First of all, I'd like to thank Dave and Carl for allowing me to become a contributor.
The first game I ever watched was the game against the Jets in '94. I was 10 years old and I was a huge nerd. I was not into sports at all. All that changed after watching Marino play that night...after seeing the "clock play."
That game didn't just make me a Dolphins fan or a Marino fan. It made me a football fan.
I don't see eye to eye with everyone on this blog (who does?), but one thing we can all agree on is that we just want to see our Dolphins win.
With that being said, we are going to need a lot of amazing things to happen this offseason if any of us want to see the Dolphins in the playoffs within the next decade, a lot of which has NOT been characteristic of this franchise the last....hell I don't even know how long. I couldn't walk or talk the last time we were in a Super Bowl and the last time we drafted an elite QB, I was a fetus.
Truth be told, the team wasn't managed well when we STILL HAD Marino. That's why he never got a ring.
From the endless lists of useless coaches, to signing Culpepper over Brees, to the dumb draft picks like Ted Ginn and trading up to waste a pick on Dion Jordan, Miami does not have a history in my lifetime of being brilliant in the offseason.
So, what will it take to change that? Well, it's going to take something drastic. Borderline crazy. I posted this on a reply to a previous post, but I'd like to repeat it for anyone who didn't see it.
So, here are my OPINIONS for what it will take to turn this team around in one year:
1. Fire the front office
This "Jets Rejects" plan will never work. I was worried the second I read about Tannenbaum being hired. I do like Hickey, but he came in as an unproven GM with some learning and growing to do and now that learning and growing has come under the guidance of that former Jets failure. I worry that his mind has now been polluted with the Tannenbaum way of thinking.
Also, it's worth noting that Hickey was in agreement with Philbin about Dion Jordan. Ross, the CEO, and the Vice President all thought they should draft Tavon Austin. Well, we know who got their way in that situation.
We need a GM with a proven track record and we need to give him full control of the team. No more of this GM/President/Vice President of operations having shared control nonsense. If you have a strong GM, he won't need the input of 4-5 other people.
Oh and Mr. Ross: maybe look for advice from someone besides Bill Parcels for once. He isn't the god of football.
2. Fire the whole coaching staff
Don't get me wrong. I like Campbell, but he is too green and he is still showing too much of that Philbin/Laser offensive mentality. We have to completely purge that mindset as if it were the creature from John Carpenters "The Thing." Kill absolutely anything that might still be retaining even one cell of it.
3. Trade the following players for draft picks:
Cam Wake - Don't wish death upon my family just yet. Hear me out. I LOVE Wake. He is my favorite Dolphin since Marino and, as far as I'm concerned, the true face of the Dolphins. But he is 33 years old. However, he still plays at a high level and could be traded for a great draft pick. On top of that, Cam Wake DESERVES a ring, and he's not going to get one in Miami. Send him to a team like the Packers, who are just a few defensive players away from being the top NFC team. I'm sure they'd love to have him and he'd love to play for them. Cam does not deserve to be the next Jason Taylor.
Note: Cam Wake could probably be traded for a very talented guard. The O-line needs that more than the D-line needs Wake at the moment. He could be traded for a good CB or LB as well.
Brent Grimes: He's declining and getting older, but there are still teams that would love to have him. I think he is worth more to us as trade bait at this point. His wife is another good reason to let him go.
Branden Albert - I know we are thin at the OL, but what good is a Pro Bowl LT who is ALWAYS....ALWAYS....injured. He is over 30 now and is taking up way too much cap space for a guy who can't stay healthy. But he is another guy who could still be traded for a decent draft pick.
Earl Mitchell - He's just taking up too much cap space right now. He's only 28, he's tough, and he could bring some decent trade value.
In order for this team to finally be good again, we need to develop a young, tough, talented team of homegrown players. Seattle and New England have been very successful with that strategy. Trading the players mentioned above would get us at least 4 extra draft picks (or be traded for players at other needed positions). Having over 10 picks to rebuild a team is going to be appealing to ANY GM/HC.
4. Build this defense around Suh
Look, I know his numbers aren't flashy, but if you think he was a waste of money, you aren't watching the games. This guy consistently draws double-teams in the trenches. Blame everyone else for not getting to the QB. You can definitely blame the DC and his gameplan as well, but don't blame Suh. He is doing what he was signed to do.
Resign Vernon and Shelby on team-friendly contracts. Put Phillips in the other starting DT spot. With the right DC and defensive scheme, that will be a very rough D-line and Vernon/Shelby/Phillips' contracts, if reasonable, will help offset Suh's a little. Also, try to restructure Suh's contract a little if possible.
5. Resign Lamar Miller and build this offense around him
I don't care what it takes. Create an offensive scheme that revolves around a traditional "ground and pound" strategy and give him 20+ touches a game. I, for the life of me, can not figure out how on God's green earth that this coaching staff AND the one before it have not figured out how to utilize Miller. The proof is in the numbers. Here's how you utilize him:
.....Put the ball in his hands.
WOW! Did I just blow your mind???!!! I must be a genius or something. I figured that out and yet somehow these guys that get paid good money to coach can't get it through their stupid heads.
6. Resign the following FAs:
As I already mentioned, Shelby and Vernon.
Michael Thomas- Tons of heart, good potential, and he can be signed for cheap. Even if he's not a starter, we still need depth. No-brainer here.
Jake Stoneburner - for the exact same reasons as Thomas.
Kelvin Sheppard - Because he can be signed for cheap. However, he is definitely a backup. Only resign him to maintain depth. Pay him less than he makes now. If he won't accept that, he can walk.
Let every other FA go. They are all either too old, too expensive, or not talented enough to keep.
7. Let the GM find the best team of scouts money can buy
Spare no expense. I don't care if we have the highest paid group of scouts in league history. This draft is CRUCIAL. With the above plans, we will have over 10 draft picks. We need to make AT LEAST half of them count. No more of the 2 decent rookies out of 7 garbage. We need scouts who can find good mid-late round talent. Anyone can pick a good player in the first round. We need to find the next "Tom Brady" in round 5-6.
8. DO NOT TRY TO MAKE A SPLASH IN THE FA
We don't need the top FA for the fourth straight year. It doesn't work. Prove me wrong....I'll wait.
It may still work for Suh because we got him while he's still young, but that is yet to be seen for sure. As I said before, I feel he's doing his job. That does not mean I think he's worth $114 million. In my opinion, no DT is.
If we are going to be active in the FA period, look for bargains on young talent and be thinking more about depth than break-out starting talent. Get guys that COULD start if needed, but really be thinking more about signing good backups here who bring value and depth to the team and can teach things to the breakout starters we are going to get through the DRAFT. Sign people like CB Justin Bethel, who is about to be a UFA in Arizona.
9. Bolster the shit out of the O-line through the draft
FINALLY GET IT FIXED! Draft one guard, one tackle, and one guy who can play all the OL positions. Sign one QB in round 4-5 to push Tannehill. Don't draft any other offensive players. We'd have plenty of WRs and a good RB. We'd have a QB being coached by the guy who saved Dalton's career and a rookie to give him competition or take his place if he turns out to be a diamond in the rough. Use the rest of the draft picks on LBs and DBs.
10. Draft a QB in the middle rounds
Like I said above, get a rookie to push Tannehill. And I mean really try to get a starting-caliber QB. It's a win-win. He either proves to be better than Tannehill and can take his place without costing too much (by the time his rookie contract is up, we'll be able to dump Tannehill) or the combination of competition and a good HC will finally push Tannehill to the level we expected him to play. In all honesty, I could care less who is the QB. I just want us to have a good one. It's almost a requirement in today's NFL.
11. Burn all the playbooks and start over
I've had enough of the wildcat formations and the read options and yada yada. They don't work. There is a reason why college is college and the pros are the pros. How's this read option crap working for Chip Kelly? That's what I thought. To have a good running game you have to have a good O-line and hand the ball off from under center. Stop forcing the RB to run that extra 3 yards just to get back to the line of scrimmage.
All this will give us a young, up and coming team that can emulate what teams like the Seahawks have done, even if we don't have an elite QB.
There! I just fixed the Dolphins.
Of course, we all know none of the above will happen. Here's what I expect to happen:
-We will keep the FO exactly the way it is and give Tannenbaum more power.
-We will hire Josh McDaniels as our coach and he'll be Philbin 2.0. We'll find out after 6 weeks that he only looked good because Brady was his QB, but we'll still give him 3 years to "prove himself."
-We will trade Cam Wake for a 7th round pick and use it on a TE or something.
-We will let Miller walk and put all our hope in Jay Ajayi and his busted-ass knees.
-We will waste our talented WRs until they demand a trade.
-We will sign someone like Colt McCoy to push Tannehill OR we will sign RGIII and have TWO overpaid QBs.
-We still won't fix the O-line and Tannehill will end up crippled.