Feb 20, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Miami Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey speaks during a press conference during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

AFC East Get's Stronger


 

Has the Miami Dolphins gotten any closer to taking the division away from the New England Patriots?  No.  It’s a brutally honest answer I know.  How close are they?  That is an entirely different question but the answer may just be as brutally honest.  Last year was supposed to be the Patriots fall off year.  Injuries decimated their defensive line and their WR’s were not very good.  They lost Rob Gronkowski for most of the season and Aaron Hernandez to off-season murder charges.

And they still made the AFC Championship game.

Here we are watching them once again play coy in free agency.  Up until they added the number one CB in all of football.  Darrelle Revis signed a one year deal for 12 million guaranteed and a second year for 20 million not guaranteed.  Are the Patriots better?  It’s hard to say no.  Their defense got better with the addition of Revis but there are still questions on the defensive line, at LB, and on offense where the WR’s are still question marks.  The Patriots are however once again the favorite to challenge Denver for AFC superiority.

The New York Jets had a season that many believe was one of the best coaching jobs of Rex Ryan.  Sorry but given the teams total lack of continuity and the Mark Sanchez/Geno Smith hang-ups the Jets actually turned in a solid season that finished in 2nd in the AFC East and knocked Miami out of the playoffs.  While they lost top guard Austin Howard they added Seattle Seahawk guard Breno Giacomini and today added WR Eric Decker.  They lacked a solid WR group last year.  The team is now talking to James Jones of the Packers.

Have the NY Jets gotten better?  Hard to say and until they fix their QB position that answer will remain, well, unanswered.

That brings us to the Miami Dolphins, the Bills really haven’t done much this off-season thus far.  The Dolphins opened the new year with Branden Albert.  There is no question that the offensive line is better for it.  The caveat of course is the fact that now the Dolphins have two starters on that line.  Mike Pouncey being the other.  No guards, no right tackle.  I like Nate Garner but he can’t hold it for an entire season.  I really came away impressed with un-drafted rookie Sam Brenner last year but enough to hand over the starting job this year?  No.

The Dolphins added Earl Mitchell to the line and while it’s a hole that has been plugged can anyone say without conviction that Mitchell is poised to be as good or better than Paul Soliai?  Of course not.  The re-signing of Randy Starks was a very good move for the team but does it make the Dolphins stronger than last years team?  No, it keeps them the same at the position.  Conversely, the re-signing of Brent Grimes doesn’t make the team better at that corner spot either but both Starks and Grimes are very needed leaders and the team as a whole is far better with them than without them.

The Dolphins also added Louis Delmas but it’s hard to say whether or not he will immediately be better than the departed Chris Clemons.  My money would be on yes, he is an improvement but his knees will be the answer to that question ultimately.  Miami has had a solid off-season thus far but I wouldn’t necessarily say they are a better team than the talent they put out last year.  Mainly because they have position left to be filled and until they are the Dolphins won’t win the paper schedule.

It’s far from over.  The Dolphins will find a way to put lineman on the field.  Will they be short term solutions, quick fixes, or permanent fixes remains to be seen.  It’s been a good start to free agency but it surely can’t be it.  Too much remains for the team to divert their focus solely to the draft where the opportunity to draft BPA is for now not reasonable.

It will be exciting to watch the next few days unfold.  I suppose the bigger question is what direction are they going in?  So far I would say it’s lateral.  They haven’t taken a step back but they haven’t taken a step forward either.  It’s like a puzzle that has a couple missing edge pieces but a lot of missing center pieces.  You think you know what it is supposed to look like but there is still too much left to know for sure.

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Tags: Branden Albert Darrell Revis Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets

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  • Gregory Hutchinson

    You ask yourself are Dolphins any closer to knocking off the patriots & you tell us the answer is a brutal but truthful no. I just don’t understand how you come to this conclusion. Now before I get into 10 different reasons to make my point, i’ll start with a point that a lot of New Englanders will of coarse disagree with. The 1st thing is the gap between the QB play of both teams are closing, you might not see that or want to believe it but its happening. Just this 1 fact alone, & that is Brady is now a yr. older & Tannehill has another yr. under his belt is a fact without an argument. But that is a argument that anyone could make so we’ll let that one rest. Now on to some real legitimate reasons why the gap has shrunk between the Phins & the Pats, for starters it was just last yr. we beat the them. And further more, we beat 4 of the 6 teams that represented the AFC in the playoffs last yr. We as a team are better than I record would indicate, now I know your thinking he didn’t just use that line did he. Well, here’s a fact people, not all games are won by the better team. And I use this game as a reminder of how true this is, the 18-0 pats against the 8 loss New York Giants squad. I did not even watch this ball game because I was so sure the Pats would not only win it, but win it with ease. That was a great team that yr. & I mean GREAT, it was a ball game against a team they would beat probably 19 out of 20 times but they lost that one & my point being made is the better team doesn’t always win, Miami went 8-8 last yr. & there isn’t no getting around that, but Miami was as close to being a 11-5 squad with out being as one could be. We lost to the defending SB champs in overtime & then there was the “could’ve/should’ve” beat the Panthers game, who at the time was the hottest team in the NFL at that time(think they score a TD with no time left or close to it). Not to mention we lost to TB on a short week after beating the Bengals on Thursday night football & all this right in the middle of the bullying scandal where we were having to reshuffle our whole line it seemed, & then lose 2 games to end the season because of a Offensive line that couldn’t pass protect r run block if their lives depended on it. I know your wondering where im going with this & if u do know where im going with it your probably like hurry up already. Ok here it goes, ur record doesn’t always give u an accurate description of your team or anyone else’s 4 that matter, I have seen many 4-12 teams that were far better than their record & a many 10-6 teams that weren’t as good as their record would indicate. We beat some quality teams(Pats, Colts, Bengals & Chargers) last yr. & should have beaten a few others(#2 seed Panthers & the defending SB champions Ravens) that we lost to. Im going to go back 2 yrs. ago & bring up a few games against the power house teams of the NFC WESTERN DIVISION being we’re basically the same team as back then give or take a player or so. Our 1st game into that division was against the VERY TALENTED DEFENSIVE team Arizona Cardinals, a game we lost in OT because we had a goofy ass Offensive Coordinator who with only a few minutes left in the game wanted to pass the ball with a rookie QB & the lead, well Tannehill gets sacked & fumbles the ball & the Cards get the ball at or near the 50. The 2nd game was against the TALENTED DEFESIVE team St. Louis Rams that we won 17-14. Our 3rd game was against A VERY YOUNG, BUT VERY TALENTED TEAM ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL in the Seattle Seahawks team that closed out the yr.(besides their 2nd playoff game they lost in ATL.) winning 8 of their last 9 games & their only loss in that span was against the that’s right Miami Dolphins. And another lil nugget to chew on is during 8 of that 9 game stretch the Fins were the only team that scored over 17 pts. against them. In fact, during that season there was only 1 team that scored more pts. against that defense than the Dolphins(not the Pats) & they were the high scoring, record setting(Matthew Stafford/Calvin Johnson combo) Detroit Lions who scored 28 compared to the Phins 24. Their 4th game was against the VERY TALENTED ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL San Francisco 49ERS in San Francisco at that. It was a game that if you looked at only the score board(27-13) you would think we had got beat pretty good, but even the 49ers players(& a few of them did say) would tell you the score was no indicator of how close & tuff a game it really was through out the whole game & yes the 49ers did beat the Pats in Foxborough also (41-34). Now back to the game between Mia. n San Fran, it was a hard fought game that with as little as over 3 minutes left could have been won by either team. But with just over 3 minutes left & Miami needing the ball back in the worst way, they are selling out to stop the run & Kaepernick finds a crease & goes like 50 yds. for a TD. that ensures a win against “what they called a very underrated team”. The following week after a very tough game at home against Phins they go on the road & are killing the Pats to the point of them letting up & almost giving the game away. Now onto our current roster & I’ll start with our offensive line right to start with. We now have a Pro Bowler at LT & a Pro Bowler at C & we are in talks right now with another OL that the Pats themselves are interested in who is capable of playing either G position or RT. He is a young & atheletic player who seems to be on a lot of teams radar & if Miami can fill just 1 more spot before the draft they would go into the draft with 3 of 5 OL’s already in place & could look to fill 1 of the OG spots in the 2nd or 3rd rd. at the earliest during the draft. Its almost a given that we’ll add another player on the OL in free agency & draft 1, probably a OG being you can get a starting OG later in the draft especially being this draft is very deep in OL help, & not to mention they probably don’t see themselves having to had fill 4 spots on the OL. Im sure they have one guy on their roster who could start at RG. Now, with all that being said about the OL & we now being set on the DL as well, we will look at some positions of strength. With the OL(3rd rd. pick) & WR’s a strength going into the draft & we being set at QB, there isn’t but one maybe two positions on offense we could look to up grade & they are in this order– a RB & maybe TE. O n to the defense, we are set at the DL positions & the DB positions with the exception of maybe 1 CB but keep in mind we drafted a CB in the 2nd rd. & the 3rd rd. as well, so we may be better of there than people may seem 2 believe. That now leads us to the LBer position wich was better than some have said. SLB’er Koa Misa has never been great & never will be, he is though a solid starter at worst & ILB’er Elerbee was playing in a 4-3 defense as a pro for the first time & he did get better as the yr. carried on. He played outside in the 3-4 a lot with the Ravens because the OLB’ers often blitzed in Baltimore leaving him now on the out side even though he lined up in the middle to start, so it was an adjustment period. They are not looking to replace Ellerbee, they are find with him as a LBer, not to say that they would’nt upgrade the ILBer with another player, infact that’s just what they may do (remember this part about a move to the outside for Ellerbee). Now Wheeler played horrible & that’s just a fact but there was & is already a player on the team that as a rookie was already taking snaps from Wheeler & the word is he is most likely the starter on the outside this yr. Now with a rundown on how were shaping up going into the draft lets consider this, we are set at the OL,WR, QB & TE positions, that leaves just 1 position & that would be the RB position. Now onto the Defense, we are def. set on the DL, DB’s & LBers. Now keep in mind, we will have added 2 OL’s in free agency & have a pro bowl C already on the roster & another guy who can play the easiest position on the offensive line & that is RG. Believe or not we could go into the draft looking to upgrade the RB & TE positions very early. Now back 2 defense, we could use another playmaker at one the DB positions as well as a LBer. So I could see us very easly to everyones surprise drafting the BPA approach & find them selves considering players such as TE’s, RB’s, LB’s & DB’s early & a OG later in the draft. Now wouldn’t that be a schock, we might be looking to add some playmakers early & often !!!!!

  • Miami Jules (Julian)

    I’m OK with the Patriots maxing out their cap room. It has been quite a different Patriot team this year and perhaps a sign Belachick may be getting a bit desperate and honed in on the Broncos when the two situations are drastically different. Good! Revis can not cover all the WRs on the field and if we focus on what we (as in the Dolphins) need to do, we may come away from this off season with a pretty good OL which will give Tannehill enough time to go through his progressions without being rushed into bad decisions or inaccurate throws. “As an athlete, one should always get the competition to play one’s “game”, so that one can can play to their strength and not the competetion’s” 2014 Miami Jules