The Annual Blame Game

Do we really need another reminder of the last 10 years?  A rehash of the events that have led this team to yet another 0-2 start with no sign of light in the foreseeable future?  Do we need to bring back names like Jamar Fletcher and Eddie Moore?  Ted Ginn, John Beck, and Jason Allen?  Unfortunately, the bad news is yes, the good news is I just did.

It has been two days since the Miami Dolphins got slammed on Sunday.  The coach says it won’t be forever, the losing that is, the players talk of a embarrassment, and Bill Parcells is declining to be interviewed from him bunker at the training center.  This is the annual blame game.  We did it with Saban, we did it with Cameron, and now, we are left with doing it with Tony Sparano.

The worst part is not the talent that is on the team, it’s the talent brought to the team by Parcells and company.  While guys like Jason Ferguson and Anthony Fasano look to be good additions, for every one of them there are at least two who don’t.  For the Akin Ayodele who has been playing decent, their is a Keith Davis and Sean Ryan who has been cut.  While the Dolphins may yet find solid players in guys like Reggie Torbor and Justin Smiley, the names passed on the free agent wire in favor of those two are guys like Alan Faneca and Calvin Pace.  Overpaid sure, but much more talented than what we have so far seen out of the “2nd tier” guys.  Oh, and for the record, those two “names” could not help the Jets beat a Brady’less Patriots team.  There are a lot of questions surrounding, this team, you can read 10 of them here.

To be fair for what is about to come and in my opinion the real reason this team is where it is, I will remind all of us that the Dolphins did have 50 million in cap space entering the free agent market and easily could have tied themselves to “names” instead of say 6 million dollars on a WR named Wilford.  I know it inevitably will be Emailed to me and posted in the comments if I didn’t mention that fact.

Last year, I had the same debate.  Who is ultimately responsible for this mess?  The longest tenured Dolphin is Ricky Williams, acquired in a trade for 2 first round draft picks and the longest tenured drafted Dolphin is 7th round pick Yeremiah Bell who was drafted in 2003.   Vernon Carey is second drafted in round 1 of 2004.  Only 3 players remain from the 2005 draft.  5 players from 3 drafts remain on this team 4 and a half years later.   That is disgusting.

When you couple the salary cap issues leading into the 2003, 04, 05, 06, and 07 seasons replacing failed draft picks with young free agent prospects was impossible to do.  We can say what we want about Cam Cameron and Randy Mueller but they alleviated some of the pressure of that salary cap by getting rid of some overpaid under-producing talent.

While Wes Welker…who to this day I still say is not worth the 35 million dollar guaranteed contract the Dolphins “could” have been saddled with if they didn’t take that trade, let’s not debate it further, Randy McMichael has proved in St. Louis that he was very expendable for a player making 4 million a year.  While the Trent Green experiment failed miserably, Daunte Culpepper proved that the only thing he could do was rub being cut in Miami’s face.  A year later and not even QB depleted New England will take a look at the recently retired QB.  For that group…the mistakes clearly lie in the drafting of Ted Ginn and John Beck.

The Dolphins this year under Bill Parcells and his new regime entered the free agent market improving on the 20 mill cap at the end of last season to another 30.  The problem is that they failed to utilize the money on players that would make impacts to the structure of this team which may lead fans to believe that they are trying to save money for the sale of the franchise rather than spend it now.  

What this team did this year was spend their money on 2nd tier players who were mostly coming off their rookie contracts.  Torbor, Ayodele, Smiley, and Starks.  The team as a whole got younger by far, but in the process they gave up veteran leadership that could bridge the gap until the youngsters reached their potential. 

While fans wait to see what if anything will come of this new regimes tactics in rebuilding, the sense is that we, as fans, are seeing the same play on the field as last season.  While that is definitely the case, it should also be pointed out that this team is far different from that one.  

The good news is that there appears to be some hope.  Which is what this team, THIS team, was built on this off-season.  Chad Henne showed promise in his one series on Sunday and Tony Sparano said that he will get more work as the season progresses.  Phillip Merling and Kendal Langford are two starting rookie DE’s who are showing clear signs of being steals in this draft.  The Dolphins got exceptional play out of 6th rounder Donald Thomas before losing him to a foot injury for the season.  Jake Long is going to struggle as a LT in the NFL but we all expected him to.

Expectations did not run high until the Dolphins ran off 3 consecutive wins to finish out the pre-season.  Prior to that, dating all the way back to when Bill Parcells was first hired…fans from every walk of life immediately said this team would be given 1 or 2 years to develop and then be judged.

That last all of two games.  Now, we are hearing the cat calls for Tony Sparano’s head and being told that Bill Parcells has lost it.  Two games.  It’s amazing how after only two games those “high expectations” have fallen to the bottom of the sewer…even lower than last years 1-15 team.

It will likely get worse before it gets better…but…my prediction is that once it finally does start to get better, it will continue to get better.  For now, we just need to wait it out and stop listening to the “sky is falling” south Florida reporters.  It’s not like we have any other choice…except of course to debate the blame.

One more thing, Yeremiah Bell was drafted in the 6th round not the 7th...just wanted to see if you would catch that.

Topics: Bill Parcells, Chad Henne, Donald Thomas, Jake Long, Jason Allen, Kendal Langford, Miami Dolphins, Phillip Merling, Tony Sparano, Vernon Carey, Yeremiah Bell

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  • Deof Movestofca

    What?  Parcells & Co. haven’t completely fixed a mess that has taken a better part of a decade to make in 2 games?  What was Huizinga thinking when he hired them?
    As for the FA’s not panning out, what were people expecting?  The plan all along, as far as I can tell, was not to rebuild the team through FA, but to sift through the bargain bin for low-to-mid-priced FAs, keeping the better ones and discarding the rest.  Of course there was going to be a lot of dross along with any treasures Parcells might find.  For those with short term meory loss, Belichic wasn’t a 100% on his FA’s when he began to build the Patsies either.  The whole idea is the more a team brings in, the lesser the percentage they have to hit on… and then build the core of the team through the draft.

  • http://phinphanatic.com Brian Miller

    There is nothing more exhillirating than to write a long drawn out piece, speckled with a dash of humor, a little sarcasm, and have the first person to comment on it…GET IT!

    Props Doef.  This is week 2 of a two year process stemming from a decade of issues.  Let it happen….:)
  • kentay305

    i know after 2 GAMES folks are turning tail… im going to admit my 500 season i was looking for will be hard earned.  Has anyone learned that FREE AGENCY temporarily clogs holes not totally fix them… the jets were second worse to us last year hands down… they went to free agency because someone across town won the superbowl and didnt want to lose fan base.  our excuse for free agency is that our the recruiting skills the past 10 years are as good as a blind man solving a rubix cube.  its just not gonna happen AFTER 2 GAMES…

    everyone that was mentioned in the game on a play for the fins were either good or getting good even on penalties.  from langford to henne to merling to brown and williams to even the potential best latino WR (not TE) to hit the NFL greg “oye’” camarillo  (giving love to latino brothers no doubt).

    i will say that if they want to package off david martin along with ginn for a solid draft pick plus a conditional one… that would be interesting.  if ginn isnt going to handle even kick returns then hes just not worth keeping.. at least that way the first two steps can get him moving so he can actually get up to speed and break away.

  • http://phinphanatic.com Brian Miller

    i wouldn’t complaign if Ted Ginn got traded.  I think Seattle should really look at him.  

  • http://www.miamidolphins.co.uk Shady

    Thank you for posting an article reassuring me that I’m not alone out here in the world in wondering why anybody is so shocked that we’re this bad. It’s not about the results it’s about developing the new talent into Pro-Bowlers that will be around to help this team for years then building around them.

    I’ve got a guy ripping on Sparano and howling for Henne to start every game between now and January and demanding trades.

    After all these years or “Win Now” do these people still not see that IT DOESN’T WORK!!!! Argh!!! :(

    Anyway, thanks again bud.

  • Deof Movestofca

    Sorry about putting another post here, but that examiner.com site (the link at the end of the “There are a lot of questions surrounding, this team, you can read 10 of them here” statement)… what a find.  I was expecting the usual negativity (comes from reading too many of the “local” Dolphins media, I guess), but instead found commentary that the author evidently has put some time and effort into instead of resorting to the usual Chicken Little routine (we didn’t win the first two games, the sky must be falling!).

  • http://phinphanatic.com Brian Miller

    I’m glad you liked that article as well.  It’s always easier to be negative.  It’s like going to a store, and complaining about your service, but when the service is really good, you don’t ask to see the manager to compliment them.  The sky isn’t falling it’s just really bad growing pains, unfortunately the sky was falling last year and the years before that.  We are seeing a team get rebuilt and that cost’s victories.  Next year and year 3…then I will be more concerned…a lot more concerned.

  • Matt

    I would like to see Ronnie become the feature player of the team. The only glimmer of hope for wins this year is get that man playing like he was last year, before injury.  I am not surprised the dolphins are bad, but listening to forums and miami newspapers some are surprised. I believe they look at Parcell turning around teams in the past to being competitive in one year, and he would do the same in Miami. Therefore, many was shocked what happened in Arizona.

  • Mad_Dog

    I did not expect them to win this game but I did expect to see a better effort and not see them get torched like they did. It was a very embarrassing loss that showed little hope for the future and it was against the cards which only made it worse.

  • RickyNeverInhaled

    good read Brian.

  • nfldolphin

    Everyone needs to chill out it is only the begining of the season. In my opinion I still think we can win 5 to 6 games this year. Parcells needs to shop ginn around to see what he can get for him. It wouldn’t hurt to pick up joe horn for just this year to be a short term fix. In horns defense he would at least be able to catch the damn ball! Everyone need to look  at the brightside we will be a playoff team in two to three seasons.

  • U.K Redfish

    Great read, as always, Brian. I think after the pre-season and going down to the wire in week 1 some may have got carried away with their expectation. Lets face it we brought in Parcell, the maker of franchises, he gave us an honest no nonsense football guy to get the job done, a breath of fresh air after Cams weird and wonderful failing forwards. 1-15 by the skin of our teeth. Sunday’s game gave us all, fans and players, a reality check a harsh reminder of the size of the task. So it’s back to being patient and working on the positives. Once we have the first win last year will be gone and we can move on.

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