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Last year, Football Outsiders, like most of us, projected that the Dolphins would slip back from 11-5 due to a likelihood of worse luck (injuries) and the certainty of a tougher schedule.
“Depending on perfect health for two straight years is folly,” FO wrote.
FO, has projected 9.2 wins for the Dolphins, basing that number on 10,000 simulations.
That would make the Dolphins a close third in the division behind the Patriots (10.3) and Jets (9.8).
“Now ask yourself: How many players do the Miami Dolphins have who would rank in the top ten at their
positions? Going into this past offseason, the answer was one: left tackle Jake Long. Maybe there was an
argument to be made for running back Ronnie Brown, but that’s an argument that was better made a year ago. Now at 29, he has one healthy season under his belt as a pro. All this talk about top-ten players is not
simply an academic exercise; it represents the biggest problem for the Miami Dolphins going forward.”
– “Marshall isn’t just a star receiver. He’s a star receiver who is very difficult to prepare for because he can succeed in any receiver role. We know he has the speed to go deep and the height to outjump defensive backs. The Broncos also used him as a slot receiver, forcing huge mismatches with linebackers and safeties. His average DVOA ratings have to be seen in context, particularly the way Denver constantly forced the ball to him no matter the coverage. The Dolphins have to avoid doing the same thing, and giving Marshall a break with a couple snaps of Wildcat is not the same as using Marshall as a decoy who can draw double coverage.”
– “If the Dolphins are going to develop another star-level player, it is not likely to happen on offense unless
Chad Henne takes that unexpected big leap forward. The offensive line is sturdy, but make no mistake; Long is the star there. The wide receivers other than Marshall are generally lower-round possession guys. The running backs are getting old, and the tight ends are unexciting.”
– “Miami is only average in pass-blocking, but no particular player is a weakness, and no one lineman had more than 4.5 blown blocks in either 2008 or 2009. It’s also a disciplined line. The Dolphins have ranked 28th in offensive penalties for two straight seasons, and no lineman had more than six flags in either season. If Incognito sticks around, the Dolphins will see a lot more of the yellow hankies in 2010.”