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Miami Dolphins Management To Blame Not QB's

Since Dan Marino left the Miami Dolphins organization, or rather pushed out of the organization by Dave Wannstedt, the team has been in a downward spiral at the position.  We all know the names of the starters since Marino left.  Jay Fiedler, Damon Huard, Ray Lucas, Brian Griese, Sage Rosenfels, A.J. Feeley, Gus Frerotte. Daunte Culpepper, Joey Harrington,Cleo Lemon, Trent Green, John Beck, Chad Pennington, Tyler Thigpen, and Chad Henne.

Did I miss anyone?

We, the fans, and to some extent the media continually place blame on the QB’s that have failed to take control of the roster but in reality, it’s more the management of the team that has put the Dolphins in such bad shape.  Forget about the “we could have, should have, or needed to get” mantra from fans and media for names like Drew Brees, the Dolphins coaches and managers simply never had a vision of what the team needed or should have been.

As the years wear on and the QB situation in Miami continues to baffle, it’s easy to point the finger of blame towards the QB’s that have started since the man to the right left for good.  It’s hard however to blame players who were either never starting material, far past their prime, injured, or had a history of being injured.  That blame belongs not on the players but instead the visionaries who brought them to Miami in the first place.

Dave Wannstedt gets his name brought up more than just about any other coach in Dolphins history when the talk turns to the teams failures.  Let’s face it, Don Shula may have been rode out of town on the heals of poor seasons but he also still enjoys being the winningest coach in NFL history.  Let alone the Miami Dolphins.  Earlier today, Alex Marvez of Fox Sports, wrote a column about this very issue as it relates to teams and their trying to replace legends.  You can read that here. I disagree with Marvez on the point of the Dolphins.  Simply because in my mind, the team never tried to replace Marino.

Wannstedt took over the team when Jimmy Johnson bailed for the television studio.  He was both Head Coach and General Manager.  Immediately, Wannstedt turned to a little known back-up QB who had one solid game.  A mop-up against the Dolphins a season before in the playoffs.  Jay Fiedler lacked the pedigree, he lacked the arm strength, he lacked just about everything except pure desire.  Instead of trying to find a top flight QB, Wannstedt instead would trade two 1st round draft picks for Ricky Williams and let Fiedler and his top ranked defense run the show.

As the seasons wore on and Wannstedts failures mounted, the team promoted Rick Spielman to the GM spot.  His lone season as GM sent a 2nd round pick for A.J. Feely.  A perennial back-up.

Perhaps the biggest failure came a year later when Nick Saban and his college swagger spent the money and the pick compensation to land Daunte’ Culpepper.  Who would spend his two Miami seasons injured with the same injury he came in with.  In the two seasons that Saban stayed in Miami, the lack of vision and priority at the QB spot showed clearly in the choices that were made.  While Saban overhauled a lackluster defense and brought the runaway salary situation under control, he failed to find a franchise QB.  Not because he swung in miss, but instead because he simply didn’t look.

Enter Cam Cameron and Randy Mueller.  Yes, in hindsight drafting Brady Quinn over Ted Ginn, Jr. may not have proved to be the fix that fans were looking for but it would have showed a commitment to solving the problem.  Instead, they gave us John Beck who simply never got the time he needed to become anything but a third stringer.  Ironically, he stands to start the season for Washington as the starting QB.

Cameron and Mueller had one year and one year only to find their solutions.  Despite their failure as a duo, the reality again was simple.  They lacked the foresight to bring in a fix to the QB problem that Miami was plagued by.  While many thought that trend would change with the arrival of Bill Parcells, it really didn’t.  The team got a gift from the Jets when they released Chad Pennington. Despite his phenomenal first season with the team, everyone knew he was not a long term solution.  Specifically due to his history of injury.

The staff did however bank on the development of Chad Henne.  So far it’s been a bag of mixed reviews that lean heavily towards yet another failure.  General Manager Jeff Ireland faces an uncertain free agency period when the lockout ends and perhaps he too will forego the addition of a possible franchise QB in favor of another season with Henne at the helm.

Jeff Ireland is the here and now and regardless of whether he goes looking for an FA QB this year, sticks with Henne, or goes into next years draft looking to make a splash, his tenure in Miami will be graded almost solely on what he leaves the team at that position when his time is done.  It’s an ongoing theme in Miami that has not left favorable marks for any of the previous management teams since Don Shula.  And more specifically Dan Marino.

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Tags: AJ Feely Brady Quinn Cam Cameron Chad Henne Chad Pennington Dan Marino Dave Wannstedt Don Shula Jay Fiedler Jeff Ireland Jimmy Johnson Miami Dolphins Nick Saban Randy Mueller

  • corners

    I get people like pointing fingers, an d dave wannstedt wasn’t the best offensive coach, but he wasn’t a bad coach. He was 11-5,11-6,9-7,10-7.1-8 before he resigned. But i think Rickey had more to do with that 1-8 record (by retiring unexpectedly)then the coach did.

    • corners

      I do agree with a lot of the rest of your story. Good read.

  • Brian Miller

    My issue with DW was his ineptitude on offense. His record was more an indication of what was left over from JJ’s brief stint on defense. JT and ZT in their primes plus as you said, Ricky baring a lot of the burden. But his offensives were horrible, his drafting worse, and he simply didn’t get it.

  • markeyh

    Dave did more to set Miami back then any other HC/GM. He was that bad IMO.

    The problem with the QB situation in Miami is simple. Many Dolphins fans have to high of standards and lack patience when it comes to QB’s and most likely due to the fact that they will always compare any QB that comes to Miami to Marino. But Marino was an exception to the rule rather than the norm as to what it takes to develop a QB. Henne really is the norm. Most QB’s who are quote Franchise QB’s have a few things in common. They usually are 27 years or older and they have talent at the skilled position that complements them well.

    If the dolphins fans quit envying other teams QB’s and support the very one that just might be the future rather than wanting to dump him prematurely (before the age I stated IMO) we just might have the QB we need on the roster with the talent around him. It’s just been 3+ years ago this team had no talent on either side of the ball minus JT, Zach, Ricky & Ronnie.

  • Ripp

    Corners, in the five years he was coach how many draft picks that Wannstedt made has made any kind of impact in the NFL? The best trade he made was for Ricky WIlliams but was Ricky really worth two 1st rd and then some? Also how many teams could have the league leading rusher and the league leading pass rusher and still fail to make the playoffs? Not to mention that he wasted a championship caliber defense that Jimmy Johnson had built.

    From 1999-2007 Miami’s drafts were pretty much wasted. You would think just by mere luck that they would hit on a player though those year but fact is majority of the players drafted in that span is out of the NFL. Now that I think about it there are only four Pro Bowlers from those eight drafts (Brown, Chambers, McMicheal and Bell). It seems like our team was not Y2K compliant.

    Hey Brian, maybe that can be your next blog….The best draft picks since JJ retired???????

  • Jeff in Tennessee

    Chad Pennington told WBIR TV Channel 10 News in Knoxville, Tennessee (NBC) yesterday that he is taking this year off to be an analyst and then contemplating a return to the NFL for 2012. I hope the Miami Dolphins will pass on Chad. In my opinion, he is not the answer. He does seem like a very nice person to be around and talk to. But, as a solid QB, a long ways to go!

  • charlie

    Chad Henne has this year to sink or swim as does Sparano and Ireland.
    Chad Pennington, was great in 2008, but if he comes back it should only be as a QB coach. I hope with the new offensive tools we picked up, it will help Henne develop, in to a more confident quarterback.
    Although he wasn’t great, it can’t all be blamed on him.
    Hopefully Brian Daboll and Henne mesh and the fans give him this last year to show what he can or can’t bring to the table.
    But come on, stop hating on him support him, it’s not helping the cause. If they bring in a veteran to compete with him that’s fine, I think he will surprise many this season,and improve. There were plenty of dropped catches by even Brandon Marshall, who really needs to get along or try and make the best of things. Being a locker room cancer doesn’t help.