Earlier this week, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Dave Hyde was nice enough to take some time out and talk Dolphins with me. Dave covers all things South Florida sports for the Sun-Sentinel, including our beloved Dolphins.
I've broken down the interview into two separate parts. The first part, below, is about last year's Cam Cameron/Randy Mueller debacle and about the early impressions of the new regime in town.
Tomorrow, I'll post part two, which is about free agency, the draft, and Jason Taylor. So be sure to check back for that.
Dave: Let's start here on Mueller and Cameron: They were left holding the bill previous years' sins. No draft picks on the team from 1998 to 2005? No quarterback and over-priced swings and misses for A.J. Feeley and Daunte Culpepper? So they stepped into a mess that wasn't their doing. That's where you start if you want to be rational, and I think everyone knows that. That said, I blame Cameron more than Mueller for their fate, because this was a team that with decent coaching still should've somehow won, oh 4 games. Not much. Still an awful year. But if they win four games they might keep their jobs, even with the Bill Parcells Lifesaver out there for Wayne Huizenga to grab.
Mueller's plan was to build through the draft, same as Parcells' plan is now. And I think Mueller got somewhat of a raw deal. I think he had good draft. I liked the plan. Of course, the success depends on John Beck becoming something, which is up in the air. But Ginn and Satele should have impact for several years. Lorenzo Booker showed, if used properly, he has a good role. They got a punter. That's five contributors in the draft. It might just become the best Dolphins draft in a couple of decades --- again, depending on Beck.
The Wes Welker trade? Well, that flowed into the get-draft-picks philosophy. I think the Patriots got better in the deal, considering Welker is the kind of player successful teams always have and losing teams can never find. But let's not jump overboard on this. Welker's productivity in New England was a product of the system with Randy Moss and Tom Brady more than his talent. I like the guy. But it wasn't as awful a deal for the Dolphins as it was made out to be.
Joey Porter? That was as awful as it was made out to be.
Looking back, Cameron was in over his head at the start. I thought he improved as the year went on. I don't know if he'd be great this year. But he'd be better. That's the thing: The Dolphins hired a guy who'd never been a head coach and didn't give him a year of a learning curve. He was bad, admittedly, at times. But let's consider this: Tony Sparano has never been a coordinator. Is he expected to be great on the first day? The difference is he'll have the aura of Parcells protecting him.
Matty: Moving on to the new regime, what are your early impressions of this new "trifecta" in Miami of Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano?
Dave: It's early to judge, considering the draft is the porthole through which they'll either be great or not. I like the moves they've made in free agency, but they're nothing to do somersaults over. The first impression isn't so much about football but personalities: This is one serious crew. I don't know if they know how to smile. None of that matters, if they do the job, of course. It always comes down to winning. But the pendulum has swung back to the iron curtain days of Nick Saban as far as openness. That doesn't matter to me as a columnist. But it's going to be harder to be a fan if you want information on what's going on. More and more, you'll just have to look at the result to understand what's happening.
A big thanks again to Dave for taking a few moments to share with us his thoughts.
Remember that part two if this little chat will be posted tomorrow.