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Which players will things 'click' for in 2010?

A dividend of having a young team, as the Dolphins inarguably have, is that players can take significant leaps from their rookie or second seasons, thus helping to raise the team to a much higher level almost overnight.

Sure, some players fail to take that big step or they don't meet the expectations and potential their gifts suggest. (Such players get traded to the San Francisco 49'ers for a fifth-round pick.)

But many up-and-comers make their biggest move in their second or third years.

I was discussing this in part with former wide receiver Nat Moore on our recent day-trip to Haiti when he recounted the story of Mark Duper and Mark Clayton. Moore told of how as a rookie year, Clayton often benefitted from the fact defenses typically doubled Mark Duper on the outside or himself on the inside. Clayton was still learning and really didn't contribute much as a rookie -- six catches for 114 yards.

"But the next year when the light bulb went on for him, there was no stopping him," Moore said of Clayton. "He beat single coverage and then he figured out the game so well, he could beat double-coverage. With his talent, he just took off."

Took off like a rocket, actually. Clayton caught 73 passes for 1,389 yards and a whopping 18 touchdowns in 1984. Duper, who didn't catch a pass as a rookie in 1982, climbed to 51 in 1983 and 71 for 1,36 yards in 1984. Apparently things clicked for him as well.

Well, we should expect the 2010 Miami Dolphins to sound like a field of crickets because I expect there to be a lot of clicking going on for that young roster.

The Dolphins have players that everyone in the organization hopes are on the cusp of being big-time contributors if not outright stars.

Chief on that list is quarterback Chad Henne.

In his third season and second as the starter, Henne must have a breakthrough season for the Dolphins to make a legitimate run at the playoffs. This is the year he has to solve the accuracy and timing issues he had at times in 2009 as a first-year starter. Those were understandable then. There's a next step to take now.

I think Henne will take that step. He's too gifted, too confident, and too hard-working not to take the step. I'm not expecting him to lead the league in passing. That's not what Miami's system is initially going to ask of him.

But 24-25 touchdowns? Why not?

And as long as he keeps the mistakes to maybe 10-12 interceptions, things will be very, very good in Miami.

Of course, Henne will need help. And there's a good chance he'll get it. Here is a list of other players I believe can have a breakout year in 2010. You'll notice some folks are missing. I'm being conservative here. I'm sure you will add the missing names in the comments section.

This is my list:

Brian Hartline: I predict he will win the starting job opposite Brandon Marshall. He is bigger than Davone Bess, faster than Greg Camarillo and he can play all three WR positions. He's a smart guy. He's mature. He gets it. He has shown reliable hands. No, he is not a burner. But he did run track in high school and I believe he's fast enough to hurt defenses when their focus is on Marshall.

Vontae Davis: It took him a while to find his NFL niche. He was raw and a little wide-eyed at first. But he is tough, he is as athletic as they come, he's fearless and there's no quit in him -- as evidence by that TD-saving tackle from behind on a kickoff last year. Davis suffered something of a setback with a wrist injury earlier this offseason. But there has been no mention of that lately and if he continues to rise at the rate he did after the midpoint of 2009, he'll be the second-best cornerback in the AFC East by the end of 2010.

I wanted to include Cameron Wake. I even had his paragraph written up. But I just need to see more. The fact is he was very explosive as a pass-rusher, but still had only one sack the final four games of the season when he was getting his most playing time. Wake might bust out with 14 sacks in 2010 and that would surprise no one. But he also might have six sacks in 2010 and, well, that would surprise no one. It will all depend on whether things clicked for him.

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LE BRON JAMES GOING HOME TONIGHT TO COUNT HIS MONEY ....


SHAQ MY AZZZZZZZ


GO BOSTON .

Smith and Davis will be fine. They both did well considering Miami had little pass rush. Once the d-line starts collapsing the pocket and stopping the run there will be more picks with the occasional pick-six. My only concerns are the lame play-calling on offense and injuries to o-line. Henne and position players on offense will get better and better with time, so be patient.

THE PERSON WHO NEEDS TO MAKE THE BIGGEST IMPROVMENT IS TONY SPARANO.

SOME OF THE GAMES WE LOST HE COULD HAVE PUT THE GAMES AWAY BUT CHOSE TO BE CONSERATIVE.

WE NEED HIM TO PUT FORTH BETTER PLAYS AND GO FOR THE THROAT WHEN WE ARE UP.

IF WE're GOING INTO HALF WE NEED POINTS STOP SITTING ON THE LEAD.

AN EXTRA 7 IS BETTER THAN 3 WHICH IS IN RETURN BETTER THAN 0.

WE DIDN't BLITZ HALF THE TIME WE COLUD HAVE AND MANY TIMES OUR D SEEMED TO BE PLYING ON THERE HEELS.

I WOULD RATHER THEM ATTACK AND LOSE THAN WAITING FOR THE OTHER TEAM TO MAKE A MISSTAKE AND LOSE.

WE HAVE AND HAD ALOT OF TALENT AND HE MUST PUSH IT TO THE LIMIT.

WE HAVE THE SKIILL PLAYERS AND THE ROLE PLAYERS TO DO SOMETHING SPECIAL AND I HOPE HE RELIZE THAT AND LET THEM TO PLAY HARD.

........Davis............Smith.........

Tot.....49...............39............
solo....45...............32............
asst....4................7.............
PD......11...............12............
int.....4................0.............
TD......1................0.............
success rte......54.1...........43.4

You can't argue with sucess, Davis did have the better year.
Considering that they were both rookies and are only going to get better, I wouldn't go as far as calling either one of them a fraud.

I agree Justin. I hope they let Mike Nolan go crazy with the D too.

JUSTIN......YOU R RIGHT .

True but I'm actually hoping for Ronnie Brown to step it up big time this year no injuries
1000yrds rush

I know alot of people think we should sign a FA free safety. Maybe we should, maybe we shouldn't, it remains to be seen.

The cold hard fact is this: We will have better safety play this season REGARDLESS.

By drafting Clemons and Jones, then cutting Wilson we have upgraded significantly from last year.

This secondary will be a team strength.

I like the FSs we have too. They need to just let the youngsters develop. Signing a FA safety is unneeded like, well, we saw what happened last year.... ;)

It's a case of addition by subtraction when it comes to Gerbal Wilson. Pat white could do better at FS. Well maybe not pat white but you know what I mean.

I think Pat White woukd do way better at safety than Garbage, I mean, Gibril Wilson. I cannot stress enough how important those giants at NT are to the FS's success. I had hope for Solai when he was drafted because of his size and raw talent but what a dissappointment so far. We need to use stem cells and bring back Tim Bowens to show exactly how to disrupt and collapse the pocket.

I'm interested to see how Lex Hilliard does, too. Who knows if Ronnie and Ricky will be here past this year. It would be nice if he steps it up.

I wonder if stem cells are on the banned substance list.

By the way, the "stem cell" thing was a joke. Just had to clarify that before the conspiracy-theorists on this blog start crying and post 23 hours of nonsense...

I DON't MIND GETTING AWALA WALA BING BANG BECAUSE THERE's NO CAP.

WE MESSED UP ON OTHER FREE AGENTS AND IF HE's A MISS OH WELL CUT HIM.

HOWEVER IF HE's WHAT WE BEEN WAITING FOR ALL THE BETTER.

HE MADE A NAME FOR HIMSELF ON A TEAM THAT BAD FOR THAT LONG MUST MEAN THAT HE's THAT GOOD.

BELL IS IN HIS 30s AND JONES COULD BE GROOMED TO TAKE OVER THERE.

I AM FULLY AWARE THAT I'm GOING TO GET SOME SLACK FOR THIS BUT I ALWAYS LIKED AJASON ALLEN.

IF HE WOULD HAVE STAYED AT FS HE MIGHT HAVE BEEN PRETTY GOOD.

ONE YEAR FS. THE NEXT CB. THE NEXT FS. NOW HE WOULD BE A CORNER FOR 3 YEARS IN A ROW HE MIGHT DO BETTER.

I DOUBT IT BUT IT's A MIGHT.

Jason Allen was really good at Tenn. I thought he was going to be much better for us but I don't know what his deal is. You figure three different staffs can't be wrong.

HERE COMES ORLANDO TO MEET BOSTON....THE SWEETY COACH AGAIN ,

I would love to see Dobbins take over the starting position from Crowder.. that would be nice.. maybe he'll keep his mouth shut on the bench...

Aloco you don't like Ron Jeremy?

WHO'S RON JEREMY ?

Ron Jeremy was Joe Namath's agent when he played for the Jets.

He's the guy that got Namath the deal to wear Leggs Panty Hose in that commercial.

Boy oh Boy, the 70's were a different dat and age.

Joe Namath wearing beauty mist panty hose on national TV.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qf3oOQq9KFU

The jets were gay then and they still are today. What a legacy!

IS RON JEREMY GAY ?

NA NA NA NA, NA NA NA NA, HEY HEY HEYYYYY....... GOODBYE .......CAVS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YeS!1

Rajan Rondo on a fast break reminds me of Chris Johnson in the open field. Makes it look too easy.

I think we need to add Sean Smith, Kendall Langford and Philip Merling, and if the coaching staff does what they should with Pat Turner and actually work him into the equation, he could be in that number.

I think Nate Jones is due for a breakout year.

Im pretty sure Nate Jones is not on the team anymore. Am I wrong?

Mando,
Did I dream this or did I see it, I thought I read before the 09 draft,in several places, Hartline ran in the upper 4'4's also, didn't he average like 15 yards a catch? That is plenty fast enough to beat a db deep, especially now that we have BM. Also, unlike Ginn, he actually catches the ball! He may not be a hall of famer, but with BM, I think will have a breakout year!

Will Allen, Sean Smith, Vontae Davis, Jason Allen, Nolan Carroll. Looks like these are our 2010 DBs. Not bad.

odinseye commented on 'Which players will things 'click' for in 2010?'

2010-05-13 21:06:45 -0400

........Davis............Smith.........

Tot.....49...............39............
solo....45...............32............
asst....4................7.............
PD......11...............12............
int.....4................0.............
TD......1................0.............
success rte......54.1...........43.4

You can't argue with sucess, Davis did have the better year.
Considering that they were both rookies and are only going to get better, I wouldn't go as far as calling either one of them a fraud.

Odinseye.. This is nice but where are the stats that show pass attempts made against, completions made against, yards per completion against, TDs made against, dropped INTs, missed tackles. We need the whole picture. Im of the opinion VD was targeted alot more than Smith so if thats the case did he REALLY have a better year?

Dolphins Trivia: Name the dolphins player who was selected to 5 pro bowls and wore the number 13.

Jake Scott?

What the hell is Brandon Marshal's number, already??

You got it fishfan. Jake Scott was the original No.13 before Dan Marino ever wore the number. You win an imitation Brian Greise Jersey a pair of game worn Karim Abdul Jabbar sweat socks. Congratulations!!!!

Of course we all hope Henne has a breakout year....PRAY he has a breakout year, ... and even expect him to have a breakout year. But I am not convinced he ever will. I am not convinced he has the poise or the smarts, as evidenced by that Tebow bashing before the draft (for one example).
Do you think you would have ever heard that from Peyton Manning?
Maybe someone like Cutler (although I doubt it), but where was he last year?

There's a difference between field smart and street smart.Chad Henne had a minor brain fart while addressing the Tebow question,but if I remember correctly,Henne wasn't given a chance to explain himself.

Henne will be a star. All of your constitution are belong to us.

Yeah, I question Henne's poise.

Especially after that 4th quarter game winning drive right after throwing the INT.

After the game Parcell's was quoted as saying something like, "way to hang in there kid".

Henne's smarts? What was he thinking when he told the truth about T-Bow?

I'm SURE this comment raised red flags with the Trifecta, Brandon Marshall, Ronnie and Ricky................

LMFAO :)

Odinseye,

It's funny you mention the TB game for Henne. That throw he made was one of the worst I've ever seen, locked in on a target, with the lead, just terrible (when I went to the Bucs preseason game, he had one equally as bad, but not the game situation) However, 8 year vets may very well have packed it in after that throw, and that was still only his 6th or 7th start, I am not sure. So as bad as that throw was, his moxy and poise with a couple big time throws to get us in field goal range was even more impressive. I am anxious to see what a year of experience, a whole offseason of reps as the number one, legit competition behind him making him work, stability on the offensive line, the return of Ronnie Brown and the addition of Brandon Marshall do for Chad Henne this year. My expectations are rather high with what I have seen. My prediction would be 23 TD's, 15 INT's, and around 3800 yards, and I'd think his completion percentage will be about 62% Your thoughts?

THUNDERBOLT,

I'm not completely convinced that Davis had that much better of a year than Smith.
I just didn't want to argue with the people that were cutting on the guy. That's why I was looking for the stats in the first place. I'm still looking for the ones you mentioned. They're not easy to find apparently.

Davis got more recognition because of the int against Brady and Moss.
I don't want to take anything away from Davis because he did great as a rookie.
The point I was trying to make, is that Sean Smith had a very solid, yet unspectacular year. He played more like a true shut down corner than Davis.

Some question Smith's maturity and commitment, but that's all based on second hand, he said, she said tweets.

I like to base my opinions from what I see on the field. So I hope Davis is as good as he seems, because for some reason, NFL quarterbacks are throwing away from Smith and right at Davis.

Glad we have Henne

Bootang,

I'm glad you picked up on that. The qustion of poise is exactly why I mentioned that particular series.
Any NFL quarterback can always shake off a bad read, an unlucky bounce, or even a fumble.

To finally get your chance on the big stage and crap out like that? Not easy too recover from. I wasn't inside Henne's helmet, but he came back out and played like it didn't even faze him.

I'm not trying to say Henne's the second coming, or even that he's where he needs to be yet. However, I do believe that thanks in part to the Trifecta, Henne will thrive in this offense.

My prediction would be 23 TD's, 15 INT's, and around 3800 yards, and I'd think his completion percentage will be about 62% Your thoughts?

Posted by: Bootang25 | May 14, 2010 at 10:27 AM

These numbers sound just about right too me. Except maybe the 3800 yds. With Marshall on board it's certainly a possibility. Still I'm thinking we'll be getting alot more rushing yards this year protecting those big leads :)

Henne is the least of our problems.He will thrive in the offense now that he has Marshall plus the O-line should give him plenty of time to hit the open receiver.He had some pretty impressive games last year with not much to work with.

LET'S SAY HENNE GETS INJURED OR START THE SEASON 1-3 ,WHO WOULD BE THE GUY TO STEP UP ?

Thigpen should fill in nicely.

THIGPEN .DID WE EVER SEE HIM PLAY , I THINK THE BLACK HORSE IS PAT WHITE .

Aloco,

I am a HUGE Tyler Thigpen guy, but if Henne got hurt, the question of who started would center around what style of offense we wanted to play. Thigpen is strictly a shotgun-spread QB. Chad Pennington runs our pro style set very well. A strong argument could be made for both. I will tell you this, we for so long had no legit option at QB, and now we have 3 guys who can get it done. It's very nice.

One more thing on the Davis Smith debate.

I know the argument that some will try and make: Quarterbacks throw at Davis more because he was lined up against their no.1 receiver.

Doesn't wash.

They don't teach QB's to just drop back and throw to your no.1 receiver.

1. Identify the coverage.

2. Go through your progression/reads.

3. Find the open target.

NFL quarterbacks were throwing at Davis alot more than they were Smith and the ALMIGHTY Drew Bree's himself had nothing but praise for the guy.

I have to put a lot of stock in these last two facts!

Both Davis and Smith were very good for rookies. They both had growing pains which you expect. This year we will see if they get it! Madison/Surtain Part 2?

Thunderbolt,

Excellent comparison in my opinion. They both played the game a little different, but together they were awesome.

Do you remember who our safties were at that time?

It's nice to see some serious discussion going on. I for one am feeling anxious to get the season started.

What is important to remember is that Davis and Smith are two completely different players. Davis has elite speed and carries the prototypical cornerback frame. Smith doesn't have the same speed that Davis has but he makes up for that with his unusual size.

How many cornerbacks in the NFL are taller than 6"1? Smith is 6"3. Having a starting cornerback with that kind of size can give a defense considerable flexibility. Smith can line up against Randy Moss and although Moss is faster, Smith doesn't have to to worry about the size mismatch. In fact, there aren't that many receivers in the NFL that Smith does have to worry about as far as size. Not to mention, with some work, Smith may be able to lock down tight ends like Dallas Clark.

I think that is exactly why the trifecta drafted Smith where they did. They saw the opportunity to create a unique cornerback tandem. So I don't think that the question should necessarily be "Smith or Davis?". I think the question should be "Clemons or Jones?".

Go Dolphins

I think the question should be "Clemons or Jones?".

Posted by: Vince Moss | May 14, 2010 at 11:30 AM


I agree with your post entirely.

I'll go one step further. By the 2011 season, it won't be a question of "Clemons or Jones".

Much like Smith and Davis are making Allen an awesom back up, Clemons and Jones will do the same to Bell.

Odinseye,

I remember we had Brock Marion (a very underrated Dolphin) I can't remember the other starter, but guys like Arturo Freeman and Brian Walker were there for much of that time too. We had Shawn Wooden for a while too.

It was basically Brock Marion and Shaun Wooden.

They gave Freeman every chance in the world to beat out Wooden but he couldn't do it.

I never underated Marion and this is why I even asked the question. Brock Marion was one of my all time favorite Dolphins player.

Excellent in coverage and would absolutely knock the snot out of somebody!

Marion was above average in the return game as well

Yeah, I don't recall Marion being overrated. Wasn't he a pro bowler?

Sammy Knight was in there for a couple seasons

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