Author: Shawn L. Smith
Who would have thought that the Miami Dolphins who struggled to win just one game last season would be a game away from winning the AFC east this season? Not even myself, a die hard (aren't any dolphins fans "die hard" at this point?) fins fan living in the middle of Patriots land, didn't think much more than a .500 season was realistic. This was just going to be yet another rebuilding year just like the past several have been. This season was different though. It doesn't hurt when famed QB Tom Brady of the dominant New England Patriots goes down in week one. It also doesn't hurt when you hire former coach Bill Parcels to be in the front office. Parcells also brought in new head coach Tony Sparano who was assistant head coach in Dallas. Sparano called plays for Bill Parcells in 2006 for the Cowboys.
The Fins also looked forward to the dual running back option with the re-reinstatement of Ricky Williams who endured suspensions and scrutiny from the world of football due to positive marijuana test results and a couple condescending interviews on 60 minutes as well as a seemingly fall out of interest in being a team member. Williams just seemed to be focusing on things other than the NFL. Was that such a crime? He was meditating and smoking pot, certainly not even close to the worst things any man, let alone an NFL player could be caught doing. All of the time "away" seems to have paid off with Williams contributing to the diverse scheme of plays in the Dolphins arsenal this season. While his stats are shadowed by star running back Ronnie Brown, Williams has managed to contribute 4 rushing TDs and one receiving. However the key to his presence has been seen in the perfecting of the "wildcat" offense that Miami has been catching teams off guard with. The Dolphins started the wildcat trend in the NFL lining up either running back Ronnie Brown (in most cases) or Ricky Williams in the shotgun formation with the option of handing off, running, or throwing. Teams just never know who or where the ball is going to go. In week 3 against the Patriots, the wildcat was even used with Ronnie Brown as QB and Chad Pennington lined up as receiver. Ronnie Brown then threw a TD pass to tight end Anthony Fasano.What did the Patriots have to say about the 38-13 loss in Gillette ? “Brutal,” is what New England defensive end Ty Warren labeled it for reporters afterward.
The wildcat has averaged over seven yards per play for the Dolphins.
We are now upon the final week of the regular season with Dolphins QB Chad Pennington returning to the Medowlands his former home field to play the New York Jets for a spot in the playoffs and an AFC East divisional win. It seems fitting that Pennington gets his chance at payback to the team that cut him and left him in order to bring in veteran quarterback Brett Favre who stayed in the focus of all that was football while he went back and forth about whether or not he was going to play this season and where. Chad must be feeling more loved and primed in south Florida than in Jersey though. Pennington has thrown for 3,453 yards, more than Brett Favre this year. Miami also has a 4 game winning streak going and until last weeks game against Kansas City went 3 games without allowing a single touchdown. Not only Pennington but the entire Dolphins team seems primed at just the right time of the year and just before the most important game of the year thus far, a chance for redemption and a run in the playoffs.