Dolphins Still Looking For Answers...Everywhere

Yesterday the Miami Dolphins decided to pass on WR Brian Robiskie who was released by the Cleveland Browns.  Despite the glaring injury front that the Dolphins have at the position.  Both Roberto Wallace and now Marlon Moore are done for the season.  It was probably a good move as it should provide the Dolphins an opportunity to move Julius Pruitt once and for all off the practice squad and get him into the games so the team can see what they actually have in the kid.

Pruitt has been on the PS every year of his NFL career.

While the addition of Pruitt won’t answer any of the lingering questions for the Dolphins fans or the team, it will at least provide a look at one of the acorns that Jeff Ireland has turned over and held on to like a squirrel getting ready for a long winter.  In hindsight, it really puts a proverbial nail on what has gone wrong with the Dolphins over the last few years.  It’s a simple indication that this team hasn’t been able to turn those future players into current ones.

The Dolphins Jeff Ireland has played the bottom 10 of the roster like Tony Sparano has played with the offensive line depth chart.  He rolls it over and over and over and waits to see if something better comes along.  It’s not a tried and true method and while some may argue that churning the bottom up every now and then may reward you with a shark tooth, you don’t always find the shark attached.  Where the Dolphins are concerned, they simply haven’t been able to mold the bottom into something useful.

Consider the two WR’s that Pruitt may replace on the 53.  Marlon Moore and Roberto Wallace, both of whom are now on IR.  Prior to the 2010 season many speculated that the team would keep one of the two but not both.  They kept both and neither contributed significantly but only showed signs of what they could be.  This off-season provided the same debate.  Do the Dolphins keep Moore or Wallace?  They kept both and neither again significantly contributed to the team.  So why have the Dolphins invested so much time and roster space on two guys that they don’t utilize consistently?  It’s another question that remains unanswered.

We all know that the QB position is one of the biggest question marks on the field yet the RB situation is another that bares mentioning…or in this case questioning.  The signing of Reggie Bush is not paying dividends for the Dolphins and it makes you question everything about the move when you see the stat lines on Darren Sproles who replaced Bush in New Orleans.  Bush was supposed to be that big time threat.  The excitement that we heard Stephen Ross beg for over the off-season.  Yet OC Brian Daboll still believes that Bush is capable of running up the middle between the tackles.  Something he has never done with great consistency.  Even his second 100 yard game gave the Dolphins nothing in the win column.

Of course there is Daniel Thomas who has yet to make it a go two weeks in a row.  Good news for the Dolphins this week as he missed last week so he should be returning to the field.  Of course if history continues, he won’t be around the following week.  What we have seen in Thomas looks good but it’s fair to question his durability at this point as he has yet to escape his nagging injuries.  The same could be said about the much heralded TE/FB combo in Charles Clay who when healthy shows good hands and quick feet but is not ready to be a principal player.  Which if fine as he is a rookie and still learning.  But the coaching staff again have yet to really find a way to utilize his versatility.

To say nothing for Clyde Gates.  Gates was supposed to be the speed guy that could stretch the field but again, the team can’t seem to find the right way to utilize his ability and frankly kick-offs didn’t cut it.  To be fair to anyone lining up on the offense, it’s difficult to develop any consistency when the line play is so bad that the QB spends as much time on his back or running for his life than he does actually throwing the ball.  Yes, it’s an exaggeration.

But not much of one.

If the offense has lingering questions then the defense is simply a giant one.  Unlike the offense, there are wily veterans who should be leaders on the defensive side of the ball and yet there are none.  Not Jason Taylor, not Karlos Dansby, and not Yeremiah Bell.  It’s as if they are simply going through the motions and are more motivated to talk up a good game rather than play one.  The fact that they can’t close out an opponent isn’t as ugly as the fact they can’t hold down an opponent long enough for the last few minutes to tick off the game clock.

The defense is a myriad of players who seem more content to wait for someone else to make a play than to step up and make one themselves.  No continuity, no leadership, no direction.  Whether that stems from the coaching or not is irrelevant.  These are veteran players who have been pro-bowlers.  They should need no rah-rah to get them motivated or to motivate those around them by actions.  Something they are not doing.

Which brings us to coaching.  Tony Sparano is shaking up practices and trying to do different things yet so far it has not transcended to victory on the field.  He still has the respect of his players but being a nice guy isn’t going to win championships and it’s widely apparent that he is counting weeks instead of months until he is looking for work and the team is searching for it’s 5th head coach since 2004.  (Including Wannstedt and interim HC Jim Bates).

What all this means is any ones guess because simply put there are no answers for a team that has more talent than it’s 2007 counterpart that went 1-15 yet at this point does it really matter if the team finishes with one win as opposed to say, three?  Does that make them a better team that Cam Cameron season?  Of course not.  I do find it ironic that the talent level on this team is far superior on paper than that one yet the 2007 squad lost seven games by three points.  This years squad has been in contests and lead the last three but have lost by 3 points twice, one point to Cleveland, and the next closest game was a margin of 10.  It means nothing overall but at seasons end will these Dolphins be a greater disappointment?  For a team that many projected to be in the playoffs, I think they already are.

The Dolphins will search for more answers this week against a resurgent Kansas City Chiefs team that has overcome a bevy of it’s own injuries to key players.  Can the Dolphins find a way to win at home?  Something they have done only one time now in two seasons or will they continue the free fall they are on?  Again…more questions.

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Tags: Jeff Ireland Miami Dolphins Tony Sparano

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