Back to Football. Back to the game we love, admire, and dream about. But also back to the game which frustrates us, ruines our week, and makes us want to pull our hair out. July 25, 2011 marked the beginning of the fastest off-season this league has ever seen, and if moves were needed to be made, they needed to be made fast. As Dolfans, we expected big things from this team by the time Friday rolled around. Big changes were needed to be made in order to compete with the powerhouses that are the New England Patriots and the New York Jets, but first things first, the Dolphins needed to adress the poor souls that fell just short of Radio City, the Undrafted Free Agents.
JULY 26 & 27: UDFA
These two days (mostly Tuesday) were filled with an extreme amount of speculation and anticipation. I couldn't turnaround without hearing "We should get Jake Kirkpatrick" "It looks like were getting Derrick Locke" "DeAndre McDaniels would be soo good here." Well, the time finally came, the anticipation was over, and the Dolphins picked up 11 UDFA's, and here they are:
1. Pat Devlin QB-Delaware: Blessed with the size for the position. Has enough arm strength for the next level but not quite enough zip to put the ball into tight spots. Accuracy is not on par with his outstanding competition percentage at this stage. The battle between Tom Brandstater and Devlin should be a sight to see, and although they are only battling for the Number 3. spot, this battle is sure to excite many poeple.
2. Phillip Livas WR-Louisiana Tech: "Saturday Night Livas" is one of those players that just gets people in a good mood .At Louisiana Tech, Livas was a consistent receiver, but he made a name for himself on special teams. Livas tied the NCAA record for punt and kickoff returns for touchdowns with eight and set a new school record with 2,758 career kick return yards.
3. Nicolas Grigsby RB- Arizona: Possesses obvious quickness and straight-line speed. Shifty in the hole and with the ball in his hands as a receiver in the flat, regularly eluding defenders. Will be a legitimate dual threat and change-of-pace back. Has the straight-line speed to be a kick returner. Does not shy away from contact after the catch, usually falls forward.
4. Quinton Spears LB-Praire View A&M: All-SWAC pick collected 70 tackles, including nine for loss and 4.5 sacks, in 11 games in 2010. Not a lot of info on this kid.
5. Jonathan Freeney LB-Rutgers: Second cousin to NFL defensive end Dwight Freeney, Jonathan had 60 tackles as a junior last season. Freeney is great at getting off the ball and using his speed to get around the edge and pursue the ball, but he needs to get stronger at the point of attack.
6. Brett Brackett TE-Penn State: He has the size and athletic ability needed to make the transition to tight end in the NFL, and is a strong and reliable blocker. Brackett's size would make him a difficult matchup for opposing secondaries and he would be a good fit in short-yardage and goal-line situations.
7. Garrett Chisolm OG-South Carolina: Chisolm possesses the size and power potential of a developmental NFL guard prospect. However, his technique needs works and he likely is too limited athletically to be viewed as a future starter. Does a pretty good job against the bull rush but can be beaten when challenged with quickness or laterally in pass pro.
8. D.J Jones OT-Nebraska: Big lineman who is still rough around the edges. Blocks with good lean, keeps his feet moving, and quickly gets his hands into defenders. Solid position blocker with the ability to turn defenders off the line of scrimmage. Jones is better off inside at guard in the NFL.
9. Vincent Agnew DB-Central Michigan: A starter in all 12 games last year, Agnew ranked fifth on the team in tackles (73) and led the Chippewas in pass breakups (six). He made a career-high 12 tackles and forced a fumble in a win over Western Michigan on Nov. 5.
10. Johnny Jones DT-Marshall: He played sparingly as a freshman before starting 11 of 12 games as a sophomore and recording 19 tackles, two sacks and two blocked kicks. After starting only two of 12 games as a junior, Jones appeared in eight games as a senior with three starts, recording four tackles on the season.
11. Jose Perez CB-San Diego State: Was selected All-Mountain West Honorable Mention for the 2010 college football season as selected by the nine league head coaches and select media panel. Perez is second in the league in pass break-ups with 10 from his starting cornerback.
The Dolphins got the right amount of UDFA's and added a great prospect in Pat Devlin. So far, so good for Jeff Ireland, but adding Undraftees was only part of the deal. The real test of General Management would come through acquiring big-name playmakers that would boost the confidence of Dolfans around the globe.
The two main priorities coming into this week were to acquire a big-name Runningback to compliment D.Thomas and a big-name Quarterback to compete with Chad Henne. The players on Miami's wish list were: Kyle Orton, Vince Young, Donovan McNabb (not my wish list) Marc Bulger, Matt M DeAngelo Williams, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Reggie Bush. So who would they take? Let's start at the running-back position.
DeAngelo Williams: On Wednesday, the Panthers decided to not let their all-time leading rusher slip out their hands and signed Williams to a five-year contract worth $43 million dollars; $21 million dollars was guaranteed. Yea, who would walk away from that? So, now that Williams is off the board, Bradshaw was up.
Ahmad Bradshaw: Once again, Wednesday was a big day. It seemed like the New York Giants were on the cusp of losing running back, Ahmad Bradshaw to the Miami Dolphins. Later in the day, it was reported that Bradshaw's asking price put him off the Dolphins radar. Unfortunately for Bradshaw, his greediness backfired. After being rejected, the Dolphins said "You know what? forget it, were not offering more, let's move on," and they did. Later on Bradshaw would realize his offer from the Giants would be less than what the Dolphins offered. Miami figured that if the answer was in neither door number 1 nor door number 2, then it must be in door number 3.
Reggie Bush: Who would have expected this? Once again the Dolphins sign a New Orleans Saints runningback that has won the Heisman. The Dolphins completed a trade for Bush on Thursday by negotiating a new contract with him. Saints coach Sean Payton confirmed the deal, which sent reserve safety Jonathon Amaya to New Orleans and also involved an exchange of undisclosed draft picks. Bush is expected to earn nearly $9.75 million over two years with a $2.5 million signing bonus. Bush will serve as the counterpart to rookie running back Daniel Thomas, ushering in a new crop of players to replace two long-time Dolphins, Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.
Reggie Bush will surely bring his explosiveness, speed, and popularity from the fans to the table. Checkdowns will no longer be a problem, screens will be executed, and Head Coaches around the league will have to make a gameplan for the playmaker. It's good to see a household name like Bush take his talents to South Beach. Now on to the most valued position around the League. The Quarterback.
We know for a fact that Chad Henne will not be spoon fed the starting role this year. Immediately after the week 17 loss to the Patriots, Jeff Ireland and the rest of Miami knew it was time to make a fast move at QB, either to replace Henne or to compete with him at a high level. Coming into the off-season their were a number of names thrown out their including: Kyle Orton, Vince Young, Donovan McNabb, Carson Palmer, Matt Moore, Matt Hasslebeck, and Marc Bulger. It seemed as if we had a buffet of QB's lining up to go to Miami, until they started signing deals one by one.
Donovan McNabb to Minnesotta Vikings.
Matt Hasslebeck to Tennessee Titans.
Carson Palmer to Naples Retirement Home
Kevin Kolb to Arizona
Vince Young to Philadelphia
Throughout the week, Miami and Denver had seemed to have a greed on a Trade that would send Bronco's QB Kyle Orton to the Dolphins. However, their seemed to be a dilemma to what was to be given up for Orton. Denver wanted a 2nd round pick while Miami was only willing to give up a 3rd. On thursday, talks were at a standstill and neither team wanted to back down. Miami decided to call John Elway's bluff and walk away. What did the Dolphins end up doing?
Matt Moore: Similar situation to that of Bradshaw, Dolphins were not willing to give more for Orton and moved on. Orton is indeed out of the picture, Moore will compete with Chad Henne for a starting role with the Dolphins just one season after being named starter for the Panthers. Moore was unseated by rookie Jimmy Clausen as the season progressed after Moore completed just 55.2 percent of his passes, tossing five touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Moore will arrive in South Florida on Friday to sign a contract worth $5 million, including incentives that could push the deal as high as $7.5 million.
So their you have it, one week, plenty of acquisitions made. Ireland targeted the 2 biggest priorities coming into the week and signed an explosive running-back to compliment 2nd round draft choice Daniel Thomas and picked up a QB to compete with Chad Henne. Who knows what this team might do next. Their are plenty of more training camp sessions to come, more off-season signings to be made, and all I can say is "Welcome Back Football."