This is about the time everyone is going to be ashamed to call themselves a Phinfan. Ryan Clark is singling us out as a toxic landing spot for FA's,
My most recent post was trying to take an optimistic approach to the FO, and their plans concerning Miami's future. Here will be no different. While people are scrutinizing the Yeremiah Bell decision, theres something you need to keep in mind. This is a completely new coaching staff, and they are changing the schemes and personnel to match what they are looking for. If you consider every aspect of this move, Bell's cap number which exceeded $6mil this year, gives us some more flexibility to fill in a few holes. While most of the big name players are already spoken for, I'm a strong believer that free agency is a period that should be used to find players who fit specific needs, fill in depth, and bring competition to your starters. The draft is where your team is built. Now, Bell is a veteran who contributed a high number of tackles, and provided leadership and a strong understanding of Mike Nolan's defence. We saw just how important having a quarterback of the defence is this year, when in week 1, confusion in the secondary led to some pretty open New England receivers. Granted the lockout left the team with a very condensed off season, and little time to master all the ins and outs of a system, but regardless, a good example.
Another point to consider, people may already be forgetting our recent signing of Richard Marshall. He showed the ability to play all over the secondary in Arizona, and while they play in a weaker division, and were not all too successful in the past year, there's something to salvage from this. After Kerry Rhodes went down, Marshall played exceptionally well. His first two starts at safety saw the Steelers and Ravens offence, whose passers both exceeded 300 yards against Arizona's secondary. After that, despite facing Philadelphia, Dallas, and San Francisco twice, none of those passers got to 300 yards, and Arizona managed to finish the season winning 7 of its last 9 games. While this was not solely due to Marshall's play, he showed the flexibility in the secondary to potentially cover a hole that would be left by Bell, and do so effectively and at short notice. Bell was a 34 year old safety, who although has been a sure tackling and level headed player on the defence, may not be exactly what Kevin Coyle was looking for in his secondary. Bell came away with only 1 interception, and although tallying 107 tackles in 2011, shoring up the defensive secondary with some added talent wouldn't leave so much pressure on him to make tackles all over the field. He doesn't present much trade value on the open market, and is reaching a stage in his career where experience may not make up for lost speed and quickness that comes with aging. I would have loved to see Bell accept a pay cut and stay on the roster, as he brings a lot to the table. Otherwise, the termination of his contract means more cap room, more flexibility concerning draft picks and additional free agents contracts, and an opportunity to develop a younger player on the defence with his roster spot.
Concerning David Garrard, I actually have a little optimism. I never liked him as an option for QB going into this year, mainly due to his age and recent back surgery, but at the same time, veteran players bring a lot of intangible assets to the table. He will not be our starter going forward, and if he is, I expect some huge performances in the pre season and Matt Moore showing he truly does not fit in a WCO. Otherwise, Garrard brings some post season experience to the team, and just as much so brings extensive experience in the WCO from Jacksonville. This also provides us with a viable back up going in to the season if we bypass a quarterback in the draft, an idea I'm a completely fine with. I haven't seen the terms of Garrard's contract yet, but the way I choose to look at it, is that our coaching staff and FO are finding bargain bin players that fit our scheme. They are finding those pieces that fit specific roles that we may not be able to address through the draft, for instance, quarterback depth and extensive knowledge of the WCO at the position.
Don't fret, there is still hope! As always, thanks for reading, and GO FINS!