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Dolphins Special Teams Need to be More Special in 2009

Today’s Sun Sentinel has a feature on the Dolphins special teams units, and says that they are going to have to get a lot better to make that next step in 2009:

“Do you have all day?” John Bonamego deadpans.

Um, no.

“Well, obviously, we were a unit last year that started off very rough,” Bonamego continues. “And statistically, in this league, when you don’t get off to a fast start it takes you a while to dig out of the hole. We gave up way too many plays last year. But I think that toward the end, down the stretch … we really improved a great deal. I fully expect us to get off to a much better start this year.”

They must.

The Dolphins were 24th in the NFL in kick coverage and 29th in punt coverage. They allowed 12.8 yards per punt return, while gaining 9.8. They allowed 24.3 per kick return, while gaining 20.2. Just as it was remarkable the Dolphins won 11 games, so many by small margins while often struggling in the conventional run offense, it was equally remarkable that they won those games while giving away field position. They compensated with extraordinary efficiency in other areas, avoiding turnovers and penalties.

That efficiency will be difficult to repeat. So it is critical to perform better, from start to finish, on special teams.

“As I tell the team all of the time, that is the area on the team that we can improve the fastest,” coach Tony Sparano says.

click HERE to read the rest

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