Saturday, April 30, 2011

The final two picks

Miami had 2 picks in the 7th round, and went defense for both.  Intriguingly, both were from small colleges - a DT and a CB.  Not positions of need, per se, but some special teams help and a little depth is needed.  So, I am generally okay with the picks.

Now, what's up with a bunch of picks from small schools?  Is that a good or a bad thing?

And then the Dolphins draft....

They got a WR in round 4 from Abilene Christian who I have never heard of.  I heard he was a speedy guy, so that's great.  But can he catch the football?  Or is he "a project" or what?

Then, they got a FB in the 6th.  Really a FB?  What's wrong with Lousaka Polite?  Or maybe they want this guy to move to tight end?  I have no idea, but I thought it was a bit of a head scratcher.

I do listen to feedback

I read the comments, and I wanted to throw something back to y'all...

I am not really about get a QB - any QB - now. I am about the fact that this is *the* single most important position on the field, and its been ignored for too long.

I frankly don't like this owner. I don't like the bifecta. And I really, really, really don't like what "the NFL" has done to my favorite sport.

And so I am calling it like I see it. I am not depressive about it, not at all - though I can see why you might think that.

I can not, and will not blindly say that they've made good decisions. Generally an offensive lineman would be a good pickup, but that's not the sexy pick that tells me that they are getting any closer. And a running back is a fine pickup, and this guy may be good. At least they got a playmaker for the offense.

But, I have to wonder: this team, with these coaches and philisophy, is likely to fall short in some way again next year. Okay maybe they get to 10 wins, but that's probably still behind the Pats and Jets. Is that good enough to save Sparano and Ireland's job if attendance falls off and they miss the playoffs? And then, its time for another coaching change and another rebuilding process....

And that is IF we even have an NFL next year.

Maybe I've been too close to it for too long. Its frustrating to me because its one of the things I enjoy, and having a team/league that I'm not happy with is tough.

But the good news for me is that after the draft, we *all* get another break - like it or not.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Show me some emotion...

As I stood there and thought about yesterday's pick, I realized that the fins management just doesn't seem to care. Its almost as if they're saying "hey we'll do things our way and screw you if you're not on board."

And as I started thinking about the embarrassment that was the end of the season - from Parcells leaving to the coaching search - it falls back on the owner to actually show us some passion.

And yet Cap'n Izzy Firepants (a/k/a Stevie) hasn't shown any. Where was his public calling out of Parcells? If he had just come out and said "I know we had an agreement that allowed you to walk away at anytime, but what you did was insulting and unprofessional. You should feel ashamed, and I would encourage other owners to not hire you in the future, because you are in it for you and not the betterment of their organization...." or something...it would have felt more like he cared.

And then we had the nonsense with Sparano and said "we're going to build a higher power offense" only to have Sparano say "that's not my style" and then to see Ireland draft in the way he has - he should turn around and say "I told you we're building a high powered offense. And if you guys can't or won't, then pack your things. I own this team!"

It seems to me that he gives lip service, and otherwise doesn't care.

super

So Miami gave up 3 picks to trade up. Now who's to say that the late-round picks they gave up will amount to anything? But still, I have to agree with a couple of commentators who say this seems a little desperate.

Especially since QB Ryan Mallet was still on the board, and the draftniks seemed to think that's why Miami was trading up.

But of course, they couldn't trade up to get a QB. That's just not Miami's style.

They traded back into the second round

Miami moved back up into round 2, and got a RB named Daniel Thomas.  I admit, I have no idea who this guy is.

I know MIami needed a back, and I'm generally okay with it.  And I suppose the fact that they traded up means that they had a conviction on the guy.  (and not like the conviction that befell running backs past, such as Cecil Collins or Sammie Smith)

What I noticed though was what I read on NFL.com

Tony Sparano picks up insurance to the potential departures of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams with the selection of Thomas, who gives the Dolphins a big, physical runner with the size and strength to effectively pound the ball between the tackles. Though he lacks speed to go the distance, his grind-it-out style suits the hard-nosed mentality of their offense.

Which essentially means that they are going to stay a run-first offense.  I know Sparano told us that would be the case, but I still have to say I'd like to see them score some points this year.  Please?

Uhhhh

That is Colin Kaepernick.


Oops.

And now it is so

I was only a couple of hours early.


The lockout is now back in place.

How bout them 49ers?

The niners got the guy who maybe could have been Miamis coach (Harbaugh).


And moments ago they drafted the guy *I* had hoped the fins would pick up as the qb of the future in Dan Koepernick.

Maybe not??

Seems as though the report of the lockout being reinstated was premature.


It has not happened - yet.

And there ya go

The appellate court apparently gave a "temporary stay" to the injunction.  So the lockout is back on!

Bawahahahaha

So now the team has to shoo players away, and can't contact the picks during the next rounds of the draft.

My frustration

I've had Dave's Bitchin' Look on the internet for over 16 years now (hard to believe!).  I've been around for all of the head coaches (except for George Wilson, but then the internet was still in Al Gore's head at that point, lol).  I've seen *a few* good days, a fair number of bad days and some mediocrity.

And the lack of success is what gets to me.  In only 7 of those 16 seasons did the Dolphins manage to make it to the playoffs.  And in only 3 of those trips did they win a game -- a single game.  Each of those wins was a close, hard fought affair.  And the following week they went on to lose, much as they did in the other 4 trips to the playoffs.

And those playoff losses?  Wow, every one of them was lopsided.  The Fins put up some stinker games, and were beaten around by everyone they faced. 

Its amazing to me that they can't - and haven't - gotten very far in all this time. 

How the draft might wind up invalidated

I found copies of the legal filings by Brady, et al, and the one from Carl Eller, et al.

The Brady case essentially wants the court to declare the NFL to be in violation of anti-trust rules, and seeks to allow for broader free-agency and eliminating the draft beginning in 2012.  The Eller case seeks more or less the same thing, but asks that the 2011 draft (ie this one) also not be allowed under anti-trust rules.

The hearing on both cases (which have essentially been combined) will be heard soon (next week or the week after, I think).

At issue is whether the competitive balance that has been in place is helping or hurting.  The players say its hurting them (of course, because in a free-market system would make them more money), but the owners say its helping the game (because the teams are competitively balanced, and it allows for a bad team to acquire players).

Of course this could drag on for weeks, months, or maybe years.

The American Needle case last year does have a bearing in the case, as do prevailing labor rules.  Who knows how it will go?

But...there is the chance that the court could agree to withhold draft results from this year while they examine the case, or could allow the draft (or a portion of it) to stand, and create some other means to restore equity after the fact.

I have to admit that while I like the system in general that we have with free agency and the draft, it certainly seems that there is some possiblity that there is a "restraint of trade" ...

A trade?

The Patriots sent a pick to the Saints in exchange for the Saints' 2012 1st round pick.

Technically, that wasn't allowable under the terms of the draft the owners put together.  But the NFL told teams they could trade picks "at their own risk" - realizing that there is a chance that the new CBA could undo that.

And leave it to a team like the Patriots to push the envelope...

Now *that* I'm tired of...

The Dolphins - naturally - will tell you it was a great pick, and they got exactly who they wanted.

The local reporters started off with mixed reviews on the Pouncey pick, then all of them suddenly became fans of the pick.  He's big, he's strong, he's athletic.  One even said he was developing a man crush, after initially saying it wasn't a good pick.  He went from being a "safe" pick to being a "solid" pick.

Fans similarly took the stance that he'll help Miami because you build your line through the draft or whatever.  There were some initial negative comments, but they turned more positive as the pick sunk in.

Why?  Because everyone wants it to work out.  We want to believe that the management is smart and makes good decisions.  That picking up a "stud offensive lineman" will put us back on the championship.  We're not 5 years away anymore!  No sir, now its 4!  Yipee!

Maybe the guy starts.  Maybe he's good.  Heck maybe he even makes the probowl in his first couple of years.  But how many o-lineman do we draft in the first couple of rounds, and how many do we sign in free agency?  And where does that leave us let's say at QB?

I'm tired of being sold a bill of goods that this guy (and it doesn't matter who he is really if he's not a difference maker, an immediate impact player) is going to win us championships.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jim Mandich remembered...

Why did I suddenly think of Mandich?  Here was the team in '07 under Cameron.  The Dolphins NEED a QB.  Brady Quinn is on the board.  Mandich pulls out a Notre Dame hat and says he's rooting for Quinn, and if the Dolphins don't take him he'll go upstairs and 'strangle Cam and Mueller'...

And the pick comes in.  And its Ted Ginn, jr.

Mandich was apoplectic.

-------------------------

If we reach back to 1983 when Marino was drafted and look at the 1st round pick for the Fins, we can see that there hasn't been a whole lot of success.  In order, they got (as a 1st round pick):
Marino
Jackie Shipp
Lorenzo Hampton
John Bosa
Eric Kumerow
Sammie Smith
Louis Oliver
Richmond Webb
Randall Hill
Troy Vincent
Marco Coleman
OJ McDuffie
Tim Bowens
Billy Milner
Daryl Gardener
Yatil Green
John Avery
Jamar Fletcher
Vernon Carey
Ronnie Brown
Jason Allen
Ted Ginn (jr)
Jake Long
Vontae Davis
Jared Odrick
and now Pouncey

That's 26 in 31 years (5 times they didn't have a 1st round pick).  Marino is in the hall of fame.  Long looks like he'll get there.  8 have been solid players.  A couple were decent, but not first-round material.  And the last 3 we won't know for a while.  The rest can best be described as busts.

So, its maybe a 40% shot that the player will be any good....that's probably on par with the NFL, but it just proves the draft is a crap shoot....so IMHO that means you have to take a chance on getting a franchise QB rather than wasting a pick as they did tonight.

The futility continues...

The furious enigma (Ireland) drafts Mike Pouncey.

And IMHO this was a wasted pick.  KC Joyner told us that he had 38 negative plays last year.  And clearly he is nowhere near what his brother is.  He is not #15 material.

Sure, Miami needs some help on the o-line, but they also need a freakin' QB!!!

A handful went early, but once again Miami decides "ehhh, we don't need one."  That's been the same line we've had since 1999 when Marino retired.  And its STILL WRONG.

Henne sucks, and yet he gets another go of it.

But what does it matter, since, after all, this team still thinks 3 yards and a cloud of dust is the way to go?  They need someone to block for whatever RB they have next season.

Gawd, why do I root for this team?  They can't do anything right.

Ahh well, at least they're making themselves targets for my jibes.  (but what easy targets the three stooges are!)

The NFL's appeal

The appeal will be heard by a 3-judge panel in St Louis.  They have traditionally rendered decisions that are "pro-business"

The NFL only has to persuade one of the three to vote in their favor to overturn the ruling and resume the lockout.

That seems like a real possibility.  But we'll see next week.

Allrighty then

The NFL was dragging its feet on the judge's order.

The NFLPA cried foul, and suggested the NFL was in contempt of court.

The NFL finally relented and said that they would open their doors to the players starting on Friday, and would decide how to proceed from there.  They have batted around a suggestion that they work under 2010 rules, and start the new league year on Monday.

How this will work, or won't work, is anyone's guess.

There's no CBA. I'm having trouble figuring out what that means if they just continue to work...

more goings on

The judge reviewed the merits of a "stay of her order" (that is, essentially saying that her original ruling that the lockout be lifted not be enforced - at least until its heard on appeal)

She did not order a stay, and in a 20-page ruling said the NFL had to resume business, players were allowed to return for workouts (clarifying this), and that the NFL had essentially been working as though they had returned to work by holding the draft, and releasing the schedule.

She also added that the game - and its fans - are harmed with the lockout.

Finally, she said that she could not compel (force) teams to make contracts, as its their right to do so at their discretion.  So while she opened it up for free agency, its up to the league how they want to proceed.  At this point, the league has said it will wait until the appeal is heard before deciding to go ahead with free agency or trading.

The league has also indicated that if the appeal goes against them, they will use the 2010 rules, since they had previously been agreed to.  The players are generally in favor of this, but no telling what will happen.

At this point, the players hold the upper hand, and still have the anti-trust card in play which may prove to be their trump (to be clear, NOT the person!) card.

BTW, if you haven't read it, Gregg Easterbrook's Tuesday Morning QB is required reading on how we got here.  http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=easterbrook/110426_tuesday_morning_quarterback&sportCat=nfl

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Jim Mandich story

Jim is *the* guy I think of when I think Dolphins.  IMHO, his persona is larger than life, and what he did on the field pales in comparison to what he did after his playing days were over.  His expressions were priceless, and his passion for the Dolphins as an amulni and broadcaster were remarkable.

Anyway, I listened to his show fairly regularly, and enjoyed it.  At one point, he was talking about the time he spent with the Steelers after the Dolphins let him go.  They brought him in as a special teams guy, and he was standing on the field in SuperBowl waiting for a kickoff and looked around and said "what am I doing here?"

He was wearing black and gold, and not the aqua and orange that he loved so much.  The Steelers won that game, he got a third ring.  One that he *never* wore.  He always wore the 1972 perfect season ring, because that meant so much more to him - as did the Dolphins.

And so I am making a public statement here that the Dolphins should put his name up in the ring of honor.  And, they should go ahead and retire his number.  Yeah, his stats were never "all that" and he wasn't the big cog in the championship machine.  But, to me, he is the Dolphins.  And he should be appropriately honored for his contributions.

That's just sad

I was really sad to hear about Jim Mandich's passing this week. He always seemed like a good guy, a straight shooter, and to use an old quote "never stole a freight train."

He was a Dolphins legend.

I once asked to interview him for my podcast, and he was gracious about it and said "I think I will take el paso" as he declined.

Anyway, more than that, his untimely death at 62 reminds us that life - particularly for someone who played pro football - is extremely fragile. He had an unusual form of cancer, and we will never know if some how, some way, it was linked back to his playing football. Maybe it wasn't, and it was just "dumb luck" ... but in the sport we love, our "heros" need better care overall.

I hope that as they negotiate the CBA, they remember that.

Rest in peace Jim Mandich. As a member of the undefeated Miami Dolphins football team, the football gods will most certainly welcome you with feasting and revelry.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Well that was an odd day back to work for the NFL

Players were instructed by the NFLPA  to report in a show of support.  A handful showed up on the doorsteps of their franchise.  Some teams let them in, some teams confusingly didn't.  Most teams locked the weight rooms and made the coaches off-limits.  Some teams didn't.

The NFLPA told players to head out on free-agent visits in an effort to get signed, reminding players that if the NFL didn't allow them to go on visits or offer them contracts, that meant the NFL was colluding and was likely in violation of the judge's orders or the Sherman Anti-Trust act.

Drew Rosenhaus was vocal about wanting to get his players signed "as quickly as possible." 

The NFL sat back and said they needed time to examine the ruling, and for the court to hear the appeal.  They basically want to wait until Wednesday; the NFLPA says "it was effective 6pm on Monday"...

So when it gets to this point, and its all about legal rulings and courtrooms and posturing, its gone too far.

The worst part about all of this is that we, the fans, are shouldering some of the burden of this disagreement because there are tax dollars in play in the federal courthouse.

So the NFLPA and the NFL have found yet another way to stick it to us!  Screw them!

One positive

In Judge Nelson's ruling, she stated the players would be harmed because of a lockout.

And the good part, she added - as are the fans!

At least someone cares about us....

So why not free agency?

You may be asking yourself - so why not go ahead with free agency?

And it seems so simple on the surface.  No lockout means its at least possible, right?

Well....its really complicated.  There are no rules around player contact with coaches, so a coach could ask a player to do something that would normally be forbidden, or that may risk injury.  And since there are no rules around player/coach contact, a coach could ask a player if he had paid his dues to the non-union or if his mother was a prostitute.  Innocuous as it seems, those question could bring the NLRB right back into the picture, and lawsuits would likely ensue.

There are no rules governing the contracts themselves, or who is a free agent.  Sure, the NFL could simply say "we'll use 2010 guidelines" which would mean this pool of players are free agents, and we can spend this much.  But one owner could have a man crush on player A and offer him $50 million guaranteed money.  What's to stop him?  And what of the players who don't meet the eligibility, but could in a future agreement, or who do now, but don't in the future?  As the CBA gets hammered out, surely some of this would play out.  Typically the NFL and the NFLPA review all contracts.  There is no NFLPA, so who would review it for the players?  

And certainly the NFLPA (trade association) could simply say that they don't agree with using the 2010 guidelines and file another lawsuit essentially stopping free agency.

I also think agents - while they are out to make money - would be careful here.  They don't want to lead their clients in a bad direction, or be viewed as antagonists to the owners.  They are more likely to simply urge their clients to not partake for now.

It ain't pretty. So don't get your hopes up.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The lockout is over...

....now what?

The judge hearing the case ordered the lockout lifted, so the NFL could "resume work."  The NFL appealed.

She did not offer any other guidelines, so essentially the end of the lockout is more symbolic than anything right now.  It gives the players access to team facilities for workouts, and gives them the upper hand in negotiations.

But beyond that - its anyone's guess.

There could be a free agent period, but then the rules around that would be determined by the NFL, and ultimately could be undone by collective bargaining.  There still can't be team workouts/practices.  Contact with coaches is still questionable at best.

And there's still the anti-trust case to be heard by another court.

In other words, it went from being a mess to being a slightly different mess.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

The draft

I'm hearing a lot of draft talk, and its just silliness.  There's almost no way a draft pick in this year's draft is going to have an impact this year.  No minicamp.  No acclimation to the system.  Heck, no ability to see the difference in speed (something every draft pick talks about). 

Its going to be tough for any player to step into any team and start or play well.  

So whoever the Dolphins get is a project.  And I firmly believe that they're going to go with a guy who they think can step in earlier, probably with a defender like a d-lineman.  There's a sexy pick.

They won't draft a QB, probably at all.

Oh and by the way, I still say this draft is going to be "undone" in some way.  Some owner or some player is gonna screw it up through shennanigans or legal action.  

So, in the end, IT REALLY DOESN'T MATTER who they select...