I'm really liking what I'm hearing out of this first week. IMO the Dolphin's two big weaknesses coming out of last season were that they didn't make enough big plays (or as Sparano says "chunk yardage") and that they gave up too many big plays. As stat focused as Sparano is, I'm certain that he is well aware that the teams that win in this league are considerably better in those two categories. I think that whether or not we improve in those areas is the difference between being a middle of the road 7-9, 8-8 or 9-7 team and one that is a legitimate threat as a SB contender. I have felt that the fixes for those areas came from different places. On offense, I've felt we needed more and better play makers. Our offense was incredibly efficient, but we didn't have many that would/could make the big play by breaking the extra tackle and/or running away from the defense. Therefore, it wasn't a scheme problem. It was a talent problem. I looked at our offense and I saw one true play maker in Brown, potential play makers in Henne and Hartline and an occasional play maker in Cobbs. Players like RWs, Bess, Cam and Polite were consistent players that helped our efficiency but they weren't play makers capable of consistently getting that chunk yardage. The addition of Marshall addressed that directly. And hopefully the development of Henne and Hartline would help address that internally. I loved hearing from Peter King that on the first play of the camp he was at, Henne connected with Marshall deep. Then in subsequent reports we've heard that Marshall has been unstoppable in the red zone (another area where our WRs struggled). In the first few practices Henne showed significant improvement in his completion percentage against the vanilla defensive schemes our defense played (and what they mostly played last season). Usually the defense is ahead of the offense at this point, but early on the offense was clearly winning. IMO that shows that Henne has taken another step in his development over where he was last season and that we've added a true offensive play maker that was as good as advertised. Those improvements alone should result in an increase in the number of big plays our offense produces this coming season. On defense, I thought our issues were mostly a scheme problem. I did feel we needed a talent upgrade at a couple of positions, namely a coverage LB and a FS, but they weren't as important as scheme improvements since our talent level in 2008 was roughly equivalent to what we had in 2009. And as I'm sure every body knows, our team defense was ranked about top half in 2008 and bottom third in 2009. I felt that just by improving the scheme it was reasonable to expect that we could return to being a top half defense and that by upgrading the talent in a few key positions we could be a top 10 defense. I looked at our defense and I saw play makers in Starks and Wake, two potential play makers in Davis and Smith and an occasional play maker in Bell. The addition of Dansby filled that coverage LB need and added another play maker to that group. That gave us three true defensive play makers and two guys in Davis and Smith who are universally believed to have the talent to bring our defensive play maker list to 5. Like with Henne and Hartline on the offensive side, you just have to wait and hope that they develop. That brings me to the addition of Nolan. He was supposed to bring with him more innovative rush packages akin to what we saw from the NYJ last year. That makes sense since they worked on the same staff in Baltimore. The news from camp seems to indicate that this is exactly what we're getting. As noted above, the offense was having a great deal of success early on. Even Sparano commented that he was a bit concerned that the offense was having so much success. I figure it probably took Nolan a few days to teach and install the new rush schemes. Well, fast forward to about day 4 and suddenly we're hearing that our pass rush is unstoppable. We're also hearing that Clemons has been holding on to the starting FS spot. He's a guy we all knew had the physical talent, but had yet to show that he could grasp the mental aspect. He may not qualify as that ball hawk S I wanted, but he seems to have made a mental jump and is making fewer mistakes playing what I'm guessing are simplified responsibilities in more of a man-free scheme as opposed to the quarters coverage often used last season. That should, at a minimum, result in a reduction in the number of big plays our defense allows this coming season. Now, obviously some can look at every offensive positive as a defensive negative and vice-a-versa, but I think the timing of the successes for the respective units that we're hearing of out of this camp indicate that both sides of the ball have improved over what we had last year. And that those improvements have come in the areas that are likely to translate into wins during the season.