It's time to finally begin our look towards Miami Dolphins training camp and the 2009 season. And I've begun our series of training camp primers by putting together a list of the 10 most important Dolphins to the upcoming season. Please note that I've stressed "upcoming" because that's what I'm focusing on for now. Some might say the 2009 season is just a stepping stone to the 2010 season and beyond. And I do agree with that. But I'm never ready to just look past a season before it even starts.
So this list is about the most important players to the team's 2009 success - not their possible future success.
Due to the length, I've posted the list after the jump...
||He's clearly the leader of the offense. And this team will go only as far as Chad can lead them.|
||He must stay healthy and develop into the play-making linebacker he knows he must become.
||The Dolphins gave him a lot of money and placed a lot of trust in him. He must stay healthy and prove to be the road-grading run-blocker many believe he can be.
|4.||Ronnie Brown||He's in a contract year and is in the best shape of his career. Now he has to prove that he's the elite back that I think he is - and shoulder the load, taking pressure off of the passing game.|
|5.||Jason Ferguson||He'll be 35 in November but is still playing at a high level. He's the key cog to stopping the run in Miami's 3-4 defense - even at his age.
||He may be a rookie - and not even the first CB this team selected - but he's got the size and speed to match up with some of the elite receivers Miami faces this year.
|7.||Vontae Davis||His combination of speed and strength is unlike any corner the Dolphins have had on the roster the past few seasons. His rapid development would completely change the make-up of Miami's secondary.|
|8.||Jason Taylor||If he can even come close to being the JT of old, he would give the Dolphins a much needed pass-rushing threat opposite of Joey Porter.
|9.||Phillip Merling||With Vonnie Holliday gone, Merling will be asked to step up and play more snaps than last year. He flashed tremendous ability at times last year, but must become more consistent.
|10.||Ted Ginn Jr.
||Entering his third year, now is the time for Teddy to take the next step in his development. Will he become a true #1 receiver in '09?|
Honorable Mention: Matt Roth, Joey Porter, Will Allen, Patrick Turner, Gibril Wilson
So that's my list of the 10 most important players to the Dolphins' 2009 success.
Agree? Disagree? Let's hear about it below.