2009 Miami Dolphins: Five Things To Watch For

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2009 Miami Dolphins: Five Things To Watch For
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Dolphins' 2009 season is all about showing the league which team they truly are...the young, inexperienced 1-15 squad or the turn-around, jump-start 11-5 team from last year.

Let's be honest, even the most positive Dolphins fan has to agree: They're probably somewhere in between.

Chad Pennington still has what it takes to lead a team to the playoffs, so as long as the Wildcat retains some unpredictability, and that no-name defense steps up, they still have a shot at staying competitive.

Still, there are questions that need answering, for both the present and the future.


5. Can Anthony Fasano be an Elite Tight End?


That all depends on what you consider "elite".

Is he going to stretch the field like Jason Witten, break a ton of tackles, or record several 100-yard games?

No. Anthony Fasano is a big, reliable target that can help move the chains and can be a factor in the redzone. But he's not a guy that can do a lot with the ball, and he's not an elite playmaker.

He'll get over 40 catches and could score some touchdowns, but he's never going to be Antonio Gates.


4. Can Ronnie Brown Stay Healthy?

I doubt it.

Ronnie Brown is definitely an elite back when on the field and fully healthy, and if he can stay on his feet, this growing offense could make him and absolute stud.

With 13 missed games due to injury in his career, Brown has work to do in order to convince his team that he can be counted on.

Brown did make it through a full season last year, however, and two full years removed from his knee injury could have him as strong and as confident as ever.


3. Can Ted Ginn Jr. Take the Next Step?


I believe he can, and I believe he will.

Ted Ginn Jr. was only so-so in his first season, but he showed good progress with a new coach, system, and quarterback.

If he had a quarterback with a bigger arm throwing to him, his value would be that much better, but Pennington is still good enough to help Ginn's true ability shine.

After notching over 50 grabs and 700 yards in his second year, Ginn is poised for a huge season in the wide receiver's historically lucky third year.

Over 80 catches and 1,000 yards isn't unrealistic.


2. Will the "Wildcat" Formation Dominate Again?

With the addition of Pat White, it's very possible that it will.

The Philadelphia Eagles may have one-upped the Dolphins by landing Michael Vick, but White brings a whole new dimension to the offense, and could take a lot of pressure off of Brown and Ricky Williams.

This offense is built around the running game and trick plays, keeping the defense on its toes, and then smashing them in the mouth with powerful inside running.

If White is all he's cracked up to be, Miami could have a very interesting and successful offense.


1. How Will Pat White be Used?

In every way imaginable.

He's a very athletic natural passer who has the speed and agility to play elite football at almost every offensive position.

He will obviously play some quarterback in certain packages, while also lining up with just Brown or Williams in the backfield, likely with some "direct snap" plays.

With great versatility and awareness, White should also be serviceable on return duties, while also spending some time working out of the slot at receiver.

White is a sensation in the open field, and with his solid passing ability, also poses a threat as a quarterback.

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