Written by: Matthew Blunk
After spending the previous offseason pursuing Stanford head coach (and eventual San Francisco 49ers head coach) Jim Harbaugh and leaving their own coach Tony Sparano out to dry, the Miami Dolphins opened up the 2011 season with seven consecutive losses. But they were a team with some fight in them. Sure, they weren't the most talented squad in football (or their division), but they put forth tremendous effort and looked like they cared down the stretch. They finished the season strong, winning six of their last nine. Sparano was dumped after Week 14.
Now, with a new coaching staff and new schemes all around, the Dolphins have to start over. Joe Philbin is the head man, hired from the Green Bay Packers staff. Jeff Ireland is still the GM, somehow outlasting Sparano and the rest of the Bill Parcells regime. There is a stigma around the league that players don't like Ireland and therefore don't want to play for the Dolphins. We all remember the Dez Bryant Combine situation. But the question is, can Ireland put together a team that can compete in the AFC East? The NFL Draft begins Thursday, and Miami has plenty of needs to address. For example:
You're not getting anywhere in this league without a quarterback. The Dolphins don't have a quarterback. OK, they've got Matt Moore and David Garrard. But Garrard didn't even play football last season, and despite what these box scores say, I'm not totally convinced Moore did either. Fine, Moore wasn't all that bad. But he isn't a guy that will take a team deep into the postseason. He's a no. 2, a caretaker, a clipboard-wielder. The question is (yeah, I'm using this phrase again. Stop yelling at me!), can Texas Tech's Ryan Tannehill be that guy? New offensive coordinator Mile Sherman should know better than anybody - he was Tannehill's head coach for four years in college. And for two of those seasons, Sherman utilized Tannehill as a receiver, not a quarterback. Just sayin'!
Miami shipped Brandon Marshall and all his McDonalds wrapper mishaps, training camp hissy fits, wife/stabbing "misunderstandings," dropped passes, and quarterback disses, to the Chicago Bears for two third-round draft picks. Positive move or not, the trade leaves a massive void on the Dolphins roster. Without Marshall, they are left with two no. 2 guys and a handful of young guys with varying potential. Miami has to bring in a receiver that can fit in with Philbin's West Coast offense.
There are several areas the 'Phins should look to fortify, but safety is a major concern. Ireland opted to move on from veteran Yeremiah Bell (who could sign with division rival New York Jets), leaving Miami pretty bare in the last line of defense. Youngster Chris Clemons figures to man one spot, but who will replace Bell? The Dolphins can find his heir in the draft if they're lucky.
This year’s National Football League draft gets underway on Thursday night (4/25) in New York’s iconic Radio City Music Hall. The ceremony will begin at 8ET and be televised on ESPN. One can only wonder what the wild and crazy Jets fans will have to cheer (or jeer) about now that the N.Y. …
The 78th edition of the National Football League draft will begin on Thursday night, April 25th at 8pm ET. The official description of this event is The NFL Player Selection Meeting. This gathering will take place at the famous Radio City Music Hall in New York City. …
By Melissa Harder
Next week will mark a big moment in the ongoing concussion class action lawsuit brought by over 4,000 former players against the National Football League (NFL). Lawyers for the former players will argue the matter belongs in federal court while the NFL will push for the claim to be heard in arbitration. …