"But Apple, look how high you're ranked them. Aren't you guilty of this same hype?" Yes my friends, with the additions of Ricky Williams and Norv Turner to this already defensively strong team, I'm guilty now also.
The "Power Core" Pre-Season Power Rankings #5
The Dolphins proved 3 things last year. First, they proved that they can't beat the Jets. Oh sure, they may win a game this season against NY, but they still can't beat the Jets. Second, Lamar Smith was not the answer at running back. Third, they were once again over-hyped. That should all change this year.
#5 Miami Dolphins (11 - 5) Second in the AFC East
The second biggest move of the off-season was the Dolphins' acquisition of Ricky Williams from New Orleans. Not only do the Dolphins get a good running back, but also he should thrive in the way Garrison Hearst finally thrived in the 49ers system. Norv Turner is listed officially as the "Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator." Whatever. He's going to bring some life into the dull Miami offense. Jay Fiedler signed an extension to his contract, and no matter what Aaron Brooks says, Fiedler is a tough "give you 100% every week" quarterback.
The Good: Chris Chambers came out of nowhere to lead this team in receiving. He'll see a reduction in numbers due to double teams, but he should still put up solid stats. Williams will provide the first legitimate threat since Dan Marino. He just needs to stay healthy. The defense will always be solid with Zach Thomas in the middle. Fiedler is a likeable guy and gutsy quarterback. He proved at Oakland last year that he could win games on his back.
The Bad: This team chokes more often than most people think. They need to learn how to win the big games at the end of the season and in the playoffs. You guys talk about Cowher choking, how about Wannstedt? I'm not convinced this team has the receivers to be a Super Bowl team. They'll run, but I'm not sure you can call Chris Chambers a superstar just yet. All of this leads to the defense tiring out as the season progresses.
The Ugly: Football in the winter is ugly in Florida. Give me freezing cold, muddy fields, and snowy skies any day.
Synopsis: Miami is a better team than New England on paper and the addition of Turner should give them enough firepower to win the division. Now, if only this team could win a playoff game. 11-12 wins.