Be Offensive And Draft Defensive


It’s no secret that if the Miami Dolphins had more production out of their offense last year things may have turned out a little different.  The same was said about their defense the year before.  Following their second consecutive 7-9 season, Miami is entering this draft in the exact opposite position they were in before last years draft, in need of offense instead of defense. 

Miami addressed their problems last year by focusing their draft on the defensive side of the ball, taking all but one defensive player.  It paid dividends by evidence of the dramatic turnaround the defense made this past season.  So this year it makes complete sense for Miami to take all offensive players right?  I don’t think so, I think Miami needs to be offensive and draft defensive once again.

If you think I’m totally crazy I don’t blame you.  But once you read what I have to say maybe I will sway your opinion my way……or maybe you’ll still think I’m crazy.  

When you look at the Super Bowl winners over the past couple years they all have one thing in common, they had very good defenses.  I know I know, New Orleans had this high powered offense a couple years ago, but did you also know that their defense forced 39 turnovers that same year?  Last year Green Bay had a defense that was second in the NFL in sacks and int’s.  In 2008 it was the Steelers who were 2nd in sacks and tied for 6th in interceptions.  And we all loved what the Giants did in 2007 with their defensive effort in the playoffs, keeping the New England Patriots from matching the ’72 Dolphins with a perfect season.  Even with their much improved defense last season, Miami ranked 10th in sacks and tied for 28th in int’s.  It’s obvious their defense still needs to improve, and quite frankly I think their defense can improve more quickly than their offense can. 

Take a look at Miami’s needs on offense.  Offensive line, running back, speed receiver, and…..quarterback.  Now, take a look at where Miami is drafting and sell me on someone worth taking at 15 that will step in and make an immediate impact that will dramatically improve their offense……go ahead……do it…….having problems?  I sure am.  Pouncy seems like a nice pick, but will he live up to his brother’s rookie season, not likely.  Ingram is the man right?  Not without a good offensive line, and besides, good running backs are a dime a dozen in the current NFL, and most teams have two, just like Miami did last year.   Can anyone name a speed receiver that will complement Brandon Marshall with the 15th pick?  Nope……didn’t think so.  Then there’s the quarterbacks.  I really don’t see Ireland and Sparano having enough time to draft and develop another quarterback, they need to win now! 

The fastest way Miami can win now is to make sure their defense ranks near the top of the league in almost every category, and I don’t think they are that far away.  Mike Nolan is coming back for another year, and that in itself should improve this defense.  That means the 6th ranked defense in the NFL will have yet another year under his system, surely they will be better.  Paul Soliai will most definitely start at the nose for a full season now that he was tagged and got the huge one year contract.  This will help the already extremely talented line become even better.  His presence will help keep Starks on the outside which is where he thrives.  Also on the outside is Odrick, who only played in 2 games last year due to injuries, this may as well be an additional first round pick this year since he didn’t really play last year.  AJ Edds was also injured and may as well be thought of as an additional draft pick for this year.  Koa Misi certainly began to get the hang of things towards the end of this year and should improve his skill set heading into next season.  Another thing that will help Misi will be the attention that Pro-Bowler Cameron Wake will demand next year, he is the real deal and should continue to be for years to come. 

So with all this firepower on defense, how in the world can Miami improve?  I think they need to find a way to get Karlos Dansby freed up to make more plays.  I know he was all over the field for Miami last year and was probably their best defensive player, but I think Miami needs to find a way to get him into position to make more plays.  That’s why they made him the highest paid linebacker in the NFL last season right?  They have to find someone to run all over the field and make tackles so he can be free to blitz more often.  Imagine Wake on the outside and Dansby filling the middle, how could you stop that?  If Miami can get a pass rushing linebacker that can line up opposite Wake, they may be inclined to use Misi’s skill set and high motor in the middle to free up Dansby a little more. 

Maybe they find a cover corner or safety to throw into the mix.  Davis is gaining more and more momentum towards becoming one of the most elite cover corners in the NFL, and quite frankly he should be.  Sean Smith finally got his first INT in the NFL this past season, but dropped quite a few also.  There is no way Miami’s secondary drops as many interceptions as they did last year, adding a first round talent to their secondary will almost guarantee that.  Three safeties and two corners made huge impacts with the teams that took them last year.  Eric Berry in KC, Earl Thomas in Sea, Nate Allen in Philly, Wilson in NY, and McCourty in NE.  If Miami can add a player like those guys in the first round next year they will have one of the best secondaries in the league. 

I just see this draft being more beneficial to Miami on the defensive side of the ball.  I know most needs for Miami are on the offensive side of the ball, but if they can improve their defense and make it one of the best in the NFL next season, the offense won’t seem as bad.  Time is definitely not on the side of Sparano and Ireland, and they know that.  Offense takes years to perfect, and starting over with a new offensive coordinator does nothing but hurt them.  They don’t need to try and completely overhaul the offense, just make it a little more productive.  If they can do that, and draft players that will improve their young and athletic defense to make it one of the best in the league, I like their chances. 

Phins Up!

BEL

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Tags: AJ Edds Brandon Marshall Devon McCourty Eric Berry Green Bay Packers. New Orleans Saints Jared Odrick Jeff Ireland Kansas City Chiefs Karlos Dansby Koa Misi Kyle Wilson Mark Ingram Miami Dolphins Mike Nolan Mike Pouncy Nate Allen New England Patriots New York Giants New York Jets NFL Paul Soliai Philadelphia Eagles Pittsburgh Steelers Randy Starks Sean Smith Tony Sparano Vontae Davis

  • Dylan

    interesting…But i completely understand your logic. people question this FO’s ability to make good decisions…well, in case no body noticed, all but 3 of last year’s starters were either drafted or brought in by the guys (exceptions being Soliai, Bell, and Crowder). They are good at finding talent on Defense. Offense is another story, for the most part. I wouldn’t be completely upset to see us grab another Pass-rusher or safety/corner at 15, if the FO doesnt see trading down to be the best bet. Good article, but i wouldn’t expect too many others to agree as i have, haha.

  • Alex

    its Sean Smith, not shawn, you should know our players names

    • Bruce Lamb

      Thanks for noticing, I made the change!

  • Richard

    Shawn Smith, Sean Smith’s evil brother (from a mother with bad imagination for names?)

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  • thomas loy

    At 15 you trade down to the last part of the first round for more picks. Then draft a RT. Move carey to guard. If you cannot trade down draft the top RT. Offensive line was
    awful last year and drafting defense ain’t going to help the offense score points. I do believe Miami needs to draft a nose tackle to groom behind soliai. Right now there is no one. Miami needs to draft a QB. And if thigpen leaves they’ll need to draft 2 QBs. Sign Plaxico Burress. He has the potential to be the game break WR Miami needs,
    and Marlon Moore and Roberto Wallace might also prove valuable this year. Also sign Shockey. Problems at TE solved. Miami will probably let Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams go, so drafting a RB and signing a veteran, with speed please is a necessity. Miami also needs a top safety. Both clemons and Jones played decent but a top safety would help.

  • TXDOLFAN

    No argument about the needs on either side of the ball. For the secondary to be effective, you must disrupt the QB’s rhythm. The defense will continue to play and force three and outs but need some sit-down time during the game. The offense needs to be productive. I do not feel that the Owner will be happy with a low scoring team even if the defense is ranked number one or two in the league. So, there must be some attention on the offense in this draft and/or FA period (if that ever occurs). I agree that Shockey would be a good addition. I believe he is a better blocker than publicized. DeAngelo Williams may be a good fit at RB. Mankins is no longer available for the OL but I am guessing others will be, just not up to that caliber. Can the OL be forged into a unit? Can we get a burner at WR to help stretch the defense and open up lanes? Will the OC use the TE like Novacek was used at Dallas and you saw how much that helped Michael Irvin and Troy Aikman? I believe Jeff Ireland will mold the team in that structure. It was successful and frankly, Miami had it many years ago with Warfield, mandich, Twilley and Noonan. Think about it.

  • fins4ever1

    I understand your logic and don’t think you are crazy despite not agreeing with you.

    I would like to see just one time the team be in the position to take the best talent available in an effort to upgrade positions instead of trying to always plug holes. There is little doubt in my mind the holes on the O line are the size of the Grand Canyon. The guard position is so thin you can see through it.

    Also, I abhor the “must win now” mentality. IMO, short term thinking and making decisons for job security is almost always detrimental to the organization. The first question a GM or coach should ask himself when making a decision is “am I making the best decision for the team or me”?

    • Bruce Lamb

      I see where you are coming from with the o-line, but don’t forget Nate Garner should make his way back this season, and a year under the big belt of John Jerry will most definitely help. Hopefully the line will be healthy this year for a change, injuries have hurt them the past two seasons. As far as the GM and coach go, I’m willing to think they will put their personal futures ahead of that of the Dolphins, they need to win now or they will be looking for a job after next season, I don’t see this regime taking a chance on a QB if it doesn’t guarantee them a job past this season.

  • JDHall

    One thing you didnt mention was that the previous super bowl winning teams also had a top-shelf quarterback in addition to their good defenses. We dont have that. No offense to Henne, who has taken a lot of heat he probably doesnt deserve, but we are still searching for the heir to the Morino Thrown. That must be a priority because recent history has proven that you cannot have consistent post-season success without a stellar performer at the most important position on the field.

    • Bruce Lamb

      True, Miami does need to find a long term QB, I just don’t think there is one early in this draft. If Miami can improve their defense, I think that would be a better pick than taking a chance on a QB that ‘may’ be the real deal.

  • student1776

    The goal is to build a great team, a long-standing dynasty. This requires a variety of developments. We are within 2-3 players of being great on defense. Henne may or may not be the QB we need – we will find out next year. We definitely need a more dominant OL, a fast RB, a fast WR, a Kick Returner, and improved special teams. Probably won’t do that in one year but we can advance a lot. Big element of pick the best players available for these positions. If QB available (Newton or Mallet) do it. If not find a long term dominant RB like Ingram (and keep R&R to complement) then use the rest of the draft to fill out the OL and use FA to get Shockey to fill the TE hole and hopefully get a fast WR.

  • Donny

    I agree, if top 10 talent falls to 15 you have to pick them up. Thats for any position, really. Even with all the strength on the D-line, do you pass on a Bowers or Quinn if they fall. Me thinks not. Newton, Gabbert, Petetrson, Amakamura, Miller, Fairley, any of these guys should be welcomed at 15. AJ Green would be an early xmas present. Maybe Ireland will get him to smoke crack and have the league test him, he almost certianly will fall to 15!

    • Dylan

      As of today, I might think twice before taking AJ Green over Julio Jones. Jones was a BEAST today at the combine. absolutely nuts.