I have followed this blog for a few years and Matty you do a good job but some of the comments are weird to say the least but I guess it's frustration. Yet I think it's all going according to plan even with that (now we know it) out-of-sync 2008 season (out of sync because as we now know 2008 was too good to be true. You know what too good to be true means). Had the Fins gone 3-13 then 6-10 then 7-9 last year I don't think all the pessimism that is on this site (and nearly all 50 or so Dolphins blogs) would exist. But, because of that too good to be true 2008 season and the fact that it seems to have gone downhill from there, being pessimistic makes sense--especially when the team's owner appears to be a know-nothing using the Fins as a toy with his celebrity owner buddies. As a matter of fact, there are only about ten owners in the NFL that really seem to know what they are doing and Ross is NOT one of them! (But neither was Huizenga, right?) Yet, despite the doofy owner, I do think I have reasons to be optimistic...but maybe I just look at things differently. I've been a Fins fan for over 40 years--but not a diehard (I'm not a diehard fan of anything but scuba diving, liberty, walking, and bluegrass music), plus I do root for a few NFC teams besides by the Fins are my favorite. And since I'm not a diehard fan I can maybe look at things more objectively, PLus the Fins ain't the only team that ever made a big turnaround and then fell backwards again...
The 2006 Saints went to the NFC Champ game, then fell backwards in 2007 and 2008 and then went to SB in 2009. All the while Sean Payton was coach. Tom Coughlin, who won the Super Bowl after the 2007 season, has basically had not a whole lot of success since then even though he has mostly the same team and the same QB (though the WRs have changed some). The Bengals have yo-yoed in and out of the playoffs this entire decade. And I can think of a whole slew of teams that have more to be pessimistic about than the Fins (Bengals, Chargers, Broncos, Texans, Titans, Giants, Redskins, Vikings, Cardinals, Seahawks are the ones that come to mind), because while no one expects anything from the Fins in 2011 some of these teams were far more disappointing last season and likely won't do much in 2011 either. Some longtime perennial contenders like the Colts could go the way of the Cowboys and Vikings in 2011, and quite frankly I just don't see the Jets doing it again (third time is NOT a charm for Rexy boy and Mr. Can't Wait, even if they manage to sign all their key FAs). I even think the Steelers might go on the decline, and in a year or two so will the Ravens (Ray Lewis has to retire sometime!). The Patriots? They could be a paper tiger, as they showed in the playoffs. So I think Miami has a golden opportunity, especially since no one expects them to do anything. Just because...
1. Coaching staff changes should help. I am thrilled Henning is gone. I was also thrilled when Sparano fired Bonomego, and when he fired Pasqualoni and then hired Mike Nolan. We don't know much about Daboll but I wouldn't let his stinky stats with the Browns get me down...the browns have even less offensive potential than Miami does and Daboll seemingly got a lot out of a team with Jake the Fake Delhomme, Peyton Hillis and almost no one at the WR spot except maybe Cribbs, and a rookie QB who played pretty well for a rookie no one was expecting anything from. Fact is the coaching staff is younger and more "new school" so that helps.
2. Ross is a know-nothing but even he knows the Fins need speed and finess on offense, and that's a good thing, so they will work that into the draft.
3. The youngsters on Defense will have another year's experience to build on and Odrick and Edds will be coming back from injury, plus Will Allen is coming back as well. And Dansby has proven himself to be every bit the leader Fins fans expected.
4. The OL is a big concern but I expect that to be addressed because that is Sparano's thing. One of the top draft picks will be either a guard or tackle (maybe even first round), and there likely will be one other OL chosen in the draft. I can also see the FO picking up a FA--don't be surprised if one of them isn't a former Patriot (Light or Kazcur for tackle, since both I think are unrestricted...don't know if they've been tendered though).
5. There are plenty of good RBs in FA when that comes about, and several good ones in the draft that don't have the name Mark Ingram (who really isn't worth a first round pick).
6. TE is another big concern but again I think they will address this in the draft or FA when that comes around...of course they might resign Haynos, but let's hope they don't have to resort to that!
7. Thank goodness WR is not a major concern, but I really do hope Brandon Marshall can grow up and learn to live with Chad Henne, who you know and I know will be the starter in 2011, which brings me to...
8. Like most here I wanted Henne either gone or replaced by a rookie or maybe Hasselbeck or Orton or Kolb or some vet that could maybe show a little more emotion, leadership, and touch pass ability, in 2011--until I heard about that "Henne violated NFL rule by meeting with his OC Daboll" when supposedly it was illegal to do so business, because in "secrely" meeting with Daboll and getting the playbook and planning to get the vets together and meet and do stuff off the facilities and work at the playbook and TAKING THE LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE, which shows me that Henne has maybe woke up to his responsibility for the debacle of 2010 and is intending to turn his role around to that of leader such that when the captains are picked, Henne, not Jake Long, will be an offensive captain which is what the QB is supposed to be!
9. Put that promising turnaround in Henne's self-inspired role change to leader along with speed in the offense (but I do hope they resign Ronnie Brown just because of his vet presence--but let's get rid of the wildcat, please! Ricky Williams can jump off into a lake for all I care...) and a "stretch-the-field" WR along with BMarsh and Bess and hopefully a healthy Hartline (who says white guys ain't fast?) and I can see a much better offense in 2011. Honestly, Henne's regression last year may have been one of those strange random events--but I know I won't convince many here of that--still, it would be nice to see the Henne haters eat crow this upcoming (hopefully!) season.
10. 2011 really does start the new decade, not 2010. Every new decade sees a "changing of the guard" in the NFL, bar none. The Colts and Steelers and likely even the Ravens when Ray Ray retires will be upstaged. The Chargers got replaced by the Chiefs this past year and seriously I don't see Norv Turner getting the Bolts back anytime soon, plus the Raiders might improve even more (still, I don't see the Chiefs winning the AFC west in 2011...don't trust Matt Cassel). The Colts will probably win the AFC South by default unless the Jags--seriously!--can get another good year out of Garrard, and the Texans and Titans will continue to be pretenders. In the AFC East I just don't see the Jets continuing to contend. Too many FAs they gotta sign, and I have not seen enough out of Sanchez to convince me he isn't anything more than Chad Henne with a bit more confidence and a lot more offensive line which makes him look better (the only difference I saw between the Sanchize and Henne was Sanchez played better in the 4th quarter and that made all the difference.) And Rex Ryan's "we're gonna win the Super Bowl" act is getting old. I am not as confident that the Pats will take a nosedive, but anything is possible, and it's nice to know that Pats, with all those draft picks of theirs, really haven't drafted that well in a few years (except for McCourtey, Mayo and Vollmer, name me one guy they've drafted since 2007 that really stands out). The Bills? They will be improved and might even get to draft a really good QB, but I feel a lot better about Miami's chances to beat them twice in 2011 with Bryan Cox coaching the pass rushers. If Miami beats the Bills twice (and, of course, the Bills never beat the Pats, and expect the Jets to beat them at least once), then expect the Bills to occupy last place again (I don't care how innovative Chan Gailey is).
So that, with the new decade, let's put the old one behind us and look forward to hopefully better days as Fins fans.