Last Season -
If you were to talk about the most remarkable turn-around teams in recent memory then last year’s Miami Dolphins ball club has to jump to the forefront of the conversation. The Miami Dolphins won just a single victory heading into last year’s campaign. However, with new coach Tony Sparano and new quarterback Chad Pennington the Dolphins became the surprise team of the season. Pennington gets a load of credit and rightfully so after throwing for 3,600 yards, 19 touchdowns, and only 7 picks. Pennington sparked the big change in offense in Miami and led the team to an 11-5 record beating the New England Patriots to win the AFC East Division. The major surprise about Pennington is that he did not have any big time receiver to target. However, the former Jets quarterback consistently found ways to find open receivers and completely turned around the Dolphins traditional lackluster offense.
Defensively, the Dolphins ranked right in the middle of the NFL allowing 329 yards per game. However, the defense really started playing well towards the end of the season and helped the Dolphins close out the regular season with 5 straight wins. The road will probably be much tougher heading into 2009 with the Patriots getting back Tom Brady, but a wonderful job the Dolphins have done in turning this team completely around.
Off Season -
The Dolphins managed to keep veteran defensive end Jason Taylor in town for just one more year anyway. Taylor agreed to a one year deal with the Dolphins in attempt to stay close to family in Miami. However, Taylor is reaching the end of his career and could even become a 2nd string player in 2009. Miami added some young talent to the defensive side of the ball with the NFL Draft. The Dolphins selected CB Vontae Davis with the 25th overall pick in the NFL Draft. Davis is an extremely talented young player who could become a very solid cornerback. Davis is an exciting player to watch; he is very athletic and has a knack for making plays.
The Dolphins sought after another young talent with their 2nd pick quarterback Pat White. White is the former West Virginia quarterback that just terrified defenses with his quick explosive speed running the spread offense for the Mountaineers. However, White will likely go to the wide receiver position at the next level and may have found a perfect fit in Miami. The Dolphins run type of spread offense where White can be used any many different scenarios. We may even go far as to say this may be one of the best sleepers in this year’s class. Amazingly the top 6 picks for Miami this season, were cornerbacks and wide receivers. This indicates that the Dolphins are working hard to bring more talent for Pennington and to get some game changes in the defensive secondary.
2009 Preview -
The Dolphins should return a solid unit in 2009, but like we stated before the road will be tougher. New England could likely return as a dominate team, but the Dolphins still have the ability to surprise especially if they could get some receivers to step up on offense. The defense will still be a target of focus. It will be interesting to see how the defense gets started this season.
If they can get off on the right foot, then the Dolphins could be a very strong team from start to finish. However, Miami need to have a good start to the season is imperative as the schedule will get tougher as the season progresses. Look for the Dolphins to try and get Ronnie Brown more involved in the running game as that would go along way to making them a better balanced offensive attack.
2009 Prediction -
Miami should have similar success with Pennington behind center. However, we leaning towards things not quite falling their way as it did last season. The Dolphins will win their share of games, but may not be able to bring home another division title. The large part of the success and how far it takes them may lie with how well the defense performs. When the defense was playing well last season, Miami was very tough to beat.
Pick - 2nd in AFC East (10-6 overall) - Visit BangTheBook.com for free football picks and sportsbook reviews.