Where do the upgraded Dolphins rank now?
They were the worst.
But where are they today?
Although no one has played a game lately, there has been plenty of activity around the NFL since February when the Giants were crowned kings. Coaching changes, free agency, and the draft have changed things in a lot of places.
Well, the changes have been exceedingly kind to the Dolphins if one studies Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback at si.com today. In his NFL rankings, he's got Miami at No. 27. The Dolphins, per King, are better than San Francisco, St. Louis, Oakland, Kansas City, and Atlanta, which he ranks dead last.
I have to disagree.
While I do think the Dolphins have addressed some issues this offseason, I am also quite familiar with the warts. So I don't see how the addition of Jake Long, Chad Henne, Reggie Torbor, Bill Parcells, Phillip Merling and Josh McCown has helped the Dolphins vault past the Raiders.
If you remember the Raiders pretty much handed it to the Dolphins last season. The score was 35-17 but the game wasn't really that close as Oakland so dominated the line of scrimmage that the offense needed only five pass completions to turn the game into a route.
The Raiders have the best CB tandem in the NFL today with DeAngelo Hall and Nnamdi Asomugha. They have a supremely gifted QB about to embark on his first full season in JaMarcus Russell. They just improved their running game with this guy, you may have heard of him, Darren McFadden.
And with a $143 million payroll somehow tucked into the $104 million cap, the front office is not as bereft of imagination as everyone believes.
King has the the Rams rated behind the Dolphins also. Really? Tell me how many Pro Bowls the Miami starting quarterback has been to. For that matter, who is the Miami starting quarterback?
Rams QB Marc Bulger has been to two Pro Bowls. Torry Holt is better than any receiver Miami puts on the field. The defense last year was better than Miami's and it has added Chris Long. And Orlando Pace is said to be on track with his recovery from injury while the addition of guard Jacob Bell promises stability.
Oh yeah, Steven Jackson has been more productive and more durable than Ronnie Brown. So while I don't think the Rams are ready for any sort of playoff run, I don't see how the Dolphins passed them considering the two-game difference between at the end of 2007.
King has Miami ahead of San Francisco also. I guess he believes Miami has picked up five games on San Francisco this offseason. Maybe he thinks the unsettled quarterback situation in SF is a problem. I'm more worried by the unsettled quarterback situation in Miami.
And while I trust Parcells to eventually get that QB situation addressed in Miami, I can also appreciate Mike Martz and his ability to turn OK quarterbacks -- Kurt Warner, Jon Kitna and Bulger come to mind -- into very good quarterbacks.
I do agree the Dolphins have moved past Atlanta and Kansas City, as King notes. Atlanta was the lone team that had a worse season than Miami last year, what with the Mike Vick debacle and the Bobby Petrino in-season departure and the inability to land Parcells.
The Falcons believe they've found their new franchise quarterback in Matt Ryan, the guy the Dolphins passed over. But the Falcons have holes along the OL, DL and in the secondary and Ryan may not play right away. So this team looks worse than Miami.
So does KC. The Chiefs traded away their best player -- something the Dolphins have so far resisted doing with Jason Taylor. And although they got a king's ransom back from Minnesota for Jared Allen, the Chiefs aren't likely to see the fruits of that trade immediately. The rookies selected with the extra picks will have to grow into the NFL game as might first pick Glenn Dorsey.
And talk about quarterback problems. With Brodie Croyle as their answer, KC is one NFL team with a worse quarterback picture than Miami.
So by my reckoning, the Dolphins should be ranked 30th ahead of KC and Atlanta. It is not No. 27 where si.com has them. But at least it ain't last anymore.