Before we start prepping for New England and Monday’s season-opening showdown, Daniel and I thought we would preview the Dolphins’ season as well as predict a final record.
Daniel’s overview and prediction is first and mine is after the jump. Feel free to chime in with your prediction for the season in the comments.
Daniel’s season preview:
The countdown is on! We’re a week away from the Dolphins’ regular season debut. There is no bigger way to launch the season than Monday Night football at home on primetime against the New England Patriots. So the question is, are you ready for some football??!!
It’s been a long off-season and there were many players that left and many new players brought in. Now it’s time to assess this team and figure out how we stack up against the rest of the league.
This team is faster, more exciting, and hopefully will put more points on the board in winning efforts. They have a new offensive coordinator in Brian Daboll who is ready to show us what he’s got and you’ve got Tony Sparano whose ass is dead center on the hot seat.
When trying to predict a record for this year’s team I went back and forth between bias fan and realist fan and ended up at 8-8. This team will be improved; Henne should be better and most importantly to the fan base this team should be more fun to watch.
That being said, they still have a decent way to go. Henne should be a better QB and that should automatically result in more stable play on offense. Special teams should go through drastic changes with the new additions, hopefully less roster-fringe shuffling and some help from the NFL with the new kick-off rule.
All Dolfans in Miami know this defense has top 5 potential. This defense can be special but to be special they will need to do something they didn’t do enough of last year- create TURNOVERS!
While all those things are true, Henne is not Peyton Manning. Henne is not Tom Brady. Henne is not Philip Rivers. Henne is not Matt Schaub. Henne is not a playoff QB and thats what separates this team from getting 10 or 11 wins, instead having to settle with 7, 8, or 9.
I am trying to be optimistic with Henne and I have seen the displays of leadership this off-season as well as growth in his game but I just don’t see him being able to get to the next level. Henne has shown flashes but has shown just as many question marks throughout his career.
So with all that being said, unfortunately, I think this spells the end for Chad and Coach Sparano in Miami as an 8-8 record will not satisfy the likes of billionaire owner Stephen Ross. Let me know if you agree with my thinking or not. If not, well, then I hope I’m wrong!
Cody’s season preview:
I’ve been more optimistic than most when it comes to where the Dolphins stand this season. Some may chalk that up as me just being overly optimistic or a bit biased.
I try to convince myself that my hopeful outlook has more to do with the theory that last season’s 7-9 finish was the worse-case scenario played out. After all, they beat the eventual champion Packers, AFC runner up Jets, and were a blown call away from upsetting the Steelers- the AFC representative in the Super Bowl.
Add that to late-season losses against the Bills, Browns, and Lions- teams they should have beat in games they should have won- and you could easily make the argument Miami should have been a 10-win team a year ago.
But the saying coulda-shoulda-woulda obviously applies here. The reasons the Dolphins lost the games they did could still be issues this season.
Chad Henne’s erratic ways, a struggling running game, a defense that stops people but doesn’t create turnovers, and disastrous special-teams play was what prevented the Dolphins from making playoff run in 2010.
While I believe Henne will be improved in the new offense, the special-teams problems surely won’t hinder this team as much, and the defense could take the next step, I see one of the league’s worst running attacks holding the Dolphins back from being legitimate contenders.
I don’t think the playoffs are impossible, but it’s probably going to take Chad Henne emerging as a top ten quarterback or the defense truly dominating by shutting down opposing offenses and generating points/scoring opportunities themselves with turnovers for the Dolphins to make the jump this season.
Without a reliable running game to lean on, though, there may be too much pressure on Henne to carry and win games for the Dolphins.