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Brandt: Dolphins will win the AFC East

To piggyback on the previous post where I touched on the expectations for the Dolphins for 2010, I direct you to a couple of items that have caught my attention.

First up is the prediction from NFL.com's Gil Brandt on where he expects the Dolphins to be once the NFL regular-season is over in January.

"I think the Dolphins will be in first place in the AFC East come Week 17," Brandt said on his live chat a bit ago. "They have done a lot to help their team, they have a young QB in Chad Henne who is getting better every week.

"The key will be how Ronnie Brown recovers from his knee injury and whether he can stay healthy. Henne must cut down on his interceptions. If he does, he will be very good."

So much for the Jets being the team du jour in Brandt's mind. So much for the Pats defending their division title. Brandt thinks the Dolphins will go third to first in the division.

Beyond that I must correct the record from the previous post on Tony Sparano and his public confidence. Sparano has always made winning the division his team's stated goal and I assumed that would hold for 2010.

That's why I wrote that while Sparano may have loftier expectations and goals for his team privately, he wouldn't say winning the Super Bowl is the place his team will be publicly

Well, not so fast.

A friend directed me to this video of the Dolphins awards banquet earlier this summer. In it, owner Stephen Ross repeated his talk about winning a Super Bowl this season and having a parade to celebrate the title.

And Sparano was right there with him.

"The long haul is the 28 weeks that start July 30th," Sparano tells the crowd. "... that 28 weeks is the time it takes for us to win the Super Bowl, for us to have that parade, Mr. Ross. So February, Dallas, 2011? I'm with you."

Hmmm.

Look, I'm excited about the Dolphins as anyone. I think they're ready to fight for a playoff spot. But Super Bowl? I guess I'm not there right now.

I thought it kind of ridiculous when Mark Sanchez talked of returning to the White House -- after a visit earlier this offseason -- to get the meeting with the president following a New York Super Bowl win after this season.

I think it is equally stretching credulity to predict the Dolphins will win the Super Bowl this season. Sure, you aim for the biggest prize, but to predict you're going to get it is another thing altogether.

I am inclined to believe Brandt's prediction is closer to reality.

What do you think?

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Good article Armando. I must say I agree with Brandt. Go Dolphins!!!!!!

Second place is for losers. Aim for 1st, that is a true winners mentality. Especially in today's NFL parity climate.

NO had 6 wins 2 years ago.

WHY NOT US????

Are NJ Phin Fan and Carlito from Golfito back yet?

Agree. Dolphins are probably not SB contenders just yet. At least until until we see how the secondary has progressed, at NT; we still strong at RB? lot of unknowns until september. On paper the Ravens look best out of the AFC.

If everything goes to plan, limited injuries, players develop to plan, and no other major setback, then yes, a Super Bowl is possible.

As I see it, our major issue was on defense last year, namely our LB's inability to cover TE's and generally drop back into coverage. With free agency (Dansby, Dobbins) and the draft, we have completely revamped that unit, making it much faster. That's the good news; we have resolved, for the interim, our biggest need going into the offseason.

We also picked up a "complete" WR in Brandon Marshall, who will make our offense better overall. The big issue for our offense back in 2008 was a lack of playmakers. Marshall completes the picture. Now we have a real bonafide offense.

But we can say the same of at least 20 other NFL teams... Hey expectations are always high now, let's see how it plays out.

I'm guessing we'll have a 10-6 year and a playoff berth. We have improved significantly since the 2008 season; more quality depth, talent, but the schedule is nowhere near as easy.

The big questions we have going into this season are as follows, in order of importance:

1. Chad Henne's development. Has he improved on accuracy and interceptions? The acquisition of Brandon Marshall will be of great help to whoever is playing QB, primarily because of his skill at picking up YAC.

2. Secondary. We have a very young defensive backfield. How will Davis, Smith and Clemons develop? Does Will Allen still have game after last years injury?

3. Pass rush. Do have the personnel to replicate Porter and or Taylor's production at the position. Wake's development as a pass rusher will be integral to this season's success.

4. Run defense. Can Starks play nose? Is Soliai truly improved? What to make of the competition at DE with Merling likely on the outs?

Lots of questions. If all four are answered in the positive (Wake develops, Starks can be a dominant run stopper, our CB's develop into solid cover corner

Isnt Brown coming off a foot injury, not a knee injury? Other than that, I agree and think Miami will win the AFC East at 11-5. I think Nolan will do wonders for the defense in general and Smith/Davis will both have big years at CB.

It is great to get some ink preseason. But everyone knows that these predictions mean nothing except to stroke the egos of us fans. The Phins should be better this year(In fact I thought 11-5 in Cuban Menaces mid may poll) I might have been a little excited then, and the new development along the defensive front may be a concern. The real barometer will come the first month of the season. This is a tough opening 4 games. The positive thing is that the whole of the AFC East has to play against those NFC Central teams so the win v losses against those teams will have a lot to say about who wins the division, as well as games within are own division(obviously)

I'm with you Mando, if we can get Clemons to be a play making safety and Henne to reduce the INT's, then Miami will be contenders. As of right now, I can't say we'll be playing in the SuperBowl, but I can say we sure can compete towards getting there.

Dolphins 2010 AFC East Champs!

Bring in T.O. and we just might win the Super Bowl, he's never won one, he'll be motivated.

if the dolphins get into the playoffs I'm happy.

Miami has question marks but what team doesn't. As far the division goes I agree with Gil Brandt's prediction.
jets - are point blank paper champs. I think Sanchez is the most over rated player in the league! He stinks!
Patriots - have a great QB and a great coach so they are always a threat but they have no balance (RB) and thier pass rush situation is puzzling.
Bills - are still the Bills. I remember hating them the most as a kid when they annually beat us when it mattered but they are light years removed from their glory days.
Dolphins - I think Miami has added the right pieces to take the next step. Brandon Marshall is a stud. Dansby is a playmaking LB. Question Miami's pass rush? I love Koa Misi and think worst case scenario Cam Wake is a pass rush specilists with a minimum of 8-10 sacks. At best he could be Mike Nolan's Elvis Dumervil. The biggest question mark to me is the young secondary. I love Vonta and Yeremiah. I am not big on Sean Smith and know nothing about Clemons other then what I've read.

Interesting question Rick.

Do we bring in T.O if we could get him for cheap or near minimum, considering nobody else there wants to roll the dice with him???

Ha, ha, ha!
You Fins fans are a riot.
Let's wait a few weeks into the season, and count the excuses you make!
AFC East champs? LOL!

What a bunch of tools.

I sadly have to say that I just can't see T.O. sharing the spot-light with B. Marshall. It would be awsome if he does want to be a champ, but thats the question....Does he want to be a champ or the main attraction?

No. I think TO would be a bad fit here. This is ironic, because on the Stephen Smith Show TO was suposed to be a guest. I didn't get to hear the interview, but Smiths thoughts about TO were what I thhought were spot on. He said that TO needs to be on a team where the QB is a bigger personality then Owens. A team where if TO tried to sell his qb down the river, that qb would have the respsect of every other player, and this would not fly. Teams like NO, Indy, NE, Minn. Where those guys are running the show. I agree. Henne isn't proven as a leader enough yet, and To's poison could easily disrupt his confidence, as well as the development, and togetherness of this team.

Armando:

I don't think there was anything wrong with Sparano's quote about 28 weeks. It is a far cry from the all the non-sense coming out of the Jets camp. In reality why shouldn't any team set it's goal as winning a superbowl? I like the attitude and I hope it keeps the team from being complacent.

Mark and Rick:

I think you guys are crazy about T.O. First of there won't be enough footballs thrown his way because of Brandon Marshall. T.O.'s history has clearly been if he is not getting enough balls thrown his way he turns on his QB and causes strife for the team. Secondly, we don't need T.O. Marshall is currently a better version of T.O. Marshall and T.O. do not necessarily comliment one another as both do the same thing on the field. Say no to T.O.

Let's get through training camp without and significant or numerous small injuries.

Then after training camp lets focus on a week by week basis. Week #1 at Buffalo.

For all of you TO devotees wishing him to come to the Fins for one year. As long as the Tuna is there..it ain't gonna happen. Sorry!!!

Mondo it's good to hear your voice inside my head long time coming hope you relaxed on vaca I know you have a supremely stressful job

I would LOVE IT if we won the division this year. But I want to be realistic. We have an EXTREMELY tough schedule. Viks, Jets, Pats, Packs, Steelers, Bengals, Ravens, and then we gotta play the rest of the season. Now, can we do it, sure. But before I put some weight behind it, I want to see some preseason games at least (and maybe see what's what in Sept.).

But I'm absolutely, 100% comfortable in saying that we are just as talented, well-coached and hungry as the Jets and Patriots (and we all know Buffalo will be 4th in the division again this year). GO FINS!!!

I didn't hear a peep out of TO last year, but take a look at his stas: 55 rec. 829 yards with 5TD's...Hmmm not too bad right... OH Wait our best receiver Davone Bess had 79 rec. 758 yards and 2 TD's Hmmmm TO doesen't look too bad right now does he????

Mando what do you think? Can Parcells Tame him and would he fit in? Ken, Darryl, Andy, Mark, Dolfan...Thoughts?

Finally! It' been a boring past couple of months.

What do I think?

I think you're the worst writer in history. Turn in your badge.

Sorry Jmatta:

I am not buying T.O. We don't need him and he is trouble. His numbers last year were okay but his impact on the field was minimal. Don't just go by the stats.

His impact was minimal because just take a look at the terrible team he was on, nobody would shine on a team like that. Dr. Love, thanks for the Love brother. My degree is obviously not in writing lol. Oh yeah btw i didn't ask you just Ken, Darryl, Andy, Mark, Dolfan. Just kidding man jk. At the end of the day I want him but I don't want him. I want TO with out the drama and that would happen so oh well Bess and camarillo have much more Hart, and Hartline seems like he could become a solid play maker. Can I keep my badge now?

It's all about Hartline now. How do you think we went 4-0 in Preseason? He made all the plays. Dude learned all 4 positions in the Play Book before he signed his Contract. He is LEGIT. Go Fins 2010.

I think if the dolphins win the superbowl, you should have to eat an actual crow on live television at Bokampers.

Welcome back mando, its been a long month and half without this blog.

I believe the Dolphins can win the division.

Darryl, your thoughts adopted from the Stephen A Smith show have some serious merit. Personally, I have no opinion on T.O with the Dolphins but I just wanted to hear some good debate on the subject.

I think Hartline could reproduce the stats T.O put up last year. Bess can also produce a number of catches and help move the chains.

"jets - are point blank paper chumps. I think Sanchez is the most over rated player in the league! He stinks!"
---------------------------------------------
Great Excellent post- the red -headed step child in noo jersey is ALL talk... little action. Get out the brooms, ANOTHER SWEEP is on the way. Watch Wrecks cry again this year. Losers.


Lets just make the playoffs and then anything is possible.

jmatta, my post was directed at mando.

i truly think he is the worst beat writer out there. He has the tempermant of a 14 year old girl. He needs to get a gig with TMZ.

Dirty Sanchez...J-E-T-S = JUST ENOUGH TO SUCK!

GO PHINS!

Welcome to fantasy island.

Dr. Love, can't say I agree with you but that's between you and Mando I'm sure he can pick and choose who he feels like associating with.

Jmatta, I agree with Ken on this one (that we don't need him). I think you're right that he was on a terrible offense (so that skewed his influence some), but he still had problems with the coaches. Sparano ain't puttin' up with that (not after J-Peezy). And now Merling might be gone, I think the Fins intelligencia will be very hesitant to deal with another "problem child." Don't get me wrong, I think T.O. still has talent, would still be a top receiver in this league. But he brings waaay too much trouble with that talent. That's not the direction we need to go in (plus Marshall can coach up the young WRs like Hartline and turn them into threats). I like our WR core as it is. I'd rather pick up a safety (or I really would have like getting Thomas Jones, he's a definite 1,000 yards like Ricky). Not sure about Ronnie guys, he gets hurt and it's over for him in Miami.

There will be ups. There will be downs. There will be surprises, good and bad. If the Dolphins stay healthy, they will be deep in the post season. It will all have to come together for them to win it. But then, who thought that Pat Riley would win the "trifecta?"

Has Henne stopped throwing INT's yet.?

Dr Love, please turn in your ovaries. We don't need any lame girlie men on this blog.

Glad to have you back, Mando. You've been missed.

Jmatta:

I think the second part of your 3:31 post said it best. Too much drama. The last thing you want is some one like to T.O. to mess around with the head of a young QB like Henne.

Congrats to FLPD, the first insult to another poster today. You got class FLPD, yeah right

Welcome BACK Armando.

We have gotten a lot better(on paper)since you've been gone.

You guys and the TO dreams(give it up) are just bored, thank God training camp starts soon.

Henne has developed well with Camirillo, Bess and Hartline. He'll have his hands full "fitting in" Marshall. We don't need a basket case thrown into this mix period.

In our big turn around season(10-6)the turn over ratio told the story. I think the same will hold true this season.

Less Int's by Henne, More Int's by the secondary and this team will dominate.

Michael Lombardi (NFL.com) listed the Fins as Blue-chip team = Super Bowl contender together with the Colts and Chargers a week ago or so.


for all you Henne haters... Henne now has a WR that CAN CATCH!!! Ginn caused 3 int's alone!!! & missed 3 potential TD's in the process last year!!! The Fins need to now concentrate on the D line, get a run stopper in the middle & our pass rushers MUST step it up, for the likes of Brady!!! Ronnie needs to stay healthy & should have got a back up RB for when Ronnie goes down!!! 11-5 can be done & I think this team can & WILL sweep the division!!! GO FINS!!!

You don't go out in the August heat and work your a** off, or come in to watch film at 6am because you THINK you MIGHT win the division.

The fins offense will be much better!! Defense is the big question in particular secondary!! Last year we gave up I belive 40 or more big pass plays over 40 yards!! Thats just plain ridiculous and unproffessional!!!! If we give up just 10 plays of 40 or more yards were in the playoffs barring injuries and if we get in we have just as good a shot as anyone else to win the bowl!! But secondary must get better!

The offense is going to be good, capable of scoring points, more points than we've seen a Dolphins team score in a long time. My questions are on defense, at tackle (Is Randy Starks the longterm answer?), at outside linebacker opposite Koa Misi (Is Charlie Anderson the answer? Cameron Wake?), and at safety (Is Chris Clemons from Clemson, almost sounds made up, the answer?). If the defense is good and the offense is dynamic, the Dolphins are going to be in the playoff mix. I still think we're one year away from competing for the Super Bowl. Prove me wrong, Fins!

Enough of this Dolphins afc east champ stuff already. We've proven nothing under the lights and between the sidelines yet. Let the Jets be the pretend champs, I want nothing to due with it until late November.

They did go last to first recently. Why's third to first seem so improbable. The division title is more realistic, more manageable. Super Bowl Title too many variables for any team. The first is just learning to win consistently. That's the Dolfins hurdle. Win in the division. Contend in the playoffs. Claim the title in 3 or 2 seasons

Its not a prediction its a fact

I think Miami will win the AFC East, but I don't see them making it to the big dance. Although at the same time it would not be much of a stretch for someone to say they will get there. If you make it to the playoffs with no help from other teams then you deserve to be there and have every chance as any other team to make it. Good example of that is the Arizona Cardinals.

I say the Dolphins Win the Superbowl this year!Its their Destiny! Henne throws to fasano, he's got it at the 50, 40, he laterals to marshall, he could go all the wayyy, TOUCHDOWN!

I agree w/ Jeremy. Mike Nolan will be the single biggest addition to this team after the season is over. That is saying a lot w/ Marshall and Dansby being new to us this year.

I don't think there is anything wrong w/ believing we will make the SB. I don't think we will but it wouldn't shock me either. I didn't think New Orleans would win it this time last year and please don't any of you say that you "KNEW" that. Look at the other view, would you want a player/coach to say "Yeah, we "may" make the playoffs but I don't believe in myself enough to say more?"

Welcome back mando!!!!!

Its all about staying healthy and not turning the ball over, Do those two things and the Dolphins have just as much a chance as any team out there. I read nearly all the predictions of the 2009 Superbowl and NO ONE took New Orleans. If they did it was out of the corner of their mouth as a "Maybe".
Miami WILL SCORE POINTS. You can bet your ass on that. They will have a fast and aggressive Defense who will fly around the ball "That's Nolan's signature...Period" If they stay healthy (unlike last year) and don't commit the crazy turnovers, all they need to do is get in the show, once in the playoffs it will be the team who gets hot. I only wish we could play the Jests 16 times and we would have our 2nd undefeated season..... Go Miami!

CarltheChamp says,

Please dont mention TO again, BP wouldnt touch him with 100ft pole, and with good reason, we need no compliment for Marshall, he just about compliments himself, nobody can stop him. Hartline will do just fine as long as he can lay off the sauce

Im trying not to be so pessimistic. I'd appreciate it if somebody will tear my post to pieces with a response. But here are my doubts.

Our defense was absolutely egregious. Our defensive line was sub-par. We did not have a pass rush, and Langford and Merling had mediocre seasons. The only bright spot was Randy Starks. Randy Starks is solid, but I don't see us being deep into the playoffs if he is our best lineman. We have too many unknowns. Can he make a smooth transaction to NT? Will Odrick be the next Jamar Fletcher? Where will Merling be? Will Langford be productive? Our D-line is a potential problem.

Linebackers: These look like our starters so far: Dansby, Chrowder, Misi and Wake.
Dansby is solid but how will he fit into the Dolphins defense? Is he enough to revamp our linebacking corps? Channing "The Backup" Chrowder is very inconsisent. Some games he simply does not perform and is lost in pass coverage. Koa Misi is a big question mark mainly because he is a rookie. Cameron Wake is not a complete linebacker. If, and only if he can be a force on rushing downs will our unit be complete. Dobbins and rookie linebackers: they may be fast and athletic but there's a reason we drafted them so late- we don't know what we are getting.

Defensive backs: Yerimiah is a beast. Vontae Davis had some bright spots, yet he was beat deep on numerous occasions. Sean Smith did not prove anything last year. Will Allen may not be the same after the surgery. Strong Safety? Clemmons continuously got beat last year and was the furthest thing from impressive. He could not beat out Gebril.

Playoff Caliber opponents picked
up first downs at will and put up points whenever they wanted. It was simply too easy. Our linebackers were exploited so we "fixed" that problem, but did we fix our defense? I'll repost tomorrow about the offensive side of the ball.

Sorry for the pessimism and the length of this post. It hurt to write it. I hope that everything that I said is wrong and that Channing will be the defensive player of the year and Koa will win Defensive ROY

I believe the Dolphins success this upcoming season will depend heavily on Henne. To be an elite team in this league, you need an elite QB. I'm a big believer of Henne and I pray for his success. But Marshall's success will depend on Henne. Same goes for the defense. Henne has to manage the game well and reduce turnovers. If not then the defense will have to stay on the field longer, thus wearing them down.

Truly I want to belive it and find myself LOVING hearing it. however EVERY time since I have been born when we are a pick, or top 3 favorite the season goes to hell quick! so I am nervous. I really think the JETS are overrated and overhyped, I am not buying into them. However, the PATS have flaws, but I see their offense shredding our D, unless there has been major improvement by our corners and safties. Also our LB's are suspect. I will change my mind on this after the pre-season if we see GREAT improvement from last year. I think our D CAN have that major improvement. but I want to see it before I buy into a SB caliber team. I am praying for it. If our D is not better, I still think Brady gets the nod with his O over Henne and our O. I am optomistic, and hope I am wrong.

I think Ross is not the only one to believe it. Have you, Mando, read already Lombardi's text about the Dolphins being a candidate along with the Chargers and the Colts to be in the SB? For Lombardi, the Phins are ahead of the -yes, believe it or not- Ravens.

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