Miami Dolphins 2010 Preview and Prediction

Alex JennyContributor IAugust 11, 2010

MIAMI - OCTOBER 12:  Running back Ronnie Brown #23 of the Miami Dolphins runs against the New York Jets fans prior to their game at Land Shark Stadium on October 12, 2009 in Miami, Florida. Miami defeated New York 31-27.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Last Years Record            7-9

Wins: Bills, Jets (x2), Bucs, Panthers, Patriots, Jaguars

Losses: Falcons, Colts, Chargers, Saints, Patriots, Bills, Titans, Texans, Steelers

Biggest Playmaker            Brandon Marshall

WR, Central Florida, Drafted #119, 5th Year

Has yet to be a playmaker for the Dolphins as he was just traded to Miami this offseason.  A 2x Pro-Bowler, big and fast, he is just what young quarterback Chad Henne needs to become a great NFL quarterback.  If Marshall can keep his off-field issues to a minimum look for him to break 100 catches for the fourth straight year as the Dolphins go-to receiver

Impact Player            Jake Long

LT, Michigan, Drafted #1, 3rd Year

A good left tackle can be as important to an offense as any other position.  Blocking any young quarterback's backside is vital, and the Dolphins have a great asset there in Jake Long.  After giving up just four sacks in 2009, Long will lead an offensive line that led the Dolphins to the fourth highest rushing total in the NFL.

Biggest Free Agent Addition            Brandon Marshall

WR, Central Florida, Drafted #119, 5th Year

Even though Marshall was drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft, it was an absolute steal for the Dolphins to pick him up for only a second rounder.  The Dolphins were in desperate need of a standout receiver, and they picked up a top 5 wideout in the prime of his career.  Great move.

Biggest Offseason Loss            Gibril Wilson

FS, Tennessee, Drafted #136, 7th Year

The loss of free safety Gibril Wilson left a big question mark in the Dolphins secondary.  Wilson amassed 93 tackles in 2009, a year after posting 129 tackles for the Oakland Raiders.  Currently the Dolphins are looking at Chris Clemons as their starting FS, their 2009 5th round pick, with rookie fifth rounder Rashad Jones backing him up.  

Biggest Draft Steal            A.J. Edds

ILB, Iowa, Drafted #119, Rookie

A.J. Edds is by no means a household name, but the Dolphins chose a player in the 4th round that could see some immediate playing time.  A good athlete at 6'4" 246 lbs and a sub 4.7 runner, Edds was very effective in pass coverage, racking up five interceptions in his senior year.  He could see some action his rookie year in nickel situations as well as on special teams.  Unfortunately, A.J. Edds recently tore his ACL and will miss the entire 2010 season.

Biggest Draft Reach            Nolan Carroll

CB, Maryland, Drafted #145, Rookie

Nolan Carroll started six games at CB at Maryland.  He has major durability issues after being injured multiple times, and the Dolphins drafted him based on his combine performance.  Not a fan of this pick.  

Offseason Grade            A-

The Dolphins made a huge pickup trading for Brandon Marshall.  This move essentially made their offseason.  Returning both of their running backs, their quarterback and an offensive line (plus RG Richie Incognito), a playmaker at WR was huge for their offense.  They also brought in three likely starters on defense, DT Jared Odrick, OLB Koa Misi and ILB Karlos Dansby.

X-Factor            Ronnie Brown

RB, Auburn, Drafted #2, 6th Year

Ronnie Brown's health is the x-factor.  He has been consistently hurt during his five-year career, appearing in all 16 games only once (2008) and twice appearing in less than ten.  If Brown can stay healthy he could lead a very dangerous offense.  The Dolphins run game should improve with the improvements made in their passing game (Brandon Marshall).

Name You Should Know            Yeremiah Bell

SS, Eastern Kentucky, Drafted #213, 8th Year

Yeremiah Bell enjoyed another solid season in 2009, tallying 114 tackles and three interceptions.  Certainly not a household game, this hard-hitting safety has a huge impact on his defense, and look for that impact to increase with the loss of fellow safety Gibril Wilson.

Rising Star            Vontae Davis

CB, Maryland, Drafted #25, 2nd Year

Vontae Davis enjoyed a successful rookie season with 53 tackles and four interceptions, with one for a score.  Davis has a lot of potential, but will have to improve to become an elite corner...he allowed 46 catches in 71 attempted passes, ranking 61st in the NFL.

Offensive Outlook            B+

Much of this grade rests on the development of QB Chad Henne.  He experienced moderate success in his first year at the helm, completing over 60% of his passes, but will need to cut down on the mistakes (14 interceptions to only 12 touchdowns).  The addition of WR Brandon Marshall will definitely help, and he has the luxury of a very impressive rushing attack.

Defensive Outlook            C+

In 2009, the Dolphins were 24th against the pass and 18th against the run (in terms of total yards) in the NFL.  With no major changes to the defense other than the addition of Karlos Dansby, who will have a big impact, the Dolphins defense will likely not improve drastically.  With many young players in the lineup it may be a few years before the Dolphins have a great defense.  

Special Teams Outlook            B+

Dan Carpenter has been very solid the last two years as the Phins' kicker, hitting 84% and then 89% of his field goals.  Punter Brandon Fields also enjoyed a great 2009 season, and with these two returning the Dolphins should once again have a solid kicking game.  Davone Bess handled punt returns last year and needs to step up if the Dolphins want to win the field position battle, averaging only 7.5 yards per return and fumbling three times.  Ted Ginn Jr. is gone as the Kick Returner and the Dolphins will likely look to backup RB Patrick Cobbs, who had 16 returns in 2009, to fill that role.

Projected 2010 Record            8-8

Playing in the AFC East this year will not be easy (except when they get to play the Bills!).  It may well be the toughest division in the NFL, but expect the Dolphins to do well outside of their division. I just don't think their offense is good enough to carry their poor defense to an AFC East title this year...Chad Henne go prove me wrong!


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-Alex Jenny


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