Many so-called “experts” have already anticipated Miami falling short this season after winning the division last year. They have cited the tough schedule, Pennington’s injury history, and an improved division as reasons for concern. Well don’t expect that same attitude from the players especially after the way this offseason has gone.
The offseason began contrary to many fans ambitious dreams, as the Dolphins didn’t go after any high priced veterans. Instead they signed Gibril Wilson who led the NFL in tackles by a DB last year to shore up the free safety position. Adding Jake Grove to the offensive line will allow Miami to field one of the biggest O-Line’s in the NFL and hopefully increases their 4.2 YPC on the ground. Possibly the biggest move was to bring back Jason Taylor for a very reasonable 1.1 million dollar contract. He brings the most upside for a player ready to re-earn his stripes and is once again committed to his craft.
The draft brought a mix of players as some will compete for a starting spot and others that will be asked to shore up one of the worst Special Teams units in the league. This draft induced immediate competition for what was perceived as the team’s two weakest positions; wide receiver and cornerback. Coupled with the addition of Pat White this draft class could create an immediate impact for a team ready to win now.
Gibril Wilson, who started in the Super Bowl two years ago, knows the importance of having a tight knit group. That is why he said the ‘sky is the limit’ for this year’s secondary and subsequently this team. Sometimes it’s not putting the best players on the field, but finding the right players to complement each other’s abilities. That’s what Sparano and Parcells feel they have done with this year’s squad. It’s not to say that in year two Sparano's team has “arrived,” far from it. What I am saying is that come September people will begin to pay attention to this team.
The Dolphins will see 4 prime time games after receiving no game after 1p.m. local time last season. Every sign indicates that this team is ready to ascend to the next level and it helps having Bill Parcells track record.
Realistically, 11-5 and a division title for a second year in a row remains a daunting challenge. Then again, who would have thought that last sentence would even be written a year ago. Miami’s expectations are high and this year’s group knows it will take a lot to hold onto their division title and make a deep run into the playoffs.