The Miami Dolphins went 7-9 in 2012 which surpassed some expectations, and Dolfans are watching this offseason with extreme interest. The team has a lot of money to spend to surround their franchise quarterback with more talent, and also to add to their already strong defense, but thanks to Marcus Thigpen the return game is in great hands going forward.
A few years ago Thigpen showed his ability to be a difference maker as a returner on the professional level as he scored on punts, kickoffs, and missed field goals in the CFL for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Just over one year ago Thigpen was signed by the Dolphins and he put together a historic 2012 campaign for the franchise.
The Dolphins do not have a big history of scoring on special teams, in fact coming in to 2012 their last punt return touchdown was Ted Ginn Jr. back in 2007 and their last kickoff return was also Ginn Jr. in 2009. In 2012 Thigpen became the first Dolphin ever to score a touchdown from a punt return and kick return in the same season, and his return averages were much bigger than the production that Miami usually gets (27.4 on kick returns, 12.2 on punt returns).
In the past guys like Freddie Soloman and Jeff Ogden had their moments as punt returners, and Mercury Morris is currently the franchise leader with three kick return touchdowns, but Thigpen is a rare Dolphin that can excel in both roles. Guys like Ginn Jr and O.J. McDuffie had moments where they were great at both roles as well, and Thigpen looks like he is going to be the best of the bunch.
Time will tell if Reggie Bush will remain in Miami, and if he does depart then we may see some playing time at running back open up for Thigpen. Either way the 2013 Dolphins will be expecting a lot from no.34 as a special teams difference maker.