Now that Matty’s State Of The Miami Dolphins series is complete (great job by Matty by the way!), I have one question: How come the Phins were 7-9 the last two seasons with so many "Great" or soon to be "Great" players on the roster? Let’s look at some of the comments from the series:
There were 116 comments from the QB post. In a very unscientific study conducted by me, the majority of the comments were positive, especially about Henne. This is an example of some of the comments in that post:
How can everyone be saying Henne regressed? For sure he didn’t develop the way we all had hoped, but if you look at his stats they are all MARGINALLY better than last year. His passer rating went up, completion percentage up, total yards up, yards per attempt up, TD’s up (sure his ints went up more, but I don’t put all of them on him.
Why would the Phins not look to upgrade Henne? What’s to like about his 75.4 passer rating, his more INT’s than TD’s, or his complete lack of ability to run a 2 minute drill? I fail to see anything that Henne did in ’10 to warrant a roster spot for ’11.
Below are some title blocks to some of the comments listed below. Again the majority of the comments in that post were positive about the play of the Phins RB’s.
I'd have to say Both Ricky & Ronnie deserve to stay
I hope Ronnie Brown comes back
I am in favor of bringing Ronnie back. Keep Lex as the primary back up.
This one is similar to QB. What did Ronnie do to warrant consideration of being back with the team next year? That’s right I forgot, it was all the OL’s fault.
The one was a little more balanced than the first two. I would say a solid half of the comments stated that the Phins needed some additional speed at WR. Yet others still think that Hartline provides that speed. For example:
One of the reasons Hartline gets so much crap is comments like yours in this column. You wish he had more speed? Hartline was a track star in college and a hurdler. He is the fastest man on the Dolphins roster and is always the one they send out long.
For those of you who keep insisting Hartline is fast, my advice to you is to just watch the games. I have yet to see him do anything on a football field that I would consider "fast". But I admit that I am getting old and my eyesight might not be what it used to be.
This is an actual strength on the Phins. Long is a stud. I would say he is the best football player on the roster. Carey is a solid, not spectacular, RT. Yet some want him to move to Guard like this comment below:
Vernon Carey is a liability on the line. His vision is aweful, hes overweight, he has lost a signifigant amount of speed and his decision making and executing assignments has gotton shakier.
Or this one:
He should move to Guard
I got news for the "move Carey to Guard" crowd. It is a hell of a lot easier to find someone to play Guard than it is to play Tackle. Carey is in the top half of the league for RT’s. Leave him be.
I think we would all be in agreement that the Interior OL could use an upgrade. But everyone seems to think that this was the entire problem with the entire team all year long. The comments are all just about the same, so I won’t post them here. They all basically say that the Interior OL sucks.
But to everyone who thinks the Phins OL sucks: The 2 OL’s that just played in the Super Bowl are on par with the Phins OL and in most instances worse. Don’t believe me? Look at the stats:
This one really cracks me up. The majority of the comments in this post stated that the Phins needed to bring in a 2nd TE to compliment the play of Fasano. Most of these comments don’t realize that Fasano isn’t a starting quality TE in the NFL. You have to read these to believe them:
fasano is a quality tight end
Fasano is indeed a stud who needs to be released into the wild
There are teams in the league that have multiple TE’s better than Fasano on their roster. NE and GB come to mind. I leave the Fasano lovers with this question:
Of the 12 teams that made the playoffs this year, when completely healthy, which TE on which team would Anthony Fasano replace in the starting lineup?
This was THE strength of the Phins roster. The DL in ’10 was superb. Langford, Starks and McDaniel were tremendous. Soliai, who wasn’t resigned at the time of the post, was also very good. Some people think that Odrick will be "Great". I don’t know how playing in 1 game and getting a total of 1 tackle would lead some to this belief, but it will be a shame, IMO, if the Phins are forced to let McDaniel go. He is a far better player than either Merling or Odrick, but he wasn’t a draft choice of this regime, so he is probably the odd man out.
Wake was tremendous, as his Pro Bowl appearance would suggest. Misi on the other hand was just OK. I don’t know how else to explain his lack of production as being anything other than OK: 4.5 Sacks, 29 tackles, 12 assists.
Two of those sacks came against the worst OL in the league, the Bills. He averaged less than 2 tackles per game. And the Phins were actively seeking a replacement pass rusher during the season by putting in a waiver claim on Shawn Merriman.
Yet some claim that Misi is a great player:
I love our starters. Misi is only going to get better. He had an outstanding rookie season.
With Koa grinding the best pass rushers and plays, coupled with strong input from Cox, IMO he can become a 1-A.
Don’t be surprised if the Phins spend the #15 pick on an OLB that can rush the passer.
Dansby is a very good player. But he isn’t elite. Crowder just flat out sucks. How else can you explain his stat line: 11 games played, 2 passes defended, 33 tackles, 6 assists.
What good or great ILB averages 3 tackles per game? The answer is a big fat NONE. But not according to some:
I think Crowder is better now even against the run than he was at any point earlier in career.
Channing opens the door for Dansby to get the tackle.
He’s excellent in run defense and he’s a vocal leader of the team. The Dolphins clearly play better when he’s on the field.
Imagine how much better the defense will be if the Phins had an ILB that actually made plays like these guys:
Davis and Smith are good, young CB’s but they are not "Great" or "Elite". Neither has been in any discussion for the Pro Bowl or for All Pro, which is how fans and their peers perceive greatness. Does this mean that these guys won’t be great someday? Of course not. Some think that Davis, especially, is on his way to being "elite" or "great":
Vonate Davis is legit and I BELIEVE that he will certify himself as an elite player in the NFL within the next year or 2
Davis is elite and effective against the run and pass
I like the Phins CB’s. But I don’t think either Davis or Smith will ever become "elite". Think of Davis as Ronde Barber and Smith as Antonio Cromartie. Good to very good players, but not "elite". CB will be a draft priority in a couple of years, IMO.
The Phins need help at FS. Clemons is just not a playmaker at a key playmaking position. Clemons doesn’t have the natural anticipation or the instincts it takes to be an effective FS. Bell on the other hand is a very good SS, as his pro bowl status in ’09 would suggest. He sometimes struggles with coverage of TE’s, but he is a stud in run support. Yet some people would prefer to upgrade Bell instead of Clemons:
I’m more concerned about Bell over the next few years than I am Clemons. I’m afraid Bell is just just slow to be as effective as he can be as a SS.
I don't want a SS that struggles in man and deep zones teaching my FS, though. I Bell has good trade value, it might be time to sell high before he starts deteriorating.So let me get this straight: We want to get rid of a Pro Bowl player, Bell, instead of quite possibly the worst starter on the Phins defense, Clemons? How does this help the defense?
So let’s recap:
Henne is good and needs to be given another chance.
Ronnie should be brought back.
Marshall is a Stud.
Hartline is Fast.
Fasano is a starting quality TE.
Long is a Stud.
The Interior OL Sucks.
Carey should be moved to Guard.
The DL is Very Good.
Dansby is Very Good.
Crowder is the glue that keeps the defense together.
Wake is a Stud.
Misi had a great rookie season.
Davis is on the brink of being "elite".
Smith is a good CB.
Bell is a good SS but may need to go.
Clemons is "fine".
With so many "very good" to "great" to "soon to be great" players starting for the Phins, why were they only 7-9 the last two years? That’s right, I forgot, it’s all the OL’s fault.
We as fans tend to think more highly of the players on our favorite team than their talent warrants. There are a lot of areas that the Phins need to improve upon. Not all of them can necessarily be addressed in one off season. But if the Phins want to make the playoffs next year they really need to improve only 2 positions IMO: QB and WR. If Henne and Hartline are starters next year, expect the same results.
Sorry for the length of the post. If you made it this far you deserve an award. I just felt that every position needed at least some comment.