Denial Ain’t Just A River In Egypt – Your 2011 Miami Dolphins Season Preview

Note: This post originally appeared on nfl.com.

Sometimes I like to pretend that the NFL lockout did not end. I also like to pretend I am closer to twenty than I am to forty and that I will one day write the great American novel. It’s called living in denial and going into the upcoming football season I want to pretend the team I will be rooting for does not have the roster of the 2011 Miami Dolphins.

Our offseason began with the Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross chasing after Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh to be the new Dolphins headman. Harbaugh declined and chose to coach the San Francisco 49ers instead. Ross then decided to not only keep current coach, Tony Sparano, but also awarded him a contract extension. This sends the curious message to the fan base that you are content with your second choice. I hope Ross did not propose to his wife under similar circumstances.

I like Sparano and am glad he is receiving more money. In 2008 he took chances and instituted the Wildcat offense  to lead the Dolphins to a division title. His past two seasons, however, he made curious game management decisions, settling for far too many field goals that contributed toward a pair of mediocre 7-9 records. But one can only blame the coach so much. In today’s pass happy NFL a coach is only as good as his quarterback. And the Dolphins’ quarterback, Chad Henne, stinks.

Henne has a heck of an arm and shows toughness by pulling himself up after countless hard hits, but his decision making is abysmal. He threw more interceptions than touchdowns last year, many of which cost the Dolphins close games. Last year he proved himself to not be a quality starter, but the Dolphins did nothing to upgrade the position. They passed on Ryan Mallett twice in the draft and avoided Vince Young in free agency, instead signing Matt Moore, one of the few quarterbacks last year to have a worse season than Henne. (I won’t mention that the Dolphins previously passed on drafting Matt Ryan and declined on acquiring Drew Brees on two separate occasions).

In the offseason the Dolphins also allowed long time Dolphin running backs Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown to walk, reminding fans that it is the name on the front of the jersey we are supposed to root for, not the names on the back. They were replaced by rookie Daniel Thomas and Kim Kardashian’s ex-boyfriend Reggie Bush. Bush is an otherworldly talent, but he has only proven himself in the NFL with his kickoff and punt returns, tasks he will not be performing for the Dolphins. He is prone to injury and has in previous seasons been unable to pick up yards in the running game for his former team, The New Orleans Saints.

In other player news, last year’s top acquisition, wide receiver Brandon Marshall, was involved in a bizarre incident where his wife might or might not have stabbed him. Marshall then brought attention that he was diagnosed with a mental illness.

On a more positive note former Dolphins great, 37 year old defensive end,  Jason Taylor, is returning to the team for the third time. His readdition to a defense that showed flashes of dominance last year could lead the team to a respectable record. But with the dearth of talent on the offensive side of the ball I can’t see the Dolphins doing any better than a third straight 7-9 record. Good enough to give us hope, bad enough to remind us that taxes will still be due April 15 and those are indeed love handles spilling out of your jeans.

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