Miami Dolphinshttp://www.nfl.com/kickoff/story/09000d ... ule=HP_cp2
Falling to 7-9 in 2009 after posting 11 victories and unexpectedly going to the playoffs in 2008 might have been a truer indication of what type of team the Dolphins really were. They were competitive and were developing some young talent, but they needed playmakers on both sides of the ball -- and they went out and spent heavily to get some. Miami signed inside linebacker Karlos Dansby from Arizona and traded for Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall. They also hired defensive coordinator Mike Nolan from the Broncos, a deft maneuver that should reflect with Miami putting more pressure on Mark Sanchez, Tom Brady and whomever Buffalo starts, among others. The Dolphins lost pass-rush production by letting aging outside linebacker Joey Porter and Jason Taylor leave, but upstart Cameron Wake is projected to do big things at one of those spots. More pressure should translate to more turnovers, and more turnovers puts the offense in better position to score.
Marshall alone has put the AFC East on notice, bringing size and big-time playmaking ability to what could shape up to be the most competitive division in the NFL. With Marshall giving Miami a game-changing wide receiver, fewer teams will be able to stack the line of scrimmage. With fewer obstacles in the way, the potent running game should be even more fearsome -- as long as Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown stay healthy. The Dolphins' playoff hopes rest squarely on second-year starter Chad Henne. He's generated a lot of optimism but he must make significant upgrades over last season, when he threw 14 picks and 12 touchdowns (2,878 yards). If Henne reduces his mistakes, Marshall will pick up some of the slack and the ultra physical Dolphins could make a serious playoff push.