Once again it's time to procrastinate the Miami Dolphin way....this time The Scarecrow is putting off writing an appellate brief for 1st year Legal Research and Writing.
With your permission, I would like to refute some myths that are bugging me as I scan through the media and blogosphere regarding what the Phins should and should not be doing during this 2011 offseason. As we surf the web and try to assess the best possible strategy the Dolphins should use to attack this ever important offseason, all of us have seen countless mock drafts and free agent scenarios along with the rationalization behind these predictions/suggestions/prayers. Well I for one support free thought, some of the rationalizations used to support one's conclusion really bother the hell out of me. While no one on planet earth has any idea (not even Jeff Ireland and Co.) know exactly how this offseason is going to play out, there are certain philosophies floating around that are illogical if not flat dumb (in a football sense of course)......
Any one who expressly or impliedly assumes this team can satisfy all of its needs in one single offseason is flat crazy.
This means that anytime you read somebody's assessment of what this team's "Needs" are followed by a solution to address each single need in a single off season should give off Red Flags. I understand many out there are having fun with the offseason and thats ok, but the moment anyone believes that this is a viable solution is living in Fantasy Land.
First of all, this team has way too many needs to satisfy in one offseason. This has been pretty unanimous and in no particular order: QB, RB, C, G, Speedy WR, TE. An easy and "seemingly" logical way to approach this is to say, "ok we have six positions to fill through the draft and FA, we have picks in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, two in the 7th (somebody let me know if this is the right amount of picks). So we will get X in the 1st, Y in the 3rd, Z in the 4th, and so on and so forth and of course sign Mankins or DeAngello Williams, etc. and Presto!! Superbowl!!....How I wish it would work like that but if that were the case, every team, every year would likely be headed to the Superbowl. In order for this to pan out, we would need every pick to be a home run and every FA we offer to sign with us. Furthermore, I would love to be able to trade down in the 1st and pick up a 2nd rounder because this is a weak draft to a degree, but that requires a team to REALLY want what a guy whom they believe is a sure thing, something that this year is a tougher scenario than most seem to understand.
The truth is, most teams, even the Patriots, don't hit home runs left and right with their picks. It just seems that way because of two things. 1.) the Pats treat their players like a stock market, which is beautiful really. Buy low and sell high. Take Richard Seymour for example; many in the NFL thought it was crazy when they traded this guy at the prime of his career to the Raiders who have been so bad, NE essentially felt confident that they had on acquired a top 10 pick out of it. Brilliant. Also, Randy Moss, at the most random time, they trade him away during the middle of the season for a 3rd rounder because, although productive, they knew this was a super high offer for this guy at this point in his career, especially when they planned to get rid of him after the season. 2.) Plain LUCK!! His name is Tom Brady. Not once but twice has Brady brought supremely good fortunes to that team. The first time being drafted in the 6th round. And in a strange way, by getting hurt a few seasons ago, Matt Cassel stepped in and instantly brought his stock up from a back up who was not even a starter in college, to bringing NE some more 1st round love when he was traded to the Chiefs.
But I digress, point is, Pats and other perennial teams have hits, but misses as well. For this reason, we should be thinking of a more practical approach this offseason. A week or two ago, I posted my Practical Draft Methodology outlining a more realistic strategy to use this offseason. But as I previously wrote, if we satisfy one, two, or God forbid three of our needs, we can be a playoff team or better. This would involve determining our top needs and applying it to what is available in the draft, and more importantly, what will be available to us in the draft. If it were up to me, I would sign a guard at the very least, hopefully Mankins, but if not a solid starter, then draft another Guard/Center within the first three rounds, ideally, and I stress IDEALLY, trade down, pick up a 2nd and use that 1st to pick up a top OL, preferably a Center. This would allow us to fill a guard position through, put Incognito back at the other guard position and of course use the pick to solidify the OL while providing for quality depth with Jerry, Garner, etc.
Myth #2 (and this drives me crazy)
QB is a need therefore we MUST draft a QB.
This terrifies me. I don't have the resources to fully assess and analyze every QB in this draft, especially those considered possible 1st rounders, but just because we need a QB does not mean we must draft one just for the sake of it. If the Dolphin brass logically analyze and conclude that their is a 1st round QB worthy of the pick and pull the trigger, I have no problem with that. But by no means would I draft a guy in the first round because he is better than the other QB's in the draft. It is obviously a weak, weak QB class. Just because X is better than Y, does not mean X is worth the pick at all. It just means he is better than another guy. People sound like children when they post or make comments saying "this team needs a QB, Henne doesn't have it, so lets get Newton, or Colin K, etc." This team is almost certainly NOT going to the Superbowl next season. But hey, 28 other teams won't as well. So lets get a team in place that can compete for the next 10 years, not just trying to figure out a way to win next season. Don't get me wrong, while it would be nice to win NOW, it is more likely to set us back a few more years if we act like an impatient 6 year old rather then getting the RIGHT guy. I don't know about you guys, but I don't give a damn about winning games, I want to see my Dolphins in THE GAME. I would rather win 3 games next season and get Andrew Luck in 2012, then get bumped out of the first round of the playoffs and find ourselves were we are, and have been the last 15 years. Just beat those jerk off JETS and I'm content.
Suggesting the Dolphins should have players switch positions because it will free up draft picks.
I have not seen this notion made all that much. But when I have, I immediately say to myself this guy probably has never played tackle football pass 8th grade (and that is a me being nice).
More often than not, this position switch involves moving Vernon Carey to Guard with the belief that this will allow us to kill two birds with one stone by only needing to draft one OL and sign another. FANTASY LAND!!
Those who actually played competitive football understand the difference between a Guard and a Tackle. Yes, there are certain players who can play both, apparently John Jerry is one who could. But these are more plug in guys that are tweeners because they are either too small to be a TRUE tackle but are big and athletic enough to play Guard and CAN play tackle if needed. Vernon Carey is a MAMMOTH at 6-5 340, which I personally do not believe is actually 340. I don't know his 40 time, but even if it was decent (for a big tackle fast would be between a 5.1 and 5.3) Carey is certainly not quick. Quickness is the key of being a good guard because they do a lot of pulling more so than tackles. They not only need to be quick, but they need to have a relatively low center of gravity because when they do pull, they need to be able to be athletic enough get their feet under them and be in enough control of their body to lay into someone with precision. Tackles, however, come down hill at an angle to pick up those interior D linemen or use their massive size to pick up DL or LB straight ahead.
Linemen are not all the same, each position has a certain skill set specific to each respective position. It's like saying if we had a TE that was a little smaller or faster, they can be moved to WR. Just because a TE may occasionally line up as a WR in certain packages, does not mean he should be or could be moved to the WR position permanently. Although there are guards with similar size as Carey, he is by no means fitted for a guard position.
Ok...I don't necessarily consider this a myth, it is more of a description, but if you want to sell me a QB, you don't say this is a "not as good" version of Vince Young. Vince Young is and has been one of the rawest starting QB's in the NFL. To say someone is more raw than him is not how you sell a 1st round QB. If you said he is a less polished Manning, Brady, or Roethliswhatever, I might be interested. But Vince Young? Give me a break. I realize that when V. Young has not been injured physically or mentally, he has played pretty well at times, he has been pretty inconsistent. Also, he has been on some good Titan teams prior to this year and to my recollection had not been able to take them deep in the playoffs. I want a real QB, not a less polished version of an unpolished QB.
Also, and this can be added to the "myth" is that Cam Newton can be coached. This is not a total myth because in theory, anything is possible. But there is not a QB in this draft that has a longer way to go than Cam Newton. How many triple options do you think he will run in the NFL? How many NFL throws and reads has he actually made....and please don't say " I've seen him throw the ball 60 yards with a perfect spiral blah blah blah." Non-sense, he is tall and fast (striding fast not NFL fast by the way), but his arm is not unique in its strength and accuracy. I'm not even going to go into how little reading (defenses) he actually did in college, its just a waste of time. But making reads and using your brain is THE SINGLE most important part of being an NFL QB. Every one in the draft has incredible ability and some more than others. But what sets them apart is there ability to make reads. It is not something you just learn, you cannot teach a guy to be smart. I am not saying Newton is a moron, I have no idea, but I do know for a fact that he either makes very basic reads, or picks a guys and throws it to him. To his credit he was able to get away with it in college. But he has been very fortunate. When looking at a QB, its so easy to look at the result of the play instead of how the play came to be. What makes Cam Newton so appealing is his stats, and what makes his stats so sexy are his rushing stats, and what makes his rushing stats so sexy WILL NOT TRANSLATE INTO THE NFL and will be nullified.
His footwork is garbage if not offensive, and why? I know he had coaches from middle school through college coaching him daily on his footwork, so that leaves only two options: Either he cannot comprehend the coaching relating to his footwork or he just flat out did not care enough to work on it. And for whatever reason or rationale someone wants to give, he either has not or cannot make reads.
He could be a starter and based upon his size, and apparent athletic ability, has has great upside, but I would not bet my only 1st or 2nd rounder on it. People will discredit Colin. K, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Mallet, etc. about playing in systems and spreads, but no one has played in an offense so far and out of line from NFL offenses then Newton...ok you can probably argue Colin K. and Nevada's "Pistol" offense. i do agree that the offense a QB played on is very significant in de terming his draft viability, but make sure those who will discredit other QB's in the draft, apply that same principle to Newton.
Ok back to writing an appellate brief. As always, your comments are appreciated.