Not all of the players are unhappy with the way things are being shook up in Miami. Not all of the players are creating a stir or voicing their discontent. Some of these players are trying to learn to play the new systems, make the roster, and fight to win games. There are some however that simply don’t get it. Vontae Davis is out the door, Brandon Marshall is out the door, Chad Johnson is out the door. Surely someone else will follow soon. And with each veteran who is shown the door, someone in the locker room want’s it known they don’t agree.
“Shocked”, “Dismayed”, “I don’t know what to think”, and “I don’t know what the organization is doing” are just some of the quotes that have been tossed around from inside the locker room following the Vontae Davis release. Some in the media have been waiting to pounce on the Dolphins Joe Philbin or continue to toss barbs at GM Jeff Ireland and are using these latest volleys as a way to get their shot.
What some of these Dolphins players don’t realize is who exactly they are “shocked and awed” about losing. Should we take a look? Maybe if some of these players took a look they would see exactly why the Dolphins are moving in a different direction without them. But first, I want to tell you what was conveyed to me by someone I trust implicitly. Someone you would trust without question as well if I could give you their name. Someone who has more than enough inside knowledge of what was going on in camp.
According to a source that I have one of the Dolphins players in the secondary informed someone outside the media that they weren’t shocked by the release of Davis. In fact, as it was told to me, Davis could have been cut. Released to make an example of. Davis’ attitude was not good and according to this player, Davis simply didn’t seem to care and other players were sensing it. So why would anyone publicly go out of their way to express “shock and awe” over a move that according to one person was really not a surprise? Because players don’t call out their own teammates.
Even the player who gave out this info that ended up with my source publicly stated that they were a little surprised by the move. Yet they weren’t. Teammates become friends, they become family, and you protect your family. But all this talk isn’t winning the Dolphins any games. If we take a look at the core issue in Miami, we can start to sort out some of what is going wrong.
Will Allen not being re-signed was a no-brainer at the time. He was making too much money, older, and his production had declined significantly. Yeremiah Bell was released because they Dolphins owed him 4.5 million dollars this season. A level of compensation that Bell was playing under. Then came Brandon Marshall. Still today, players are upset that the Dolphins traded him for two 3rd round picks. Still today, so are a lot of fans.
Yet what exactly did Marshall do in Miami that made him so rarely indispensable? His statistics were not crowd pleasing. His receptions were down, he dropped what appeared to be more TD passes than actual receptions for scores. Off-field he had several issues that in his two off-seasons kept him away from OTA’s and voluntary workouts. At the line of scrimmage he pleaded for the ball yet failed to get open more often than finding a lane, didn’t have blazing speed and the best use of his body shielding CB’s came in the Pro-Bowl where he couldn’t be touched.
This is who the players are upset about losing? Where was Brandon Marshall the leader, the role model, the teacher for the younger guys learning to play the game? The same youngsters who now are struggling to make a roster that is virtually depleted of talent?
Chad Johnson was a showboat yet his release brought Jake Long, Reggie Bush, and Karlos Dansby into the coaches office for a heart to heart. This Chad Johnson was their friend. That kind of cool bar buddy who has always a good one liner and the confidence to get everyone a woman. Yet on the field, he dropped passes, he ran the wrong routes, struggled with the playbook. Last year in New England he had the lowest reception count of his career and was knocked for not learning his playbook. He failed to learn his plays in Miami, dropped the F-Bomb like it could bring an end to world violence, mocked his coach with a Twitter avatar, and then for good measure head-butted his wife who was angry over a receipt for condoms she found his car.
This is who Karlos and his other two “leaders” were upset over? This is the guy that sent Dansby to local radio complaining about the move and his coach? This is the guy that had some in the locker-room dissenting?
Vontae Davis is a nice guy. I know that first hand because I met him. I carried a bag for him to his hotel room when his hands were full with the Dolphins playbook a few years back. I was the one who pushed the elevator button for him, and he was a very outgoing young man. You know what else he was? Lazy. Not solely evidenced by this years HK but by his lack of production last year. His inability to come to camp in shape, something that happened again this season. He showed up to a practice last season drunk. He is the same guy who as a former first round pick should be leading the team in his 3rd year, not telling a teammate below him that he needs to “act” like he knows what he is doing. Vontae’ Davis has worldly talent but can’t seem to find a way to use it. He is average who at times can show flashes of being better. Yet he recedes just as fast.
And this is who some of the Dolphins are complaining about losing?
The fact is this, outside of Dansby, Guyton, Bush, and any other I failed to mention, this team is comprised of players who know only losing. Jake Long doesn’t know anything but losing, nor does Sean Smith, Jared Odrick, Koa Misi, Nolan Carroll, or any of the WR’s. They all know how to lose. Teams that lose look towards their veterans to learn to win. Davis didn’t know how to win anymore than Allen, Bell, or Marshall did.
The make-up of this team is young guys that were drafted yet those players that were drafted and were expected to be premium players now, wasted valuable years failing. Joe Philbin has to turn this team around and he needs to do it quickly. Some will say you don’t do that by getting rid of your best players but your best players on a losing team that don’t help you win are not worth anything. Davis didn’t help this team win. Nor did Marshall, Bell, and Allen.
And neither has Karlos Dansby.
The truth is, the vocal leader of this team, the guy that goes on the news, the radio, and tells reporters he doesn’t know what the team is doing, is the same leader who showed up 25 pounds overweight last year, didn’t get into a rhythm until the season was already lost and never vocally stood up to take control of the team, let alone the defense. If Karlos Dansby was such a leader, shouldn’t he have been in Vontae’s face from the first day of camp getting him in line? Should he not have been voicing his concerns to Davis instead of complaining about the fact that he is gone?
The Miami Dolphins may not be a good football team this year and they have an upward climb if next year will be terrifically different. But changes need to made. Some for the salary cap, some for a younger guy, and some simply to change the attitude and beliefs in the team. The Dolphins are not trading away core players that they can’t live without. They are trading away players who haven’t come close to becoming the player or the leader they are supposed to be. Davis was the 2nd best defender last year, but on a team that had little to no defense does it really matter?
That’s like saying Chad Johnson was the best WR the Dolphins had on their roster, but could have made the roster on any of the other 31 teams? Not likely.
Leaders lead, the Dolphins need to find leaders. Other players need to shut up and get a clue. The team needs to learn to win and in order to do that you sometimes have to get rid of those that simply don’t know how, or don’t seem to care enough to find out.
Fans want to point a finger at management, that’s fine. I understand. Ireland specifically was involved in the Davis drafting as well as the other questionable draft picks since coming to Miami. You make mistakes you move on. But you don’t keep the mistakes as a reminder. That is something fans need to let go of. Some of these moves may not be all that popular but ask yourself how those that are gone helped this team become a winning team? How they helped make each side of the ball completely better as well as those who played surrounding them? I would argue that none of them elevated the play of those surrounding them. Aside from Yeremiah Bell.