What a difference a year can make. From 1-15 to 11-5 is no small accomplishment. However, I think we can say with some certainty that there were a few "outside factors" that helped Miami to their giant turnaround last season. To wit:
- A schedule that included both the AFC and NFC West, the two worst divisions in football.
- A gimmick offensive formation that nobody had ever seen before.
- A knee injury to a certain god-among-men.
So it was a great season to be sure, but I think the chances of it being repeated are pretty slim. The schedule gets harder this year - the Dolphins have to play the NFC and AFC South. And Tom Brady will once again descend from the heavens to allow we mortals to bask in his handsomeness.
I'm torn on the Wildcat, though. On one hand I feel it will be less effective because teams have seen it and will be expecting it; what with quite a few teams implementing it this season. However, without fail as soon as I write off the Wildcat as a one-year wonder in Miami two words always spring to mind: Pat White.
Miami's second-round pick has the potential to be the position-changing quarterback Michael Vick was supposed to be. I feel like White gives you 85% of Vick's athleticism, with at least 90% less dogfighting. I think that's a pretty solid ratio and I can't think of anyone better suited to run the Wildcat.
To see White run the Wildcat will be about the only reason to watch Miami this season. It's either that or watch Chad Pennington float passes to Ted Ginn Jr. and Greg Cammarillo. No thanks.
Miami is a solid team but it's a tough division and they have a tougher schedule this year. I think they'll take a step back, maybe 8-8 or 9-7, but will probably be even better in 2010.
But what do I know? Play them off, Keyboard Cat!