Friday, April 9, 2010

Your 2009 Miami Dolphins: The Wrap-Up, Part II

Alright, PI hasn’t posted in awhile and I think I know why. Previously we committed ourselves to writing a summation about the performance of the Miami Dolphins in 2009. (We wrote about the quarterbacking separately here.) I was going to take the time to rehash and research everything and do up a thorough analysis of every position. You know, with a stereotypical “grade” for each unit of the team. But I just couldn’t make myself do it. Honestly what would be the point? You can go to plenty of other websites who actually employ people who write stuff like that for actual money. (Better yet try the Miami Dolphins Spotlight, the guy who writes it is awesome. He really puts the work in. He makes me embarrassed to call myself a blogger). Plus, this just isn’t the kind of stuff PI likes to do anyway. We prefer to write about things that either nobody else has thought about or that everybody else has forgotten about. The stupider the better. So just to get back in the swing of things allow me to go ahead and make a few non-thorough observations about the 2009 Fins. And I’m not giving myself anymore homework assignments. This is it!

Last season was basically a big ball of blah. You could call the team's play mediocre though that might be a tad generous. Maybe slightly-worse-than-mediocre. The offense was average. The defense was below average. The special teams were above average. The offense ran very effectively and passed very ineffectively. The defense wasn't too bad at stopping the run but really really bad at stopping the pass. 10 of 16 games were decided by a touchdown or less. Miami won convincingly exactly once. They lost convincingly twice. They won four times at home and three times on the road. They suffered two three-game losing streaks that bookended the season. In between they posted three separate two-game winning streaks. They played commanding football against the league's two best teams. And they found a way to lose both times. They finished 6 games better than the 2007 Dolphins, but four games worse than the 2008 Dolphins. If consistency was the question, then the 2009 Miami Dolphins weren’t…ah let’s just move on already.

The glass half full side? Definitely Jake Long. Miami “earned” the league’s overall #1 draft pick for the first time in like...ever, and in 2008, they used that critical pick on Long. And he’s made the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons. This is important for a couple of reasons. You certainly don’t want to whiff on an overall number one pick. A mundane obvservation right? But just as importantly, the Dolphins had a huge need at QB at the time but passed up top QB prospect Matt Ryan to grab Long. Ryan then played like gangbusters in 2008, looking for all the world like the NFL’s next great quarterback. And no lineman’s gonna be worth more than the NFL’s next great quarterback. But Ryan regressed in 2009 while Long stepped it up. And Henne didn’t look half bad at QB. So hopefully this will continue to play out well for the team--I don’t want to have to write a future post about on the new contender for the title of Worst Draft Pick in Miami Dolphins’ History. Besides Long, Jake Grove and Joe Berger played well at center and Vernon Carey was pretty good too. So the offensive line looked good, especially with an assist from Lousaka Polite at fullback, a real find.

With great blocking up front Ronnie Brown played maybe the best football of his career and 32-year old Ricky Williams played even better. Unfortunately the 28-year-old Brown suffered his second season-ending injury in three years. And Ricky’s now going to be 33-year-old Ricky Williams in a few weeks. So for all we know the team might not have any starting running back 2010’s end. We didn’t see enough from Lex Hilliard to know yet if he’s starting material.

Glass half-empty? That could be generous way of describing the receivers. Ted Ginn. What else is there to say? Miami fans really, really want him to be the deep threat the team desperately needs. Let’s just say that didn’t happen in 2009 and elaborating further would just be piling on, something I’ve probably already done during the course of the season. I’m sure he’s a fine young man trying his best. Devon Bess emerged at Henne’s top target but he had an unfortunate tendency to make mistakes at critical times. Greg Camarillo was the bright spot as far PI’s concerned. The guy’s one of my favorite players right now. I was worried he wouldn’t be able to come back strong from that knee injury but he did and he damn near caught every single pass thrown his way in 2009. Dude was money. And for all the talk about Ginn sucking and Miami needing a deep threat, Brian Hartline looked pretty good for a rookie and averaged over 16 yards a catch. We didn’t see anything from the other rookie wideout Patrick Turner but hopefully he just needed some extra time to adjust to the pro game and is not a lost cause. (I’m an eternal optimist). Lots of talk about how bad this unit is and the need for an upgrade but I’m not convinced that what the team’s already got can’t improve for 2010. (See!).

The defense. Not good. Really not good. Actually, they got worse the farther out you go. The D-Line wasn’t half bad. Randy Starks played very well. Langford and Merling were solid. So was Jason Ferguson but he missed half the season with injuries. But Paul Soliai, ay yi yi. Let’s just say I’m not going to be surprised if the team drafts a nose tackle. But linebackers might be even more of a need. Jason Taylor played great at his new outside linebacker spot and man was it great to see that. But what’s this? He might be leaving again? To go to...THE JETS!!?? This is not happening. This is not happening. I hope this is just some negotiation hardball by the front office. Anyway, Joey Porter regressed so much the team let him go. And Crowder, Ayodele, Torbor? Let’s move on. No really. Get rid of all of them and move on. But bad as the linebackers were the secondary might have been worse. Will Allen played well but of course tore an ACL and missed half the season. Gibril Wilson was a huge bust of a free agent. Vontae Davis played ok for a rookie. I know everybody wants Miami to grab a receiver in the draft but face it, this defense has a lot of holes.

Oh, I guess I have to mention the special teams. They were good. Really good. Sure you’d rather have the offense and defense be really good instead but you get what you get. And we got Dan Carpenter and Brandon Fields doing some fine kicking and punting. And Ginn was a lot better returner than receiver.

Ok, homework's over. Pencils down. We’re done.

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