September 12, 2010. Every red-blooded male across America has had this date circled on his calendar since the Saints topped the Colts in Superbowl XLIV to close out the 2009 season. This has been a grueling seven months having to sit through the boring-ass baseball season while we wait for the real American pastime to come back into our lives. When football season ends every true fan goes into a mini depression because they know that getting wrecked with their boys every Sunday has come to an end. Drinking at noon? Forget about it. It’s Bed, Bath and Beyond for you my friend, and yes, you”ll have time. Well chin up people because it’s time to throw that jersey on, pack up the cooler with some cold ones, and get yourself ready for another year of the NFL. A lot has happened since we’ve been blessed with football on our big screens. Brett Favre finally retired. Then came back. T.O. was looking for a new team. Then found one. Antonio Cromartie had another kid. He still doesn’t know its name. Wow, it looks like nothing has changed at all from last season. Anyways, enough about all of these other scrub teams. This is South Florida. This is Dolphin country. With new pieces joining the old ones already in place, it looks like the Dolphin’s year if everything shakes out the way it should. So f*ck the Bills, f*ck the Pats, and especially f*ck the Jets. It’s time for Miami to take back the AFC East and make a run at the Superbowl baby! Let’s check out the skill positions to see how the Fins are going to dominate this year.

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACK- When you talk about offense you have to start at the top. In dealing with the most cerebral position in all of sports, you need a guy that can break the other team’s will both physically and mentally. The Dolphins have their man with QB Chad Henne. The strong armed Henne proved he is the future of Miami Dolphins football when he got his shot in ’09. He’s got the size, (6’3″, 230 lbs), and the wherewithal to lead this franchise back to the glory days of Dan the Man. After completing more than 60 percent of his passes a season ago, Henne showed that he has a grasp on this offense and his numbers are going to increase significantly  in 2010. He’s a future Pro Bowler and the face of the organization. Let’s take a look at some of the weapons Henne’s going to have at his disposal.

WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END- Look at what the Dolphins went and did this offseason. They made the boldest move of any team this summer and snagged the man that is arguably the best wide receiver in professional football, Brandon Marshall. Nicknamed “The Beast”, at 6’4″, 230 lbs, Marshall is the most imposing presence any defensive back can face. He can get off the line and avoid the jam with ease and is a proficient route runner with hands like a steel trap. He can make the tough catches in traffic as well as climb the ladder to make a play for his young QB. This is a guy that caught over 100 balls and had ten touchdowns with Kyle Orton as his QB! That’s saying something right there. As long as he can keep his head on straight and ego in check, the Dolphins have the legitimate number one wideout that other teams drool over. Rounding out the wide receiver corps are 2nd year standout Brian Hartline and possession receiver Davone Bess. Hartline should be the main beneficiary of the Marshall acquisition where he’ll have all the chances in the world to beat his man in single coverage. With safeties having to roll to Marshall’s side, Bess is a guy that can find the creases in the D and pick up crucial 3rd downs like he’s always done in the past. Every fan knows that a tight end is every QB’s security blanket, and the Fin’s have a keeper with Anthony Fasano. This is looking to be Fasano’s breakout season. He’s sure to be a red zone threat that Henne can utilize when teams are loading the box against Miami’s rugged running attack.

RUNNING BACKS- In a league that has switched to primarily the two back system, Miami has a pair of stud RB’s with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Williams picked up the slack after Brown was lost for the season with a Lisfranc fracture and posted nice numbers with over 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s still got the burst of old (thanks mostly to all his herbal remedies) and is a sure handed pass catcher out of the backfield. Ronnie Brown on the other hand just can’t catch a break. Brown was on pace to record his best season to date until the injury bug came back to bite him once again. He is the ultimate wildcat with his ability to run said formation to perfection. He makes that offense go and when he’s clicking, they are damn near unstoppable. Let’s hope that Ronnie can hold up this year so he and Ricky can continue to be that one, two punch Fins fans have come to depend on.

DEFENSE

D-LINE- Every team needs that solid push upfront in order to disrupt the offense’s timing and the Dolphins are no different. Miami likes to utilize their base 3-4 defense, and in order for it to be effective it’s up to three relatively unproven men to get the job done at the point of attack, so their athletic linebackers can use their speed to makes some plays. With his 6’6″, 295 lb frame, 3rd year DE Kendall Langford needs to step up his game. He’s going to have every opportunity to be the Dolphin’s guy on the left side of the line so it’s up to him to produce. Randy Starks is making a transition to nose guard this year with the departure of Jason Ferguson. Starks has always been a staunch defender against the run and as the veteran of the group, he  knows that he has to lead by example. The Dolphins are hoping that they struck gold with 1st round draft choice Jared Odrick out of Penn State. He has earned his way into a starting spot at RDE with the Fins and will be crucial to occupying space in the line so the linebackers can stay free. At 6’5″ and 305 lbs, this should be child’s play for the monstrous rookie.

LINEBACKERS- Just as the Dolphins made a splash on the offensive side of the ball with Marshall, the signing of LB Karlos Dansby away from Arizona is making waves for the defense. The 3-4 defense is suited for Dansby to a tee. With his speed and anticipation, look for Dansby to create chaos this year. He should see an increased number in sacks as he’ll be blitzing the quarterback all season long. He’s a player in his prime and will be the face of this defense. His partner in crime at the other LB spot is the man who is never at a loss for words, Channing Crowder. Our former cover boy brings the “swag” that Crowder’s teammates feed off of. Now is the time that he has to back up all of that smack he talks on the field. Talk is cheap my friend; all that Dolphins fans want are wins. Crowder is looking forward to talking and winning all season long. It’s an open competition for the final two LB openings for the Fins, but it looks like we can pencil in the exciting rookie out of Utah, Koa Misi, as the front runner for one of them. He’s going to be given a chance over on the left side to showcase his skills.

Secondary- This is the unit that is going to have to pick up their play in 2010 if the Dolphins want to make the jump to Superbowl contender. The outside is going to be patrolled by a couple of 2nd year standouts in Vontae Davis and Sean Smith. Smith and Davis saw plenty of action as rookies a season ago and should be more comfortable coming into year two. They are going to need to cut down on the big plays this season and the addition of Dansby applying pressure should factor in to that. Young guys usually figure out what it takes to succeed in this league in year two, and I don’t expect it to be any different with these two. Safety Yeremiah Bell is the leader of the secondary and returns to wreak havoc on all that cross his path. He’s a hard hitter that’s not afraid to stick his helmet in the mix and get a little dirty. Chris Clemons has the approval of Head Coach Tony Sparano and expects to start at free safety. The youngster’s got some speed and the Dolphins are excited about this undrafted, 2nd year prospect.

So this is your team South Florida. The 2010 Miami Dolphins just have the look and feel of a serious contender this year. The Bills are going to suck. The Patriots are always going to be trouble but it looks like their time is fading. The Jets have too much hype surrounding them this year and I just have a feeling that they’re going to shoot themselves in the foot. The AFC East is ripe for the picking Dolphin fans, and we’ve got the talent to take the crown. February 6, 2011, we’ll be seeing you in Dallas!

prma