I would first like to start off by stating that I was very impressed with the way this organization handled this offseason. I feel like this offseason was one of the greatest offseasons this organization has ever had. I think this offseason has answered so many of the questions that this team faced going into the offseason. That being said we didn't answer every question, and there is nothing wrong with that. Even the most complete teams have questions marks going into the season.I just like to talk about the questions that I feel were solved, and the questions that are still remaining going to the season.
Questions I think were answered (listed in order of answered most throughly)
1. The number one wide reciever- For a while there it didnt look like this might not happen this year. Byrant has/had his problems off the field. Marshall seemed to be nowhere near Miami's radar. Then out of nowhere we traded two 2nd round picks to get Brandon Marshall. Not only am I excited that we finally got a numer one wide reciever (its been a while hasn't it?), but I think Brandon Marshall fits our offense so well. A great route runner, very physical, breaks so many open field tackles and just attacks the ball in the air. Some think that because Marshall isnt a deep threat, he may not open the offense as well as we dolphin fans would like to think he will. I would just like to touch on that a bit. Honestly how much of a deep threat can a wide reciever be with Kyle Orton at quarterback. Marshall averaged 12 yards per catch with Orton, but people seem to forget he did average 14 yards per catch with Cutler as his qb. For someone who catches as many passes he does 14 yards per catch is a pretty good average. Not to mention as hard as he is to bring down in the open field, teams that fail to double Marshall will be asking for a huge Marshall gain off one broken tackle.
2. Coverage from both inside and outside linebackers- How many times were you watching a dolphins game last year, and you were thinking that for the most part on coverage on the outside was pretty good? The only problem was any target down the field of the middle was open. Tight ends, slots, running backs and yes even fullbacks were finding ways to get open against our linebackers. Akin and Crowder were so far below average in coverage (and they were that great against the run either). Not to mention Taylor and Porter aren't known as being good in coverage either. Now we got Dansby who can do it all. Rush the passer, drop back in coverage, stop the run. You name it, he does it. Dobbins is known as a run stopper, but he can drop back in coverage as well. AJ Edds was the best coverage linebacker in the draft. He was asked to cover slots, tight ends, and runnning backs at Iowa and for the most part he did it extremely well. Koa Misi is extremely fluid in open space, and is so good in coverage alot of teams were seeing him as a 4-3 outside linebacker (see senior bowl and high interest from Detriot Lions). Thats three linebacker positions that will have improved coverage, and we didnt even have a nickel linebacker last year(AJ Edds this year). One personal observation that I gained from personal experience is that linebackers who are good in coverage typically dont have trouble with mobile quarterbacks (something that has given us trouble in the past). I feel like this is because linebackers good in coverage are typically fluid in open space.
3. Interior Offensive Line Depth (Even under the assumation that Smiley isnt going to be with us)- I didnt really think this was a problem early in the season until we played that thursday night game at Carolina. Our offensive line just turned into a plug someone here and see if it works. Now we have four maulers fighting for two starting guards. Incongito: you can say what you want about him, but the kid is so stout at the point of the attack. John Jerry has so much potential. If you watched the senior bowl tape of him against Odrick he really won the battle a good majority of time. (Granted Odrick was playing the 3-techinque something I think he has had a little more trouble with). Thomas has has his problem with durability, but man that kid really has shown flashes. Than you have Garner. The coaching staff loves him, and I dont think many of us predicted him to play so much as a rookie. Usually when you have position battles, its for a position that is considered a question mark. This is one of those rare cases where you have a bunch of quality players fighting for a position that is considered a strenght on the team. Position battles like this create so much competition. It allows you to put a little bit more pressure on guys during training camp, and forces guys to practice perfect. (You know the saying)
I was gonna do this post with both the answers and questions, but its getting pretty long and Im getting kinda tired of writing. So if you guys want I'll do the quesitons by at the latest next weekend.