Today's absurd prediction:
The Dolphins suffer one of the league's most tumultuous seasons.
There's a lot of controversy in Miami's training camp. Many players disagree with the way the QB situation was handled. They have publicly criticized the drafting of Ted Ginn, Jr. Management has botched this offseason in many ways, and it will show up in the win-loss column.
Here's the breakdown for the Miami Dolphins:
Coaching Changes: D+
Cam Cameron, formerly San Diego's offensive coordinator, will coach the Fins after Nick "The Quitter" Saban quit, that stupid quitter. Cameron will also be coordinating the offense, a choice I don't agree with. Sure, he's a great coordinator, but he's spreading himself too thin. They lost QB coach Jason Garrett to the Cowboys, who would have been great to try and make Cleo Lemon or John Beck into a starter. Two coaches brought in by Cameron, Terry Robiskie and Terry Shea, have worked with Trent Green before, and though they were hired months before Green was traded, the plan was obvious. And planning for a 37-year-old quarterback like that seems a little short-sighted. Dom Capers returns as the defensive coordinator, and should do a great job once again.
They picked a kick returner at #9, when they could have had Amobi Okoye, who could have replaced the aging Keith Traylor and been a rock on their defense for a long time. And of course, they could have had Brady Quinn, though they weren't the only team who didn't want to put that much money into him. Besides, there were four solid QBs that would be available in the second round. Sure enough, the second round came along and they chose the worst of the bunch, John Beck. Trent Edwards and Drew Stanton were still available, with Kevin Kolb having gone a few picks earlier to the Eagles. I like a few of their later picks; namely Lorenzo Booker who should complement Ronnie Brown well as a change-of-pace back as well as injury insurance, and DT Paul Soliai was a bit of a steal in the 4th, and he may be ready to step in as a nose tackle when Traylor retires.
Player Movement: B-
They finally got Trent Green to Miami, and there's no reason to believe he should fail, unless you count his poor performance returning from a nasty concussion last year, or any of the following names: Daunte Culpepper, Joey Harrington, Cleo Lemon, Gus Frerotte, Sage Rosenfels, Jay Fiedler, A.J. Feeley, Brian Griese, and Ray Lucas. The nice thing is, we know that Chris Chambers will still be good - his success can't be tied to any one quarterback. The other huge pickup, of course, is Joey Porter - now offenses will have to keep an eye on three star defensemen: Zach Thomas, Jason Taylor, and Porter. Yikes. They lost long-time kicker Olindo Mare, who I can't picture in anything other than a Dolphins uniform. He'll be replaced by Jay Feely, the sometimes good but maddeningly inconsistent former Giant. They got rid of both former backup RBs, Travis Minor and Sammy Morris, who never proved they could fill in for an injured starter. Chris Liewinski was picked up to start at guard. They lost Jeff Zgonina, Toniu Fonoti, and the old and out-of-shape Dan Wilkinson. But the two losses that will be felt the most are TE Randy McMichael, who was a great asset in the passing game, and Wes Welker. Miami picked up David Martin from Green Bay, who is hardly a replacement for McMichael, and Welker is not only gone, but he's playing for a division rival. Plus, losing Welker in the return game necessitated the drafting of someone with kick return skills; see Ginn, Ted, Jr., under "people who have badly sprained their ankles recently."
They draw the Texans and Raiders back to back, which easily gives them the best schedule in the division. But the contests vs. the entire AFC North and NFC East remain, which may be rather brutal. They may have a winning record after week 6 (I think they'll be able to beat the Redskins opening weekend, with Taylor, Thomas, and Porter terrorizing Jason Campbell, then in weeks 4-6 it's Oakland, Houston, Cleveland); but it'll go downhill fast from there. After the bye week, their easiest games are the two against Buffalo; other than the Bills, no one finished below 8-8 last year. They close out against Baltimore, New England, and Cincinnati. Ouch.
Cameron may be one of those coaches, like Norv Turner, who can't help but produce great rushing totals. LaDanian Tomlinson is a superb talent, but the work of Michael Turner in relief of Tomlinson suggests the coach's system might also be a factor. This could mean a huge season for Ronnie Brown, building on his 1,000 yard campaign last year (and that in only 13 games). But there's been a lot of change on this team. Two of the offensive linemen are new (Liewinski and rookie C Samson Satele), and the other three spent last year shifting positions so much it was almost comical. Add that to the coaching changes and the new QB, and the offense looks really shaky. Green's a great guy and has had a fantastic albeit unheroic career, but as Taylor said, "One big hit and he's scrambled eggs."
The Record: 5-11
As the season begins to unravel after the bye, Cameron is going to start getting a little stressed out, which will only make things worse. I imagine he'll promote Robiskie or Shea to offensive coordinator next year, to take something off of his plate, and that'll help. The Fish need to just get through this season; the future should be much better. But the fans will be shaking their heads about Ginn and Beck for some time.