After enduring years of misery, Dolphin's die-hards are understandably upset. The coaching/quarterback carousel that has plagued the Miami Dolphin's franchise since the days of Marino and Shula has fans spinning at dizzying speeds. Perhaps 2012 will offer some glimmer of hope for success and a return to relevance for the Fins. While, we've got a new coach in Joe Philbin and a new *1st round QB in Ryan Tannehill, fans and media remain pessimistic. Let's take a closer look, shall we?
With Joe Philbin and his team at the helm, the Dolphins will look drastically different on the field this season. Philbin will employ a west-coast offense similar to the one he ran in Green Bay. It's yet to be seen if he has the players available on this roster to make such an offensive scheme successful in Miami, but Philbin is a master at mixing personnel to disguise or confuse opponents and at creating mismatches on designed plays.
Quarterback remains the area of most concern. Not since #13 took the field wearing aqua and orange has the team had a true franchise quarterback. With their first pick in the first round, the Dolphins choose QB Ryan Tannehill. While raw and unexperienced, Tannehill does possess all the intangibles of a franchise QB. This is a guy who can make all the throws, has the athleticism and size to scramble effectively with a quick release and a great attitude. Unfortunately with such little experience at the postion in college, he'll need time to adapt to the faster pace of the NFL game. However, once Tannehill learns to read defensive schemes and blitzes better and improves his accuracy and judgement, I believe he'll be great. In the meantime, Matt Moore and David Garrard will be the team's quarterback rotation to start the season. While, that certainly doesn't instill confidence, Moore did play well last season once he took over at QB for the Dolphins. I don't believe he's the future at the position for the franchise, but he deserves another chance to start. Garrard is winding down a mediocre career, but he'll provide a good tuitor for Tannehill.
Definitely a team strength. Reggie Bush proved last season that he is an every-down back and remains a receiving threat. Coach Philbin will line him up all over the field in 2012 and he'll be the key to the Dolphin's offensive success. Reggie's ability as both a rusher and receiver will open up running lanes for Daniel Thomas, who looks to rebound from an injury riddled season in 2011. Moving up in the draft to acquire RB Lamar Miller will also pay dividends in the future should Thomas or Bush go down for any extended period of time. The Dolphins also have an excellent offensive line which should allow Miami's running game to excel.
Trading away Brandon Marshall for only two second-round picks was a disaster. In order to make the West-Coast Offense work, you need three things. A receiver with the speed to get behind defensive backs to stretch the field, a sure-handed slot receiver who can consistantly get open in the middle of the field and a TE with the athleticism to get behind the linebackers. WR Clyde Gates is fast, but can he get off the line of scrimmage? Ochocinco has great hands and retains some speed as well despite his advancing age, but does he have the attitute and the ambition? Devone Bess is the team's best receiver, but he's not a #1 type WR either and while TE Anthony Fasano is talented he doesn't exactly fit the west-coast TE mold. In all likelyhood, it's likely Reggie Bush who will be Miami's most utilized and dangerous receiver.