The day the Miami Dolphins hired Bill Parcells in 2008 marked a massive change for the franchise. After years of languishing, relishing on the glory days of Dan Marino, recycling coaches and quarterbacks at a rate that would make the Chicago Bears jealous... the Dolphins finally found an answer.
In short, there was zero stability and zero consistency within the franchise. Sure, they may make a run at the playoffs here and there, but they would inevitably follow that up with a 6-10 season and more despair. But since the hiring of Parcells the Dolphins’ franchise continues to show steady improvement from year to year. The question now is, can this storied franchise return to the top?
Bill Parcells came along and brought Tony Sparano with him as head coach. The decision reaped immediate benefits, as the Dolphins went 11-5 and won the AFC East. Suddenly, the Dolphins were the hot franchise in the NFL, sporting their fancy “new” “Wildcat” offense (really just a derivation of old school offenses which have been in existence for decades) and new front office.
The team looked rejuvenated, revitalized and ready to compete. But as is prone to happen in the NFL, the Dolphins followed up a successful 2008 season by going just 7-9 in 2009.
Questions began to circulate regarding quarterback play and their 2008 starter, Chad Pennington, moved to the bench in the wake of Chad Henne taking over at the end of 2009. Defensively, they failed to live up to expectations. Offensively, teams began to scheme better for their Wildcat and they became less effective. So heading into 2010 they did what every wannabe contender aims to do: upgrade.
They went out and traded for high-profile, problematic wide receiver Brandon Marshall to give their passing game a legitimate threat. They signed Pro Bowl linebacker Karlos Dansby to strengthen their defense. They named Chad Henne the starting quarterback. They drafted Jared Odrick from Penn State and Koa Misi from Utah to help bolster their front seven. In short, they attacked the areas of weakness on their team aggressively.
But will it be enough?
In 2010, the Dolphins are currently third in the AFC East with a record of 3-2. They have victories over playoff favorites the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, while suffering losses to two of their divisional foes (New England and the New York Jets). With eleven games remaining on their schedule, there is still a ton of football to be played.
The Dolphins are tremendously improved defensively and appear to now have the added dimension they lacked in their passing attack in previous years. Will this be enough to overcome divisional favorites Jets and Patriots? Only time will tell, but it’s safe to say these Dolphins aren’t going anywhere soon.