Miami Dolphins Get Their Money's Worth with Karlos Dansby, Brandon Marshall

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Miami Dolphins Get Their Money's Worth with Karlos Dansby, Brandon Marshall
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2-0 record is how you want to start a season. The Dolphins stumbled early last season and it wound up costing them a chance at the playoffs. There aren't any "what ifs?" left to dwell on thus far, just "what now?"

That's not to say that there aren't concerns hovering around the team. The offense and its accompanying turnovers almost proved fatal Sunday against the Vikings. That they didn't lose only means that everyone has something to worry about against the ball-hawking Jets come Sunday night.

One place where there aren't concerns, though, is the front office.

Bill Parcells is someone who carries a lot of weight in the football world. When Miami brought him in to handle their personnel issues, it was because they needed a heavy dose of help.

It was a realization that the team was in need of a complete overhaul and those in charge were incapable of performing such a task. The Miami Dolphins were lost at the mall, so they had security send out a page to try and find some parents.

With Parcells came some of his people. Tony Sparano replaced Cam Cameron as head coach. Jeff Ireland took over as general manager for Randy Mueller. Chad Pennington usurped Cleo Lemon and banished him to the CFL. A 1-15 record gave way to 11-5. Things got better.

Last season there was a regression. Chad Pennington had always been fragile, so naturally he broke down. Ronnie Brown followed suit. Chad Henne's effectiveness was limited and the defense buckled some down the stretch. A more difficult schedule and slowed development from some young players lent itself to a 7-9 Miami record.

Parcells & Co. spent this offseason finding solutions. They took chances on castoffs like Brandon Marshall and Karlos Dansby, and have been swiftly rewarded.

The Marshall-Henne battery is still in its infancy, but there have been sparks. A few big plays promise more eventually, the results pending Henne's continued improvement and the offensive scheming.

But Marshall will catch the ball. He spent last season playing out his string in a town he was pushing away with one hand and flipping off with the other.

Marshall and Denver's coach, Josh McDaniels, were at each other's throats constantly, and Marshall still caught 100 passes. His talent is unquestionable, and even though he's been a punching bag due to his outspokenness, he'll play well for any team that can pay his fee.

Karlos Dansby doesn't have to worry about quarterbacks, in fact, it's the other way around. In two weeks of football, he's been the same defensive stalwart who helped performed the Herculean feat of making the Arizona Cardinals respectable.

With last week's game hanging in the balance, he filled a gap and planted Adrian Peterson. That's the kind of presence Miami's brain trust had in mind when they lured him to South Beach.

Perhaps even more crucial for a front office is successful drafting. This year's crop yielded Jared Odrick, who broke his leg, but rookie Koa Misi was there to fall on Brett Favre's end zone fumble. John Jerry has taken over at right guard and joined one of the NFL's best offensive lines. And 2009 first-rounder Vontae Davis played so well that he injured himself celebrating (or vice versa). Fourth-rounder Brian Hartline had Miami's only offensive touchdown on Sunday.

There have been miscues and flat out mistakes (is what I say as Pat White tries on batting gloves), but what's important is that Miami believes they've rebounded. With their actions they're saying the doldrums of yesteryear won't come back.

That's why they've allowed/asked/forced Bill Parcells to reduce his role. He's righted the ship, now it's time for others to sail it.

Miami is confident that they have the right stuff. Every time Brandon Marshall reels in a tough pass, or Karlos Dansby flattens someone, or Cameron Wake causes a quarterback to sweat a little more, they'll continue to feel vindicated.

By Sunday, things could be different. All it takes are a few injuries and nights of heavy drinking to demolish a team. But the Dolphins believe that this is the cast of characters who will win for them. It could also be the same people who could smash today's progress into tomorrow's smithereens.

At present, though, it looks pretty good. 

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