I was there last year, when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were in our house on a Monday night. The air was electric as our beloved Miami Dolphins were ready to embark upon their 2011 season. Wearing my new Reggie Bush jersey, I felt the Dolphins would be competitive in this game and the entire season. Deep in my subconscious, unaffected by my love for the Phins, I felt eight wins.
The Dolphins kept pace with the Pats for more than a half, up until Wes Welker caught the 99-yard touchdown pass. At that point, it was evident that Chad Henne and our secondary were two gaping holes that would drag us into mediocrity again. Yes, Henne passed for 416 yards that game but it was the interception he threw that stood out. It was a terrible momentum-killing decision that seemed like a replay. We had seen it throughout his three-year career, at that point. He went on to pass for a miserable 170 yards against the Texans, completing 12 of 30 passes the following week.
We knew Henne was a problem but, thankfully, we did not trade for Kyle Orton, who wanted a multi-year deal. Jeff Ireland instead signed the undrafted, inexperienced Matt Moore, who remains unheralded but possesses the intangibles that winners have.
By the way, we all knew Henne was not the answer. During his first three seasons, he averaged a 74.8 quarterback rating. Which is pathetic. Mark Sanchez‘ average QB rating, through his first three seasons is 73.2. I love to mention that.
We also knew Tony Sparano‘s conservative style would get run over by the modern NFL and so we tried and failed to lure Jim Harbaugh.
We knew our defense was good and despite a difficult start, the Dolphins ended No.3 against the run and No.6 in points allowed. Those are elite rankings but because of the pass defense, the Dolphins ended No.15 in total yards allowed.
Today, I can clearly see Reggie Bush and Lamar Miller breaking into the open field behind one of the top offensive lines in the league. I see Paul Soliai blowing up intended runs and Cameron Wake dragging down quarterbacks. I see Vontae Davis dancing in the endzone. I see the No.12 quarterback (based on QB rating) in the league, Matt Moore, improving his ranking as Ryan Tannehill shines a light on the future of the position. I see Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman adding a complexity to the offense that makes it both thrilling and unpredictable. I see Kevin Coyle patching up an already dynamic defense.
Yes, I feel it. The Texans are in a world of trouble in Week 1. My heart agrees with Karlos Dansby and his Super Bowl prediction but my deep subconscious says 10 wins.
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