Tony Sparano’s Dolphins can’t seem to put it all together. Their running game dominated in 2009, but the defense collapsed. Their running game fell apart in 2010, while the defense played well. Both seasons finished at 7-9.
The constant on those teams: A mediocre passing game which lacks big plays. Miami is up next in our team needs series.
G/C: Sparano is a former offensive line coach, so the failure of this group is damning. Starters at center and right guard could both be replaced as Miami was pushed around way too often last year for a “smashmouth” team. Florida guard/center Mike Pouncey could be a consideration in the first round.
RB: Sparano says the Dolphins will remain a run-first team. At this point, they have no legitimate options on the roster with Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown headed for free agency. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Miami doesn’t draft a running back in the first three rounds. If they draft a third-down type, they’ll have to find their starter in free agency.
QB: The team’s lack of a second round pick really hurts here. Miami may basically have to decide between choosing a quarterback to develop for the future or a running back that can impact the team right away. Chad Henne remains the favorite to start, and we suspect his competition will be a veteran, not a first-round rookie.
TE: Just call this need “playmaker.” They could use speed at tight end or wide receiver.
DL: They are very deep here, but need to plan ahead. Nose tackle Paul Soliai is on a one year deal. Defensive ends Kendall Langford and Phillip Merling are free agents after 2011. Tony McDaniel, an effective sub, is a free agent. A run-stuffer would make some sense if the value was right.
Overview: Other than safety, this group is deep with talent on defense. The offense needs more speed at the skill positions, but they may have to find it in free agency.
With an emerging young defense and some cornerstones on offense (Jake Long, Brandon Marshall), Miami isn’t that far behind the Patriots and Jets if they can somehow improve their quarterback play.
Unfortunately, they’ve been trying to do that since Dan Marino retired.