Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – It’s a new day in the NFL and that means the Miami Dolphins are finally starting to arrive at the team’s facility for the first time in more than 130 days.
Team activities for the Dolphins players currently under contract will be limited to classroom work and conditioning for Tuesday. Practices with pads can’t get started until Wednesday and later into the week.
Brandon Marshall arrived at the team’s facility a little after 9 a.m. For Marshall, and the Dolphins, it’s a welcome distraction from his messy offseason. Marshall was allegedly stabbed by his wife, but Brandon told investigators she didn’t stab him.
Rookie running back Daniel Thomas didn’t know where he parked, but was ready to get to work in his new offense.
“It feels like the first day of class, college, whatever you want to call it,” Thomas said. “I’m pretty nervous, but it’s time to work now.”
Marshall’s fellow receiver, Brian Hartline, told CBS4’s Jorge Sedano on the radio this morning that he would be at the team’s headquarters around 10 a.m. Hartline said it will take him about a day to learn the new offense, but will take most of the preseason to get acclimated to not thinking in the new offense.
The new offense Hartline spoke of will be Brian Daboll’s first offense with the Dolphins. Daboll, most recently the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, will have to tailor his offense to fit the talents of the current Dolphins roster.
Daboll’s offense in Cleveland was a mess, partly because he had very poor talent to work with while there. But, Daboll also learned under the tutelage of both Charlie Weis and Josh McDaniels; so the potential for a better offense is there.
The man set to lead that offense right now is Chad Henne. Dolphins fans may be tiring of Henne, but he’s only in his second full season as a starter if he wins the job. Rumors have floated for weeks about who the Dolphins could land at quarterback, but as of now, the Fins are going with Henne.
The problem for the free agents and others who will sign with the Dolphins this week is many will not be able to practice with the team for another week. That puts their ability to win a starting job even more in doubt as others will have around a week of extra class time to learn the new Fins offense.
The biggest question will be will Daboll let Henne air it out, or will the Dolphins be in another dink-and-dunk offense that drove fans crazy last season. The key for Henne will be a strong running game.
When Henne came in to replace Chad Pennington in 2009, he showed a lot of potential as the season wound down. Much of that was thanks to a strong running game the Dolphins had to take the pressure off of him. He regressed last year as the Fins’ running game fell apart.
On the free agent wire, there are a lot of running backs available, but only a couple that would make the Dolphins much more dynamic. DeAngelo Williams was one such back, but he told local papers in Charlotte that the Panthers get “the first stab at me.”
Ahmad Bradshaw would be the perfect fit for the Dolphins, but he’s expressed an interest in returning to the New York Giants, if the price is right. His agent, the notorious Drew Rosenhaus, has speculated he would like to come to Miami, but it’s not known if Miami is interested in him.