The Miami Dolphins are set to take the field in about four hours. For Dolphins fans, the season has finally arrived, football is back. There is always a yearly sense of excitement that comes along with opening day. A feeling that this could be the year. Even in the hours leading up to the horrific Cam Cameron season, there was excitement. This year that excitement is mixed with apprehension.
Perhaps the uneasy feeling has to do with the pre-season disappointments or perhaps it comes from a greater expectation of success. Either way, fans are viewing this opening game as far more than a simple trip to Buffalo.
It’s been brought up on this site far too much. The losing streaks the Dolphins own going into this game. Both the opening day and the Orchard Park streaks will either continue another year or will end together. That is not what has Phin fans chewing fingernails to the nubs.
It’s the question marks. Can Chad Henne hit Brandon Marshall? Can Marshall catch it? Can the Dolphins Oline give Henne enough protection from what should be an all out blitzing Buffalo front? Can they open up running lanes to give Ronnie Brown some daylight? Can Ricky Williams get the ball in the flats on swing passes and get up field?
And those are just the offensive questions.
The other side of the ball is filled with youth. Jared Odrick starts as a rookie DE while last years DE Randy Starks has moved inside to the NT position. Phillip Merling is on IR and Channing Crowder is, well, no one really knows what is going on with him but he won’t be in Buffalo and may not be in Minnesota either. Throw in Tim Dobbins and recently acquired first round bust Bobby Carpenter and you wonder how Karlos Dansby is feeling right about now.
Koa Misi has been benched in favor of Ikaea Alama-Francis while last years 16 game starting rookie Sean Smith has also been benched. For former first round bust Jason Allen. (Coincidentally, both Allen and Carpenter are very good on special teams). Move yourself way back into the secondary and you have questions about 2nd year man Chris Clemons who will be manning the vacated safety spot of Gibril Wilson who failed miserably last year.
Then there is the special teams.
Add all three of them together and you have more questions than you care to handle.
The Dolphins need this win. It will build momentum going forward against the Vikings next week who held Drew Brees to one touchdown on Thursday, it will bode well for their return trip home to face the Jets and Patriots in back to back weeks.
In other words, this is a game that has fans tense, nervous, and yet so excited to see the game back in full swing.
Welcome to Miami football 2010!