There are plenty of unknowns as Dolphin camp sets to open tomorrow, but there is also an underlying excitement because there is a lot of talent on the Miami offense. The trolls continue to litter blogs with negative comments about Jeff Ireland and Stephen Ross, while true Miami fans sense a difference and it’s coming around quick.
The offense has a collection of weapons not seen in Miami for many years. The haters may think Reggie Bush is overrated but does it matter when Bush is joined in the backfield with Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller? Each of these three backs has a game all their own and each is a serious threat many teams would love to have.
Bush may wish to become a feature back, but he will serve the Dolphins as a kind of rover, being moved from position to position as the defense presents mismatches. Daniel Thomas is the power back, but as a former QB, he too is capable of understanding mismatches and is elusive enough to exploit them. In Lamar Miller, Jeff Ireland hit a homerun! Miller was woefully underused at UM as the Hurricanes were completely incapable of knowing a diamond when staring straight at it.
It means, Ireland has put together what time may prove to be the best trio of backs in the NFL. The typical Miami offense of the past would not be able to utilize all of these talents, but the west coast offense is perfect for this mixture of talent. Each of these players is equally comfortable catching the ball as taking a hand-off. It points to Miami having some serious threats coming out of the backfield that will keep opposing defenses wondering from where the strike is coming.
The Dolphins have been grooming receivers for three or four years, what many folks don’t understand is, receiver is the hardest position to acclimate to in the NFL. Most receivers take several years to understand the nuances of the position. The reason is because most have never had to learn how to read coverages and then adjust patterns based on what they see. It is further complicated by having to see the same thing as the QB sees for a successful completion.
Brian Hartline and Davone Bess are exceptions because they were very quick to catch on and extremely good at studying the game. Roberto Wallace is ready to break out. Wallace is the prototypical late blooming receiver. He has all the skills and size, what he didn’t have was the knowledge and experience, this year, he will blossom. With Chad Johnson in the mix, that is four very good, unselfish wideouts and they will surprise people this year.
With Anthony Fasano, the Dolphins have one of the best all around TEs in the game. In the previous offense Fasano was used mainly in blocking, but in a quick strike offense, his numbers could change drastically. Michael Egnew will add another dimension to the position with his ability to run seam routes. And then there is Charles Clay, perhaps the best kept secret on the Miami Dolphin roster. Clay can play RB, FB, TE and WR, used properly, he will be dangerous.
The offensive line has been an issue since line guru Tony Sparano was hired, but Sparano was lost on a blocking scheme that has become passé in the NFL and he brought in players to fit that mold. It did not work, but very quickly, the line has become another strength that seemed to be a weakness.
Jake Long will benefit from the transformation to a zone-blocking scheme that will keep him out of the two on one battles that have caused his injuries. Incognito is a solid guard and will also excel in this scheme, and Martin will grow into the RT position, but the guy who will become a force is Mike Pouncey.
The west coast offense thrives on great play from the center position. In a quick passing offense, defenses must take direct routes to the QB and that means straight up power rushing. A great center is required to shore up the middle and give the QB the couple seconds he needs to find a receiver. Also, most of the pulling is done with the center and opposite guard, pulling is Pouncey’s strength.
That leaves only the QB position and what Matt Moore was able to accomplish in the last nine games in 2011 tells Miami fans, he has what it takes to run an offense. Moore may not even get the nod over David Garrard who has also shown the ability to win in the NFL. But there is more, in the wings is a promising rookie who may not even get on the field.
Whatever the naysayers think about Miami, they will be singing a different tune when this team comes from nowhere to ruin many team’s Sundays in 2012. The Dolphins are not ready for the Super Bowl, but the Miami offense is poised. Teams that sleep on the Dolphins will be hurting on Monday after dragging themselves home from a thorough beat down.