Is This Defense Ready?

There is a lot of hype surrounding the Miami Dolphins and they haven’t so much as put on a pad yet.  Some in the media believe that Miami will and should win the division and make the playoffs.  I suppose the question is this.  Is this defense ready?

Brandon Marshallshould improve an offense that is steadily getting better and his presence should give Chad Henne a legit threat.  With Ronnie Brown coming back from injury and a still rejuvenated Ricky Williams, the Dolphins offense isn’t much of a concern.  But the other side is.

Forget for a moment that the free safety spot is a lingering issue that for now will play out between Chris Clemons entering his 2nd NFL season and rookie Reshad Jones.  Forget for a moment the big switch of DE Randy Starks to NT and forget about the solid pick-up of LB Karlos Dansby.  Instead, look at everyone else and then wonder about whether or not this team is ready for the playoffs.

LB was the big question mark entering the off-season and the Dolphins did well to add the aforementioned Dansby.  But the outside is downright scary.  And that’s with my personal favorite draft pick Koa Misi penciled in to start.

Misi is lining up opposite Charlie Anderson who is battling with Cameron Wake who is battling himself.  Wake is a monster built of potential.  Unrealized potential.  It’s up to him to get it.  So question 1:  Is Cameron Wake going to take the next step and become a force?

Question 2:  How much struggle with Koa Misi have in adjusting to the NFL?

And LB question number 3:  Is Dansby going to be strong enough mentally to elevate Channing Crowder? Who I think will be a 2nd team player by week 4 when he loses his job to Tim Dobbins who came over from San Diego on draft day.

Then there is the defensive line.  Starks has moved to NT so that Phillip Merling can camp duel against rookie Jared Odrick.  Merling is on the cusp of losing more than just his job if he doesn’t step up.  On the other side is Kendall Langford who should improve over a pretty good season last year.  But the entire defensive unit will hinge on the play of Randy Starks.  Which brings up question 1.  Will Starks make the transition to NT and still be the impact player he was last season?

Question 2:  Is Jared Odrik going to make a huge impact as a rookie.  Or how about a marginal one?

With the front 7 addressed it’s easy to skip back to the secondary.  The only question that really needs to be asked at CB is this.  Will the sophomore duo of Vontae’ Davis and Sean Smith suffer the proverbial sophomore slump?  If there were a 2nd, it’s where will Will Allen fit in.

Then, finally there is the safety position.  More specifically, the free safety position.  Is the answer Clemons or Jones or will this season be another mystery and another tongue lashing by Miami fans every time some WR slips behind coverage for another late game score?

Is this defense ready to step up to the plate and take over games and dominate for 60 minutes?  Is Mike Nolans’ schemes adequate enough to make up for the lack of experience on the unit or is too complex for the youth to understand?

Questions that will inevitably linger until the season is well underway.

Topics: Brandon Marshall, Cameron Wake, Channing Crowder, Chris Clemons, Karlos Dansby, Koa Misi, Miami Dolphins, Mike Nolan, Sean Smith, Tim Dobbins, Vontae Davis

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  • James A.

    you makes some good points and raise a few good questions, only problem is strong safety is Y. Bell, free safety is the ?

  • http://phins.com mike

    Clement and Jones are battling for fs not ss .

  • Brian Miller

    I swear I am have serious issues with that position this off-season. Every freaking article I have switched them around…and I was a FREAKING DC!

  • Deof Movestofca

    Look at the bright side. At least you’re not as bad as Yahoo Sports, who has the Dolphins signing a Patsy’s draft pick:

    “Draft Choices Signed

    • C Ted Larsen(notes) (6/205); terms unknown.”

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=teamreports-2010-nfl-mia

  • Steve Hoffart

    Question one is the answer I’m most excited about! I live in BC and watched him win Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year by rolling over everyone is his path. The CFL’s offensive tackles are considerably smaller than NFL tackles, but arguably faster. With that said, I see a lot of similarities between Wake and Dumervil and Nolan turned Dumervil into a sack machine. Wake is even bigger I think. I’m not the first to say that Wake will likely be less effective against the run, but I’m convinced he’ll be good for 10 plus.

    My guess is that the NFL is the first time he’s ever faced even competition and not having his way with the blockers hurt his confidence, but he’s been here for a full season and games like the Buffalo one last year, where he had 3, will be the norm.

  • steven l candy

    there is a new free agent free safety as of yesterday…Dolphins absolutely SHOULD sign him..