Miami Dolphins 2008 NFL Projection:
Bill Parcells steps into another rebuilding situation, this time as V.P. of Football Operations for the Dolphins, becoming the third
team in the AFC East Parcells has worked for.
Parcells clearly liked Tony Sparano enough (when together in Dallas) to bring him on board as Miami’s new head coach.
While the Dolphins won just a single game in 2007, it’s not as if they were completely
uncompetitive, exemplified by six losses by a field goal, including contests with three playoff teams
away from home;
and against the Super Bowl champions,
N.Y. Giants in London.
But that’s enough sugar coating, as the Fins went (1-9) against teams that didn’t qualify for the postseason.
Coming into the 08 campaign the Dolphins have cleared a little house parting ways with Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas, and Marty Booker, while adding
Chad Pennington, Jason Ferguson, Akin Ayodele, and Earnest Wilford.
Chad Pennington looks to take over as the starting QB, with John Beck not
looking very impressive.
How embarrassing would it be for the Jets, if the Dolphins win week 1 with Pennington at the helm versus Brettie and the Jets?
While we think the Jets will have a great season, Miami could take the week 1 contest with the Southern heat on their side.
Meanwhile, Ricky Williams will try to get back into the mix at RB. Somehow, we don’t
see that panning out long term. Although nearing the end of preseason he now looks to be the starter.
Hopefully for Miami fans, Ronnie Brown can regain the awesome form he displayed during the first half of last season before
tearing his ACL. But it looks like things are going slow for Ronnie.
The offensive line should benefit from top draft pick Jake Long. But the unit is relatively thin, as is the wide receiver core.
So the Dolphins may have to rely on remaining injury-free in these departments.
On the other side of the ball the team’s strength starts with Will Allen’s pass coverage ability. The return of
Yeremiah Bell should also provide a boost. But at the same time, these players are likely to face added pressure with the departure of
the pass rushing skills provided by Jason Taylor.
It’s no secret that Parcells’ philosophy is to stop the run first. And the defensive line appears more suited to that role now.
Overall defensive weakness would likely stem from in the linebacking group.
A look at Miami’s 2008 schedule
shows the ease of a last place finish playing in a division with only one playoff team. Granted that team is New England, but
overall the Dolphins draw just four games versus teams that made the playoffs last season;
Furthermore, the Dolphins’ schedule contains just two other games against teams that finished at .500 or better – both were (8-8) finishers.
That leaves ten games against teams that finished below .500 last season, nine of which come in the final eleven games, after the Phins play
their first five contests.
On the down side, Miami won’t enjoy its typical early season weather advantage as two of the first three contests are on the road, following by
a bye in week 4.
With questions about Pennington’s arm strength, and questions at receiver, expect the Dolphins to employ conservatism on offense
in 2008 (especially in the first half of the year as it represents the tougher part of the schedule). This means relying heavily on the ground attack.
The goal will almost certainly be to slow down the game, minimizing total possessions by the opposition, in an effort to stay out of
Dolphins’ fans shouldn’t expect miracles during Parcells’ first year in charge. But they shouldn’t expect just one win either
as the schedule is accommodating enough in spite of the unfortunate timing of the bye week as well as two of the first three games coming on the road.
Overall we’re predicting a record of (3-13) for the 2008 Miami Dolphins.
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