As if you aren't already bored with Super Bowl talk - as that's all anyone was talking about on Monday - I wanted to just go back and kind of put a bow on the game; and do so in terms of how it relates to our Dolphins.
Yes, the game itself turned out to be quite entertaining and one of the top 3 or 4 of my lifetime. But after spending some time thinking about the game and what transpired - and after watching highlight after highlight on television - I realized that the two teams who participated really highlighted some of Miami's most pressing needs. In particular, 4 ciritcal needs come to mind. One the Dolphins might have already taken care of. The other 3 must be addressed.
Pass-rushing threat opposite Joey Porter
Yes, James Harrison had the biggest defensive play of the game. And he wreaked havoc all game long on Mike Gandy, Arizona's left tackle. But it was LaMarr Woodley who really made me realize what the Dolphins so desperately need on defense. The Cardinals rolled their protection over Harrison's way the majority of the time. And that allowed Woodley, Pittsburgh's other outside linebacker, one-on-one with Arizona's right tackle. And just as Mike Tomlin asked of Woodley leading up to the Super Bowl, LaMarr responded by really owning whoever attempted to block him - recording two sacks, a forced fumble, and a handful more of QB pressures. Often, Woodley just owned his man - shoving him into the backfield. That's exactly what the Dolphins need. They have no other pass-rushing threat outside of the aging Joey Porter. Can the recently signed Cameron Wake be that guy? Maybe. Maybe not. But it's simply not a good idea to fail to address the need for another pass-rusher because Wake might be what the Dolphins are looking for.
Physical corner with great recovery speed
Nobody seems to be talking about some of the terrific plays that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie made on Sunday. His size/speed combination make him a dynamic cornerback - in the mold of Nnamdi Asomugha. The Dolphins have been in search of a true elite cornerback since Patrick Surtain and Sam Madison exited Miami. And adding a corner in the mold of an Asomugha or DRC changes the complexion of an entire defense. The secondary can be more aggressive. You can send safeties in to blitz more often because you're confident in that corner's ability to cover his man and - if needed - use his great speed to recover after getting beat. That recovery by DRC on that long pass from Ben Roesthlisberger to Nate Washington was simply ridiculous. What would you give to have a corner like that in Miami?
Big, physical, play-making wide receiver
It's been a long, long time since the Dolphins had one of these. And we saw first hand how receivers can instantly change games. The Dolphins have the speed guy already - though we all know he must continue to develop. But we all know the Dolphins lack a "Larry Fitzgerald" type of player. The kind of player who, on 3rd & goal, the QB can simply lob a pass in the endzone to and allow him to make a play. Some think Brandon London could become that player. But he's still raw and nobody knows for sure. What we do know is that adding a receiver like this would make the Dolphins a much more dynamic team.
A strong-armed quarterback
I really, really don't want to make this another "Pennington vs Henne" debate. I've gone on record as loving Chad Pennington and believing he should be the starter next year unless Chad Henne simply out-plays Pennington in camp. So please don't take this the wrong way.
But here's the thing. Did you see some of those throws Ben Roethlisberger made on Sunday - and really all playoffs long? He can simply make throws that Pennington can't. And Big Ben's strong arm allows him to take some chances and to try and squeeze the football into tight spots. That kind of arm does change an offense. It allows them to become more of a vertical passing team. Luckily, the Dolphins might have this guy already on the team. We know Henne has the arm necessary to make all those tough throws. But, more or less, Henne's an unknown at this point. What isn't an unknown, however, is how a QB with a strong arm changes an offense into a more potent unit.
Perhaps the best way to wrap up the Super Bowl, though, is to quickly highlight that Patriots' QB Matt Cassell got urinated on at a party down in Tampa. Good stuff!