Chad Henne - Our starting quarterback going into this year is 3rd year player Chad Henne out of Michigan. Last year Chad was thrown into the starting role when Chad Pennington went down with a shoulder injury Week 3 vs San Diego. Many Dolfans including myself were skeptical of how Henne would respond to his new found starting position, but he proved to all of us he was ready to take the reins. Henne came in and threw for 2,878 yards completing 274 passes out of 451 attempts with a passer rating of 75.2 in just 13 starts. He did however throw more INT's than TD's (12 TD's / 14 INT's), but he had a sub par receiving core and was a first year starter. With the addition of pro bowl WR Brandon Marshall (Denver) he now has that clear number one target to throw to. I believe that Chad Henne will elevate himself to the elite status in the upcoming season and be a mainstay at QB for years to come.
My projected stats for Chad Henne : 324 / 515 - 3,762 Yards - 26 TD's / 17's INT's
Wide Receivers :
Brandon Marshall - For the first time since Chris Chambers the Miami Dolphins have a legitimate threat at wide receiver. Brandon Marshall has arguably been the best WR in the NFL the last 3 seasons eclipsing 100 receptions each season with a young Jay Cutler and Kyle Orton throwing to him. He also did that with little to no running game to take coverage off of him. From 2007-2009 he had Travis Henry, Selvin Young, Peyton Hillis, Correll Buckhalter, and Knowshon Moreno in the backfield in which not a one of them ran for over 1,000 yards or more than 7 TD's. Now Brandon has a capable QB and a great one-two punch with Ronnie and Ricky sharing the rock at RB, so his production should increase.
My projected stats for Brandon Marshall : 98 Receptions - 1178 Yards - 10 TD's
Brian Hartline - Last year the rookie out of Ohio St led the Dolphins in yards per reception and lead all Dolphins WR with 4 total TD's (1 Rushing). His 2009 stats were great for a first year player, he had 31 catches for 506 and had 16.3 yards per catch. Hartline doesn't catch a ton of balls, but when it's thrown his way he's got the hands and speed to make something out of it. He may also see some time on special teams on Punt / Kick returns now that Ted Ginn Jr is gone.
My projected stats for Brian Hartline : 43 Receptions - 632 Yards - 5 TD's
Davone Bess - Bess was an undrafted free agent out of Hawaii who was given his shot with the Dolphins in 2008. His rookie numbers were very good, he had 54 receptions for 554 yards and 1 TD. He followed up in 2009 filling in for Greg Camarillo when he went down; catching 76 balls for 758 yards and 2 TD's. This year Bess will be moved to a more appropriate role in the slot. I expect him to flourish there and be a great No.3 WR for a much improved WR core.
My projected stats for Davone Bess : 55 receptions - 520 yards - 3 TD's
Running Backs :
Ronnie Brown - Last year Ronnie Brown got injured...again. Unfortunately our starting Running Back is one of the most injury prone backs in the league. He would be a perennial pro bowler, but he can not stay healthy. His best season statistically came in 2008 he started 13 games ran for 916 yards and 10 TD's and he also had 33 catches for 254 yards. In 2009 however he only remained healthy for nine games before fracturing a bone in his foot. He had 648 yards and 8 TD's if he hadn't have gone down he would have had something close to 1,100 yards and at least 12 TD's. That's good enough to put him as one of the top RB in the NFL. Ronnie says his foot is no longer an issue, but as a RB any injuries to your feet are major. As great as it would be to have Ronnie for 16 games the odds are it's not happening. In the end he is our starting RB and a very valuable tool on offense.
My projected stats for Ronnie Brown : 244 rush attempts - 1067 yards - 11 TD's / 34 catches - 229 yards - 0 TD's
Ricky Williams - He was once the most hated Dolphin player; smoking his marijuana and retiring from the team in 06', but now he's back and we're glad to have him. Last season Ricky at 32 years old shocked everyone by taking over the starting role for the injured Ronnie Brown; rushing 241 times for 1,121 yards and 13 total TD's. Last year Ricky was the "old" Ricky, he ran with power, agility, and speed. He showed that if needed he can come out of his complementary role and carry the work load of a starter. He may be 33, but he was suspended from the NFL for one year and retired the next so his legs are young and fresh. I think Ricky could do it again if Ronnie were to go down with an injury, maybe not at as high a level, but certainly enough to continue our running style.
My projected stats for Ricky Williams : 134 rush attempts - 670 yards - 6 TD's / 22 catches - 178 yards - 1 TD
Tight End :
Anthony Fasano - In my opinion the Tight End position is the weakest on our offense. Anthony had a very productive season in 2008 in which he helped get the Dolphins to the playoffs with 34 receptions for 454 yards and 7 TD's. That however was two seasons ago and Fasano is letting us know. The following year Fasano became a non factor on offense recording 31 catches for 339 yards and 2 TD's in 14 starts. The backup TE Joey Haynos had 2 TD's in 8 games played, how about we start him! He's 6'8 he's going to catch over most safeties / linebackers in the NFL, the guy is a giant! If Fasano doesn't start to produce I hope Coach Sparano makes a change and starts Haynos or perhaps the "newly" signed TE David Martin who was here in 07-08. I expect Fasano to have a repeat 09' season and possibly lose the starting role at TE.
My projected stats for Anthony Fasano : 35 Receptions - 378 Yards - 2 TD's
Offensive Line :
The Miami Dolphins offensive line is one of the best in the NFL. They were unbelievable in run blocking last year, creating alleys for Ronnie and Ricky with ease. The unit is lead by our Left Tackle Jake Long out of Michigan. He has equaled or surpassed the expectations of the number one pick used on him. In his first two seasons he was selected to the pro bowl and if his play keeps up, he'll be on his way to a third. At Right Tackle Vernon Carey out of University of Miami (FL) is a wall that few can break down. He has started 74 consecutive games and gave up only 4 sacks in 2009. Carey will remain the starter at Right Tackle for seasons to come. Unfortunately our two Tackles are the only surefire starters on the Offensive Line. We traded our injury prone starting Left Guard Justin Smiley to Jacksonville for a seventh round pick. Third year Guard Donald Thomas is likely going to get the starting nod; he is a good run blocker and has started 13 games in two seasons. We used one draft pick on the offensive side of the ball in the 2010 NFL Draft and that was for Guard John Jerry. I believe he is our Left Guard of the future and that in tandem with Jake Long our left side will be strong for years. Newly acquired head case Richie Incognito (Buffalo) will more than likely start at Right Guard. He can make or break this unit and as long as he keeps level headed our Right Guard spot will be taken care of for the year. The long time Oakland Raider Jake Grove came in last season starting ten games at Center for the Fins. He was solid but Coach Sparano (a former O Line coach) doesn't want to waste his young talent. I wouldn't be surprised if Jake Grove was the starter, but he may be forced out due to a bone bruise in his knee. If the knee becomes a major issue or Sparano decides to utilize younger talent he will lose his starting role, but for now he is my starting Center for the Miami Dolphins.