The Miami Dolphins Need A True Number One Receiver, (at the least)!

With or without Mike Wallace?

In the case that the 6 foot, 200 pound, 4.33 forty running Mike Wallace is to be discarded?
There are a few speedster types of note in the pending free agency period that will be covered after this weeks combine. Their names are Jeremy Maclin, Kenny Britt, and the likely unattainable Randall Cobb who like Jarvis Landry is a thriving slot receiver that is also a highly capable number two, outside receiver option.

Here are a few DRAFT COMBINE participating, second or third round projected speedsters that would perfectly fill the potentially voided speed of Mike Wallace. While none are of the One Trick Pony variety,(Nor is Mike Wallace anymore). However. A far cheaper draft version could very possibly be just around the bend.

3) Sammie Coates 6 - 2, 213 Auburn Tiger Jr. is this years chiseled freak that will shock and awe onlookers. He's big & tall yet clocks-in as the drafts third fastest prospect overall at 4.36. Coates is a raw, yet strong talent with blazing speed, he will test great which hasn't quite transferred to the field at the same extent. His production has been decent, but could be great with better execution of patterns, mental fortitude, and a dabb'a'stick'em.

2) Phillip Dorsett 5 - 10, 183 Miami Hurricane Sr. is this drafts fastest player at 4.32. He is a Miami native with good to great all around receiver skills, work ethics, morals, and character. (See Devin Smith). Though trailing Smith to the End Zone by a score of 30 to 17, and 300 or so yards at the college level. Dorsett is a slightly smaller, slightly faster, more explosive, exact replica from the two, or three spot to an opposing defenses coverage nightmare.

1) Devin Smith 6 - 0, 190 Ohio State Buckeye Sr. runs a 4.38 forty and is quick to get open at the line of scrimmage. As well. (Though his routes need tweaking), his feet and hips offer a serious wiggle to quickly create space on short to intermediate patterns. This ability to create instant separation eventually leads to him blowing a defender out of his shoes with his outright over the top speed. He can score from anywhere on the field, and covering him requires an equally fleet of foot defender, or their damn sure better be a safety over the top.

All three of the above have professed to be shooting for a sub 4.3 forty this weekend.


With or without Mike Wallace!

In either case for The Miami Dolphins. A true number one receiver needs to be of the tall, big, strong, fast, athletic, smart, do'it'all variety. A player with a distinction of ultimate importance that the opposition has to game plan against with multiple defenders on every play. A guy that can be a threat at all levels of the field while opening zones for the single coverage drawing, primary targets in Miami's offensive scheme.

This six foot three-plus, two hundred and ten-plus pound man of men would be defensively identified as Miami's Number One Receiver. This doesn't mean that he would necessarily be the Dolphins receptions leader, just that he can be a highly productive threat at all levels. Such a bulls-eye would also be the one to draw double and triple coverage away from the preferred zones of Jarvis Landry, or a Mike Wallace and/or his potential replacement of a similarly proficient skill set.

Mike Wallace is a true number two receiver with blazing speed being his most important to Miami asset. Jarvis Landry is likely to be the Dolphins receptions leader for as long as Miami can hold onto him as their number three slot receiver while he also has the ability to be productive at the outside number two spot. Both Landry, and a Wallace type player are the perfect complements to a True Number One Receiver, and Vice-Versa. To have all three and/or a facsimile of would offer quite the dilemma for an opposing defense. Let-Alone a productive Tight End, and Running Back already being in the mix.

In a league of thirty two teams, twenty of the participants Number One Receivers are at least 6 - 3 while carrying a minimum weight of 210 pounds. In the case of those 20 receivers, they are also their teams most productive receivers, and most are stars of the league. A few teams number one, and number two receivers are both at, if not towering above the 75 inch barometer. Every remaining team (other than a couple along with Miami) has at least one of these statuesque receivers on their active game day roster.

Proof in the pudding that the Dolphins are aware of this BIG need lay in the fact that somewhere along the way since his release on October 9th, 2014 from Dallas. The Dolphins signed a 2012 un-drafted free agent receiver LaRon Byrd who happens to be 6 - 4 while carrying 220 pounds. On December 16th, 2014, Miami signed another big guy of 6 - 3, 220, a first year player by the name of Gerrell Robinson. Byrd has spent a moment or two with four organizations previous to Miami while the Dolphins are Robinson's third chance. Neither player has yet to do anything at the NFL level, so it's not likely that either are the immediate answer to Miami's extreme need of a true number one wide receiver. However. They are proof that the Dolphins understand that a big, tall, productive receiver is a necessity to land in the cards yet to be dealt. Other than the above two, only the relevant Brian Hartline at 6 - 2, 200 pounds is taller than six foot, and he too may become a cap casualty along with Mike Wallace this year. As well, the latter's linguist Brandon Gibson might also be on the cap chopping block.

As of this moment (previous to a flurry of league wide cap casualties). The upcoming 2015 free agency period which opens on (March 10th) doesn't offer a scheduled to be, attainable Number One Receiver option of suggested minimum height, weight, and skill-set parameters. The only legit men of such is in Denver's Demaryius Thomas, and The Cowboys Dez Bryant who are far more than likely to be franchised before being allowed to hit the open market. Meanwhile, Miami couldn't afford them to begin with. Therefore, the Dolphins may need to pursue such a disruptive number one force versus the opposition with the first rounds fourteenth pick of the draft.

More extensive analysis of these and other positional prospects will be covered as the draft approaches, but this is Combine week, a Defibrillator of sorts intended to keep the heart pumping until the start of Free Agency, and/or until day one of the end of Aprils draft.

Here are a desired handful of the 2015 drafts first and second round, Big, Tall, Potentially True Number One Receiver Prospects. Guy's that will be showing-off their stuff starting upon Tuesday's NFL Combine. Let us see just how Big, Tall, Strong, Fast, Athletic, Agile, and Smart they really are at this years ""Under-Wear Olympics.""

7) Devin Funchess 6 - 5, 230 Michigan Wolverine Jr. was a Tight End until the 2014 season when he moved to receiver. His collegiate forty time was 4.63 which is somewhat fast for a tight end, but reasonably slow for a receiver. He is too light to block as a three down tight end, while being quite the receiving threat out of the Tight end position. With his height, and weight out of the receiver position, he may be a nightmare match up, if he proves to be strong, athletically agile, and a bit faster at his combine. Lucky Seven, A serious multi-positional red zone threat, if nothing else.

6) Jaelen Strong 6 - 3, 215, 4.55 Arizona State Sun Devil Jr. is a guy that is strong in both the lower body and hands, a receiver who fights hard for possession and yardage. A big, tall, long armed, skilled leaper that catches most everything. He's not particularly quick, or fast, and doesn't consistently create great separation, but he is a smartly skilled route runner that knows how to get himself between the defender and quarterback, while attacking the ball in traffic comes from his competitive nature. Said his Offensive Coordinator Mike Norvell. "Jaelen Strong is probably one of the sharpest receivers I've been around, he understands concepts. He understands his role of not only trying to get himself open, but how he might be pulling two people to open up somebody else."

5) Breshad Perriman 6 - 3, 214, 4.52 Central Florida Knights. Unlike Jaelan Strong, and despite a far inferior route running technique, this guy quickly creates space on every pattern. He's more quick than fast (especially for a big receiver), he can stop on a dime and be back to full speed with his first step. Another receiver of great athleticism, leaping ability, body control, and wingspan that can go to the house on every play. He is also strong, and a willing blocker. It'll be interesting to see if he can improve upon his overall forty time speed, as he's proven to be plenty quick. With a cleanup of his pattern preciseness, hand/eye coordination, and mental focus on receptions, Breshad Perriman could be that coveted Number One Receiver.

4) Dorial Green Beckham 6 - 5, 225, 4.49 Oklahoma Sooner Jr. has had a set back or two of his own doing, and may not be on the Dolphins draft board because of it. He didn't play ball in 2014 due to transfer restrictions. However. He is every bit as talented, (if not more-so) than this entire bunch, and a personal favorite if he were to (take an unlikely) fall to Miami's second round pick. Green-Beckham is the subject of this receiver classes best height to weight to speed ratio. An NFL Star if his fingers are sticky on game day only.

3) Amari Cooper 6 -1, 210 Alabama Crimson Tide Jr. doesn't meet the sought after altitude, but he is this drafts top rated receiver as a Heisman Trophy runner up with the potential to be an NFL number one. He will start at one or another receiver position on opening day. While not quite up to the height line for this particular ride, he is also one of the slowest (according to the clock) of these Miami hopefuls, but he plays fast. His height nor collegiate 4.52 speed hasn't hindered his production thus-far due to motherly motivations toward him being the best ever as a hard working technical aficionado with exemplary character traits.

2) Devante Parker 6 - 3, 209, 4.48 Louisville Cardinal Sr. is an extremely competitive, highly focused, explosive play-maker that aggressively stalks possession with great agility, hands and range in a spectacular fashion. His quickness, and preciseness in routes could be easily perfected with some minor coaching instructions. He plays far better in competition than he will test. Devante Parker's only real question mark is his strength, and he has become stronger each of the last two seasons which will be put on display this coming weekend.

1) Kevin White 6 - 3, 210, 4.49 West Virginia Mountaineer Sr. with a similar to Parker aggressively competitive, focused desire. Kevin also has great hands, leaping ability, bodily agility, and large reception radius. However. White is currently a more precisely skilled route runner with a slightly better ability to create separation at all level's of the field. He is technically refined in most every route of which he runs a larger variety, quicker into his breaks, sharper out of them, can stop on a dime, is stronger from start to finish, and runs with more power after the catch. Though he still has work to do,(for the most part) Kevin White is ready to be an NFL True Number One Receiver upon the day of his signing.



The 2015 NFL Draft Combine.
Tuesday February 17th thru Thursday covers the specifics of every prospect.

Combine Schedule of on-field workouts Televised via NFL Network:
Friday, Feb. 20: Specialists, offensive linemen, tight ends
Saturday, Feb. 21: Quarterbacks, running backs wide receivers
Sunday: Feb. 22: Defensive linemen, linebackers
Monday, Feb. 23: Defensive backs


Thank You for an Open Minded read, and we look forward to your angle of view on all mentioned or not mentioned combine participants : )) !!

GOFINS!!!

To Keep, or Not to Keep?

Ladies and Gentlemen. We bring you deep passages from the memoirs of Tony Nicoletti.


I noticed that there was some discussion after my last blog, (Fear Not Dolphin Fans. The Miami Dolphins Will Rise Again!) regarding all the quality players that Joe Philbin has let go of, during his first few years with the Miami Dolphins. While none of us necessarily agree with all the moves that were made, you do have to give him credit for being decisive and holding to a specific vision of what he is trying to accomplish in Miami.

Who's to to say that Joe Philbins, (previous GM, Jeff Ireland) or current GM Dennis Hickey's personnel decisions were bad moves. Especially, those that involved players who were a cancer to the team. Being the new head coach with the Dolphins, Joe Philbin inherited a bunch of leftovers from the, "Tony Sparano" era in 2012. The wholesale housecleaning was going to have to be done sooner or later. Fortunately, it happened sooner.

A change of scenery can be a wake up call for marginal players and some of them wisely, got their act together for their new ball clubs. Their new Coaches/GM's knew of what kind of baggage they were getting with these players. It was already determined that their skill set is needed and welcomed, despite some of their negative traits. However, specific ground rules and incentives are put in place to encourage these players to make the best of their new opportunity, thus taking some of the gamble out of recruiting them. And many of these players also came to realize that this is or may be their last chance and if they screw up they could very will be out of the NFL, altogether. That is why it is not uncommon for these players to prosper with their new team.

We all know that there will always be, "divas" and, "me first" type players in the game. It's part of their competitive nature. I believe the better coaches find ways to incorporate these talented yet, troublesome players into their game plan. They have the ability to determine if the gifts, talents and upside these players bring to the table are worth being patient and working around their eccentricities.

Trouble makers, questionable character on and off the field and all the things that undermine and detract from the goals that a coach is trying to establish with his team, can not be tolerated. And unfortunately, when a coach first takes over a franchise, these are things that he has to assess and weed out quickly. In many instances, he doesn't have the time to sit down with each and every player to make that determination. Especially during the off season when he is trying to familiarize himself with his new surroundings, assemble a coaching staff and get every one on the same page. And then there is the fact that they may have as many as 90+ players at some point, all trying out for the team.

An astute coach can ascertain whether divas are for real or just full of themselves. If they are being selfish in their demands to be a bigger part of the game plan or if there is a possibility they really can contribute more, (if given the chance). They can also tell if it is frustration that causes a player to complain and act out in ways that are unbecoming to a team, and when it is necessary to discipline them or just let them blow off some steam.

Case in point: Mike Wallace.

He is not so much the diva that many top wide receivers are. He tries to put on airs that he is a team player. He has a good work ethic and no, "off the field" issues. He hasn't been as spectacular catching the deep ball as he was with the Steelers. (Catching only about 25% of the long passes that were thrown his way last season). He is not known for being a receiver that will go up and fight for the ball. (Although in 2014, he has shown that he is willing to be aggressive and fight for extra yardage after the catch). It's not certain what really took place in that final game when he was benched in the second half because he supposedly, quit on the team.

To Wallace's credit, he's been successful in his new role and has contributed greatly to this offense. He has demonstrated a willingness to adapt and has proven that he is not just a one trick pony, only capable of using his speed to get down the field to catch balls. But is his performance worth all those millions? His production certainly cannot easily be replaced, on the cheap. And Miami does need to recoup some cap space to bring in some free agent help. (Which makes him a potential target, being the highest paid player on the Dolphin roster). Of course, all of this may be a moot issue if Joe Philbin decides to let him go because of his disenchantment with how he is being utilized and occasional complaints to that end.

If Philbin and Hickey decide not to keep him, a trade is not likely to happen since his contract will come at too high a price for even the most desperate of teams to pick up. Chances are, Miami would wind up having to eat a big chunk of change and dead cap money if they let him go. But one has to wonder if he, (and players like Jared Odrick, who has also let his feelings be known as well) will be on the roster this season.

But as coach Philbin's tenure moves forward and hopefully, draws closer to molding the team into what he feels will be a competitive ball club, an occasion may arise where he has to make a tough decision on a difficult player, again. To summarily dismiss good, talented players is a waste of resources. Especially with a seasoned coach. It's one thing to draw the line and set an example for the rest of the team as to what will be acceptable behavior. But over time, these problems should diminish as the front office, coaching staff and players become better aware of what type of personnel and atmosphere he is trying to cultivate. I would like to think a coach should evolve enough to learn from his past mistakes with the many players that have come and gone.

It's easy in hindsight, to say that Philbin never should have let go of this or that player because they are now model citizens with their new team and/or went on to become great players. We should actually be happy for these reformed players. I mean, isn't it better to know that the players that were given a chance on the Dolphin roster at any given time, did have the potential to eventually play for another franchise? What would it say about the Dolphin recruiting department if a majority of it's choices were found to be unsuitable and could not make it in the NFL at all?

Selecting football players is a crap shoot. Sometimes a team has to sift through some crap to find a jewel and this Miami Dolphin's front office and coaching staff have uncovered a number of gems over the years. Players that do not necessarily fit the typical physical tangibles that are usually associated with a given position. They may lack size or speed but their willingness to work hard, study and prepare, more than compensates for any deficiencies they may have. (Charles Clay comes to mind). He is not the big bodied Tight End target that all coaches covet, but still manages to win his match ups and when healthy, is a defensive coordinators nightmare.

The Dolphins are not opposed to beating the bushes to find players through unconventional means. Cameron Wake, whom we acquired from the CFL is one such example. We have several players from small, obscure colleges that have shown tremendous promise and upside. Like Walt Aikens and Terrence Fede. And let's not forget the injured players that came to the Dolphins whom have become important fixtures on this team. We took a chance on Brent Grimes who was recovering from a serious injury, and on an injury prone Brandon Albert. Both of them are excellent players. (Hopefully, Albert will be again, after his return from major knee surgery).

So you see, Coaches and General Managers are constantly taking chances and gambling with players. Forever searching for the right personnel to fit their schemes, attitude and team identity. Every franchise has allowed a fair share of talented players to slip through their grasp. It is futile for head coaches and general managers to lament and second guess their decisions when they let these players go. All they can do is learn form their experiences, forge ahead and continue their quest to build the best roster they can. It's the nature of the game and how dynasties are made.

As fans, we don't get to see what is actually going on behind closed doors. We only see players come and go. Some of whom, do well with other teams. (Which can be a little puzzling and disconcerting). Rest assured, there are reasons why teams lets go of what appear to be, "good players".

There are instances where some teams have no choice. Cap space limitations or positions that they are well stocked in, force them to release these surplus players so they can free up roster and cap space to pursue other players that they need. Perhaps a new coach or coaching staff has been brought in with a different system which may require them to cut players that do not fit or cannot adapt to these new systems and schemes. It doesn't always mean that these free agents are flawed in some way and unworthy of a roster spot with their previous team.. You need to make room to bring in and develop new players. Sometimes it means getting rid of decent players, as well.

As I write this blog today, I am relieved to see an article claiming that Mike Wallace has been able to sit down with Dennis Hickey to discuss his future with the team. I'm glad that they are trying to work out their differences. I also saw a story about Jared Odrick. The Dolphins have approached him to negotiate a new contract to avoid losing him to free agency.

Could it be that Joe Philbin has finally reached the point in his coaching career with the Dolphins, where he is able and willing to deal with outspoken, problematic players instead of arbitrarily sending them down the road? It's about time.This is definitely a step in the right direction. I'm hoping the Miami Dolphins are able free up the cap space to secure the free agent/draft picks they need to make a push for the playoffs in 2015.

Only then can the question be answered: To Keep, or Not to Keep. Lets hope Joe Philbin and company are keepers!

Go Dolphins!

Fear Not Dolphin Fans. The Miami Dolphins Will Rise Again!

Another Fine Piece Thanks To Tony Nicoletti!


All this talk of mediocrity. About how the Dolphins are doomed, and not going anywhere. That they don't have the cap space to buy what they need in free agency. (Much less the draft positioning to get the impact players that will help them reach the playoffs). To all the naysayers out there I say....nonsense!

These Dolphins are in better position to make a push for the playoffs than they have been in 6 years. Yes, they need to recoup cap space by eliminating some of the dead weight. (But doesn't every team have that problem each year)? Dennis Hickey has done a good job with some of his free agency and draft picks. A second year will only get this franchise closer to building a team that will fit what Joe Philbin and company, are trying to field in Miami.

Bringing Mike Tannenbaum on board, (who some claim was instrumental in the Jets having back to back playoff seasons) should benefit this club as he will be able to offer his insight and expertise. Dawn Apointe has been shrewdly and successfully handling the contract negotiations for a number of years in Miami. With their help, Hickey should be able to procure the right personnel to guarantee this Dolphins team is playoff bound. It's a make or break season so everyone is going to have to work in concert to that end.

Miami has a 1,000 yard running back, (Lamar Miller) who's average yardage per attempt helped Miami become the second highest in the league. with a 4.7 yards per running attempt. Not bad when you consider Miami was predominantly a passing team. Miller was also running solo, without a lot of help from a, "change of pace" running back to spell him. And while the offensive line started to go downhill in week 9 when Branden Albert sustained a season ending injury, (allowing 46 sacks) they still managed to do enough to open up some running lanes.

The Dolphins had 3 players in the Pro Bowl. Cameron Wake, Brent Grimes and Mike Pouncey. All of which are healthy and will be back for 2015. There are a host of other players on this roster that could easily be starters for any team in the NFL. There were also some surprise first and second year players that showed considerable promise and upside for the coming year.

Unlike the beginning of the 2014 season Miami will not have to devote most of their resources to the entire offensive line. A starting guard or two and depth is all that is needed. Albert is ahead of schedule with his recovery and barring any unforeseen setbacks, could be available by the start of the first regular season game. The Dolphin offensive line was trending upward before Albert's injury. If Miami finds a serviceable guard and allows everyone to shuffle back to their regular positions, there is no telling how good their running and passing game will be.

This Dolphin team had a top 5 defense for three quarters of the season, before injuries and fatigue set in. Getting a few players healthy and a couple of key acquisitions will help shore up that side of the ball and make this team stingier in 2015. A run stuffing Linebacker, ball hawking Corner Back and Safety will certainly further their cause. The Dolphins could also use a big bodied Nose Tackle to draw double teams so the pass rushing duo of Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon can do their thing. And would someone please find a way to successfully integrate Dion Jordan's unique skill set into the lineup.

The Dolphins have the highest price group of receivers in the NFL with a diverse mix of talent. If Miami trims the fat and brings in a big red zone target and/or a speedy receiver, our success inside the 20 and on third down conversions will improve. With better pass protection Ryan Tannehill might have enough time to let plays develop down field so he can finally start connecting on his deep passes. It showed signs of coming around near the end of the season. (Though he fell victim to several dropped balls that should have been caught).

Speaking of which, the biggest reason Miami will fare better in 2015 comes from the fact that they have resolved a problem that has plagued them for more than 15 years. They finally have a quarterback they can build an offense around. I know plenty of you will scoff at the idea that Ryan Tannehill could be a franchise quarterback. Many of you think he is at best, average and that there are other quarterbacks, (especially from his 2012 draft class) that are better. I'll admit, there are other young quarterbacks that have actually brought their teams to the playoffs and have won more games. But all of them are with teams that have had more tools and talent than Ryan has had to work with.

I won't bore you will all the statistics that show just how much Tannehill has progressed in his third year. He was only 64 yards away from breaking into the top ten quarterbacks last season. And who was just ahead of him in total passing yards? The quarterback that won the Super Bowl, Tom Brady. The only signal caller that came from the 2012 quarterback draft bonanza that made the top 10 list was Andrew Luck, and (the last time Miami played the Indianapolis Colts, they beat them). Only the Detroit Lion's Mathew Stafford has been sack nearly as many times as Ryan Tannehill. (45 Sacks versus 46). All the other top 10 quarterbacks were sacked at least, 10 fewer times than Tannehill.

The fact is, I don't think you will find another quarterback that has been sacked more than Ryan Tannehill over the last two seasons. Yet, he managed to throw for more than 4,000 yards, with a completion percentage that only 3 quarterbacks in the top 10 list surpassed. That is one tough, accurate passer that performs well under pressure. He also happened to be the 5th best rushing quarterback, too. This makes him a dual threat with athletic skills that few field generals can match.

And when you think about it, Tannehill's total passing yardage were a bit skewed as he didn't really start to show much improvement until the fourth game of the season against the Oakland Raiders. (A game where he was well on his way to 300 yards passing, were it not for Joe Philbin wisely pulling him out when the win was secured). There were also a couple of other contests where he wound up coasting late in the game because they had built up an insurmountable lead. (A Miami Dolphin team that runs the score up on it's opponent)?

After being with the same Offensive Coordinator/Coach for 5 years, it only took the preseason, and 3 regular season games for Ryan to start getting comfortable with the new offensive that Bill Lazor installed. That tells you how intelligent he is and how willing he was to work harder to make this new system productive. You have to believe that a second year under Lazor's tutelage is where Ryan Tannehill is really going to make the biggest strides in all facets of his game.

2014 was a, "getting acquainted" season for Bill Lazor and the Miami Dolphin players. Now that he has a better idea of what talents and abilities he has to work with, he will be able to utilize these skill sets to put this offense in a position to score and win games. This offense has already impressed under his reign. (Tannehill threw more pass completions than any quarterback in franchise history, last season). Rookie Jarvis Landry has made a huge contribution as a slot receiver in his first year, which is unheard of for a rookie. And Miami hasn't had a 1,000 yard Running Back since Ricky Williams. The last time the Dolphins scored 392 points in a single season was in 1995.

I believe this Miami Dolphins team is only a few players shy of reaching the playoffs in 2015. If they have a free agency and draft similar to last years, there is no reason not to think that they can reach the post season for the first time in 7 years.

Go Dolphins!