Rumpole says: we've been doing it for 25 years or so, so why should this year be any different? Take it from the guy who has watched 90% of ALL plays in EVERY pre-season game this year so far (The NFL Channel makes our job so much easier), we will be ready on day one to make you some bucks.
Your 2009 Dolphin pre-pre forecast:
The best Dolphin draft pick in 2009: Second round (61st overall) Sean Smith. A real steal at 61 and very impressive in camp. This 6' 3 1/2" 214 pound CB will be a shut down corner in the red zone man defense for many years to come.
The worst Dolphin draft pick in 2009? Easy. Our insiders tell us that first round pick CB Vontae Davis - while athletically gifted, lacks the desire, intelligence, and is far from the hard nosed football player a first round CB should be. This will be a wasted pick as Sean Smith keeps Davis relegated to an expensive nickel back substitution player.
Will the Dolphins win the division again this year? Not likely. Although Chad Pennngton becomes the first QB to start a second season for the Dolphins in 7 years, a weak wide receiving corps (you really think Greg Camarillo and Devon Bess match up favorably with the likes of say,
Moss and Welker for the Cheaters, or Ward and Holmes for the Steelers?) puts the pressure on the offense. Teams will put 7 and 8 defenders in the box, double Ted Ginn if necessary and press coverage on Camarillo and Bess or the TE. With the running game tied down, the Fins don't have the guns at WR to stretch the field and make the defense pay.
The defense also has some gaps, including the aforementioned rookies at CB, and the disappointing pre-season of Dolphin LB/DE Matt Roth. Don't expect Joey Porter to repeat his feats of last year, and Jason Taylor is a nice pick up, but lets face it- he's way past his prime and subject to injury.
The bottom line: The Dolphins still have a suspect secondary, a weak WR corps, and an aging group of LB's with Porter and Taylor. Their running game is solid, but teams will shut that down and force them into passing situations. The wildcat won't surprise anyone this year, and coach Bill Cowher has been telling anyone and everyone that will listen that the way to beat the Wildcat is to blitz it. Just ask the Ravens if that works. (Remember last year's playoff fiasco?)
The dolphins are well coached but they invested a luxury pick in the second round in QB Pat White when a LB, DL lineman, or RB would have had more immediate results. Vonate Davis will be a bust like his older brother TE Vernon Davis (also a first round pick with exceptional athleticism but no heart for the game).
The Patriots are back. The Jets are well coached but should be beatable and the Colts are also on their way down but Manning is always tough and the home opener on Monday night should tell us a lot.
A wildcard slot is possible, but we just don't see the Dolphins better than 9-7 this year. They are improving, but this is a tough league.