Much of the Miami Dolphins' struggles in 2006 can be blamed on a lack of explosiveness on offense. So, during the offseason the team brought in a guy who is considered by some to be an offensive mastermind in Cam Cameron to be their next head coach. They also acquired veteran quarterback Trent Green in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs in an effort to stabilize the QB position. How well that works out remains to be seen. Green is 37 years old and never seemed to fully recover in ‘06 from a concussion he suffered early in the season.
The Dolphins also added even more veteran experience to an aging defense in the form of linebacker Joey Porter. With talent like Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas drawing a lot of attention, I would expect Porter to continue to flourish in this system as long as the knee problems that have hindered him in camp don’t linger into the season.
Kicker Jay Feely will handle the kicking duties this year, and veteran tight end David Martin is penciled in as the starting tight end.
NFL Draft Picks
1st Round - Ted Ginn Jr., WR Ohio State
2nd Round - John Beck, QB Brigham Young
2nd Round - Samson Satele, C Hawaii
3rd Round - Lorenzo Booker, RB Florida State
4th Round - Paul Soliai, DT Utah
6th Round - Reagan Mauia, FB Hawaii
6th Round - Drew Mormino, C Central Michigan
7th Round, Kelvin Smith, LB Syracuse
7th Round - Brandon Fields, P Michigan State
7th Round - Abraham Wright, DE Colorado
Former head coach Nick Saban opted to return to the college ranks, and the experiments with both Daunte Culpepper and Joey Harrington are over, with both guys finding new homes during the offseason.
With the state of Miami’s ofense, you’d think they could hardly afford to lose any firepower. But they lost some offensive punch with the departures of tight end Randy McMichael, receiver Wes Welker, and running back Sammy Morris, all of whom played an important role in the offense.
Gone from the defense are veteran defensive ends Kevin Carter and David Bowens.
What Needs to Change?
Finding some consistency on offense is a priority, and it all starts with the quarterback and offensive line. Trent Green may or may not give the Dolphins an upgrade at the quarterback position depending on whether or not he is fully recovered both physically and mentally from the vicious hit he took last year. If he doesn’t get the job done, the team will have just Cleo Lemon and rookie John Beck to fall back on.
It won’t matter who the quarterback is, however, if we don’t see significant improvement in the offensive line play. And there are still plenty of questions to be answered in that area. Tackle Vernon Carey is being shifted from the right side to the left, and will be expected to protect Green’s blind side against some of the league’s better edge rushers. Rookie Samson Satele is being thrown into the fire right off the bat at starting center. And the team is counting on veteran Chris Lewinski, who started just six games for the Arizona Cardinals last season, to handle left guard. So there are some risks being taken here. The question is, will they pay off or will they backfire?
Under Pressure to Perform
Trent Green - One of the most steady quarterbacks in the game over the past five years, Green doesn’t come without some question marks. If fans are hoping for 4,000 yards passing out of him this season, they could be in for a letdown.
Ronnie Brown - Following a bit of a disappointing sophomore season, the Dolphins are counting on Brown to be more of the dominant type of back you would expect from the No. 2 pick in the draft. The team invested a third-round draft pick in Florida State running back Lorenzon Booker over the offseason to help keep Brown fresh and to maybe push him a little.
Vernon Carey - With the shift from the right side of the line to the left, Carey’s role becomes so much more important. He seemed to be really coming into his own at right tackle, so there is some risk involved in this move.
Ted Ginn Jr. - Despite the fact that he’s a rookie, there’s already a little heat on Ginn to produce right out of the gate. Many fans were upset the team passed on Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft, and they won’t soon forget it if Quinn turns out to be a solid NFL starter and Ginn is nothing more than a glorified return man.
Overall Offense - 20th (310.0)
Rushing Offense - 22nd (104.6)
Passing Offense - 13th (205.4)
Overall Defense - 4th (289.1)
Rushing Defense - 8th (101.1)
Passing Defense - 5th (187.9)
Prediction - The Dolphins defense should remain fairly dominant again this year, but let’s face it, they’re not getting any younger. And I’m not sure the addition of Trent Green at quarterback is any type of quick fix for a struggling offense. In fact, unless there is tremendous improvement in the offensive line play this year, I don’t see things getting much better in Miami.
Record: 5-11 and fourth in the AFC East.