Monday, February 12, 2007

Miami Dolphins(6-10)

This latest review comes courtesy of Davey. I had been asking him for a couple of days to write one, because it's his favorite team and I felt it would be better for him to write the review.

2006 season: 6-10
Head Coach: Nick Saban (Has since moved on to Alabama)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Mularkey
Defensive Coordinator: Dom Capers
Pro-Bowl: Jason Taylor (Defensive End), Zach Thomas (Linebacker)
Awards: Jason Taylor (Defensive Player of the Year)


The 2006 offensive unit was statistically one of the worst in Dolphins history. The team averaged 16.3 points-per-game, which was the lowest since 1967, the franchise's second year of existence.

At the start of the season, the offense was expected to do big things but as you know, a combination of injuries, sub-par play and bad play-calling led to a very disappointing season. Daunte Culpepper wasn't healthy enough to play and the fact that he was put into the line-up too soon, doomed the team from the get go. The offensive line was inconsistent and also had to deal with various injuries and guys like Chris Chambers and Randy McMichael just didn't play up to their standards. Sprinkle in Mike Mularkey's play-calling, and you get the

But with all the bad comes the good and there definitively was some good coming from this unit. Ronnie Brown missed 3 games due to injury but still managed to surpass 1000 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per carry while showing that he was well worth the 2nd overall pick in 2005.
In his absence, Sammie Morris also showed that he was capable of running the ball, and should Ricky Williams come back next year, the running game should be loaded.

Wes Welker also had a nice year, leading the team with 67 receptions and Marty Booker also had a decent year, leading the team in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Meanwhile, Vernon Carey also stepped up and started to show why he was a first round pick a few years ago and should be the foundation of this line for some years to come.


Miami is known for a hard-hitting, swarming defense and this season was no different. Dom Capers came in with his 3-4 schemes and players like Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor absolutely thrived. Thomas finished with 164 tackles and 3 sacks, while did just about everything possible in way to a dominant season and Defensive Player of the Year honors.

The defense as a unit finished 4th overall, allowing just 288 yards-per-game and 17.7 pp/g. In 2005, the unit finished ranked 17th overall, thus showing how well they performed in Capers' new schemes.

The defense does have it's question marks though. The fact remains that it's an aging unit and they need to get younger, especially on the defensive line. First round pick Jason Allen also didn't contribute as much as expected mostly because he held out and missed a big part of training camp. Hopefully Allen can work hard this off-season, get familiar with the defense and what is expected from him, and start showing why Miami used the 16th overall pick oh him.

Special Teams

Donnie Jones had himself a solid season, averaging 42.8 yards on his punts and getting 28 down inside the 20. Wes Welker was good returning kicks, getting 378 yards on punt returns and getting 1064 yards on kick-off returns, with an average of 22.2 yards.
Olindo Mare was less than stellar in the field-goal department this year. He was 26 out of 36 on his kicks while missing 3 in the 40-49 range and 5 in the 50+ range. Some of those misses came in key situations that really hurt the team and I for one am not that confident when I see Olindo line up for a kick anymore.

Draft Notes

Miami will be picking 9th overall this year and most projections have them taking a defensive lineman but now some others are predicting that Brady Quinn will be the pick if he's available. I'm not a big Brady Quinn fan so I'm hoping that this scenario won't play itself out. But odds are that Quinn will already be off the board by then and that coach Cameron will have to figure out if he's going to go with Daunte Culpepper, Cleo Lemon or maybe a free-agent like Jeff Garcia.

Positions that must be filled with the draft

1. Defensive tackle
2. Offensive tackle
3. Linebacker
4. Defensive end
5. Cornerback
6. Wide Receiver


Keith Traylor, Jeff Zgonina and Vonnie Holiday aren't getting any younger, so getting a stud defensive tackle in the first round would be very nice. Michigan's Alan Branch will probably be gone by then, but Louisville's Amobi Okoye would be a great fit. Miami still has young guys like Fred Evans, Kevin Vickerson and Rod Wright on the depth chart, so they could have a nice core on the defensive line to build on.

Offensive Tackle:

Vernon Carey finally started playing like we expected him to, but Damion McIntosh was downright horrible on the other side of the line. If Miami doesn't take a DT in the first round, offensive tackle could be the other position they look at with their first pick. Wisconsin's Joe Thomas will probably be gone, but someone like Penn State's Levi Brown could be a good pick.


Zach Thomas and Channing Crowder are great, but next to those two, there isn't that much depth. Georgia's Tony Taylor and Florida's Earl Everett might be two guys that could fit nicely along with Thomas, Crowder and Derrick Pope.

Defensive end:

Jason Taylor is as good as they come but Kevin Carter is old. I have high hopes for Matt Roth but another defensive end should be added. Some early projections have Miami taking Arkansas defensive end Jamaal Anderson but if he's taken, Clemson's Gaines Adams could also be the pick here.


Will Allen has one starting corner spot locked up, but I'd rather see Travis Daniels as the nickel back and someone else come in and challenge Andre Goodman for the other starting spot. I hold on to the dream that Miami can somehow pick up Nate Clements in free agency but I don't see it happening. Daymeion Hughes could be someone to get, or Ryan Smith from Florida.


This all depends if Wes Welker gets resigned. With Welker on board, Miami has Chambers, Booker, Welker, Derek Hagan and also Marcus Vick who could compete for some playing time. If Welker leaves, then they could look for another receiver in later rounds.

The one big question for this team remains the quarterback position. Will Cam Cameron stick with Culpepper, will C-Pep be ready to go? Will he give Harrington a shot or maybe Cleo Lemon?. This will be the biggest factor that decides if the team will be successful in '07 or not.

The offensive line should only get better under Hudson Houck and if Ricky Williams comes back to help Ronnie Brown share the load at running back, the running game should also be beyond good. The fact that Cam Cameron will be handling the offense now should also improve things a whole lot.

There's a new, offensive minded coach in place, there's one of the league's best defenses and a good running game. With a quarterback that can run the show, this is a team that challenge for the AFC East crown. Without a quarterback, it's likely to be a disappointing repeat of last season.


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