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.