August 15, 2008

Thoughts on the 'Fins...

Note: Albert Latour is one of the winners of The Miami Herald's contest to spend a day at Dolphins training camp and blog about it... here's his story:

As one of the Herald training camp contest winners, I'm going to use my chance to chime in on Armando's blog by jotting down some thoughts on what I think & hope is going to happen this season.  I can't say that I'm necessarily qualified, but I feel I have earned it as I've done some hard time as a life long 'fins fan. 

All in all, we can't realistically expect any more than 6 wins from this team.  But we will be calling this year a success in the context of the Tuna's 3-year master plan if the following things happen this year (in order of probability):

  1. The O-line develops into the dominant, young and cohesive unit that will be the foundation of this offense and the team in general for the next few years.  With Long, Carey and Satele locking down the two ends and the middle, and what so far look to be good finds in Smiley and Thomas - I'll be surprised if this doesn't happen.
  2. Henne proves to be the QB of the future.  I don't mind if he doesn't take a snap all year during the regular season, I just want to feel comfortable that he's the guy going forward.  The significant and meaningful reps that he's getting during camp are going to pay dividends next year when he will come into camp to compete for the starting job. 
  3. Ronnie Brown comes back strong.  He's our only bonafide play-maker on offense; if he stays healthy he's going to have a big year in Dan Henning's offense behind this O-line.
  4. On the defense side of the ball, 5 players still in or approaching their prime (28 or younger) step up to represent the new defensive core for the future.  I'm thinking these 5 will be Langford, Merling, Crowder, Jason Allen, and maybe surprisingly Reggie Torbor.  I remember watching Torbor flying around in the SuperBowl, and he seemed to be everywhere in the first preseason game.  He will be starting next to Crowder by midway through the season.      
  5. Teddy Ginn Jr. becomes a legit deep threat.  I think the media and fans are being too hard on this guy (and his family).  Ginn should be fired up about the Pennington signing as the 'fins will see a lot of "8 in the box" this year, and Pennington will be able to recognize and exploit matchups in which a corner is left alone on #19 with no deep help.  I know that Chad doesn't have a big arm, but he didn't when he made Laverneus Coles and Santana Moss serious playmakers either.

Just a couple of other things. I see Ricky Williams getting traded for a couple of picks (maybe a 3rd and a 5th rounder) after the first few games of the regular season.  Ricky will get a lot of carries in the first few games (after his preseason showcase), will continue to show that he's on the straight and narrow, and some contending team out there will need a quality back to make a run this year.  Tuna will pull the trigger on a deal like this, having Ricky is an unnecessary luxury for this team right now and we could definitely use the picks.   

The 'Fins have zero depth behind Ferguson at nose tackle.  I saw Paul Soliai getting manhandled by Satele one on one at camp - I won't be surprised if Soliai does not make the team.  If Ferguson goes down, our run defense will be right back where it left off last year. 

This has been fun, thanks to the Miami Herald and the Miami Dolphins for a great experience.