The Miami Dolphins are Living in Reality

Those dudes in Vegas are rich for a reason, the deck is stacked...

Stacked in the realm of reality.

Picking Miami to have 7.5 wins says most betting people don't believe Miami can duplicate or even reach last year's record. The odds are set so that Vegas wins. If most people think the line is wrong, it will move up or down.

Miami had a negative point differential last season, it is exceedingly rare for a NFL team to have a winning record when they score less than their opponents. Miami had a 1-5 record against teams with a winning record last season.

Winning 10 games is nice, but it also leads to a 2nd place division schedule, meaning Miami plays more games against winning teams this year.

These are the reasons Vegas has Miami picked at 7.5 wins. We as Miami fans cannot be so pragmatic in our expectations. We would rather chug from the glass half full...

Outside the confines of fandom, reality beckons…

71 points were given away to the Ravens, NE and Pitt in losing games at the end of the season, 103 points against Miami - to 32 points for Miami. The Dolphins won 8 of 11 other games decided by 7 points or less. The trend is, Miami lost big to good teams and squeaked out wins against bad teams. With that in mind, it’s easy to see where the 7.5 Vegas number comes from.

So the reality in Miami is – more-better blues...

Miami will play better teams and last season was an anomaly. The Miami defense has to get better to compete with better teams, I believe the season hinges on the defense. Obviously, our first 3 picks in the draft were on defense. That happening for the first time in team history shows how much the coaches agree with this assessment.

That gives me hope, because we’re now dealing in reality…

Many times in the past, I saw things that I thought were apparent and the team didn't seem to be on the same page. Clearly there are no illusions going on in Miami. I honestly think Adam Gase told his team and management, "we have a long way to go." The only way to get there is through hard work, seeing the truth and not believing in illusions.

Let’s live in reality people!

The truth can be liberating, the team is smiling and encouraged because the challenge is clear. Clear understanding of weaknesses, clear understanding of what they know works, clear understanding of what needs to improve. This is how to get better, live in reality...

The illusions of the past are gone, Adam Gase lives in reality…

One Two Three, ABC Dolphin Draft Desirables

The 2017 draft is less than 2 weeks away, and the first round kicks-off on Thursday April 27th at 8pm EST. The second and third rounds start at 7pm Friday while rounds 4 - 7 begin at noon on Saturday.

Miami's Dolphins "presently" own selections at
Round 1 Pick 22  (22)
Round 2, Pick 22  (54) Overall
Round 3, Pick 33  (97) Compensatory
Round 5, Pick 22  (166)
Round 5, Pick 35  (178) Compensatory
Round 5, Pick 41  (184) Compensatory
Round 7, Pick 5  (223) From Rams/W.Hayes DE
Round 7, Pick 22  (240)

The Miami Dolphins landed a top three, if not the number one overall prospect Laremy Tunsil at pick 13 last year. Of course they would appreciate this year's top candidates having incriminating photos of them in preparation for an apocalypse posted on social media as Roger Goodall approaches the podium.

Prospects at Dolphin positions of need such as (according to draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah) the top overall player in #1 Myles Garrett DE, #2 Jamal Adams S, #3 Malik Hooker S, #5 Solomon Thomas DE, & #6 Jonathan Allen DE are not goin to land in Miami at pick 22.

This drafts first round is extremely deep. It actually feels like Miami will have more viable options at 22 in o17 than they might of had in 2016, had they not been blessed with Laremy Tunsil. The Dolphins will very likely be able to land a solid starter at 22 no matter the player at a position "of need" they choose. That player might not even be listed here as the line had to be drawn somewhere and so many others are viable possibilities.

Here are some favorites at positions of need that may or may not find their way South via an act of sabotage.

""The Miami Dolphins are on the clock""!

Round One
Pick Twenty-Two

A) LB Jarrad Davis #24 began the process outside of this Dolphins fans top five linebacker prospects. As a Canes fan there were some Gator issues that required resolve. In the end, old school linebacker Jarrad Davis became the personal favorite. However. Should Miami go linebacker with their first round pick? They can't go wrong no matter who were to possibly fall into their grasp at pick 22, or thereabouts. They could surely use a day one stud to start alongside of, or between Kiko Alonso and Lawrence Timmons while the latter is an elderly anvil, though just a two year, short term bridge!

Shoot, should have simply listed these guys as pick 22A thru Z and been done with it. The Reuben Foster #9, Haason Reddick #20, TJ Watt #35, Zach Cunningham, and Jarrad Davis' of the world are all about to explode onto the NFL scene. As a Miami Dolphin? Will one be there? We shall see soon enough! If not?

B) DE Derek Barnett #13 would be this guy's number one overall choice if he were to take an extremely unlikely fall to 22. He is Mr Consistent, well rounded and reasonably good at everything, but great at denting the turf via the quarterbacks backside with 32 sacks (10 plus per) over his starting three year Tennessee/SEC career. He is the first freshman to ever start at DL for the Vols, and he made the SEC honor roll in all three years as a starter.

Miami re-signed last year's 5.5 sack Andre Branch (27) to reunite with Terrance Fede (25), Julius Warmsley (26), and 35 year old Cam Wake. They also traded a 6th round pick for a 7th round pick and DE William Hayes (31) who has averaged just over 5 sacks per year over the last five. In 2018 the cap number of Branch doubles to 10plus million, Hayes will be 32, and CWake 36. Draft prospect Derek Barnett a 2017 Miami Dolphin?

C) OL Forest Lamp #16 is a career LT that would start at left guard for Miami on day one. He would likely push 1.4 million dollar free agent acquisition Ted Larsen to LG/RG/C backup duties while Lamp himself can play any offensive line position, including center, (if need be). His selection would enhance the possibility of having a third offensive line starting position secured for the next five or so years along with RT Ju'Waun James (who's in the final year of his rookie contract), and LT Laremy Tunsil.

RG Bushrod is likely in his final year, Center Pouncey has two bad hips, and James is scheduled to become a free agent which suggest that from C to RT may require reinforcements of 1 to 3 bodies, if not starters. Maybe Miami should lock up the left side with Tunsil/LAMP like back in the day with Richmond Webb & Keith Sims? Forest Lamp can forever help light up a dreary place that has been too dark for too long.

D) S/ Jabrill Peppers #31 could become the next Troy Polamalu of Pittsburgh Steelers fame. He can attack from everywhere defensively, and can/has also seen extensive production as an offensive and special teams secret weapon with extraordinary ball in hand skills.

The Dolphins still have perennial backups Michael Thomas and Walt Aikens. They also signed two free agent safties (Nate Allen 29 & TJ McDonald 26) with extensive starting experience to one year contracts this off-season. So a starting safety isn't exactly an immediate need, but if the well worth risk of Allen and (McDonald who's on a half season suspension) are unable to produce/stay clean in their one contracted year. Jabrill Peppers could potentially start at some point in o17, and would definitely start in 2018 alongside of Rashad Jones.

E) DT Malik McDowell 6-6, 297 was a last minute offering here due to upside (in case the rest have already been claimed). Personally I believe that Jordan Phillips is already better with every bit as much upside. Though some local radio host suggest that he doesn't display the want on every play which may be the same jacket that Malik McDowell wears. I believe differently about Phillips, he led the team in off sides penalties (which illustrates want) due to inexperience, timing, and poise. When he's right he's an opponents play/drive destroyer. He just needs a bit more coaching, experience, and poise to become a consistent force. DT Malik McDowell is offered in case those radio guys are right and/or he's the only one of substance left at pick 22.

DE's Takkarist McKinley #19 & Taco Charlton #23 are ascending one year wonders, (unlike Mr. Consistent Derek Barnett at 22B).

Takk Mc (6-2, 250 potential OLB/DE) has started the last two years at UCLA while DE Taco Charlton became a full time starter at Michigan just this past year. Both had their first 10 sack season in 2016. Though they are late bloomers, they have the necessary tools for NFL success.

Takk McKinley though small for full time NFL DE duties, he is fast for a big OLB with a relentless motor.

""Charlton's ceiling is as an all-pro, his floor is a solid starter"" suggest prospect analyst Lance Zierlein. Cam Wake is 35 years old. Ya'know that (if all else fails, and if available)? Michigan Alum Boss Ross will be suggesting to feast on a 6-6, 277 pound Taco.

F) TE OJ Howard #8 isn't going to fall to 22. Right? If so, he is an all around special tight-end, and the perfect complement to the trade acquisition of Julius Thomas. Howard actually belongs at B, C, or D of this personal list but fit better here in transition.

Round Two pick 54

A) TE David Njoku #12 at this point would be quite the steal worth taking as he is not quite the perfect first round complement to Julius Thomas (28), but Miami could use a second play-making type of TE like Njoku.

The Dolphins reacquainted themselves with the four year departed free agent TE Anthony Fasano (32) primarily for TE blocking duties. They also acquired a similarly sized, stat-less Chris Pantale (27) while Marqueis Gray (27), & Thomas Duarte (22) remain.


Ran longer than planned above.
Felt more would be too much.
Devise is being temperamental, so I must include the not quite finished remains at the threads first comment.

The Miami Dolphins Need to Pay Jarvis Landry

“We’re building something special here…”

This quote leads to a curious case with Jarvis Landry and his value to the Miami Dolphins. Will it become a point of contention the longer the prolific wide receiver remains without a contract extension? As a slot receiver, Landry is rarely mentioned in the same sentence with his flashy college teammate Odell Beckham. Yet Landry holds the NFL record for the most receptions in his first two seasons, catching 194 passes. Landry and Beckham are tied for the most catches after three seasons with 288.

Landry is oft criticized for finding the endzone only 13 time in three seasons but he has a history of mastering perceived shortcomings. Overshadowed by Beckham and posting a pedestrian 4.61 40 yard dash allowed Landry to slip to the Dolphins in the second round. At 5’11” he’s not the biggest target, in fact, few of his tangible measurements stood out during the 2014 combine. Only when plugging in the tape does Landry’s value as a football player and teammate become apparent.

Landry is the spark plug that ignites the Miami Dolphin engine. Landry is the playmaker in moments of desperation. Landry is the leader when others lose confidence. These intangible assets, unlike 40 times, are his core value. On a team with a subdued Ryan Tannehill at QB, the fiery leadership comes from another position in the huddle. That position belongs to Juice Landry, he is the juice that gets the party started.

“We’re building something special here…”

A slot receiver is not typically a big money player, that designation goes to DeVante Parker with his first round pedigree and off the chart combine numbers. Clearly tangible measurements do not make a football player. Parker may one day live up to the team’s draft day expectations, but this is more an indictment of the process. Rewarding 40 yard dashes over demonstrated accomplishments on the football field has led to more Dion Jordan’s than Jarvis Landry’s.

Those first round mistakes created the rookie salary cap because the risk/reward of the unknown is a losing proposition. The notion of paying more to veteran players is a joke and a lie. The NFL power brokers grew tired of their own mistakes and decided to mitigate them by forcing rookies to demonstrate their worth before any big money changed greedy hands.

Under the leadership of Adam Gase, the Miami Dolphins have made a paradigm shift in personnel philosophy. Moving from perennial winners of March free agent Madness to a pay-for-play homegrown revolution. Gase’s message is simple and direct, “put it all on the field for me and you’ll get paid by me.” In the free agent age, where money-grabs rule, and players usually switch teams to obtain their perceived value, the approach is both refreshing and enlightened.

“We’re building something special here…”

The concept offers a subtle solution to the question, “how do you motivate players after they become multimillionaires?” Football players like Juice Landry are not as motivated by pure dollars as many outside the locker room would think. Football players know, a single hit or shift in a scrum pile can end their careers’ instantly. When the opportunity to get rich knocks, only a fool wouldn’t jump, especially after working their entire lives to achieve stardom in their chosen profession.

Clearly, the resounding drop-off in performance when players switch teams shows that dollars rarely motivate. The answer lies in the locker room where Jarvis Landry sits waiting on his payday and watches outsiders like Ndamukong Suh stride in with $100 million dollars in their pocket. Resentment is probably a word rarely uttered in NFL circles and yet, why did Suh leave Detroit to get paid? He now sits with two locker stalls in an obscure corner, his $100 million dollars flying like banner over his locker. Are the players around him not supposed to feel resentment?

Therein lies the answer… The Miami Dolphins (among other teams) flounder because, letting players walk out the door to get paid sends the wrong message. Bringing in players from other teams and paying them sends the wrong message. Kenny Stills could have a better contract, Kiko Alonso could have waited for free agency, Cameron Wake could have played out his contract, and Andre Branch would’ve received the same deal elsewhere. They chose to stay in Miami.

“We’re building something special here…”

Teammates motivate multimillionaires… Not coaches, not dollars, not accolades, teammates. When players jump ship to get paid, the locker room breaks down. When new players enter that are not part of the chemistry, the locker room breaks down.

Gase has made a brilliant observation, teammates motivate multimillionaires… 

When teammates hold each other accountable, the dollars are of no consequence. The bad ass defensive tackle in the corner is as much a part of the fabric as the geeky clutch kicker. Together, they strive for greatness and the dollars take care of themselves. “Play for me and I’ll get you paid.”

“We’re building something special here…”

Jarvis Landry is the embodiment of this philosophy because he does not need dollars to put it out on the field. He is the player Adam Gase envisioned when he thought through this personnel concept and now The Juice needs some oranges squeezed! Would it be surprising to learn Jarvis Landry asked his coach to, “take care of my boys first?” It is purely conjecture, but Landry making that statement rings true, because he’s the ultimate teammate.

And now, it’s time to pay The Juice.

“We’re building something special here…”