Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tannehill has all the tools. Finally has the Head Coach.

    Frankly, it is time to stop naysaying our quarterback.   I don't want to hear Omar Kelley and Chris Perkins refer to Ryan as a lemon, a used car.  The disrespect these talking heads have for our quality QB makes me want boycott them.  The problem with that idea is they are pretty good camp reporters.  It is just they are idiots when it comes to evaluating QB talent.  All QBs need to work on things ALL OF THEM.  Tannehill  keeps getting better no matter what obstacles are thrown at him, 3 head coaches, 3 offensive coordinators, more than 12 different starting offensive lines - most of them bad, and virtually no depth on either side of the ball.

     NOW, it appears we have health and depth across the O-Line.  Our receiving corps looks better than most with an excellent cross-section of skills.  And, most importantly Ryan now has a coach and a scheme that will further his development.  Personally, I would be completely surprised if the Dolphins offense averages less than 26 points per game for the entire 2016 regular season.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Difficult decisions ahead

Adam Gase and his entire staff will face early trials that may determine the short term success or failure of the franchise and of their careers. Gase’s track record of offensive success is well documented, but he has never had to juggle head coaching responsibilities while calling the plays and working with his quarterbacks. With training camp only a few days away, Gase will begin to face those difficult personnel decisions. Is he going to trust his own eyes? It is hard to choose an undrafted rookie over an experienced veteran. Is he ready for those decisions? Talent management is integral to team building, and the mistakes you make are likely to revisit you from the opposing sideline.  The players that are released will reveal a great deal about our new coach. We will also learn whether or not all positions are really open for competition. Real competition brings out the best in players, but through player comments, we will learn quickly if this is simply rhetoric or if it is "real". When the season arrives, we will learn even more. We have heard about this attacking defense. Attacking defenses are great, but they also tend to give up big plays. From a personnel standpoint, this whole defense has been built on pressure and press coverage. When the team gives up big plays, will Gase stick to the plan? To attempt to reverse course would be disastrous. There is a common theme and that is that Gase will need to remain bold and daring when things go well and when things go poorly. He will need to maintain the course and have the conviction of his own beliefs and his own knowledge base.  One common element that we see from Pete Carroll, Bill Belichick, and Bill Parcells is that they never coach from fear. They have confidence in themselves and in their players and they have little concern for what others might say about them.  When Sean Payton was headed to the Super Bowl in 2009, his former mentor Bill Parcells offered him this advice, “You are going to have to have guts to win this game. You can’t coach scared in big games. You’ve got to try to win.” The Saints went on to onside kick to open the second half and to take home the Lombardi Trophy. I hope Adam Gase fits that mold as well.  Early indicators are positive, but the pressure and difficult decisions are about to begin. 

Questions Still Surround the Dolphins Defense

The Dolphins worked to hard this off season to solidify the offense for new Head Coach Adam Gase, and QB Ryan Tannehill. Giving them everything they need to be successful in the coming season. They used 6 of their 8 picks in the 2016 NFL Draft on that side of the ball, and also signed several free agent linemen to add quality depth and experience to their struggling Offensive Line, and a veteran running back to provide experience and leadership to their young corps of runners.

They also made several moves on defense, But was it enough? Most of the moves made were needed to make up for their free agent losses. Starting DE Olivier Vernon was signed to a ridiculous contract by the Giants, and primary backup, Derrick Shelby was lost to the Atlanta Falcons. In a preemptive move, the Dolphins signed Free Agent Mario Williams to offset Vernon's presumed loss, while also signing Andre Branch and Jason Jones to compete for the primary and reserve roles at DE. They also added up-and-coming Isa Abdul-Quddus to take over at the Free Safety spot.

In what I thought was a great move, the Dolphins traded down 5 spots in the first round to acquire CB Byron Maxwell and MLB Kiko Alonzo.

This move brings in a CB, 1 year removed from being a difference maker in his defense, and puts him back into a system that plays to his strengths. This move offsets the loss of Brent Grimes, who played at a Pro-Bowl level for Miami. Was this an addition.....does this improve our defense?

It also brought in a young, fast, instinctive, play making MLB in Alonzo, that is now fully recovered and healthy after suffering a severe knee injury two years ago. But will he regain the form and production of his rookie season in Buffalo? Will he become the leader and play maker Vance Joseph envisions?

These were important defensive moves for Miami. Necessary in fact. But there are still more questions surrounding this Dolphins Defense;

Will Cameron Wake be a three-down player for this defense, or will he be relegated to pass-rush duties alone? Will he be as effective, and have the same burst off the line as he did before his injury?

Can Jelani Jenkins return to his 2014 form after injuries and a dip in performance in 2015?

Will this corps of LBs provide an upgrade to a run defense that tied for 28th in rushing yards allowed?

Is there enough depth at LB for Miami to overcome the inevitable injury to a starter?

Who will line up on the opposite side of Maxwell, as our #2 Corner back?

Will Isa Abdul-Quddus continue his ascent and provide the center fielder Miami needs to provide Jones the freedom to be the natural, instinctive play maker he is?

I don't think this defensive roster is a finished product. Unless Howard or Lippett blows Gase and Joseph away early in camp, I see them picking up a veteran CB to hold down that spot for the next year or so, giving Howard and Lippett some time to develop. IMO, I don't think our #2 Corner Back is on the roster right now. They have the cap space to sign a veteran, and regardless of what you may think, they want to win now, and a veteran CB helps get that done. They'll be combing the waver wire in the next few weeks, looking to add some depth to the LB corps, and wherever they think they need that help.

There are a lot of serious questions on defense that need to be answered if we're going to be successful in 2016, but I believe we have the right people in place to answer those questions, and make the moves and decisions necessary.

FINS UP!








Monday, July 25, 2016

This Offense is Primed, and Ready to Explode!

Good Evening Phin Fans!


I don't believe that the team's defensive roster is set, just yet. The Offense, on the other hand, is locked and loaded with talent.

Tannehill will play behind the best starting Offensive Line he has had, since his arrival in Miami, and there is quality depth available to overcome the inevitable injury. They added #1 draft pick, and consensus #1 overall prospect in the 2016 Draft LT Laremy Tunsil, a 2 Time Pro-Bowl OT Jermon Bushrod, and C/G Kraig Urbik in Free Agency, to compete at Guard, and provide quality depth at Tackle. When he's had a healthy line, consisting of James, Pouncy, and Albert, regardless of the sub-par Guard play, he's completed passes at a 70% clip, and produced a 6-1 record, with the only loss coming at the hands of Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers, in a close, competitive game, won by the Packers in the last seconds.

The strides Devante Parker made to end last year, should bring a smile to the face of Dolphins fans everywhere. He has the speed to take it deep, the ability to take a short pass and turn it into a big play, the length to win the 50/50 balls, and has the route running and hands to be a possession guy underneath. He looked like the #1 receiver Miami has lacked since Brandon Marshall stopped by for a cup of coffee, and he's backed up by history making Pro-Bowler Jarvis Landry. All Landry's done since being drafted is catch more passes his first two years in the league than any other Wide Receiver in history.

The rest of the receiving core, is deep, talented, and full of potential, beginning with presumptive #3, Kenny Stills. He provides the speed to be a deep threat, stretching the field for Parker and Landry to work underneath, drawing the safety deep in support, or bringing down the big play when they decide to double Landry and Parker. All reports out of camp say he has improved his route running as well. The draft also yielded a receiver, Leonte Carroo, some have compared to Anquan Bolden, and a matchup nightmare and speed-demon in Jakeem Grant. This is a diverse, talented, and complimentary group of receivers that will be hard to defend.

A healthy, and solidified Offensive line doesn't just help Tannehill and his receivers. It will also provide running lanes for our recently upgraded group of Running Backs. In a move that had to be made, the Dolphins signed Arian Foster to compete for playing time against second year runner, Jay Ajayi, 3rd round pick Kenyon Drake, and several free agent signees. He provides the all around skillset expected and coveted by Adam Gase of his backs. I feel Ajayi will be given every opportunity to win the starting job in camp, but if Foster can prove he is fully recovered from last years injury, and demonstrate the undeniable ability he has shown in years past, Gase will have a hard time giving the job to anyone else. He runs with speed, power, and elusiveness, and he has great hands and route running ability out of the backfield, which he calls his greatest attribute. He is also a willing and professional blocker for his QB. Health history and future concerns aside, he bring a veteran presence and leadership to the RB position, they were lacking before he arrived.

At TE, the Dolphins have a couple proven options, with diverse yet complimentary talents. Jordan Cameron was misused and underutilized last year, and never seemed to be a legitimate option for Bill Lazor. Alternatively, the TE position is used to full advantage in Adam Gase's offense, and he will get the most out of this group. Jordan is a receiving TE with great size, speed, hands, and good route running ability. Dion Sims is a fantastic in-line blocker, with under-rated receiving ability. He lacks the speed to be a seam threat, but has all the ability to be a spot possession and situational red-zone threat.

Tannehill got a head start in the off-season, going over game-tape of Gase's offense, and working out with his receivers before mini-camp ever started.... demonstrating the kind of leadership he's been criticized for not showing in the past. The Offensive Line was a priority this off-season, and Miami  added talent and depth to a healthy Albert, Pouncy, and James. Parker enters Training Camp healthy, and primed for his new role as Miami's #1 receiver, and has a Pro-Bowler in Landry, and a hungry Kenny Stills, in a contract year, right there to take the pressure off. They added Foster, a 2 time Pro-Bowler and former NFL Rushing Champion to a group of running backs offering speed, power, receiving, and playmaking ability. There is youth, but loads of potential, but Foster offers them all a chance to grow, develop, and succeed.

No.. It won't happen overnight, but that's what Training Camp is for. Gase came to Miami at a time when the offense only needed a couple of pieces to make it very dangerous. They've done that since his arrival, and now it's time for him to unleash his offense, and this group of talent, loose on the league!

FINS UP!


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Not the Same 'ol Dolphins

Let's start on the Defensive side of the ball:
1.   Last year, even the players hated the scheme.  When you have thoroughbreds, why race them as trotters.  The D-Line was supposed to set the tone, and yet we played a 'read and react' type of defense.   It was idiotic.  We should have have played to our strengths, which was (and is) to give the QB and RBs no time to make plays - basically blow up their offensive line every play.
2.   This year's Defensive Coordinator, Vance Joseph, coaches the way these guys want and like to play.  He coaches the way the Seattle Seahawks play.   Had we had him last year, we would have been a playoff team.
3.   With the additions of Alonso, Willams and Maxwell (aggressive players), the team adds playmakers and solid talent.  If Kiko Alonso stays healthy, he will be the first pure (fast) middle linebacker since Zach Thomas.  Sorry Crowder, you just didn't play the middle that well.  Mario Williams was asked to cover in that BS defense Buffalo ran.  How stupid was that?!?   He won't be asked to do that this year.  Frankly, and even though I loved him, Brent Grimes sucked last year.  Maxwell will be physical, which will play to the strengths of the D-Line (giving them an extra second to get to the QB) by forcing receivers to take a little longer getting into their route.  Brent could never do that.   He just played tight coverage.

Special Teams:
One name: Jakeem Grant.  I predict Grant will score at least 4 times on Punts and Kickoffs.

Offense:
1.   The Miami Dolphins upgraded the offense in the draft, but that was not the most important upgrade to this years' offense.  Coach Adam Gase's play-calling and general philosophy is the most important upgrade to the team.  I am so happy about our coaches this year.   It has been 20 years, since we had this kind of talent and quality in coaches.  Foerster and Williams (the line coaches) are exceptional.
2.    As a continuation of the aforementioned upgrade, Ryan Tannehill will finally be able to move to the best play available, every down.  He will be allowed to become a real leader of the offense.   Not being allowed to get out of bad plays has been a detriment to his development.    If Gase is the QB Whisperer we think he is, Tannehill will flourish.  And, Miami's Offense will start putting up 30+ points per game.  Keep in mind, going back 15 years, teams that score 25+ points per game make the playoffs just under 95% of the time.  Only one team  scoring 28+ points per game did not make the plays in the last 15 years (New England).  However, they did win 11 games that year.
3.   Am I concerned about the offensive line?  Well, of course.   Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 46 times a year on average since entering the league (far more than any other QB in that same time).  Imagine how much better he could be if he was sacked 15 or 20 fewer times.  If you add the hurries and other hits to the sacks number, it is amazing Ryan has thrown for over 4000 yards these last two years.  One stat I found interesting, Ryan Tannehill rates at the top of the heap in Play Action Passing, second only to Matty (Ice) Ryan in Atlanta.  I believe Gase can work with that.  It is probably why we signed Arian Foster, a well respected receiver out of the backfield.   Plus, Foster is an excellent blocker (far better than the departed Miller).

Prediction:  I know most of the talking heads have Miami finishing 8-8 or just under that, especially since we have such a rough West Coast road schedule.  However, Miami plays well on the road - better than most teams in fact.  I always see the glass as half-full.  If you have read my articles over the last three years, you know I predict winning records.  This year is no different.  I see Miami winning 11+ games with this new staff.   Heck, I even think Miami will be 3-1 after the first 4 games this season.  Most people believe we will be 1-3.  Yes, Miami will make the playoffs with an 11+ win regular season.

I love the new Stadium upgrade.  Mr. Ross, you rock!


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

No more mediocre expectations!

I am sick and tired of reading the predictions that Ryan Tannehill will have a mediocre season. The predicted stat line typically reads 25-28 touchdowns, 14-18 interceptions and 4,000- 4,300 passing yards. If Adam Gase is indeed the “quarterback whisperer” that everyone believes that he is, and if the offensive line is as good as it appears on paper, then these numbers are ridiculously low. Even just fixing the woeful play of the offensive line will lead to exponential growth in the development curve for Tannehill. I believe in Adam Gase. I believe that in Ryan Tannehill.  I believe that the Dolphins are headed to the playoffs. I sometimes hear Tannehill compared to Rich Gannon, with hopes that he too can have a magnificent breakout season with offensive guru Adam Gase calling the plays. Gannon put together one fantastic year. Statistically, with the exception of the 2002 year (Jon Gruden), based on completion percentage, yards, and yards per catch, Gannon has never been nearly as accurate, as good, as consistent, as Ryan Tannehill. As a matter of fact, it is not even remotely close and the statistics support that statement. Even including that season, Gannon cannot match the accuracy or production that Tannehill has averaged in his short career. Tannehill must continue to progress and I agree that this is a no excuse year. Tannehill must get better on third downs, in the red zone, and in the fourth quarter.  I am convinced that these issues are tied to offensive line play. As the field gets smaller (red zone) and throwing windows get tighter (fourth quarter and on third down) it takes receivers slightly longer to get open and the offensive line has not been good enough to give the offense that extra time. Coupled with opposing defensive coordinators knowing that they can get great pressure without bringing the blitz, it is a recipe for disaster. Quality offensive line play along with Tannehill understanding the need to improve and get the ball out quicker will ameliorate this disturbing trend.  Better weapons and more diverse and quality receiving options will play a positive role as well. Tannehill will throw for at least 34 touchdowns and over 4,500 yards and be considered a top ten quarterback by the end of the year.  I believe that Ryan Tannehill’s star is rising and that under the tutelage of Adam Gase, he will become the franchise quarterback that the Dolphins have not had since Dan Marino. I am looking forward to the Dolphins making the playoffs and being a feared contender in those playoffs. I am willing to say what I believe many are thinking.

New Miami Stadium

A fan asked to write an entry about the stadium. Attribution appears at the end. 

new miami stadium


When fans for the Miami Dolphins and University of Miami Hurricanes cheer their teams this fall, they will probably pay more attention to the structure they are in than the teams because the New Miami Stadium will be an incredible change from the old facility.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is spending about $450 million for renovations to the stadium that will truly make it a world-class sports facility. Early reports had that amount at $300. You can tell he is going all in on this bet.

Details of New Miami Stadium facelift

Here are some of the major improvements taking place at the 27-year old facility:

Enormous 14-acre canopy. If you ever sat in the sun in Dolphin stadium in September or even October under a sizzling Florida sun, this feature alone will be worth its weight in cool air. The Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel said the canopy will place 92% of all seats in the shade. The center will be still be open (remember the old Dallas Cowboys stadium?) to keep the real turf green. For diehard fan in the bleachers in the upper levels, that canopy will be a welcome new experience for them and a great incentive to fill those sparsely filled seats.

The sound will be intense. There's another benefit to that 672,000 sq. ft. canopy – it will push all the noise from the crowds back down onto the field. This year, Patriots Tom Brady won't even be able to hear himself think, let alone bark commands. This is a new development in stadium construction and NFL competitiveness– the design of the Seattle Seahawks stadium is famous for this.

Rain shelter. For those afternoon deluges of rain from all that heat, now's there's cover as well. Except for the players on the field, naturally.

Every seat will be changed. Dolphin personnel say they have replaced EVERY seat in the stadium for spectators. The old orange seating is out, the new seating is Dolphin teal blue. Some of the seats are padded and widened. Every seat is different – that's incredible.

Closer to the field. Not only will the seats be wider, but sideline seats will now be 24 feet closer to the field. (That was always one of the drawbacks of the stadium as it was built for both football and baseball which made an odd configuration.)

Four enormous high-def video screens in each corner. This is a must for any mega-stadium and the New Miami Stadium will certainly deliver. These screens are 1,472 in size – now that's a big screen TV. The biggest for any stadium in the AFC East by the way.

Plenty of new bars – 300 of them.

New LED lighting system.

New audio system.

Reduction in the number of seats from 76,000 to 65,000. That's something you never see in stadium renovations. But it will enhance the experience for those fans who do make it to the games.

"Steve Ross has made a commitment to ensuring that the stadium is going to be best-in-class, global entertainment destination, that the Dolphins will be here for a long time and that Dolphins fans will have as good an experience as anybody else in the NFL in terms of the venue that they go to," said Dolphins president and CEO Tom Garfinkel.

That investment has already paid off – New Miami Stadium will host the LIV Super Bowl in 2020. That's an enormous economic payoff, not only for the Dolphins, but all of South Florida as well.

Garfinkel says the stadium also hopes to attract college football championship bowl games, plus festivals and concerts. There's also soccer and the ultimate prize – the World Cup, which is on their radar.

new miami stadium construction
Busy cranes at New Miami Stadium as crews work around the clock to finish before 2016 season.

This is the era of super-stadiums – the Dallas Cowboys built one. Atlanta Falcons and the Minneapolis Vikings are building billion-dollar stadiums. The St. Louis Rams recently left town to build a mega-stadium in Los Angeles.

Considering the billion-dollar price tags on these new facilities, Ross' investment in a makeover instead of a building a new stadium seems pretty smart.

By the way, there's some buzz out there that the new stadium won't be done in time for the start of the 2016 football season. Who cares? This new facility is a whopper and absolutely worth the wait.

A first-rate facility in any town will attract other events and regional tournaments and playoffs.

Ross and the Dolphins obviously see the value in creating an incredible fan experience. 

----
This article is by Robert Caston, a writer for The Park and Facilities Catalog

Monday, July 18, 2016

Welcome to Miami, Arian Foster!

So, in a move I thought was necessary, MY Miami Dolphins bring in a proven, veteran running back, and sign Arian Foster to a one year deal.

Apparently Foster is healthy and ready to play. Miami brings him back in, and makes sure he doesn't leave without a signed contract! Great move Miami!

There is no denying that when he is healthy, he is a game changer! He has the skillset to be the do-it-all, 3 down back Gase has repeatedly said he wants from theRB position. He runs with speed, power, and elusiveness, and he's a good blocker from the RB position. He also brings the hands and route running ability to make him a dangerous threat coming out of the backfield!

His injury history is, and should be a concern for the Dolphins. But he will not be asked to carry the entire load for the Phins. He will bring his tremendous skillset with him, and it will be on full display, however, his athleticism, running, and receiving abilities are not the only reasons he was brought in. He is also here to provide leadership and experience to backfield devoid of both. He will get his share of carries, if not the majority, but he will not be a "bell-cow" for Gase. He will share carries with Ajayi, and even surrender a few to Drake as well. This will limit his opportunities for injury, keep him fresh, and also help get Ajayi another year of experience, working behind and learning from, a 4-time Pro-Bowler, and the 2010 NFL Rushing Leader.

If he can avoid injury, and hasn't been slowed to much by his Achilles tear, he is exactly what Gase and the Miami Dolphins want from a RB, at a position that was very much a need!

I haven't seen the contract details yet, but on a one year deal, I don't care if they had to overpay him to keep him from heading off to Detroit. This was a move that had to be made, and My Miami Dolphin locked him up for 2016!

Whatever happens, for as long as he can stay on the field, it's going to be exciting!

PHINS UP!

  
Top 10 Rushing Seasons By A 30+ RB
PLAYERYR.AGETEAMYDS.
Tiki Barber'0530NYG1,860
Curtis Martin'0431NYJ1,697
Walter Payton'8430CHI1,684
Tiki Barber'0631NYG1,662
Corey Dillon'0430NWE1,635
Walter Payton'8531CHI1,551
Barry Sanders'9830DET1,491
Priest Holmes'0330KAN1,420
Warrick Dunn'0530ATL1,416
Thomas Jones'0931NYJ1,402
Source: Pro Football Reference
 Can Foster come close to one of these seasons?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A New Season, A New Hope.

A New Season, A New Hope.

   Every new Miami Dolphins season comes with the realization that the glory years of Dolphins past slip farther and farther away. The search for a legitimate NFL starting QB has been as elusive as playoff appearances. With my Aqua and Coral glasses firmly in place I will make a case for hope.

   Ryan Tannehill is not witout strengths. RT is a great guy, extremely intelligent. The kid is as tough as nails. His athleticism flashes big plays with his legs. His weaknesses are well documented. Poor pocket presence. Accuracy in general long ball accuracy in particular. Finally, in big moments of the game he seems to come up short.

   This QB profile reminds me of Rich Gannon. Gannon and Tannehill have many of the same strengths, smart, tough, athletic. Both also struggled with consistency early on. Gannons struggles ended as soon as John Gruden arrived in Oakland. Gruden was a brilliant young offensive mind who allowed Gannon to be involved in formulating the game plan. This involment led to a gameplan that played to Gannons strengths. Gruden called the Plays, Gannon executed the offense. Their relationship grew stronger with each passing sunday. This playcaller QB relationship led to a rebirth of Gannons play, which led to a rebirth of the franchise.

    Adam Gase is strikingly similar to John Gruden. Some folks call him genius. This Gase/Tannehill marriage will lead to a rebirth of the Miami Dolphins franchise. Do I believe this %100. No, but as a Dolphins fan hope is pretty much all I have.

Mo Perkins

Pre-Training Camp Observations

Good Evening Phin Fans!

For my first post, I thought I would talk about the offseason happenings of MY Miami Dolphins.

The hiring of Adam Gase will prove to be a defining moment in the resurgence of my beloved Dolphins! He is primed and ready for this role! He is every bit the leader Philbin was not, and his rapport with his players is obvious. They respect him, and want to play for him. After watching what he did with the Broncos offense, and an aging Peyton Manning, and then the Bears' Jay Cutler, he's got all of the tools and experience needed to turn Tannehill and this offense into something very difficult to defend.

The Offensive Line has been the biggest detriment to Tannehill's career and the Dolphin's offensive performances since his arrival in 2012. In spite of having one of the worst and most inconsistent lines in the league, Tannehill has managed to improve his performance every year, and put up very respectable numbers. The line play, (not to mention the previous coaching staff), has clearly held him back, and he cannot continue to take the amount of sacks he does, without eventually sustaining a significant injury. The inability to overcoming injuries to Albert, Pouncy, and James have caused the most problems. When these three are healthy, and playing together, the line as a whole has performed well enough that they couldn't realistically be blamed for our offensive failures, giving up significantly less sacks and pressures, while also providing for a surprisingly good win percentage. While we have been stung by young, inexperienced, and sub-par Guard play, it has actually been the lack of quality depth after an injury, that has hurt the most. Apparently, after watching the revolving door, that was Jason Fox, and seeing the rendition of musical chairs that was our Offensive Line enough times, someone finally decided it was time to get it fixed. To their credit, they brought in a slew of proven veterans, one with Pro-Bowl honors, to fill in if and when an injury occurs. The additions of LTs Sam Young and Jermon Bushrod, as well as the re-signing John Ulrick, will, (along with another option I'll mention later), solidify the Tackle position with solid options. Billy Turner looks to have given himself an opportunity to be a starter at the RG spot after a solid performance last year, though it will not be just given to him. The other spot seems to be wide open, and to add competition to an already deep group with in-game experience, the Dolphins brought in Craig Urbik, who has flexibility and experience at both Guard and Center.

An Offensive Line consisting of  Pro-Bowlers Mike Pouncy, and Brandon Albert, an up-and-coming James, a maturing Turner, and the winner of a position battle including a former Pro-bowler in Bushrod, and the best O-Line prospect in the draft, Laremy Tunsil, sounds good to me. Clearly the Dolphins don't want a repeat performance of the last several years, and many of these lineman, and/or one or two of our roster carry-overs, will ensure it doesn't happen. If the starters can stay healthy, this line can be a top 10, if not top 5 unit. But if not, we finally have quality players that can step in and play at a high level. I sincerely believe the O-Line issues of the past, are finally fixed!

I liked Brent Grimes and he made a lot of plays for my Dolphins, but he was well past his prime, and clearly not suited to the kind of defense Joseph is implementing. I won't even mention the troll that is his wife! SMH.. Anyway, getting Maxwell in that draft pick trade dulls the pain tremendously. He fits our scheme and is only a year removed from being a difference maker at his position. He had unrealistic expectations placed on him, while they were playing him out of his schematic specialty and skillset.

The loss of Olivier Vernon hurts a lot more. I understand not paying him the ridiculous figure he got from the Giants, but he is entering his prime, he's homegrown talent, and he is definitely still improving. I think it was a mistake to let Vernon play out his final year without locking him up long term. He had a great year, and looked even better when Wake went down. It took him time to adjust to being the guy, but after a slow start, he really embraced the opportunity and played very well. I also believe that the Dolphins, even after his performance, thought they could/would still match whatever offer he received on the open market, and that he would return. But with a huge amount of cap space, the Giants threw a boat load of money at him, and we just couldn't match. Luckily, the Dolphins hedged their bets by signing Mario Williams. If they lost Vernon, they replace him with Williams. If they keep Vernon, they release Wake, (as hard as that is to say). So they sign Mario, keep wake, with a slightly better, salary cap friendly extension, keeping him in Miami for the rest of his career.

We also lost our primary back-up at DE, in Derrick Shelby, but we were able to get a couple veteran options in Free-Agency, in Andre Branch and Jason Jones, both of whom have starting experience. We also have some returning, in-house roster options in Fede, McCain, and possibly Dion Jordan, if he's welcomed back, and he's prepared for competition. All signs point to Wake-Zilla being ready for the season, but if he's not, we've got some veteran options to fill in until he is ready, and a group of solid players as backups.

Is there anyone who thinks we could have done better with our first round pick in the draft? The Phins got 3 starters for the cost of 5 spots in the first round! A proven starter at CB in Maxwell, who is a perfect scheme fit for new Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph. They get a young, fast, and instinctive tackling machine and playmaker at MLB in Alonzo, who is apparently fully recovered and healthy after his knee injury a couple years ago. Added to those two, who they acquired in their trade-down, they also get the consensus best LT prospect in the draft, and sure starter (somewhere on the line), in Laremy Tunsil at pick 13. Getting three starters is the best case scenario for an entire draft class most years, and the Dolphins did it with 1 draft pick! 2 proven starters and a probable third.... Nice job!

The rest of the class is filled with intriguing possibilities: Another possible day 1 starter in their 2nd round draft pick, CB Xavien Howard . In the 3rd round, they get Kenyan Drake, a playmaker/homerun threat at RB who has a very similar skill set to Lamar Miller, but with better hands and route running ability, and WR Leonte Carroo, who some compare to Anquan Boldin. He's sure to contribute this year and is a possible #3 starter next year, should they decide to not re-sign Stills. Skip to the 6th round, and we get another immediate contributor in a Special Teams Punt/Kick Returner with blazing speed, and a situational, match-up nightmare in the slot. Think Welker or Edleman, as a comparison. With their Second Pick in the 6th Round, we get a big, strong, press cover corner who fits our new defensive scheme, who also has the position flexibility to play Safety if needed, Jordan Lucas. He'll have to perform on special teams if he wants a spot on the roster but he'll get every opportunity, and he'll manage to do just that. In the 7th Round, they take the heir apparent to Matt Moore as the back-up QB, Brandon Doughty, and a big college WR, turned Stretch/Receiving TE, Thomas Duarte.

With the exceptions of Doughty and Duarte, I expect every other pick to both make the team and contribute this year in some form, whether as starters, or as situational and special teams contributors. It's too early to know for sure, but I can't remember the last time the team had a draft that made sense from start to finish, with clear direction and purpose in every pick! Again... Very nice job!

My biggest concern heading into training camp is the depth and experience at RB. I don't feel comfortable with a stable of backs consisting of two who can't hold a back-up spot, in Pead and Thomas, a rookie in Drake, Williams, a career 3rd down back and substitute, with an unproven second year player in Ajayi, as the starter. I truly believe the Dolphins will eventually bring in a proven, veteran runner to stabilize the group. If I had to pick one or two right now, I believe they pick up either Arian Foster or Knowshon Moreno.

CB is another position of concern, and for the same reason, and we may very well end up bringing in a veteran there as well, but I feel that's a lot less likely. Lippett is capable, and Howard will be given every opportunity to win the job in camp. But if they both fail to impress early in camp, look for a Pac-Man Jones or Antonio Cromartie signing sooner rather than later.

Well...Congratulations on making it through my first post! lol I'm sure my future offerings will be a little more pointed and not so long winded, but I had a lot to talk about, and no one else will listen!

Phins Up!