The Dolphins are set to the face of the NFL (in a sense) for the next few Mondays thanks to being the stars of the popular Hard Knocks show on HBO.
Many of claimed this season of Hard Knocks will lack star power, Super Bowl level talent, and worthwhile storylines. While many have claimed that it could be a “lesser” season of the popular show, there are no shortage of storylines to follow as we follow this young team still full of unique schematic changes, unique characters, and rare, heartwretching stories.
Reggie Bush Expecting Another 1,000 Yard Rushing Season
After a stellar first season in Miami, Reggie will look to capitalize one more time in effort to land himself a nice free agent contract after the season. If Bush can duplicate his 2011 performance, he might just get that contract, be it in Miami or elsewhere. The Dolphins have prepared themselves for either scenario by drafting a back similar to Reggie in the Fourth round in Lamar Miller.
If Reggie has a big season, Miami can afford to pay him knowing they have Miller on a rookie contract that will have low cost to them, and if Reggie doesn’t earn a new deal, Miami may decide to spend that money on other positions and elevate Miller’s role in the future.
Under any scenario, the Dolphins will appear to have a solid running game this year after beefing up their offensive line with second round pick Jonathan Martin, and an extra training camp and year of experience for last year’s second round pick, RB Daniel Thomas. With three viable backs in the stable, and multiple first round investments on the Oline as well as a second rounder this year, Miami just may have a running game comparable to when Ronnie and Ricky roamed the backfield together a few seasons ago.
And off the field, Bush brings over a million twitter followers and a Heisman Trophy (or maybe not) to the media aspect of the Hard Knocks show. Like him, hate him (USC fans), or hope he can get over the bust label, he provides a well known face to a team that’s lacking “marketability” on HBO.
Chad Ochocinco Bring “Child Please” To a Young Dolphins Roster
“85″ gets a second chance to prove that he still has it after completely underwhelming folks in New England last season. 2011 was rough for Ocho as he caught only 15 passes in 15 games. The previous two seasons he amassed 139 receptions and 1,878 yards even while missing two full games.
If he can somehow approach those types of numbers in Miami along the lines of a 50 catch, 800 yard season, his tenure in Miami could be a huge lift to a team desperate for receiver help. If the 34 year old does not make an impact, Miami may move quickly to get some younger players involved.
Having the veteran Ochocinco could help alleviate the concern that incumbents Davone Bess and Brian Hartline will not be able to scare defenses enough to keep eight man fronts out of the middle of the field versus the Dolphins run game. If Miami does not get enough production from Chad’s spot, it’s possible that 2012 could once again be a very looooong season for Phin fans as teams simply stack their defenses up all season long with no legitimate threat to scare opponents outside of 20 yards.
Along with all of the on the field ramifications, it’s important we don’t forget who we’re dealing with. This is Chad Ochocinco. He’s a magnet to media attention, both inheritly and by him bringing that himself. Look for him to provide entertaining dialogue and making boring situations funny, along with providing a way for these young talents on offense to not be thrusted into the spotlight. He’ll be fun to watch on camera, no question about that.
Dolphins Making the Under-Ratedly Difficult Transition to the 4-3 Defense
Making a defensive switch is never easy for a team, especially early on. And for the Dolphins, their front seven personnel was developed specifically for the 3-4 defense, leaving many players to try and fill a position that they weren’t drafted at all to play.
In particular, Cameron Wake will need to play an undersized weakside defensive end role. While I’d expect the team to play him a bit wider than they might generally do to utilize his suddeness after he can pick up speed, he’ll need to make the adjustment with his hand on the ground and having some different responsiblities.
Along with him, Karlos Dansby will have more responsibility as the lone inside linebacker in the 4-3 defense. While he has experience in the defense, he seemed far more comfortable last year in the 3-4 than in any defense before. They adjustment will be something to watch, but apparently he’s excited to take on the responsibility and the new-found leadership role.
Finally, we’ll see how Paul Soliai can adjust to playing a 1-technique than head on the center and being a two gap player, as well as Jared Odrick, who will be moving to the outside end spot, an adjustment for the career tackle/3-4 end inside rusher.