The Miami Dolphins are stuck once again in mediocrity. O.k. it’s worse than that this year. After extremely high expectations heading into the season the Dolphins were supposed to be ready to take on the New England Patriots for the division, instead, they will be lucky to climb into third place in the division by years end.
The evolution of this team from a perennial contender to average is well documented. Bad free agency moves, cap overspending, horrible draft picks, developmental failures, and of course bad coaching hires has taken a once proud franchise and stuck them at the bottom of the league. The Dolphins used to be as feared as the Patriots but now they have become the stepping stone. The team that other teams look at and say, don’t look beyond them because they might just do enough to beat you. Maybe.
Currently the Dolphins have issues in a lot of areas but five players have managed to stand out as simply bad. There is no need for them on the team and frankly, had the Dolphins been drafting with eyes open they may never have made it to the Dolphins in the first place. At some point someone had to have said, “hey, I can coach up this guy”. They couldn’t. The same can be said with free agents. The Dolphins have added top players in each of the last three seasons and have gained nothing by it. Here is a look at five players who should not be on the Dolphins roster.
Thomas is simply not improving. After three seasons you would think someone would have gotten the memo. Unfortunately Thomas serves himself well enough by showing just enough to make coaches believe he is making progress. Thomas is so inconsistent that you don’t know what you are getting play to play let alone week to week. At best he is a back-up and worst he is a player that should never have made it to the team. Instead, he is a starter. And we wonder why the offensive line struggles like it does.
There was a time when Fox was better than average but it wasn’t with the Dolphins. Fox came to Miami prior to the 2014 season as a free agent after spending four years in Detroit. He should have stayed. Fox is dependable. For allowing sacks and missed blocks. On Sunday Fox looked like he was having a career day for the Dolphins through two quarters but the 2nd half wasn’t good for him and he was mauled by Bills’ defensive end Jerry Hughes. Fox has also been consistent in one area, penalties. Like Thomas, he is at best a versatile back-up who can come in to spell a player throughout the game but due to injuries he has been forced to start. That hasn’t worked out well for Fox or for the team.
In 2010 and 2012 Sheppard posted tackle totals of 70 and 80 respectively for the Bills. The Bills let him go and his production dropped to 46 during his one season with the Colts. Miami saw fit to bring him in as a free agent ahead of the 2014 season. In his first year he registered 24 tackles as a back-up to Koa Misi. This year Sheppard has started all eight games and has 35 tackles on the season. While that would seem like an improvement statistically, most of those tackles were not made at the line of scrimmage or for losses. Sheppard has struggled in pass defense and run defense all season long and while he should have remained a back-up the Dolphins didn’t have the foresight to realize that if they needed him to start, they were asking the wrong person.
When Jennings was signed as a free agent many believed this to be a smart move. The Dolphins needed a veteran wide-receiver with great hands and great route running. They got the latter not the former. Jennings’ inconsistencty has only consistently hurt the team. He has dropped more passes this season than any other that I can recall but it’s not as though I followed him with the Vikings or Packers all that closely. Jennings is not the same player he was while in Green Bay and he shouldn’t be taking up a roster spot in Miami. Most assuredly he shouldn’t be taking up an active spot on Sunday. With Matt Hazel waiting for his shot the Dolphins should be taking a look in that direction rather than wasting their time throwing a 3rd down pass in the direction of Jennings.