Today the New Orleans Saints were devastated by the punishments being handed out by the Commissioner of the NFL Roger Goodell. Sean Payton was suspended for a year, his assistant for the first 6 weeks, GM Micky Loomis for 8 weeks and Greg Williams indefinitely. The last hit doesn’t really effect the Saints but more the St. Louis Rams, where Williams was hired as the Defensive Coordinator, leaving the team looking for a new DC. None of this news really effects the Miami Dolphins, but the other news of the day has much more effect on Miami then the Saints. Unless of course they pull Drew Bree’s franchise tag and we have a shot at him, wishful thinking.
Not only have the Buffalo Bills signed one of the biggest contracts in NFL history with the signing of Mario Williams they also signed him a very significant counter part in Mark Anderson. Anderson, drafted by the Chicago Bears in 2006, played last season with the New England Patriots and wrangled himself a nice 10 sacks along with 29 tackles. Not greatly impressive numbers but with Williams taking up most of the attention, Anderson is going to be able to get loose and cause havoc for QBs on the opposite side. This also creates a real dilemma for Miami who presently has a back up tackle starting on the right side.
The New York Jets have also made waves today with their trade for QB Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos along with a 7th round pick for a 4th and 5th in this years draft. Honestly Tebow is not very threatening as a QB but he is as a player and team mate. Even with some of the worst QB stats ever he manages to win games over and over. Even though he played in a lackluster division like the AFC West, he led the Broncos to the playoffs and also to an impressive win over the Pittburgh Steelers. Not to mention along the way he beat Miami in the last few minutes of the game, which also was his first start last season. Tebow gives the Jets another type of QB with different skill sets that can play off of Mark Sanchez in the Wild Cat or start over him if he starts playing like he did last year. Remember how dangerous the Jets were with Brad Smith?
Miami’s former Corner Back Will Allen signed with the New England Patriots as well today. Now I wouldn’t call this as an important signing as Anderson or Tebow but it still deserves some attention. The Pat’s secondary was one of the worst in the league last season and his addition with help. He has plenty of experience, good instincts and is good on run support when he has to be. Allen did a decent job while playing for Miami in the last two seasons but apparently didn’t fit the new defensive scheme.
And of course last but not least the Miami Dolphins. The Phins actually managed to stay out of the news today which is a good thing. Like the old saying,” No news is good news”. Since everything coming out of South Beach has been nothing but bad. From the dropping of players, to the Fireland protests outside the training facility, to missing out on big name players. What I really hope to hear soon, and probably wont happen, is the plan for the draft and for next season. The signing of Williams and Anderson to the Bills just magnified the need for a strong right tackle. While Jake Long and Richie Incognito can seal up the left side and have done a great job, the right side is left vulnerable. Miami’s best option right now at right tackle has to be Lydon Murtha or Art Hicks who are both career back ups. So does that mean that Miami should go after USC’s Matt Kalil or Iowa’s Riley Reiff in the draft to sure up the right side? Are they ready?
Then again theres the addition of Tebow to the Jets and Brandon Lloyd to the Pats(old new if you didn’t know) also creates a serious need for a serious pass rushing defensive end. The ability to get to the QB and forcing him to throw on the run makes the secondary’s job much easier. If a QB has all day even Tebow can deliver precision passes all day long. Speaking of Tebow, his running ability creates another problem for d-lines that are not ready with powerful ends to slow down the boot legs and options. So now does Miami change thier call and go after NC’s Quinton Coples, Courtney Upshaw out of Alabama or even drop to Nick Perry from USC who might be available in the second round. Maybe.
Moving back to offense, the Phins lost Brandon Marshall to trade and desperately need a strong #1 receiver to help the offense stretch the field, score points and open the field for Bevone Bess and Brian Hartline. Don’t forget we still have Clyde Gates, Roberto Wallace, and Marlon Moore on the roster but no receivers that make corners and safeties hate playing Miami. Without a true threat, other receivers are going to be less productive and the running game get bottled up with too many defenders in the box. Linebackers move down and are able to blitz more, again choking the run or hurrying the QB forcing bad throws. Now does Miami switch gears again and maybe go after Oklahoma’s State Justin Blackmon(who might actually be available at #8), Norte Dame’s Michael Floyd, or even Baylor’s Kendall Wright.
To say the least Miami has a lot of holes to fill, on both sides of the ball and there’s just not enough draft picks to do it all. Maybe they can make a deal with Pittsburgh for Mike Wallace and a 1st round draft in next years draft, allowing them to pick up a tackle or end in the first round this year while filling the need for a #1 receiver. The free agent pool is almost dry and there really isn’t too much talent left out there in any position, especially in the o-tackle and d-end positions. No one and I mean no one has any idea what the plan is right now and we probably wont have any idea until the draft and preseason, but with the amount of holes being opened up, its going to be interesting to see how they work this off season out.