Sadly for the 'Phins, the 11-year old veteran wideout may have immediately climbed atop the depth chart.
Last season's leading receiver Brandon Marshall (81 receptions, 1,214 yards, 6 TDs) was traded to Chicago to reunite with former quarterback Jay Cutler on March 13 in exchange for two third round draft picks, leaving Davone Bess (51 receptions, 537 yards, 3 TDs) Miami's top wideout left on the roster.
Clearing Marshall off the roster was a puzzling move to me––and many others––especially considering all they received for the hefty three-time Pro Bowler was two third rounders. Two rookies, selected in the sixth and seventh rounds, are heading in to camp for Miami and may find the experience of Ochocinco helpful.
What I'm trying to say here is that Miami's receiving corps is incredibly inexperienced and, even with the addition of Ochocinco, lacks leadership. Legedu Naanee, 28, signed a one-year deal with the team in April and will provide an elusive presence for the offense.
Running back Reggie Bush, finally breaking out for a 1,000 yard season on the ground in 2011, has always been a threat out of the backfield (43 receptions, 296 yards, 1 TD) and will continue to do so throughout the 2012 campaign.
In 2011 Miami was 20th in total offense and 23rd in the passing game, using two different quarterbacks in Matt Moore (12 starts) and Chad Henne (four starts). The two combined for a 6-10 record and, surprisingly, just 13 interceptions.
With the eighth pick in the draft this past April, the front office took a chance on the questionable 6'4"/221 pound quarterback out of Texas A&M, Ryan Tannehill. Projected to go much later in the draft (late first rd/early second) this was a risky selection.
Henne is no longer on the 'Phins roster, which means Tannehill will duel it out with Matt Moore for the starting position starting at training camp towards the end of July. Tannehill is the darkhorse to win the starting roll––in my opinion, at least––but I wouldn't be surprised to see him the starter by mid-season should Moore struggle early on.
Given all of the above information, I think the only reasonable conclusion as to why Ochocinco (15 receptions, 276 yards, 1 TD) chose to head down to Miami was simply because he can head back to his hometown and play the game he loves. Or, perhaps he finds that this could be one of the last opportunities he gets to prove he can still play with the big dogs.
Luckily for both parties, the Dolphins' offensive system should be a little easier to grasp than their division counterpart and Ocho's former team New England. Despite his aging body, I expect Ocho to be a difference-maker for this offense, catching 50+ balls for over 500 yards.
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