Monday, August 6, 2012

2012 NFL PREVIEW - Miami Dolphins


2011 Record: 6-10-0 (3rd in AFC East) 

HEAD COACH: Joe Philbin

Key Additions: QB David Garrard; DB Richard Marshall; LB Jamaal Westerman; WR Legedu Naanee; OL Artis Hicks

Key Losses:  WR Brandon Marshall; QB Chad Henne; DL Kendall Langford; DB Yeremiah Bell; CB Will Allen

Offense: The Dolphins head into the 2012 season with an open competition for the starting quarterback position.
Matt Moore (2,497 yards passing with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 2011) returns and may have the inside track against rookie Ryan Tannehill (Texas A & M) and veteran free agent signee David Garrard, who enjoyed some success with Jacksonville in recent seasons before being cut last year.
Moore did show some leadership abilities for the team after they stumbled to an 0-7 start to rebound for six wins in the final nine games as the starter.
The running game is in good hands with Reggie Bush, who gained 1,086 yards last season with six touchdowns and averaged 5.0 yards per carry.  He also caught 43 passes, including one for a score.
Daniel Thomas ran for 581 yards (3.5 ypc) and helped to form a good backfield tandem for the Dolphins.
Rookie Lamar Miller may get a chance as well as veteran Steve Slaton  in 2012 and Charles Clay returns as the primary fullback. Clay is a decent receiver out of the backfield, evidenced by his 16 catches last season, including three for touchdowns.
The wide receivers will look to Davone Bess to lead the way after Brandon Marshall left as a free agent for the Chicago Bears. Bess made 51 grabs for 537 yards and scored three touchdowns. Along with Bess, Miami features Brian Hartline (35, 549, one TD), Legedu Naanee (44, 467, one TD with Carolina) and tight end Anthony Fasano, who had 32 receptions for 451 yards and five touchdowns.
The offensive line consists of guards Richie Incognito and John Jerry, center Mike Pouncey and tackles Lydon Murtha and Jake Long, who is one of the NFL's best left tackles. Tackle Jonathan Martin (Stanford) was drafted in the second round and will get a chance to play and provide protection as Miami QB's were sacked 52 times last season.
Miami finished 22nd overall on offense a year ago, averaging 317 yards per game. The running attack was 11th in the NFL with 124 yards per game. The passing game needs a boost in 2012 after finishing 23rd with just 193 yards per game.

Defense: This season the Dolphins will look to stay healthy on this side of the ball after seeing a number of players miss some action last season; which hurt the team, especially against the pass.
The Dolphins allowed 250 yards passing a year ago, but did register 41 QB sacks to go with a strong run defense that finished 3rd in the NFL, allowing 95 yards per game.
Overall, Miami was 15th defensively, giving up 345 yards per game. In addition, they allowed just under 20 points per game (313 total allowed) which was decent enough to keep them in some games.
Up front in the Dolphins' 3-4 look is nose tackle Paul Soliai, The ends are Randy Starks (4 1/2 QB sacks) and Jared Odrick, who made six QB sacks. Providing depth on the D-Line are Tony McDaniel, Ryan Baker and rookies Olivier Vernon and Kheeston Randall.
The linebacking unit has Koa Misi and Cameron Wake on the outside with Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett on the inside. Wake is pass rusher who can get after opposing quarterbacks and had 8 1/2 sacks a year ago to lead the team.
The secondary will have Vontae Davis and Sean Smith at the corners with Tyrell Johnson and Reshad Jones at the safety spots. Chris Clemons, Tyrone Culver, Jimmy Wilson and Nolan Carroll will be the backups.

OUTLOOK: It's hard to gauge this team coming into 2012 with a new Head Coach in Joe Philbin, who takes over for Tony Sporano after his four years as the team's leader.
The Dolphins have to be more effective on offense and will look to either Moore or Garrard to take the snaps in the season opener, but don't count out the rookie (Tannehill) either.
Reggie Bush played extremely well last season and more of the same in 2012 would go a long way for the Dolphins.
The receivers will have to step up to fill the numbers lost by Marshall as he left the team after making 81 grabs for over 1,200 yards and six touchdowns.
The defense should be solid again and barring injuries, don't expect the Dolphins to struggle against opposing pass attacks again. The team did manage 16 interceptions a year ago with Davis getting four picks to lead the team, despite missing four games.
There are definitely questions surrounding the team as the new season looms, but the key will be the play at the quarterback position and that is still up in the air as training camp and pre-season moves along.
Playing in the rugged AFC East won't be easy, but Miami can battle the Bills and Jets (combined 3-1 against them in 2011) and that may allow them to avoid the basement.
 The playoffs are definitely a long shot and this team would do well to avoid double-digit losses in 2012. Expect a 5-11 finish for the Dolphins as they look to rebuild for the future.

Week 1- at Houston
Week 2- vs. Oakland
Week 3- vs. NY Jets
Week 4- at Arizona
Week 5- at Cincinnati
Week 6- vs. St. Louis
Week 7- BYE
Week 8- at NY Jets
Week 9- at Indianapolis
Week 10- vs. Tennessee
Week 11- at Buffalo
Week 12- vs. Seattle
Week 13- vs. New England
Week 14- at San Francisco
Week 15- vs. Jacksonville
Week 16- vs. Buffalo
Week 17- at New England 

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