Loses the Dolphins will not miss
The Dolphins lost some very good players in Free Agency and on the surface it seems like they lost as much as the gained, but in reality these players were not a fit and allowed to leave by design.
Jake Long – Former number one pick and all-pro left tackle. The type of player the Dolphins are currently looking for, the kind of player you could trust to protect your most valuable asset, but Jake Long is not an all-pro Left Tackle in the Zone Blocking Scheme. Jake thrived under Sparano’s Man Blocking Scheme and became one of the premier lineman in the NFL, but when Philbin took over he brought with him a new blocking scheme that emphasized players moving laterally and blocking an area rather than a specific player. Jake Long struggled all season in this scheme and was rated as the 47th tackle by PFF. On top of his dropping performance Long has finished the last two seasons on injured reserve and while I would prefer not to use the term injury prone, it is a trending topic in his world. In the end, moving on from a player that is in the bottom half of NFL tackles and who has finished the last two seasons on IR is a very good move.
Reggie Bush – A former number two pick and human highlight reel. The type of guy who could turn a broken play into a 60 yard touchdown, a player most team would game plan for, an excellent leader and one of the harder working players in the NFL, but while he made highlight type runs, he also was caught in the back field far too often and like Long is a casualty of scheme (there is a trend with these). The ZBS requires a running back to make one cut, get upfield and pick up as many yards as they can. It does not favor an indecisive back who dances in the backfield hoping to take it the distance. Philbin wants a running back that can quickly read the line, make one cut to the hole and burst through to pick up positive yards. Reggie was also going to command 4 million a year, far too much for a RB especially when we see countless rookies and journey men who can put up a grand in the right system. Miami’s new offense was not the right system….for him.
Sean Smith – the 6’3” 215 pound corner back looks the part and at time plays the part of a very good NFL corner, but he was inconsistent, is more of a press corner and seems to struggle in the Zone that Coyle employs. The biggest knock on Smith (regardless of scheme) was his ball skills, or lack thereof. Smith didn’t put any fear into opposing QB’s as he was the most targeted corner in the NFL last season and responded poorly. He was 31st in completion percentage, 37th in yards per completion and was rated as the 79th best corner on PFF. This was a guy who wants number one CB money, but never performed to that level. He never made “the big play” his coverage was average at best and he just gave up too many TD’s.
Karlos Dansby – I can’t say too much bad about Dansby. He held the middle, showed up for every game and was one of the leaders of the defense, but he was never a game changer; he failed to force fumbles, pick-off passes or create any type of change of momentum. Was a steady contributor, but wasn’t a playmaker. Another issue I had with Dansby was while he was a very good leader he liked to take his gripes to the media. I have no problem with a player addressing problems with the coach and other players, but you need to keep that in house.
Loses the Dolphins will miss
Kevin Burnett – He is an excellent outside linebacker and one of the better cover linebackers and in a division that features a player like Gronk he will be sorely missed. He was the 4th rated linebacker by PFF and was very strong against the run. I understand the desire to get younger and more aggressive, but it is hard to find guys as consistent in both the run and pass coverage.
Anthony Fasano – There is absolutely nothing spectacular about Fasano, but the guy had a nice report with Tannehill, is an excellent blocker, and an above average pass catcher. Keller is clearly an upgrade and will provide Tannehill a legitimate seam threat, but I like what Fasano provided and thought the two could have worked well together. I don’t have a lot of faith in Clay as he shown that he isn’t a TE (more of a FB) and Egnew is still a ways off before he finds his way in the NFL. Fasano is a very dependable player and always provided that outlet the QB needed.
In the end it is new coach and a new way of doing business, as a result some player who were counted on to lead this team are going to need to move on to greener pastures so the Coach and Front Office can find the guys that fit what the coaches want to do. It is hard for a chef to cook with another man’s ingredients…you have to let the current chef shop.
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