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Grading the Dolphins

The Dolphins entered the 2010 season with high hopes for, not only a playoff appereance, but an extended push in the playoffs. They finished the season with a losing record at 7-9 with an apparent decision on the future QB after Chad Henne in his second year starting did not manage to secure the starting position. The offense actually regressed. The team invested heavily on defense in the draft and off season, bringing in LB Karlos Dansby and drafting defense in the first two rounds.
The biggest acquisition in the off season turned out to be former Niners head coach Mike Nolan. He transfomed the defense, with the emergence of OLB Cameron Wake. Wake slowed down at the end but he did finish the season with 14 sacks (3rd in the NFL). The defense played very well, especially at the end, they ranked 6th in the league (7th against the rush and 8th against the pass). They were 14th in points allwed but the last half of the season was much better than that. They showed a great front 7 with a dominating D-line.
NT Paul Soliai earned the starting NT job and played excellent football as the season went on. The unit overcame injuries to 1st rounder Odrick and former 2nd round pick Philip Merling and managed to stuff the run and dominate the line.

The LBs also had a great year with Crowder and Dansby inside and Wake and rookie second rounder Misi outside.
Dansby was worth every penny of his gigantic 40+ million dollar contract and Wake turned out to be unblockable at times. Misi started slow but got better as the year went along against both the pass and run. He is going to start for the Dolphins for the next few years.
The secondary play was much better compared to last year as Chris Clemons moved into the starting role. Davis and Smith continued their solid play even though Smith started slow, lost his starting position and then came back strong.

The offense had a bad season. Brandon Marshall was signed to a 50+ million dollar deal with much promise. He did have a very good year and showed why he got all that money but apart from Marshall the entire unit regressed and we are going to see major changes next year. Henne had a bad year, he failed to seize the starting position, and the team will most certainly look elsewhere in 2011. The running game also declined. Part was a result of an uneven play of the interior line. Aside from Long and Carey, the guards and center did not manage to open things up for the declining Ricky and Ronnie.

Now let's get personal...

QB Chad Henne - 301 of 490, 3301 yards, 15 TDs, 19 (!) INTs and a QB rating of 75.4 is just not good enough. He failed to click with Marshall, often looked for check down passes and threw twice as many INTs as he should have. He was benched in favor of Pennington who lasted 3 plays and even Tyler Thigpen was given an opportunity to play (at least we know he is not the answer). He played himself out of the starting position even though he looked OK at times. We are in a passing league and the days when you can win with defense and a running game are long gone. Miami's inability to play better this year is directly related to the passing game. Grade - D+

WR The Dolphins did not have a number one WR for years, actually, the last one was probably Irving Fryar in the late 90s, so the team went out and traded for mega star WR Brandon Marshall. They got what they paid for. Some thought he had a mediocre season. The truth is he played in more or less 13 games and caught 86 balls for just over 1000 yards. The Dolphins record is 90 catches and the team had one 1000 yard WR in a decade. He did all that in 13 games. The team did lack deep speed when they traded away Tedd Ginn without having a deep speed type of WR to complement Marshall.
Overall Grade - B-

WR Brandon Marshall - Numbers 86 for 1014, 3 TD. The TD figure was low, but he constantly changed the way defenses played Miami. He commanded double coverage and opened up the inside for Fasano and the running game. He did all that in 13 games because he missed almost 3 games with an injury.
Grade - A-

WR Davone Bess - Numbers 79 (up from 76 in 2009) for 820 yards (up from 758 yards in 2009), 5 TDs (2 in 2009). Bess benefited form the presence of Marshall most than any other player. He became a true slot WR and every coach in the league now knows who Davone Bess is. He also manaeged to score 5 times and got almost 80 receptions. He is steady and can be couted for in every game.
Grade - B+

WR Brian Hartline - Numbers 42 (up from 31 in 2009) for 615 yards (up from 506 in 2009) and only 1 TD. He did play better than last year until he got injured. 2011 should be the year we know if he takes his game to the next level or if that will be his annual production.
Grade - C+

TE Anthony Fasano - Numbers 39 (up from 31) for 528 yards (up from 369 in 2009) and 4 TDs. Fasano benefited from the double teams Marshall received and bounced back from an off 2009 to have a very good 2010 season, breaking for the first time the 500 yard mark. The Dolphins miss a second TE to strech the middle of the field but Fasano was solid all year.
Grade - B

RB They are not getting any younger and there is a good possibility we have seen the last of the Ricky and Ronnie show. Ronnie played more although Ricky played better but both of them were hurt by the lack of constant blocking inside. Ricky is playing much better than any 32 year old I've seen recently but this position needs more speed, which means - youth movement on the way. The Dolphinjs declined to 21st in run offense. Overall Grade - C-

RB Ronnie Brown - 200 rushed for 734 yards (3.7 average) and 5 TDs. The wildcat has died, pretty much. He is now a free agent. He does have the ability to run over people but it looks as if the speed is not were it used to be. A mediocre season.
Grade - D+

RB Ricky Williams - He is still a very good runner even at his age - over 32. He rushed 159 times for 673 yards (4.2 yards average - down from 4.7 in 2009) and 2 TDs. After a brilliant, out of this world 2009, he went back to being Ronnie's backup and as always played better than Ronnie Brown... He is a free agent and we could have seen the last of Ricky in a Dolphins uniform. If he doesn't come back, the team will miss him because when he is on his game he is a dangerous grreat RB, one of the best players ever to put on a Fins jersey.
Grade - C

OL- Long, Incognito, Berger, Jerrry (McQuistan) and Carey -
Overall Grade - D-

The line was part of the reason Miami could not run the ball very well, especially inside. Long was injured and somehow managed not to miss a game, Carey is not as good as he used to be and the inside just did not have a very good year. Long made his usual probowl but other than that...
The team may need to spend yet another high pick on a lineman.
Jerry was OK as a rookie but did lose his starting position and was on and off. There is no danger of McQuistan making it to the probowl either.
Incognito was OK but he played better as a center than a guard because he doesn't have to pull as a center.

The Defense

Defensive line - The D-line played well against the run and the pass, When Odrick got injured in week 2 it seemed as if Miami's theory of moving Starks inside failed. Starks moved outside to replace Odrick and 4th year man Paul Siliai turned out to be a decent NT after all. This was the deepest unit on the team with McDaniel and Merling helping Langford, Soliai and Starks turn out great performances.
Overall Grade - B+

DE Kendall Langford - His best year, 3 sacks, 2 FF and a wall against the run (47 combined tackles) Grade - B

NT Paul Soliai - Turned out to be a very good anchor to the D-line. He's one of the top free agents the team must re-sign. He dominated at times the middle of the line and finished with 2 sacks. What a difference a year makes...
Grade - B+

DE Philip Merling - The third year man was injured then somehow came back to contribute at the end.
Grade - D+

DE Randy Starks - He wasn't as good as he was in 2009 but he did play OK after the move back to end. He managed 3 sacks and held his own in the run game. Grade - B-

DE Tony McDaniel - He contributed a s a backup the entire year and played very well. He also had 2.5 sacks and at times came from the inside. Grade - B-

LBs - This unit needed a complete makeover and it got one. Wake is just a beast. Misi played well and Dansby was worth every penny.
Overall Grade - A-

LB Karlos Dansby - He was worth every penny of his mega deal. He led the defnse and at times it looked as if he was all over the field. 95 tackles and two sacks and he was OK in coverage as well - just a great player. Grade - A-

LB Channing Crowder - With all the talk that he wasn't very good he played pretty good. He was helped a lot by Dansby's presence, as were everyone but quietly he had a decent year. Grade - B-

LB Cameron Wake - The beast of the defense had 14 sacks and earned a starting position in the probowl. At times, he was unblockable, he is that good. He made a huge jump into the upper echelon OLB in the league. Grade - A

LB Koa Misi - He started the year as a pass rusher and he left the field in running situations but as the season went along he played much better against the run and there was no need to take him out. He still doesn't get to the QB as often as you would like from the OLB posotion but he had a solid rookie season. Grade - B-

Defensive backs - The pass defense was better than 2009 although the lack of turnovers hurt this unit especially when they had their hands on many balls but just couldn't hang on to the ball, especailly Seasn Smith. He regained his starting position but had he made more INTs his season would have been probowl worthy. S Jason Allen started the year as a starter but was released even though he was the only one actually getting INTs.
Overall Grade B

S Chris Clemons - Clemons was a first year starter in his second year. No one thinks he played as a pro bowler but he actually did a very solid job for a first year starter. He upgraded the position from a year ago and some of the credit to the better secondary play we saw this year should be attributed to Clemons. 61 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and an INT aren't bad. Grade B

S Yeremiah Bell - He had a consistent solid unspectacular year. Is he begining to show his age ? maybe, maybe not. He had a decent year leading the team with 101 tackles. He also had 1 INT and 1.5 sacks to go along with 2 forced fumbles. Grade B

CB Sean Smith - He started the year on the bench but regained his starter's position. By the end of the year he was playing very well and he managed to cover much bigger TEs using his height. He got his hands on countless balls but just did not manage to hang on to the ball because had he done that he would have had a probowl type year. 51 tackles and an INT. Grade B-

CB Vontae Davis - He started every game and as usual played very physical. At times he blanketed WR but he wasn't consistent in many games. He is a great player for years to come and it showed but it wasn't the breakthrough year some expected bcause he only had 1 INT.
Grade B-

CB Benny Sapp - He was traded for WR Greg Camarillo and he instantly upgraded the slot position CB role which some say is the most difficult position on defense. He had 2 INTs from this position and generally had a solid year.
Grade B-

Special teams

K Dan Carpenter - Not as goos a year as his 2009 probowl campaign but he was OK most of the time. He did not miss inside the 40 but was only 11 of 18 from 41 to 49 yards although he did set the franchise record with a 60 yard FG.
Grade C+

P Brandon Fields - He is a solid punter worthy of much more attention than he is getting. He had some great games and I thought was the only bright sport in a god awful special teams unit.
Grade B+

Coverage Teams - An adventure ride. The Dolphins special teams managed to give up a TD in so many different ways.
The Patriots managed to score 21 points against this unit with a 103 yard kick return ,a blocked FG returned for a score and a block punt that was returned very close to the endzone with a TD soon to follow.
They had a block punt in two COSECUTIVE weeks, I mean they were AWFUL.
The special teams coach was fired in the middle of the season and they did play better from that point on but still it was by far the worst display I've ever seen. The Pats game was perhaps the worst display of any team on special teams ever, it was that bad and everyone knew it, even the Pats that returned kicks 4-5 yards deep in their endzone knowing they were this bad (and one resulted in a 103, that's ONE HUNDRED and THREE, yard TD return)
Grade F

Return Teams -
Ted Ginn was traded and Cobbs wasn't very good. They inserted Nolan Caroll as the kick return too late in the process, he did play better and added some spark to the return game. Bess is not a full time punt returner and it showed. Grade D


Coaching staff - The coaching wasn't very good. The offensive play calling was just awful (O-coordinator won't return) and coach Sparano will be back because the team could not upgrade the position, that says something about the team. The front office missed on Chad Henne and the 2010 results were just way below expectations. This is not a super bowl team but they are not a 7-9 team as well, they have a good defense, a probowl LT and a star WR with decent RBs, they should have done better, at least 9-7.
Grade D


This is our 12th year of picking an MVP and it was easier than 2009. The team had a few probowlers and a few players played well. The player should come from the defnese as the offense did not play very well (and don't get me started on the special teams).

Only Brandon Marshall had a decent year on offense but it wasn't an MVP type year. LT Jake Long made the probowl again but he was injured and did not dominate like in years past. He does make a good MVP choice but that could be said in any year.

As for the defense, in my opinion, 2 players stood out from the crowd. ILB Karlos Dansby had a great year and is worthy of the pick. I was torn, he is the leader of the defense and played like it. The fact that he did not make the probowl is not that important.

But, at the end you have to come to a decision, the Dolphins had only one player that during most of the season dominated his opponets and looked like the best player in his position in the entire NFL and it is a premium position. He finished 3rd in the league with 14 sacks. Nobody played better than him and this is why OLB Cameron Wake is desreving of the 2010 MVP award. He totaly dominated his opponets, took over games and played best when the plays were more important at the end of games. This first year starter elevated himself into a supreme star and is without a doubt worthy of the 2010 MVP

Now that you have read our 2010 and saw 2010 MVP pick Let us know what you think. If you like we'll post your MVP selection or your comments on the 2010 season, so let us know what you think. MVPs
1999 K Olindo Mare
2000 RB Lamar Smith
2001 S Brock Marion
2002 RB Ricky Williams
2003 DE Adewale Ogunleye
2004 TE Randy McMichael
2005 LB Zach Thomas
2006 DE Jason Taylor
2007 None
2008 QB Chad Pennington
2009 RB Ricky Williams
2010 LB Cameron Wake
Cameron Wake

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On the 18th of February 1970, Don Shula, 40, became head coach and vice president of the Miami Dolphins after coaching for 7 years the Baltimore Colts. His record with the Colts was 71-23-4. He replaced George Wilson who coached the Dolphins for 4 years.

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On the 28th of January, 1969, Miami selected Bill Stanfill with their first round pick. Stanfill was the 11th player selected. Two months later, on March 24th, 1969, Miami obtained all time AFL middle linebacker Nick Buoniconti from Boston in a trade for QB Kim Hammond and LB John Bramlett. After the 2000 season Buoniconti was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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