Miami Dolphins In Danger: When Is It Too Soon to Panic ?

Zack DuarteContributor IIIAugust 29, 2010

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 27: Wide reciever Brandon Marshall #19 of the Miami Dolphins drops the ball against cornerback Brent Grimes #20 of the Atlanta Falcons during pre season action at Sun Life Stadium on August 27, 2010 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

With September 12, 2010 fast approaching for the Miami Dolphins, the preseason has had its share of ups and downs. After the Phins latest flounder, a 16-6 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in what was essentially a dress rehearsal for the regular season, excited Dolfans have quickly started the nail-biting and heavy sweating.

I am here to bring the good word to light : Do not panic just yet!

Brandon Marshall, Miami's offseason treasure, has four drops in three games in the preseason thus far and his wearing of the number 19 on his jersey (Ted Ginn Jr.'s previous number) certainly doesn't help Dolfans remember how good he really is. It's simply too soon to start judging Marshall on his performance in three meaningless games.

Since 2007 Marshall has 307 receptions with 23 touchdowns. Compare that to Miami's number one leading receiver each year since 2007 and that total is a whopping ... 182 catches with five touchdowns.

Marshall may not even be the biggest acquisition either.

Karlos Dansby is a 6' 4" 250 pound beast that will take over the reigns on a defense that lacks a veteran presence that Dolfans are used to seeing such as Jason Taylor or Zach Thomas.

Dansby, who signed a five-year deal worth $43 million, $22 million of which is guaranteed, looks to be playing the inside linebacker position and be the playmaker Miami has not had in recent years. This allows Channing Crowder to continue to do what he has always done, stop the run and not much else, with a bigger name on the defense to actually make the plays needed.

Dansby can get to the quarterback, stop the run and drop back into coverage if needed. 

On August 27, 2010 the Dolphins sizzled like a fish on the grill on the way to their 16-6 defeat at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons.

Fear not.

The Dolphins had won their previous nine preseason games but it means absolutely nothing.

Since 2005 the Indianapolis Colts (including this year) are 4-21 in the preseason. They have more preseason losses than regular season losses going 65-15 in regular season games since that time.

Last season's Super Bowl Champions, the New Orleans Saints, lost a preseason game to the Dolphins 10-7.

Simply put—it's preseason. No champions are crowned in August. If that were the case then last year's Super Bowl would have been the Miami Dolphins (4-0 in the 2009 preseason) vs the Seattle Seahawks (also 4-0 in the 2009 preseason)—two teams that finished the 2009 regular season with a combined 12-20 record.

Miami has not won an opening day game since the 2005 season and has started 0-2 every season since 2006.

When gameday comes September 12, 2010 expect the Miami Dolphins to look better than they did all of preseason and notch a victory against the Buffalo Bills.