Jim Harbaugh Miami Dolphins: 10 Bold Predictions for Fins' 2011 Season

Ross ColemanAnalyst IJanuary 6, 2011

Jim Harbaugh Miami Dolphins: 10 Bold Predictions For 'Fins 2011 Season

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    SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 25: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Stanford Cardinal watches as his team takes on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 25, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Stanford defeated Notre Dame 37-14. (Photo by Jo
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Jim Harbaugh is more than likely headed to Miami to coach the Dolphins. The move may be a little surprising considering the fact that the Dolphins still have a coach in Tony Sparano, however,  Harbaugh will be an upgrade if he is indeed hired.

    The big question is what kind of impact can the Stanford head coach have at the pro level.

    Here are ten bold predictions for the Dolphins in 2011 if Harbaugh becomes their new head coach. 

    Do you think he will be successful? Let us know.

10. The Dolphins Will Draft An Offensive Lineman In the First Round

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    PALO ALTO, CA - OCTOBER 23:  Stepfan Taylor #33 of the Stanford Cardinal is congratulated by Chase Beeler #72 after Taylor scored a touchdown against the Washington State Cougars at Stanford Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    The reason Stanford has been so successful the past two years has as much to do with its offensive line as it does with Andrew Luck and Toby Gerhart.

    Jim Harbaugh knows that the best way to win is to build an offensive line to protect the quarterback and to open up running lanes.

    With the 15th pick in the NFL draft this year, I think Harbaugh will take an offensive lineman to go along with Jake Long.

9. The Dolphins Will Allow The Fewest Sacks in the NFL

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    MIAMI - OCTOBER 12:  Offensive lineman Jake Long #77 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates after a touchdown by Ronnie Brown #23 against the New York Jets at Land Shark Stadium on October 12, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the Jets 31-27.  (Phot
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    If the Dolphins draft another offensive lineman (probably a tackle) they might suddenly have the best offensive line in the NFL.

    With Jake Long at left tackle, Richie Incognito at left guard, John Jerry at right guard, and selecting what would probably be the best tackle in the 2011draft,  that is a great start to an offensive line.

    That group would be able to protect a quarterback better than any other line in the NFL and as a result, they would give up the fewest sacks in the NFL.

8. Chad Henne Will Make The Pro Bowl

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    MIAMI - DECEMBER 19:  Quarterback Chad Henne #7 and Lineman Jake Long#77 of the Miami Dolphins throws against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Bills defeated the Dolphins 17-14.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Jim Harbaugh is a former NFL quarterback. He knows what it takes to win in this league. "Captain Comeback" as he was known during his playing days, will do wonders with Chad Henne who was once thought of as a good young quarterback.

    Under the tutelage of Harbaugh, Henne will have the best year of his short career and will be named to the Pro Bowl roster. 

7. The Dolphins WIll Have a 1,000 Yard Running Back

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    MIAMI - NOVEMBER 09:  Running back Ronnie Brown #23 and Ricky Williams #34 of the Miami Dolphins celebrate after Brown's touchdown run in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Dolphin Stadium on November 9, 2008 in Miami, Florida. The Dolphin
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    The Dolphins' top two running backs are both free agents this year. Both Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown appear to be on the decline. But I believe at least one of those two will be back next year and will give the Dolphins some semblance of a running game.

    If Harbaugh has taught us anything about his time at Stanford, it's his commitment to the running game. No matter who the running backs are in Miami next year, Harbaugh will get production out of them.

    One Dolphin running back will surpass 1,000 yards.

6. Brandon Marshall Will Lead the NFL In Receiving

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    FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 02:  Brandon Marshall #19 of the Miami Dolphins makes the catch as Kyle Arrington #27 of the New England Patriots defends on January 2, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    During his time in the NFL, Brandon Marshall has shown that he can be one of the most productive receivers in the league even with a poor quarterback throwing him the ball.

    This year the former Bronco finished the season with over 1,000 yards and 86 catches but just three touchdowns.

    Next year I think Marshall will feast on the Dolphins improved quarterback play. How he will fit in with Harbaugh and his strong personality is another question.

5. Cameron Wake Will Be The Defensive Player Of The Year

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    MIAMI - NOVEMBER 18:  Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears is sacked by linebacker Cameron wake #91 of the Miami Dolphins and fumbles at Sun Life Stadium on November 18, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Cameron Wake surprised a lot of people this year with 14 sacks. Next year, Jim Harbaugh will turn him loose to do even more damage.

    Looking at the Stanford defense, it is easy to see how the schemes that were run for the Cardinals would translate to Miami.

    The Dolphins already run a 3-4 defense as did Harbaugh at Stanford.

    Wake will thrive in the aggressive defensive scheme run by Harbaugh, all the way to the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.

4. The Dolphins Will Be Top 10 in Rushing

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 12:  Ronnie Brown #23 of the Miami Dolphins rushes against the New York Jets at New Meadowlands Stadium on December 12, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Jim Harbaugh lives and dies by the running game.

    This year the Dolphins were 21st in the NFL in rushing offense. They averaged just 102.7 yards per game and just 3.7 yards per rush.

    Next year Harbaugh will improve the Dolphins and they will finish among the leagues best rushing teams.

3. Jim Harbaugh WIll Win Coach Of The Year

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates a play with Andrew Luck #12 against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Stanford won 40
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Jim Harbaugh will have a great season in Miami and after his first season,  will be named coach of the year.

    That might sound like high praise indeed for a rookie coach, but if he improves the Dolphins as I predict,  it will be an easy call.

2. The Dolphins Will Make the Playoffs

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    MIAMI - DECEMBER 26:  Running back Ronnie brown #23 of the Miami Dolphins is stopped by the Detroit Lions at Sun Life Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Lions defeated the Dolphins 34-27.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Winning the AFC East is a very difficult thing to predict. The Patriots and Jets still will probably be among the top teams in the Conference and the Bills will be better next year. However, I think the Dolphins will make the playoffs if only as a wild card.

    The 'Fins were in the hunt late in the season and if it wasn't for injuries they might have made the playoffs.

    Not a crazy prediction.

1. The Dolphins Will Win a Playoff Game

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    GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 17: Dan Carpenter #5 and Brandon Fields #2 of the Miami Dolphins celebrate the winning field goal in overtime against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 17, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Dolphins defeated the Pac
    Scott Boehm/Getty Images

    The AFC looks like the stronger conference in the NFL right now so simply the Dolphins making the playoffs would be a success.  However, Harbaugh is a big game coach and in a one game playoff setting, there is no better college coach.

    To compare a one game NFL playoff to a college game with Harbaugh as coach,  look at the Stanford upset over USC a few years back. The Cardinals were a 40 point underdog against USC but won the game.

    If the Dolphins make the playoffs, I like their chances.