2014 Miami Dolphins Free Agency Pursuit

Hello SHOUTsters and Miami Dolphin fans throughout the world ..

The New Year is upon us in just two weeks with the opening of the 2014 Free Agency period on March 11th .

As most are aware, the Dolphins have some of their own extremely important cogs scheduled to hit the market . Corner Back Brent Grimes comes to mind while being the likely most important piece that needs to be paid, IMMEDIATELY!

Both of the Dolphins premiere Defensive Tackles are soon to become free agents.
Paul Soliai is considered the one dimensional run stopping beast while Randy Starks is more of a get after the quarterback type of tackle and can play End also . One would have to figure that the Dolphins would pursue keeping at least one of the two studly at their craft defensive tackles ?

Here are a few other scheduled to become Dolphin free agents that can likely be lived with or without. Depending on who you ask?? Hint, Hint !!
David Arkin, G
Christopher Owens, CB
Austin Spitler, LB
Nolan Carroll, CB
Chris Clemons, S
Marlon Moore, WR
Dustin Keller, TE

Here is what is of most concern to the Miami Dolphins 2014 Free Agency Pursuit !
Or Non-Pursuit ? Depending on who you ask ; ) !
Tyson Clabo, OL
Bryant McKinnie, OL
Richie Incognito, OL
John Jerry, OL

As all are aware. The above list includes Miami's entire 2013 starting offensive line, other than the in question premiere NFL Center Mike Pouncey ! The two Guards, Richie Incognito, and John Jerry (who is a supposed under achiever that doesn't fit the current scheme, and is also of question otherwise) are Miami Dolphin History! The two tackles ( McKinnie & Clabo )due to their mediated alliances and age are also likely to have a less than 50-50 chance of remaining in Miami !

Seems as though that other than the hors d'oeuvre necessity of the tiny yet spectacular Brent Grimes dish, this 2014 Free Agency Period should be tabbed as the "" WHERES THE BEEF "" free agency period in Miami .

The entire free agency list have been thoroughly researched (which you won't be bored to death with in this instance). REALLY, how excited can one get when reading about an offensive Line Mans Athletic Prowess ( minus video footage ), and how important is the length of ones arms, size of hands, favorite color, blah blah blah, etc, etc, if the guy has no heart?

However. With all of the researched intangibles considered, These are the most reliable, youthful with upside remaining, while already being some of the most productive prospects of the entire crop that are SCHEDULED to become free agents on March 11th .

Seeing that the Offensive Line is of most importance due to the possibility of needing FOUR STARTERS via free agency and/or the draft! That is the position that will be focused upon in this particular 2014 free agency episode!

It would be nice to get this Offensive Line thing fixed once and for all, therefore only the youthful are being considered in this piece! Though the seemingly always sought after by Fin fans are the annually injured Tackles Branden Albert (29) as well Eric Winston (30) who are once again available. They are free agents every year! Don't figure ?

Here are a few youthful, well oiled Iron Men with proven Heart, Courage, and Brains (via career starts) that might interest the Miami Dolphins.

Let us BEG that the Dolphins land one or two from below while also keeping Tackles McKinnie (34) and/or Clabo (32) in rear view mirror consideration!

Premeire Left Tackles . ( " non-boring thorough analysis " ), the Miami Dolphins absolutely need a Left Tackle, let-alone a youthful premiere left tackle !

Eugene Monroe, Ravens, Age: 26, 6 - 5, 306, (76 games, 73 CAREER STARTS)

Jared Veldheer, Raiders, Age: 26, 6 - 8, 321, (53 games, 48 starts)

Eugene Monroe

Right Tackles . ( Analysis, Miami absolutely needs a right tackle ) !

Michael Oher, Ravens, Age: 27, 6 - 4, 315, (80 games, 80 starts)

Austin Howard, Jets, Age: 26, 6 - 7, 333, (36 games, 33 starts)

Anthony Collins, Bengals, Age: 28, 6 - 5, 315, (59 games, 25 starts)

Michael Oher

Guards . ( Analysis, the Dolphins absolutely need two guards ) !

Zane Beadles, Broncos, Age: 27, 6 - 4, 305, (64 games, 62 CAREER STARTS)

Shawn Lauvao, Browns, Age: 26, 6 - 3, 315, (53 games, 44 starts)

Jon Asamoah, Chiefs , Age: 25, 6 - 4, 305, (60 games, 41 starts)

Geoff Schwartz, Chiefs, Age: 27, 6 - 6, 340, (61 games, 26 starts)

Guard and Center Zane Beadles

Guard and Center Shawn Lauvao

Lesser Experienced Guards .
Chris Scott, Panthers, Age: 26, 6 - 4, 315, (8 games started in 2013)
Vladimir Ducasse, Jets, Age: 26, 6 - 5, 325, (four 2013 starts)
Mike Johnson, Falcons, Age: 26, 6 - 6, 304, (18 games, 1 start)
Lemuel Jeanpierre, Seahawks, Age: 27, (Super Bowl Champion Team)

With the recent exodus of Offensive Line Coach Jim Turner! The new presumed to be Dolphins Offensive Line Coach is John Benton who held the same position for the Houston Texans over the previous eight seasons! Benton was hired on the same day as the new general manager Dennis Hickey! Miami may be in line for the likes of Texans FA Guard Wade Smith (32, 138 games, 98 starts, sixteen starts in each of the last four years)! Houston free agent Tackles include Ryan Harris (28, 78 games, 39 starts), and ex-Dolphin Andrew Gardner for depth purposes.

2006-13: Offensive Line, Houston Texans
2005: Offensive Line, St. Louis Rams
2004: Assistant Offensive Line, St. Louis Rams
2000-03: Co-Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line, Colorado State
1995-2000: Offensive Line, Colorado State
1990-94: Offensive Line/Recruiting Coordinator, California University (Pa.)
1987-90: Graduate Assistant, Colorado State

If you personally have someone of your own in mind at ANY particular position ?
PLEASE enlighten us all and/or our beloved one's, THE MIAMI DOLPHINS!!
WHO should they keep, WHO should they pursue ?

THANK YOU for an Open-Minded read, and we look forward to your angle of view !

From the highest mountain, GO SHOUT, GOFINS!!

Dolphins "Fired" Up for 2014

In what was most likely an attempt at damage control, the Miami Dolphins made more subtractions this week. The team parted ways with offensive line coach Jim Turner and athletic trainer, Kevin O'Neill after last week's report issued by Ted Wells.

Jim Turner (Getty Images)
The Wells Report incriminated the two for not helping to calm the fire of the bullying saga which ultimately will lead to the end of the careers of tackle Jonathan Martin and guard Richie Incognito in Miami. The report insisted that Turner knew what events were taking place while O'Neill did nothing to stop racial slurs directed at an assistant trainer.

Turner and O'Neill are just two more notable casualties this offseason. With the start of the 2014 regular season still more than six months away, here is a quick look at the additions and subtractions made on the coaching staff and in the front office:

Out With the Old

Mike Sherman, Offensive Coordinator
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill's college coach at Texas A&M, Mike Sherman didn't exactly make the Dolphins an offensive juggernaut. In his two seasons as the Dolphins' offensive coordinator, Miami ranked 27th in the NFL in total offense each year.

Jeff Ireland, General Manager
Perhaps the most hated man in Miami, Jeff Ireland's head had been called for long before the end of the 2013 season. Prior to center Mike Pouncey this past season, Ireland had not drafted a Pro Bowler since Jake Long with his first pick in 2008. Miami didn't have a winning season in any of Ireland's final five seasons as general manager. That is the longest span in team history.

Jim Turner, Offensive Line Coach
While the Wells Report ultimately did in Turner, he had hardly earned his keep. Even before the bullying scandal, the Miami offensive front was one of the worst units in the entire NFL. The Dolphins gave up a league-high 58 sacks in 2013 and were held to fewer than 25 yards rushing on four occasions including a franchise-low of 2 in a 22-19 November loss to Tampa Bay.

Kevin O'Neill, Athletic Trainer
It's hard to measure O'Neill's performance by what happened on the field, but his undoing also came by way of the Wells Report. O'Neill failed to stop players from directing prejudiced slurs at one of his assistants.

In With the New

Bill Lazor, Offensive Coordinator
As the quarterbacks coach of the Philadelphia Eagles last season, Lazor was instrumental in transforming second-year quarterback Nick Foles into the league's top-rated passer. Foles led the NFL in yards-per-attempt and passed for 27 touchdowns compared to just two interceptions.

Dennis Hickey, General Manager
Hickey hasn't exactly been welcomed with open arms, but at least he's not Jeff Ireland. Hickey doesn't come from a winning environment in Tampa Bay and was not the general manager, but was instrumental in the Buccaneers acquiring wide receiver Vincent Jackson and safety Dashon Goldson. Tampa Bay also drafted running back Doug Martin and linebacker Lavonte David with Hickey in the front office. For all of Tampa Bay's recent shortcomings, the lack of personnel was not one of them.

Mike Ferguson is a staff writer at Dolphin Shout and the founder and editor of Outside the Redzone. Like Outside the Redzone on Facebook! Also, follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

The Dolphins Late-Season Collapse, and Why

I was probably just as let down as any of you when I saw our Dolphins fall on their face in the final two games of the season. Especially against two teams that looked to be inferior on paper. Teams they should have been able to beat. But then I started looking into the possible reasons why they lost to two division rivals, and a few interesting facts seemed to jump out at me.

Let's set aside the Bert Bell's quotation, "On any given Sunday, any team in the NFL can beat any other team" and the idea there is parity in the NFL.

Last season, of the 32 teams in the NFL, only one team was successful in sweeping all 6 of their divisional games. The 11 - 6 Colts.

And conversely, only one team lost every one of their divisional contests. (The 3 - 13 Redskins).

While these games are important in determining the four AFC/NFC divisional champions and play a factor in some tie breaker strategies, they do not always represent the best teams going into the playoffs.

The worst divisional record of the four AFC Division Champions was the northern division Bengals with their 3 - 3 record. In the NFC, the Packers, (also in the northern division) had a 3 - 2- 1 record.

The 11 - 5 Chiefs had the worst AFC division record of the two wild card teams with a 2 - 4 mark. (The 9 -  7 Chargers managed a 4 - 2 stat). In the NFC, both the 12 - 4 49er's and the 11 - 5 Saints were 5 -1 versus their divisional foes.

The 8 - 8 Steelers had the best division record in the AFC for a non playoff team @ 4 - 2, while in the NFC, the 8 - 8 Cowboys actually had a 5 - 1 record against their division rivals.

In all:
1 team in the NFL lost all of their divisional match ups.
5 teams won 1 game against a divisional opponent.
7 teams won 2 matches, (Miami was one of them).
7 clubs won 3, (including the Jets and the Bills).
6 teams won 4, (all but two, were in the playoffs).
5 teams won 5, (All but one made the playoffs).
1 team won all 6 divisional games.

Divisional games are always some of the most difficult to figure out because of the familiarity these teams have with one another and the fact that they playing each other twice a year. (And sometimes a third time in the playoffs, too). If anyone knows each others strengths and weaknesses, these teams do. A division foe is more likely to beat you than any other team in your conference. (Or opposing conference). Now you get an idea why the NFL loves to schedule these, "Trap Games" at the end of each season. It's a, "no holds barred" affair with playoff implications weighing in the balance. A team may have done poorly all season, but if they can make sure one of their division rivals doesn't reach the playoffs, then they at least have bragging rights to that feat.

All but one of the 12 playoff teams wound up losing a game with someone in their division. Half of them lost 2 games or more to a division rival. Like I said. They are harder to predict than matches between teams that rarely get to play each other.

Buffalo, at 5 - 9 was already out of the playoff race when they played Miami for the second time. They do have a potent running game, (our biggest defensive weakness) and the leagues best pass rushing quartet (which reaped havoc against our league worst, offensive line in pass protection).

They were able to take full advantage of these traits against us on their own turf. With nothing to lose they also threw in a couple of trick plays at opportune times to demoralize and seal our fate. But then, they played several good teams and gave them all they could handle during the season and did beat us in our first meeting, as well.

The Jets, (with a better 7 - 8 record than the Bills) were just about mathematically out of playoff contention. They had the slimmest chance of making it and were depending on everything working out just right with several other AFC week 17 match ups.

They had less of an offensive to worry about being 31st in passing but were ranked 6th in rushing yards. They were about as good in pass defense as us (22nd vs. 21st respectively) but were number 3 against the run. Their talented defensive front seven did not sack Tannehill once, but  they kept pressure on him and held our running game to 97 yards and only 2 rushing first downs. Where they got us was in turn overs.

Miami had led the league all year long having at least one turn over in every game, through 15 games. (Something no other team could lay claim to). Miami did not create one fumble recovery or interception during this final game. The Jets however intercepted Miami 3 times which proved to be the deciding factor in this contest. They ran the ball 42 times for 154 yards (3.7 average) and passed sparingly but effectively. (18 of 28 for 220 yards). Testimony that even a rookie QB (Geo Smith) can play well with a decent running game in front of him.

Some say they were playing to keep Rex Ryan's job. I believe any coach that tries to motivate his team by using such an unprofessional ploy deserves to be let go at season's end. Ryan is known for being a player's coach. He is a good motivator and should not have to stoop to that level to get his team fired up to win. He has accomplished more than expected after losing a bunch of key starters before the season. Most believed the Jets to be in a rebuilding year with a rookie QB and very little talent. But the New York Jets almost made the play offs, mostly on the back of a strong defense.

Professional football players play for one reason alone. To win! You won't hear any player honestly tell you they wanted to win one for their coach, or the Gipper or any other reason/cause. It's a matter of pride and honor.

Philbin may not show much emotions or have the motivational tools that some coaches posses but he did keep the team together during the Martin/Incognito fiasco. He believes in a family like atmosphere/team first philosophy. He doesn't throw anyone under the bus and is loyal to his players/staff. They know what to expect from him and that he is a man of integrity and high moral values. He does possess a rather dry sense of humor, but doesn't put up with any nonsense. 

Yes, it was a major disappointment to lose the way we did at the end of the year. Even more so to lesser teams like the Bills or Jets. But if anyone is going to keep you humble in this league you can count on it being someone in your own division. Why do you think division rivalries are the most hyped, heated, bitter battles in the NFL? You think we aren't going to remember how these two teams kept us out of the playoffs when we face them again in 2014?

I hate to offer the usual, "wait until next year" optimism. We have hired a new Offensive Coordinator, a few needed positional coaches and a new General Manager. And I have to say, there is a very real reason to look forward. Unlike some of the mediocre staff we brought in in years past, a couple of these coaches come from better than average franchises with some very respectable statistics and history to back them up.

But I'll save that for future stories.

Stephen Ross is Guilty of Trying Too Hard

Badgered incessantly for failing to lure a prominent head coach or GM, Ross’s shortcoming has not been rejection. Ross is guilty of trying too hard…

Most successful NFL teams have two things in common, a great quarterback and organizational stability.

Jim Harbaugh was never coming to Miami. He lived in the Bay area where QB Alex Smith was selected number one in the draft, but Ross tried to lure him anyway. Jeff Fisher wanted full control and probably would have gotten it, but Saint Louis had Sam Bradford and a bevy of draft picks, the choice again was obvious, but Ross still tried. Had Jeff Fisher proposed a contract number and insisted on Jeff Ireland’s removal, Ross quite possibly would have relented. The negotiation never got to contract talks.

Peyton Manning had the choice between coming to Miami and helping rebuild a franchise or going to Denver which had won a playoff game the previous season with Tim Tebow at quarterback! Manning was thinking about going to Super Bowls, rebuilding was not on his agenda. John Elway, a fellow member of the QB mutual admiration society, was running the Broncos and at least Manning was honest enough to decline an interview. Yet Ross went to the extent of asking Dan Marino to help.

During the GM selection process, Ross never lost sight of the two keys to success in the NFL. Ross defined the real problem, “we needed to have harmony within the organization.  We had to think as one organization where everybody had respect for each other.  That operates in the same mindset at all times in all situations.”

Ross knew Jeff Ireland did not have a mutual respect for Joe Philbin and said as much, “It goes back to having respect for each other. I didn’t feel it. We had to make a decision and move on.”

New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio and Tennessee Titans vice president Lake Dawson came into the interview with the expectation of being able to fire Joe Philbin. Ross was willing to try to work with these men and proved it by offering the position, but he made the offer with the expectation of organizational stability. Both men wished to keep Miami on the merry-go-round by starting over yet again with a new coach. Ross refused, and he and his team were labeled dysfunctional.

Ignoring the Ross mandate for organizational stability the critics call it blind loyalty to Philbin. The question is, can there be stability without loyalty? When an organization is criticized no matter what move they make, the only option is to ignore the critics and make decisions based on the guidelines that predict success. Stability begins with loyalty, Ross gave that same loyalty to Jeff Ireland only Jeff forgot the word “organizational.” Achieving organizational stability comes with mutual respect which is another form of loyalty to those on the same team. Ireland broke the chain of respect and the loyalty it implies.

Caserio and Dawson expecting Ross to meet their requirement of hiring their own coach were effectively asking Ross to abandon the philosophy he mandated for success, stability. These men called the situation in Miami untenable because their own egos were already bigger than the team. They saved face by walking away bad mouthing Ross and the Dolphins, but objectively they lost the opportunity of a lifetime by ignoring the importance Ross placed on the formula.

Dennis Hickey was considered a lame duck in Tampa after the firing of Mark Dominick. Why would Miami choose a GM who was on the chopping block in Tampa? The perception that Dennis Hickey was not worthy in Tampa is incorrect. Mark Dominick was fired because he hired Gregg Shiano who failed as an NFL coach. New coach Lovie Smith was given the power to hire his own GM, since Hickey was Dominick’s assistant he was the odd man out, it had nothing to do with his performance in Tampa.

Unlike the other candidates Hickey placed no stipulations on his employment. Hickey did not feel power was more important than teamwork. He was happy to collaborate with Joe Philbin and arrives with the most experience in the evaluation of college talent of any candidate interviewed.

Ross solved the stability issue by hiring Dennis Hickey. The team remains intact and there will be no sweeping changes.

The second key to NFL success is the QB position. Hickey brings new eyes to the table… Ryan Tannehill has many attributes of a good QB, but the tangible proof of winning has not shown through. Miserably losing the last two games to beatable teams still falls more on the field no matter how easy it is to fault the stoicism of the coach. Coaches and GMs pay the price for QB play every year in the NFL. Genius on the sideline and in the front office coincides with QB play on the field.

Ross has now bought all the groceries… If it does not translate to wins, he has no one to blame but himself.