Sunday, September 23, 2007
Dolphins Need to Start From Scratch
We've now seen the Dolphins play three games and the results aren't pretty. Miami's 31-28 loss to the Jets is the latest chapter that is the Dolphins' current winless season. In most cases I would't advocate giving up your season after just three games. But it's pretty obvious this is not a playoff team nor is it close to being one.
It's time for Cam Cameron and his coaching staff to start preparing and building this team for the future. I'm going to say the dirty word--rebuiling. A 37-year-old Trent Green is not going to lead the Dolphins to a winning season. Contrary to Armando Salguero's preseason prediction, the Dolphins are not going 10-6 this year. This franchise has almost exhausted the best years of Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor's career without much to show for it. Changes need to be made.
First, lets begin at quarterback. The Dolphins need to find out if rookie John Beck can play. Beck is not your normal rookie. He's 26 years old and really needs to start contributing right away. The Dolphins don't have the luxury to sit Beck out for a couple of years and bring him along slowly--not at his age. The only way we're going to find out if Beck is good enough is to get him on the field. Remember, the Dolphins passed up on Brady Quinn hoping Beck would be available in the second round. He was available and now we need to find out what he can do.
Trent Green is just the latest stop gap of veteran journeymen brought in to replace Dan Marino starting with Jay Fiedler back in 2000. The Daunte Culpepper experiment was an utter disaster and it's time to move on and find out if Beck has the goods. If he can't do the job, then the Dolphins may have to address the quarterback position again in the draft.
While many, including myself, have criticized the play of Ronnie Brown. Some of the criticism may be unfair. No, he's not a franchise or Pro Bowl running back. But let's not forget Brown did surpass 1,000 yards last year, averaging 4.2 yards per carry despite missing a few games. He's a good player--just not a great one.
The Dolphins also need to find out if Ted Ginn can play. He's only caught one pass in the first three games. Cameron made it clear on draft day Ginn's kick returning ability was a huge reason for his selection as the team's first round pick. But you don't invest a first round pick on a guy who only returns kicks and punts. Ginn needs to start making plays as a receiver. Get him on the field.
How long are the Dolphins going to ignore spending money on offensive linemen in free agency? Rookie center Samson Satele looks like a keeper. But I'm just not buying the Vernon Carey experiment at left tackle. Carey is a right tackle playing out of position. If you want a real left tackle, draft someone who has experience at playing the position in college or a quality veteran free agent.
Can anyone name a defensive player on the Dolphins roster under the age of 30 with Pro Bowl potential? Linebacker Channing Crowder is the closest I can find to that description. I like Crowder and he's a solid player. But he's no Zach Thomas, who at age 33 is still the Dolphins best linebacker. The defensive line has more grey than aqua and orange. Jason Taylor is 32, Keith Traylor is 38 and Vonnie Holiday is 31 Free agent linebacker Joey Porter is 30. Does anyone see any of those guys as part of the future success of this franchise?
Sometimes to build a good team you must tear it down. You may sacrifice wins now when you play rookies and young players. But in the long run, you need to give them experience and get them ready to become good players for the future Beck, Ginn and Satele are rookies who definitely need to be part of that tomorrow. Vernon Carey and Ronnie Brown also belong in the mix. Defensively, the only guys the Dolphins can really build with now are Channing Crowder, Matt Roth and Yeremiah Bell.
The Dolphins need to finally wake up and admit they are in a rebuilding process. Cameron needs to stop with this delusional thinking that he has a playoff team. He doesn't. I'd like to think owner Wayne Huizenga is not this naive. But judging by the personnel decisions made by this organization in recent years, you have to wonder.