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Scouting the Schedule: Dolphins

Posted by Albert Breer  July 27, 2010 01:25 PM

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It also wouldn’t hurt if rookies Koa Misi (a solid coverage backer) and Jared Odrick (an elite athlete on the end) both make fast adjustments to the league. But those aren’t the only big questions heading into camp.

The Dolphins also need to see some major progress from second-year safety Chris Clemons, who is slated to start opposite Yeremiah Bell. Nose tackle Randy Starks’ transition from defensive end to the inside is also a huge move. So if the Dolphins’ defense is going to live up to the offense’s potential, it’s going to require some very fast adjustments by several players – all under a new defensive coordinator in Mike Nolan.
 
Needs to happen to win big: Even with Marshall available to open up the passing game, the Dolphins need to have Ronnie Brown healthy for a full season. In 2007, he had 602 yards after seven games – but blew out his knee. In 2009, he had 648 yards after nine games – but suffered a lisfranc fracture.

Although Ricky Williams continues to defy his age as a backup, it’s not going to be favorable if the Dolphins need to rely on him as the primary running threat at this point in his career. But the combination of a healthy Brown and a steady Williams could be the one-two punch that puts this team in contention for the AFC East title toward the season’s end.
 
Where they stack up: In a division with such talent, it’d be difficult to hoist the Dolphins ahead of the Jets or the Patriots – but it would also be foolish to count them out. Miami’s ability to gain an immediate connection between Chad Henne and Marshall could go a long way, but either way, this should be a long, enduring battle for all three contenders in the division.

SCOUTING THE SCHEDULE SERIES
July 14: Bengals
July 15: Jets
July 16: Bills
July 17: Ravens
July 18: Chargers

July 19: Vikings
July 20: Browns
July 21: Steelers
July 22: Colts
July 23
: Lions
July 24: Bears
July 26: Packers
Today: Dolphins
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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