The Super Bowl: What to Drink?

Last year I asked a very important question. I asked all of you what you planed on eating and where did you intend to watch the Super Bowl?

I figured that I would change it up this year. I want to know what you plan on drinking and what type of TV will you be watching the game on? (If you would like to add what you plan on eating please feel free to do so)

I will tell you what our plan is. My wife and I usually watch the game at home. We don't like going out on the road if we think there might be too many crazies driving home after a night of drinking. I mean, how many inebriated drivers could be on the road after a Super Bowl when every bar and grill will have the game on and spirits flowing? Surely there couldn't be that many, right? Nonetheless, I think we will stay home.

We don't have a big flat screen TV, so our television isn't anything special. I usually make teriyaki chicken wings, but my wife wants KFC so she will probably win out.

Our choice of drink will be...*drum roll please* coke. We don't have any beer in the house. No no no. We are not teetotalers. We do have plenty of spirits in the house. There is plenty of rum, whiskey, and wine.  Plenty enough to get hosed on. Just no beer. No one here likes beer unless it is free, and then we have no problem with it. I would say the chances of us having a drink on Super Bowl Sunday are slim to none, with a slight advantage going to "none".

So, as you can see it will be pretty boring around here. Please don't let that stop you. Tell us what your choice of drink will be. I'm going to take the liberty of guessing what the other writers are going to have. To start out I have no idea what Paul and Shawn could be drinking. Shawn has family that is still at home I think, so my guess is he will do the same as I and stay away from the free flowing spirits. Paul I feel will do the same thing. So that leaves Patrick, Kenny, and Todd (Buckeye).

Patrick will be having Scotch with a home smoked pork shoulder. Maybe I should go over to his house! Kenny, I feel, will be having beer. Probably Bud Light and a hamburger. After all, he must watch his figure. Buckeye will be drinking some beer that JP will need to ship to him from Belgium or Russia. He will just skip the food. When you ship in a foreign beer you don't have any money left for food.

Before everyone gets mad at me please remember this is all in jest. Whatever you do to see the game, just remember to stay safe where ever and doing whatever you do. We need every one of you to be here to keep Dolphin Shout as the best site on the net.

Miami Dolphins Free Agent Review: Defensive Line

The defensive line has been a strength of the Miami Dolphins. Cameron Wake and Randy Starks were named to the Pro Bowl, and our run defense finished 13th in league giving up only 10 rushing touchdowns (tied for 8th in the NFL).

We currently have two free agents on the defensive line: restricted free agent Tony McDaniel and unrestricted free agent Randy Starks. Both players have done really well for us and deserve to be signed. McDaniel will most likely remain a Dolphin, but Starks may not. It is hard to predict what Ireland will do when it comes to Starks. Rumors are he has reached out to Starks' agent. He likely will not get a long term deal, but a team friendly deal is a definite possibility.

Starks is 29 years old and he has had 22 sacks, four interceptions, and 13 tackles behind the line in five seasons with Miami. He can also play defensive end and defensive tackle, which he has proven to do effectively.

Let's say Starks is not a Dolphin next season. What are Miami's options? We have the option of moving Jared Odrick from defensive end to tackle. He has the size at 6'5" and 305 pounds. His numbers in two solid seasons (he missed 2010 because of injury) are 11 sacks, one interception, and nine tackles behind the line. They could also look at starting second year defensive end Olivier Vernon, whose numbers as a rookie were good in a rotation role with three and a half sacks, two forced fumbles, and two blocked kicks.

Another option is moving Odrick to tackle, Vernon to outside linebacker (which he has the size for at 6'2", 268 pounds), and signing a free agent at defensive end.

In recent mock drafts a few writers have the Dolphins taking a defensive end in the first round of the draft, and some fans would agree with that. I, for one, have no problem with drafting a defensive end.

Here are four solid free agent options at defensive end that would be worth considering:

Cliff Avril, DE, Detroit Lions
6'3", 260 pounds
Career stats in five seasons:
39.5 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, one interception and 13 stuffs
At 26 years of age he has been highly productive and most likely will get a huge contract, which Ireland probably won't do. Avril was one of the favorites last year before Detroit franchised him. He would make a nice bookend with Wake. It probably won't happen, but it's still possible.

Mike Johnson, DE, Cincinnati Bengals
6'7", 270 pounds
Career stats in four seasons: 23 sacks, two interceptions and 16 passes defensed
Johnson had 11.5 sacks in 2012. Could be franchised by the Bengals. A tall defender with the ability to swat passes. Is currently 25 years old and has familiarity with our defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle.

Michael Bennett, DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6'4", 275 pounds
Career stats in four seasons: 15 sacks, 4 forced fumbles 21 stuffs
2012 was a career season for Bennett with nine sacks, three forced fumbles and 10 stuffs. Not bad for an undrafted free agent. He is 27 years old, but he only played in seven games in 2009 so he could be a risk.

Osi Umenyiora, DE, N.Y. Giants
6'3" 255 pounds
Career stats in 10 seasons: 75 sacks, 32 forced fumbles and 26 stuffs
He is 31 years old and has been in the NFL for 10 seasons. He had only 6 sacks in 2012, but he has a ton of experience as a 4-3 end and a change to the warmth of Miami could get his motor going for a few years. He has two Super Bowls under his belt, and he could help mentor our young linemen.

I would like to see the Dolphins re-sign Starks and allow the three young defenders in Shelby, Randall and Vernon to develop. I would also like to see them draft another pass rusher at defensive end.

Let me know what your thoughts are and thanks for your time.

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Miami Dolphin Senior Bowl Prospects

The Senior Bowl (the final of three collegiate all-star football games) will be played this Saturday. The game will be nationally televised by NFL Network. Kickoff is set for 4:00 PM EST.

These are a few of the Senior Bowl participants that have been on the "KV meter" for a couple of years.


Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
5-11, 190 pounds, 4.49 40-yard dash
Late 1st, early 2nd round projection
Desmond is looking to become the third Trufant brother to play professional football. He has played in every game the past three years, and he also earned nine starts as a true freshman. He possesses very good short-area foot quickness and mirrors receivers on the outside on double moves up the sideline or quick out routes. Capable of playing either outside or in the slot. Has NFL size and athleticism with the speed required to run with the best of receivers and to recover when giving up inside position on crosses.

Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
6-0, 182, 4.49
Late 1st, early 2nd round projection
Smooth athlete with solid overall size. Has fluid hips to turn and run with receivers and quick feet to undercut an out route. Solid hands for the interception. Extends to grab passes in front of receivers. Fights for 50/50 balls. Competes even when he doesn’t have great position against a larger receiver. Brings some pop into tackles when able to line up his target.

This per the Sports Xchange:
Poyer has been the leader of the defense all season. He leads the Beavers in interceptions with seven. But it's more the presence he's brought to the unit with his confidence which has carried over in Oregon State's turnaround season.

Not only did Poyer demonstrate the confidence and athleticism necessary to handle the one on one responsibilities expected of cornerbacks in OSU's blitz-heavy scheme, he continued in his role as the Beavers' primary returner, averaging a gaudy 14.1 yards per return on punts and carrying a 25.9 career average on kick returns. I love how he carries himself on the field, a true leader with a high-octane motor.

Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
5-11, 192, 4.47
Projected 2nd rounder
Instinctive, dependable cornerback with good overall size and athleticism. Versatile corner with extensive experience playing off-man and zone coverage. Possesses a quick, tight back pedal and has fluid hips to turn and run with receivers. Reportedly was timed at 4.33 seconds in the 40-yard dash by Boise State coaches.

Breaks quickly on underneath routes, showing the ability to close on the ball to make the interception. Good ball skills, including good leaping ability and timing.
Reliable run defender who doesn't back down from a challenge, and is a reliable open field tackler who plays with toughness. Named a team captain in 2012 and is viewed by the coaching staff as one of the team's hardest workers. Good closing speed to the ball, used on late blitzes because of his quickness, agility, and a strong wrap to create turnovers from the back side.

Alex Okafor, DL, Texas
6-5, 261, 4.78
Projected mid-1st rounder
Okafor in moving from defensive tackle to end in 2011 recorded 12.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. As a senior in 2012, he racked up 54 total tackles, making 16.5 for loss, including 12.5 sacks, and for good measure he added an impressive 4.5 sacks in the Valero Bowl victory for Texas over Oregon State. Already possesses NFL size and length, and has room on his frame for growth. Powerful punch and arm extension takes linemen into the backfield which allows him to hold up and split double-teams. High-revving motor. Arrived at the Senior Bowl leaner. Good overall athlete. Most impressive attribute is his power. Okafor can knock opponents onto their heels on his way to the quarterback and also sets the edge nicely as a run defender. Okafor's ability to make plays against the run and pass makes him arguably the most well-rounded senior defensive end in the country.

Margus Hunt, DL, SMU
6-8, 277, 4.74
2nd round projection
The Shout's JP and/or Belgian's Jean-Pierre deserves full credit for Hunt recently becoming a KV favorite as he suggest that Hunt is the next Jason Pierre-Paul! Hunt's name first appeared on the international athletic scene after he won gold medals in both the shot put and discus events at the 2006 World Junior Track and Field Championships in Beijing. Hunt took his first crack at American football in 2009 for SMU, and made his name on special teams in his first year with the Mustangs, blocking seven kicks (one short of the NCAA record). He started all 13 games as a 2010 sophomore, registering 6.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, and three more blocked kicks for a total of 10. In only two 2011 starts Hunt blocked four more kicks in bringing his career total to 14 blocked kicks and/or punts, while extending his NCAA career record to nine field goals blocked. He took over a starting role at defensive end for SMU to start his 2012 senior year. His knack for blocking kicks continued with another 3 blocks, ending his career with 17 total, two short of the NCAA record. He accumulated 31 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, and 1 interception for his career. Tall, thick but athletic lineman with loads of potential.


Ezekial Ansah, DE, BYU
6-5, 270, 4.74
Late 1st, early 2nd round projection
With a rare combination of size, athleticism and natural power, Ansah entered the 2012 season completely off the radar of NFL scouts. Today, Ansah is routinely mentioned as the hottest NFL prospect in the country and a legitimate first-round contender, perhaps even a very high pick. Taking full advantage of Ansah's ability to create mismatches, the BYU staff moved him all over the field in 2012, lining up as an stand-up rush linebacker (left, right and middle), a classic defensive end (left, right) and even as a nose guard. A creative NFL defensive coordinator will likely find Ansah's versatility, size and power similarly useful.

Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
6-2, 201, 4.49
Projected 2nd rounder
My top receiver target if the Dolphins don't land a premiere free agent wide receiver. He earned honorable mention notice from Big 12 coaches as a junior by gaining nearly 1,000 yards (957) and scoring 11 times in his 59 receptions. It wasn’t Williams’ first year as a starter, however, as he lined up with the first team 10 times in 2010. In addition to his receiving numbers that year (43-484, 4 TD), Williams was also the team’s leading kickoff returner (21.4-yard average). It was the second straight year he led the team in that category, as he took over the reins for the final two months of his redshirt 2009 freshman season (768 yards, 24.1-yard average).

Even with the loss of QB RG3 and number one WR Kendall Wright, Williams flourished in his senior year. Williams led the country in receiving yards (1832 on 97 receptions for an 18.9-yard average) and scored another 12 TD's, earning him first-team All-American honors.

Tall vertical and red zone target who can go up and get the ball. Eats up space quickly against soft coverage. Shakes his man off the line and has enough speed to get a step down the sideline. Is a sideline threat with quick feet for his size and body control in the air, making his stop, fade, and comeback routes more effective. Tracks the ball and adjusts to it in the air, and shows the ability to stop and turn for the back-shoulder fade. Adjusts his route to make himself available to his scrambling quarterback, going deep or crossing into an opening. Willing, strong, and physical blocker on bubble screens and in the run game, throwing his body into defenders and sticking with blocks. His blocking was a big key to Baylor’s perimeter run game.

Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
6-0, 202, 4.52
Projected 2nd rounder
In the broadcast for the Poinsettia Bowl, it came to light that Patton and teammate Adrien Cole gave up the $300 Best Buy certificates awarded to them in their bowl swag to kids participating in the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Add that sort of character to his talent makes scouts very intrigued with his potential as an NFL playmaker and locker room presence. Patton took his game to the next level in 2012. As the favorite target of placement passer Colby Cameron, Patton caught 104 balls for 1,392 yards and 13 touchdowns while up against multiple quality corners along the way.

Good size for the position, has the height and length to play outside at the next level. Very good quickness off the line, gets to speed in a couple of steps and can shimmy to free himself and stick his foot in the ground to get inside position on slants. Uses a head fake to get the seam and possesses enough straight-line speed to take advantage of hesitating cornerbacks in off coverage. Catches the ball with his hands away from his body, even when tracking passes over either shoulder. Wins jump balls in the end zone and over the middle with good vertical and great concentration. Good sideline awareness to get two feet in-bounds while making the catch. Used on quick throws to take advantage of his shiftiness and surprisingly tough running, lowers his shoulder and is not easy for smaller cornerbacks to drag down after the catch. Sells routes where he knows he’s not the primary target to free up the underneath or cross-field receiver. Shows fight as a run blocker, willing to hit multiple punches to keep his man at bay and works himself into the correct blocking angle. Hustles downfield to help out fellow ballcarriers. Plays with a feisty attitude.

Robert Alford, CB, South-East Louisiana
6-0, 185, 4.43
3rd round projection
Possesses adequate height and sufficient upper-body strength to play outside in the NFL. Consistently competitive at the line in press coverage and downfield on jump balls, even against larger receivers. Has fluid hips and quick feet to open up and run down the sideline, as well as a smooth backpedal to maintain cushion. Stays low in man off the snap to mirror his target’s route. Aware zone defender who sees and attacks the underneath route. Good closing speed to the receiver when playing off, usually finishes the tackle. Flashes quickness to avoid blocks in the run game, brings some attitude to ride down running backs. Used in the slot, primarily as a blitzer because of his speed and tenacity. Shows ball skills, and concentration to snatch throws in front of or over the top of his man, and can make the easy catch as a centerfielder in zone. His willingness to press, compete for balls downfield, and support the run as well as fair size and overall athleticism makes him a solid mid-round pick.

Here are some more Senior Bowl prospects to keep an eye on, with an assist from my California Dolphin brother, college prospect enthusiast, and Dolphin Shout regular Phinthulu (Aaron). He is also in agreement with many of the above prospects.


Kyle Long, OT, Oregon
6-6, 304, 5.04
Projected 2nd rounder
Son of Howie and brother to Chris, who suggested that Kyle is the most talented athlete of the bunch. Very raw, though. Used to play baseball at Florida St. before transferring to Chip Kelly's Oregon football program.

Phillip Thomas, FS, Fresno State
6-1, 210, 4.57
2nd round projection
Blessed with good physical traits and even more impressive instincts and toughness, Thomas has proven himself to be a natural playmaker over four starting seasons with the Bulldogs. He's responsible for producing 20 turnovers (13 interceptions, six forced fumbles, one fumble recovery) over his career and joined Alabama's Dee Milliner and Mississippi State's Johnathan Banks as a finalist for the 2012 Thorpe Award as the nation's top defender.

TJ Mcdonald, FS, University of Southern Cal
6-2, 211, 4.52
3rd or 4th round
Stardom had been predicted for McDonald long before he ever signed with USC in being the son of former San Francisco 49er Pro Bowl safety Tim McDonald. The required physical and mental traits appear to be in place for McDonald to make the ascension to the NFL. He certainly boasts an imposing combination of size, speed, overall athleticism, hitting ability and ball skills that every NFL team is looking for.

Ryan Otten, TE, San Jose State
6-5, 235, 4.78
4th to 5th round
Otten has shown the ability to be a legit downfield threat where he racked up 126 receptions for 1760 yards and 12 TD's for his career. He has also shown improvement as a blocker in both the run and pass game. Professional scouts are always looking for big, athletic tight ends who can also catch, and Otten fits that description, although he has been flying mostly under the radar.

Chris Harper, WR, Kansas State
6-1, 228, 4.46
5th round projection
Harper is a coordinated athlete with above average body control and focus, tracking the ball beautifully and snatching it out of the air with his reliable hands. Harper has been improving each game as a route runner and is an effective perimeter blocker with a strong core for the position. While not a track star, Harper has good-enough football speed and is one of the more underrated receivers for the 2013 class.

Denard Robinson, WR, Michigan
5-11, 196, 4.39
4th round projection
QB and soon to be NFL receiver with blazing speed.


Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
6-3, 333, 5.34
Late 2nd, early 3rd round projection
Warford ended his Kentucky career having played in 47 games, including starting the last 37 consecutively while consistently proving himself a standout against SEC competition. He did not allow a single sack all season long and was the first Kentucky offensive lineman to earn AP All-American recognition since 1976.

Bacarri Rambo, FS, Georgia
6-1, 215, 4.54
3rd round projection
An accomplished ball-hawk (16 career INTs) and an intimidating hitter. Looks the part. Has a well-developed, evenly proportioned frame well suited to the position. Intuitive defender who reads the quarterback's eyes well and gets a jump on the ball in coverage. Made Georgia's secondary calls for at least the last two seasons. Played free safety at Georgia but possesses the size and physicality to play either of the traditional safety roles in the NFL. Rambo only has to reassure teams he is trustworthy to warrant early-round consideration.

Robert Lester, SS, Alabama
6-1, 212, 4.59
3rd or 4th round
His prototype blend of size, closing speed and ball-skills is sure to intrigue NFL teams needing a dependable, battle-tested, ball-hawking playmaker in the secondary. Lester has tabulated 14 interceptions over the last 3 years.

Marc Anthony, CB, California
5-11, 191, 4.54
Projected 5th to 6th round
Three year starter. Despite being sidelined for two games in 2012, Anthony led the Golden Bears with 12 passes broken up and also posted five tackles for loss among his 38 stops. Well-built, productive in run support and deceptively athletic, Anthony has the frame and game to intrigue pro scouts at the cornerback and safety positions.

Brian Schwenke, OL, California
6-3, 307, 5.10
4th round projection. Played in 48 of 50 possible games during his four seasons with the program from 2009-12, starting 36 of 37 possible contests over his final three campaigns. Started games at three different positions during his career, making 16 starts at left guard, 12 at center and eight at right guard. Cal's Team Captain and Most Valuable Lineman.

Thank you PhinThulu!

Interesting Shrine Bowlers that are also participating in the SENIOR Bowl:

Nick Kasa, TE, Colorado
6-5, 260, 4.76)
Projected 6th rounder.

Duke Williams, S, Nevada
6-1, 200, 4.46)
5th to 6th round.

Thank you all for an open minded read. We look forward to your angle of the SENIOR Bowl : ) !!

Next up. The "Underwear Olympics" better known as the NFL combine Feb. 23-26, 2013: Where the best of the best collegiate all-star, first, second, and third round projected Seniors and Underclassman not participating in the Shrine or Senior Bowls will be focused upon.


Miami Dolphins Free Agent Review: Linebackers

This season the Miami Dolphins switched to a 4-3 defense and added new defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle.

Miami's linebackers played well in the 4-3, and the most improved guy from that unit was Koa Misi. In 2012 he had 65 tackles, three and a half sacks, and three forced fumbles. And considering his legal problems this offseason he didn't do bad at all. Kevin Burnett had his second consistent season in Miami. He had 109 tackles and two and a half sacks. These past two seasons have made him a worthwhile acquisition  The last of our three starters is Karlos Dansby. Since signing him three years ago from Arizona he has been decent, but not the same linebacker he was with the Cardinals. This season he had 136 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble, which is not quite worth the contract he signed or the game he talks about himself.

Linebackers in free agency this offseason aren't that urgent, but it is worth looking at some of the free agents that are available. One could be signed for certain situations, depth, or to start.

Paul Krueger, Ravens, 6'4" 270 pounds
Career stats in four seasons: 69 tackles, 15.5 sacks, and two interceptions
Krueger has progressed well playing on a defense that has elite type players on it. Baltimore will, most likely, resign him, but he would do well in a Dolphins uniform. With our front four I wouldn't expect a drop off and he could help Cam Wake.

Connor Barwin, Texans, 6'4" 268 pounds
Career stats in four seasons: 109 tackles and eighteen sacks
Barwin has come on nicely and has the advantage of playing in a good defense. He missed the 2010 season, so his numbers are based on three years. Houston will most likely keep him, but he would be a nice addition to the Dolphin's defense.

Rey Maualuga, Bengals, 6'2" 265 pounds
Careers stats in four seasons: 348 tackles, three sacks, three interceptions, and six forced fumbles
Maualuga is a hard hitter who has a reputation as an undisciplined player. He has had some issues related to heavy drinking, but hopefully he has turned a corner. This season he turned in 122 tackles, his first 100 tackle season. Plus, he has familiarity with Kevin Coyle.

Anthony Spencer, Cowboys, 6'3" 250 pounds
Career stats in six seasons: 361 tackles, 32.5 sacks, one interception, and 12 forced fumbles
Spencer has been a steady player but not dominant. 2012 was his first season with double-digit sacks (11). Otherwise he has had no higher than six sacks in a season. He is not a long-term solution for the Dolphins.

Chase Blackburn, Giants, 6'4" 242 pounds
Career stats in eight seasons: 334 tackles, four and a half sacks, four interceptions, and six forced fumbles
He has primarily been a special teamer and a backup. This season as a starter he put up some good numbers at inside linebacker with 98 tackles, five forced fumbles, three sacks, and one interception. I like Blackburn. He is a tough player who seems to always be around the ball with six passes defensed, but the Giants may not let him go.

Shaun Phillips, Chargers, 6'3" 250 pounds
Career stats in nine seasons: 473 tackles, 69.5 sacks, six interceptions, and 20 forced fumbles
Phillips has been healthy and steady for the Chargers. With Melvin Ingram being drafted this season it is possible that Phillips could be available. He could be signed for a decent price and bring some help in the pass rush.

Daryl Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars, 6'2" 242 pounds
Career stats in nine seasons: 679 tackles, 21.5 sacks, six interceptions, and nine forced fumbles
Smith missed most of 2012, but other than that he has been a healthy player. He plays in a 4-3 defense and is solid in coverage and against the run. He might return to the Jaguars.

Brian Urlacher also gets honorable mention out of respect.

I don't expect the Dolphins to make a big splash at linebacker via free agency, but they might add someone through the draft. I like Barwin or Krueger.

Let me know what your opinions are and thanks for your time.

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Miami Dolphin Free Agent Look: Tight Ends

The tight end position is evolving greatly in today's NFL. I'm just not sure the Miami Dolphins have one capable of keeping up with the demands of the position at this time.

We have a very nice tight end in Anthony Fasano, but he is a free agent this year so a decision on his future with the team has to be made. Fasano has a couple of strengths, but he also has a couple of weaknesses. He is a very good blocker and a nice red zone target. He has good hands and excellent footwork for a big guy. His problem is that he isn't the seam threat that we need in the new west coast offense that Joe Philbin is installing. He's just not fast or quick enough to get the separation needed to make the big plays required from that position. So, he may only be resigned as a second tight end option, which might not be a bad thing depending on the value of the contract.

I know the Dolphins invested a third round pick in a tight end last year in Michael Egnew. I think that as of now we may have to realize that we made a mistake. All reports are that he has a couple of issues. First of all he doesn't appear able to grasp the playbook. Second, he plays soft, which is unacceptable for that position. He was only a rookie this past season so I would hate to say he was a bust, but it sure doesn't look like he has done much to earn anyone's trust enough to get on the field. When a third round pick is inactive 14 out of 16 games that has to mean something. We fans may not know exactly what it means but I'm sure the coaching staff does.

There are a couple of tight ends available through free agency that may fit what Coach Philbin is looking for (if we so choose to take that route). There are also a couple of tight ends that are projected as first or second round talents in the upcoming draft. I seriously doubt we take a TE that early, but that's just my opinion.

Listed below are the top free agent tight ends that are going to be available:

Number one on the list would be Tony Gonzalez. The only problem here is that if he doesn't return to Atlanta it's because he wants to retire. So, we won't have a chance at him, but we can dream.

Jared Cook, Tennessee
$800,000 in 2012
25 years old and has all the tools. Suffered a torn rotator cuff and missed the last couple of games in 2012, but he should be fine for start of 2013. He averaged 12 yards per reception in 2012.

Fred Davis, Washington
$5.4 million in 2012
27 years old and banged up a lot. Suffered a torn achilles in October. Davis is a great blocker and pass catcher, an offensive coordinator's dream weapon. Averaged 13.5 yards per receptions in 2012 before the injury.

Dustin Keller, New York Jets
$4 million in 2012
28 years old and injury prone. Only played eight games in 2012 due to ankle and hamstring issues. Did average 11.3 yards per receptions in a rather vanilla Jets offense. I'm not too keen on getting a Jet leftover, but he's not a bad player when healthy.

Brandon Myers, Oakland
$600,000 in 2012
27 years old and had a career year in 2012. Myers had 79 catches for 806 yards and 4 touchdowns and averaged 10 yards per reception. It was a breakout year compared to the prior three years where he only had 32 catches for 250 yards and zero combined touchdowns.

Dallas Clark, Tampa Bay
$2.7 million in 2012
33 years old, but still very productive. Had 47 catches for 435 yards and 4 touchdowns and averaged 9.3 yards per reception. Probably not exactly what we are looking for, but I thought I would throw him in with the rest.

There are two tight ends that have 1st round grades that will be available in the draft come April, but there are several more with second through fourth round grades.

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Miami Dolphin Watchlist: East-West College Shrine Bowl

Hey Dolphin Shout and all Miami Dolphin Fans.

The collegiate all-star games kick off this weekend with the East-West Shrine Game, where all 32 NFL teams have the opportunity to evaluate senior prospects on the same field (underclassmen are not eligible for the games).

The game is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 19 at 4 p.m. EST at Tropicana Field and can be seen on the NFL Network.

Here are a few of this fans preferred offensive prospects that the Miami Dolphins could be focusing on toward the mid to late rounds of the 2013 draft.

Marcus Davis, WR, Virginia Tech (6-4, 232, 4.47 40-yard dash)
Has been an underachiever who lacks discipline and has yet to mature. Is a huge wide receiver with explosive athleticism.

Nick Kasa, TE, Colorado (6-5, 260, 4.76)
A former defensive end who became a tight end to start his senior season. He tallied 25 receptions for 391 yards with three touchdowns. He possesses natural athleticism and receiving skills. He also displays his defensive mentality as a mean run blocker, though he has had health issues as a result from his days as a defensive end.

Jeff Baca, OG, UCLA (6-3, 298, 5.16)
An aggressive starting offensive lineman with quick feet who has versatility and extensive experience to man all five offensive line positions. He also displays a nasty demeanor. Though prone to penalties, Baca most definitely has the skill set to play in the NFL.

Rodney Smith, WR, Florida State (6-5, 219, 4.63)
Smith is an intriguing prospect due to his size, athleticism, good body control, and flexibility. Smith has the combination of size and speed that deserves a late round close look.

Manase Foketi, OT, West Texas A&M (6-5, 320, 5.30)
A starting left tackle for the Kansas State Wildcats in 2011. He was refused release from his scholarship in order to transfer to a different FBS school in 2012. Foketi ended up at West Texas A&M this past season and was a finalist for lineman of the year.

Joseph Fauria, TE, UCLA (6-7, 255, 4.82)
Led the nation in touchdowns from the tight end position with 12 and is an excellent red zone threat.

Others to watch:
Zach Sudfeld, TE, Nevada
Corey Fuller, WR, Virginia Tech
Mark Jackson, OL, Glenville State
Eric Kush, OL, California, Pa.
Earl Watford, OL, James Madison

Don't forget tight end DC Jefferson of Rutgers who is a former quarterback that made the switch to tight end as a freshman. I learned from listening to a radio interview that DC is a nickname that stuck from his quarterbacking days and is in reference to his quarterback hero Daunte Culpepper. Though his stats aren't anything to write home about, he has great potential. It's important to note that the tight end position wasn't a focal point of the Rutgers offense.

Here are a few of the defensive prospects:

Shamarko Thomas, S, Syracuse (5-9, 215, 4.39)
Per Dane Brugler of CBS:
"Thomas plays the game with reckless abandon and loves to throw his body around on the field, seeking big hits against the ballcarrier. Thomas plays too aggressive and too often bites on fakes, finding himself constantly playing from behind. A willing and tough run defender, he has a future at the next level if he can stay loose and disciplined with his coverage responsibilities."

Josh Evans, S, Florida (6-1, 200, 4.54)
The free safety teammate to highly-touted strong safety Matt Elam, who is a guaranteed first round selection. Evans is projected to be a fifth round pick. Evans is a rangy, physical player that led the Gators in tackles this past season and had three interceptions and six passes defensed. He is also very aggressive around the line of scrimmage. His NFL future isn't quite as bright to that of his collegiate counterpart Elam, but he is every bit as aggressive and tough.

Micah Hyde, CB, Iowa (6-1, 190, 4.53)
Somewhat of a technically raw cornerback/safety tweener that exhibits excellent football awareness in reading the quarterback and displays top grade instincts and ball skills.

Josh Johnson, CB, Purdue (5-11, 195, 4.49)
Had a strong senior season, leading the conference in passes defensed in 2012 with 19. Johnson, a three year starter for the Boilermakers, wrapped up his collegiate career with a 2012 season that saw him finish third for Purdue with 65 total tackles (59 solo stops and three for losses). He also led the team with 16 passes broken up, three fumbles forced (one recovered), and three interceptions. He isn't an elite athlete, but is extremely aggressive and confident. He possesses the speed to blanket receivers in single coverage has good coordination. Johnson looks comfortable on an island in man coverage. He does a nice job playing his man, and also locating and making plays on the ball.

DeVonte Holloman, OLB, South Carolina (6-2, 241, 4.64)
A versatile defender. Holloman lined up as the "spur" on South Carolina's defense, which is basically a hybrid weak side linebacker/strong safety position. He is a talented athlete with smooth movement that allows him to make plays all over the field. He uses his read and react skills to diagnose and attack. He is also an aggressive run defender. Although he still needs to improve his consistency in coverage, he has improved well in this area, leaving South Carolina with seven career interceptions, including a team-high three in 2012. Holloman played mostly strong safety in a Gamecocks uniform, but he has really bulked up over the past 18 months and probably projects best as a weak side linebacker in the NFL (according to Dane Brugler of CBS).

Duke Williams, S, Nevada (6-1, 200, 4.46)
A prospect who flashes early-rounds potential at times, but then at others he looks like "just another guy". He has good size and length for the position, and he also has the speed to close in a flash. Williams is a big-time hitter, though he sometimes lacks technique in leading with the shoulder for the big hit rather than intelligently wrapping up the target. His coverage skills are raw and ball skills can be streaky at times.

Keep a close eye on Keith Pough, OLB at Howard, who ranks among the best as an athlete in size, speed, and strength. Also keep an eye on Cooper Taylor, S at Richmond, who is 6-4, 229, and displays great range with a 4.57 forty.

Others to watch:
Demontre Hurst, CB, Oklahoma
Earl Wolff, Safety, NC State
Melvin White, CB, La-Lafayette

The College All Star Senior Bowl will take place next Saturday, which includes prospects that the Dolphins will target from day one of the 2013 draft. A Senior Bowl prospect summary will be offered on Friday the 25th.

Thanks for an open minded read, and we look forward to your angle of view : ) !!

Hope you're able to watch the game, GOFINS!!

Miami Dolphins Free Agent Review: Safeties

I wanted to take a look at a need for the Miami Dolphins. Today I'll be taking a look at free safety and who is available via free agency. In a previous article Patrick did an excellent job presenting our own defensive free agents.

What I am presenting is a list of options that are available. I won't go into numbers based on contracts, but I will stress NOT overpaying for a player.

Currently at free safety we have Chris Clemons and Tyrone Culver, and both are free agents. I can only see bringing back one for depth, and I am all for bringing in a starter from the market who will be an upgrade at the position. I will name who I feel Jeff Ireland should sign, but here is a list for review of the best available.

Jarius Byrd - Buffalo Bills - 5'10" 203 pounds
308 Tackles
18 Interceptions
10 Forced Fumbles
Byrd has been a solid player since being drafted in 2009 by Buffalo. He probably won't be in a Dolphins uniform as Buffalo will probably franchise him, but he's turned into a very good safety who knows how to get to the ball. He also has experience playing in the AFC East and in cold weather.

Louis Delmas - Detroit Lions - 5'11" 202 pounds
267 Tackles
3 Interceptions
2 Forced Fumbles
He has battled injuries, but his absence showed in Detroit. In four years Delmas has been a good player who is a hard hitter. He may not cost as much to sign, but Detroit may keep him based on their secondary situation.

Kerry Rhodes - Arizona Cardinals - 6'3" 212 pounds
608 Tackles
23 Interceptions
8 Forced Fumbles
Eight seasons is a long time, but numbers don't lie. Rhodes has been reliable. He has been pretty healthy  except in 2011, but he also has good size. He spent his first five seasons with the Jets and the last three with Arizona and has maintained production. He could be signed at a nice price and hold down the position until we can draft or possibly groom Jimmy Wilson to take over.

LaRon Landry - N.Y. Jets - 6' 220 pounds
482 Tackles
6 Interceptions
10 Forced Fumbles
Yeah I know, but he is available and I am still looking at him in a Redskins uniform. No denying his size and hitting ability. He has been decent and has experience playing in cold weather, but also has injury concerns.

The next two players are strong safeties who could be shifted to free safety.

Patrick Chung - New England Patriots - 5'11" 210 pounds
239 Tackles
7 Interceptions
I only list him because he is available and is DECENT, but that's about it.

William Moore - Atlanta Falcons - 6' 221 pounds
203 Tackles
11 Interceptions
5 Forced Fumbles
These stats are from only three full seasons. Chances are that the Falcons will keep him, but this is a player you make a move on. He is only going to get better, and I can see him moving to Free Safety.

In conclusion, Byrd and Moore are my choices, but will most likely stay on their teams. My next choice is to sign Rhodes and draft another safety in the next two years for Miami to groom. Though, Delmas would also look good in a Dolphins uniform.

Who do you think Miami should sign?

Thanks for your time and email me at

The Miami Dolphins Offensive Line: What to Do and with Who?

Let's take a look at the Miami Dolphins offensive line.

We all know that there is a major decision looming in Miami on what to do with Jake Long, and if he leaves it also creates another decision for the front office to make. What do we do opposite of Jonathon Martin if we let Jake Long leave, be it at right or left tackle? Do we look at free agents? Do we look at the draft? Do we try to make a trade? These are all very good questions, so I did a little homework to see who is going to be available in free agency and the draft. It would be a little premature to try and figure out who could be traded for, so we won't get into that yet.

Including Long there are eight so-called "top shelf" offensive linemen available in free agency: four left tackles, two right tackles, and two guards.

Here are the players with their current teams and their current salaries, along with a brief statement about each. You will notice there is a repeating theme:

Jake Long, LT, Miami Dolphins:
$12.8 million in 2012 salary
Has been injury prone the last couple of years, but when healthy is one of the best in the game. Supposedly his agent wants him to be the highest paid lineman in the game, so good luck with that Jake. This was the last year of his rookie contract.

Ryan Clady, LT, Denver Broncos:
$5.8 million in 2012 salary
Considered by most the best LT available this year. Recently turned down a 5 year, $50 million extension, and it has been said that he wants a contract similar to Joe Thomas'. Also the last year of his rookie contract.

Branden Albert, LT, K.C. Chiefs:
$4.2 million in 2012 salary
Widely considered to be one of the best run blocking left tackles in the NFL. This was the last year of his rookie contract.

Andre Smith, RT, Cincinnati Bengals:
$7.5 million in 2012 salary
Taken 6th overall in the 2009 draft. He has never lived up to the expectations and has always had major weight concerns. The last two years he has started to play much better, but he does realize his rookie contract was his big payday. This was also the last year of his rookie contract.

Sam Baker, LT, Atlanta Falcons:
$3.7 million in 2012 salary
Fighting chronic back issues, has had 3 back surgeries since signing his rookie contract, the last one removing a herniated disc just last year. The news out of Atlanta right now is that he's healthy and playing well. This is the last year of his rookie contract.

Sebastian Vollmer, RT, New England Patriots:
$1 million in 2012 salary
A back injury cost him almost all of the 2011 season, but he was back and healthy for 2012. If teams think he is healthy he is due a big pay raise. This was the last year of his rookie contract, although he is 29 years old.

Andy Levitre, OG, Buffalo Bills:
$1 million in 2012 salary
Has started every game since being drafted in the 2nd round in 2009. He has said he will listen to all offers, but he does expect a big pay increase. This was the last year of his rookie contract.

Brandon Moore, OG, New York Jets:
$4.5 million in 2012 salary
At 33 years old, he is the only player on this list of free agents that isn't coming off of his rookie deal. A very good guard who is good at both run and pass blocking.

As far as the draft goes, there is really only one offensive lineman with a first round grade, and he just happens to be a junior. Luke Joeckel is a bookend tackle from Texas A&M. Anyone out there remember that school?

Joeckel is 6'6" and 310 pounds, runs a 5.15 40 yard dash, and he protected our own Ryan Tannehill's blind side last year. He is projected to be a top 10 pick, so he will probably be gone when we pick at 12.

There are two other names being thrown around in the first round, depending on who you want to listen to. They are being viewed as projects because of strength or health issues. They are:

Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
He is 6'8", 305 pounds, and plays left tackle. He is viewed as a project for strength concerns. Fisher has been linked to the Dolphins at 12 by some draft pundits. Others have him going early to mid-2nd round. I personally don't want another offensive lineman drafted in the 1st round.

Chase Warmack, Alabama
He is 6'3", 320 pounds, and plays guard. He is a road grader as a run blocker, but has had some health concerns.

This is supposedly a very deep draft for offensive linemen, so there could be a lot of movement up and down by the names that I mentioned, and also some that I didn't. The all-star games and the combine will make someone's stock skyrocket, and someone's fall like a rock. It happens every year.

Well, there you have it. Those are the offensive linemen that can and will be available for the Miami Dolphins to choose from, if they want to use a free agent or an early round draft pick to fill one of our holes on the line. Now, keep in mind. There are several other free agents out there. I just hit on the ones that would make a splash in the free agent market or would be early round draft choices. If anyone has a different name to discuss please bring them to the table.

One more thing to keep in mind is that there will probably be several good linemen released or cut for salary cap reasons by teams over or at the salary cap maximum. This will take a little while to take place, so our answer may not be included in this list of names.

Thanks for reading along. I look forward to everyone's input.

Miami Dolphins Defensive Free Agent Analysis

In the previous post the Miami Dolphins offensive free agents were analyzed in an attempt to identify which should be re-signed and which should be left to test the free agent market. In this post, Dolphinshout will analyze Miami's defensive free agents to see which should be pursued before the official start of free agent bidding begins on March 12th.

The previous post began with a brief explanation of the three types of free agents. These are listed below with a color code associated with each type. A more complete definition of the three types can be found HERE.
Unrestricted Free Agent: A player with four or more years experience is eligible for unrestricted free agency.

Restricted Free Agent: A player with 3 years of experience is eligible for restricted free agency. 

Exclusive Rights Free Agent: A player with 2 years experience is eligible for exclusive rights free agency. 

The Miami Dolphins have a total of 20 players eligible for free agency in one of the three forms, Unrestricted (12), Restricted (5) and Exclusive Rights (3). Miami's 20 free agents are split nearly equally with 11 players on offense and 9 players on defense. The depth chart below highlights the defensive free agents based on the colors shown above. Each player has been given a grade by the author, the grades are up for debate in the comments section. Only the eligible free agents will be evaluated.

Before beginning with Free Safety it is imperative to recognize the importance of the safety position in relation to special teams. Safeties are usually the best special teams players because they play in the open field and are generally excellent tacklers. Two of the three players at free safety are unrestricted free agents, Chis Clemons and Tyrone Culver.

Chis Clemons: Clemons is an unrestricted free agent and an interesting decision for the Dolphins, his numbers certainly do not sparkle.

Interceptions: T-61st (2)
Forced fumbles: T-298th (0)
Passes defended: T-196th (4)
Tackles: T-49th (99)

Clemons has been a steady reliable player for Miami the past two seasons. The problem for Clemons is, he is not a playmaker. He is not one of those players instinctively around the football. If Joe Philbin makes the changes necessary to fix Miami's turnover ratio deficiency, it could mean Clemons will be upgraded for a player with better ball skills. Miami will probably allow Clemons to test the market, but may re-sign him if the price is right. Either way, Clemons will have some competition next season.

Tyrone Culver: Culver is a journeyman special teams maven whose value is limited to that quality. Miami would love to hang on to him. He has been released and returned to the Dolphins several times in the past, but Miami will only offer the veteran minimum or slightly more. Culver will see if another team will offer more, chances are, he will return to the Dolphins one way or another, but not for a high dollar contract.

Jonathan Amaya: Amaya is a restricted free agent strong safety who has had several stints with the Dolphins. He will be offered a late round tender and will be on the roster to compete next season with no guarantees.

Bryan McCann: McCann is a restricted free agent three-year veteran at right corner who has played for the Cowboys, Ravens and Raiders before being signed by the Dolphins in early November. His moments of glory came in 2010, when he was named NFC Defensive player of the Week after intercepting an Eli Manning pass and returning it 101-yards for a touchdown, setting a record for the longest interception return in Cowboys history. The following week he was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after returning a punt 97-yards for a touchdown against the Lions. There is some intrigue, but McCann has been unable to stick on 3 other NFL rosters so something is missing. He will be tendered a late round draft pick and allowed to leave if another team matches.

Sean Smith: Smith is an unrestricted free agent left cornerback. His numbers tell the tale of a good corner but not equal to the dollars his agent is demanding as a dominant defensive back in the NFL.

Interceptions: T-61st (2)
Forced fumbles: T-19th (3)
Passes defended: T-31st (12)
Tackles: T-81st (59)

Smith falls in line with Chris Clemons, he is not a playmaker. If Joe Philbin is going to change the turnover margin on the Dolphins, it will begin with upgrading the cornerback position. At one point during the season, Smith had more passes thrown against him than any other corner in the entire league. QBs know he is not going to make a play on the ball and they can take chances throwing balls in his direction. He has skills and excellent size, but he doesn't make plays and opposing QBs are not afraid of him. The numbers for the Miami secondary are skewed because the run defense is one of the best in the league, teams would rather throw against the Dolphins. In four seasons Smith has not shown the ball skills that would make him a top dollar CB. Something will have to give here. History dictates that Miami should not throw big dollars at a CB who has not provided the goods. Another team may be willing to take a chance because CB is such a critical position in the NFL. Miami will more than likely let Smith move on and bring in several replacements.

CB will probably be the first round selection for the Dolphins if the right player is available. At least 2 of the 5 picks Miami has in the first 82 will be used in the defensive backfield and both may go to corner if the coaches feel Jimmy Wilson is ready to step in at free safety.

R.J. Stanford: Stanford is an exclusive rights free agent and will be retained by the Dolphins for the minimum contract. He will compete, but may not make the final cut out of training camp next fall.

Austin Spitler: Spitler is a restricted free agent middle linebacker. Spitler has made a career as a special teams' player and will be given a late round tender. There are teams that may value his abilities on special teams, but Miami will likely match any reasonable offer. He will more than likely be a Dolphin next season.

Randy Starks: Starks is an unrestricted free agent defensive tackle. Starks has been an excellent player for Miami in the most unglamorous of trenches outside of a rugby scrum. One of the prime reasons teams pass the ball on Miami is because running against Randy Starks and Paul Soliai is a losing proposition. There are few stats that can show the impact Starks has on a football game, but he is one of the best and most underrated players on the Miami roster. It is hard to place a value on Starks, with the exception that 2013 will be his 10th season. The question is, can Starks play at the same level over the course of a 4 or 5 year contract? Many pundits who believe Jake Long or Sean Smith will be franchised by the Dolphins may be surprised if the designation falls on Starks. It is not always easy to keep what is proven good in a rush to fix what's broken. A long term contract may not be in the cards for Starks, but the franchise tag?

Tony McDaniel: McDaniel is a restricted free agent defensive tackle. The Dolphins will tender McDaniel with a mid-round pick, but there is a chance another NFL team will make a better offer. The future for McDaniel in Miami could be closely tied to what the Dolphins decide to do with Randy Starks. Miami may not be willing to lose both tackles and Starks leaving could be McDaniel's gain. The answer will solve itself when the cards start to fall on March 12th.

In conclusion...

Sean Smith and Chris Clemons are unlikely to be in Miami next season. Randy Starks could find a one season bonanza as a franchised DT. Miami will be targeting the DB and WR positions this off-season. If Jeff Ireland is as smart as Stephen Ross believes, he will invest in players that perform and spend on the needs Joe Philbin has identified.

Miami Dolphin Offensive Free Agent Analysis

The Miami Dolphins have a total of 20 players eligible for free agency in one of the three forms, Unrestricted (12), Restricted (5) and Exclusive Rights (3). The rules for free agency can be confusing and a basic explanation will help clarify.

Unrestricted Free Agent: A player with four or more years experience is eligible for unrestricted free agency. His current team has no guaranteed right to match outside offers to the player. Players in this category have unlimited rights to negotiate terms with any team.

Restricted Free Agent: A player with 3 years of experience is eligible for restricted free agency. His current team has the chance to retain the player's rights by matching the highest offer of any other NFL team. The current team can either block a signing or force a trade by offering a salary over a CBA negotiated threshold. There are three thresholds based on the dollar number negotiated by the CBA.

1. If a club tenders an offer of $XXX per year for a three-year veteran, and $XXX for a four-year veteran, the player's current team has "right of first refusal" over the contract at those terms, and may sign the player at those terms.

2. If a club tenders an offer of $XXX or 110% (whichever is greater) of the previous year's salary, then the current club has both "right of first refusal" and rights to a draft pick from the same round (or better) from the signing club. Essentially, this means that the new club must forfeit the draft pick to the old club if they wish to sign the player under these terms.

3. If a club tenders an offer of the CBA negotiated amount for a first round draft pick or 110% of the first round number (whichever is greater), then the current club has both "right of first refusal"; and rights to the first round draft pick from the signing club.

Exclusive Rights Free Agent: A player not under contract, but has only two years of NFL experience. If his former club makes him an offer at the three year veteran minimum salary, then the player has no right to negotiate with other teams. The player must sign the contract or leave the NFL.

Breaking down the Dolphins: Many times a visual representation can be an effective tool to give a snapshot perspective. The following graphic represents the Miami Dolphin offensive depth chart. The colors are associated with the free agent descriptions above. The chart includes a grade (The opinion of the author - open to debate in the comments section) for each player. The grade will give an understanding of why that player's contract should be negotiated or why that player should not be pursued. The analysis will follow. The defense will be reviewed in a separate post.

Beginning with the Tight End position, Anthony Fasano is unrestricted and has a grade of "B". Fasano's "B" grade is not an "A" because he is not the full package at TE. An "A" graded TE would be equally adept in the passing game and the run game. Fasano is an exceptional run blocker and excels in the running game. He is a good receiver but is limited in his ability to run routes in the open field. He lacks straight-line speed and is not a threat in the seams of the defense. Fasano is worthy of a second tier TE contract and should not be paid a top level deal, but is worth keeping if the price is right and should be a priority.

Jeron Mastrud is a restricted free agent. He has had some flashes, but has not shown the ability to be a threat in the passing game. The grade of "C" is due to his exclusive use as second TE blocking option. A number 1 category restricted tender should keep him on the Dolphins.

At offensive tackle, Jake Long is a "B+" rated LT. The reason Long is not "A" rated at his position is because of the injury issues that have not allowed him to complete the last two seasons. These same issues make it difficult to assess whether Long is an effective option in the west coast offense the Dolphins are moving toward. Long is a huge man and is better suited for a conventional run based offense. Long has represented the Dolphins in the pro bowl in 4 of his 5 seasons and his agent is certain to leverage those selections, but Long will have to sign an incentive laden team friendly contract if his is to remain in Miami. Miami would be remiss to pay Long a top dollar left tackle contract.

Nate Garner is a "C+" graded unrestricted FA Lineman. Garner is a perennial back-up who can play every line position excluding center. This versatility makes Garner very "organization friendly" but his true free agent value is difficult to assess. The Dolphins would like to keep him and should make him an offer equal to a back-up lineman or allow him to test the market. If another team is willing to pay him a big contract, the Dolphins should not match.

Patrick Brown is an exclusive rights tackle... Having seen little of his work, this author has no insight on his value, but he should be on the roster to open 2013.

At Wide Receiver, Brian Hartline is a "B" graded unrestricted free agent. Hartline had over 1,000 yards receiving and was clearly the best WR on the Dolphins this season. Hartline is a curious case because the lack of weapons around him and a rookie QB could be disguising an "A" rating behind double coverage and missed opportunities for long touchdown passes. The Dolphins lack of depth and talent at WR make signing Hartline a priority. Hartline may have to be overpaid, but allowing him to sign elsewhere leaves the Dolphins with too many gaps at receiver and will lead to another season of weak play at the position.

Marlon Moore is a restricted FA and should be given the opportunity to compete with a number 1 tender, but no more. Moore has had many opportunities to show progress, but it has been slow. It is doubtful another team will make an offer for Moore, Miami will be unable to match.

At Running Back, Reggie Bush is a "B" graded unrestricted free agent. Bush has been an excellent addition to the Dolphins in his two years with Miami. The problem for Bush is the depth Miami currently has at the running back position and the perceived lack of value associated with the position. Bush has done a better job of running between the tackles and is a good receiver out of the back field, but the position is easy to fill. Miami should sign Bush to a team friendly contract, but allowing him to leave will have negligible impact on the football team.

At Quarterback, Matt Moore is a "B" rated unrestricted free agent. A look at the depth chart shows Moore is actually rated higher than starter Ryan Tannehill. The rating was not intended as a slight to the rookie QB who ranked 31st in the NFL, but reflects the importance of having two starting caliber QBs on the roster. QB is the most important position on the field and most teams use more than one during the course of a season. Moore led the Dolphins to a victory for the injured Tannehill during the 2012 season. Signing Moore should be a priority as the position is vital and should represent a considerable portion of the salary cap.

Pat Devlin is an exclusive rights free agent and will be offered a contract to compete. Devlin will be a Dolphin again next season.

The conclusion is Miami should prioritize signing these offensive players in this order.

WR - Brian Hartline
QB - Matt Moore
TE - Anthony Fasano

The other players in this analysis could be signed, but these players will be more difficult to replace and cause significant gaps if they are allowed to walk.

The defense will be analyzed in a similar post to follow later.

Where Are the Miami Dolphins and Their Free Agents?

Wow! What a difference eight games can make. Eight games into the season the Dolphins had a record of 4-4. We were on the way to having a great chance of making the playoffs with the 5th at the time.

At that time we were talking about getting some of our free agents under contract so we could keep them out of free agency. At that time I was thinking that Reggie Bush, Sean Smith, Randy Starks, Brian Hartline, and Anthony Fasano were shoe-ins to get contract extensions.

I felt that the team had turned the corner, and those that were up for free agency needed to be here for the future.

Then, the second half of the season arrived, and all of those bug-a-boo problems that we have began to creep back in like losing to teams that are beatable.  In two consecutive weeks we played two teams that we should have easily been able to control: the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills, in that order. The Titans came to town and beat us like a drum. How in the hell does a lousy team like the Titans do that to us? That pretty much ended our chances of making the playoffs.

Eight games later I sit here at this keyboard and I find myself thinking why resign any of the 12 free agents? I mean, what's the point? Are those 12 difference makers? We sent Brandon Marshall and Vontae Davis on their way because they didn't have the right makeup for this team. Well, what about Reggie Bush, Jake Long, Randy Starks, Sean Smith, Chris Clemons, Tyrone Culver, Anthony Fasano, Tony McDaniel, Nate Garner, Brian Hartline, Nate Kaeding, and Matt Moore. Do they have the right stuff?

Statistically, neither the offense nor the defense played as well as they did last year. The turnover ratio continues to plague this team. Teams that lose in the NFL have one thing in common, and that is they are on the losing end of the turnover ratio. I feel that is a direct correlation to a few things. One of them is a hustle factor, and the second one is team speed.

I'm really not that upset about our record even though we missed the playoffs once again. I must keep in mind most of the players here were selected with a different philosophy in place. Our entire offense is being asked to do something they don't have the skillset to do. So, many of those players are out of place in this offense. The defense is in the same boat because the 3-4 defense is gone.

Honestly I have no idea who the Dolphins will try to resign. For the most part I think there are six players on this list that aren't needed here. The remaining six are Bush, Long, Starks, Smith, Fasano, and Hartline. Of those six only two or three have had a real impact for this team. Maybe they will let them all walk. Who knows?

The Miami Dolphins Should Re-Sign Sean Smith

When the season ended I looked at Sean Smith, and in my mind I thought we should let him go and draft his replacement. I felt that after four years he has had his chance to prove his worth. This season he had the opportunity to be the alpha cornerback, and it was also his contract year.

His final numbers for 2012 were 59 tackles, 2 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, and 12 passes defensed.

Not overwhelming numbers considering that both interceptions came in week four against Arizona. He also only faced one elite quarterback in Tom Brady and four good quarterbacks in Schaub, Dalton, Bradford, and Luck. I started to wonder if the 6'3" 218 pound athlete was cut out to be a starting cornerback, so I went back and looked at his final two years at Utah:

2007: 4 interceptions
2008: 5 interceptions and a touchdown

I could see why he was drafted in the second round of the 2009 Draft, but after four years as a pro it was time to kick rocks. Then, something occurred to me. PASSES DEFENSED! A stat that earned JJ Watt the nickname JJ Swatt. Passes defensed include batted down passes and balls pushed away from opposing receivers. I looked at Smith's passes defensed for 2012: 12, and in his four year career as a pro he has 40 passes defensed, which is an average of 10 a year.

This season five other defenders had 12 passes defensed, nine had 13, and five had 14.
3 top tier cornerbacks Seattle's Richard Sherman 24 PD, Atlanta's Asante Samuel 19 PD and Chicago's Tim Jennings 21 PD generated nearly double the amount of Sean Smith. Smith is right there with 19 other defenders with similar passes defensed.

A while ago Kenny (13kv) gave the example of how many dropped picks Smith had that could have resulted in more points and better field position had during the 2011 season. As we all know, interceptions are really important. They stop drives, frustrate quarterbacks, and earn the defender a reputation as a ball hawk. The thing is that Smith has a nose for the ball, and this was his first season as the top corner. He needs to bring it all together.

It is this writer's opinion the Dolphins should re-sign Smith to a contract with incentives, because it would be nice to see Smith and Miami safety Reshad Jones continue to grow in the Dolphin's secondary.

Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to your opinion.
Email me at

In Jeff Ireland We Trust

Where are the Miami Dolphins right now? That is the question I want each of you to ask yourselves. BUT, before you ask yourself I want you to remove emotion from your analysis. I want you to look objectively at this team.

I don’t care how big of a fan you are. I don’t care how much passion and money you’ve invested in the team. I don’t care how long you’ve been a fan. Look at what we have with no bias, prejudice, or emotion.

Look at our players. Look at our coaching staff. Look at our front office. What do you see?

Remember, be objective. Remove emotion. Emotion can be incredibly blinding. It can cloud your every thought and cause you to make exaggerated, extreme statements you wouldn’t normally say if you were in your right mind.

What do you see?

I see a team with a lot of promise. I see a team not far away who also has the ammunition to get them where they want to be.

Am I wrong? We have a very talented core of guys, and we are only going to get better this offseason. The Dolphins have five draft picks in the first three rounds. That means, barring trades, Miami will have drafted five prospects by the 82nd overall pick in this year’s draft. That is a ton of firepower for a team that's already showing signs of looking a lot better. Thanks to moves by our front office, we have a lot of talent and a lot of options to build on that talent this offseason.

And that takes me to the man in the center of it all. The man severely disliked by many and supported by only a few:
Hey There
That man is Jeff Ireland. Why is Ireland so disliked? There are a few reasons that, when combined, really rub fans the wrong way.

Dez Bryant "Scandal"

His interview with Dez Bryant that got way more media coverage than it should have is what really started it all. The sports media found a story they knew would draw a lot of attention so they focused on it. They didn’t care about the context. Ireland asked Bryant if his mom was a prostitute. That’s all they saw, so they ran with it.

In the Dez Bryant “scandal” there wasn’t any need to dig deeper like a true journalist. Just say Ireland asked Bryant if his mom was a prostitute and you’ll get just as many (if not more) clicks as you would if you found out the context of the actual discussion that went on. That’s all people care about anyway. They don’t want to know the context and how exactly the conversation went. They want to see someone mess up and look terrible, so that is exactly what they got. Why report any more if it won’t get you more views?


Something else I think irks a lot of people about Ireland is his supposed arrogance. He has never been one to do a lot of interviews or press conferences. That has changed recently, but I still don’t think a lot of fans are convinced. In their minds he is an evil, pompous man so full of himself that he refuses to take any input whatsoever from anyone else. I’ll be honest. I’m not really sure where fans are getting that idea other than the fact that he doesn’t do many media things. Sure, it would be nice to hear from him more, but who really cares? As long as he is doing his main job, which is working on building a successful team, then I couldn’t care less if he doesn’t answer questions from people who will try and twist his words.

Jeff Ireland is not arrogant. He is confident, which is the most important quality of any truly successful person. He trusts his evaluations and sticks to what he believes. I would much rather a confident general manager over one who isn’t quite sure of himself.

Win-Loss Record

What I believe is the biggest reason for the hatred from a lot of fans is the Miami Dolphins win-loss records under Ireland recently (four straight losing seasons, etc.). Well I’ve got news for you guys. For certain teams in certain situations winning really isn’t the only thing. Just because Vince Lombardi tells you winning is “the only thing” does that mean you should completely ignore the bright spots? It was a year where the Dolphins weren’t really expected to do too much. Does going 7-9 mean you shouldn’t pay attention to the newly added franchise quarterback, or the excellent defense, or the promise our young guys are showing?

Winning is not the only thing for the Miami Dolphins. It may be for teams like the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers, or for Vince Lombardi’s Packers of the 60s. Teams like that are already established with everything they need to contend for a title right now, but that’s not the case for a team like Miami who still needs a few more pieces to become an established group.

Thinking like that 100% of the time is very short-sighted. We need to look at the big picture, and the picture I see of the Miami Dolphins is one of a team who is almost there.

Kyle Orton and Matt Moore

I’m going to change the subject a bit now, so bear with me. Do you guys all remember the outrage when Ireland wasn’t willing to pay Kyle Orton franchise quarterback-type money and instead went with free agent Matt Moore two years ago? People (including me) were absolutely outraged. At the time Jeff Ireland was the biggest idiot in our minds because he signed some backup quarterback from Carolina instead of the next big thing in Kyle Orton.

Look how that turned out. Matt Moore helped the Dolphins go on a run in the second half of the season last year and he ended up winning the team MVP. Kyle Orton was eventually benched in favor for Tim Tebow and is now a backup in Dallas.

I always felt like Ireland never got enough credit for that move. He was blasted for being an idiot when he signed Moore, and when it turned out he was right he didn’t get even close to the recognition he deserved.

Manning, Flynn, Smith, Garrard, and Tannehill

Then, what does he do this offseason? He tried to get Peyton Manning, but Manning ended up choosing a different team. That leads us to the whole Kyle Orton situation all over again with Matt Flynn. Flynn wanted franchise quarterback-type money, and Ireland didn’t believe he deserved it. So, Flynn ended up signing a pretty big contract with Seattle where he didn’t even win the starting job. Miami went into contract negotiations with Alex Smith, but again that didn’t happen. So what did Jeff Ireland do? He brought in David Garrard to compete with Matt Moore for the starting job. Then, he drafted Ryan Tannehill eighth overall, who he expected to enter into the competition immediately, and the rest is history. We finally have the most important piece of a successful NFL team, and we will only get better from here.

Imagine what would have happened this season if everything had worked out like Jeff Ireland had planned. Miami lost three of their most important starters before the season even started. David Garrard, who would have started this year, went down with a knee injury that sidelined him for the entire preseason. Chad Johnson, who was Miami’s best receiver by a large margin, was arrested and cut from the team. Eric Steinbach, who was starting at right guard, decided to retire. If those three extremely unlucky things hadn’t happened think about where we might be right now.

Don’t get me wrong. I really like the direction this team is heading, but I think we could have done a good bit better this year if we had those three guys.

Ireland has always been very smart in his decision-making. He’s never made a move that has crippled the Dolphins. He’s always played it safe, and we’ve been rewarded with a solid team. Now that we’ve got the main pieces in there it is time for Ireland to make the moves necessary to make the Dolphins a playoff team. He’s got the ammunition to do it, and I’m confident he will.

We need to look at what we have right now. Ignore what we’ve done. Just look at the players we have right now and what that means for the future.

We have a really good core at secondary in Reshad Jones, Sean Smith, and Richard Marshall. We have good linebackers in Karlos Dansby, Kevin Burnett, and Koa Misi. We have an excellent defensive line with guys like Cameron Wake, Paul Soliai, Randy Starks, Jared Odrick, Olivier Vernon, and others.

Our running backs are awesome with Reggie Bush, Lamar Miller, and Daniel Thomas. Our tight ends are good with Anthony Fasano, Charles Clay, and Michael Egnew. We need help at receiver, but we do have Davone Bess and Brian Hartline, who could work well with a really talented receiver or two. Our offensive line also looks good with Jonathan Martin, Richie Incognito, and Mike Pouncey. If we are able to re-sign Jake Long he's obviously added to that list, too.

And most importantly, we have our franchise quarterback. Once you have your quarterback everything else is easier. What has been the main thing holding Miami back in previous years? The quarterback position. No longer will that be a problem.
Brighter days are ahead for Miami
Whether you guys like it or not Jeff Ireland is here for at least another year or two. Maybe you should stop being so angry and look at how bright the future really is.

Ireland is a good general manager. It's that simple. He will never risk the future of the franchise. He brought us our franchise quarterback, built a great defense, gave us an offense that only needs a few more players to succeed, and gave us the picks necessary to fill whatever holes we might have.

Sorry, but I'm not going anywhere
I’m sure you guys will have a lot to say on this one, so let the discussion begin below.

One more thing I want you all to chew on for a little bit. What happens if Dan Carpenter makes those field goals early in the year? Think about that. We could just as easily be 9-7 right now. We wouldn’t have made the playoffs, but I can assure you a lot of you would be much more supportive of what we’ve got going right now.

Thanks for stopping by. Email me at I'm on twitter @PaulDSmythe.