First, I would like to take a minute to recognize anyone who actively serves as a firefighter, policeman, or is in active duty with the United States military. Thank you for what you do to keep us safe. I also want to recognize anyone who lost someone during the 9/11 attacks. They are in a better place now. Lastly, I would like for us all to take a second to remember the brave men and women of the NYPD and NYFD who gave their lives on that to day try and help others. They are real heroes, and it is important that we never forget them, because they deserve all of our gratitude.
Now, we are mere days away from the Miami Dolphins season opener at home against the New England Patriots on Monday night. After what seemed like a longer than normal offseason because of the lockout we finally have football back again, and the Dolphins are kicking it off on Monday night in front of the whole nation.
None of the "experts" are picking Miami to win, and as far as anyone outside of Miami is concerned the Patriots are going to run away with this game.
I mean, why wouldn't they expect anything else? The Patriots killed the Dolphins in their two matchups last season. The Patriots seem to only have improved this offseason with the additions of Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth. Miami only seems to have gotten worse. They have replaced Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams with a supposed injury prone back in Reggie Bush and rookie Daniel Thomas, they "missed out" on Kyle Orton and instead signed Matt Moore to compete with Chad Henne, they had the Jim Harbaugh mess, their star wide receiver Brandon Marshall has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, their new offensive coordinator's offense was ranked worse last year than the OC he replaced, and they only won one home game last year.
To everyone who hasn't been following the Dolphins closely, the situation in Miami seems like a jumbled mess. Sure, it makes sense that they think Miami will be wiped out.
The thing is, they won't be wiped out. In fact, the Miami Dolphins have a really good chance to win this game.
Chad Henne has been looking great this offseason. He has taken command of the offense and he doesn't have to worry about his offensive coordinator holding him back anymore. He and Brandon Marshall have started to develop a strong connection. He no longer tucks the ball and runs at the slightest sign of pressure. He continues to look down the field trying to make a play. Last season my main complaint with Henne was his lack of progression, but that is no longer a problem. He has developed incredibly since the end of last year. He is a completely different quarterback, and I really look forward to watching the film from this year compared to last year. The differences will be very easy to spot, and it will be fun to see how much he has improved.
Reggie Bush has been terribly underrated by everyone around the NFL this summer. It seems like people have forgotten what he is capable of doing when he is catching the ball out of the backfield, which is what his primary job will be. He will be a huge and integral part of this offense if he can stay healthy.
Miami's receivers are among the most underrated in the NFL. They have Brandon Marshall, Roberto Wallace (mini-Marshall), Davone Bess, Brian Hartline, and Clyde Gates. I will be honest and say that I am not a big Brian Hartline fan, but I still think that he is an important part of the Dolphins receiving corps. Each of those receivers has a specific talent that makes them valuable, and the combination of all of them makes for a great receiving group.
What might be the Dolphins biggest strength is their defense. Tom Brady may be among the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but I can guarantee you that he won't be able to pass all over Miami's defense on Monday. The Dolphins have one of the best CB tandems, one of the best defensive lines, and a great group of linebackers. They were a top ranked defense last year, and they have only gotten better.
One overlooked thing in Miami's favor is the fact that Daboll's offense was able to successfully beat the Patriots 34-14 last season, which was one of only two New England losses in the regular season. That had to be a big reason that the Dolphins hired Daboll, because this is a huge game and I think that Stephen Ross and Tony Sparano realized that.
Even more than last year, Chad Henne has all of the tools that he needs to succeed. This game (and this season) is on Henne, and we will see what he can do now that he has what he needs to be successful.
Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think about all of this.