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Let's Not Forget the Offense, Ladies and Gentlemen

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In free agency, the Miami Dolphins have signed, or traded for, a: DE, DT, LB, CB, and FS. Is it crazy to believe that this was by design hiring an offensive-minded coach? Maybe, just maybe, the Dolphins draft offense? Consider the counter-intuition…let's delve deeper.

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The 2015 Miami Dolphins defense left a lot to be desired. We gave up copious amounts of rushing yards and generous amounts of passing yards, all the while giving up 24.3 points per game. We've been so Hellbent on fixing the defense that we've forgotten one thing: what have we done to improve the offense? Well, we lost Lamar Milller. We lost Rishard Matthews. We signed Isaiah Pead and Daniel Thomas, and a few possibilities on OL like Kraig Urbik and Jermon Bushrod. Is that enough to help the 27th ranked scoring offense in 2015? Have we forgotten the duality of offense and defense, like mind and body? Hey, let's eat kale but shoot heroin.

Coming in as a first year Head Coach like Adam Gase, and wondering how you can improve the team as a whole, wouldn't you campaign in your interview to cater to your strengths? I can just imagine him saying, "Yeah, I've been a part of a record-setting offense in Denver and helped resurrect Jay Cutler while winning a Playoff game with Tim Tebow, but my REAL talent is focusing on the defense." Eh, no. That's why we have Vance Joseph. And we've combed through free agency by acquiring Kiko Alonso, Byron Maxwell, Mario Williams, Andre Branch, Isa Abdul-Quddus, and Chris Jones. We've acquired Ifo Ekpre-Olomu off of waivers. When you consider a plan involving dozens if not hundreds of individuals in the Miami Dolphins organization, you have to be pretty clear and definitive. Goal #1 of the 2016 Miami Dolphins: acquire talent on defense in free agency.

So what's the next step of the plan? Set up your new head coach to capitalize on his wheelhouse in the draft: offense. It's not an indictment that Adam Gase might need some time to learn how to coach an entire team, offense AND defense, as opposed to just the offensive side of the ball. However, we all fall back on what we know and are familiar with, and what he knows is offense - and the front office would be setting him up for success by investing in offensive players. I believe Adam Gase's scheme and play calling will help the offense, but he will not fix the offense all by himself. Let's take a look at Adam Gase's predecessors to see what they've encountered as 1st year head coaches when it comes to selecting draft picks:

  • Cam Cameron, an offensive-minded coach, in his 1st draft? The GM selected 4 offensive selections in the 1st 4 rounds (Ted Ginn, John Beck, Samson Satele, Lorenzo Booker).
  • Tony Sparano, a well-known "trench warfare-ist", in his 1st draft? 6 of the entire 9 picks in 2008 were selected on the offensive and defensive lines: Jake Long, Philip Merling, Kendall Langord, Shawn Murphy, Donald Thomas, and Lionel Dotson. 3 of them being his specialty: the offensive line. Only Chad Henne, Jalen Parmele, and Lex Hilliard were the only non-trench players selected.
  • Joe Philbin, an offensive-minded coach, in his 1st draft? 4 of the 1st 5 picks were offense: Ryan Tannehill, Jonathan Martin, Michael Egnew, and Lamar Miller.
I'm sorry, Craniator. I love you with all my being. But IMO, the signs are pointing towards offense. And that's not to say we don't choose CB with our 1st round selection, especially if Vernon Hargreaves III falls to us at #13. Just take a deep breath and understand how a front office works: a personnel decision maker like Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier might be drafting their resignation letter instead of players if they don't help that 1st year coach acquire personnel to help his team win. The fastest track to helping Adam Gase to succeed is to draft offense, especially considering that Adam Gase has final say over the final 53-man roster. Adam Gase will have a strong voice in the war room, and as I alluded to earlier, he knows offense.

The quickest path to success with an offensive-minded coach is to draft and acquire talent on offense, and our 2016 off-season has proven that they wanted to fix the defense as much as possible in free agency. We have been ho-hum on offense, although trying in some respects (CJ Anderson, Chris Johnson), but not nearly enough to counter my theory of improving the defense (especially considering the timeline of signings) first and foremost in free agency.

Hopefully, we created enough competition at the guard spots to avoid spending an early pick on the (L)OL, but it might be inadequate. To be blunt, we've lost more than we've gained on offense, and it can't be ignored: RB, OL, TE will be in consideration in the early rounds for improving the team and the overall offense. I can't even rule out WR on Day 2 or Day 3 if we like a guy - Kenny Stills was underwhelming, and a free agent heading into 2017. Ryan Tannehill himself can't rule out a QB investment on Day 2 or Day 3.

Our coaching staff has been built around improving Ryan Tannehill. I anticipate the draft assisting in rounding out his supporting cast on offense, even if we draft CB at #13. Look for offense to be drafted early and often. Although I agree that a strong defense is the best ingredient for team success, I think the Miami Dolphins have tried to address that in free agency, and will look to improve the offense via the draft.