2009 Miami Dolphins Season Preview
2009 Miami Dolphins preview from MadduxSports.com. With the AFC East being one of the harder divisions to forecast in terms of nfl point spread success, be sure to have an ace in the hole on your side this season. That ace being Maddux Sports' weekly NFL picks.
2009 Miami Dolphins Predictions
By Adam Barone
The Dolphins bounced back in 2008, from 1-15 to 11-5, as Bill Parcels solidified his reputation as an expert at cleaning up messes. Pat White was drafted and is apparently perfect to run the Wildcat. The secondary was rebuilt after being a huge weakness last season, probably giving Miami a reasonable chance of defending their AFC East crown.
The Dolphins were without a quarterback before the 2008 season started, but Brett Favre’s indecisiveness helped them out with that. Favre’s return led to the Jets’ release of Chad Pennington, whom Parcells had originally drafted in 2000. Pennington won the Comeback Player of the Year and surprisingly tied for second in MVP voting after completing 67.4 percent of his passes with just seven interceptions. Chad Henne is the future, but Pennington will still be the man this year.
The skill positions in Miami aren’t particularly exciting, with Ronnie Brown being the lone big name. Brown scored 10 touchdowns last season, and averaged 4.3 yards per carry. The receivers, Ted Ginn Jr., Greg Camarillo, and Davone Bess were all made better by the arrival of Pennington. Ginn caught 56 passes and Bess 54. Tight ends David Martin and Anthony Fasano caught three and seven touchdowns respectively.
The offensive line has become the anchor of the team, with 2008 first overall pick Jake Long making the Pro Bowl as a rookie and getting paid like he invented Facebook. The Dolphins signed former Raiders’ center Jake Grove to help the running game, while re-signing Vernon Carey, signing Joe Berger, and drafting tackle Andrew Gardner.
The Dolphins’ defense improved from 23rd to 15th overall from 2007 to ’08, and from last to 10th against the run. End Vonnie Holliday was let go because the team likes the potential of second year man Phillip Merling. Merling had just 26 tackles and a sack in 2008, so he’ll need to step up to replace Holliday. Tackle
The linebackers could be the strength of the defense. Jason Taylor was let go before last season, and signed before this one. He’ll play mostly linebacker and some at his usual end position. Joey Porter had a bounce-back year last season, tallying a career-high 17.5 sacks. Middle linebacker Channing Crowder is on the rise after a 114 tackle season.
The secondary was a major problem last season, as the Dolphins ranked 25th overall, allowing 227.8 yards per game through the air. Cornerback Andre Goodman left as a free agent after making five interceptions, and will be replaced by first round pick Vontae Davis. Strong safety Yeremiah Bell made 120 tackles in 2008, and new running mate Gibril Wilson made 129 tackles last season for Oakland.
Second year kicker Dan Carpenter has done a fine job replacing Jay Feely, though he needs to improve his kickoffs. Ted Ginn Jr. wasn’t quite the kick returner the team hoped he’d be, and has been replaced by Patrick Cobbs and Davone Bess.
The Dolphins are on the rise, but they play in a strong division. They didn’t make a major addition anywhere, and there could be trouble if the league figures out the Wildcat. Having the toughest schedule in the league, the return of Tom Brady, and the Bills’ addition of Terrell Owens could be too much too handle for this young team.