Dolphins Swimming In The Right Direction

michael gomesContributor IDecember 24, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 20: Head coach Tony Sparano of the Miami Dolphins celebrates after the game tying touchdown against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on December 20, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Dolphins 27-24 in overtime. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Dolphins are broadly thought of as one of the smartest animals. They have been used during wars to seek out enemy mines and vessels and to destroy them. They can also retrieve lost items through the use of sonar.

Dolphins have a long, proud history, and so do the NFL's Miami Dolphins. They are the only team in NFL hisory to complete a season and postseason undefeated, going 17-0 in 1972. They have the winningest coach in NFL history, Don Shula, and a record setting quarterback named Dan Marino. Last season, the Dolphins went from 1 win to 11 and won the division title. This season, Miami began 0-3, lost their starting quarterback,  their starting running back,have started 2 rookie cornerbacks,lost nose tackle Jason Ferguson, and remain in the hunt for a division title or a wild card berth.

The Dolphins appear to be headed in the right direction. After a decade of frustration, Miami has found the right man to build a team in Bill Parcells. They have the right coach, a fearless leader and motivator in Tony Sparano. The players truly seem to enjoy playing for him. They have a potential franchise quarterback in Chad Henne, a rifle armed Michigan product. Ronnie Brown is a young perennial pro bowl running back. They have an offensive line that is young and tough, led by 2nd year left tackle Jake Long. The receiving core has solid possession receivers in greg Camarillo, Davone Bess, and rookie Brian Harrtline. Tedd Ginn has done well on special teams, but has only shown flashes as a wide receiver. Miami must add a numbr 1 receiver this offseason to complete their offense.

The defense also has tremendous promise. Jason Taylor and Joey Porter have been a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks, and Taylor has been a true leader. Channing Crowder has stepped up at linebacker. The area that has the most upside is the secondary, as Vonate Davis and Sean Smith have progressed well as starting rookie cornerbacks. They have given up big plays, but have also made big plays, and that bodes well for their futureThe fact that Miami remains in the playoff race with 2 weeks left, with the hardest schedule in the league, leads me to believe that wehter or not they make the playoffs this eason, the Fins will be swimming in late January for many years to come.