FanPost

Another look at the progression from '07 to '08

Watching the game on Sunday made me realize how fortunate we are right now. Many of us at the end of last year would have been complacent, satisfied, rather thrilled if we had 5 wins going into the 2009 draft. It would have marked a 4 game improvement and a step in the right direction.

There were two things that many did not anticipate. The Trifecta and James Chadwick Pennington (more on him later).

Let’s start with the Trifecta.

On December 19, 2007, the Miami Herald reported that Parcells had agreed to become the new Executive Vice President of Football Operations of the Miami Dolphins. Forever more the fate of the Miami Dolphins would change.

Quickly the man called "Tuna" brought in key members to aid him on his rebuilding project. With a completely revamped coaching staff he truly began this thing called… "Rebuilding."

Look at the key notables between the 2007 and the 2008 season.

 

Position

 

2007 Season (1-15)

 

2008 Season (8 wins so far)

Head Coach

Cam Cameron

Tony Sparano

Offensive Coordinator

Cam Cameron

 

Dan Henning

 

Defensive Coordinator

Dom Capers

Paul Pasqualoni

Special Teams Coordinator

Keith Armstrong

John Bonamego

Quarterbacks

Terry Shea

David Lee

Offensive Line

Hudson Huock

Mike Maser

Defensive Line

Travis Jones and Diron Reynolds

Kacy Rodgers

Secondary

Mel Phllips and Brett Maxie

Todd Bowles

Wide Receivers

Terry Robiskie

Karl Dorrell

Running Backs

Bobby Jackson

James Saxon

Linebackers

George Edwards

Jim Reid and George Edwards

Do not bother looking for any repeats from 2007-2008. On that list there are none. Truly a different philosophy and coaching staff.

The Trifecta was a term constructed to represent:

1. Executive Vice President of Football Operations - Bill Parcells

2. Head Coach – Tony Sparano

3. General Manager - Jeff Ireland

They quickly came in and made a difference. They got rid of underachieving players or players that did not fit our scheme. They also went out and obtained players that had potential and do fit our scheme.

Notable Releases

Notable Additions

Zach Thomas

Justin Smiley

Jason Taylor

Ernest Wilford

Trent Green

Jason Ferguson

Rex Hadnot

Akin Ayodele

Marty Booker

Anthony Fasano

LJ Shelton

Charlie Anderson

Keith Traylor

Randy Starks

Jesse Chatman

Reggie Torbor

Clearly, that in itself, made a statement.

Next …the day that if good decisions are made …can build a franchise…but if bad decisions are made…can cripple them. The DRAFT.

With the 1st overall pick in the draft we have many options:

  • OT- Jake Long
  • QB- Matt Ryan
  • DL/LB – Chris Long
  • DL- Glenn Dorsey
  • DL/LB- Vernon Gholston

Since we were building from the inside out, we decided to draft Jake Long. This would help shore up our o-line and we would have an anchor to protect the QB’s blindside.

We then went on to make several other moves. Here are the notable ones that occurred on Draft Weekend:

Name

Position

College

Round

Overall Pick

Jake Long

OT

Michigan

1

1

Philip Merling

DE

Clemson

2

32

Chad Henne

QB

Michigan

2

57

Kendall Langford

DE

Hampton

3

66

Donald Thomas

OG

Connecticut

6

195

Davone Bess

WR

Hawaii

-

Undrafted

Dan Carpenter

K

Montana

-

Undrafted

Immediately, they became contributors. They all started to distinguish themselves as young play-makers that would help our team win games. Jake Long immediately took hold of the starting LT position. Merling and Langford solidified their spot on the DL rotation. Henne showed promise and composure when battling for the starting QB job. Donald Thomas jumped up to the starting RG position and became known for his relentless blocking. Davone Bess immediately showed he had the best hands on the team, and finally Dan Carpenter beat out Veteran Jay Feely for the starting K job.

Overall, in one off-season this new "regime" brought together the pieces of what soon would be the NEW Miami Dolphins.

When preseason started, the Miami Dolphins received a blessing. This blessing was Brett Favre deciding to return to play football. After a few days of drama, he was traded to the Jets, and consequentially the Jets released Chad Pennington.

Now for years, with his "noodle" arm Chad Pennington always found ways to beat the Miami Dolphins. Every single Dolphin Fan hated every inch of this "Pennington." We did not know how, nor why he found a way to win. Even when the Dolphins signed him, most fans were outraged. Most, including me (a notorious supporter of John Beck), were proven wrong.

Immediately, with less than a week of preparation, he was named the starting QB for the second preseason game. And the second he made his first pass we knew there was something special about this guy. He may not be fast, he may not have a cannon for an arm, but he was just what we need. Immediately creating a rapport with 2nd year man Ted Ginn Jr, Pennington simply…excelled. The team seemed to have a whole new level of play with him at the Helm. He was a leader in every sense of the word, and it clearly showed. We went on winning that preseason game and dominating the next one.

Week 1

Bitterness. Anger. Retribution. Redemption.

All of those words could have described the feelings Chad Pennington had for the Jets. In pure coincidence we were scheduled to play the New York Favre's…I mean New York Jets. Pennington vs. Favre. It was going to be a showdown. Nationally televised, in Miami, it was going to be one hell of a game. It was, but we were not victorious. We showed glimpses of greatness. We scored efficiently played mostly solid defense, but we were not able to bring home the W. Disappointed we were…but it was a "rebuilding" season so we took it in stride. Final Score: Jets 20 – Dolphins 14.

Week 2

The Dolphins made a trip to Arizona that mostly everyone would love to forget. As fans we were given a display of an old-fashioned beat down. Reminiscent of the 2007, the dolphins were handled another big loss. Final Score: Cardinals 31- Dolphins 10.

Week 3

Down in the dumps once again. The winless Dolphins at 0-2 were heading up to Foxboro to play the 2-0 Patriots. Even without Brady, the patriots were still the team to beat. Expecting the worst, Dolphins fans everywhere watched the game with a sense of anxiety. Turned out, we were finally able to watch the Football Gods favor us. With help of the new dynamic offense dubbed the "Wildcat" the dolphins trounced the Patriots. Final Score: Patriots 13- Dolphins 38.

Week 4

It was a bye week. Could the dolphins keep the momentum rolling into the next week?

Week 5

The recently victorious Miami Dolphins hosted the Chargers. Was the game against the Patriots just a fluke? Did the Dolphins just get lucky or were they actually finally progressing. All these questions were answered. With solid defense, and a "Pound the Rock" mentality the Dolphins won another game! Final Score: Chargers 10 – Dolphins 17

Week 6-7

Two Super Bowl contenders crossed of the Dolphins schedule in two consecutive weeks. Were the Dolphins finally for real? Nope. We lost a very close game against the Texans in which we shot ourselves in the foot at the end. Where was that game winning mentality? We could not find it when we versed the Ravens the following week. With two tough losses in which neither our defense nor offense looked "average" Dolphins fans around the world were again in low spirits.

Final Score: Texans 29- Dolphins 28

Final Score: Ravens 27- Dolphins 13

Week 8

Two losses in a row were extremely hurtful. This was the week that everything changed. We went from "cellar-dwellers" to playmakers. The 5-1 Bills were handled an upset, when the Miami Dolphins surged through with Championship caliber 4th-quarter play.

Final Score: Bills 16- Dolphins 25.

Week 9

A big divisional win over the Buffalo Bills did wonder’s for our morale. Not only were our players jovial, but also so were the fans. We used this excitement and passion to collect another W. Harassing and thumping the Broncos Offense all day long. The Dolphins dominated with an outstanding Defensive Performance. Final Score: Broncos 17- Dolphins 26.

Week 10

Things were finally coming together for the Dolphins. Sitting at 4-4 we were finally showing improvements. Playoffs? Not yet. We were showing potential but we needed to keep this up. We sneaked past the Seahawks with a resilient defensive performance.

Final Score: Seahawks 19 – Dolphins 21

Week 11

Whew. Finally above .500 in a very long time. From 1-15 to 5-4. What an improvement? Dolphin fans were in for another nail biter, but eventually we came on top. Chad Pennington was proving himself week in-week out he is our QB. With accurate passes and clutch "pressure-performances", the Dolphins won again.

Final Score: Raiders 15- Dolphins 17.

Week 12

For the first time in four weeks the dolphins were on the losing side. Being completely picked apart by Matt Cassel and the spread offense, the Dolphins were left in shambles. Us fans were thoroughly disappointed, but 6-5 is still pretty good after a 1-15 season right?

Final Score: Patriots 48 – Dolphins 28.

Week 13

Play off Race here we come. With an outstanding defensive performance the Dolphins were thrust back into the thick of the AFC playoff race. Every team in the AFC east lost except the Dolphins this week. Fans were joyous once again. The dolphins were 7-5 and one game out from the division.

Final Score: Rams 12- Dolphins 15.

Week 14

Once again we were given a blessing. Chad Pennington and his laser accuracy led us to another victory. 8-5! The Jets lost so now there was a 3-way tie in the AFC east!

Final Score: Bills 3 – Dolphins 16.

Final Thoughts:

Now where does this leave us? Right now Dolphins are 8-5 and about to play the San Francisco 49’ers. We are tied for 1st in our division. We have legitimized ourselves as contenders and are playing with emotion and passion. Pivotal games are coming up and from 1-15 what more could one ask for?

The future is bright in Miami. Very Bright. Not only are we in the playoff race right now. Next year we will be in it (with another Off-season for the Trifecta.) We will only continue to improve. I have said many words right now…but there are only two left…and these are the most important of them all.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

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