Putting On My VP/GM Hat Part V: TE’s

 

Miami had a complete makeover after the 2016 season at TE letting bust Jordan Cameron go and losing Dion Sims to free Agency and I had hoped that despite needing to draft heavily on Defense in 2016 that they would have at least drafted a young TE to develop and signed a veteran or two to complete the roster as far as TE was concerned.

The Dolphins did not draft a TE (still feel it was a mistake) but they did sign two veteran TE’s one with a history with the Dolphins and the other who played at a pro-bowl level in Denver when Adam Gase and Manning was shattering all kinds of scoring records.

The Dolphins brought back one of my favorite TE’s too wear a Dolphins uniform when they signed Anthony Fasano who is one of the best blocking TE’s in the game but is near retirement thus his one year deal, they also brought in TE Julius Thomas who while in Denver with Adam Gase was a top TE in the game. His 4 years in Denver he scored 24 of his 36 career TD’s and nearly 1300 yards receiving that landed him a huge contract from Jacksonville that  did not pan out. So Miami traded for the disappointing TE from Jacksonville with the hopes that he would rekindle his good play under Gase while in Denver but some feared he was the player that Jacksonville was more than happy to part ways with and for the most part of the 2017 season he was a major disappointment looking more the the cast off from the Jags and not the players we all had hope he could return too under Adam Gase.

Well the off-season brought two diversely different TE’s to the team one noted for being a excellent blocker and the other more of a receiving threat and not a great blocker.

Anthony Fasano has been that steady blocking TE that has caught a few balls that helped sustained a drive or two and for the first half of the season Julius Thomas seemed to be a bust. Miami’s offense as a whole has been disappointing for most of the season.

But lately Miami’s offense is starting to look like they have a pulse and TE Julius Thomas is quietly having a very good past few weeks and is looking like he is finding his footing and can possibly survive  an off season purging and maybe is on his way back to one of the top receiving TE’s in the game.

Miami still needs to DRAT a young TE like Julius that is tall and can catch and hopefully block well enough when called upon to make a difference.

I also feel that TE MarQueis Gray who played well last season needs to be given more opportunities to compete for playing time.

Much like our RB’s the TE’s are good but not as good as they can be and I feel the draft is where the Dolphins needs to address this position and retain  Thomas and continue to develop Dray and the other TE’s like practice squad 2nd year player and draft pick Thomas Duarte needs to be pushed one way or the other. I am more into taller 6′-5″ TE’s than the 6′-2″ Duarte.

I expect the Dolphins to once again a year late draft a TE and hopefully it will be within the top 4 rounds as they passed up on some good potential last season in the draft.

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Falling Down The Draft Board!

Well my wish that the Dolphins were fortunate enough to have a top 10 draft spot is fading away and this season (that is lost) will end up being  a lose/lose situation and this team will once again find themselves drafting somewhere in the middle of the draft. Last week before the useless win against one of the worst teams in the NFL Miami was slotted 9th in the draft had it been held. Now they are 13th and can potentially fall further down the draft board.

I am very disappointed in this years Dolphins because they will eventually end up being  in the same boat that they have been in for the last 10 plus seasons and miss out on a potential “BLUE CHIP” player due to a  mediocre record of a sub .500 season and will draft at a spot where they were not good enough to make the playoffs but not bad enough to draft  in the top third of the draft where you can find the best of the best and mostly where you get the top college players who turn out to be top shelf NFL players.

What does that mean for Miami?

Well let’s just look at some of the names projected as top 10 picks in this years draft and I will also look back at the names Miami missed out on due to their consistently picking around 16 for the last decade plus.

This years potential top 10 picks (CBS Sports)

Past 10 years top 10 picks 

2017
1 Myles Garrett DE Texas A&M
2 Mitchell Trubisky QB North Carolina
3 Solomon Thomas DE Stanford
4 Leonard Fournette RB LSU
5 Corey Davis WR Western Michigan
6 Jamal Adams SAF LSU
7 Mike Williams WR Clemson
8 Christian McCaffrey RB Stanford
9 John Ross WR Washington
10 Patrick Mahomes QB Texas Tech
2016
1 Jared Goff QB California
2 Carson Wentz QB North Dakota State
3 Joey Bosa DE Ohio State
4 Ezekiel Elliott RB Ohio State
5 Jalen Ramsey CB Florida State
6 Ronnie Stanley T Notre Dame
7 DeForest Buckner DE Oregon
8 Jack Conklin T Michigan State
9 Leonard Floyd LB Georgia
10 Eli Apple CB Ohio State
2015
1 Jameis Winston QB Florida State
2 Marcus Mariota QB Oregon
3 Dante Fowler LB Florida
4 Amari Cooper WR Alabama
5 Brandon Scherff T Iowa
6 Leonard Williams DT USC
7 Kevin White WR West Virginia
8 Vic Beasley LB Clemson
9 Ereck Flowers T Miami (Fla.)
10 Todd Gurley RB Georgia
2014
1 Jadeveon Clowney DE South Carolina
2 Greg Robinson T Auburn
3 Blake Bortles QB Central Florida
4 Sammy Watkins WR Clemson
5 Khalil Mack OLB Buffalo
6 Jake Matthews T Texas A&M
7 Mike Evans WR Texas A&M
8 Justin Gilbert CB Oklahoma State
9 Anthony Barr OLB UCLA
10 Eric Ebron TE North Carolina
2013
1 Eric Fisher OT Central Michigan
2 Luke Joeckel OT Texas A&M
3 Dion Jordan DE Oregon
4 Lane Johnson OT Oklahoma
5 Ezekiel Ansah DE Brigham Young
6 Barkevious Mingo OLB LSU
7 Jonathan Cooper OG North Carolina
8 Tavon Austin WR West Virginia
9 Dee Milliner CB Alabama
10 Chance Warmack OG Alabama
2012
1 Andrew Luck QB Stanford
2 Robert Griffin QB Baylor
3 Trent Richardson RB Alabama
4 Matt Kalil T USC
5 Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma State
6 Morris Claiborne CB LSU
7 Mark Barron DB Alabama
8 Ryan Tannehill QB Texas A&M
9 Luke Kuechly LB Boston College
10 Stephon Gilmore CB South Carolina
2011
1 Cam Newton QB Auburn
2 Von Miller LB Texas A&M
3 Marcell Dareus DT Alabama
4 A.J. Green WR Georgia
5 Patrick Peterson DB LSU
6 Julio Jones WR Alabama
7 Aldon Smith LB Missouri
8 Jake Locker QB Washington
9 Tyron Smith T USC
10 Blaine Gabbert QB Missouri
2010
1 Sam Bradford QB Oklahoma
2 Ndamukong Suh DT Nebraska
3 Gerald McCoy DT Oklahoma
4 Trent Williams T Oklahoma
5 Eric Berry SS Tennessee
6 Russell Okung T Oklahoma State
7 Joe Haden CB Florida
8 Rolando McClain MLB Alabama
9 C.J. Spiller RB Clemson
10 Tyson Alualu DT California
2009
1 Matthew Stafford QB Georgia
2 Jason Smith T Baylor
3 Tyson Jackson DE Louisiana State
4 Aaron Curry LB Wake Forest
5 Mark Sanchez QB USC
6 Andre Smith T Alabama
7 Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Maryland
8 Eugene Monroe T Virginia
9 B.J. Raji NT Boston College
10 Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech
2008
1 Jake Long T Michigan
2 Chris Long DE Virginia
3 Matt Ryan QB Boston College
4 Darren McFadden RB Arkansas
5 Glenn Dorsey DT Louisiana State
6 Vernon Gholston LB Ohio State
7 Sedrick Ellis DT USC
8 Derrick Harvey DE Florida
9 Keith Rivers OLB USC
10 Jerod Mayo ILB Tennessee

Now I know that there is never any guarantee that any player will make it on the next level as many factors actually play into the success and failures of these college players and one factor is the teams drafting the players and their ability to develop the players as well as the player being committed to doing their part in their development as well as how good the coaching  staff is.

But most BLUE CHIP players are drafted in the top 10 because there are usually only a few players that are that good each year,  players that are talented enough and ready to step on the field day one and make progress or within a year or two.

I see plenty of names I would have loved for Miami to have been in a position to draft had they been in a position to and not where they have been and where they once again are headed this next draft.

I would rather Miami be HOT or Cold because lukewarm is never a good place to be.


Adam Gase Playing Checkers?

I was so excited when the Dolphins hired Adam Gase after he turned the corner in his first season as Miami’s head coach. I felt it was just a matter of time before the Dolphins would push the Patriots and head coach Bill Blelchick to the limit. I wrote an article entitled The Chess Master

I acknowledged: Bill Belichick is a Grand-master (and that) when it is all said and done Bill Belichick most likely will be considered one of the greatest coaches of all time if not the greatest. (He will Never surpass Don Shula in my mind NEVER!)

I strongly believed that or wiz kid Coach would devise a scheme and game plan that would seriously challenge the great “Grand-master Bill Belichick ” but to date Miami has been not only beaten by New England but BLOWN OUT the last three times they have played the Patriots.

Coach Gase used the analogy of playing chess as to why he likes to call the plays during the game and so far has refused to give up that duty.

The problem is that Gase is not playing Chess in fact he just might lose big-time playing checkers against the GOAT from New England. To put it succinctly Adam Gase is playing Checkers while Bill Belichick is playing not just Chess but at the highest level one can play the game.

Want proof?

How’s this for proof:

Adam Gase first matched wits against New England in a game up in New England Sunday Sep 18, 2016 that started off looking like  a complete blow out as Miami went into the half down 24-3 but Miami did a decent job in the 2nd half but fell short 31-24 leaving some of us with hopes of possibly splitting the season especially when you consider that Miami (under young first year wanna be chess Master Adam Gase) broke off a win streak starting week 6 of the 2016 season that had me thinking playoffs and beyond.

Miami; prior to playing their second game against New England in 2016 had won 9 of their last 10 games but lost Ryan Tannehill 3 weeks before they played New England at home in Miami.

So I am sure Adam Gase felt good about his chances despite not having Ryan Tannehill as his Quarterback. Less he forgot he was going up against the chess master who is just as adept at beating you in your own backyard.

Sure enough the Grand Master put a whipping on the young wannabe and the irony of it all is that score of 35-14 (a beat down) is basically the same whipping they have served our Dolphins earlier this season 35-17. So New England has averaged 33.6 points per game to Miami’s 18.

So we come to this Monday night and our young checker playing head coach will once again face the Grand Master and all we can hope for is that Adam Gase will bring the right pieces to the game and not the ones that are RED & Black!

We shall see Monday Night!


Putting On My VP/GM Hat Part IV RB’s

I don’t spend a lot of time on my ability as your Dolphin Seer but this time I’m going to toot my own horn. I wrote an article a little over a year ago after watching Kenyan Drake run the football and I made the comment in that article ( here ) that Kenyan Drake might be the best running back on our team because what I had seen from him is what you see from the best running backs in the league throughout time. Backs that can run fast catch the ball adequately and make people miss as well as have the body and size to run over people if needed and even though I think Drake  needs to add a few more pounds of muscle in the off season, I feel in the short window of time that he’s played he’s shown enough to be our feature running back going forward.

For the life of me I don’t understand why Adam Gase has this Infinity for Damien Williams and gave him the opportunity to prove his worth ahead of the more talented Drake, no knock on Damien because I think he is a very hard-working player well-liked by the coach but anybody with eyes can see that Kenyan Drake is a better running back.

I went out on the limb and over a year ago and said (even with Jay Ajayi on the team) Kenyan Drake was the best running back we had on the team, fast forward to this season when just about halfway through the 2017 season Adam Gase  gave up on Jay Ajayi.  Many disagreed with  the decision to trade Ajayi, I just questioned the timing more so than the trade itself and the compensation seemed a bit low.

I was also excited for Kenyan Drake and I really thought that Adam Gase would immediately put Drake in as our starter but that did not happen, he put Damien Williams in. Williams did not prove to be the better than Kenyan Drake, in fact Damien Williams had fewer yards per carry and got injured during his short stint as a starter he just don’t seem to have a size and a body makeup to me to be our featured RB.

On the other hand the short window of time that we’ve had Kenyan Drake running the ball as our starter he has exploded off the ball made 3 long runs and has two touchdowns (two more than Jay AJayi had as Miami’s starting back)  and I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’ve been paying attention to him when he’s in there blocking and the kid does a very good job of blocking, picking up blitzing linebackers.

I can only see Kenyan Drake improving and getting better as he gets bigger and stronger through off season development and as long as he can maintain his speed and in addition stay healthy, he should be our top RB and he was drafted in the third round by this regime for a reason.

With the ball in Kenyan Drake’s hands figuratively and literally the Dolphins running game has been stout  and now it’s up to him to not let it slip out of his hands  (pun intended) because the only knock on him so far is the couple fumbles that he’s had this season. As long as he can clean that up and continue to get stronger we have our future starting running back  already on board and now it’s just a matter of adding more running backs both through the draft and through free agency as well as undrafted free agents whatever they need to bring in to compete for  playing time.

The bar is set with Kenyan Drake as our starter and the RB position appears to be not as great a need as some my have thought when Ajayi was traded as Kenyan Drake has stepped in a big way and is truly better suited as an all around running back and the best news of all is if you follow Drake’s history he has less wear and tear on his body as he was always playing a backup role from his college days at Alabama so he has a lot of miles to burn .

Miami’s RB situation is not as good as the receivers but  it is not as bad as once though with the emergence of Kenyan Drake….one more thing…is it me or does Kenyan Drake look a little like a young Bo Jackson?


Putting On My VP/GM Hat Part III: WR’s

Miami have some young talented wide receivers that should have been the focal point of an offensive passing attacking system from day one of Adam Gase’s tenure. That is why they have failed to establish an offensive identity this year and wasted their time trying to be something they are not built to be a power run team. They do not have the personnel for it.

Adam Gaes late in the 2017 season acknowledged that fact after he jettisoned the power run game by trading away Jay Ajayi. So they basically wasted the season not attacking with the passing game and the chemistry between Jay Cutler and our young receivers never really happened and they struggled to even throw the ball down field.

Now we go into the off-season having to address our best receivers’ contract that they have struggled to come up with the right offer last year, and if they are not careful will lose the best slot receiver in the game.

Jarvis Landry needs to get paid! He has been the heart and soul of this offense and he truly deserves a fair contract. I for one would hate to lose Jarvis and all that he brings to the table.

The Dolphins have spent this past off-season propping up DeVante Parker as the next best WR in the NFL and he does have the skills but what separates him from say Jarvis who is not as blessed athletically is HEART! If Parker had Jarvis’s heart he would be the best WR in the game! Miami needs to look at bringing in a similar WR to compete with Parker or even think about trading him for a draft pick and look for his replacement.

Kenny Stills is a baller! Too bad they failed to connect or even attempt the amount of down field plays that should be thrown his way multiple times a game (at least 4 times) Kenny is the best complement to Jarvis because he posses the one thing Jarvis lacks SPEED!

I actually love the receivers we have and despite the failures we’ve had this year I would bring them all back and add more competition to challenge any of them for playing time including some of the receivers who currently on the roster that are not starters.

Miami is set at the starting receiver spot and really don’t need to do much but Grant, Carroo and the others can be replaced with better talent IMO.

Miami have so many needs that if they had to they could leave the receivers alone this off-season (Still need to take care of Landry) and address more pressing needs.


Putting On My VP/GM Hat Part II: The Quarterbacks

Miami has never done this right IMO and now it’s time to do it my way! I have never been a fan of Matt Moore and if you search him up in our search engine you will see that I have expressed this opinion for just about every article I have written about Matt Moore I think I did once give him praise after he came in and replaced an injured Ryan Tannehill last year.

My reason for my lack of support for Matt Moore goes back for years and hopefully has been exposed this year and if I had my way he will no longer be on the roster after this season.

The problem Matt Moore creates are twofold, he is what I term FOOLS GOLD in that many believe this guy is starter material when he actually is nothing more than an average backup QB. Matt Moore does great at impromptu play that’s when he comes in off the bench in an emergency and lights it up but when he is scheduled to start and gets full practice in and in particular against the better teams in the league he lays an egg. He is a turnover machine, undisciplined and is really hurting Miami’s QB situation and has for some time.

Matt Moore has accepted his role as a backup QB and in that role he has no desire to actually push for the starting job and why not he has made a killing holding that clipboard and having fun in the Quarterback room. It’s time to move on!

Miami needs to have a true legitimate Quarterback competition going forward and Matt Moore is not that guy who wants that job. We need Quarterbacks who wants the starting Job and is not settled in on that backup role.  We need Ryan Tannehill to feel the heat and that his job is no longer guaranteed starting next season. Can that be by dumping Matt Moore and retaining Jay Cutler or some other veteran QB  (maybe Kaperknick?) to come in and push Ryan for the starting job? That is what I would do….but that is not all.

I would draft a QB in 2018 that will also be given the goal of competing with both Ryan (and who ever) for the starting job and may the best man win! That means I would draft a QB high in this years draft within the first 3 rounds even possibly with our first pick if we can get a top pick.

Problem solved as Ryan will no longer have the ease of knowing Matt Moore is his backup but he has legitimate competition for the starting Quarterback position at every level from here on out and that will allow Miami to decide  the future of the Quarterback position based off of real competition.


Putting On My VP/GM Hat Part l: Looking at Coaching Staff

TIME TO GO TO WORK!

After a setback season Miami needs to make changes from coaches to players and I have officially put on my GM hard-hat to give the Dolphins management the blue print to success moving forward. I will start with Coaching and what I have read between the lines coupled with my use of my highly perceptive skills (I am The Dolphin Seer) to call for some heads to roll.

No I am not on the “fire Adam Gase” bandwagon despite the setbacks he faced this season,  I think he will turn out to be a good coach, he just needs more time to develop and build the team and players he needs that will bring him success. Miami needs to allow Adam more than the usual 2-3 years to build this team into a true contender and continuity is something this team has failed miserably on over the years so overreacting is not the answer as we are dealing with a young first time head coach that needs support rather than abandonment.

With that being said I do feel that Adam Gase needs to relinquish his play calling duties and get involved in having his fingers in every aspect of his coaching staff to make sure things are being done to his standards. In fact the most read article written this past season was the article “Is it Time For Adam Gase to Fire Adam Gase?” Apparently I am not alone with that thought.

Clyde Christensen should be allowed to do more and call the plays, he is an experienced offensive coach of over 22 years having coached just about every position on offense and he is by far the most enjoyable to listen to when assessing the team. ( See Bio Click More)

I doubt Adam will give up the play calling duties but maybe that’s where upper management needs to convince him that it would be in the best interest of the team that he gets more involved in the big pitcher involving his coaching staff and learn to trust Clyde Christensen to call the plays. Clyde seems to have a better temperament for the job IMO.

Adam Gase complained about his receivers not knowing their assignments his RB’s also not studying enough and his offensive line was setback with the incident involving Chris Foerster and his drug issues.  To me that says the coaches who are coaching the players have also failed to get the point across to their individual players they are assigned to coach and I would question the RB’s coach Danny Barrett, WR’s Coach Shawn Jefferson as well as look for another offensive line coach and to me the team should spare no expense in acquiring coaches the best they can get.

On Defesne they started off the season looking like the strength of the team and having fixed the issues they faced last season vs. the run with some expected growing pains against the pass with two young CB’s starting. First time DC Matt Burke was looking like a genius and the Defense started off strong.

Unfortunately due to the surprisingly anemic offense they ended up playing a lot of downs per game early on and as the offense continued to struggled the defense wore down too. The biggest issue Miami face on defense is the age of the starters and infusing young talented players on this unit to help in rotation as they learn to play pro football. That is why I was so disappointed with the first draft two seasons ago by this current regime where I felt they should have drafted heavily on the defensive side of the ball but it was more on offense and now we need to spend this year’s draft focusing once again on drafting young defensive players to come in and compete for playing time.

I have no concerns when it comes with the defensive coaches but I would have preferred that Adam would have sought out a veteran DC  instead of promoting Matt Burke but now that Burke has been appointed I feel he will eventually develop along with Adam into good coaches as they put together the players they need to succeed.

This will be a multi-part series of articles on how I would address this teams issues moving forward and I will follow up with the players next starting at the QB position.