In speaking with NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora yesterday, Tony Sparano commented on the possibility of the Dolphins pursuing Brandon Marshall or Terrell Owens, or rather he commented on the lack of possibility.
“I don’t know if they make sense for our ballclub, one way or the other,” Sparano said Tuesday morning at the NFL Annual Meeting, adding that, “I’m happy with the group of players I have right now.”
That is definitely not what anyone was hoping to hear come out of Coach Sparano’s mouth. But there’s a few ways to interpret this. The optimists may want to point out that no NFL coach or team comments on active negotiations or players they are interested in. There are tampering rules, there are competitive disadvantages which come out of speaking on the subject. Maybe it’s a smoke-screen.
If he’s telling the truth though, and Miami is content to enter the season with the same group they ended last season with, then we need to have another conversation. There’s a difference between being coy, playing things close to the chest and working to improve the team quietly and completely ignoring a need. Miami looks like they’re ignoring a need. I mentioned it last week, but what has Miami done to improve the offense in the last three years aside from drafting Chad Henne and having Chad Pennington literally drop into their laps? Where are the skill players? Where are the upgrades? Miami followed up the good news that they had signed Richie Incognito with the bad news they wanted to trade Justin Smiley. Is Miami even better off after making that decision? Incognito was an upgrade at right guard, I’m not so sure he’s better than Smiley though.
Thus far what I’m noticing from the Dolphins is either a stubbornness that the Trifecta can win its own way or an aversion to taking any kind of chance. Regardless of what conclusions you may draw from Miami’s unwillingness to address their offense, you can look at the facts.
The Dolphins don’t have a good offense. The best player on the offense is currently being dangled for first round compensation by the Miami front office. The second best player is a 32 year old tailback. The quarterback is young and promising but without good receivers may digress or see his growth stunted. And outside of that there’s not a soul on the offensive side of the ball that scares anyone.
Sure the line is better, but is that what Miami wants to hang its hat on? Aside from drafting Henne the best two players on Miami are holdovers from Saban and Wannstedt. Arguably Nick Saban and Dave Wannstedt have done more for the Dolphins current offense than the trifecta.
Now a few questions… Who at the 12th pick of the draft is going to have a bigger tangible contribution than a 26 year-old All-Pro receiver? First of all the Dolphins have drafted 26 year-old’s before (see John Beck) and second of all do you really think Sergio Kindle or Brandon Graham are going to contribute more? Does it even matter if Miami has a nose tackle if their offense is one-dimensional? Miami may not even have to give up the first rounder, but at any rate, you convince me that the Dolphins can get better value at the 12th pick than Brandon Marshall and I’ll shut up.
Next question… Much like with Richie Incognito, if Miami doesn’t want to trade picks for a receiver why not sign Terrell Owens? So he’s an asshole, so what? There’s no salary cap. Cut him the second he opens his mouth. But there’s no denying Owens is head and shoulders above what Miami currently has on the roster. He isn’t going to be getting big money. He comes cheap and with little risk. And Miami isn’t even going to sniff around?
Hell, go out of left field. Trade for Javon Walker. He’s in the football netherworld out in Oakland but you know he’d come cheap and have a lot to prove. I’m not going to begrudge the Dolphins for taking a chance and making the wrong move. I am going to begrudge them if they don’t even take a chance though.
Like I said, there’s a difference between sticking to the plan and playing things close to the chest and just outright ignoring a situation. The draft is a month off, I hope I’m wrong. But something tells me we’re all going to be extremely disappointed with the way Miami addresses the offense. That is, if they address it at all. And to me, spending a second or a third rounder on a receiver isn’t addressing the position. If anything that’s an insulting level of response for a position that clearly cost the Dolphins wins last season. But, I’m calling it right now, get ready for Miami to sit on its hands and do little to improve the offensive side of the ball.