Since the NFL’s free agency period opened on March 14th, the Miami Dolphins have re-upped, revamped and retooled much of their roster with dizzying speed, and even the most ardent followers of the team may find it challenging to keep up with all the new faces in the lineup. Say what you will about the level of talent Miami has allowed to walk out the door, but give the Dolphins credit for bringing in players who appear to be capable replacements. The team’s latest moves were bringing in two veteran interior linemen, center Daniel Kilgore and offensive guard Josh Sitton. While neither of these guys can necessarily be viewed as long-term solutions at their respective positions, they should be able to solidify two spots on Miami’s offensive line in 2018.
When running back Damien Williams abruptly signed with Kansas City on Thursday afternoon, the team shifted gears and signed five-time Pro Bowler Frank Gore. Gore has amassed more than 14,000 rushing yards over the course of his thirteen-year career; only Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Walter Payton and Curtis Martin have more, and Gore figures to surpass Martin before the end of September. Like his offensive teammate Sitton, Gore doesn’t figure to be with the Dolphins for more than a year or two, but the point is, Miami wants to put a competitive team on the field this season. Dating back to the 1980’s, the Dolphins have far too often tried to use a few great players, scattered throughout their roster, to cover up for a lot of fringe guys, many of whom wouldn’t be starting for other teams. This is why bad teams stay bad, and mediocre teams remain mediocre. Adam Gase & Co. have decided that they want to break the cycle of middling play that has plagued the team for decades now, and the Dolphins should be a hungrier, more disciplined outfit this season.
I’m particularly pleased with the addition of Gore; he’s been a solid player for a long time in this league, and unlike Williams and current Dolphins starter, Kenyan Drake, he’s a downhill runner all the way. You won’t see him dancing around in the backfield -- he hits the hole with authority and almost always gains an extra half yard to a yard at the end of every run by falling forward. He’ll help the Dolphins keep the chains moving and win the time of possession battle, wearing down opposing defenses in the stifling South Florida heat. That Gore slid to the third round of the 2005 draft due to concerns about his knees seems almost laughable today. Now, should I tell you that in that same 2005 draft, the Dolphins selected fellow running back Ronnie Brown with the second overall pick, bypassing Aaron Rodgers? Nah, I don’t want to do that. The Dolphins’ front office is a lot smarter today than they were then, and things are looking up. At 5’9”, 217, Gore is the NFL’s version of ‘The Little Engine That Could’. With, in all likelihood, the fourth most rushing yards by a running back in NFL history when he finally hangs up his cleats, Frank Gore is a virtual lock for the Hall of Fame. It’s going to be nice seeing the kid who grew up in Coconut Grove, and played his college ball at UM, finish his career in Miami.