Welcome to another Miami Dolphins season, kicking off this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Gone is the old logo and uniforms. Gone are many of last seasons players. Enter a lot of expectations for a franchise that has routinely disappointed it's fans over the past decade, or four. Sunday is a fresh start for a team many are pegging as a team on the come, as well as fans first chance to play with many of the new toys acquired this off-season.
The Dolphins first opponent is a team with similar aspirations, as well as it's own handful of new and or young players to get excited about. There will be a lot to take in and get acquainted to when the Dolphins kick off at 1 p.m. Sunday, let's take a look at a few things you should be keeping your eye on.
It's your first chance to checkout all the new Dolphins, and there are A LOT OF THEM
What do you as a GM of an NFL team do if all the players you hand picked to not suck indeed suck? You shake the shit out of that Etch-a-Sketch and start over, that's what you do. New wide receivers, new linebackers, new right tackle, new fullbacks, new cornerbacks, hell even a new kicker -- Sunday is our first extended look at Jeff Ireland's latest and greatest attempt at building an NFL team that people give a shit about after Halloween. Even some of the positions with holdovers starting aren't the same starters as last season, with Lamar Miller starting at runningback, Charles Clay starting at tight end, Jonathan Martin at left tackle, and Olivier Vernon starting at wherever it is he starts at. All of this would be totally normal if the Miami Dolphins were a College program, but this sort of change is pretty rare.
It's Miller time. I made up that slogan up just now.
Reggie Bush totaled nearly 1,300 all-purpose yards and eight touchdowns last season, and was lauded for his hard work and leadership. So when it came time to resign Bush the Miami Dolphins did exactly what you would expect them to do, they didn't even call him, and let him walk. Wait, what?! Enters Lamar Miller, pretty much handed the job as lead back in his sophomore season. He showed flashes in his rookie campaign, but totaled just 50 carries, so like "chick in a moving car on I-95 putting them on the glass" type flashes. Reggie Bush is likely to have a very nice season with the Detroit Lions, so Sunday we get our first real glimpse of the guy we let him go for.
Remember Davone Bess? Yeah, he's a Brown now.
In five years with Miami Bess had 321 catches, 3,447 yards, and 12 touchdowns, but apparently he just didn't fit into their super duper 2013 plans, so they traded him for a fifth round pick that became Florida Gators RB Mike Gillislee. Was Bess going to lead the Dolphins to a Super Bowl? Nah. Was Bess irreplaceable? No, no he wasn't Beyonce. As luck would have it guess who comes strolling onto the other side of the field in Week One? Yup. You know how this usually goes. Ex-players love to come back and haunt Miami teams, Donnie "Bleeping" Murphy hit the game winner against the Marlins the other night for God's sake. Must I remind you of Daunte Culpepper pointing to his knee in the Sun Life end zone after he left? No, no I don't, because those memories are etched into your soul forever, like the first time you watched the Blair Witch Project and thought it was real. Even the headache afterwards is the same.
Wow, this has been a really negative preview, what is there to look forward to?
The Defensive line, that's what. Stacked from side to side, front to back, this Dolphins defensive line has a chance to do some special things against the Browns this Sunday, and the rest of the season in general. Randy Starks, Cameron Wake, Paul Soliai, Jared Odrick, Olivier Vernon, and newcomer Dion Jordan lead a group of pass rushers that should form the best unit the franchise has seen since Jason Taylor was in his prime, Speed, power, quickness, finesse, Pee-Wee Herman dances, Hulk celebrations,you name it -- this group of guys brings it to the table. Snapping necks and cashing checks, these dudes are walking tall. It should be fun to watch, and will no doubt make up for some weaknesses in the secondary on this team.
Wait, you said Dion Jordan, he's playing?
It sure sounds like it. Not only did Phins Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle say Jordan would be a big part of what they do on Defense this week, but Special teams coach Darren Rizzi sounds excited about what he can do on his unit (#pause). If you ask me, having your third overall pick, he of a shoulder held together with twisty ties playing special teams, is a lot like paying Anthony Bourdain a boat load of money to cater your wedding -- then pointing him in the direction of the pot sink. Regardless, it's good news that the freakish athlete the Phins moved up in the draft to get is prepared to report for duty.
And now for a video, GO DOLPHINS.
Who: Week 1 Miami Dolphins (0-0) vs. Cleveland Browns (0-0)
Where: First Energy Stadium -- Cleveland, Ohio
When: Sunday, September 8, 2013
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Announcers: Solomon Wilcots and Kevin Harlan
Stat Of The Week: Since 1999, the season the Cleveland Browns returned to the NFL, they are 1-13 in season openers (1-12 at home)