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|
|Pass Yards||3170||20||Pass Yards||3754||24|
|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|
|Mia Pts||Opp D||Opp Pts||Opp O|
|Opp||Score||Avg Pt||Diff1||Score||Avg Pt||Diff2|
|San Diego Chargers||13||20||-7||23||28.38||-5.38|
|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|
|New England Patriots||22||17.81||4.19||21||26.69||-5.69|
|Mia Yds||Opp D||Opp Yds||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Yd||Diff1||Gained||Avg Yd||Diff2|
|San Diego Chargers||289||326.88||-37.88||355||360.06||-5.06|
|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|
|New England Patriots||416||320.19||95.81||448||397.31||50.69|
|Mia P-Yd||Opp D||Opp P-Yd||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Pa||Diff1||Gained||Avg Pa||Diff2|
|San Diego Chargers||140||209.25||-69.25||286||271.13||14.88|
|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|
|New England Patriots||328||209.69||118.31||352||277.25||74.75|
|Mia R-Yd||Opp D||Opp R-Yd||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Ru||Diff1||Gained||Avg Ru||Diff2|
|San Diego Chargers||149||117.63||31.38||69||88.94||-19.94|
|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|
|New England Patriots||88||110.5||-22.5||96||120.06||-24.06|
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.
Tags: Miami Dolphins