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News » TAKING A LAST LOOK BACK AT 2008'S MAGICAL RIDE


TAKING A LAST LOOK BACK AT 2008'S MAGICAL RIDE


TAKING A LAST LOOK BACK AT 2008'S MAGICAL RIDE
Coach Tony Sparano woke up startled at 3:30 a.m. and began thinking of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were supposed to be his next opponent if the Dolphins had gotten past the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.


Instead, Sparano and his bosses, General Manager Jeff Ireland and vice president of Football operations Bill Parcells, will soon begin their offseason evaluation of personnel so that the franchise can take the next step from AFC East champs into Super Bowl contenders.

"To do it over again and again that's what makes you elite," Sparano said. "The Lakers were elite. Yankees were elite even though I'm a Met fan. That's another body blow."

Free agents need to be re-signed or found. A trip to the Senior Bowl in Mobile and then the NFL Combine in Indianapolis must be made to check out the nation's elite draft-eligible collegians. Then it's April and the draft before the minicamps start rolling around.

But first, let's take a look back at one of the Dolphins' most amazing seasons.

INFORMATIONAL BOX:

Best airline chat of year

During the long trip back home following a 31-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals and an 0-2 start, quarterbacks coach David Lee and Sparano came up with their own version of an offensive formation used at the University of Arkansas. The idea was to get running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams more touches. The conversation spawned the Wildcat and the imaginative offense spread through the league like wildfire. Unsung hero

Running back Patrick Cobbs beat out two rookie running backs and became a vital cog in the Wildcat and the offense, while leading the special-teams units. No longer Patsies

Going into Foxborough and hammering the Tom Brady-less Patriots 38-13 with the unveiling of the Wildcat and Brown turning in one of the great performances during the NFL season was tough to top. Simply the Bess

Undrafted receiver Davone Bess proved that Hawaii's run-and-shoot offense can transfer to the NFL as the happy-go-lucky dreadlocked kid from Oakland blossomed. Michael Jordan un-retirement award

That has to go to former Packers legend Brett Favre for un-retiring and getting traded to the Jets, which in turn led to the Dolphins snatching up a discarded Chad Pennington, who became the NFL Comeback Player of the Year for his leadership, class and exceptional quarterback play. Thursdays with Ernest

The Dolphins' brass couldn't hit a home run on all the offseason signings and acquisitions, but they really whiffed on receiver Ernest Wilford, who only would speak to the media on Thursdays. Unfortunately, Wilford couldn't get much done on the field on Sundays as the $6 million man finished with three catches for 25 yards in nine games. Steal of the year

Tuna and Co. traded a 2008 fourth-round pick to Dallas for linebacker Akin Ayodele and tight end Anthony Fasano, two integral parts of a record-tying 10-game turnaround. Who needs J.T. ?

While twinkle toes Jason Taylor and his Washington Redskins sat out the postseason dance, Pro Bowl linebacker Joey Porter took over J.T.'s sack attack with a career-high 17.5. His stream-of-consciousness media sessions including controversial opinions on Pit Bulls, guns, a Jaguars player's drug deals and inequities of the league's disciplinary policies were fascinating, but on the field J-Peezy provided fiery leadership and a one-man pressure-applying service. Saved by the Bell

Sure, Pennington deservedly got the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award and Brown would have been a worthy choice too after coming back from knee surgery. But this space is reserved for strong safety Yeremiah Bell for recovering from a torn Achilles' and proving that when healthy he's a keeper. Shooting down the J-E-T-S

Marching into the Meadowlands with Pennington and beating the hated Jets, who dumped him for Brett Favre, to get into the playoffs and capture the AFC East title after a 1-15 campaign was icing on the cake that should leave a sweet aftertaste all offseason. Post-Christmas shopping list

After watching how the Ravens D-line manhandled Miami's O-line, expect Parcells' grocery list to include more beefy linemen, especially guards where they were dreadfully thin after rookie Donald Thomas went down in the season opener.

INFORMATIONAL BOX:

Key dates

Jan. 19-24: Senior Bowl practices and college all-star game in Mobile, Ala. The week serves as a crucial evaluation period for college Football seniors.

Feb. 5: First day clubs can designate franchise or transition players

Feb. 18-24: NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where the league's decision makers come to interview, test and evaluate future NFL stars and busts

Feb. 19: Deadline for clubs to designate franchise and transition players

Feb. 27: Free agency period begins

April 25-26: The NFL Draft in New York. The Dolphins won't have another No. 1 for a while, but that's progress, isn't it?

- Harvey Fialkov



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 6, 2009

Chansi Stuckey Name: Chansi Stuckey
#83
Position: WR
Age: 24
Experience: 1 years
College: Clemson
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