Two weeks into the NFL pre-season and Miami Dolphin fans are starting to get very frustrated. It’s not the two embarrassing losses that Miami already has this pre-season, but rather the quality of play in both games. Most people know that the pre-season is no indication of the season, for example, The Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers usually lose the majority of their preseason games and still dominate during the season. As well as the fact that Miami went 3-1 last pre-season and then went 0-7 to start the season. So the losses aren’t what sting, but draft busts and below mediocre play is what has fans starting to get very worried.
General Manager Jeff Ireland has been on the hot seat since last season when Miami was spiraling out of control at 0-7 and then Head Coach Tony Sporano was about to get fired. He stoked the fires even more in the off season by trading away top receiver Brandon Marshall for 2 third round picks and then cutting the teams top tackler and fan favorite Safety Yeremiah Bell. Two very important positions on the team that have yet to be properly addressed and are visibly lacking in talent. Then in this years Draft, reaching in the first round and over drafting a QB that is far from proven and has the potential to be either a savior or straight out bust. And so far the rest of his 2012 Draft Class has not shown any promise what so ever.
Jonathan Martin was drafted high in the second round to help a improve a lackluster offensive line that gave up the third most sacks in the NFL last season. So far, he has done nothing but put us on track to be the first in most sacks. On Friday, against the North Caroline Panthers, Martin gave up 2 sacks, a holding penalty and an offsides penalty. He was also abused by Carolina’s Charles Johnson the whole game and can be seen getting knocked down and ran over by other Miami players on last weeks episode of Hard Knocks. So far Martin has not proven himself and is starting to look like bust or maybe a good back up.
Other draft picks like Oilvier Vernon, Josh Kaddu, Lamar Miller and Kheeston Randall have all been just about invisible so far this preseason while draft picks like Michael Egnew and Richard Matthews are only being noticed by how bad they are playing. BJ Cunningham has also shown little or now promise and most seem to forget he is even there. Some of these names if not all should be on headlines and leading stats as they try to earn a spot on this team and are getting more playing time then the majority of the team. Instead Undrafted Free Agents like Chris Hogan, Les Brown and Derrick Shelby are leading articles and top stories on Hard Knocks and are surprising fans and coaches while Ireland’s draft picks are disappointing fans and coaches with subpar play.
Also as previously mentioned, Ireland still has not done anything to address the areas of real concern like WR and Safety. Chris Clemons and Reshad Jones are the Phins starting safeties and neither are hard hitters or ball hawks and react incredibly slow to the run. In both preseason games, the opponents running backs have racked up yardage on runs to the outside because the safeties are not stepping up to support the run. Yes, the starting linebacker corps has not been on the field but the secondary should be stepping up to help in the run. Not mention that Cam Newton completed several passes right down the middle, right in front of the safeties who forgot to pick up the cross routes and streaking tight ends. Along with the screenplays to the outside that, yes the linebackers should have been on top of, but so should the free safety who should be hawking the running back as well.
At wide receiver, Miami has the worst receiver corps in the NFL. Not taking anything away from Devone Bess, he is truly amazing as a slot receiver, but not as a true number 1 receiver. After Bess there is not a single known or proven receiver on the team. Every week another name is getting thrown around as a surprise star to watch and not one has lived up to the hype. Roberto Wallace cannot get separation, Legedu Naanee has been invisible, Clyde Gates looks like a bust and the list goes on and on.
Ireland has done a great job of stripping this team of star power and talent and then wondering why they cannot win games. Ireland openly admitted that the team has plenty of 4,5 and 6 receivers but need 3,2, and 1s, which is all his fault. Trading away Marshall and not replacing him in either free agency or draft was one of the most damaging things he could have done to this offense. At the end of last season, Miami needed a strong number 2 receiver to play opposite Marshall and free up the running game. Instead they went backwards and got rid of their biggest offensive threat.
All these players and choices were picked and made by non other then General Manager Jeff Ireland. If anybody is to blame for the catastrophe that appears to be headed our way this season, it should be him. Not the coaches or players but the GM. It is his job to get players that Head Coach Joe Philbin can use and to make sure that any needs are filled. Instead he has created more needs and bigger holes and tried to fill them with his idea of great player that continue to fail. I am a true fan of this team and it’s coach Joe Philbin, but the turth is Miami needs a lot of help and unfortunately as long as Ireland stays in office, Miami has little or no chance of becoming successful.