- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Final Power Ranking: 24
Preseason Power Ranking: 24
Biggest surprise: Who knew career backup Matt Moore would be the best quarterback on Miami's roster and the second-best quarterback in the AFC East (courtesy of the "Sanchez-Fitz-Moore Watch")? He proved it by taking over for the injured Chad Henne and leading the Dolphins to a respectable finish. Moore started 12 games and threw for 2,497 yards, 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He had an 87.1 passer rating and was 6-6 as a starter. Moore made his best case to be Miami's starter in 2012, but expect the team to see if it can find an upgrade via the draft or free agency in the offseason.
Biggest disappointment: Henne, a former second-round pick, is officially a bust. Dolphins fans were ahead of the curve and knew it before the team did. Miami supporters were already down on Henne and booed him last summer. The Dolphins were willing to give Henne one more shot, and he started 0-4 and suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. Henne says he wants to stay, but that's unlikely. He's an unrestricted free agent and wants a chance to start. That won't happen in Miami next season.
Biggest need: It starts at the top for Miami. The Dolphins need a head coach to establish the future direction of the team. Former coach Tony Sparano was fired during the season and replaced by interim coach Todd Bowles. The Dolphins interviewed Bowles, who went 2-1, for the job. But the team most likely will hire from the outside. The Dolphins reportedly will interview Jeff Fisher this week. That's the best-case scenario. But Miami might have trouble landing a big-name coach to work under general manager Jeff Ireland, who will call the shots in Miami.
Team MVP: This is a tough call. Miami's solid finish was truly a team effort. But if we have to name one player, starting tailback Reggie Bush was the most consistent. Bush finished strong and had his first 1,000-yard season. He finished with 1,086 yards and six touchdowns. What was even more impressive is he stayed healthy enough to start 15 games. Durability has always been one of Bush's biggest questions because of his lack of size. But he proved in 2011 that he can be a feature back.
Free-agent watch: The Dolphins are pretty solid with contracts. One of the few big questions involves starting defensive tackle Paul Soliai. He is an underrated defensive tackle, but not by Miami. The Dolphins thought enough of Soliai to give him a one-year franchise tag. He doesn’t put up big numbers but helped anchor Miami’s fifth-ranked run defense. Now, the team has to decide whether to work out a long-term extension, use another tag or let Soliai walk.
3hEric D. Williams