The Miami Dolphins have fallen into the ranks of rudderless teams. They’ll enter this season with yet another head coach, former Green Bay assistant Joe Philbin, after four seasons under Coach Sparano. Which followed one season under Cam Cameron, and two seasons under Nick Saban. How is a team supposed to put something good together with such a lack of stability at the top?
Miami shocked many four years ago when it bounced back from a one-win season to go 11-5 and win the AFC East. Since then the Dolphins are 20-28.
But Philbin inherits a decent situation. Miami might have a quarterback in Matt Moore, it can run the ball a little, and the defense ain’t bad. So depending upon how quickly the players pick up the new systems, the Dolphins could make a run at .500 this season.
Last Season in Review
Miami went off last year with a regular-season wins ‘over/under’ of eight, then promptly lost its first seven games. Yeah, they lost a few close ones in that early going, but they also fell to Cleveland and royally blew that game vs. Denver.
Miami then won six of its last nine games with Moore at quarterback, and two of those losses came by a point at the Dallas Cowboys and three points at New England. So that might provide some hope for this season.
The Dolphins ranked 22nd in the league in total offense last year at 317 YPG, but 11th in rushing at 124 YPG, as Reggie Bush, with a late-season spurt, ran for 1,000 yards for the first time in his career.
On the other side of the ball Miami ranked 15th in total defense, allowing 345 YPG, but third vs. the run at 96 YPG.
Overall the Dolphins ranked 22nd in total yardage at -28 YPG but eighth in total rushing at +28 YPG. Teams that outrushed their opponents last year beat the point spread 69 percent of the time, so that’s probably how Miami managed to go 9-6-1 ATS.
Also, with Miami games averaging 40 total points, seventh-lowest in the league, the Dolphins went 4-11-1 on the ‘over/unders.’
Over the off-season Miami missed out on signing Peyton Manning, and they traded leading receiver Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears. So there’s a big hole to fill on the outside.
The Dolphins then drafted Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the eighth overall choice, and hired his former head coach, and former Packers coach Mike Sherman, as the new OC.
Miami went offense with six of its nine draft picks, which was probably smart.
2012 Dolphins Schedule
Miami plays the 18th-toughest schedule in the league this season, based upon last year’s W/L records. They’ve got five games against teams that made the playoffs last year, four of those on the road. But other than that the slate seems manageable, with home games vs. Oakland, St. Louis, Tennessee, Seattle and Jacksonville.
2012 Miami Dolphins Betting Odds and Preview
On the NFL futures betting market Bovada.lv is offering Miami at 20/1 to win the AFC championship and 50/1 to win the Super Bowl, while 5Dimes.eu is listing the Dolphins at 15/1 to win the AFC East and pegging the Fins with a wins ‘over/under’ of 7.5 (O +145/U -165).
Miami is now working under its fourth non-interim head coach in the last seven years, and all that change just isn’t good for business. We’re already wondering how long Philbin will be around
As for this year Moore will go to camp at the top of the QB depth chart, and why not? He completed 61 percent of his throws last year, compiled a 16/9 TD/INT ratio, and now owns a 13-12 career record as an NFL starter.
Bush figures to be the center of attention on offense, and the Fish might fairly expect good things from second-year back Daniel Thomas, who ran for nearly 600 yards as a rookie.
Adding it all up, despite the lag-time that might occur as the new regime implements its schemes, we’re tempted by the price on the ‘over’ 7.5 wins for Miami this season.