NFL Offseason: Good News Lacking for Miami Dolphins

RealFootball365.comSenior Writer IFebruary 5, 2008

You have to look pretty far to find any good news from the Dolphins' 2007 season.

Sure the team tied for the fewest penalties in the NFL with 73; was second in the AFC in time of possession at 31:19 per game; and fumbled the ball just 20 times, losing eight (the second fewest in the NFL).

But the bad news is,  in the NFL, games are not decided by the number of penalties or time of possession.

Games are decided by the score.

And for the Dolphins...ay, there's the rub.

Offensively, Miami finished 14th in the AFC in points per game with 16.7, ahead of only Buffalo (15.8) and Kansas City (14.1). Defensively, believe it or not, they were actually worse, allowing an AFC-high 27.3 points per game, good enough (actually bad enough) to finish 30th out of the 32 NFL teams.

With a more than 10 points per game as a differential, it's not hard to see why they managed just one win in '07.

So the question facing the Dolphins' brain trust is this: Where do they even start in trying to fix this mess?

On defense, Miami is in dire need of a major overhaul in the front seven. They were last in the NFL in rush defense, allowing 153.5 yards per game. While their pass defense was fourth in the league—allowing just 188.7 yards per game—that was really more the result of opposing offenses running roughshod over them and not needing to throw than it was an indicator of the quality of the pass defense.

Still, the main focus on upgrading the defense for '08 will be building a front that can at least dissuade other teams from running it down their throat.

On the other side of the ball, Miami's offensive line was, well, offensive. The Dolphins rushed for an anemic 98.1 yards per game and allowed 42 sacks. Their run-pass ratio of 41.1 percent rush and 58.9 percent pass is a clear result of having to play catchup most games in an effort to make up that large point differential.

When you've got a defense that can't stop the run and an offense that can't run and can't protect the passer, there's really only one other thing you can do.

At least Brandon Fields didn't have any punts blocked this past year.