With the success at the quarterback position from the young Chad Henne, 24, Miami looks geared to compete right out of the gate. Chad Pennington, a free agent at 33, will most likely find a new team, though he would prove to be an excellent backup option if Henne were to go down. Pat White has proved that he does not have the arm or size to become a dependable quarterback, though he could become a larger factor in the Wildcat offense next season. Tyler Thigpen could be traded, but if Pennington signs elsewhere, Thigpen would be an excellent option for the backup QB role, especially considering his familiarity with this offense.
Ricky Willliams was resigned earlier this season by the Dolphins and the vet seems good to go for what most likely will be his last season in the NFL. Williams proved to be one of the top RB’s in the game this year, stepping up big and carrying the load as a full time back after Ronnie Brown went down with an injury. Brown will most likely stay with the Dolphins, and looks to return completely healthy by the start of next season. This will once again arm Miami with one of the top running offenses in the league.
Though both backs have had their issues with injuries, retaining the services of Lousaka Polite, 27, should be a top priority for Miami as well. Patrick Cobbs, 26, will be back with the team come next season and has proved to be a solid player. If Brown returns, this will be Miami’s strongest position, so the chances of Miami spending an early draft pick on a RB is not likely.
This will be a position that Miami will look to improve upon, though Davone Bess and Brian Hartline are both very young and talented receivers. Bess should remain a Dolphin come next season, but Miami might want to acquire troubled WR Anquan Boldin from Arizona. Tedd Ginn Jr. is still young, 24, but he has not developed into the consistent WR threat that Miami had once hoped he would become. Greg Camarillo is a solid player, but he does not have the potential to blossom into a legitimate #1 or #2 weapon. Look for Miami to test the open market, trade, or draft a big name at this position, possibly Boldin.
Both Anthony Fasano and Joey Haynos are free agents this offseason, but both could find their way back with the Phins. Bother tight ends are 25 and have solid futures ahead of them. Fasano has the talent to be one of the better tight ends in the league, as he proved to be one of Henne’s favorite targets throughout last season. The Dolphins will most likely draft another tight end, but look for Fasano to still be in the starting role come next season.
Jake Long, only 24, is one of the best offensive tackles, if not one of the best young players, in the game. Long is the anchor to this Miami offensive line and automatically gives the Dolphins one of the better lines in the league with his presence. Vernon Carey, 28, and Andrew Gardner, 23, are both still young as well, but Miami could look to add more depth to this position either in the draft or free agency. Regardless, having Long as one of their tackles makes this a very strong position for the Dolphins.
Donald Thomas, 23, and Justin Smiley, 27, will both return to the Dolphins for next season, though the guard position will remain a top priority for Miami to build onto this offseason. Look for Miami to add more depth at guard through free agency and the draft, possibly spending some money on a big name given the importance of this position in the Wildcat offense. Parcells and Sparano are strong advocates of solid offensive line play, and securing another talented guard could dramatically help this offense.
Jake Grove, 29, is a stable at center and still has some years under his belt. Joe Berger, 27, is his backup, but this will be Grove’s job to lose. Grove has done a decent job at center and will be back for next season as the Dolphins starting center. This will not be a position that Miami will look to improve immediately, though if the right center falls to them later in the draft, they might not be opposed to adding more depth.
The Dolphins really lucked out with Chad Henne. If Henne had not produced and Pennington decided to leave, it would’ve placed Miami in the hunt for a new QB this offseason. But Henne has proved to be the real deal, so getting him a new target or two and solidifying the offensive line should be the only modifications to this offense. If the Dolphins can add an elite receiving option for Henne to play with for next season, it should immediately help this offense score more points.
With the running back tandem of Brown and Williams looking to return, a healthy year out of both would give the Phins one of the best running games in the league once again next season. Adding more depth along the offensive line, or potentially a big name to join the line, will only help the Phins be even more successful next year. The Dolphins are returning a lot of talent and do not have too many holes on this offense, so expect this unit to blossom into one of the leagues best come next season.
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Written by Josh Souder