There have been alot of chicken or the egg arguments around with the GM or Head Coach as who is responsible for this disaster. My opinion is the Coaching was more at stake, but the GM has also been at best average. I have plenty of free time, since we will not be playing this Sunday, so I will do a series on each position and how we rank (as unbiased as I can be) compared to the AFC. My feeling is if we are in the top 6 on average then the blame lays on Philbin, if not then it rests at the feet of Jeff Ireland.
Here is my ranking of Miami position by postion to the rest of the 16 AFC teams. I will continue in this post by comparing the WR spot.
This is a tougher spot to rank for me because there are so many groups to look at. I am going to include TE/WR’s together in this group. For Miami that includes: Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson (who’s injury I think was huge), Rishard Matthews, Charles Clay, Dion Simms and Michael Egnew (for argument’s sake I am not including Keller even though I felt that was a shrewd signing by Ireland this offseason).
I feel this group is a very solid group, but that is about as high as I am willing to go with them. I remember several great plays and catches (Hartline vs. Pittsburgh and a few from Clay/Wallace this season as well stick out right off the top of my head), but don’t see any ridiculous (Dez Bryant, Megatron or elite WR) type plays.
To me Wallace is a very good NFL WR. He is not (nor are very many other WR’s) worth the contract we had to give him, but I do feel he has an impact on the game even when he is not catching passes as teams must either play way off or with a safety over the top. He will never be a guy you can just throw the ball up to and ask him to fight for it over a db. But he will always be a guy that will be behind the defense 3-4 times a game and if you hit him in stride can score from anywhere on the field. I also think not much was made of his injured groin and think that played into missed practice reps that should be taken care of for next year.
I love Hartline. He is a guy that catches (except for Buffalo) almost anything that hits his hands and is in my opinion an above average #2 WR. Gibson I think is the real key. When he was healthy we had I think a terrific trio of WR’s. He is a great #3 WR that is going to be a mismatch against any teams nickel corner. Matthews showed great flashes and is a very solid #4. Don’t forget we have a guy that was on the IR all year that would have been our #4/5 WR in Binns that is 6’4 and can play some also.
Clay came out to play this season. I feel he is a great “H” back and is a good mismatch guy as well. I don’t think he is a traditional TE and think the other 2 (Egnew and Sims) are below average TE’s. Egnew did improve, but he is still a guy that is a special teams only guy on most NFL rosters.
The teams I think we are obviously above:
Tennessee: They have some talent and it may be more the lack of QB play, but I feel our group is better.
New England: Although I think “minitron” and Amendola are vastly underated, we are much better (even with Gronk).
NYJ: Santonio Holmes is there only legit weapon (although Nolan Carroll made them all look great) and he looks to be gone this season.
Buffalo: They are improving, but I think our big 3 is better than theirs.
Jacksonville: Again the QB play makes it hard to see here, but I think our group is better all-around than Jacksonville.
Oakland: Although they have some speed, I don’t see a very solid group.
Cleveland: As a group we are better, although their #1’s (WR and TE) are better than our #1’s.
Here are the groups I’d give us the slight nod over:
Baltimore: This was a tough one for me as I think their #1 and #2 (Jacoby Jones) WR’s are actually better than ours. I think what pushes us over the edge is our #3 and #4 are much better than theirs.
San Diego: When Vincent Jackson and others were roaming San Diego they were one of the best in the league. Still good group (Gates at TE is always dangerous), but I think ours gets the nod.
Kansas City: Another tough one. I feel we have a “push” at TE (Clay and Fasano). I think they have the edge at #1 WR, but we get it for 2-4.
Pittsburgh: A bit of a toss up here, but I think we get the edge over the group from Pittsburgh. Antonio Brown is playing very well and they have some depth, but I’ll go with our guys 1-4 and at TE.
Teams that I’d give the edge to over Miami:
Denver: Again it could be a case of who is throwing the ball, but I’d take Denver’s group over Miami’s every day of the week.
Indianapolis: I’d say they have the advantage with Wayne and other at WR and possibly at TE also.
Cincy: AJ Green. Stud. The rest of the group is pretty good also. Tannehill with these weapons would be very leathal.
Houston: Andre Johnson is a man among boys. Throw in the steal of a rookie WR they got and they have a very lethal group. Now all they need is a good QB to get them the ball. I am going to go on a limb and say whoever Houston hires as coach will look like Andy Reid did this year with all the talent on that roster.
So according to my rankings Miami comes in at #5 in the AFC. A case could be made for us as high as 2 and as low as 8 I’d think. In this case the advantage goes back to Ireland who has given us enough talent on the edges to compete in the AFC. If you are keeping score that is Ireland 2, Philbin 1.