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News » Miami Dolphins Inside Slant 2008-08-28


Miami Dolphins Inside Slant 2008-08-28


Miami Dolphins Inside Slant 2008-08-28
When training camp opened the Dolphins didn't have a proven quarterback; they had one running back coming off knee surgery and another with six carries in the past three seasons who was one strike (or puff) away from another suspension; their premier defender dancing in Hollywood instead of working out in Davie; and a coach who didn't look at his questioners in the face or without dark sunglasses inside or out.


But they did have Bill Parcells, the czar of transforming moribund franchises into playoff contenders within two years of taking the reins, watching every practice, needling everyone and evaluating every player on the field as well as those still on the market.

By the final exhibition game, coach Tony Sparano became at ease with the media, the Dolphins had a seasoned, cerebral quarterback in Chad Pennington who directed two dominant victories over a formidable Jaguars team and so-so Chiefs club. He brings leadership to a young offense while mentoring the quarterback of the future in Chad Henne.

Ricky Williams was conjuring up Heisman and circa 2002 memories as he glided through, over and around defenders at 4.5 yards a clip. Suddenly, rumors of the oft-injured Ronnie Brown being traded began to surface.

Jason Taylor wasn't missed as rookie defensive ends Kendall Langford and Phillip Merling displayed strength and speed, along with the ability to collapse a pocket. They had quarterbacks David Garrard and Brady Croyle of the Jags and Chiefs, respectively, on the run all night.

The league's worst run defense last season, led by Zach Thomas' disciple Channing Crowder, stifled the Jaguars' second-ranked running attack and made Chiefs running back Larry Johnson look like just another body.

Rookie kicker Dan Carpenter had fans forgetting Jay Feely ever kicked in South Florida by nailing his first seven field goals, and Ted Ginn Jr. even made the previous regime of Cam Cameron and general manager Randy Mueller look like geniuses with his improvement at receiver and his Devin Hester-like punt return for a touchdown against Kansas City.

Suddenly, a 1-15 franchise in turmoil appeared headed in the right direction under the tough-love stewardship of Sparano and Tuna.

If Tom Brady's foot injury persists and Brett Favre finally shows his age, the Dolphins' turnaround may be quicker than expected.

COACHING: Tony Sparano, first year, (0-0).

REMEMBERING: 2007 record: 1-15 (last in AFC East).

PREDICTING: 2008 regular season record of 7-9 (3rd in AFC East).



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: August 28, 2008

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Matt Roth Name: Matt Roth
#98
Position: DE
Age: 25
Experience: 4 years
College: Iowa
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