NFL PREVIEW: MIAMI DOLPHINS
July 19, 2012Eastern Indiana Sports
NFL PREVIEW: Miami Dolphins
By KELCI BAKER…EIHSS SPORTS
Last year: 6-10, 3rd in AFC East, missed playoffs
Rebuilding is key for General Manager Jeff Ireland. The defense finished sixth in points allowed but the offense lacked the entire season. They failed to protect the quarterback, allowing 52 sacks and an erratic passing game to match. Former head coach Tony Sparano is being replaced by Joe Philbin who was the offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers. They have to get the offense in gear for the coming year by producing an aerial attack that's strong enough to keep up with the New England Patriots.
Mike Sherman is the offensive coordinator for the Dolphins and he has them running a west coast style. They've drafted No.8 pick Ryan Tannehill from Texas A&M and view him as the quarterback of the future. The faster he can get up to NFL speed, the faster he'll become a starter. He already knows Sheman's offense from Texas A&M, so it should be rather easy for him to get up to speed. He'll have to beat out Matt Moore who produced an 87.1 passer rating last season, and David Garrard who has an 85.8 rating in his nine NFL seasons. The team has stacked the backfield with Reggie Bush, who rushed for 1,086 yards last season, Daniel Thomas who was last year's second round pick who rushed for 581 yards, and lastly rookie speedster Lamar Miller, a top 50 prospect. The offensive line still has some concerns because the unit isn't as athletic as Philbin needs it to be to run zone-blocking schemes. What's cause for even more concern is the fact that there’s no game-breaking receiver after the trade that sent Brandon Marshall to the Bears. Although Davone Bess, Brian Hartline and Clyde Grants have talent, none have proved that they can carry a passing game.
Defensively, coordinator Kevin Coyle works with a 4-3 hybrid style, switching from a 3-4. Defense has always been the strength of the team and will likely continue to lead the way since Pro Bowl nose tackle Paul Soliai was re-signed. The Dolphins hope that Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett can make more impact plays even though they both tallied 100-plus tackles last season. Vontae Davis, Sean Smith and Richard Marshall have the talent to become one of the NFL's better cornerback trios. They're counting on pass rusher Olivier Vernon to complement Cameron Wake who has 28 sacks over three seasons, even though it's a lot to ask of a rookie who contributed nine sacks during his suspension-shortened college career. The Dolphins also need to choose two starting safeties from Reshad Jones, Jimmy Wilson, Tyrell Johnson, Tyrone Culver and Chris Clemons.
Darren Rizzi is the coordinator of this special teams who features Pro Bowl caliber kicker in Dan Carpenter and punter Brandon Fields, but the unit lacks punch in the return department. Last year Gates showed the potential averaging 24.8 yards on kickoff returns but that job might go to Miller who has legit 4.3 speed. They also need to find a more effective punt returner than Bess which they've been trying to find for the past four years with no success.
Philbin received assistants from Sparano's staff along with a couple of upper-echeleon college coaches who have maximized their talent. Poor coaching was a big factor to the Dolphins starting off at 0-7 last season. These upgrades should help Miami play up to its talent level.
2012 Draft Recap
Out of the nine picks from the 2012 draft, the Dolphins best pick was QB Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M who, according to coach Joe Philbin, took only three hours to grasp the Dolphins playbook. It helps that Tannehill used it for the past two seasons playing quarterback for Mike Sherman who is now the offensive coordinator for Miami.
QB Ryan Tannehill. Texas A&M
First round. 8th pick overall.
T Jonathan Martin. Stanford
Second round. 42nd pick overall.
The Dolphins hope to play Martin on the right side
DE Olivier Vernon. Miami (Fla.)
Third round. 72nd pick overall.
Edge pass rusher reminds some of Cameron Wake
TE Michael Egnew. Missouri
Third round. 78th pick overall.
He has been a productive seam-threat tight end
RB Lamar Miller. Miami (Fla.)
Fourth round. 97th pick overall.
The Dolphins traded up in the fourth round to get him
LB Josh Kaddu. Oregon
Fifth round. 155th pick overall.
He has experience playing in a 3-4 scheme
WR B.J. Cunningham. Michigan State
Sixth round. 183rd pick overall.
School's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards
DT Kheeston Randall. Texas
Seventh round. 215th pick overall.
Has the potential to play every spot on the defensive end
WR Rishard Matthews. Nevada
Seventh round. 227th pick overall.
He's well-built and fluid
The Miami Dolphins went out and hired a new head coach in Joe Philbin in preparation for the 2012 season, and now they know what their schedule looks like.
The Dolphins will be looking to get off to a better start in 2012. They started 0-7 in 2011, and by the time they got on track it was already too late. Along the way, head coach Tony Sparano was jettisoned.
Still, considering the way it started, Miami's 2011 season could have been a lot worse. Here's a look at what they'll be dealing with in 2012.
2012 Regular Season Schedule