Dolphins Future Begins With Marshall

WR Brandon Marshall is just one of the players the Dolphins have to evaluate when they look back at their disappointing 2010 season.

Brandon Marshall's first season with the Dolphins is over. It ended in such ugly fashion, the star wide receiver called this the most frustrating season of his eventful NFL career. Considering he wore out his welcome in Denver just a year ago, that's saying something.

"Out of all five years, the worst," Marshall said after Sunday's 38-7 loss to the Patriots. "The worst because of the potential we have on this team. We shouldn't be where we're at right now. ... We have championship pieces in our locker room."

From Marshall's perspective, the Dolphins' offense wasn't in a good place from the start. Tensions between Marshall, quarterback Chad Henne and offensive coordinator Dan Henning have bubbled just below the surface for months.

"It's been that way all year," Marshall said. "Players, coaches, we all have to be on the same page. We've got to speak the same language when it comes to offense. ... When one guy is out of place or there is one bad call, it exposes everybody."

That became all too obvious on Henne's third pass of the game, and the first one he directed at Marshall. Forcing a deep slant into double coverage against a two-deep zone, Henne was intercepted by rookie Devin McCourty at the Dolphins' 47-yard-line.

"I guess we read it wrong, and we were on two different pages," said Marshall, who still reached 1,000 receiving yards for the fourth straight season. "Receivers and quarterbacks, we're on several different pages, and you can't have that."

That miscue set up the first of Tom Brady's two touchdown passes. When Henne badly underthrew Marshall on the sideline on the Dolphins' next offensive snap, Marshall walked off the field and sat out the next play in admitted frustration.

"A lot of potential on this team. Didn't get the job done," Marshall said. "We owe it to the fans, the city. It's been a long time since we won down here. This is my first year as a Dolphin, but I think Coach Sparano knows what it takes, if anybody, to get us on the right track."


--Dolphins OLB Cameron Wake fell short in his bid to join Jason Taylor as the only NFL sack champions in franchise history.

Wake, shut out for the third straight game to close the season, finished his Pro Bowl breakout year with 14 sacks. However, the outside linebacker was unable to hold off Chiefs counterpart Tamba Hali, his former Penn State teammate, and Cowboys OLB DeMarcus Ware, who won the title.

Wake, in his second NFL season after starring in Canada, had four tackles and two quarterback hits Sunday, but that wasn't enough to keep him atop the pile. Asked what the Patriots were doing to keep him away from Tom Brady and backup Brian Hoyer, Wake shrugged.

"Playing football," he said. "They block like any other O-line blocks that we played all season."

--Prospective free agent Ronnie Brown carried just six times for 14 yards -- all in the first 18 minutes -- in what could be his final game with the Dolphins. That left him 16 yards short of the 750 rushing yards he needed to qualify for a $500,000 contract bonus.

"My goal was never to just get 750 yards; my goal was to get 1,000 yards," Brown said. "A lot of things play into that, including splitting carries."


--ILB Tim Dobbins, starting in place of the injured Karlos Dansby (toe), led the Dolphins with a season-high 11 tackles, including a tackle for loss.

--SS Tyrone Culver, who replaced Yeremiah Bell (head injury) early in the second half, finished with seven tackles but was beaten in coverage a couple of times.

--DE Kendall Langford tied for third on the team with six tackles against the Patriots, had a quarterback hit and forced a fumble with a first quarter hit that knocked Danny Woodhead out of the game.

--Both young free safeties, Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons, finished with five tackles but struggled in coverage. Clemons gave up two touchdown passes.

--Backup CB Nate Ness, active for the first time in four weeks, had a team-high two tackles on special teams.

Patriots Insider Top Stories