• Knowshon Moreno to Fins Knowshon Moreno to Fins RB reportedly signs a one year deal with Miami.
  • Fins sign CB Finnegan Fins sign CB Finnegan Dolphins ink him to a 2 year, $11 million contract
  • DT Randy Starks stays with Fins DT Randy Starks stays with Fins Reportedly signs a 2 year deal worth about $12 million
  • OT Albert to Fins done OT Albert to Fins done Reportedly a 5 year, $46 million contract.

     

2011: reasons to hope?

Well guys, here it is: the 2011 NFL regular season. After the most unusual offseason in the history of the sport, football is back baby!

Masochist Dolfans (redundant, I know) brace themselves for another season of possible disappointment. Sure, there are a few fans who have not had their optimism ground to dust by years of coming up short. The optimists list more than a few valid reasons for hope:

952e06 dab 2011: reasons to hope?

New OC Brian Daboll is expected to spice up the Dolphins passing attack.

Addition by subtraction – Part 1: gone is dinosaur/albatross OC Dan Henning. I had doubts former Cleveland OC Brian Daboll would be an upgrade, but the fact is I liked the play calling in the preseason. Sparano admits that during the offseason he realized that Miami needed to pass more (you think?) and Daboll looks like he’s delivering on that so far.

“Jesus in Cleats”: Reggie Bush has explosive ability and showed his rookie year that he can be a force. Playing on Miami’s natural turf with a chip onhis shoulder, Bush plans to prove he can be a great every down back. You need playmakers to succeed, and Bush adds firepower to an offense that aside from LT Jake Long and WR Brandon Marshall is filled at best with solid but not spectacular players.

<strong>Addition by subtraction – Part 2: gone is passing defense liability ILB Channing Crowder, replaced by former Charger ILB Kevin Burnett who is supposed to be better in coverage.

Good defense: Miami’s defense last year was pretty good and returns everyone they wanted. Misi is more experienced, #99 is there to provide some rush opposite Wake, and sooner or later the DBs will start holding on to those possible INTs, right?

No horrible losses: we didn’t lose any major contributors, and by all appearances added a few upgrades to last year’s 7-9 squad. A better record should be the result.

Valid arguments. You might even go a step further and consider the state of our division rivals:

Patriots: On offense everyone knows what they’re getting with Brady. Sooner or later Branch is going to lose a step as a deep threat, and Ocho Cinco is no spring chicken. Welker is already dinged – playing Special Teams during the preseason of all things. So their WR corps could be a weakness. On defense there are big question marks about the LBs and secondary. The Patriots D hasn’t been great for years now and there’s little reason to think they’ll suddenly be great now. Haynesworth could be scary, but by all accounts is out of shape.

Jets: Sanchez can make as many bad throws as good. The offense should be about the same, maybe a little better. Defense has been good – but where is the pass rush going to come from and who is going to stop the run? Vulnerable if you ask me, and Miami has had success against them under Sparano winning 4 of the past 6 games.

Bills: could be improved, but won’t be great. Fitzgerald played better than expected, their WR corps is underrated, and they added dangerous utility man Brad Smith. But their defense still has question marks and the offense is far from a sure thing. Again, Sparano’s Dolphins have won 4 of the past 6 outings.

All this points to reasons for hope, right?

 

Not so fast there, Skippy. Lift up your aqua & coral glasses for a minute and take a look at the negatives.

rossireland 2011: reasons to hope?

Owner Stephen Ross and GM Jeff Ireland's failed pursuits of a new coach and QB likely undermines team confidence.

First and foremost, management jerked this team around to start the offseason (failed pursuit of Harbaugh) and again at training camp (failed pursuit of Orton). Both moves scream lack of faith in our current leaders, Sparano and Henne. Last time I checked this is a team sport, and I don’t see management giving the team a lot of reasons to believe in their leaders. Supposedly players love playing for Sparano, but if this team struggles early it isn’t difficult to imagine the players quickly giving up on Sparano if they think he’s a “dead man walking”. This is an easy conclusion to come to given how this team responded last season to close out the season with three losses. Now, compare the overall vibe of this team to Sparano’s first season when they were a unified commando unit bound and determined to “out tough” everyone. Whatever happened to the toughness motto? I don’t know if it’s simply due to the coverage by the media, but the general sense I get doesn’t exude confidence or determination. I think they’ll work hard and try, but I think players will quickly accept defeat if things don’t bounce their way – primarily due to the tone management set in how they treated Sparano and Henne. By all accounts, Ross and Ireland have treated this season as a throw away due to the lockout shortened offseason, expecting to make major changes this offseason unless Sparano and Henne impress them. Given the lack of support, it isn’t hard to imagine the impending struggles / failure.

Second, a LOT rides on Henne’s performance. I like Henne and truly hope Daboll helps Henne elevate his game. Henne doesn’t have anything to lose and certainly played well enough in the preseason. But is anyone honestly confident that Henne can put this team on his shoulders and lead them to victory? Anyone? Bueller?

Third, while Pouncey looks like he is a good addition to the OL, well… you know… to say the OL has issues is an understatement. And that’s assuming super star LT Jake Long is healthy enough to hold down the left side of the line. God help them if the OL has any injuries. Hopefully Henne and Bush don’t get killed.

Fourth, Bush is an explosive weapon, but that’s meaningless if he’s injured. Even with the Saints limiting his touches he hasn’t been able to play a full season for several years. Worse, Miami plans to run him between the tackles where he’ll be exposed to more punishment. The question isn’t if he’ll get injured but when it will happen (the optimist in me says no later than game 8). Meanwhile rookie RB Daniel Thomas has been merely ok, coupled with a hamstring injury announced yesterday. The other RBs are so underwhelming that Miami re-signed washed up Larry Johnson today after cutting him less than a week ago. Questionable OL and RBs do not project for a lot of run support for Henne and the passing game. On a side note, why does Jeff Ireland’s keep bringing in free agents with injury histories and expecting them to suddenly stay healthy in Miami?

Fifth, Fasano isn’t the greatest TE, but you better hope he stays healthy. Some waiver wire additions might offer hope (Dante Rosario and Jaron Mastrud), but forgive me if I don’t get excited about other teams cast offs.

 2011: reasons to hope?

A lot rides on ILB Kevin Burnett providing better pass coverage.

Sixth, on defense there’s hope that they’ll improve upon their good performance last year. But Miami needs to prove they can cover TEs (same scheme + same safeties + Kevin Burnett (right) = maybe, maybe not). CB Vontae Davis’s bravado aside, he and Smith need to come up with more INTs for this defense to truly take the next step to greatness. Lastly, Miami better be able to apply some consistent pressure outside of OLB Cameron Wake. I need to see both issues improve to believe it, so color me a skeptic at this point.

Seventh, Miami’s return teams weren’t anything to get excited about last year, and unless Miami is going to play their workhorse star RB at PRs, they didn’t do a whole lot to make them any better.

 

When I stack everything up, the negatives just seem to outweigh the positives – predominantly due to the way management handled the offseason. Ross and Ireland have little faith in and are less commitment to Sparano and Henne (who is scheduled to be a free agent after the season). Management seems like they are locked in a one year limbo with Sparano and Henne. Most of the newly acquired free agents like Bush signed 2 year deals. Even though Miami only had one QB on the roster, one who they thought so little of they almost acquired Kyle Orton, they ultimately didn’t bring in a legitimate franchise QB contender through the draft or free agency.

Look at Miami’s schedule:

Patriots, Texans, @Browns, and @Chargers to open the season.

1-3 is a very realistic possibility, and 0-4 isn’t unfathomable.

Miami once again draws an early bye (week 5), then returns @ Jets.

The schedule lets up after that and actually doesn’t look all that difficult, but what do you think happens to team morale if they have to try to dig out of a 1 and 4 hole? The playoffs will really look out of reach given our division, the competitive AFC, and the slow start. Even if Miami scrapes out a few wins or more those first few weeks, can they keep it up if Bush or the OL have injuries?

Management didn’t go all in to win this year, which sends exactly the same message to the players. Dolfans, you know the drill: here comes another non-playoff season. Too bad Miami should be good enough that they won’t be in the running for Stanford QB Andrew Luck.

Join us on our message board and share your thoughts!! FinNation Forums

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.0/5 (5 votes cast)
2011: reasons to hope?, 4.0 out of 5 based on 5 ratings
The following two tabs change content below.

3 Responses to 2011: reasons to hope?

  • Grady: thanks for visiting the site, reading my column, your feedback, and for pointing out my brain fart on VONTAE’s name (duly fixed! – mistakes happen and I wrote the draft of this article at 4:30 AM).

    I’m not some run of mill journalist – I’m a FAN and have been since 1976 when I saw the Phins play in the Orange Bowl for the first time.

    I’d love nothing more than for the Phins to win. My dream is to see them win a Super Bowl. And I’d LOVE nothing more than for the team to prove me wrong and to see them make it to the playoffs this year and go deep, winning at least one playoff game and hopefully all of them. I didn’t think they’d win more than 5 games in 2008 and look at how that turned out!

    I try to be realistic about the team, and even though I don’t have particularly high expectations for their win-loss record, I will *joyfully* watch the games for the entertainment that they are. I’m delighted that Sparano has taken the handcuffs off of the offense and it looks like they are going to take more risks. Greatness was never achieved without risking failure. Maybe, just maybe, Henne and the offense achieve some greatness this year. Coupled with a good potentially great defense… who knows, maybe you’re right and this will be a dream season for Miami. It’s happened before.

    I appreciate your optimism and share your love for the team. A decade plus of having my optimism shattered has perhaps left me a shade or more cynical/skeptical. My article was a fan’s honest attempt at assessing the team and the season that’s about to unfold.

    Honestly, I can’t recall a more important home opener than Monday’s against New England. If Miami can win with some authority I will start buying into the possibility of a magical season.

    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • *Brees

    Sorry. but, least I remember my team’s players’ names. lol

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
  • Um…yeah…his name is VONTAE Davis. Maybe getting the players name correct would help me better understand your points of view.

    And, many great players have been “other team’s castoffs”….Drew Breeze to name one of MANY.

    I agree that the FO have little clue about what fans want, and that there are issues here and there. BUT, this negative tone and Miami comes from guys and gals like YOU! The local media has been as down on this team as anyone. You find a wound that’s healing over and pick the scab over and over.

    And don’t give me the “truth is truth” crap. You guys are just vultures like all media nowadays. You live and die on negativism. Giving the “optimist side” first means jack. You were winding us up to drop that mammoth turd of a negative kick before the season starts.

    You are the ones planning for a throwaway season. And, I’m more tire of YOU than I am of cheesy Buffet songs and jackinape celebs doing that stupid “Fins Up” thing.

    I hope they do well just so you have to eat your venmous words. Maybe then, we can laugh your silly behind out of town. Maybe a relocation to New England. There, it would be your job to pucker to Brady’s backside.

    Good day.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CAPTCHA Image

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Recent Forum Topics
2014 Schedule(12) in Aqua/Orange Chat by rightchea on 24-Apr-14 7:07PM
Free trial membership to the C...(3) in Aqua/Orange Chat by JLFINFAN on 24-Apr-14 4:13PM
"If they're injured, they...(16) in Aqua/Orange Chat by white1 on 24-Apr-14 4:01PM
Wide receiver(34) in Aqua/Orange Chat by birdmond on 24-Apr-14 1:31PM
Front Office moves(4) in Aqua/Orange Chat by rightchea on 22-Apr-14 10:31PM
FinNation Poll

What grade would you give the Fins in free agency so far?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Fins Media Tweets
Site Categories
Site Archives
GO FINS
GO FINS
  • Direct Snap - Apr 27,2014 April 27, 2014
    Join Joe and Tyler every Saturday night as they recap Thursday night's action, preview upcoming match-ups and talk about news happening throughout the entire NFL.
    Fins Radio
  • On The FinSide - Apr 23,2014 April 23, 2014
    Join Cat, Paul Picken and Brian Miller for all your up to the minute Miami Dolphins news! The 2014 NFL draft is rapidly approaching, and we'll have plenty of draft coverage for you on the show, as well as any notable news stories rumors and more. As many fans are looking to the draft to possibly upgrade Miami's linebackers, we'll have UConn dr […]
    Fins Radio
  • Direct Snap: NFL Mock Round 5 of 7 - Apr 20,2014 April 20, 2014
    Join Joe and Tyler for round 5 of their full 2014 NFL 7 Round Mock draft as well as some in depth and unbiased opinion of NFL News circulating throughout the league as a whole. You can find both Joe and Tyler over at Phinphanatic.com and you can follow Direct Snap, where you can reach both Joe and Tyler, on Facebook by searching for Direct Snap, as well as o […]
    Fins Radio