What Miami Dolphins need to fix the team


With the Miami Dolphins head coach in place and his staff still in flux, the job to turn this franchise around falls on the shoulders of Mike Tannenbaum. His job won’t be easy. He needs playmakers and lots of them.

More from Dolphins News

The first step is identifying what Adam Gase needs in terms of his vision for the team on the field. Will it be physical and aggressive or remain methodical? It’s important to identify this because the players must finally match the system that will be put into place.

We know that the Dolphins are not in a position to change to a 3-4 defense. They simply do not have the linebackers to fill that role. The Dolphins already need at least two linebackers and adding a third when so many other areas need addressed isn’t plausible. The Dolphins can’t do much here however until they know who the defensive coordinator will be. Then Tannenbaum can ascertain the direction the unit will go in.

Offensively it’s a little easier given the fact Gase is installing his system and will be calling the plays. The task of making Ryan Tannehill better will start along the offensive line where Miami has reportedly said they are going to address this off-season. Yes, we have heard that rhetoric before. With money tied into Tannehill and a new head coach that has to be supported, perhaps this time around they actually do address it.

According to Armando Salguero of the Herald, the Dolphins are going to look at upgrading the guard positions and the tackle depth. That’s a big start. The tight-end position also needs to be addressed. Under Gase’s offense in both Denver and Chicago, the tight-end factors into the plays being called so the Dolphins, who like Jordan Cameron, need to reword his deal and lessen the cap hit they are going to take if they keep him. Currently around $9.5 million next season. Dion Sims is getting better but he isn’t the kind of player Cameron can be if given the opportunity. Not yet.

Lamar Miller is another name that needs to be investigated. Rumors suggest that Gase likes the idea of Miller and Jay Ajayi in the backfield and he should. It’s a valuable one-two punch that will make his offense better. Miller however will be a free agent and depending on his salary demands, Miami may not be in play if the salary goes too high. Miller has done well with the Dolphins when given the chance but how that translates to financial payout is something Tannenbaum will have to decide.

Luckily for the Dolphins they do not have to address the wide-receiver position. Defensively there is a clear need at corner, linebacker, and safety. Brent Grimes’ contract must be addressed as well. So how do you fix all this in one season? You don’t.

If I’m Mike Tannenbaum I’m addressing the guard positions and tackle position in the free agent market. Miami has spent a lot of money in free agency but tend to bargain shop at the dollar store for lineman. Miami doesn’t need to shop on Rodeo Dr. they can get buy with Sears, Walmart, and Kohls. That is the level that Miami needs. Experienced lineman who compete. I wouldn’t rule out older lineman either. Get talent and worry about age later. Draft for the future and develop.

When the draft arrives in April I’m going defense heavy. Miami needs, as I said, playmakers and while you can buy them in free agency, you can get just as good production from young defenders at a much cheaper price. At the 8th draft slot Miami has an opportunity to nail down a blue-chip quality defender and who knows, Jalen Ramsey may fall to 8 giving the Dolphins a powerful safety combination with Reshad Jones. If Ramsey is gone, Miami should look at Myles Jack the linebacker from UCLA. Either way one position is fixed immediately.

Cornerback is going to be a tough one. Mainly because of the Grimes situation. If Grimes will not redo his contract Miami may have to let him go. He just doesn’t carry the  worth of a $9 million plus one year cap hit. Finding two corners will almost be impossible but not entirely out of the question. With a balance of the draft and free agency, Miami could fill both spots if need be. Ideally you restructure Grimes and let him finish his career in Miami.

Fixing this team isn’t going to be easy especially when you need to find players who are far more physical than what they have now. Coaching is also going to be a major factor as well. Gase needs to hire teachers and cultivators at every position. He can’t simply hire coaches who lay out a game plan and expect the players to do the rest. These players need coaching. It’s the number one thing Miami has lacked in a decade. And it must change. Without the culture won’t change.

So in a nutshell, I would re-sign Miller to pair with Ajayi, restructure Cameron, add two new guards from the 2nd tier of free agents, and add depth at tackle. Those are all areas that can be easily accomplished. Defensively I am restructuring the contract of Cameron Wake and drafting another defensive end in rounds four or five but I am also re-signing Derrick Shelby if the price is right. If not, Terrence Fede needs to mature quickly. I’m also going to restructure Ndamukong Suh’s deal as well and cut some of that $28 million cap hit.

At corner I’m reworking Grimes and adding a corner in the draft in rounds two or three. I’m adding a safety in the draft in round one through three and I’m adding a linebacker in rounds one, two, or three. My team may not be a well oiled machine out of the gate but it’s a start to fill holes and create a competitive atmosphere. It may not fix all of the problems but it’s a start and it is of course a lot easier to say than to actually get done.