Now that the national media has shifted its focus from Peyton Manning and free agency to Timsanity and bountygate penalties, it may be a good time for fans of the Miami Dolphins to step back and view the state of the franchise, as it is today.
This off season has been rough on Dolphins fans, the trade of Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears and the failure of the Miami front office to make a splash at the quarterback position has resulted in frustration amongst the fan base. Comments from NFL players and former players ridiculing Dolphins management, specifically Jeff Ireland, led a handful of Dolphin faithfuls to protest outside of the Dolphins’ training facility. Although the off season has not gone the way many fans may have anticipated, all is not lost.
Let’s start with the cons. The Dolphins have some holes to fill. They ended last season with a 6 – 10 record, this exposed three glaring needs for the franchise to address through free agency and the draft- quarterback, the right side of the offensive line, and another pass rusher. By cutting veteran safety Yeremiah Bell and trading receiver Brandon Marshall they have opened up holes at these position as well. This means some of these needs will be met by the selections Joe Philbin and Jeff Ireland make in the draft.
On the bright side Jeff Ireland, in spite of his reported lack of people skills, has proven himself to be a very qualified player evaluator. The trade for Reggie Bush last year, as well has his signing of Matt Moore as back up QB both worked out in Miami’s favor. He also has made a few quality draft selections in his tenure as GM.
Thankfully the season doesn’t start tomorrow. There is plenty of opportunity left for the front office to improve the team. Between the draft and post draft cuts, Joe Philbin and his staff has some time to look for weapons and continue to add to the new offense he will be implementing in South Beach.
The new coaching staff is also inheriting a top tier defense. The Dolphins were able to resign top defensive free agent Paul Soliai at a discount because of his desire to remain in Miami. The rest of the defense, outside of some streaky play at safety, has been pretty solid the past few seasons. It is probable that Miami’s D will remain in the top ten in the league if depth along the line and in the safety position remain.
Miami fans need to take a deep breath. The season is still a ways off and while the AFC East is going to be a tough division, as it always is, Miami fans have plenty to look forward too. There is a fresh new coaching staff looking to add a spark with a West Coast offense. There is a high quality, young defense that is looking to shine, and I am willing to bet the team will not start 0-7.