« How a conversation turns into a rumor | Main | Marshall and Wake among the NFL's Top 100 »

Breakout players for 2011 -- whenever that starts

Before we head into the weekend (which some fools are claiming will be the final one as May 21 is supposed to be the end of the world) I want to give you my personal list of Dolphins players I believe should be on everyone's list of breakout players for the 2011 season.

...Whenever that 2011 season gets underway.

Breakout players are defined as players who have yet to show their signature talent. They are young players who have much potential but little in the way of stellar production to show for that potential. Cameron Wake had a breakout season in 2010.

The next Cameron Wake for the Dolphins?

My list:

1. Guard John Jerry: He was a starter much of last season but struggled finding his niche and then keeping it because he battled a sickness and that kept him from perfecting his technique and he wasn't strong enough and he probably needed a lesson in being a professional. Enough of that. It's the second season. The hope is he's working to get stronger as prescribed by the club's strength and conditioning coaches and he is going to get every opportunity to be a starter -- with every opportunity being defined as he's a starter Day 1 of training camp and then it's up to him to keep the job.

2. Cornerback Vontae Davis: Next season will be his third as a starter. It's time to live up to the grand potential he showed as a rookie. Davis is easily the most physical of all Miami corners. He works hard to get his body right. He works at the art of playing CB. But last season he had only one interception to show for his trouble. He had four interceptions as a rookie. You might claim he wasn't picked on nearly as much as he was as a rookie and that is correct. But he was beaten for at least four TD passes. That's not the ratio of interceptions-to-TDs anyone expects from a star CB. And make no mistake, Davis has the potential to be a star. It's time for him to reach that potential.

3. Free safety Reshad Jones: This kid is a ball magnet. He always seems to be around the football. The football always seems to be around him. It stands to reason the Dolphins, who want more game-changing plays in their defensive backfield, will give such a player an opportunity to win a starting job. If Jones continues to show that ball magnet ability, it would then make sense he bursts out of his role as a special teams player and situational player.

4. Wide receiver Marlon Moore: You cannot coach speed. Moore has it. He showed that potential with that 57-yard TD catch against Oakland last year. Coaches saw that and their eyes popped out. Unfortunately, Moore wasn't ready for more work. The following week he dropped a couple of passes and his chance for more playing time diminished. But a young wide receiver typically makes the biggest leap in ability between his first and second year. Moore is getting ready for that second year. A caveat: Most NFL wide receivers get plenty of work in that offseason between their roookie and second seasons. Moore isn't getting that with the Dolphins due to the lockout.

5. Defensive end Phillip Merling: Coaches were hoping for big things from Merling at this time last year. He was seemingly starting to figure out how to be a professional. Then he blew out his Achilles' tendon jogging on his own a month before training camp. He had to wait until the final five games to work himself off the Non-football Injury list. It wasn't a total loss, but it wasn't what everyone expected, either. Merling gets another chance at it this year -- hopefully while completely healthy. A big hint whether he'll be primed for a big year is how well Merling practices when training camp opens. He is known for at times not being a great worker in practice.

HONORABLE MENTIONS -- Koa Misi, Jared Odrick: Misi collected 4.5 sacks as a rookie mostly on sheer desire and refusal to quit. He was playing the SOLB for the first time in his career. He was playing in the NFL for the first time. He was probably a little undersized in that he needed to improve his upper body strength. As for technique ... what technique? The assignment this offseason and training camp is to address all those. We'll see the results.

Odrick was an instant starter at RDE. That says something about the kid. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, they were not able to see the fruits of his potential. After a solid training camp, Odrick broke his leg in the season-opener. Four weeks later, he sustained an injury to the other leg that forced him out the remainder of the season. He gets a new start in 2011. The club has high hopes for him. So do I.

Check back Monday for more Dolphins information and analysis. Also, please follow me on twitter. Finally, I guarantee you the world will not end on Saturday. I have a Most Highly placed Source.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Breakout players for 2011 -- whenever that starts:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

1- Chad Henne.....or the season is lost.....

2- CB shaun Smith.....If he keeps his hands on half of those pick....he probably leads the league in picks.....and the Dolphins win 9 or 10 games......

LBJ http://t.co/2iX71dc DWade http://t.co/EkVstuI @willallen_25 “STEP-UP & STAND-UP” @BMarshall19 http://t.co/WVWqYQl

I agree, Henne needs a major breakout season!

3- Brandon Marshall.....NO WAY he is held to only 1 TD again....that was embarassing for both he and our offence as a whole.....

Marshall was putting up HOF numbers until he gets here.....look for a return to that type of play this year......

Don't Be Hatin' The Fish ALL Will Do Well in 2011 Can't Wait...End The Lockout...PLEASE.

Kris, like your list too.

Henne - I give him no more than a 20% chance of being the answer. THat being said, I don't want to see any stopgap QBs brought in that will get us to 7-8 wins total. I want to either stink it up with Henne and draft our long term answer in 2012 or have Henne breakthrough and prove that he is the answer for the next 6-7 years. No more in betweens.

Marshall - thought he was a complete bust given his talent. Was he ever a defining factor in any game last year? I can think of as much he did to harm the team by being a jackazz than winning games.

Sean Smith - I'm a big fan - his coverage was awesome last year. It can be witnessed by how VOntae suddenly got thrown to once Smith got in there whereas he was completely ignored before. The dropped INTs I think were more bad luck or nervousness than anything. He's the real deal.

Mando, would've liked to see you mention Big Paul as a breakout player - he was integral to this defense last year.

Mando any official word on Odrick anyway as far as a potential degenerative bone condition? I've heard rumours that he may never be able to hold up. Is this speculation or is there some truth to it?

Hoping to see Nolan Carroll grab some INTs and run back a few punts.

Tyler Thigpen :)

Kory SHeets - This guy has speed, we need him to return kicks and provides some explosion in the offense



I think you nailed them. I'm thinking along the same lines. Not sure Moore will get the opportunity to fully show his talents but you're right it might just be time for him to step things up. Of the ones you mentioned I'm probably most excited about Reshad Jones. I thought he looked good in the limited time he played. It will be interesting to see if he can be the long term answer to replacing Bell. Might be expecting too much but I'm not sure how much Bell has left.

Looks like the end is definitely near.

Randy "Macho Man" Savage died today in Florida, having a heart attack while he was driving and crashing into a tree.


I also liked what I saw from Nolan Carroll last year too. Does he figure primarily as a special teams player or he could he add more as a nickel back. I'm hoping for both.

Also, on kris' list, I'd like to include Anthony Fasano, who needs to finally prove why the Trifecta brought him here and have yet to pickup/draft another serious TE since.

And Cory Sheets, our ONLY (at this time) chance to have a home-run back on the team.


Thanks for the news on Macho Man. Sad news indeed. He was fun to watch back in the '80's...

OH YEAH.......

Craig, yeah, sad to see him go.

By the way, I think Carroll should be in nickel packages too. He had that nice INT last year, think he can contribute.

Interested in seeing how much Reshad Jones has grown since last year.


I wouldn't hold your breath on Fasano. I think he's shown us everything he has. I don't expect he'll get any better. He's average at best. It would be great if Zach Miller ends up being an UFA but I think that's wishful thinking at best.

Craig, I'd just like him to be the '08 Fasano, that would be enough for me!

I don't see what everyone sees in Sheets either. Yes, I get that he's one of the few guys with speed on the team but he never seems to find the holes to run. I would think he's a bubble player now and the FO will look to add a scat back from undrafted FA's and kick off duties will be handled by Gates and Nolan.


Agreed on Fasano. I think the mistake they have made is thinking he can handle TE by himself. He was much more effective when he worked with David Martin. Who is our David Martin for this year? Could be the kid they drafted but I fear they are just not valuing the position enough. Tired of the Chris Nailbone's being seen as the answer. Give us someone who is a threat to defences.

Henning ran the GUTLESS offense!!! Mashall was NOT thrown to enough & Henne was not given any opportunity to throw the long ball!!! Henne will be just fine!!! If Sean Smith could hang on to the ball he'd have at least 2 pick 6's, but the D needs to get after our division QB's especially Brady, once you start getting to Brady he makes mistakes!!! STAY AFTER 'EM!!! GO FINS!!!

Like Mark in Toronto's list--agree that Marshall was very disappointing to me last year, compared to the hype--dropped a bunch of balls too--but dont necessarily agree with comments regarding Sean Smith, as 6 or 7 dropped INTs, several right in his hands, points to the guy having stone hands to me, which is a huge issue considering the guys a CB--also looked out of position/lost in coverage more than a few times last year--and got beat out by Jason Allen for awhile--so Smith has alot to prove, IMO--the play of Henne, Misi and Odrick should be big factors for Miami this year, for better or worse.

Craig, to answer your question on what people see in Sheets....it's called hoping on a wing and a prayer. Like you said, he's one of the only guys on the team with real speed. If not him, who? I'm not getting a good feeling about FA this year. Starting to think we might not even have a full season.


You gave me a chuckle on your 'wing and a prayer' comment.

I agree with you on the season but I gotta think the owners and players will just realize there's too much at stake and figure this out. One thing about Goddell, his track record is of a man who gets deals done, even when others doubt him. I think when everything seems bleakest that it will all come together. They are fools if they don't.

Exciting day in Canada today...

It looks like the city of Winnipeg will be getting a team back in the NHL again. Long overdue.....neither them nor Quebec should have lost their teams in the first place. Looks like little Napoleon failed in his plans to make hokcey beloved throughout the United States. It probably won't be a popular opinion with those in the Miami area but it's just a matter of time before the Florida Panthers fold or relocate. Phoenix is next but Florida and a couple of other cities aren't far behind.

Yeah, I agree, Marshall sucks. 86 receptions for 1,014 yards, we should definitely dump him. Let's bring back Ted Ginn or Greg Camarillo, they were much better. No, let's get Aronde Gadsden, or Chris Chambers back here.

The people who think Marshall sucks simply dislike the guy's personality, and therefore are not taking into full consideration his talents (which, along with Ricky Williams and Jake Long, probably make him the best football athlete on the team). Sure, let's just overlook that he's here all of 1 year, and played with a less than stellar QB (no one would say 2010 was a shining year for Chad Henne). Or that he played in the NFL's most vanilla system (thanks to Dan Henning). Or that he's one of the most respected WR's in the league by his peers (the guys that actually, you know, have to cover him and see him on the field every year).

Never mind all that. We're the Miami Dolphins. What do we need receivers for anyway? Let's get rid of all of them and have 5 RBs.

Thank GOD the team doesn't listen to the fans!!!


He's not a 'breakout' player anyways. Armando, defined 'breakout' as someone who has never done it before. Marshall has done it before. While his season may have been disappointing for his standards and for what we are paying him, most of it wasn't on him. He's still a top ten WR in my mind. Get his head on straight and focussed again and watch out!!

what about my man roberto wallace?

Misi haters its a breakfast, lunch, and dinner special for you. Im going far out on the limb and project Koa Misi will have 8-10 Sacks in 2011.

Im also projecting Reshad Jones to take Y-Bell's ss spot. Kris Clemons will have at least 5 picks.

Sean Smith will have 5 picks and Vontae Davis will have 5-6 picks.

Im going against Armando and saying its more likely Merlin crapper than krem dela krem.

Now to really stick my neck into the well baited noose. Chad Henne will become the Dolphins 2011 team mvp. Just to clarify for idiots, I said team mvp, not league mvp.

We also have 2 offensive roy candidates on the team in Thomas and Gates.

Armando: I would like for the Dolphins to resign Quentin Moses and Ronnie Brown this year. I think they both could have breakout years. Ronnie probably dogged it some last year without a descent OL and he also protected himself somewhat to keep injury free in his contract year. I think he would flourish this year with a better OL and the fact we will have speed out of the backfield for Henne's dump-off passes. Ronnie has a 7+ yds/catch every year he has been in the NFL.
Quentin Moses was showing more promise last year in pass rush.
Alama-Francis seemed he was showing more promise last year except he got a sickness like John Jerry. He should also have a breakout year and push/compliment Misi.
Would this FO reconsider No.98 Roth and/or No 99 Taylor to supplement or start for our OLBs?

Rofl @ DC Dolfan
just hope he stop pissing his wife off. She has a MEAN streak!

If Chad Henne becomes 2011 "team mvp" I see absolutely no reason why we cant have a 12-4 record and at least a afc championship appearance. We have enough weapons on both sides of the ball to accomplish this should Henne take his game to the "next level".

Look for Ju'Quon Popsicle to have a breakout year.

Clorox Johnson, too. His 40 times are off the charts.


IMO, This is a feast or famine year for Quentin Moses. I mean how long can a guy continue to survive in this league only being just good enough to make 3rd string depth chart. He has now clearly been in the league long enough to a point where its s*hit or get off the pot.

Quentin Moses major weaknesses are still pass and run defense. However he is a nfl calibre pass rusher. But that alone does not grant you a starting spot.

Should Wake go down to injury we need TWO guys to replace him if Moses is one of those guys.

Moses still cant man up on his morning shadow in coverage.

I think Kory Sheets and Derick Lock UDFA from UK are both fast RBs but I don't see their bodies strong enough to handle the NFL RB duties.
I would prefer the Dolphins to get a young FA FB that was also a good blocker, maybe a good FA or UDFA rookie FB or even Lex Hilliard to be their blocking and RB/FB?

What I like about Derrick Locke are the CJ comparisons. True he was highly injury prone in college. But you have to consider his smallish stature and at KY he was the primary ball carrier(18-25cpg).

We dont need Locke to be a primary ball carrier and clearly his body wont handle the load. We only need Locke as a 10-15 cpg rb, which will greatly reduce chance of injury. Plus, being able to get him for that role as a ufa, are you guys kidding me? Where the hell's the risk in that?

Henne and Clemons?

koa misi cuz theyre goin to be doubling wake

i also belive soliai will have a better season then last so that would still make him a breakout player

I don't believe you will see Quentin Moses back in a Dolphin jersey this year. I thought he was an UFA free agent but I could br wrong. How many chance do you give this guy. He has shown nothing of value iver an extended period of time.

DB, Henne as team MVP? Wow!!....hope you're right! That is REALLY sticking your neck out. I'm still in his corner but that would be a BIG jump for him. REALLY hope you're right!!

DC, not syaing Marshall sucks but man, you wouldn't think it would be a good acquisition if he plays to last year's standards going forward. I'm not going to absolve him of the blame - he could've played better. keyshawn had big numbers playing for Henning as did Steve Smith. He's held to a different standard than the oronde Gadsden's and Chris Chambers of teh world because he cost 2 good draft picks and $50M. He needs to be elite - nothing less. And he was far from elite in 2010.

Dying Breed: I didn't say he wasen't a good RB, besides that's my school. I said his body or that of Kory Sheets wouldn't stand up to NFL duties. If 10-15 cpg is all they would take to supply good speed around the corner it would still require an active rostesr spot for the day. But it only takes one NFL hit to put them on IR. Does Pat White come to mind? It would be risky so I think a good blocking and catching FB would be more efficient.










Dying Breed: I sure am glad you are so postive now that NE got your prefered QB. I herd you say that if the Dolphins wound up with Henne starting you would support him. I didn't believe it but your shouting for him to be the MVP of the team this year is grattifying. I welocme it and hope you are right because Henne has some new tools to work with. He also needs more OL support and a good OC to work with his strengths. From what TS said yesterday we will have some more WC.

We'll have to pray that Henne and Fasano do have a breakout season or else this may be a break wind season that stinks to high heaven.

With the R&R Express gone, we need a new nickname for the DT and Sheets show. Any thoughts?

The whale and the wasp? lol

Fellow Slaves

The World Will Not End on May 21 2011

Fellow Slaves

Carry On W Your Lives & Beware of The New World Order

Fellow Slaves

Expect New World Order Chaos involving More World Economic Instability & HAARP triggered Severe Weather Casualties in the last week of May 20111

have a HAARPy day :(

Fellow Slaves

While None of The Dolphin Players Will Have A Pro Bowl Breakout Year like Cam EarthQuake

Go W Armandos very good list of players who should much improve

and add Koa Misi

Fellow Slaves

Speaking of EarthWake

Beware of New World Order Large HAARP triggered Earthquake

... ordered hit for the end of May 2011

have a HAARPy day :(

There's a learning curve for a Head Coach! Sparano either sinks or swims this year, just like his QB, Henne!

My take is on if we're to become a playoff calibre 2011 team and make any waves at all, its Henne who will have to step up most. Without Henne taking the needed quantum leap, anyone else stepping up there game is pretty much all for naught anyway.

Hopefully right now Henne is the busiest qb in America, beit, high school, college. or pro level trying to perfect his game. If he feels satisfied even in the least bit with 2010's performance, the team, Miami Dolphins organization, and its fans are in huge trouble going into the 2011 season.

This will be the final time I ever stand in Henne's corner should he not step up in 2011. Im sure the team, organization, and fellow fans feel the exact way too. If not having a contract signed beyond 2011 isnt self-motivation enough to inspire him to rise the next level. Then we can pretty be assured there's no yeast present in the dough.

1 2 3 4 5 6 »

The comments to this entry are closed.