This must be a sign that our humble little Dolphin site is becoming more and more credible. I recently got the opportunity to ask Michael Lombardi five good questions about our Dolphins. Lombardi is a former NFL exec with over 20 years of experience and who has worked with guys like Bill Walsh, Ernie Accorsi, Jon Gruden, and Mike Shanahan (just to name a few). Now, he writes for SI.com as well as running his own blog, Lombardi On The NFL. You'll also see him featured on the NFL Network at times.
Below are the questions I asked him followed with Michael's answers:
Matty: What should Dolphin fans expect to see from this new coaching staff - and from Tony Sparano and Dan Henning in particular. Will the offense as as run-heavy as some are predicting? Might it possibly be too conservative?
Michael: I think the Fins staff will be smart and attack each team's weaknesses as the game plan would suggest. They will be broad and diverse enough on offense to utilize their talents. But they wont be a run team, or a pass team label.
Matty: The biggest storyline entering training camp for the Dolphins is obviously the QB competition. What are your thoughts on it?
Michael: I like Henne. I think he has the skills and the leadership to be a very good player. And he is very smart. He needs to prove he can be very accurate with the ball and keep working on that skill.
Matty: While I'm still in favor of the trade that send Jason Taylor to Washington because of the long-term effects of it, the short-term effects do have me worried. How do you think the Dolphins will replace Taylor and compensate for the loss of all those sacks?
Michael: Taylor is a great player, but he is a player that needs the right offense to highlight his skill set. I think Charlie Anderson or Quentin Moses will have to fill in and the scheme will have to provide some pressures. But on all third downs, it will be hard to replace Taylor right now. In the short term it hurts, but in the long term it will be the best thing.
Matty: What are your thoughts on Ted Ginn? I know many, myself included, still feel that he was drafted too high in '07. But there's nothing we can do about that anymore. I'll admit that I've really liked what I've seen from him so far, but do you think he can ever develop into a true #1 receiver for the Dolphins?
Michael: He will need to prove he has the quickness and the hands to be a full time player. Right now, he is a track speed player, one speed. And it takes a while to build speed.
Matty: You said in a recent article that you feel the Dolphins will have a better record than Washington. That surprised many people - Dolphin fans included. So how do you see this season playing out for Miami?
Michael: As I said in my blog posts and other columns, the Dolphins are a fundamental team and all fundamental teams get better and better as the season goes along….they will be well coached, and they wont beat themselves…
A huge "thank you" goes out to Michael Lombardi for taking the time to answer these 5 questions.
I think what stands out to me the most is the respect that this new regime (both the front office and the coaching staff) is getting from NFL insiders. Lombardi is one of the many who are predicting Miami to be a very "fundamental team." This is a far cry from what we saw last year, and that's the most exciting part of this entire thing. Good coaching goes a long way in this league. Hopefully Tony Sparano proves to be the long-term solution at head coach for this team - providing some much needed long-term stability and success.