The Annual Blame Game


Do we really need another reminder of the last 10 years?  A rehash of the events that have led this team to yet another 0-2 start with no sign of light in the foreseeable future?  Do we need to bring back names like Jamar Fletcher and Eddie Moore?  Ted Ginn, John Beck, and Jason Allen?  Unfortunately, the bad news is yes, the good news is I just did.

It has been two days since the Miami Dolphins got slammed on Sunday.  The coach says it won’t be forever, the losing that is, the players talk of a embarrassment, and Bill Parcells is declining to be interviewed from him bunker at the training center.  This is the annual blame game.  We did it with Saban, we did it with Cameron, and now, we are left with doing it with Tony Sparano.

The worst part is not the talent that is on the team, it’s the talent brought to the team by Parcells and company.  While guys like Jason Ferguson and Anthony Fasano look to be good additions, for every one of them there are at least two who don’t.  For the Akin Ayodele who has been playing decent, their is a Keith Davis and Sean Ryan who has been cut.  While the Dolphins may yet find solid players in guys like Reggie Torbor and Justin Smiley, the names passed on the free agent wire in favor of those two are guys like Alan Faneca and Calvin Pace.  Overpaid sure, but much more talented than what we have so far seen out of the “2nd tier” guys.  Oh, and for the record, those two “names” could not help the Jets beat a Brady’less Patriots team.  There are a lot of questions surrounding, this team, you can read 10 of them here.

To be fair for what is about to come and in my opinion the real reason this team is where it is, I will remind all of us that the Dolphins did have 50 million in cap space entering the free agent market and easily could have tied themselves to “names” instead of say 6 million dollars on a WR named Wilford.  I know it inevitably will be Emailed to me and posted in the comments if I didn’t mention that fact.

Last year, I had the same debate.  Who is ultimately responsible for this mess?  The longest tenured Dolphin is Ricky Williams, acquired in a trade for 2 first round draft picks and the longest tenured drafted Dolphin is 7th round pick Yeremiah Bell who was drafted in 2003.   Vernon Carey is second drafted in round 1 of 2004.  Only 3 players remain from the 2005 draft.  5 players from 3 drafts remain on this team 4 and a half years later.   That is disgusting.

When you couple the salary cap issues leading into the 2003, 04, 05, 06, and 07 seasons replacing failed draft picks with young free agent prospects was impossible to do.  We can say what we want about Cam Cameron and Randy Mueller but they alleviated some of the pressure of that salary cap by getting rid of some overpaid under-producing talent.

While Wes Welker…who to this day I still say is not worth the 35 million dollar guaranteed contract the Dolphins “could” have been saddled with if they didn’t take that trade, let’s not debate it further, Randy McMichael has proved in St. Louis that he was very expendable for a player making 4 million a year.  While the Trent Green experiment failed miserably, Daunte Culpepper proved that the only thing he could do was rub being cut in Miami’s face.  A year later and not even QB depleted New England will take a look at the recently retired QB.  For that group…the mistakes clearly lie in the drafting of Ted Ginn and John Beck.

The Dolphins this year under Bill Parcells and his new regime entered the free agent market improving on the 20 mill cap at the end of last season to another 30.  The problem is that they failed to utilize the money on players that would make impacts to the structure of this team which may lead fans to believe that they are trying to save money for the sale of the franchise rather than spend it now.

What this team did this year was spend their money on 2nd tier players who were mostly coming off their rookie contracts.  Torbor, Ayodele, Smiley, and Starks.  The team as a whole got younger by far, but in the process they gave up veteran leadership that could bridge the gap until the youngsters reached their potential.

While fans wait to see what if anything will come of this new regimes tactics in rebuilding, the sense is that we, as fans, are seeing the same play on the field as last season.  While that is definitely the case, it should also be pointed out that this team is far different from that one.

The good news is that there appears to be some hope.  Which is what this team, THIS team, was built on this off-season.  Chad Henne showed promise in his one series on Sunday and Tony Sparano said that he will get more work as the season progresses.  Phillip Merling and Kendal Langford are two starting rookie DE’s who are showing clear signs of being steals in this draft.  The Dolphins got exceptional play out of 6th rounder Donald Thomas before losing him to a foot injury for the season.  Jake Long is going to struggle as a LT in the NFL but we all expected him to.

Expectations did not run high until the Dolphins ran off 3 consecutive wins to finish out the pre-season.  Prior to that, dating all the way back to when Bill Parcells was first hired…fans from every walk of life immediately said this team would be given 1 or 2 years to develop and then be judged.

That last all of two games.  Now, we are hearing the cat calls for Tony Sparano’s head and being told that Bill Parcells has lost it.  Two games.  It’s amazing how after only two games those “high expectations” have fallen to the bottom of the sewer…even lower than last years 1-15 team.

It will likely get worse before it gets better…but…my prediction is that once it finally does start to get better, it will continue to get better.  For now, we just need to wait it out and stop listening to the “sky is falling” south Florida reporters.  It’s not like we have any other choice…except of course to debate the blame.

One more thing, Yeremiah Bell was drafted in the 6th round not the 7th...just wanted to see if you would catch that.