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The relative strength of the Miami Dolphins offense

Training camp practices begin Friday. So how strong a team are the Miami Dolphins today? Are they playoff-strong or are they still languishing amongst the NFL's weak sisters?

No one will actually know until we get some regular-season games behind us, but as it looks right now the Miami roster still looks like it needs improvement, tweaking, in a word some strengthening, compared to other teams. Pundits, you should note, are not exactly picking the Dolphins to finish first or second in the AFC East.

Fact is, most experts are claiming the Bills have passed the Dolphins -- which, if true, would make Miami the worst team in the AFC East.

I'm not so sure that is true. The Bill still have their problems. And the Jets don't scare anyone.

I see the Dolphins as a 7-9 or 8-8 team. Don't hold me to that. I have yet to see them practice. I have yet to see them play a preseason game. I have yet to see the new coaching staff in action. Injuries here and around the league can rehape matters.

I'm simply measuring the team's relative strengths and weaknesses compared to other teams on paper. And I'm doing that today -- before camp even opens. So this isn't gospel, OK?

I'm simply comparing Miami's offensive line to others around the NFL. I'm comparing quarterback talent, wide receiver talent, etc ... to other NFL teams. A 10 is as strong as a team can get. A one is as weak as it can be at any position.

Miami's defense, by the way, seems more talented than the offense right now. For our purposes I'm going to break down the strength of both units by position with the offense featured in this post.

The offense:

Running back: I really like where Miami sits here. Reggie Bush is coming off a career season but because the Dolphins have not rewarded him with a new contract (neither has he asked, by the way) it can be argued Bush will still have something to prove this year. That's good work from the front office. Let him prove himself again by staying healthy and playing well. If he does it again, he deserves to be re-signed. If he doesn't, then we'll understand 2011 was an mirage. It must be said that last year's coaching staff ultimately had a good vision for Bush in that he carried the ball 216 times, stayed healthy, gained 5 yards per carry and was, in my opinion, the best offensive player on the team. I don't know that this staff shares the same philosophy for Bush. I think they want to get him out in space more, particularly on short passes out of the backfield or in the slot. Daniel Thomas was something of a disappointment to me last year. He averaged only 3.5 yards per carry and ran soft early in the season and again late in the season. He simply was not consistent. If he gets 150 rushes this year and raises that average to 4-4.2 yards per carry, the Dolphins will have a viable Plan B behind Bush. Rookie Lamar Miller was my favorite draft pick by Miami. If he can stay healthy, he can bring speed to the RB spot that not even Bush offers. If he doesn't get it right away, he can compete for kickoff return and perhaps even punt return work. And his future is bright. Steve Slaton, meanwhile, would be a great fit as a kick returner. He got only three returns last year and showed great promise but the coaching staff decided that alone could not keep him active on game days. Making the team will be a fight for Slaton. OVERALL STRENGTH: 7.

Quarterback: Reports I'm reading from the time I was away are speculating that Ryan Tannehill is already out of the running for an opportunity to start. Really? That's not what a team source suggested to me today. The source told me the club very much wants Tannehill signed and in camp as soon as possible so that he won't be behind in the competition with the veterans. The club wants Tannehill to compete and compete hard for the chance to start. No, he might not win the competition, but to suggest he's already lost it is not accurate. Saying that, it will be hard for Tannehill to beat out both David Garrard and Matt Moore in training camp. They have the experience advantage and simply know how to be professionals. Tannehill has to learn that. But make no mistake, Tannehill is the future while Garrard and Moore are caretaker QBs for the present. If Garrard and Moore are at their best in camp, the decision between them will be interesting in that they are opposites. Garrard at his best doesn't beat you. He won't throw the interception but neither will he throw the 75-yard pass. Moore is more a down-the-field guy. At his best, he might throw a costly pick but will find two improbable throws for a TD. Neither has been exceedingly consistent during their careers. Can either be consistent enough during camp to be the clear choice as the starter? We'll see. Either way, the Dolphins will again enter the season searching for their starter. That, friends, is not the place to be for an NFL team that if it plans to compete for a postseason spot. OVERALL STRENGTH: 5.

Offensive line: The Miami line should be better this year in that it will be more athletic. But the improvement could be muted initially by a lack of experience. You must remember that while the right tackle spot was a big swinging gate to the QB last year, Marc Colombo was at least experienced. He knew the tricks. No one Miami puts at that position this year, least of which rookie second-round pick Jonathan Martin, will have the experience that Colombo had. Any of the candidates may be more mobile and athletic, but not more experienced. It will be up to the coaches and the candidates to do quick work to get up to speed. By the way, Lydon Murtha, who was supposed to compete for the job last year, still might do so this year. But he is seemingly always injured and isn't much more experienced than Martin who is a rookie. That's not good. I expect a signifant jump in ability from center Mike Pouncey. I believe he can be a Pro Bowl player if he takes another step and stays healthy. I know Jake Long has been working hard to be as healthy as he's been since 2009. I think Richie Incognito is solid. Right guard? Still a mystery. OVERALL STRENGTH: 6 with a chance of being an 8 if everything goes right.

Tight ends: Anthony Fasano is good. He is not great. His hands seemed to improve last season and so did his redzone presence. He continues to come up with big plays and that's why his average yards per catch increased to a career high 14.1 last year. Having said that, the Dolphins see Charles Clay as a more promising downfield threat. Clay averaged 14.6 yards per catch as a rookie and seemed much more comfortable the latter part of last season, probably a product of getting his rookie legs under him. If the Dolphins are going to have a breakout tight end this year, Clay will be that guy. The club will use double tights a good deal so there will be plenty of opportunities. Rookie Micheal Egnew? Prospect. Project. Egnew is a hope for the future but hardly someone that can be counted on immediately. OVERALL STRENGTH: 6.

Wide receivers: Chad Johnson was the most impressive wide receiver in the late OTAs sessions. That's great for Chad Johnson but what does it say for a group when the 34-year-old guy whose stats have been on the decline and just got cut in New England is the most impressive guy? Truth be told, the Dolphins need someone to surprise. They need a fantastic bounce-back season from Johnson. Or they need Clyde Gates, Marlon Moore or Roberto Wallace to finally develop. Or perhaps Julius Pruitt, B.J. Cunningham or Jeff Fuller surprise from out of nowhere. Failing that, the same production from the same group of the past couple of seasons simply isn't going to be good enough. That kind of production got the Dolphins to three consecutive losing seasons. The Dolphins need someone special to emerge out of this group. Right now, no one can identify that player. OVERALL STRENGTH: 4.

Tomorrow: The defense.

Comments

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second

Mark I salute you for having that big boob chick on your profile. Jeez are you knocking that down? Or is that some pic off the internet

The WR's are pathetic.

Clue, that is indeed a dear close personal friend of mine. That pic was taken a few weeks back on lake Ontario (you can see the Rogers Centre in the background). And to answer your question ... yes.

everybody loves big boobs

i hope we make the playoffs!

Thought the grade on the line was a bit harsh ( aline with 2 #1s, a second, and probably a 3rd should be better than 6), the Qbs a touch too light (i'd go 6), but everything else seems pretty fair ....

Great to have you back Mando....Saludos

Thought Matt Moore was very dependable week in and week out. Our OL is better then last yr? Maybe. Lamar Miller is the guy who will surprise. He'll push Bush to the bench or 3rd down. I dont see the WR as getting it done. Dolphins needed a WR much more then a RT but Jeffery being Jeffery went the wrong direction, now the fish will be the laughing stock of the AFC east,,,again. Buffalo has much more talent then the Dolphins and the Jets have T-bow,,,enough said.
2-14 anyone?

Mark stuck in Toronto,

Drafting the nations leading tackler for the last two years w 101 solo tackles and 191 total tackles last year alone and who hits with hundreds of pounds of pressure more than DE Dwight Freeney is not the same as as picking an offensive lineman

U see Mark,
Tannehill flat out sucks throwing three interceptions in EVERY game he played in college w a formidable opponent including 29 incompletions against Texas and finishing 6-6 is NOT a franchise QB

Right now TanneReach looks like garbage and practices like garbage and will NOT come in this year and play to the caliber of QB Matt Ryan

Fact is Tannehill will never be a NFL franchise QB, so this is a completely stupid, waste of a pick

Matt Moore is far better w o getting hardly any reps w the 1st team last season
QB Moore played very good and was voted by the players as team MVP
QB Moore finished w a very good season.
Moore was also AFC offense player of the week twice last season

Old AZZZ Garrard is even far better than TannyREACH

U can't make chicken salad from chicken shiet
and Moore does not have the tools
Moore chokes EVERY college game w formidable competition

Did we really need a third string QB at the 8th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft!

FIRELAND!

I think our TEs are better than a 6 and our receivers are better than a 4. QB play will decide this offense and our playoffs hopes. I hope either Garrard or Moore can get it together and become solid performers.

QB Matt Moore after a tough start still finished as the 12th ranked QB in the 2011 NFL

TannyPUKE will never get above 25th ranked if anyone is even foolish enough to give him the chance

FIRELAND!

Mando, you have no clue what the Dolphins have.
Wait until the preseason begin at least before you write this Debbie downer crap.
Wait and see what the coaching staff can get out of the players, before assuming what the Dolphins have and do not have.

Home, I have no idea how Tannehill will turn out, said that before. I think that's not the point. The point is that you have to pick the player that will have the chance to have the biggest impact on your team. And that is the QB.

During the last decade we had one of the all time pass rushers and linebackers on our team at the same time and we were never better than average (and one year had the NFL rushing leader to boot).

Have we learned nothing? We have to settle the QB position before we look anywhere else or none of it will matter.

Point is Mark

Tannehill was an extreme reach and simply is not acurate enough and while even the 22nd pick of the Draft QB Weeden looks real good as the Browns franchise QB,

Irelands pick of TanneReach looks terrible

absolutely terrible

and Luke Kuechley is a LB your lucky to find and get on your team. The kid is special and has amazing statistics

U draft impact players
Tannehill has already proved he def is NOT a 1st round pick

Mark know u want to believe in TannyREACH but
it aint gonna happen and he sucks under pressure

Home's 1st pick for our team at 8 was who the Eagles drafted:

DE/DT Fletcher Cox

We really needed an elite pass rusher opposite Wake

Vernon is going to be below average at DE and has only 2 yrs college experience

Another miss by Jefferey!

Very Honest blog by Mando

Agree on Miller, the only good pick by Ireland

Welcome back mando!

So.....
Previously dead hope of Tannehill getting some play this year, now on life support, but not entirely dead .. just mostly dead – there’s a difference.

Home, you can have your beliefs but truth is nobody will know what Tannehill can do for a couple of years yet.

And no worries, if you're right, they will be in position to draft the Luke Keuchly's of the world for the next few years.

"Rookie Micheal Egnew? Prospect. Project. Egnew is a hope for the future but hardly someone that can be counted on immediately."

Agree

and trading away a #` WR and MVP of the Pro Bowl for an,
"Egnew" was ridiculous

FIRELAND!

Home on the Herald:
Shouldn't you be on a ledge somewhere?

Mark,
Jason Taylor never had the bookend DE the team needed

That being said In Home's Opinion,
JT was our best defensive player ever

and now w QB throwing 50 TDs and 5000 YDs a season
the pass rushing position is the most important position on defense

Bills got the best in FA, Jets got a great one in the Draft and the Pats got two great/good ones

Ireland picked the worst DE in the 2012 Draft in the AFC EAST

FIRELAND!

Home has been supporting the Dolphins for a couple decades plus

Now will pull for the superior players and coaches on the Patriots where Home is originally from

Also like the Eagles and Bears this year

Believe B-Marsh is gonna have a great Pro Bowl year and many TDs w Cutler

and we have an, "Egnew"

lol

Trace Armstrong had 17 sacks one year on the other side.

Lorenzo brommell had nine sacks in spot duty one year.

...

The reason that Dolphins team never won is they never had a QB that could break 250 yards passing in a game. They had bloody everything else - not that it mattered ...

Haha, MVP of the Pro Bowl

That's like ebing the Valedictorian of Summer School.

You get an award for each but their value is nil.

Did you just say you're becoming a Patriots fan? hahaha gtfo you little fake "fan". People like you are what kills this sport. Bandwagon all you want just don't come back.

let me guess, Home. Fan of the Dolphins starting around 1972 then jumped ship in the 90's where you became a Cowboys than then jumped off of that bandwagon to ride the Bellicheick cheat your way to the Super Bowl with all the other Pats fans? How'd I do?

Mark try to understand
their are many losers like TanneREACH to take a wild idiotic gamble on while u already have a very good 27 yr old QB

But their are not many "Luke Keuchly's of the world" as u put it

this could have been ours:

As a true freshman in 2009, Kuechly became the Eagles starting outside linebacker after Mark Herzlich announced that he would miss the season after being diagnosed with the rare form of cancer, Ewing's sarcoma. He finished the season with 158 tackles (87 solo), which led the team and conference, as well as being second nationally (first among freshmen). He was the first true freshman in team history to lead the team in tackles and almost broke the freshman tackle record set by Stephen Boyd in 1991. He also had a sack and returned an interception for a touchdown.For his play he was named the 2009 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, was on the 2009 CFN All-Freshman Defensive Team. CFN went even further and named Kuechly to its All-America team.In the Emerald Bowl, Kuechly was named the defensive MVP, registering 16 tackles in a losing effort.

2010
He moved to middle linebacker at the beginning of his sophomore season. He went on to lead the country with 183 tackles (110 solo) and has an ongoing streak of 21 straight games with at least 10 tackles.Kuechly was named a finalist for the Butkus Award and the Nagurski Award. He broke BC's single season record for tackles, topping the previous record of 165, held since 1991 by Tom McManus. After the season, Kuechly was named a unanimous first-team All-American.He was the first consensus All-American for the Eagles since Mike Cloud in 1998.Boston College played in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (the same bowl as the Emerald Bowl from the previous season with a change of corporate sponsorship) at the end of the season and Kuechly was named the defensive MVP for a second time.
2011
See also: 2011 Boston College Eagles football team
See also: List of NCAA football records#Tackles

Kuechly led the nation with an astounding 191 tackles (102 solo) during the season, averaging nearly 16 tackles per game.Kuechly compiled his stats in the 12-game regular season, as the team finished with a 4-8 record and was ineligible for post-season play. He still almost broke the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) single-season tackle record (193, set by Lawrence Flugence in a 14-game season) and did break the single season tackles-per-game record with 15.9 (previously held by Rick Sherrod with a 15.6 average over a 10-game season). He broke the team and conference single-season tackle records, records that he had set the year before.

Tested by scientist and strength trainers on the NFL network, LB Kuechley was the hardest hitting LB by far.

In only three seasons of play, Kuechly set the BC and ACC career tackle records with 532 tackles, eclipsing the previous record of 524 held by Stephen Boyd and only 13 short of the NCAA FBS record held by Tim McGarigle.On December 4, Dick Butkus personally presented the 2011 Butkus Award to Kuechly at the Boston College team banquet a week before the expected formal announcement of the recipient. Kuechly went on to win the Lombardi Award, the Lott IMPACT Trophy, and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, and was recognized as a unanimous first-team All-American for the second consecutive year.

Not many opportunities where he falls in your lap and gets drafted the very next pick after Ireland swings and MISSES AGAIN

FIRELAND!

Armstrong was on the way out as Taylor was coming in, but yes the problem was more offense then.

Dont think TannyPUKE would have been the dif maker

Desperate choice

lol

not to defend tannyhill but i recall acouple of collage qbs and wr that had horrible collage careers and ended un as the best at their position..... j montana, our dan the man, john elway, j. rice (wr)....some players are ment to play in the nfl and some are just collage level players. lets see what happens in the next 2-4 years before we judge someone especially every member of this team. there could just be a few eyeopening suprises this year. phins 12-4 take it to the bank afc east champs. death to non believers.

Not so good Ceed.


fish 5-11

Patriots a perfect season in 2012 :)

Home, I would've been incredibly peeved if they took an ILB in the draft at 8. Where's the impact. Who was even the best ILB in the NFL last year?? Nobody even knows because it seems teams don't run the ball more than 15 times anymore.

Home, for that perfect season entry, you should eb banned for life. Only one perfect team ever!!

Sorry but Bush is a 4.3 guy and Miller is a 4.4 so saying "not even Bush..." doesnt make sense.

Hey, I have an idea. Let's whine every day for the next 3 years that Tannehill was a wasted pick. Screw giving him a chance, its way more fun to pout about it.

Did Mando say that Colombo was better than the guys that are going to compete for the right tackle position or I'm just over reading on that! I think experience or not anything out there in football land is better than Colombo! And Reggie bush is a proven player Miller hasn't made the team yet! Don't compare Mando! Doesn't make any sense! But keep writing Mando. You will get better at it! But what I know I'm just a f u c ling dolphin fan! LMAO!

Keep in mind that we have a soft schedule, playing bad teams (like the Cards, Rams, Titans, Colts, Raiders, Bills, Seahawks, Jets and Jags) in the first half of the season. An average team may finish 9-7 or 10-6 with this schedule, similar to the 2008 season.

Backfield of Bush And Miller, Why not get back Beck, At least that way the beer companys would be happy.

Previously dead hope of Tannehill getting some play this year, now on life support, but not entirely dead .. just mostly dead – there’s a difference.
Posted by: JS_in_LA | July 25, 2012 at 02:58 PM

There certainly is a difference JS, If you remember your history, Westley was mostly dead, yet he ate a piece of chocolate and came back to rescue Buttercup from prince Humperdink and he and Buttercup and the Giant and the Spaniard rode off on white horses to live happily ever after. So get Tannehill some chocolate and let's rock.

I agree 100 % with mondo good assessment.

Armando, I can agree with all your ratings except QB. Matt Moore played with Colombo and what may have been the worst right offensive line in the NFL. He was still the #12 rated passer. If you want to compare be fair and just don't pop off numbers without thinking how Matt Moore got to be the number 12 rated passer.

football is finally back, Thank GOD! OK, so we don't have great talent, what concerns me more is the fact that NOLAN enabled our def( with no real studs other than Wake) to at least let us have a chance in alot of games...NE 2nd time, Giants, Cowboys, etc....OFFENSE'S PROBLEM --- TOO MANY FGs....Trade 1 FG for a TD and we could win 2-3 more games a yr...take care FINS fans...we gotta love 'em and support 'em!

Can't judge the team and you haven't even seen them play....

Welcome back Armando,

Glad to get back to training camp and football this Friday. Can not wait for some Dolphin football!

I expect the Dolphins to compete and hopefully comeout with a 8-8 season. But the truth is with a new coaching staff I dont know what to expect...I know that if we come out the gate losing our first 5-7 games like last year I will be rooting for Matt Barkely sweep stakes.

The thing with picking Tanehill at the 8 spot, the new coaching staff, baited by ownership and desperate fans, had to. I didnt think he has the value to be selected so high, yet they would have run the new coach out town if they didnt pick the best available qb at that pick. Who knows he might turn out to be good only time will tell.

Peaceout! Dolphins4life!

Tay, Bush running a 4.3 in his shorts 5 years ago does not make him faster than Miller

Sparano > Cameron > Philbert

If Garrard is healthy, there is no QB on this roster that has come close to his performance. Why are writers in Miami so negative when it comes to Garrard? What did he have in Jacksonville besides Jones-Drew? Nothing. David was the offense. He ran the ball, and threw the ball. He made plays, and was a 2x Pro-Bowl performer. If he comes back in good health, David will give the Miami fans all they want.

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