Scouting The AFC East: Miami Dolphins

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First a few updates:

1. Manish Mehta is now also corroborating Rich Cimini’s report about the Jets likely signing defensive end Marques Douglas by the end of the week. Don’t sleep on the importance of this move. It provides a big boost to their overall depth in an area that was lacking it.

2. The Jets have announced six individuals will be added to their Ring of Honor in the New Meadowlands: Weeb Ewbank, Winston Hill, Joe Klecko, Curtis Martin, Don Maynard, and Joe Namath.

3. The Jets have signed undrafted defensive tackle Martin Tevaseu from UNLV.

4. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

Scouting The AFC East: Miami Dolphins

Our second look at the teams who share the division with the Jets and how they match up with them heading into 2010:

7/19 – http://turnonthejets.com/2010/07/19/scouting-the-afc-east-new-england-patriots-2/

Today – Miami Dolphins

Offense – I always expect Chad Henne’s statistics to look better when referencing them after hearing the things so many football analysts have to say about him. Yet, Henne had 12 touchdowns to 14 interceptions with a 75.2 QB rating en route to a 7-9 Dolphins season. I won’t argue that Henne has a big arm and showed flashes of potential last season, but can we relax a little bit before we crown this guy the next Dan Marino? Just like there is valid questions about Mark Sanchez heading into 2010, there is questions about Henne heading into this season. The Dolphins finally got themselves a receiver by trading for Brandon Marshall, who immediately takes the spot as the best overall receiver in the division. It remains to be seen how the reps will be divided up between Davone Bess, Greg Camarillo, and Brian Hartline alongside Marshall. Anthony Fasano returns as the team’s starting tight end and they added walking personal foul Richie Incognito to compete for the starting guard position. Starting running back Ronnie Brown is returning from a foot injury that caused him to miss the final seven games last season, continuing his career trend of being injury prone. Do you know Brown has one 1,000 yard season in his 5 year career, and it came way back in 2006 when he ran for 1,008 yards?

Ricky Williams stepped up and had a big season in Brown’s absence last year, finishing with 1,121 rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns. I am not sure how reliable he will be in 2010 to duplicate that type of performance, especially considering he is now 33 years old. The real question is how will the Dolphins score points on the Jets without Ted Ginn Jr. on their roster? The first round bust of Vernon Gholston proportions always killed the Jets for some reason. The Dolphins scored 8 touchdowns against the Jets last year and Ginn had 3 of them, along with another from Jason Taylor who is of course now on the Jets. I would be more worried about Brandon Marshall if the Jets didn’t have Darrelle Revis to cover him. Beyond that, I like the Jets matching up Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson against Hartline, Bess, or Camarillo. The Dolphins Wildcatted all over the Jets in their first match-up last year but when Rex Ryan got a second crack at it, the Jets held Brown and Williams to 27 yards rushing each.

PhotobucketDefense The Dolphins signed former Arizona Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby to a monster deal, who is coming off a 109 tackle and 1 sack season in 2009. Miami parted ways with Jason Taylor and Joey Porter, the team’s two leaders in sacks last season. They are hopeful that Dansby along with second year player Cameron Wake will adequately fill the 16 sacks left behind by Taylor and Porter. They drafted Jared Odrick from Penn State in the first round of the NFL Draft, who should provide a nice boost an already talented collection of defensive lineman. In the secondary, the Dolphins have two young corners in Sean Smith and Vontae Davis, although they have a pro-bowler at safety in Yeremiah Bell. Mark Sanchez had his best statistical game of the 2009 season against the Dolphins defense and as unit they struggled to cover Braylon Edwards, who had a big game in both of the team’s match-ups.

The Dolphins were only 24th in the NFL last year in pass defense, as they had a propensity to give up big plays down the field. They should improve if Smith and Davis make strides in the right direction. Their rushing defense was ranked 18th in the NFL in 2009, yet Dansby and Odrick should help that ranking.

Special Teams – Ginn Jr. won’t be back to torment the Jets on kick returns in 2010. Dan Carpenter is the Dolphins kicker and is coming off a very good season. The Jets did pull off two fake punts on Miami in one game last season.

Overall – The Dolphins swept the Jets last year, thanks to a bizarre no show from the Jets defense in the first meeting, which included one of the league’s worst receivers beating the league’s best corner deep and that same receiver taking two kicks back for a touchdown in the team’s second meeting. A loss is a loss, however and Rex Ryan is still yet to beat the Dolphins as a head coach. The games between these teams are always going to be high intensity, slug fests. Part of me thinks the Dolphins were two fluke wins away from being a 5-11 team in 2009 and they aren’t a serious competitor to the Jets for an AFC East title. Yet a bigger part of me, recognizes the Dolphins have a good amount of talent spread across their roster and they went toe to toe with the best teams in the NFL last season. I have a feeling the December 12th match-up in East Rutherford will go a long way to determining who wins the AFC East in 2010.

2009 Jets vs Dolphins Highlights

Interesting AFC East Thoughts And Questions

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets)…I have been hovering near 300 fans on Facebook for awhile without getting over it, so let’s go now. I know you want that news feed filled with Jets links and witty commentary on your favorite team.

2. A recent SportsNation poll on ESPN.com that asked Jets fans to select what games they thought their team would win this regular season resulted in fans projecting a 15-1 season for the team. I like the optimism because I was getting tired of the post draft negativity, but 15-1 may be…just may be…a stretch. Right now I would project the Jets as a 11-5 or 12-4 team, which scares me because I have never projected them to be that good. It is a little weird to have such high expectations.

Photobucket 3. Thoughts on Lost Final Season, Episode 14 “The Candidate” – Wow…that is what I am talking about. When Lost is on it’s game like that, there isn’t a better show on TV…not even close. I am glad we can end any debate about Locke being the bad guy now. He clearly never had any intention to get off the island but his plan was rather based around getting the candidates to all kill each other. I can’t blame Sawyer for not trusting Jack after he got Juliet killed last season but c’mon now you have to listen to the chosen one (which Sayid confirmed Jack was before sacrificing himself). I will miss Sayid, who was undoubtedly my favorite Iraqi torturer. The Jin/Sun death was obviously sad but we can get along fine without them considering how their characters have been used the past 2 seasons. It was kind of funny how nobody mentioned Frank dying…how about some love for the pilot, who went out with the funny line before getting smashed with a door and drowning. The sideways stuff is getting better, especially with Jack and Locke switching roles. Next week should be crazy good as well, with the backstory of Jacob and the MIB.

4. Do you think Nick Mangold noticed the contract Jahari Evans just got from the Saints? Do you think David Harris noticed the contract Patrick WIllis just got from the 49ers? The Jets better be ready to offer up the money to keep the cornerstones of their offense and defense…okay maybe Revis is the cornerstone on defense but he is about to be a free agent too.

Interesting AFC East Thoughts And Questions

#2 Quarterback in the Division? – Tim Graham of ESPN.com addressed this question in his AFC East blog and properly selected Mark Sanchez as the second best quarterback in the division over Chad Henne. Here is a key part of his argument:

“While Sanchez got better as games became more meaningful down the stretch, Henne struggled. Heading into Week 15, the Dolphins had a wonderful shot at securing a wild-card berth. They finished with three straight losses. Henne threw three touchdowns and five interceptions.”

PhotobucketI couldn’t agree more. I am always amazed how much people talk up Henne as this player who is going to jump into greatness next year, while they are quick to question Sanchez as the Jets biggest potential problem in 2010. Yes, Sanchez struggled heavily at times last year but it was the guy’s rookie year and he was thrown right into the fire. In the end, he came out  of it to lead the Jets from 4-6 to the AFC Championship Game. Henne had a year to learn behind Chad Pennington and turned in a very average season last year. Stop talking about Henne like he lit the league on fire last season. He threw 12 touchdowns to 14 interceptions and had a QB rating of 75.2. Beyond that, he had his team at 7-6 and lost out to three teams who missed the playoffs to finish 7-9.

Sanchez’s performance against the Bengals in the wild-card round on the road, in the fourth quarter against the Chargers in the divisional round on the road, and in the AFC Championship Game on the road are all more impressive than anything Henne has done in his career.

Well, at least we can’t debate Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the division and Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick, or Brian Brohm are the worst.

Just How Bad Is Buffalo – Unfortunately for those upstate New York football fans, it is hard to see Buffalo winning more than 5 games this season. No quarterback. No offensive line. A questionable defense. A questionable hire at head coach and GM. Three other quality teams in the division. This is the recipe for a rough season. Yet, I am still terrified of the Jets traveling up there in week 4.

PhotobucketWhere Are Your Running Backs The AFC East is stacked with quality running backs. Even the previously mentioned Bills have two 1,000 yard rushers and the 9th overall pick in the draft, with Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. The Dolphins have Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. The Jets have rising star (I hope not to jinx him) Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson in the proper backup role, and Joe “Tums” McKnight. But what about the Patriots? Laurence  Maroney isn’t a #1 back. Fred Taylor is 650 years old and can’t stay healthy. Sammy Morris is 575 years old and can’t stay healthy. This normally wouldn’t be a problem in New England’s spread offense, but with an injured Wes Welker, their passing offense just isn’t that scary anymore. I could only say that because I know Darrelle Revis can take Randy Moss out of the game 1 on 1, and I like…make that love, matching up Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson on Julian Edeleman, Sam Aiken, or the old version of Torry Holt.

For No Particular Reason, Receiver Rankings

  1. Brandon Marshall
  2. Randy Moss
  3. Santonio Holmes
  4. Braylon Edwards
  5. Jerricho Cotchery
  6. Lee Evans

PhotobucketThis is obviously very, very debatable. I really hate putting Braylon in front of Cotchery but his physical talent is too hard to ignore…the guy had 17 touchdowns only a few season ago. What about Edwards and Cotchery in front of Lee Evans? The guy only had 44 receptions for 612 yards last year. I know his quarterbacks were crappy but Cotchery’s quarterbacks were crappy in 2007 and he had 1130 yards. Then again Evans had 1000 yards in 2008 with crappy quarterbacking and Cotchery didn’t with Favre back there…but then again Favre stunk the second half of the season. Evans is more physically gifted and more of a big play threat but Cotchery is more consistent…I don’t know, they are interchangeable. I feel good about 1-4, what is interesting is how sharp the drop off is after these 6. Look at this collection of players:

  • Torry Holt
  • Julian Edeleman
  • Sam Aiken
  • Brad Smith
  • David Clowney
  • Steve Johnson – That is Buffalo’s listed other started right now by the way.
  • Roscoe Parrish
  • James Hardy
  • Brian Hartline
  • Devone Bess
  • Greg Camarillo

How do you rate those guys? Holt has the best pedigree obviously, but how much does he have left in the tank? Brad Smith isn’t really a true receiver. Edeleman and Hartline showed flashes last year. Bess and Camarillo are steady guys, who are decent fits as #3 options. Everybody else is a journeyman.

And Yet Another Well-Made Highlight Video