's no doubt that Ricky Williams is the second running backup for the team. He is used more in short plays and wildcat offense, expect more of that this season.
RB No. 3 - Patrick Cobbs
He hasn't proved himself as a running back but he can come up of the backfield to contribute in the passing game. He had 275 receiving yards last season and expect Miami to keep using him that way.
He is also a good special team player.
Lousaka Polite was the starting FB of Miami last season, he is a fine blocker but is far from the elite.
Expect a position battle with Chris Brown during pre-season but Polite have more possibilities to be the starter.
The Dolphins could add a veteran FB before the regular season.
Camarillo was having a great season in 2008 before a injury ended his year.
He have sure hands and is a good route runner that make him shine last year. If he is 100% recovered by the start of the season expect him to be the number one receiver of the Dolphins.
Backup - Brandon London
I personally like London. He is tall (6'4"), have good hands and fine speed. If he keeps improving and have a good pre-season expect him to be the main backup for Greg Camarillo.
Ted Ginn Jr. is a prototype WR2. He is blessed with elite speed and if he learns how to run better routes he will be a star.
Backup - Patrick Turner
Turner looks more like Greg Camarillo or Brandon London but he could be more productive as WR2 in his first year playing against the weak side of the defensive backfield.
Davone Bess step up as an undrafted rookie last season after Greg Camarillo got injured and Ernest Wilkford was happy at the bench.
Even after he was used as WR2 last season he is more a slot receiver, for his size and ability to gain yards after catch.
Backup - Brian Hartline
For his rookie season he will be mostly a short yardage receiver, so the slot position will fit perfect for him.
He has the size and abilities to play wide, not just slot, but in that role he will have time to learn.
After a great 2008 season need to show that he can play better. His weakness is that he can't gain a lot of yards after the catch but he is a big and sure target and that helps him in the red zone.
TE2 - ??
David Martin and John Nalbone will enter the pre-season looking to earn this spot.
Martin have experience in his side and he will be hard to beat but Nalbone has been impressing the whole coaching staff during the workouts and he can step up as the backup TE.
Do I need to say anything? Pro-bowler in his first year and starter LOT for the 2008 season.
Backup - Andrew Gardner
The rookie will need to show that he is worth on the pre-season, but he already looks like a fine backup.
Other no-brainier. He was playing very good before an injury ended his season, if he is recover the left guard positionis for him.
Backup - ??
The right guard position will be an open competition, whoever end as a runner up for being a starter there will backup both LG and RG positions.
There is no doubt that Jake Grove will be the starter center of Miami. For him Sam Satele was traded away and that shows the confidence the coaching staff have in him.
Backup - Andy Alleman
The only player on the roster with experience as center.
I put Donald Thomas picture because I think he have a lot of potential and could earn the starting RG spot for the 2009 season.
Ike Ndukwe was the starter during 2008, Shawn Murphy and Andy Alleman also got playing time here. Also J.D. Quinn comes as a undrafted rookie to fight for a spot.
Vernon Carey signed a new contract with the Dolphins and was the starter for the 2008 season, the RT is for him.
Backup - Brandon Frye/Andrew Garner
Brandon Frye could step up as the RT backup. Andrew Gardner could get playing time here also.
Vonnie Holliday is no longer in the team. Merling has all the necessary tools to be the starting right defensive end and should step up during the pre-season as expected from his coaches.
Backup - Randy Starks
Starks fit the prototype 3-4 DE/NT, but he will have more playing time as DE than NT because of his speed and ability at the end of the line.
Jason Ferguson owns this position, his experience along with his strength and size make him a perfect NT for a 3-4 scheme.
Backup - Tony McDaniel
Like Ferguson his size and strength makes him a good 3-4 NT, he will be mostly a 3rd down player helping the line to pressure the QB.
Starter at LDE in his rookie season, don't expect him to lose the starting spot. Another prototype player for the 3-4 scheme that in his second season should me more productive, mostly in the running game.
Backup - Rodrique Wright
He haven't show his full potential, fine backup for Langford.
I don't need to say anything here. If he can stay healthy and play like in 2008 the Dolphins will have a great QB pressure next season.
Backup - Cameron Wake
The former Canadian defensive MVP and sack master. In the NFL he will make the transition from DE to OLB and having Joey Porter as a mentor will help him a lot.
He needs to produce almost intermediately, he is already 27 years old and he wont have too much time to develop.
Starter during the 2008 season, he won't face a lot of competition for being a starter in 2009.
Backup - Reggie Torbor
Also a backup during 2008 season, he isn't good enough to be a starter.
Received a new contract and starter during the 2008 season. He will be a starter during 2009 but he will need to be more a play maker, a sure tackler with good instincts.
Backup - J.D. Folsom
The rookie have the potential to take over this backup position, he will need to progress a lot during pre-season in order to earn the spot.
Roth changed position for the 2008 season, a former defensive end he lacks of pass coverage abilities but he is solid in the rushing game a pressuring the QB.
Backup - Jason Taylor
Fan favorite that in the 3-4 scheme should play as OLB, he will be used as a situational player mostly.
The most experienced CB on the roster, he will be a starter for sure during 2009 season. He still have good speed for his position.
Backup - Jason Allen
Jason Allen show some potential during the 2008 season as CB, he will be a fine backup for Allen.
The rookie selected in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft should step up as the starting CB during pre-season. He have natural skills and a lot of potential to develop as an elite cornerback.
Backup - Eric Green
Green should have a lot of playing time as the backup of Vontae Davis, helping him in his rookie season. He could even start the season as the starter.
Sean Smith will have most of his playing time as the dime/nickel cornerback, but he could also enter as Will Allen replacement in some plays.
Expect him to be on a lot 3rd down plays.
Backup - Nathan Jones
A Bill Parcells guy that could contribute as a backup dime/nickel and special teams.
Gibril Wilson will return to the position he played during his time with the New York Giants, he is more productive as free safety dropping into coverages and will be a great addition for the Dolphins
Backup - Chris Clemons
The rookie impressed during the workouts and should earn the backup spot during the preseason. He have a lot of potential and time to develop.
One of the most valuable defensive players for Miami last couple of season. Even lacking of pass coverage he is a great value and a sure tackler.
Backup - Courtney Bryan
He have experience in bot safety position, he should be Bell's backup for the 2009 season and contribute in special teams.
This two players should share the returning duties in the 2009 season like in 2008.
Nathan Jones could help as a returner also.
Undrafted rookie in 2008 he earn the K spot and should keep it for the 2009 season.
The coaching staff isn't happy with Brandon Fields performance during the 2008 season so they signed the Australian punter Jy Bond that hasn't play outside the Australian rules football.
Some teams were interested in Jy Bond, so he have potential and could win the roster spot.