Last year: 7-9
2010 Miami Dolphins Offensive Team Stats:
4.7% DVOA (18th in NFL)
20.8% Passing DVOA (16th in NFL)
-4.1% Rushing DVOA (20th in NFL)
146 ORtg (25th in NFL)
27.60 Yards per possession (20th in NFL)
13.7% TD% (30th in NFL)
40.1% Punt % (11th in NFL)
15.4% Turnover % (21st in NFL)
2011 Miami Dolphins Offense:
Last year was supposed to be a breakout year for the Miami Dolphins offense, and mainly Chad Henne. Henne played very well down the stretch of 2009 when Pennington went down and the addition of Brandon Marshall was supposed to convert Henne into one of the game’s top quarterbacks. All things considered, Chad Henne struggled in 2010. He threw for 3,301 yards (6.74 YPA), 15 TDs, and 19 INTs with a 75.4 QB Rtg. Henne ranked 17th in DYAR and 22nd in DVOA among signal callers. We have Henne ranked around the 18th best QB in the NFL, though we do expect better production from him in 2011.
The aforementioned Brandon Marshall had a solid year when you consider the fact that it was his first with the Dolphins and that Henne did not play well. He caught 86 passes (59% catch rate) for 1,014 yards and 3 TDs last year. Though he may not revert back to his 100+ reception, 1200+ yards, and 6+ TD days (because of the Dolphins offense), he’s still one of the top targets in the game and we expect a better 2011 season because of Henne’s likely improvement and because it will be Marshall’s 2nd year in the offense. Opposite Marshall is Brian Hartline. Hartline has shown glimpses of downfield ability the past two seasons, but he's never going to be the type of play-maker that draws extra defensive attention away from Brandon Marshall. The Dolphins second option is actually their slot receiver, Davone Bess. Bess caught 79 passes for 820 yards and 5 TDs last season. He’s one of the game’s best slot receivers, which is why the Dolphins gave him a 4 year $9.35 million contract in 2010. The Dolphins also drafted Edmond Gates in the 4th round, but he’ll be the #4 option on a pedestrian offense, meaning his only real impact will be special teams this year.
The running game for the Dolphins ranked 20th in terms of DVOA last year, but the Dolphins drafted center Mike Pouncey and RB Daniel Thomas in the first 2 rounds to try to repair it. Ricky Williams believes that he will not be re-signed; and Omar Kelly, a Dolphins reporter, said he would be “shocked” if the Dolphins re-sign Ronnie Brown. Tony Sporano and the Dolphins plan to add a “scat back” via free agency, possibly Darren Sproles or Jerious Norwood. It appears that Daniel Thomas is locked in as the feature back, with their FA RB as the #2 option/3rd down back and Lex Hilliard as the #3 RB. Daniel Thomas is a very good runner, and we are projecting a season of 250 carries, 1040 yards, and 7 TDs. Overall, the Dolphins running game should be slightly improved from its 20th ranking a year ago (projected 18th in 2011).
Miami’s offensive line is a good one. It ranked 15th in pass protection a year ago, 16th in adjusted line yards, 1st in power success %, and 7th in stuffed rank. Jake Long is arguably the best LT in the NFL. He had shoulder surgery this off-season but he should be good to go for the start of 2011. Mike Pouncey, the Dolphins 1st round pick, will start at center. The Dolphins resigned Richie Incognito to play guard and the other guard spot will be occupied by John Jerry, who is the Dolphins #1 breakout candidate for 2011. The 73rd overall pick in last year’s draft, Jerry struggled in run blocking but more than held his own in pass blocking. The Miami Herald says he was “too raw” to be effective as a rookie but his 2011 season is projected to be a good one. The team’s RT position is up in the air right now. Vernon Carey is coming off a major surgery and reports are that he could be cut in Dolphins camp. Lydon Murtha would get the job if Carey does not. Either way, RT could be a problem for the Fins in ’11. Overall though, with Jake Long performing at elite status, Mike Pouncey projected to come right in and at least suffice, and John Jerry projected to breakout in 2011, we do believe that the Dolphins have one of the better offensive line units in both pass blocking and run blocking.
The Dolphins aren’t going to see much improvement offensively in 2011. We do expect a slight improvement from Henne and Marshall, leading to a tiny bit better passing attack in Miami. Miami is going to have a completely different rushing attack in 2010. Some fresh new legs could help boost the running game, but it’s difficult to see much of an improvement from a running game that ranked 20th a year ago. We foresee a breakout year for John Jerry at RG and a solid rookie season for Mike Pouncey at C, so the Dolphins offensive line will be better in 2011. Overall, we project Miami to be the #20 ranked offense in the NFL this year.
2010 Miami Dolphins Defensive Team Stats:
-1.9% DVOA (10th in NFL)
12.1% Passing DVOA (23th in NFL)
-16.6% Rushing DVOA (4th in NFL)
166 DRtg (13th in NFL)
27.01 Yards per possession allowed (9th in NFL)
17.1% TD% allowed (8th in NFL)
44.0% Punt % forced (11th in NFL)
10.9% Turnover % forced (26th in NFL)
2011 Miami Dolphins Defense:
Miami had the #4 ranked rush defense in the NFL last year. Right in the middle of this defense is 355 pound NT Paul Soliai. The Dolphins franchised Soliai, who will make $12.4 million this year. Soliai is a beast of a run-stopper and his final 9 weeks of the seasons were as good as any NT in the NFL (after a slow start). At LDE is Kendall Langford. The Dolphins are expecting bigger things from Langford in terms of pass rushing in 2011, as he had just 3 sacks last year. Still, the number one job for Langford is to take on blockers and free up the Fins' linebackers. Likely to start at RDE is Jared Odrick, the Dolphins 1st round pick of a year ago. He only played in 1 game last season due to a fractured left foot. He’ll more than likely be the weak point of this Dolphins defensive line in 2011.
The Dolphins best defender and player is their ROLB, Cameron Wake. Wake is a pure pass rusher and one of the best the game has to offer. He dropped into coverage on only 16% of passing plays last year. Wake played excellently in 2009, coming in on pretty much only sure passing downs. But in 2010, Wake played all 16 games, and was just a flat out beast recording 14 sacks. There are more complete players than Wake, but there simply aren’t many better at getting after the opposing QB. Opposite Wake is Koa Misi. Misi performed pretty well as a rookie last year. We had him ranked as the 2nd best rookie in terms of pass rushing last year (to Brandon Graham) and he was also a fairly good run defender. He will need to improve his cover skills, but we are projecting a breakout year for Misi in 2011. At RILB is Karlos Dansby, an elite inside linebacker. Dansby signed a 5 year $43 million deal before last season with the Dolphins and was effective in both run defense and pass coverage. He missed the last two games of the season with turf toe, and his absence was clearly missed by the Dolphins defense. His return solidifies a very strong linebacking corp. Channing Crowder will line up next to Dansby. Crowder’s struggled to stay healthy the past two seasons, missing a total of 9 games. He’s a pretty good linebacker when he’s in there. When we consider the fact that the Dolphins have two elite linebackers in Wake and Dansby, a pretty good one in Crowder, and a potentially good one in Misi, we have to call this linebacking corp a top 5 unit in the NFL.
The Dolphins ranked 8th in passing yards allowed per game, but they allowed opposing quarterbacks to average 7.1 YPA against them and an 85.0 QB Rtg. The problem with the Dolphins pass defense was that they allowed too many big plays. However, the Dolphins have the most underrated cornerback duo in the NFL in Vontae Davis and Sean Smith. Sean Smith allowed just 24 receptions against him in 448 cover snaps (5.36% Rec/Cov% ranking him 4th among corners). Vontae Davis allowed 45 receptions against him in 566 cover snaps (7.95% Rec/Cov% ranking him 20th among corners). Both of these corners are pro bowl caliber players who are right on the cusp of the elite class of CB’s, and we expect to see them perform at an elite level again in 2011.
The Dolphins safeties gave up too many big plays last year overall. Yeremiah Bell is one of the best safeties in run support. He’s had 120, 114, and 101 tackles the past three years. In coverage, Bell is below average. Chris Clemons, the Dolphins free safety, is better in coverage than Bell but worse in run support. Clemons missed 10 tackles last year, ranking him in the bottom 20 safeties in the NFL. Neither are great safeties and they are probably the main reason for the Dolphins struggles in defending the pass last year.
Overall, this Dolphins defense is one of the best in the NFL. The problem last year was that they only intercepted 11 passes and only forced 19 turnovers. Their turnover margin was -12, and that can be looked at as the main reason for their 7-9 season. We expect the Dolphins rush defense to be a top 5 unit once again. The reason is because Paul Soliai is an elite NT that leads a pretty good defensive line, and their inside linebackers are both quite good in run support. In addition, their linebacking corp is one of the best in the NFL. We also project their pass defense to climb into the top 15 of the NFL. The reason is because Wake provides enormous amounts of pressure and we do expect Koa Misi to improve off of a good rookie season. They also have two very good corners that could easily turn into elite corners in 2011 in Vontae Davis and Sean Smith. Both of them let interceptions slide through their hands last year, but that’s most likely just a fluke. If they can force more than 19 turnovers, which we fully expect them to be able to, this is a top 10 defense. Miami ranked 10th in defense last year. This year, we are projecting a finish of 7th.
2011 Miami Dolphins Analysis:
The Dolphins have a brutal schedule right out of the gate, with 4 of their first 5 opponents being super bowl contenders. Overall, their schedule is one of the toughest in the league. Miami’s defense is elite and good enough to compete for a super bowl, but their offense is a big question mark. In a weaker division they would easily capture a playoff spot, but the AFC East is too tough for them. We have them as a possible sleeper team to contend for a super bowl, but the general feeling is that they’ll fall a bit short. We predict the Dolphins to be 8-6 going into their last two games, which they will drop to the Patriots and Jets respectively.
8-8 (3rd in AFC East)