The Miami Dolphins have a new OC in Brian Daboll. They have a verbal endorsement from Chad Pennington and former NFL QB Bernie Kosar that Daboll is the right man for the job. They even have Chad Pennington stating he wants to come back and try one more time. Regardless of whether Jeff Ireland is calling the shots, Tony Sparano was retained, Brian Daboll has been hired, or any other coach who may have been brought in, the focus for the fans and the team will be the QB.
Chad Henne has supporters in one corner and doubters in the other while haters and naysayers are housed in the other two of that box. His stats are better than Mark Sanchez in the same time from but Sanchez is going to his 2nd consecutive AFC Championship game. He has reached it in both his professional seasons. So statistics are very deceiving.
The Dolphins will look to re-shape their offense this off-season and while it may not begin with the QB it will surely end with it.
Which is exactly why the Dolphins need to proceed with extreme caution.
Nothing will set your franchise back further than banking on a QB who isn’t the right man for the job. The Phins have a history of finding cast-offs to play “bridge” for the teams younger QB’s. The problem is they have yet to find that younger QB that will make the move from “Padawan learner” to full blown Jedi. Yes, I like Star Wars.
There are the fancy names that fans will throw out there, the NFL version of “sexy”. Names like Donovan McNabb and Kyle Orton. While other savvy veterans will get some play in the papers as well. Names like Matt Hasselbeck. With the hiring of Brian Daboll, expect the names Seneca Wallace and Brady Quinn to get some face time as well.
All of that makes for interesting reading and better debate but none of them solve the problem at QB with Miami. Kyle Orton may be young and a veteran but is he the right guy? He will cost a draft pick to obtain and let’s not forget, he was benched in favor of Tim Tebow in Denver. Has Tebow played so well that Orton is now expendable? Kevin Kolb is in the same boat as well. And let’s not forget the Dolphins don’t have a second round pick this year.
There simply isn’t a lot of options. The best course of action of would be to find that veteran leader that will compete with Chad Henne and hopefully make him better. But that kind of veteran comes with a steep price tag and is hard to find. Matt Hasselbeck would fall into that category but given his injury history, is he the right fit for this team?
On the possible free agent market will be names like Matt Moore, Vince Young, and Matt Leinhart. So many more. Names with upside and a lot more downside. In other words, no one that will be the face of the franchise anymore than the next guy or for that matter Chad Henne. Of those younger names, none will want to “bridge” the team to a rookie.
Which takes us to the draft.
Names like Blaine Gabbart and Jake Locker get a lot of play right now, but there are a lot of teams looking for help at the same position Miami needs help with.
Some will argue that Sparano and Ireland won’t draft a QB in round one because that QB won’t help them win this year. That’s not true. Sanchez took the Jets to the AFC Championship game as a rookie. So did Ben Roethlisberger. Many rookie QB’s can find success if coached correctly. But that still doesn’t mean they need to draft a QB simply to satisfy the fan base by doing so.
This, far more than in free agency, is where the Dolphins need to tread with caution.
Drafting a first round QB saddles the club financially with that elephant. So if a Cam Newton is sitting at 15, do you draft him because he fills a need, might fill some seats, or do your recognize that he may not be the perfect fit for your team? What if that name is Jake Locker?
Locker is reported to have a high ceiling for growth at this level but is nowhere near NFL ready. Ryan Mallett is said to be NFL ready but with a lower ceiling of development. Do you risk the reward of an impact player such as a speedy WR or tailback or maybe a road grading lineman to reach on a QB that may not actually fit what your looking for?
The decisions the Dolphins make this off-season at this position will determine the success and failures of Tony Sparano, Jeff Ireland, and newly acquired OC Brian Daboll.
I don’t think this group will pass over a QB because they simply don’t help them win now where they may keep their jobs another season. I think this group makes decisions based on the future of the team with the assumption they will be here. Especially in the case of Jeff Ireland who needs to hit on talent more than immediate impact players. That being said, I don’t think they will simply draft a QB for the sake of drafting one either.
Regardless of what happens this off-season, the one certainty is this. The Dolphins must be prudent in their search for a signal caller. They need to do their homework and they can’t miss.