2009 record: 7-9 (Third in AFC East)
Steve WycheBrandon Marshall is going to be a difference maker. The D might be disruptive enough to win the division. A lot hangs on Chad Henne.
100As in the Dolphins have never had a receiver with 100 receptions in a season. They wanted a weapon for Chad Henne and added Brandon Marshall, only the fifth player with three straight 100-catch campaigns.
The Dolphins lost their two top pass rushers (Jason Taylor and Joey Porter) in the offseason, so the pressure is on Wake to provide a consistent threat. The former CFL Defensive Player of the Year flashed potential a season ago while tallying 5.5 sacks as a situational rusher. Given more time and opportunity, Wake must deliver off the edge to anchor the Dolphins' pass rush.
Ricky WilliamsWilliams seemingly turned back the clock a season ago to carry the Dolphins' ground game after Ronnie Brown's injury. The 10-year veteran posted his first 1,000-yard season since 2003, but did it by relying on speed and quickness rather than the rugged, hard-nosed style that led to his 2002 rushing title. With Brown slated to return to his role as the team's feature runner, Williams will continue to be a difference-maker as a complementary option.
All eyes on HenneChad Henne has deep sleeper value in fantasy leagues this season, but don't expect him to emerge into a regular starting option. With only 13 starts in the NFL, he's certain to endure his share of growing pains. The Dolphins won't abandon the run either, so temper your expectations.
Three pivotal games
Sept. 26 vs. New York JetsThe Dolphins swept the season series against the Jets a year ago, but that shouldn't make this early matchup any easier. The Jets acquired some big names in the offseason, and all eyes will be on LB Jason Taylor, who makes his return to Miami for the first time with Gang Green. Think he'll have something to prove?
Oct. 4 vs. New EnglandTo be the man, you've got to beat the man. And in the AFC East, the Patriots are the man. Miami is expected to compete for the division title, so this first matchup with New England, at home, on Monday night, is the most important early-season game for the Dolphins. The teams split their season series in 2009.
Nov. 14 vs. TennesseeTony Sparano's first-ever December loss as a coach came against the Titans in Week 15 last season. He'll get an opportunity for revenge when Chris Johnson and the Titans travel to Miami in a game that should feature plenty of smash-mouth football from two of the league's top rushing teams. This could also be one of those meetings that determine tie-breakers down the line.