The Miami Dolphins 2011 Season is over. Well, it's been over. For a while now. Almost before it started, actually. As soon as we rolled out Chad Henne as the starting QB (again), led by 7-9 machine Tony Sparano (again), with a roster full of low-impact high-motor former Montana team captains (again), built by our trusty whore-hating General Manager (again...), the season was doomed to failure. So I've had a lot of time (months) to think about what direction this team will go in the future, and what the best way to get there will be. I've been able to pretty much ignore the team week to week, outside of my futile cheering every Sunday hoping for something good to happen, just once.
I'm an advocate for a complete overhaul of team management. New GM, new Coaching staff, new Attitude, new Franchise Quarterback. All of it. Start over, without having to start over. If you don't have time on your hands, stop reading now, because this is comprehensive, exhaustive, and 100% correct :-)
- THE FRONT OFFICE
Ireland should be fired. I'm not going to elaborate on it. He's tied to the failure's of this regime just as much as Sparano and Parcells. Goodbye.
From there, we have several different directions we can go. The Football Czar is a direction we have taken before, and could very well take again, either with Carl Peterson as the President of Football Operations (read: Czar), or an all-encompassing Head Coach like Cowher. But that's not my plan. We could raid the Belichick Front Office Tree that has produced GM's for Atlanta and Kansas City (Dimitroff and Pioli), but I'd rather not shake the GM giving tree too often.
The solution in the Front Office for me is hidden behind Ted Thompson in Green Bay. Thompson has proven to be an extremely good GM, identifying and drafting a Franchise QB and building a Super Bowl Contender around him. He has two people working under him that I would target. Reggie McKenzie, Director of Football Operations, and John Dorsey, Director of College Scouting. My plan is to bring both of them in to the front office, since they work in concert for Thompson. McKenzie is in charge of scouting the NFL and other pro leagues (read: Free Agency Specialist) and Dorsey is in charge of scouting college players (read: Draft Specialist). I believe the front offices in the NFL work the same as Coaching Staffs, so we could hire both of them away simply by giving them promotions.
REGGIE MCKENZIE: PRESIDENT OF FOOTBALL OPERATIONS
JOHN DORSEY: GENERAL MANAGER
- COACHING STAFF
Once again, there are options abound for a new Head Coach. Of course, the headliners are Bill Cowher, Jeff Fisher, and Jon Gruden. We're gonna skip that portion completely because that doesn't fit in at all with my plan. Guys like Andy Reid and Norv Turner (both possible end of season firings) are out as well.
I think we need to go with a successful coordinator who is looking to make his name as a Head Coach. I know, I know, we've tried that before. Well, outside of trading a draft pick for a coach, nothing has worked, so we just have to find the right guy. That guy could be Giants Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell. It could be Baltimore Ravens Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano. It could be Panthers Offensive Coordinator Rob Chudzinski (a close 2nd place). But the choice here is New Orleans Saints Offensive Coordinator and QB's Coach Pete Carmichael Jr.
Carmichael has worked under Sean Payton for 3 years, and has proven his proficiency as a play caller this season when Payton was out of action with a busted knee. He has also had a big hand in the meteoric rise of Drew Brees from fragile free agent to probable NFL single-season passing yardage record holder. He's been a part of a Super Bowl winning offense, and a contributor perhaps the best offense in the NFL for the last half-decade. He's learned the head coaching nuances from Payton, and I think he's ready to be the guy in charge.
PETE CARMICHAEL JR.: HEAD COACH
As for his assistants, one of the first guys I target is Larry Izzo, former Dolphins special teams standout and current Assistant Special Teams Coordinator for the Giants. I make him my special teams coordinator and trust that the greatest special teamer in Dolphins history can duplicate that success from the coaching department. The Offensive Coordinator is of small importance, because it'll be Carmichael's show. I'd bring in his current running mate and New Orleans Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Aaron Kramer. They work together now, they could continue in the future, and this would be a promotion for both, so it's an easy hire. Defensively is more of a challenge. I would really love to steal Pagano away from Baltimore, but it's going to be hard to get him since it's a lateral move. We could keep Nolan, and I would be happy with that move, but I'm an advocate of switching to a 4-3 defensive base, and Nolan's scheme doesn't fit that philosophy. The guy I would bring in is former Chicago Bears linebacker and San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Mike Singletary. He is the current LB's coach and Assistant Head Coach for the Minnesota Vikings, and he would bring much needed intensity and attitude to the coaching staff.
AARON KRAMER: OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR
MIKE SINGLETARY: DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR
LARRY IZZO: SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR
- CURRENT ROSTER
I'm going to try to keep this section short. No huge changes. Obviously Colombo is cut with extreme prejudice. Outside of that, I would not make a lot of wholesale changes. The roster has decent talent and depth in some areas, but lacks impact. I'm not paying Soliai, so he's gone, which fast-tracks us into the 4-3 scheme. Small changes here and there happen all the time anyway, so no need to attempt to detail them. Just know that we are about to get a lot faster and more explosive at every single position.
- FREE AGENCY
The areas I would target in free agency are the LG position and another pass rusher in the form of a DE. There are 2 top-tier LG's slated to hit the market, and if they do, I'm throwing some of that leftover Soliai money at both of them to see who bites. Carl Nicks from New Orleans is the top guard on the market, and will command a huge deal. I would expect the Dolphins to get outbid for him, and instead sign Ben Grubbs from Baltimore. He's only a year older than Nicks and is a similar caliber player. As for the DE market, I'm doing whatever it takes to sign Cliff Avril away from Detroit. He's the best pass rusher on a DL that goes 8-deep with QB Killers. He would be the perfect complement to Cam Wake as 4-3 DE's. After those two, I'm not gonna chase any other bigtime FA's, so I'd finish up with some depth players.
BEN GRUBBS: LEFT GUARD
CLIFF AVRIL: DEFENSIVE END
- THE NFL DRAFT
Let's skip the lengthy explanations and get right to it.
1st Round: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Franchise QB is out of the way, and we get perhaps the most impactful player of this draft class. Griffin is a stud.
2nd Round: Trade Down for a later 2nd and 3rd
I have this as a possibility with a team looking to trade up for a fringe first round player like Lamar Miller, or a falling first round prospect like Landry Jones or Vontaze Burfict. We may have to throw in a 5 next season to make the deal work, but I would not hesitate.
2nd Round: Ray Ray Armstrong, S, Miami
A playmaker for the back end of our defense. I anticipate that he takes the same path that recent UM alumni Sam Shields and Jimmy Graham and becomes a high impact player in the NFL despite not being great in college. Many of the UM guys were not coached well by the previous regime, but they still have the talent that is bred in south Florida. Ray Ray can do it all: ballhawk, hit, tackle, and intimidate.
3rd Round: Sean Spence, LB, Miami
Same story as with Ray Ray, but Spence proved to be a quality player and a guy who can be counted on to make big plays. His biggest issue is his (lack of) size. He's only 6'0 225. Put 10 lbs on him, however, and he's the exact same size as Derrick Brooks, who absolutely thrived in Tampa's speed-based 4-3 earlier this decade.
3rd Round: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
I've got us with two 3rd's from the previous trade. Kendall Wright is the wild card here, as he's being projected all over the place, and may not be available at this point. But as of now, he's still a late 2nd - mid 3rd guy, so I got him in that area. If he isn't there, I would target Tommy Streeter or Rueben Randle as big WR targets.
4th Round: Nigel Bradham, LB, Florida State
An absolute beast. He could give us another LB in the event that we run a hybrid scheme and want to play with 4 LB's on occasion, and he also gives us a guy who can compete with (and possibly take the job from) Kevin Burnett at the SAM LB spot. Monster hitter, good tackler, good blitzer, but lacked the elite-level instincts as a MLB that would've vaulted him into the first few rounds.
5th Round: Chris Rainey, RB/WR, Florida
Speed, speed, and more speed. Taking a risk on a fragile player here, but it's the 5th round, and the payoff is huge. He can be a primary return man, and can create match-up problems in the same way that Reggie Bush and Percy Harvin do.
6th Round: Adewale Ojomo, DE, Miami
One of UM's best DL the past few years, but again he's injury prone. I'm willing to take chances on health risks in exchange for the potential reward of a starting-caliber player in the later rounds. Ojomo is a perfect example of this.
7th Round: Jemarcus Hardrick, OT, Nebraska
Size and pedigree is the primary factor for this pick. He's huge (6'7 320) and from Nebraska, who are known for producing quality linemen. Trusting the pedigree and taking a chance on a giant kid.
Three UM players, one FSU alum, and a Gator. We have 3 of the best NFL factories in our own state, including the best one in our own stadium, it's time to take advantage of the homegrown talent.
This entire plan is centered around speed, explosiveness, aggressiveness, and creativity. The Front Office is made up of guys from a consistently successful organization, who have learned and worked under one of the best GM's in the sport. The Coaching Staff is similarly put together with key pieces from a highly successful organization, and a Singletary thrown in for good measure. The Draft epitomizes the entire philosophy by adding potential impact players in rounds 1-6, including three 2nd level defenders and two gamebreakers to go along with our Franchise QB.
For those that read all the way through, thank you. It's 1900 words worth of offseason pretend-time. Thoughts, comments, critiques, and spam below.