Reviewing the Miami Dolphins 2009 Season

MIAMI - JANUARY 03: Quarterback Chad Henne #7 of the Miami Dolphins throws a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Land Shark Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Prior to the 2009 season, one of the biggest issues facing the Miami Dolphins was the tremendous increase in their strength of schedule from 2008 to 2009. In this article, John Clayton predicted that they were likely to end up around .500 for the season, just based on the increase in schedule difficulty. Turns out he was right, as they finished 7-9 a year after winning the AFC East at 11-5. The Dolphins stumbled out of the gate at 0-3, and when Chad Pennington was knocked out of the third game of the season, things looked bad. But they went 7-6 the rest of the way, and Chad Henne had a respectable first season at the helm after replacing Pennington. So, although the season may have been somewhat disappointing, Miami fans must be pleased with Henne’s development and his prospects for the future. With that said, we are continuing my 2009 NFL Season Reviews with the Dolphins. Let’s get started with the numbers.

Before going further, you should take a look at the Season Reviews Informational Post, if you haven’t already. It describes the methodology and data presented in the following tables. Now that you have reviewed the methodology behind this data, let’s take a look at the data, and I will discuss it below.

Team Offense Value Rank   Team Defense Value Rank
Points 360 15   Points 390 25
Yards 5401 17   Yards 5589 22
Cmp 331   Cmp 281
Att 545   Att 489
Pass Yards 3170 20   Pass Yards 3754 24
NY/A 5.5 23   NY/A 7 29
Pass TD 15 27   Pass TD 23 18
Pass INTs 19 23   Pass INTs 15 16
Rush Yards 2231 4   Rush Yards 1835 18
Rush TD 22 1   Rush TD 16 21
Y/A 4.4 10   Y/A 4.2 15
Sacks 34 T-15   Sacks 44 T-3

Table 1


Mia Pts Opp D
Opp Pts Opp O
Opp Score Avg Pt Diff1 Score Avg Pt Diff2
Atlanta Falcons 7 20.31 -13.31 19 22.69 -3.69
Indianapolis Colts 23 19.19 3.81 27 26 1
San Diego Chargers 13 20 -7 23 28.38 -5.38
Buffalo Bills 38 20.38 17.63 10 16.13 -6.13
New York Jets 31 14.75 16.25 27 21.75 5.25
New Orleans Saints 34 21.31 12.69 46 31.88 14.13
New York Jets 30 14.75 15.25 25 21.75 3.25
New England Patriots 17 17.81 -0.81 27 26.69 0.31
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25 25 0 23 15.25 7.75
Carolina Panthers 24 19.25 4.75 17 19.69 -2.69
Buffalo Bills 14 20.38 -6.38 31 16.13 14.88
New England Patriots 22 17.81 4.19 21 26.69 -5.69
Jacksonville Jaguars 14 23.75 -9.75 10 18.13 -8.13
Tennessee Titans 24 25.13 -1.13 27 22.13 4.88
Houston Texans 20 20.81 -0.81 27 24.25 2.75
Pittsburgh Steelers 24 20.25 3.75 30 23 7
Sum Difference     39.13     29.5

Table 2


Mia Yds Opp D
Opp Yds Opp O
Opp Gained Avg Yd Diff1 Gained Avg Yd Diff2
Atlanta Falcons 259 348.88 -89.88 281 340.44 -59.44
Indianapolis Colts 403 339.19 63.81 356 363.06 -7.06
San Diego Chargers 289 326.88 -37.88 355 360.06 -5.06
Buffalo Bills 336 340.56 -4.56 206 273.88 -67.88
New York Jets 413 252.31 160.69 309 321 -12
New Orleans Saints 334 357.75 -23.75 414 403.81 10.19
New York Jets 104 252.31 -148.31 378 321 57
New England Patriots 334 320.19 13.81 432 397.31 34.69
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 374 365.56 8.44 301 287.5 13.5
Carolina Panthers 326 315.81 10.19 383 331.06 51.94
Buffalo Bills 325 340.56 -15.56 336 273.88 62.13
New England Patriots 416 320.19 95.81 448 397.31 50.69
Jacksonville Jaguars 354 352.31 1.69 217 336.56 -119.56
Tennessee Titans 468 365.63 102.38 364 351.44 12.56
Houston Texans 363 324.88 38.13 406 383.06 22.94
Pittsburgh Steelers 303 305.31 -2.31 403 371.31 31.69
Sum Difference     172.69     76.31

Table 3


Mia P-Yd Opp D
Opp P-Yd Opp O
Opp Gained Avg Pa Diff1 Gained Avg Pa Diff2
Atlanta Falcons 163 242.06 -79.06 213 223.19 -10.19
Indianapolis Colts 164 212.69 -48.69 295 282.19 12.81
San Diego Chargers 140 209.25 -69.25 286 271.13 14.88
Buffalo Bills 86 184.25 -98.25 160 157.19 2.81
New York Jets 262 153.69 108.31 171 148.75 22.25
New Orleans Saints 197 235.56 -38.56 276 272.19 3.81
New York Jets 52 153.69 -101.69 251 148.75 102.25
New England Patriots 201 209.69 -8.69 323 277.25 45.75
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 175 207.38 -32.38 180 185.94 -5.94
Carolina Panthers 172 191 -19 201 174.94 26.06
Buffalo Bills 168 184.25 -16.25 207 157.19 49.81
New England Patriots 328 209.69 118.31 352 277.25 74.75
Jacksonville Jaguars 208 235.88 -27.88 122 209.75 -87.75
Tennessee Titans 347 258.69 88.31 236 189.44 46.56
Houston Texans 303 217.94 85.06 280 290.88 -10.88
Pittsburgh Steelers 204 215.44 -11.44 201 259.25 -58.25
Sum Difference     -151.13     228.75

Table 4


Mia R-Yd Opp D
Opp R-Yd Opp O
Opp Gained Avg Ru Diff1 Gained Avg Ru Diff2
Atlanta Falcons 96 106.81 -10.81 68 117.25 -49.25
Indianapolis Colts 239 126.5 112.5 61 80.88 -19.88
San Diego Chargers 149 117.63 31.38 69 88.94 -19.94
Buffalo Bills 250 156.31 93.69 46 116.69 -70.69
New York Jets 151 98.63 52.38 138 172.25 -34.25
New Orleans Saints 137 122.19 14.81 138 131.63 6.38
New York Jets 52 98.63 -46.63 127 172.25 -45.25
New England Patriots 133 110.5 22.5 109 120.06 -11.06
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 199 158.19 40.81 121 101.56 19.44
Carolina Panthers 154 124.81 29.19 182 156.13 25.88
Buffalo Bills 157 156.31 0.69 129 116.69 12.31
New England Patriots 88 110.5 -22.5 96 120.06 -24.06
Jacksonville Jaguars 146 116.44 29.56 95 126.81 -31.81
Tennessee Titans 121 106.94 14.06 128 162 -34
Houston Texans 60 106.94 -46.94 126 92.19 33.81
Pittsburgh Steelers 99 89.88 9.13 202 112.06 89.94
Sum Difference     323.81     -152.44

Table 5

Of the teams that I’ve reviewed so far, Miami appears to be the closest to a serious contender. As with any team that Bill Parcells is associated with, they have developed an identity as a physical team that is able to run the ball well. They were 4th in the league in rushing and first in rushing TDs. Just based on Table 1, both the passing game and the defense need some work. They had a strong pass rush, finishing tied for 3rd in the league in sacks, but beyond that, the defensive rankings were average to mediocre in every other category.

When looking at Tables 2-5, we see pretty much the same story. Tables 2 and 3 show that, overall, the offense outperformed the defense in terms of points differential and yards differential. In both cases, the offense scored more points and gained more yards than the cumulative averages of their opponents. I think this is a reflection that at least one aspect of the offense, the rushing game, was arguably elite this past season. At the same time, the defense allowed more points and yards cumulatively than their opponents’ averages.

Tables 4-5 break the production down into passing and rushing, to get a better idea of where the strengths and weaknesses were. Here, we really see the identity of the team as a physical, smash-mouth team. The strengths of the team were in rushing offense and defense. In both categories, they outperformed their opponents’ averages for the season. In passing, however, both offense and defense performed cumulatively below the averages of their opponents.

With the release of Joey Porter, the Dolphins appear to be thinking of replacing his pass rush ability with Karlos Dansby. After that, the question is where do they need the most help? Based on these numbers, I would say that pass defense is their largest weakness, with pass offense being second. One would expect to see Chad Henne improve with nearly a full year of experience under his belt, but it would be nice to get him some help at WR in the draft. According to scout.com, Dez Bryant out of Oklahoma State is their 10th rated player coming out this year (at least as of this writing, that may change). So they could look that way. Or, they could target CB Joe Haden, if he’s available, or possibly a top safety. If Eric Berry slides to number 7-8, they may try to trade up, or possibly Taylor Mays will catch their fancy (although he may be a reach here, so they may want to trade back for him). Regardless, it does look like they have some options to fill their needs.

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2 Responses to “Reviewing the Miami Dolphins 2009 Season”

  1. Phantaskippy Says:

    I’m really enjoying these reviews. Looking forward to the rest of them.

    • wolfpacksteelersfan Says:

      Thanks Phantaskippy! I’ve gotten some positive feedback at the actual team SBN sites, but it’s nice to get a little pat on the back from a fellow old BTSC reader. :)

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