With only one day until Miami Dolphins kick off their preseason against the Jacksonville Jaguars, it's time for everyone to purchase their plasmas, get out their giant foam fingers, and practice saying "shush" to anyone with a habit of talking on 4th and one. In a preseason game that means very little – other than which Florida city will get temporary bragging rights – we get our first chance to see the Dolphins newest acquisitions.
Many sports fans will surely turn their heads towards the rookies, stalking Ted Ginn and John Beck as these young draft choices set out to prove themselves worthy of a place in the NFL. But, it's not just the rookies who are new to this team, and it's just not the young guys who have something to prove.
As the Dolphins begin anew without the likes of Daunte Culpepper, Randy McMichael, Sammy Morris, Wes Welker, Joey Harrington, Olindo Mare, Kevin Carter, or David Bowens, they are far from veteran-free. In addition to losing several experienced players, they have also gained a handful, giving sports fans a second chance to watch those who want the same.
The following is a breakdown of the Dolphins veteran acquisitions:
Joey Porter: A linebacker formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Porter, like the Steelers themselves, had a mediocre year in 2006. In 14 games played, he recorded 55 tackles, six and a half sacks, two interceptions, and one interception for a touchdown. Though these numbers would be solid for other players, Porter, a 2003 and 2005 Pro Bowler, is used to making more of an impact. As a Dolphin, he just might get his chance.
Porter will be surrounded by a very strong cast of characters, including Zach Thomas, Vonnie Holliday, Keith Traylor, and the 2006 Defensive Player of the Year, Jason Taylor. In a system like this, Porter should once again be a dominating factor and make the tackles, the sacks, and the rushes on the quarterback for which he is routinely known.
Trent Green: In the eight games he played last year, Trent Green just wasn't himself; anyone who went through what he went through wouldn't have been themselves either. But, with a year gone by, Green has a chance to rebound on a new team, with a new coach, and a second chance in an already solid career.
As he is reunited with Cam Cameron, Green should find his true self once again as a strong, smart, and effective quarterback. With a "4,000 passing yards in a season" club membership, and a Pro Bowl under his belt, Green will likely exploit the talents of Chris Chambers and Marty Booker. Running back Ronnie Brown, slotted to have one heck of a season, will also help take some of the pressure away on offense.
David Martin: Formerly with Green Bay, Martin replaces Randy McMichael in the tight end position. While Martin had a few less than stellar seasons with the Packers, at times dropping more passes than he caught, he still has potential: he's smart, he's versatile, he's a great blocker, and he fits in well with Miami's offense. He's also now under a coach who turned Antonio Gates into a great player. Still, Martin will probably serve as a blocking tight end and in a supporting role until he – and if he – establishes himself.
Jay Feely: A kicker is often only as good as his offense and Feely's success in Miami will be greatly dictated by the overall success of the Dolphins. If they can move the ball, Feely will have the chance to score; if they can't, Feely will be little more than a glorified water boy.
Coming from the New York Giants, Feely made 23 of 27 field goals last year, and 38 out of 38 extra points. He's a solid kicker, but one who occasionally chokes during overtime situations. Still, the same can be said for almost any NFL kicker (Well, not you, Adam Vinatieri). As a kicker, he will neither make or break Miami's team, but he's a decent addition.
So, there you have it: these guys might be new to the Dolphins, but they are certainly not new to the NFL. As the 2007 season begins, we get a chance to see how they play… after growing fins.