Thursday, January 04, 2007

Disappointing Dolphins

Yesterday's news that Nick Saban had left Miami for Alabama was not surprising. It was yet another disappointment in a season of the for Miami. The Dolphins finished so strong last season that I really thought they would be a playoff team this season. When they traded for Daunte Culpepper, I thought they could go deep in the playoffs, depending on how well Daunte had recovered from knee surgery.

Then reality struck. Daunte was nowhere near ready. The offense struggled because of his knee problems, but that wasn't all there was to blame. Losing offensive coordinator Scott Linehan really hurt too. Joey Harrington at QB made the Dolphins passing game roughly equivalent to what it had been at the end of last season, except that Chris Chambers was now missing. I have no idea what happened to him. He looked like he could be the best receiver in the game at the end of last season and that was with nobody throwing to him. Harrington was no worse than Gus Frerotte. Frerotte's QB rating last season was 71.9 while Harrington's rating this season 68.2. Not a huge difference. One can only imagine that if Chambers was playing at anywhere near the level he had played at in 2005 that Harrington's rating would have certainly been higher.

The only good news was that the defense stayed solid. It was another good year for veterans Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas. I think Taylor has a good shot at NFL Defensive Player of the Year, especially since his top competitor, Shawn Merriman, has a steroid cloud hanging over his head. Of course now Taylor is talking about retiring... Having your coach quit probably isn't going to help convince him to stay.

As for Saban going to Alabama... It sucks he has to go to an SEC team! He's a good coach. He's not really getting any more money there, I think he just wanted an easier job. The NFL was too much for him. So it's probably a good thing for Miami in the long run. An offensive minded coach is really needed in Miami. I think Culpepper can still come back as can Chambers. Ronnie Brown definitely progressed this year, and could blow up with a good passing game around him.

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