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Phinsider 2013 Miami Dolphins Preview Magazine: 2012 Dolphins Season Review

The Phinsider 2013 Miami Dolphins Preview Magazine will feature 24 posts over 24 hours. Join us as we get ready for the Dolphins' 2013 season with a look back at 2012.

Thomas B. Shea

The Miami Dolphins' 2012 season would continue the worst losing record streak for the franchise since their first four seasons in existence. However, the team's 7-9 record last year would include some moments that signaled a turnaround for the Dolphins is within sight.

After four years under Tony Sparano, the Dolphins opened 2012 with a search for a new head coach. The team eventually hired former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin to head the team, giving him his first head coaching position. Philbin would bring offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, Philbin's former head coach in Green Bay, and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, the Cincinnati Bengals' secondary coach, to Miami.

With the coaching staff solidified, the Dolphins began reshaping the team's roster, changing from the big bodied, power running game offense of Sparano to the athletic, agile, versatile west coast offense of Philbin and Sherman. The first order of business was to do nothing - specifically, to do nothing with the contract of former second round draft pick, and franchise quarterback hopeful, Chad Henne. Henne would become a free agent when the league year changed in March, and he would find a new role as a backup quarterback with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Dolphins would surprise, and confuse, many fans on March 13, 2012 with the announcement of a trade, sending wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears for two third round draft picks. The trade, which seemed to materialize out of nowhere, without any rumors, came just two years after the Dolphins traded two second round picks to the Denver Broncos for Marshall.

The trade confused nearly everyone. Marshall was coming off a Pro Bowl MVP performance, and was poised to be the Dolphins' top offensive weapon. Instead, the team was left with a huge hole at wide receiver.

Trading Marshall made sense in one way. Miami was clearly pursuing free agent quarterback Peyton Manning, and the common thought was that Manning did not want to play with Marshall or the team had to move the wide receiver to make salary cap space for Manning and possibly wide receiver Reggie Wayne. In the end, Manning went to the Denver Broncos and Wayne re-signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

Another move many fans did not understand at the time was the release of safety Yeremiah Bell. Bell eventually signed with the New York Jets, while many fans worried about the move of Reshad Jones into the starting lineup.

Miami did re-sign and renegotiate some of their own players prior to and during the free agency period. Defensive tackle Paul Soliai was re-signed to a two year contract as free agency opened, after having played the 2011 season on a franchise tender.

The Dolphins also signed defensive end Cameron Wake to a contract extension, keeping him with the team through the 2016 season. They also signed punter Brandon Fields to a four year contract extension during the preseason.

The team also brought several free agents to Miami in 2012:

Player Position Previous Team
Richard Marshall CB Arizona Cardinals
Legedu Naanee WR Carolina Panthers
Eric Steinbach G Cleveland Browns
Artis Hicks G Cleveland Browns
David Garrard QB Jacksonville Jaguars
E.J. Henderson LB Minnesota Vikings
Tyrell Johnson S Minnesota Vikings
Gary Guyton LB New England Patriots
Chad Johnson WR New England Patriots
Jamaal Westerman LB New York Jets

During the 2012 NFL Draft, Miami selected a first round quarterback for the first time since the selection of Dan Marino in 1983, picking Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the eighth overall pick. Ideally, the Dolphins would allow incumbent Matt Moore and free agent signing David Garrard fight for the starting position while Tannehill would sit for a year to adapt to the NFL.

The entire 2013 draft class for the Dolphins would be:

1st Round (8th overall) - Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
2nd Round (42) - Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
3rd Round (72) - Olivier Vernon, DE, Miami
3rd Round (78) - Michael Egnew, TE, Missouri
4th Round (103) - Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
5th Round (155) - Josh Kaddu, LB, Oregon
6th Round (183) - B.J. Cunningham, WR, Michigan State
7th Round (215) - Kheeston Randall, DT, Texas
7th Round (227) - Rishard Matthews, WR, Nevada

The Dolphins' training camp, which would be featured on HBO and NFL Films' Hard Knocks, saw the team rotate wide receivers in and out of camp, with Chad Johnson and Legedu Naanee being the two main contenders to lineup with Brian Hartline as the starter. However, neither would pan out and both would end up cut before the season was complete.

After going 0-4 through the preseason, and the team looking sloppy, Miami opened the season at the Houston Texans. Tannehill would take the field as the first rookie quarterback to start Week 1 for the team, and he would hold the position throughout the entire year.






September 9

At Houston Texans

Loss, 30-10


September 16

Vs Oakland Raiders

Win, 35-13


September 23

Vs New York Jets

Loss, 23-20 (OT)


September 30

At Arizona Cardinals

Loss, 24-21 (OT)


October 7

At Cincinnati Bengals

Win, 17-13


October 14

Vs St. Louis Rams

Win, 17-14


October 28

At New York Jets

Win, 30-9


November 4

At Indianapolis Colts

Loss, 23-20


November 11

Vs Tennessee Titans

Loss, 37-3


November 15

At Buffalo Bills

Loss, 19-14


November 25

Vs Seattle Seahawks

Win, 24-21


December 2

Vs New England Patriots

Loss, 23-16


December 9

At San Francisco 49ers

Loss, 27-13


December 16

Vs Jacksonville Jaguars

Win, 24-3


December 23

Vs Buffalo Bills

Win, 24-10


December 30

At New England Patriots

Loss, 28-0

The Dolphins remained in playoff contention throughout the 2012 season, but would finish the year 7-9, clinching their fourth straight losing season. They would finish in second place in the AFC East, five games behind the New England Patriots.

Miami would have four players named to the Pro Bowl after the season, with Cameron Wake, Randy Starks, Richie Incognito, and John Denney all heading to Hawaii.

The 2012 season leaders for the Dolphins were:

Statistic Player Season Total
Passing Yards Ryan Tannehill 3,294 (Franchise rookie record)
Passing TDs Ryan Tannehill 12
Receiving Yards Brian Hartline 1,083
Receiving TDs Anthony Fasano 5
Rushing Yards Reggie Bush 986
Rushing TDs Reggie Bush 6
Sacks Cameron Wake 15.0
Tackles Karlos Dansby 134
Interceptions Reshad Jones 4

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