The Need For Speed?


The Miami Dolphins had one of the fastest players in the NFL on their roster two seasons ago.  His name was Ted Ginn, Jr. and no one ran to the sideline faster.  Sorry, it’s true.  That speed was very much lacking this year on the Dolphins offense and the special teams.  In fact, it could be argued that on the brute side of the team, the defense, that speed was lacking there as well.

Could that all be about to change?

According to Jeff Ireland it might be.  Out of the Bill Parcells shadow for the first time in his professional career, Ireland won’t have to argue back and forth with the “Tuna” about size over speed or have to listen to words like “prototypical”.  This is his show, 100 percent from top to bottom.  Free agency?  It’s his.  The Dolphins current members?  They are his.  The draft scouting, pro-day reps, private workout invitations?  All his, his, and yes, you guessed it, his.

So if you listen to him speak, as he did this week from Alabama while attending the Senior Bowl practices, you have to wonder if what he says is really what he wants.  This week, he said this team lacked speed.  The Dolphins are not fast on offense.  Brandon Marshall is a great hands receiver and a better YAC guy but he isn’t a burner. Brian Hartline is fast but he isn’t “that fast”.  Look at the backfield and you see, well, you see an aging Ricky Williams who struggles to get to the outside corner and a regressing Ronnie Brown who is starting to dance again behind the line.  Neither player are upfield burners so when Ireland recently stated that he wanted a RB who could gain yards on his own, the indication seems implicit that the Dolphins offense is about to have another major overhaul.

But where do you begin?

For starters, fixing the offensive line is the priority.  If you don’t have a line you don’t have a runner, a quarterback, or a flashy WR.  There will be quite a few expensive and flashy lineman available in this years free agent crop, if there is one, and if not, the draft holds some nice prospects as well.  Where the FA will cost you money, the Draft will cost you picks…one at a time.

You can’t draft Oline in the first round and expect to get a playmaker.  Doesn’t work like that.  Maybe you land a Pro-Bowl type like Jake Long but the lineman don’t touch the ball so that route doesn’t get you speed.  Which is apparently, again, what Ireland is looking for.

Ireland also said that the team will try and trade down and recoup the lost 2nd round pick.  This is an indication that the team will not likely stay at 15 as no team can trade any players until there is a CBA so in that case, only a trade down situation that involves picks only is possible.  This is an option that if available will allow the team to draft that lineman and add speed in round 2.

But there is so much to fix on offense.

WR’s are solid but they could still need that upfield burner to open up the passing lanes and pull safety coverage off Marshall.  They will likely lose 2 of their three RB free agents in Brown and Williams, likely retaining Patrick Cobbs and they need to find another QB that can not only compete for the starting job but be successful within the offensive system.

So while speed may be the name of the game, it’s a fast comment but a very slow process of finding solutions.