Monday, February 27, 2017

Free Agency & The Draft

Hello all! 

It's been a while since I have written on here but I have been keeping up with some of the NFL transactions, especially the ones the Phins have been making.

First and foremost, I want to give major props to Jay for calling Julius Thomas to Miami this offseason FIRST on this little ol' fan only blog! Honestly, when I read what you wrote Jay, I loved the idea but didn't see how the hell it would ever come to fruition, I thought it was a pipe dream. In the end we pretty much picked him up for a seventh round pick, we gave up a 2017 Seventh rounder and got a 2018 seventh rounder for Brandon Albert. Think about that, a TE that proved he can be elite in a Gase offense for a seventh rounder? Absolute no brainer for me. So it's like we gave up nothing as did Jacksonville for B.A. The kicker is going to be in the deal Thomas gets, he has agreed to restructure his contract so we shall see what comes of that. The word in Jacksonville is that he couldn't stay healthy and couldn't block for crap which is why they wanted to unload him. The Miami staff will have to work on his blocking if that is true or maybe the scheme change will help? Denver had a decent running game with the offense they ran that Thomas was in so who knows. What gets me excited about Thomas is if we resign Dion Sims. We will have 2 really good TEs. I personally believe Dion Sims is a better receiver than most people give him credit for. Our offense with 2 capable receiving TEs and one that that can mow over MLBs in the run game?! Vicious...

I said it all of last year and I'll say it again one more time! A winning season last year was a great accomplishment. Making the playoffs, win or lose, had me ecstatic! There were games that they could have played better and won but who the hell would have guessed a 10 win season and a playoff berth for a rookie head coach with a rookie DC? Not to mention all the damn holes we HAD on the roster. LBER, which is still somewhat of a hole. CB, which was a hole early on but turned out to be a strength late in the year. Maxwell played great, Xavien Howard has me excited as hell if he can stay healthy and Tony Lippett came straight out of nowhere to be a pretty good CB, that is a huge credit to the coaching staff for developing players. 

We have to resign as many of our own FAs as we can without being stupid as well as extend a few. Kiko and Reshad Jones are deserving of an extension. I would love to resign Stills but if he wants 12 Million per year, I say let him walk. We have to sign Jarvis Landry, if he wants 12 Mill a year, I say we have no choice, sign him. It didn't help that Antonio Brown just got 17 mill a year either. We also have to find at least one free agent guard and draft one. 

As for Tannehill, there are reports that he will have a full offseason program and that his knee is "as healthy as it's gonna get". If he would have had surgery, he would still be rehabbing for most of the offseason and training camp. He has said he will be playing next season with a knee brace as a precaution, not a necessity and that his mobility will be the same as it was without it. That's a win in my book. He was told when he sprained it that the best course of action would be to pretty much let it naturally heal with some sort of strengthening regimen, it seems to have worked out great. He was also told that having surgery would not guarantee he could not tear or sprain it again which I believe had a lot to do with the decision. 

Going into this offseason is a great feeling. We filled a giant hole in TE with Julius Thomas and that move just makes sense but we can go into free agency and the draft with the least amount if holes to fill that I can remember. Most of our needs are on defense and this draft just so happens to be a DEEP defensive draft. And I mean wwwwwaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy freakin' deep! Only 7/32 projected "Top Prospects" are on offense! Which is great news for us because that means defensive talent GALORE!

Phins Up!





Sent from my iPad

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sources Confirm Julius Thomas to Dolphins for Late Round Pick

    In confirmation of a story I wrote here three weeks ago, James Walker just wrote that sources report that the Dolphins will acquire Julius Thomas from the Jacksonville Jaguars.  I had expected Jacksonville to cut the out of favor Thomas, leading to the Dolphins signing him.  However, Jacksonville kept Thomas in order to gain some value for him in the move to Miami.

    This move makes almost too much sense.  Thomas reunites with the coach who made him great.  Gase fills a major hole without having to burn a high draft pick on a developmental player.  And the Dolphins offense picks up another potential probowler, albeit one who has had trouble staying healthy.

    If Thomas can return to something like the form he last experienced under Gase (65, 788, 12) the Dolphins will have significantly upgraded their offense for years to come.  Lets hope our coach knows what he's about- there is no reason to suspect otherwise.

    Finally, the Dolphins front office seems to be making sensible, timely choices that adhere to plain common sense.  And it pleases me to say, you heard it here first.

Jay Lopez

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Clickbait: 8 Offseason Moves and Changes the Dolphins Should Make.

Some shameless fodder for the offseason, brought to you by a football starved correspondent.  Enjoy!

1) Sign Julius Thomas.  See an earlier article to this effect, but Thomas will be cut by the Jaguars and will move into the free agent market this spring. When that happens, a reunion with Adam Gase and an upgrade from Blake Bortles to Ryan Tannehill will resurrect Thomas's career...  And save the Dolphins an early pick at a position of need.

2) Lock up Kenny Stills.  I'm still angry about the drop in Seattle, but I am also fully aware of what Stills does to coverage schemes.  Tannehill's above-average deep ball and scrambling ability make Stills a unique threat on our roster.  We need him to ensure that we don't waste any picks at WR again this season.  Our budget for receiver projects (Caroo, Parker) is already spent.  This must be a defensive draft.

3) Draft linebackers early and often.  We need mobility and toughness in the middle.  Until Atlanta imploded, they showed what a pursuit defense can do to New England and its crew of small but agile skill players.  Draft two or three LB's and get with the speed on defense movement.

4) Draft a physical corner who can jam at the line.  Our D line needs cover to earn its (inflated) pay, and physical, big DB's are at a premium in the wide nine system.

5) Anticipate expiring contracts and get extensions for key players (Landry, Jones) done right.  Send a message to the NFL that the new regime in Miami rewards gifted contributors with sound deals.  We need to reverse the perception that we are a tight-fisted, exploitative franchise that would rather bargain shop than protect its own.  I still miss Charles Clay- let's not do that again.

6) Move on from BA and let Tunsil move to guard.  I like Albert- when this line was healthy, we were terrific.  However, we need to get younger and healthier.  It may be time to free up some cap room on the offensive line so we can attract some free agent guards and a higher quality backup center.  Doing so would also allow us to distribute more money to skill positions and the defensive secondary.  The Dolphins have more money caught up in their O-line than most other teams in football.

 7)  Overhaul our scouting department.  We over draft players that can be had in later rounds and whiff too much with high picks.  We need depth; teams with no depth generally can't scout.

8) Maintain draft day discipline.  No more trading up for non-impact players (Caroo.) Lost picks hurt so much in the depth department and lead to a roster stocked with linebackers no one else was willing to draft.  Trade down, not up.  Know your targets and stop chasing the draft.

Share your thoughts- and let's hope some intern somewhere is reading and taking a note here or there.

Jay Lopez

Monday, February 13, 2017

Hard Rock Stadium nominated to become Stadium of the Year

From the site hosting the award...
Miami Dolphins’ reconstructed stadium is one of the candidates from 21 countries to become the next Stadium of the Year. 29 nominees are competing in the world’s largest vote.NFL’s Hard Rock Stadium is one of two American stadiums nominated to become Stadium of the Year 2016, along with U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Having been thoroughly reconstructed, the stadium was considered almost brand new and worthy of being listed among the best modern stadiums around the world, each of which was either opened or reopened in 2016.Now Hard Rock Stadium faces competition from 28 other sports venues from 20 countries, primarily in Europe. Majority of them are soccer-specific, representing some of the biggest teams worldwide, including England’s West Ham United or France’s Olympique Lyonnais. But, with over $500 million spent on redevelopment, Dolphins have one of the most impressive stadiums nominated for the title. So far the world’s largest stadium vote hasn’t been lucky for NFL stadia, MetLife Stadium finished 7th and Levi’s Stadium in distant 27th spot. However, NCAA’s Husky Stadium (3rd) and Kyle Field (5th) showed in previous editions that USA may eventually see its first Stadium of the Year. Maybe in the current, 7th edition?There are two ways of winning Stadium of the Year 2016. One is the Public Vote, in which everyone around the world can cast one vote. This means one vote from one device: mobile, laptop, PC, etc. In this vote victory depends on how excited fans are about their stadium, it’s simply a popularity contest and in the current edition already over 20,000 people have voted and the voting platform is open until March 4.The second way of winning the title is the Jury Vote, with a team of experienced stadium architects grading each nominee. Five specialists from different countries use their expertise to judge the 29 modern stadiums opened in 2016. This year’s Jurors are: Peters Bordas (BORD, Hungary), Przemek Kaczkowski (STOPROCENT Architekci, Poland), Mårten Leringe (C.F. Møller, Sweden), Robert Mankin (NBBJ, USA) and Andy Simons (KSS, England). Each vote will result in a separate Stadium of the Year title. Winners will be announced on March 6 (Jury Vote) and March 7 (Public Vote). Stadium of the Year is a non-commercial competition launched 7 years ago by Stadiony.net and StadiumDB.com, two websites specialized in football stadiums. It grew to become the largest open vote of its kind, in which everyone can take part.Vote here:
http://stadiumdb.com/news/2017/01/stadium_of_the_year_2016_join_the_global_vote

Friday, February 10, 2017

Off topic: spending on stadiums vs spending on schools

Every once in a while, I come across something that reminds us that we tax payers are just pawns in the stadium construction game.  We help fund the stadium, and then we turn around and pay to use it.  And often its at the expense of other things - that is, the money could be spent elsewhere. 

Here's an article from a group called FormSwift about the spending of Texas on its sports stadiums versus its spending on schools:

You might say it's a primer of sorts. Something to think about as we continue to support building of stadia. 

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Could D'Qwell Jackson Be the Stopgap Miami Needs at Linebacker?

    When the Indianapolis Colts released D'Qwell Jackson today, a potentially viable short-term solution presented itself to one of the Miami Dolphins' most glaring needs.  Jackson is old (34) and has a checkered past, but he is a football player of a very high order of magnitude.  He is a solo tackling machine and brings attitude, toughness, and physicality where he goes.
    He will likely have to settle for an incentive-based, team-friendly contract.  He will also be playing to prove he's not past his prime, which can be an excellent recipe for a one year rental.  Signing him would allow the Dolphins to shore up a position of weakness and enter the draft with fewer gaping holes, which might allow the team to draft an excellent player instead of taking what fills a gap.
    Free Agency is a great way to resolve short-term issues while preserving a draft for talent mentality.  I wonder if the Dolphins will seize an opportunity to improve the squad while incurring almost no risk?

Jay Lopez

Thursday, February 02, 2017

How about 7-11 Hogan

I remember When he was in our training camp and everybody kept talking about how he always got open or was always open.

So then roster cuts come around and he gets cut. I always wondered why if the kid was always open.

Whatever the reason, our coaches let him go rather than coach him up develop the kid who was always open.

Now he's going to the Superbowl with our worst enemy and nemesis the New England Patriots, now he is in position to burn us twice a year just like Welker did.

So thank God we have better coaches now and that's the last of the Philbin nightmares.

Hopefully our coaches can stop him from becoming Welker's second coming and get us over NE hump.