Aug 17, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin walks the field before the start of the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

Dolphins Have Wrong Kind Of Tough Cuts Ahead

The Miami Dolphins, along with every other NFL team will be making some tought cuts in the next two weeks.  Leading up the start of the NFL season, teams will remove 37 players from their rosters sending over 1,000 players onto the free agent market and back home to regular jobs.  Killing the dreams forever for some.

While some teams will make the harsh decision of keeping a young up and coming guy over a seasoed veteran, in Miami the hard cuts facing the team are part of the reason they are mired in losing.  Forget about the up and coming youngster over the seasoned veteran.  This is a matter of simply who provideds the better talent.

There are no veterans of four or more years on this roster that are in danger of losing their jobs.  Outside of Matt Moore or David Garrard.  No wide-receivers, no defensive tackles or defensive ends, no grizzled Jason Taylor like players who have finally reached the point that their value to the team is no longer worth the roster spot for a younger guy with tremendous upside.

No, we tend to talk about the looming cuts with mentions of names like Roberto Wallace, Julius Pruitt, Rishard Marshall, Chris Hogan, and Jeff Fuller.  The wide-receivers alone are the speaking point to this very issue.  Where is the real talent?

If you look across the Dolphins offense, outside of QB and WR there are no competitions that stand to take a job away from someone else.  Anthony Fasano isn’t being pushed by Jerod Mastrud, Charles Clay, and surely not Michael Egnew.  Reggie Bush isn’t being pushed by Lamar Miller yet, but more importantly, he isn’t’ being pushed by Steve Slaton, Daniel Thomas, or anyone else on the roster.  Javorskie Lane sits as the teams top fullback and there is no one pushing him for a roster a spot.

Defensively the Dolphins are going into the season with guys like Tyrone Culver and Chris Clemons sitting in the back of the secondary but there is no push from behind to take their roster spots or the depth chart positions.  Even as a number two safety.

Corner may be a little bit more interesting if the team opts to move a veteran like Vontae Davis but those rumors that surfaced yesterday was really no more of someone’s hypothosis on what ‘might’ happen.  Nothing remotely conclusive.  So suddenly while Richard Marshall may push Davis for the starting gig, who is showing up to push them for a job?

This isn’t the only year this has been going on, in fact it’s the realization that over the years, the Dolphins turnover has been at the bottom and the top has remained relatively unchanged and unchallenged.  That’s fine except for the fact that the top of the roster is not putting wins in the victory column.

Without a yearly push for positions from the bottom the top doesn’t roll over.  That works well for teams like Green Bay and New England or a team like the NY Giants who’s starters stick around until they are free agents and then are either signed or replaced by guys on their roster who have learned how to play from watching other players.  For a team like the Dolphins, the younger guys are watching the veterans lose.  So when a veteran does leave, no one is there to step in who knows how to win.

For the Dolphins, this year anyways, there is a lot of younger guys at the bottom of the roster who have not suffered through endless losing seasons or who have watched the turnover year after year with no progress.  These guys could find themselves on the final 53 simply because they offer no worse than the guys at the top in front of them.  But may have more long term stability.

Going back to the WR’s, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a guy like Jeff Fuller take a spot away from a Gates or even a Naane who has very much underperformed.  At some point, when your team isn’t winning over years, it’s not a bad idea to turn over your roster and start building in key areas.

The Dolphins have some veterans.  Jake Long, Reggie Bush, Richard Marshall, Karlos Dansby, and a very few others.  Which again, is why, this team suffers the wrong decisions each year in making their final cuts.  It’s not so much a hard decision but a hard decision because you really have no idea what the right move is.  At some point the guys who have been around for 3 or 4 years and have not improved, need to be replaced with younger guys who may very well make this team better.  Even if that is a year or two down the road.

The Dolphins are in no position to continue this yearly trek.  They need to make roster decisions that set the team up for success instead of failure.  That I suppose is the hard part.

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  • Darkoak

    It’s called a rebuild and we are finally admitting it needs to be done. There are so many no talent no depth positions on this team. I understand the Ireland hate, but sadly he’s sold a plan to Ross that involves a multi-year rebuild through the draft. Time will tell if his choices pan out. I’m even thinking we may see established vets (Long, Dansby, Davis) exiting the team sooner rather than later and most likely for draft picks.

    • bullrush

      Wow, how long do we give Ireland. Most GM’s can get it done in two years, this guy has done nothing during the two plus years he’s been here. And now he’s going to ruin Tannehill because he’s tying to save his ass.

      • Darkoak

        The worst part of this is the lost years preceding Ireland. Look at our established veteran base. Not very sparkling and made mostly through trades, or free agent pick-ups. The Dolphins haven’t been doing it right for a loooooooong time. If Ireland doesn’t do it right we’ll be in the basement for a decade. Hard to believe we are the new 90′s Lions or Saints.

  • Anabelle Bailey

    Oh to be positive and hope that the boys do their thing and see what happens. Actually, every change, every new entry and every game is important, but we certainly expect results only. Although I also think they should be more selective. There are good elements to which they should be taken into account. Good luck to all.

  • bullrush

    Wow, good points all around. We really need who we can pick up from other teams because we are so weak in so many areas. And, Brian, since you claim to be a player expert evaluator, what did you think of the pathetic play of Chad Henne on the Jags? You’ve been saying all along the Fins should have stuck with Henne and now he looks lost and confused on yet another team. Do you blame their O coordinator there or are you really just a Henne lover who can’t let go?

  • jcartwright67

    Man, that was a depressing read! To add insult to injury; we’re one of the top 3 teams in trouble with cap space. I try to look on the bright side…but in all honesty, there won’t be many highlights this year. I beleve we have the right coach and staff now. If Ireland can hit on 50% of his draft picks, we’ll be fine down the road. The QB position is key. If Ireland’s QB pick (Tannehill) is a hit, then the Dolphins will get back on the map again. Do you really think NE’s GM, owner, and coaches are brilliant? No, they hit on Brady and have a less than 50% success rate on draft picks and FA signings since. Keep in mind their D was ranked at the bottom of the league last year and they still won the division and went to the Superbowl. QB is key. If we see in Tannehill this season a franchise player….I don’t care the win-loss record. Fingers crossed!!

  • Adam Spohn

    You know I actually agree with this. Its eye opening in a way and I tell you if there is any truth to them moving Davis you can really start to question the decisions at that point. Ive always been a supporter of Ireland. Hes not going to get everyone right. But he as been bad in the early middle rounds and if we end up trading away a first round pick player we’ll start to see people make lists of his moves…

    I mean here is just a tip of the iceberg with the vonte davis selection.
    Passing on Hakeem Nicks or Kenny Britt on a WR starved team and drafting Davis with that pick.

    Forced to trading for marshall the following year because they still have no WR.

    Marshall for 2 2′s.
    Passing on Earl Thomas to trade back to get one of those 2′s back… drafting Misi with that 2.
    Trading Marshall away for 2 3′s.
    Drafting Egnew with that 3.

    After al that if we trade Davis or even bench him that is a tough pill the swallow.

    It all rolls down hill. One bad decision create 4-5 more.

    (Im not saying Davis was the wrong move.) I for one think the media is blowing his camp out of proportion. i dont think he will be traded and quite honestly I want him on the team.

    But if they do end up trading him…. then you can start to see that Ireland not only has missed heavy in rounds 2-3 pretty much every time. But now also round 1.

  • Robert Hall

    I think it’s so hard for most Dolphins fans to go through so many losing seasons because most of us have been fans during the decades ( 70′s, 80′s, 90′s ) of success. How many losing seasons ( below .500 ) have we had now? 12 Total including the first four seasons of our existence. That’s not to shabby in my book, over the course of 46 seasons. Lets make it 13 losing seasons incase we don’t get above 8 wins this season. Like most things that go through a down cycle, we are going through our own down cycle over the course of a decade, for the first time in our Prideful history! Most of us fans have been spoiled with lots of wins over the past few decades before the 2004 season, that we became used to winning, and now we are experiencing what other teams, such as the Steelers, Patriots, Lions, Saints, Packers, Giants, Buccaneers, and many others have gone through, and most of them have many more losing seasons than what we have and most of them had multiple decades of losing! So, hold your heads up high, we are still the winningest NFL franchise! Hopefully we will be on the winning end again real soon.