We've done a lot of studying and a lot of debating on who will make the team and what role each player would fulfill. There is another huge role players need to fill and I think it's been a subject that hasn't been talked about much. Perhaps because this is a very underrated role, though a very important one.
Perhaps the biggest loss in Jason Taylorgoing to the other team up north was JT's leadership. He played a key role in Miami's locker room. Miami's other captains will not be a starter on the field and both may not be active until mid-season.
Chad Pennington is a clear backup to the other Chad and may start the season on PUP list. Jason Ferguson, the other incumbent team captain, will serve an eight game suspension and may not return to the starting lineup when he returns.
This begs the question. Could two backup players serve as team captains? Should they even? While Ferguson can be a great mentor, he will provide little use for the first half of the season as he will not be allowed to practice with the team until he returns.
Who does Miami have on the roster capable of stepping up into the important leadership role and be voted as the team captain? There are a number of possibilities out there so let's take a look at a few candidates.
Chad Henne is an obvious option simply because of his position. In his third year in the NFL and entering his second season as a starter, he is undoubtedly the key the improving Miami's offense. The quarterback is always expected to be the leader of the offense and it'll be interesting to see if his teammates will give him the vote of confidence to be their captain.
Ronnie Brown is a fan favorite and you can't argue the talent he has. What can be argued is his ability to stay on the field. While a backup player and a suspended player can be questioned for a role as a captain, so can a player who spends an awful lot of time on the injured reserve. I love Ronnie Brown and I think he is immensely talented, but his ability to stay healthy has caused questions about his future with the team.
Ricky Williams, the polarizing figure in the clubhouse, is a favorite of this front office as well. He may be the hardest working member on the team and like Vernon Carey, the front office previously asked him to become more vocal and assume a leadership position. When he first returned from retirement and suspension, there were a lot of players on the team who still had doubts about him. Some, most notably Jason Taylor, openly questioned him before his return. With all the changeover on Miami's roster over the past several years, few of the players on Miami's roster were here when Williams broke hearts all over Miami by walking away from the game. The current players do not have the animosity towards him some of the previous players may have had. With his great performance last season and his expected contributions this year, will his teammates vote for him as a team captain?
Jake Long is the most well known offensive lineman on the roster and is the most respected. He has earned a Pro Bowl appearance in both of his seasons in the NFL and has earned the respect of the league. He already has the respect of his teammates and the front office. With his hard work ethic and his character, he can be an outstanding team captain for the next several years.
Vernon Carey, underappreciated by many, but one of the best right tackles in the lead is one of the longest tenured players for Miami. While he is a true veteran, he was never an outspoken player and has in the past been asked to become more vocal when Miami's offensive line was very young. Will they still look to him to fill a leadership void with Jake Long gaining experience and being more vocal than his counterpart?
Karlos Dansby is a new member of the Dolphins, but he has come to the team as a well respected player, unlike his new teammate Brandon Marshall. While Marshall has showed signs he has turned the corner and is gaining the respect of his teammates, he still has a ways to go to prove he can be a true leader. Dansby has already done so in his time in Arizona and has previously served as their team captain. His talent and knowledge has already put him in the running to receive the defensive calls from the sideline. If there was a player who could come in and be voted a captain right away, Dansby may be the guy.
Yeremiah Bell has been a consistent player for Miami for years now and is one of the longest tenured players on the team. With a young secondary, his presence will mean a lot to them. Will his presence also be felt to other players on the front seven and on the other sides of the team? Bell has not been outspoken like previous captains Joey Porter and Jason Taylor, but if you're looking for a player who can lead by example, Bell is a prime choice. He is a mentally sound player and is as tough as they come. Even if he's not voted as a team captain, he will be critical in helping Miami's young secondary grow.
There are many other special teams players out there such as Dan Carpenter, Brandon Fields, Ryan Denney, Patrick Cobbs, and Jason Allen. Some of these players are occasionally voted as team captains. The majority of these players however are very young and have not shown much in terms of leadership. Still, it is likely one of these guys may be voted as a team captain. The most likely may be Patrick Cobbs as he is one of the Coach Sparano's favorite players. With his hard work ethic and his enthusiasm for the game, the front office may prefer to have him be in on the meetings than some of the other youngsters.