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 in the playoffs, 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 OL spot.
While I am a football coach at the high school level, I haven’t had the chance to breakdown much of Miami’s film and the offensive line must really be broken down to see who/what the problem was. I will just give what I have observed and read about our offensive line. I do think we are set at Center for the next 10 years with Pouncy and while he may not have played as good as in 2012, he is still an elite center in the NFL.
John Jerry is very average at a lot of things from what I have seen. He is not great in space or in pass protection, but is a guy you can get by with if he is your weak link (unfortunately with us he was our 2nd best most of the year). Brenner is a great story and gives great effort, but he is not an NFL starting caliber guard (undersized and not very athletic). Garner is a great backup lineman, but that is probably his ceiling. Everyone we used at tackle this year is not at a level where they should be starting in the NFL.
On top of the lack of talent on the offensive line, a lack of scheme has really hurt this group. This is not a zone running offensive line (Clabo, Jerry and Mckinnie are big, slow footed lineman). The two games I can remember us using the power scheme were: Pittsburgh (the Daniel Thomas big run was off a down block and pulling Pouncy and a guard) and NYJ at times in week 17 (the lead draw was our best play, where we would fold a guard around to block and lead in the hole). We also were very predictable in passing/running and did little play action or screens (which help a weaker offensive line).
I am no expert on other teams in the AFC, but can say with confidence that we had the worst offensive line in the conference, the only groups that may even be in our ball park would be:
Indianapolis: I still rank them above us, due to running a scheme that fits them much better.
Pittsburgh: Again they have enough guys that they are slightly ahead of us and they run more power football which helps bigger lines.
The rest are all way ahead of our team. This position will be addressed this offseason and we will look vastly different after free agency is my guess. I would think we will draft 1-2 guys (I hope later rounds of the draft as we don’t get elite players at 19 on the OL and our track record is not exactly great with high round OL).
Ireland took a risk here this offseason and it didn’t pay off. The elephant in the room is that we did have 2 starting caliber lineman go out for “extraordinary” reasons. While that is true, Martin was playing at a very low level (although still higher than Clabo or Mckinnie) and Incognito is an average guard in the NFL. Even with these two lineman in the fold and playing around what they would average, we would have been a lower tiered line. Without them…
So according to my rankings Miami comes in at #16 in the AFC. If you are keeping score that is Ireland 2, Philbin 2.