Labor day weekend is over, and with it goes the culmination of the preseason, rife with final auditions and roster cut-downs. The Dolphins certainly made their share of moves, cutting oft-debated players like Pat White and Patrick Turner as well as making some surprising moves like letting go of David Martin and Charles Grant. You can find a complete list of the Dolphins cut-downs here.
Miami went on to add a number of their cuts to their practice squad, which now features Austin Spitler, Julius Pruitt, Jonathon Amaya, Rey Feinga, Ryan Baker, Chris McCoy and Nathan Overbay, who was signed from the Broncos and is the nephew of Blue Jays’ first baseman Lyle Overbay. The team currently has one final spot on their PS open at this point.
Quickly on the cuts, the theme seems to be another movement towards youth as many of the older veteran”stop-gaps” or “band-aids,” the temporary solutions, have been jettisoned in favor of younger, less proven players. This isn’t anything new, Miami has been doing this since Bill Parcells and company arrived, starting with replacing an aging Zach Thomas, getting rid of Jason Taylor twice, pulling the plug on Joey Porter and a dearth of other roster moves intent on getting younger.
What I don’t agree with is Omar Kelly‘s implication that the Fins may be in another de facto rebuilding phase. Tony Sparano said yesterday the Dolphins roster turnover comes as a result of them trying to fill out spots 49-53 on the roster. Year in and year out the Dolphins bottom four roster spots has been a revolving door, players are waived and then re-signed and waived again. The difference this year is that the Fins finally have some higher profile guys at the bottom of their roster.
How Much Do You Trust the Trifecta?
It’s about to be year three, so regardless of all that’s happened in the last week or so, this question is still relevent, but now comes the time where it becomes obvious the Trifecta is making the decisions and none of us clearly have any idea what those decisions are based on. Let’s preface by saying that probably 80 percent of what the Dolphins do is not public. Fans don’t get wide access to Dolphins practices, and certainly aren’t privy to the goings on at the Dolphins facilities in Davie, FL.
So in honesty, we all see (media included) maybe a quarter of the entire process, if that, and then come up with strongly held opinions on what this team does and doesn’t need to do, who should be cut, what adjustments to make, etc… It’s actually all kind of silly. But that doesn’t stop people from second-guessing, even with limited information. Which brings us full circle, how much do you really trust the trifecta? Because this week it seems like they’ve come out of left field on a few things…
First of all Jason Allen beat out Sean Smith for a starting corner spot. Just read that a couple of times and let it marinate. Before we even get to the on-the-field implications I don’t like this move if just for the fact it vindicates Nick Saban on some level. I can just see that pious jackass sitting in his office in Tuscaloosa, laying back in his seat, feet up on top of a walk-on kicker hunched down on all fours to act as an ottoman, reading his paper and snickering when he sees Jason Allen will be one of the Dolphins starting corners going into his 5th year.
This is a good sign because it might just meant that Tony Sparano isn’t kidding when he says every job is up for competition. But aside from that, this move defies logic. All conventional wisdom had Miami enamored with their two young corners. Vontae Davis has played well in the preseason, Sean Smith has had some struggles, but surely not enough to lose the confidence of the coaches. Apparently Smith’s struggles, coupled with Allen’s emergence a solid boundary corner have merited the decision from the coaching staff to go with Allen.
Now at the beginning of camp I wouldn’t have been surprised if the Fins started Davis and Allen at corner, but Will. If you’d said Jason would be starting I’d have either slapped you or asked if one of our team buses crashed. Will Allen meanwhile, after having his knee scoped a few weeks ago ended up on the IR list. He’s not thrilled with that decision either.
It all just seems strange, but reiterates the point the Trifecta knows something we don’t. The question still remains though how much we trust them. Will Allen is the strangest component of all this. If he’s not healthy right now, fine. I don’t know if the PUP list was an option, but even with a prognosis that said he’d be out until October, Miami couldn’t have just made him inactive? And I agree with Allen’s gripe too, though he wouldn’t say it publicly I’m sure he feels the Dolphins did him a career disservice. He’s 32, you don’t typically improve after 30, so Miami has essentially docked Will Allen one of his last good athletic years. At the very least I feel like Allen deserved a shot to go get healthy and sign on with somebody so he can at least play part of the season. Instead Will Allen will have missed half of his 31 year old year and all of his 32nd.
In the least shocking pick up of the last three years the Dolphins finally have Bobby Carpenter. Carpenter, much like Jason Allen, has been considered a bit of a bust. In the 2006 draft Nick Saban introduced us to Jason, two picks later Bill Parcells introduced Bobby Carpenter to Dallas. By most accounts Carpenter has been an NFL bust, he fell out of favor in Dallas after Parcells left, was traded to St. Louis for former ‘Nole (and fellow bust) Alex Barron and despite two years of trade rumors was available for nothing after being let go by St. Louis this past weekend.
This is a perfect example of the Parcellsian double standard. If you’re not one of Bill’s guys, well there’s plenty of evidence how he’ll treat you. Ricky Williams for all his baggage is a Parcells guy. He took Parcells up on his offer to extend Ricky, given on a post-it note after practice. Now the two converse regularly and Ricky will always have a job. Jason Taylor came back to Miami hat in hand and played for the minimum last season, he didn’t want to do a contract extension on a post-it note though, put it off, alienated Parcells and now he plays for the Jets because the Fins didn’t even return his calls in the off-season.
Bobby Carpenter meanwhile has never been, and probably still isn’t better than JT. He just got cut by the Rams! I’m not knocking the guy, JT is a first ballot Hall guy, it’s just interesting Miami didn’t waste a second pouncing on Carpenter and getting him on the team when he was available. He’s a Parcells guy, Parcells is going to take care of him, give him a second chance… But JT, whose leadership alone would have been worth the veteran minimum, couldn’t get a sniff. It just makes you wonder.
Revis and Brady Resign
It’s no secret Darrelle Revis is back in the AFC East after signing an extension to play for the Jets for the next half decade. I don’t like Revis, but he’s a hell of a corner and now the Jets defense is back to where it wants to be, with arguably the league’s best corner holding down half the field letting them dial up pressure from anywhere they want. It’s not fun but it was inevitable.
Tom Brady meanwhile seems to have struck a three year extension worth about 58 million dollars. The deal will begin next season, when Brady’s current contract runs out, starting when he’s 34. My friend Mike, an old college roommate from Lynn, Mass called me with the news this morning. He actually argued that the extension was a steal… Yeah, and the war in Iraq was well-financed. Now granted, the market is set, Manning will receive similar money, you have to pay that much. But a steal? Only in New England is paying 19 mil a season for a mid-30′s QB just a couple years removed from a severe knee injury a steal. Fair market value, yes, but it’s not a steal. Signing Chad Pennington for virtually nothing after he’s cut and then watching him guide you to the playoffs is a steal. Making a guy the league’s highest paid player is anything but… It’s also ironic that Tom Brady’s career was born out of the idea that no player was bigger than team. He stepped in and replaced the expensive Drew Bledsoe, the Pats decided to forego their individual introductions at the Superbowl in order to walk out as a team in a show of unity. Now a decade later Tom Brady is one of the highest paid players in football after at least implying things could get ugly if the Patriots didn’t pay him. And the team-first Patriots will be hamstrung by his deal for the foreseeable future.
Of course, if our Michigan man at QB ever merits this level of contract, my article on that extension will undoubtedly bear a much different tone…
-Ike Alama-Francis has now gotten a real number, he’s switched from 79 to 59. Recently acquired (former Cowboy) Pat McQuistan will wear the vacated 79 and Bobby Carpenter will wear 50.
-Ricky Williams, speaking with David Hyde of the Sun Sentinel, took issue with the negativity the Miami sports media seemingly brings to the table in their coverage of the team. I’ll have a full article on this a little later today, but in the meantime, head on over to Twitter where you can watch the Sun Sentinel’s Mike Berardino completely destroy his relationship with the the Dolphins’, nay South Florida’s, longest-tenured athlete…