The Dolphins will begin the week with two more official organized team activities. The two OTAs are scheduled for Monday and Wednesday. They will then hold a three day minicamp beginning Friday. So it's a busy week down in Davie for the Dolphins.
With that said, here's what made headlines this past weekend.
Despite Marshall, Dolphins still a run-first team?
Did anyone think I'd be typing the following sentence for a second time in a few days? Probably not - but Armando Salguero wrote a good piece for yesterday's paper about Miami's offense.
And I wanted to highlight it because I think it needs to be mentioned, especially after the big offseason acquisition of Brandon Marshall and the expected improvements from Chad Henne as he moves into year two of being a starter. I think there's this thought out there that the Dolphins are going to move away from the offensive philosophy that they've believed in even before Tony Sparano and company took over. This has been a run-oriented team for some time now and while many might hope to see the Dolphins get away from that, don't get your hopes up.
And the truth and reality of the Dolphins' 2010 offense, at least early in the regular season, is that Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams will be carrying the unit, as they did last year, and the year before and the year before that.
Ronnie Brown. Ricky Williams.
Barring a stunning change in Tony Sparano's philosophy, the Dolphins still will be a run-first team in 2010. They will run to control the game. They will run to control the opponent and keep the other offense off the field. They will run because that's what the Dolphins are fundamentally built to do best.
This isn't to say the Dolphins won't look to open up the offense a little bit more than we've seen the past two seasons. After all, they have their legitimate number one receiver now and a strong-armed quarterback who can zip the ball into tight spots and chuck it downfield. But this offense is still built to run the football - and that starts with the coaches and with the offensive line.
Dan Henning likes to pound the football. This offensive line is built big and strong up front to do just that. The acquisition of one player isn't going to change that - at least not right away.
So what could change that? Obviously the health of Miami's backs could cause the Dolphins to rely more on the passing attack. But Ronnie Brown, despite saying recently that he still does feel soreness in his foot every once in a while, was happy to participate fully in last week's OTAs, says he's been "getting better on a weekly and daily basis" and "definitely" doesn't rule out the possibility of being ready to go for the start of training camp.
I still expect Ronnie to be held out of camp early on even if he does feel he's 100% just as a precaution. But it's still a good sign that he should be completely ready to go for the regular season. And it's important he is. Even if you don't believe Ronnie will (or should) be the starter, Ricky Williams is 33 years old and has said he actually enjoys being the complimentary back instead of the feature back.
When all is said and done, though, we should see more passing out of this offense as the season progresses. But I just want us to be prepared for when the Dolphins come out in 2010 and call plays 60/40 in favor of the run.
Fins getting national attention as playoff contender
It's seems to be rare to read any positive thoughts about this team coming from the national media these days. That's why I felt compelled to highlight how NFL.com's Pat Kirwan lists the Dolphins as one of his six new playoff teams in 2010. Perhaps even more interesting is who Kirwan lists as possible '09 playoff teams who will fail to make it in '10. Number two on that list? The Patriots. Number six? The Jets.
Critics will say Kirwan is crazy. But when you think about this, it makes sense. The Pats will play a first place schedule (meaning they get all the AFC division winners from a year ago). They have a questionable secondary. They will be without Wes Welker for at least a little. And their pass rush is a worry.
The Jets? I never thought I'd say this, but they may have fewer total question marks than New England. However, their biggest one is perhaps the most important - Mark Sanchez. But top to bottom, the Jets and Dolphins are very similar teams. And I can even see s scenario where the Fins and Jets reach the postseason while Bill Belichick and the Pats are at home watching. Could you imagine that?
- Barry Jackson talks about some interesting position battles in Miami. Among them, can Phillip Merling hold off Jared Odrick? Is Ryan Baker going to push Paul Soliai? Perhaps most interesting, who (if anyone) will Will Allen push for a starting corner spot? Jackson seems to think Sean Smith is the player more at risk. I disagree. Smith ended the year in the top 20 in the league in completion percentage allowed and led Miami in passes defensed. Truth be told, I don't think Allen beats out either young corner.
- Yet another good read about Chad Pennington - as if there weren't enough already. But hey, I can't get enough CP10.
- Get to know Richie Incognito - and why Tony Sparano loves him so much already.