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Weekend Roundup: Talking Saban, signings & more

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First of all, I hope all of you fathers out there had a great Father's Day yesterday.

We're now less than six weeks away from the start of training camp down in Davie. But for now, all is relatively quiet as the organization comes as close to "shutting down" for a few weeks as it ever will. But that doesn't mean there's nothing to discuss, of course.

Here's what you may have missed from this past weekend.

Saban apologizes, but still comes off as a douche
Pardon my language, but even when attempting to apologize (too little, too late, of course) Nick Saban just comes off as a complete douche bag. He just does.

I quickly pointed out his apology late last week and told you I'd get into my thoughts a little bit more once I had a chance. And to those who wonder why this is even a topic, 29% of the 3,500 people who have voted in our poll still list Saban as their most hated person in football. So clearly this is still a hot topic amongst many Dolphin fans.

So I'll warm you - if you don't care about this, then skip down a little bit to avoid. Otherwise, read on.

So let's get onto what Saban says in his sit-down with The Sporting News:


"Well, honesty and integrity is an important part of our character, my character. Those are words that we use all the time.  I think that in an effort to protect our team at Miami -- because I had not talked to Alabama and did not talk to them until the season ended -- I express that (character is important) to (Alabama) through my agent and said it was up to them whether they wanted to wait and that I would not make any promises.  I would talk to them then, [and] I would only reassess my circumstances and our situation as a family at the end of the year.

"But I kept getting asked about this over and over and over, and in trying to defuse the interest and leave the focus on our team in Miami (long pause) . . . I had a responsibility and obligation to the players on that team, the coaches on the staff, and I didn't want that to be the focus of attention.

"So would I manage it differently?  Absolutely.  I would still have the same integrity for our team, but I just would not answer any questions relative to Alabama. . . .  I do apologize for any professional mishandling that might have occurred."

So far he makes a lot of sense. He says what most of us figured he was doing. He wasn't going to come right out and say that he was interested in leaving the Dolphins for Alabama. You don't say that in the middle of a season. That's fine.

But Saban also should not have lied publicly to the South Florida media and, essentially, the entire world by declaring he's "not going to be the Alabama coach." Instead, a simple "no comment" would have been fine.

At least Saban realizes this...now. It only took him about three and a half years to figure this out, huh?

But what about the decision to acquire Daunte Culpepper instead of Drew Brees?

"We had an opportunity to get a quarterback in Drew Brees or Daunte Culpepper and we probably missed out on the physical well-being of those two players; we took the guy that we felt was more healthy, and he wasn't healthy. No disrespect to him; he did the best he could, Daunte Culpepper.  Drew Brees didn't have any problems and ended up having a great career.  Had that been different, I think we'd have made our team a lot better."

Made improvements as a team? Really?

If not for Jason Taylor having a completely monstrous season, this team probably loses a game or two more than the 10 they lost in 2006. How is that improving as a team?

And I'm sick and tired of Saban hiding behind the medical staff's incompetency by pointing out how they took the quarterback who they felt was "more healthy."

Regardless, Saban's closing statement is probably the toughest two sentences to stomach as Dolphin fans:

"We didn't have a quarterback the second year, and it affected our ability to be successful.  But we made improvements as a team; we made improvements on defense.  So I don't really feel like I took one on the chin.  I don't really feel like we failed."

Saban took over a team that won four games and left us with a team that won just six games, a team with no quarterback, and a team that had very little young talent on a roster that was filled with guys like Donnie Spragan and Travares Tillman. His drafts netted us two players in two years who were of any value while wasting picks on guys like Jason Allen and Derek Hagan.

If that's not failure, then what the hell is?

Dolphins re-sign two more
After re-signing Tim Dobbins last week, the Dolphins turned their attention to special teams. Though Pro Bowl kicker Dan Carpenter is scheduled to become a restricted free agent after this season, he wasn't one of the two who got re-upped. Instead it was punter Brandon Fields and long-snapper John Denney who got contract extensions from the Dolphins late last week.

Fields, who along with Paul Soliai are the only two players left from the lone draft of the Mueller/Cameron regime, is now signed through 2012. Fields has seen his numbers steadily improving in each of his first three seasons. His average punt has gone from 43.2 yards his rookie season to 46.3 yards last season - ranking 6th in the NFL. He's got an absolutely booming leg and his career high 71 yard punt from 2008 is the 6th longest punt in the past two seasons. If he can just keep his mechanics in check and become more consistent, he'll be this franchise's punter for many years to come.

Denney, meanwhile, will be with the Dolphins through at least 2013 thanks to his extension. He's entering his sixth season in the league - all with the Dolphins - and has never missed a single game. And yet, some fans might not even recognize his name - and certainly wouldn't recognize his face.

That's what happen when you're the long-snapper. You are rarely ever mentioned...unless you make a mistake, that is. That's why Denney was re-signed. He hardly ever makes a mistake with his long-snapping duties. That kind of performance is taken for granted by fans...but not by this front office.

In my opinion, these are two extensions that were very much deserved.

Quick Hits

  • The Dolphins are reportedly interested in BYU running back Harvey Unga, who is entering the supplemental draft. Unga is BYU's career rushing leader and will be working out for scouts on July 8. He was kicked out of school for having premarital sex with his fiance. He's a big, versatile back who excels at catching the ball out of the backfield. From the limited film I've seen on him, he reminds me of a Brian Leonard type of running back. He'll need to show good speed, though, in his workout. If he can run a sub 4.6 40 at 6'0, 240 pounds, he'll boost his stock tremendously.
  • Jason Cole is currently doing positional team-by-team rankings for Yahoo! Sports and ranks the Dolphins' offensive line fifth in the league, writing that "this is the best run-blocking unit in the league, hands down, showing the emphasis head coach (and former offensive line coach) Tony Sparano puts on line play. This group is the embodiment of what Bill Parcells loves in a line: a bunch of big, intimidating maulers."
  • ESPN's Tim Graham putting the spotlight on FB Lousaka Polite. Good for him, I say. Polite is one of my favorite guys on this team and this piece highlights how Lousaka refuses to get complacent. I love his attitude and how he's an example of hard work paying off.