Season Preview: Miami Dolphins

Warpaint Illustrated beat writer Mike Nugent continues his series, taking a look at each of the Kansas City Chiefs' non-divisional opponents. Today's team: the Miami Dolphins.

The good news for Dolphins fans is that new head coach Nick Saban will field a strong, balanced competitive team. The bad news is that it won't be this season. The Miami Dolphins will host the Chiefs in week seven, and although this is appears to be an easy game, there's no such thing in the NFL.

Team Preview:
New head Coach Nick Saban has his hands full installing his own brand of football on this Miami Dolphins team. Although he is a good coach, it will take at least a season to see the seeds of his coaching take root. Saban has inherited some very good talent, especially on defense. By the time the Dolphins get to week seven this team will have had some time together to gel, and this could be a dangerous game for the Chiefs.

Offensively, Miami will run the football. With the return of running back Ricky Williams, and the addition of rookie Ronnie Brown, the Dolphins will have success in the running game. Williams will be out the first four games of the season, but will return to form what will be a potent 1-2 punch with Brown. This preseason, Williams looked spry, and faster than he has ever looked. The weight he lost during his one year retirement looks like it will help; even will Williams bruising running style. The Dolphins will have problems throwing the ball downfield, but with receivers Marty Booker, Chris Chambers and tight end Randy McMichael, the Dolphins should have some success utilizing a ball control passing game. Don't ask who will be throwing and handing off the football. The Dolphins have a mess at quarterback, with Gus Frerotte and A.J. Feeley still fighting it out for the starting spot.

The strong Miami defense the NFL the league is accustomed to seeing may not materialize. Although linebacker Zach Thomas and defensive end Jason Taylor have returned, the Dolphins lost a pair of Pro Bowl players, safety Sammy Knight and cornerback Patrick Surtain to the Kansas City Chiefs. The remaining players, along with newcomer defensive ends Vonnie Holliday, Kevin Carter and Keith Traylor, will be learning a new defensive system.

Extra Points:
While most talking heads and media types have been belittling the Dolphins for taking back Ricky Williams, bringing Williams back into the fold may end up being one of the better moves of the offseason. A slightly lighter, much rested Ricky Williams will pay dividends this season.

With the Dolphins switching to a 3-4 at times, Jason Taylor will be moving from his traditional role as a defensive end to a rush linebacker. Although Taylor is definitely athletic enough to make the transition, there are still questions whether he'll be able to comfortably change roles. There will definitely be a learning curve there.

But this game will have some very special meaning for Surtain and Knight who will want to play well against their former mates. For Saban it could be a defining game or a miserable loss.

Bottom line:
This game is a classic trap game. With games against the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders, the Chiefs will have to fight the tendency to overlook the Dolphins. If the Chiefs don't take Miami seriously, this could be an addition in the L column. Top Stories