Pete Prisco wrote:
DAVIE, Fla. -- Love-hate impressions from Miami Dolphins camp.http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/1375 ... d-hate/rss
• Quarterback Chad Henne didn't put up great numbers in 2009, his first as a starter, but you could see his confidence grow as the season moved along. He has a big arm and he understands where to go with the football. The Dolphins have finally answered their quarterback problems that date back to Dan Marino. "Where I see the most improvement with Chad is the touch or finesse throws and his knowledge of the offense," Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said. It helps that he has receiver Brandon Marshall now to throw to outside, a player who will open up the rest of the offense.
• The offensive tackles. In left tackle Jake Long and right tackle Vernon Carey, the Dolphins have one of the top tandems in the league. Long went to the Pro Bowl last season and Carey should have. As a right tackle, Carey is a mauler in the run game. The Dolphins should be happy to have this pair for a long time.
• Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. He is one of the best in football. Nolan left Denver after one season to come to the Dolphins. He brings an attack style of defense that will cause problems for opponents. In watching Miami practice, you could see guys coming from all over the field. Linebackers, corners and safeties all blitzed in the two days I watched practice.
• Second-year corners Sean Smith and Vontae Davis started as rookies in 2009. Smith had 16 starts and Davis had nine. They bring an aggressive approach that will help Nolan. Their ability to play man coverage will go a long way in determining how aggressive the Dolphins will be. I think they'll be pretty aggressive.
• Randy Starks. Who? He was Miami's best defender last season and should have played in the Pro Bowl. But as a 3-4 end, he was overlooked. Now he moves inside to play nose tackle. He is plenty big and should do a nice job making the transition.
• The tight ends. The Dolphins think getting Marshall will help open up the tight ends, but is there really anybody who excites? Anthony Fasano is the starter, and he isn't a great downfield threat. They did bring back former Dolphins tight end David Martin to help. This is a position that needs to be addressed through the draft.
• The Wildcat. When it worked, I hated it. It's a gimmick. But at least back then, it was needed. It isn't anymore. With Henne, Marshall and a good group of receivers, it's time to be more conventional. Run the Wildcat in special situations, but let Henne have the ball, not split wide as a blocker.
• The edge rushers. In a 3-4 defense, the outside rushers have to provide the pass rush. Miami is taking a big risk by planning to start rookie Koa Misi and second-year NFL player Cameron Wake. Those two take over for veterans Joey Porter and Jason Taylor. I like the idea of getting younger, but it's asking a lot to put two inexperienced players in as starters at key spot. I like Misi, but he will take some time to adjust. Wake played 250 or so snaps last year, but mostly as a nickel rusher. He did get 5½ sacks. "He's made a lot of progress," Sparano said. "He looks more natural in coverage." Wake has to show that he can drop into zones and handle the passing game.
• Dan Henning's offense. It's time to open things up. The Dolphins have been way too run-heavy, including using the Wildcat. Now it's time to turn Henne loose. Henning's passing-game concepts are too simplistic, too outdated.
• The interior of the offensive line. While Long and Carey are a strong point, the interior three remains unsettled. All three jobs will be decided in the preseason.