The Miami Dolphins are among the lowest spenders in the league on player talent, according to a recent article in the Miami Herald by Armando Salguero; and are now in the midst of one of the worst starts in franchise history now. The Administration has some responsibility for the situation that the Fins find themselves in and let’s break this down.
Holes or low-performing areas on the team are very clear and well-defined for the most part. We can look at these areas:
1. Tight End
2. Offensive Line
3. Defensive Backfield
And while it’s for certain that every area of the Dolphins has not played up to par in some way (see Team, definition) we can surely isolate these areas as problematic. And as well could be adding the Special Teams but for now will pass on that count.
Anthony Fasano has played better and made more catches so far this season and caught a big pass against Cleveland yesterday. But then he had a big holding penalty also and otherwise has not been outstanding in penetrating the underbelly of the defenses that he has faced. Certainly a 2nd good TE or even someone to challenge Fasano would have been in order rather than some of the selections that have been made like Jeron Matrud or Will Yeatman, who currently are using up 2 spots on the roster. This position could have been upgraded and I’m very aware that Charles Clay was to be the plan for the upgrade but let’s get serious, folks: you don’t expect a rookie RB (Thomas) and a rookie TE/Other (Clay) and a rookie WR (Gates) are all going to succeed in every case and completely change the Offensive Scheme and the whole Offensive Coaching Staff and all of this during a shortened off-season. Think about what was being attempted there. Especially when one is already on the hot seat for 2 7-9 seasons in a row. The question will remain, “Why did GM Jeff Ireland not sign a better free agent when he had about 4 opportunities at least?” At least you would have a player that could compete with Fasano and provide some upgrade to the position which has been sorely needed.
Quick review: how many losing seasons did Don Shula have in his 36 years of coaching? Answer is 2 seasons and Sparano has now equaled Shula in that category, sadly. But Sparano is and has been touted as an Offensive Line Specialist. And he has been tinkering with the OL ever since arriving to the Dolphins. Those are facts and not opinion. But since part of my job is to opine I will offer this possible thought: I think Sparano tends to “manage” his team through his coaches but does not always (my opinion here in trying to explain the above OL situation) guide them where needed or bypass them when there are problems, at least not to the degree that he probably should. Anyway, OL should have been the last of our concerns, one would think.
Sparano can coach. And one has to admire him for his willingness to change his philosophy after a couple seasons where the earlier, Bill Parcells philosophy of run-domination clearly was not succeeding. And the Offense is a better and more functional unit now – it is not the same or worse but better and much more capable of being productive. And John Jerry is not, right now, performing solidly. At least Mike Pouncey is coming along, on the brighter side. But 1 additional solid Guard would have really added to this group’s effectiveness, wouldn’t it?
The Defensive Backfield sure could have fallen-down from the cramps or hamstring injury and slowed-down the Tom Brady Drive during the Monday Night game vs. the New England Patriots. That was a real physical condition/injury and has on reflection, caused a problem with some players and notably Vontae Davis who needed to sit out this Cleveland game basically as a result of the injury from the past 2 games.
Think Nolan Carroll is the answer? How about some of the other Corners and Safeties that are on the roster:
Jimmy Wilson, Chris Clemons, Nate Jones? How about Benny Sapp, who was the choices selection over Will Allen after Training Camp but was subsequently cut a couple of weeks ago? Could we have selected perhaps a hard-hitting Free Safety in free agency or another good Cover-Corner?
It looks to me that if we had brought in about 3-4 (arguably) better Free Agents: a solid Guard, a Corner or (better) Free Safety and another TE, this team would have been immeasurably improved.
True, Jimmy Wilson made the very first Dolphins Interception of the season. But also gave up the game-losing completion in man-coverage against Cleveland with less than 1 minute to play. I think he is probably a potentially very good player but clearly needs some time over the course of the season to develop a bit more.
All of the above without even mentioning that Kyle Orton would have definitely pushed Henne or beat him outright and who knows but that picking-up another solid LB definitely couldn’t have hurt.
What happens if anyone around these positions gets injured during the rest of the season?
Proposed solution right now?
1. Bring back Benny Sapp and get rid of either one of the present DB’s. I think Sapp’s experience will pay off more right now and he is better than Nate Jones.
2. Forget about Kyle Orton. Done. Chad Henne is playing much better.
3. Waive Jason Trusnik today. He has made several costly penalties and I just do not see why he has been retained on this team. No reason I can find here. Should have kept Channing Crowder even if as a 2nd string player.
4. Bring back Lousaka Polite for some help in the Red Zone and on 3rd downs. He’s still out there you know.
5. Look at shifting Lex Hilliard to TE. Or find a bright idea on how to improve the position because Yeatman and Mastrud are not making any team in the NFL worry.
Thanks and let me know your thoughts!