We are in year four under Coach Sparano & Ireland and I must say, while I am not impressed with two back to back 7-9 seasons, I do like where this team is headed. Sure there have been some mistakes along the way, but every franchise misfires from time to time.
As we move into Tony Sparano's 4th year, I believe the Miami Dolphins (4.0) have upgraded all three phases of the game. Defense, offense and special teams. I absolutely admire the squad we have right now. Some of you may disagree but I know many of you are with me on this. I will explain (as if you didn't already know) why I think so highly of this team and have such a positive outlook on this season for the Miami Dolphins. Starting with the defense.
1) Our depth on D-line:
I don't believe this is the official depth chart as of week one against the Patriots, but I'm sure it will look similar. I've only been a fan for about 10 years now (I'm 23), but I've never seen the Dolphins have depth like this. Usually teams are struggling to find good starters to solidify their d-lines and now we have 6 players that are all starting material. Langford, McDaniels, Soliai, Starks, Merling, and Odrick are who I'm referring to. All of which are very young (avg. age of 25.6) and talented. I'm aware that some of these guys are role players, but I would feel comfortable if any our 2nd stringers needed fill in for an injured starter.
|LE||70 Kendall Langford||78 Tony McDaniel||90 Ryan Baker|
|NT||96 Paul Soliai||95 Ronald Fields||66 Frank Kearse|
|RE||94 Randy Starks||97 Phillip Merling||98 Jared Odrick|
2. Our pass rush:
Last year we were tied for 10th in the league in sacks. That's 9 sacks less than the NFL sack leading Steelers. These potential drive stopping plays are imperative. No pressure on the QB can make an average QB look productive. Starks, Soliai, Langford and McDaniels accounted for 10.5 sacks last year. How did our linebackers do? Just including Wake, Misi, and Dansby, they produced 21.5 sacks. So what did we do to improve?
We brought back everybody that contributed last year, including a defensive mastermind in Mike Nolan, and added Jason Taylor and Kevin Burnett. We all know what Taylor can do, I just wonder how much he can still produce and Burnett is an obvious upgrade to Crowder. Take a look at what Burnett can do.
|2010||San Diego Chargers||95||80||15||6.0||0||5||2||31||15.5||29T||1||2|
Channing Crowder by comparison has 2.5 sacks in his CAREER, 3 forced fumbles, 1 pick and no touchdowns. This is Crowder's career vs Burnett's 2010-2011 season. Let that marinate for a minute. Burnett had more sacks last year than anybody on our team, with the exception of Wake. So, with our depth at D-line and Dansby, Misi, Wake, and Burnett as our linebacks, I believe we will be a defensive force this year.
I will continue this post with a follow up on the offense and special teams. Thanks for reading!