To say that the Miami Dolphins had an interesting off-season would be an understatement. We need to go all the way back to the Jim Harbaugh fiasco. The lockout that closed up free agency in March, put doubts on April’s draft, and put the Miami Dolphins fan base into a tailspin of quarterback drudgery. Chad Henne organized player only workouts, the Dolphins got fined prior to the lockout because Henne met with new OC Brian Daboll and got an early copy of the playbook…and we all just waited.
Word began to circulate in mid-July that the lockout would be ending and the 2012 season would begin with a flurry of activity in the free agent market. Dolphins fans began to salivate at the prospect of adding a new QB to the roster. Making a trade for anyone who could come in and win. For the most part, many fans believed that anyone was better than Chad Henne.
Now we find ourselves four games remaining in a season that was over with early and exciting late. The Dolphins have been on an offensive tear four of the last five weeks scoring over 30 points in three of those games. Early in the season injuries to players like Charles Clay and Daniel Thomas and the lockout keeping players like Reggie Bush and Mike Pouncey away from the team until training camp (no free agency until the week before TC), kept Chad Henne at a disadvantage. The team struggled with Brian Daboll’s offense and the players who were healthy tried to learn the new system. Even Brandon Marshall was absent for all but one player organized workout.
How exactly does Henne build any consistency with that? Regardless it no longer matters. The Dolphins lost Henne in San Diego and have turned to their free agent pick-up Matt Moore. Which brings us back to the off-season and a look back at Kyle Orton and other QB’s.
The start of free agency brought a lot of turmoil to the Dolphins and their fan base. Consider that even before the team took to the field, fans were booing Chad Henne and the Dolphins offense, front office, and coaching staff. Before the Dolphins took to the field for their first practice, fans were already screaming for a trade for Kyle Orton. A chant that would reverberate the stadium when the Dolphins held an open public prime time practice. “We want Orton!”. Of course, that trade never went down and the Dolphins moved on immediately with Matt Moore.
I find this all interesting as I look back on what was being said about the Dolphins QB situation and some of the QB’s that were available at the time that fans were calling for.
Kyle Orton – Refused to take a pay cut to renegotiate his contract to sign with Miami. Denver’s GM John Elway refused to trade Orton for less than a second round pick. Orton lost his job to Tim Tebow who was the third string QB in camp. The Broncos then released Orton two weeks ago where he signed with KC and played his first game for the Chiefs this past weekend, going down with an injury. Denver is tied for the AFC West lead with Tim Tebow at QB.
Advantage – Miami
Vince Young – Young was a hot fan topic as soon as the season ended. His volatile situation in Tennessee was not a concern. Mobile and “VicLike” Young was that QB who could take the Dolphins offense to another level. Young was snatched early by the Eagles and declared he was going to a “dream team”. In three starts with the Eagles in replacement of Vick, Young did nothing. Last Thursday night he threw five interceptions against the Seattle Seahawks.
Advantage – Miami
Donovan McNabb – McNabb has a better arm, better vision, has leadership ability despite his laziness, and can carry a team. Just some of the things that were said about the former Washington Redskin QB. He was in a bad situation in Washington and spent his time in Mike Shanahan’s doghouse. The Vikings swooped in and made the trade. McNabb would take the Vikings up a level. He lost his job to rookie Christian Ponder three weeks ago and was released two weeks later. McNabb even passed through waivers.
Advantage – Miami
Matt Hasselbeck – Hasselbeck was the old veteran who finally moved out of the northwest United States. Hasselbeck was never really a target for the Dolphins and rumors were rampant throughout the off-season that when the lockout ended he would sign with the Tennessee Titans where former coaches were now in place. Hasselbeck did indeed sign immediately with the Titans. He has them in the playoff hunt.
Advantage – Tennessee – Hasselbeck is the 15th rated passer in the NFL with 15 touchdown’s to 10 int’s. (advantage to Tenn because of playoff shot)
Seneca Wallace – Some believed that Wallace would be a fit for Miami with the Brian Daboll offense. He is still a back-up in Cleveland to Colt McCoy.
Advantage – Miami
Brady Quinn – Quinn was a member of the Browns while Daboll was part of the coaching staff but talks about Quinn being on the trade block never materialized and the Dolphins looked at Orton instead. Quinn is still the back-up in Denver to Tim Tebow.
Kevin Kolb – The Arizona Cardinals made a blockbuster trade with the Eagles to get their “QB” of the future. Kolb missed four games from a turf toe injury and has been relatively ineffective when he is in the game. Kolb’s production could have tailed away due to the lockout keeping him from joining the team until after the first 10 days of training camp and no off-season to work with the team.
Advantage – Miami
Matt Moore – Back in February I predicted that Moore may be an option for the Dolphins. You can read that here. Moore is proving that he can lead this team but has yet to beat a team that can be defined as “good”. He lost to the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants while beating Kansas City, Buffalo, Washington, and Oakland who is reeling in the AFC West. Regardless, Moore has proven to be a capable QB in this system and has been instrumental in getting the offensive production turned around. Many feel that his play will put the nail in the proverbial coffin of any Chad Henne return next season but has not dampened the opinion that the Dolphins still need to draft a first round QB next April. Still, he is proving to be a viable option to bridge the gap between now and that future and may prove to be a viable option for that future entirely.
Advantage – Miami.
All in all with the way the off-season played out, the Dolphins unwillingness to give in to the demands by both John Elway and Kyle Orton seems to have payed off. In addition, their reluctance to go after other bigger named free agents such as McNabb, Young, or Hasselbeck, has also paid off as well. Moore may not be the end all solution but he is taking the Dolphins into a direction they haven’t been in, in quite a long time.
While the Dolphins opted to pass on a first round signal caller in last years draft or for that matter a QB at all, their dangerous play netted them starting center Mike Pouncey and RB Daniel Thomas. Passing on Ryan Mallett who is in New England. If Matt Moore’s play continues to improve, the Dolphins will have to look at the possibility of missing on another high first round QB.