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A Phinsider Exclusive: Edwin Pope Interview

I recently got the opportunity to exchange questions with Miami Herald columnist Edwin Pope.  Pope has been with the Herald for over 45 years and is one of the most recognized and honored sports writers in the country.  Here are his thoughts on the current state of the Miami Dolphins:

Before we get into talking about the Dolphins, I felt I needed to bring something else up.  You are one of only a few writers to cover every Super Bowl.  So in your opinion, which one was the most fun to cover?

Probably Super Bowl I was the most enoyable.  That was when you could still understand the Roman Numerals, and it was when the Super Bowl still carried a certain degree of innocence, and people were excited about it. Now there's so much cynicism, it takes away some of the edge.

Now let's move on to discussing the Dolphins.  First of all, looking back on the whole Nick Saban saga, what is your whole take on what transpired with him during his stay in Miami and then his sudden departure to Alabama?  Was he really as disliked by the media as was said following his departure?

Dislike for Saban grew the longer he stayed.  He was condescending to the media, which usually indicates pretty much the same attitude toward fans.  He may have been a fine coach at LSU, and probably will be at Alabama because it is so easy to recruit there, but he did very little to improve the Dolphins.  I was very disappointed in him because I thought he was smarter than his final results showed. He just didn't seem to fit as an NFL coach. Why, I'm not exactly sure.

How do you see the quarterback situation playing out for 2007?  Do you think Daunte Culpepper will start week one?  Is Joey Harrington going to be a possible cap casualty?  Is Cleo Lemon going to be brought back to Miami?

The QB situation is a mystery to me. I would be surprised if Culpepper is the answer. I'm sorry to say Harrington isn't the answer, and he probably will be gone, although if I were coach I would want to keep him around just for experience. (It always amuses me when teams have a $100 million cap or whatever and say they can't afford the few extra million it would cost them for a more or less dependable QB, in by far the most important position.) I think they should bring back Lemon. He shows promise and they can easily afford him. But they have to play him more if they are ever going to find out.

Let's have you play GM for a minute.  If you were making the personnel decisions, what would you do this offseason to address the many issues that face this team?

I wouldn't try to answer all that unless I got paid a g. m.' s salary.

Now that we had you tell us what you WOULD do, I want to know what you THINK will happen in terms of free agency.  Will Randy Mueller and Cam Cameron look to make a big push for guys like Adalius Thomas, Kris Dielman, Eric Steinbach, or Nate Clements or will they go for lower profile guys such as Donte Stallworth and Mike Gandy?

Can't answer that, because I just am not not close to Cameron's/Mueller's thinking. In fact, I still am not sure who will have the last word on personnel.  If you know, tell me.

I know it's early, but I do want to touch on the draft for just a minute.  There's been talk by draft "experts" that Brady Quinn may still be on the board at pick #9.  If he was, do you think the Dolphins would take him?  If he isn't, who do you think (at this point) the Dolphins would consider?

If I were the Dolphins, I would stand on my head to get Brady Quinn. No matter what it requires, take a shot! Sure he might be a bust, but he also might be your QB  for the next 10 years.

Lastly, this has been a hot topic on message boards and radio shows.  What are your feelings on Chris Chambers?  Is he a guy who can be a legitimate #1 receiver in this league or was 2005 just an aberration and the 2006 version of Chambers is the one in which we should all be prepared to see in the future?

I don't see how Chambers could be the team's No. 1 receiver. He drops too many balls. I would keep him, but I wouldn't ever think of him as one of the best in the league. I know he hasn't had the best passers, but he has also screwed up a lot of easy-looking plays. He reminds me of a jai-alai player who makes a lot of tough shots and misses the ones that seem simple. I respect him as a good pro, but certainly wouldn't pin my Super Bowl hopes on him.

There are a few interesting things to talk about from this interview.  First of all, on the Nick Saban issue, it is clear that he really was condescending towards the media, and that is really not a good way to get the media (the people you deal with day in and day out) on your side.  I guess he really was just "that" kind of person.  

I also find the quarterback information interesting.  I know it's just one man's opinion, but it isn't good when a person with the access he has to the team doesn't feel confident that C-Pep is the answer to Miami's QB problem.  But he is apparently a big fan of Brady Quinn, and he has the right idea.  It's time for the Dolphins to take a big shot at a franchise QB.  Yes, he could turn out to be Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, Cade McNown, etc, etc...But he could also turn out to be a true star.  It's worth the risk, if you ask me.

That's it for me tonight.  Feel free to post your comments to the interview.