Don’t be surprised if Dolphins fall back in AFC East next season

By Adam Sweeney  |   Tuesday, March 24, 2009  |  Comments( 1 )

Miami Dolphins
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I have to admit that I still get a good feeling thinking about the turnaround that the Miami Dolphins had in 2008. I'm a fan of underdogs, which might explain why I annually spend three hours on my March Madness brackets. I have to talk myself out of taking Northern Iowa over Purdue.

Bouts between fantasy and reality got me thinking about the Dolphins; it should also have you doing it, because it's time for a reality check. Last season was an anomaly in the AFC East. The reality is that the Miami Dolphins may very well be a better team next season and still find themselves toward the bottom of the AFC East standings. This won't necessarily be the case a week before the season starts, but I think that the Dolphins aren't going to be near the AFC East title. I'll tell you why.

Tom Brady is back. Yeah, you're going to be sick of seeing him. He's going to be there whenever the division is broken down. Brady will also likely be all over the stat sheet against the Dolphins when they play next season. The Patriots still went 11-5 without him, which shows that Bill Belichick is truly a genius.

The New York Jets' defense is going to be vicious. Adding players like Bart Scott and a head coach like Rex Ryan automatically should the defense into top 10 status for the next few years. If the Jets grab Jay Cutler at quarterback, they could leapfrog the Dolphins. I'm not a Brett Favre fan, but the fact is that he had the Jets in the driver's seat up until he started having shoulder problems. That was a completely different team once he was injured and experts were ready to crown the Jets as the squad to beat at the season's halfway point.

While the Jets went after big-name players in free agency, the Dolphins weren't able to get many of the guys they wanted (Jason Brown, for instance). Players like DeMarcus Faggins, the ex-Houston cornerback, won't open any eyes. Faggins has never really impressed, and he isn't going to save the Dolphins when it comes to covering receivers like Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. You don't have to be Daniel Snyder, but you do have to make some significant moves when there are guys out there who can help your team immediately. Standing pat will put you behind the Pats.

Another season under the belt may be just what the Dolphins need. They are actually a young team and made great strides in 2008. But will they be content with what they achieved last season? Could Tony Sparano suffer a sophomore slump? It's easy to pick off your opponents when you're lying in the weeds, but what do you do when you're the hunted?

We'll find out.
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About Adam Sweeney

Adam Sweeney spent 4 years as an opinions and arts & entertainment columnist with the Lone Star Lutheran, also working with Sports Illustrated.com. Along with his work on Realfootball 365 he currently is a contributor for Film School Rejects, SLAM Online, Talkhoops.net, and C-Heads Magazine.
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