A New Era Begins for the Miami Dolphins

When the Miami Dolphins traded Ryan Tannehill, the next era of the franchise officially began. Stuck in neutral, the Dolphins could never rise into the league's upper echelon, yet were never horrible enough to consider drafting Tannehill's successor. An NFL quarterback is either the savior or the bane for the entire organization surrounding him.

The list of casualties is extensive, Philbin, Campbell, Gase, Ireland, Hickey, Tannenbaum, throw in all the coordinators and position coaches and it's easy to see how one player can affect the lives of every person associated with a professional football team. The incredible difficulty and importance of the quarterback position places the rest of the organization squarely on the shoulders of a single player.

Many pundits do not believe the fate of so many resides in success at one position, but the "Fired Football Coaches Association" may disagree. Obviously, teams with great QBs are in the mix every year and teams without sometimes get there, but everything must fall perfectly into place. It is also the reason fans and writers spend so much time and energy on the quarterback position.

Brian Flores and Chris Grier begin their journey through the minefield with singular purpose; their jobs depend on finding a quarterback. Coming from the house of the GOAT, Flores knows what it looks like. He has an advantage Adam Gase was never given, he doesn't have to attempt whispering mind tricks to coax a Lamborghini out of a Chevy. Chevy's aren't bad, a Corvette is a Chevy, but even a Corvette will never be mistaken for a Lamborghini. It's when a team invests $50 million dollars in that Chevy that it damn well better become a Lamborghini or the "Fired Football Coaches Association" awaits.

It all means, Flores and Grier either find that player, or eventually join the esteemed FFCA. The Dolphins purged the entire team, divesting older highly paid players in salary cap maneuvers. Ever wonder what kind of text messages those guys sent Tannehill when his inability to raise the team brought the hatchet down? Maybe Miko Grimes wasn't so wrong after all...

There is no time for the I-told-you-so folks to pat their own backs, its time to move on. This leads to Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen in what should be a single season tryout, not a seven-year project. There is no doubting what the Dolphins have in Ryan Fitzpatrick, he's a placeholder until the real deal presents itself.

Grier knows the FFCA quite well, he watched the demise of all the names above first hand. He knows implicitly that his future resides on the throwing arm of the next Miami Dolphins franchise QB. The trade for Josh Rosen could go either way, but that depends solely on play of Josh Rosen, not the hope of Josh Rosen. Grier placed Miami and Rosen in a great position to be successful. Grier doesn't stand to lose much if Rosen busts and Rosen is no longer burdened with being the 10th pick of the draft.

Miami can only lose by playing the Tannehill game and thinking a QB that has never been a winner can somehow find the Midas touch. History for Rosen is not necessarily great, his UCLA teams never achieved greatness, but that is not a huge concern. UCLA last won the NCAA football championship in 1954. It is not as if the Bruin's are annually churning out national powerhouses. Rosen is in the NFL because he has an NFL caliber arm and has exceptional intelligence to play the position.

What Miami needs to figure out in short order is whether Rosen can win when surrounded by NFL caliber talent. The Arizona Cardinals had a fair offensive line in training camp. Then Center A.Q. Shipley tore an ACL before the season, right guard Justin Pugh tore an ACL in November, right tackle Andre Smith was released in November for non-football reasons, left guard Mike Iupati injured an MCL on Dec. 3, and then left tackle D.J. Humphries re-injured a knee on Dec. 5 and they all missed the remainder of the season.

Rosen will now get a second chance with a Dolphin team that may not be much better than those Cardinals. It will not be easy to judge whether the kid can actually play with a decent team around him. Rosen must display the illusive "IT" factor even if his team is simply not good enough to beat quality NFL opponents.

In the event that Rosen plays the Tannehill opossum and shows just enough to tease, the Dolphins should open the 2020 NFL draft with a QB. This is what the 2019 Miami Dolphins season comes down to, the Rosen audition. It doesn't mean he has to set the NFL afire, it means he has to show beyond any doubt that he has what it takes to be a great NFL QB.

In the coming days, Quadzilla will use his exceptional skills to give Dolphinshout his exclusive Josh Rosen evaluation. Please tune-in and learn the good, the bad and the ugly about Josh Rosen.

Miami Dolphin 2019 Draft Musings

2019 Draft Musings
BY: Joe Tarell (Quadzilla)

The 2019 NFL Draft beginning on April 25th in Nashville is going to be a notable draft for a number of reasons.  The main theme for this class is that it will be remembered three to five years from now as very weak in overall talent.  First let me explain that and then I will dig into some of the players and how it will likely play out.

We all know that the QB class of 2020 is supposed to be a very strong group, just as in 2017 everyone pointed to the 2018 class.  The fact is this draft is not that strong overall or at the QB.  The unanimous top player in this draft is Nick Bosa.  While many expect him to be a good NFL prospect, the injury history and the measurables do not equate to an elite prospect.  He was well-trained, having NFL level players for a father, brother and uncle, but he will not out-technique everyone in the NFL the way he did in college.  The good news is that there is awesome depth in the D-line prospects, just not elite talent.  It appears to be the same at OT.  The two places where there appears to be elite talent are at ILB and TE, which are not the glamour positions. I just think this is a draft where we may not see a single HOF candidate when it is all said and done.

The QB’s in this class are led by Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray.   Both have strengths that can’t be denied, but both are one year starters with some major concerns as well.  I list Haskins first because his weakness is mobility and that can be overcome easier than size, which is Murray’s weakness.  I would rather go watch Kyler Murray play, but I would rather not draft either of them and risk my job on it.  After that, the talent drops off very quickly as I do not believe that Drew Lock is an NFL caliber starting QB, though I believe that Daniel Jones has the most upside of all of them considering he played at Duke and not a single player from that roster is going to be drafted.  The Dolphins should wait until next year for their QB in my opinion unless Haskins falls to them in the first or Jones in the second.

Drafting a QB is more art than science and most people get it wrong.  The fact is that three of the best QB’s in the history of the NFL are Tom Brady, Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas.  They were drafted in the 6th, 3rd and 9th rounds respectively.  Even Dan Marino, though technically a first rounder, was the sixth QB taken in 1983.  The key defining trait of great QB’s is leadership.  John Elway is the picture of the athlete you want playing QB, but took nearly 15 years to win a Super Bowl because it took time to become a leader and we are seeing that now in his role as a GM.  After leadership comes competitiveness.  And the next is the ability to deliver a football amid the chaos of an NFL pocket accurately and on time while seeing 22 moving parts and knowing how the movements will culminate in a completed pass… better known as spatial awareness.  Now tell me how the hell you measure those three things at the Combine or a freaking pro day?

Kyler Murray sat behind Baker Mayfield, but his three high school state championships and his one year at Oklahoma tell me all I need to know about his competiveness and leadership. I also think he has great spatial awareness and accuracy.  If he were over 6 feet tall we would have an Andrew Luck grade on him.  Draft him if you get the chance.  Haskins on the other hand, sat behind TJ Barrett (he’s an NFL star now isn’t he) and played on arguably one of the top three most talented teams in the country and still could not make the playoffs.  If you watch his tape closely, he has three NFL caliber WR’s and he waits for them to get clearly open before delivering the ball.  He got away with that because of the talent level at OSU but it caught up to him at times.  I still think he has a chance to be good in the NFL, but not elite.

I won’t spend much time on RB and WR because I do not believe there is a single player worthy of a first round choice in this draft.  I would almost never pick a RB in the first round and with WR’s it is almost as bad.  My theory on RB’s goes back to pee wee football and the best player is always at RB so by the time they get draft-eligible they are a dime-a-dozen and they only last three to four years anyway.  The WR position is similar these days with the proliferation of the spread offenses at the lower levels of football.  You add in the Diva Factor and the belief that this position is totally relying on the other 10 guys to have any chance for success and it is bad recipe.  Josh Jacobs is the best RB prospect and he did not even start in college.  Marquis Brown came to college weighing 144 pounds and now is a hefty 166, while DK Metcalf looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane.  Really?  These are the top two prospects?  I will wait until rounds two through four and reduce the Diva Factor, thank you very much.

The TE class is intriguing again this year.  TE’s usually take a year to develop in the NFL so there is still some hope for Gisecki and Smythe.  I bring those two names up for a couple reasons; one, because this is a Dolphins blog and I am still pretty high on both of them, but also because they are two separate types of TE.  One is primarily a blocker and the other is primarily a receiver. The feeling is that T.J. Hockenson can be both so he is expected to go early, Noah Fant and Irv Smith, Jr. are better receivers than blockers but Smith is probably closer to being a combo than Fant.  All three could go in round one as the TE position has become more of a focal point lately.  Teams play follow the leader and the Patriots have always been the leaders in utilizing the TE, but now with Philadelphia winning a Super Bowl and the Chiefs having Kelce as a primary threat, they are becoming all the rage.  We will see 15 or more TE’s get drafted this year after 14 went each of the last two years.

The OT class is not very strong this year.  If there is top LT prospect he is usually going in the top five and we may not see one come off the board until after 10 and even some of the other Tackles expected to get first round attention are potentially moving to OG.  Jawaan Taylor seems to be the top  OL prospect followed by Andre Dillard, Jonah Williams, Cody Ford and a couple of interior guys like Garrett Bradbury and Chris Lindstrom or Erik McCoy.  Again, some good depth, but not exactly rated as elite.

The defensive line is the strength of this draft and  is usually split into two groups these days.  The edge rushers, who could be OLB’s in a 3-4 or DE’s in a 4-3, but they are primarily edge defenders who rush the passer and set the edge in the run game.  The second group is the interior players, which may be a 3-4 DE, a DT or NT.  The edge group is pretty strong and deep, but not elite in my opinion.  Bosa, Josh Allen, Montez Sweat, Rashan Gary, Clelin Ferrell, Brian Burns and potentially one or two others could all go in round one.  When it comes to edge defenders I always count productivity over measurable, that is why Sweat, Allen and Bosa should all go well ahead of Gary.  The leading sacker of all time in the NCAA is in this draft, Jaylon Ferguson, who went to Louisiana Tech – I want him before I want Rashan Gary.  A wise person once wrote, ‘whatever they are before they get paid, they will only become more like that after they get paid.’

In the interior defensive line we again have a strong and deep group led by Quinnen Williams, who may be the best player in the draft.  Ed Oliver, Christian Wilkins, Jeffrey Simmons (who is recovering from a torn ACL), Dexter Lawrence and Jerry Tillery could all go in the first round.  There are also enough good players here that talent can be found into rounds three and four.  Again, though, other than Williams, I do not see any elite players.  You can pick them apart for a variety a flaws; Oliver had some attitude issues and is on the small side, Lawrence has minimal production, Simmons has the ACL and some character flags, so buyer beware.  The Dolphins first pick could come from these two groups, my guess is Wilkins.

At the LB position there a couple of players that really turned heads at the combine.  Normally, I am opposed to the workout warrior, but when the production is there and with Devin White and Devin Bush it is definitely on film, and they run 4.41 at the combine, hello first round.  Bush will go later because he is only 5’11”, but these two guys are three down linebackers with a ton of tackles and plays made from sideline to sideline at two big time schools.  Plug and play.  Unfortunately there is not much depth here.

Defensive back is another area where there is no truly elite player in this draft.  Many have the best CB as Greedy Williams from LSU but I wouldn’t draft him before the third round for one simple reason; he won’t tackle.  Watch his tape and you will see he is a pile inspector.  Tackling is about desire, not talent or skill, it does not get better in the NFL.  Deandre Baker and Byron Murphy are much better candidates and likely first rounders, but there really is not much to get excited about.  Some safeties like Jonathan Abram or Taylor Rapp may go in round one but they are mostly graded as 2nd rounders.

So what is the consensus? Miami at 13 should be able to get a really good OL or DL candidate.  I don’t expect an all-pro to be sitting there unless you want to draft Jeffrey Simmons and give him a redshirt year.  He has top 5 talent, but tore his ACL in February preparing for the draft so there is little chance he contributes this year.  If the Dolphins are truly rebuilding for 2020 and beyond this pick make sense.  Otherwise pick Andre Dillard, Jonah Williams or Cody Ford for the OL.  I also like Garret Bradbury as a guard or center, but this is a little early.  Maybe a trade back is in order.

Then in the second round Miami should just flip the side of the ball.  If you go Simmons in round one, go OL at 48, where Kaleb McGary, Titus Howard or one of the highly ranked interior players should be available.  If you go OL in round one, then Jaylon Ferguson, Jerry Tillery, L.J. Collier or Chase Winovich should be available.  The point is stick to the strength of this draft and go get some big uglies.

Miami should avoid skill positions until at least round three unless a DB falls in their lap in round two.  If Dwayne Haskins somehow slips to 13, take him.  I have a good feeling about him, but all of this talk of him slipping is a just smoke screen.  Remember, it is lying season.  Three or four QB’s will likely come off the board before the Dolphins pick at 13.  And this means with T.J. Hockenson also likely off the board, the Fins will get one of the top 9-10 linemen in the draft at 13.  Get a big ugly that sacks the QB or protects the QB or trade out of the pick.  And don’t be surprised if they trade out multiple times next weekend and take 2020 choices in return.

The Miami Dolphins Leap into the Future

Miami Dolphin fans watch the ugly business of shedding contracts hoping it ends in a sustainable winning team. The Dolphins have dominated free agent signing many times in a twenty stretch of mediocrity without fielding a playoff caliber roster. Finally recognizing that building teams through free agency is not a winning formula in the NFL, Miami embarks on an interesting journey through the minefields of the NFL draft.

"Building through the draft," has a wonderful sound to it, but selecting which human is best prepared for the rigors of NFL football, is an inexact science at the very least, a guessing game at best. Agents have become teachers, processing players through a myriad of classes designed to provide answers to questions in preparation to present the perfect football player. How can a person be courteous and kind, yet mean as rabid pit-bull.

It's an interesting dichotomy...

Meeting face-to-face with prospects about to become the team's future is essential when failure is fatal. Attempts to trip up scripted responses have led to interesting questions. Jeff Ireland's callus inquiries about Dez Bryant's mother, or whether a player prefers men, or how many cars did he steal, have made headlines for all the wrong reasons. In reality, these meetings have little bearing on whether a prospect will make a great professional. During the pageantry, they are actors auditioning, not players playing.

Miami Dolphin fans can relate to Dion Jordan as a great example of all that can go wrong. When it seems too good to be true, it probably is. The Dolphins were picking 12th in 2013 and the Raiders were willing to accept Miami's 12th and 42nd pick to give Miami the 3rd overall pick. One look at these names is all you need to know the Dolphins should have traded down, instead of trading up.

1 Eric Fisher OT
2 Luke Joeckel OT
3 Dion Jordan DE
4 Lane Johnson OT
5 Ezekiel Ansah DE
6 Barkevious Mingo OLB
7 Jonathan Cooper OG
8 avon Austin WR
9 Dee Milliner CB
10 Chance Warmack OG
11 D.J. Fluker OT
12 D.J. Hayden CB
13 Sheldon Richardson DE
14 Star Lotulelei DT
15 Kenny Vaccaro SS
16 EJ Manuel QB
17 Jarvis Jones OLB
18 Eric Reid FS
19 Justin Pugh OT
20 Kyle Long OG
21 Tyler Eifert TE
22 Desmond Trufant CB
23 Sharrif Floyd DT
24 Bjoern Werner OLB
25 Xavier Rhodes CB
26 Datone Jones DE
27 DeAndre Hopkins WR
28 Sylvester Williams DT
29 Cordarrelle Patterson WR
30 Alec Ogletree OLB
31 Travis Frederick C
32 Matt Elam FS

The Dolphins committed the Cardinal Sin of selecting a player based on his measurements and combine numbers. They overlooked the player's obvious troubles, exacerbated by bringing that player within reach of South Beach. Jordan cost Miami picks 12 and 42. Imagine if they had traded down for a couple of 2nds, here are few names selected later in 2013.

35 Zach Ertz TE
37 Giovani Bernard RB
46 Kiko Alonso MLB
48 Le'Veon Bell RB
57 D.J. Swearinger SS
61 Eddie Lacy RB
63 Travis Kelce TE
69 Tyrann Mathieu FS
71 T.J. McDonald SS
76 Keenan Allen WR
85 Jordan Reed TE

Miami actually ended up paying two of these players premium free agent contracts. The problem in today's selection process is placing too much weight on profile numbers and not enough on what's on film. Jeff Ireland's glaring example with Dion Jordan should serve as the poster child for every want-to-be general manager.

It is obvious, Ireland was unprepared for the 3rd pick in that draft. Looking at the first round players, Oakland knew every player in the 3rd slot could be had with the 12th or indeed, the 42nd pick. There were some good offensive linemen at the top of that draft, but Ireland was under pressure to make something happen. He had submarined his coach in a power play, leaving his owner hanging out to dry. Ireland needed to take a chance. In the end, it cost him his job and very nearly his career.

Oakland ended up with D.J. Hayden and Menelik Watson. Watson never turned into much, but Hayden has been a starter in the league since that draft. What rings true is, there are very few can't miss prospects. The only position worth taking risks on is the quarterback. The irony is, there was only one QB taken in the 1st round of that draft, EJ Manuel. In fact, there was only one QB taken in the second round, Geno Smith. Not one true starting QB came from the 2013 draft.

If the only reason to trade up is for a QB, Jeff Ireland did it in the poorest NFL QB draft class in the last twenty years. Ireland believing Ryan Tannehill was a franchise quarterback in 2012, created a disaster from which, the Miami Dolphins have yet to recover.

The reason for this comparison is only two possible franchise QBs are available in this draft, Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray. Neither of these QBs is an absolute sure thing which means, the teams at the top of this draft will be looking to opt-out.

Miami must not, for any reason become a player in these reindeer games. The second and third rounds of this draft overflow with talent and this is the prefect year to forget the splash and trade down.

Tyrod Taylor and Teddy Bridgewater have both opted for contracts as backup quarterbacks rather than join the Miami Dolphins as a one-year starter.

The term "placeholder quarterback" has become vogue when discussing the position in Miami. Miami is looking to stock draft picks in the coming years and the most painful way to do that is by losing starters through free agency and not replacing them. This creates opportunities for compensatory draft picks the following year.

If Taylor or Bridgewater was a starting free agent QB in Miami (and indeed, they would) then it would displace the loss of Wake or James. Those two players will start on other teams and by not replacing them, Miami earns compensatory draft picks.

Bridgewater or his agent may have an over inflated idea of his value, but if a QB is coming to a team as the starter, than he should be paid as a starter. Why get killed and not get paid? Miami is not willing to pay a placeholder quarterback and hence, they have no incentive to come to Miami.

The press will malign the Dolphins as a place no quarterback is willing to play. The truth is, this is the pain Miami must endure to erase the errors reaching all the way back to Jeff Ireland.

It's interesting how none of this is ever tied to a man named Bill Parcells, but it was Parcells who began the downhill run. Parcells hired Ireland and Sparano (RIP) without understanding, once Jeff Ireland smelled the scent of power, the strength would overwhelm him.

The Dolphins swapped their 6th round pick for a 7th round pick in the 2019 draft and obtained a 4th round pick in the 2020 draft in trade for QB Ryan Tannehill.

The Dolphins understand, 2019 is not going to be a pretty season so why add players now. It means a QB position manned with marginal talent that will not impair the ability to obtain compensatory draft picks. It also assures the team will not be very good.

It's going to be a tough ride for Miami fans... Rigorously adhering to a plan is painful but there is some relief. In the past, Miami was under the illusion of being constantly one player away from a playoff team. They did not seem to understand the difference between a minor playoff team and a Super Bowl caliber team. The new regime clearly understands this difference and it starts at quarterback.

The quest to find a great quarterback in the draft, begins now...

Buckle your seatbelts, it's going to be an interesting ride Miami Dolphin fans!

Miami Dolphins Must Pass on Kyler Murray

The NFL combine finds Dolphin fans gushing at the prospect of hands bigger than a Baker, taller than a fleeting Russell, stronger than a basking Haskins...

It's Super Kyler!

He, with Heisman Trophy hoisted high, fills the Miami skies with footballs flung like rockets into every corner of the stadium. Super Kyler, able to leap tall rushers in a single bound, leads a band of first-year coaches on a journey to the rarified grass of Super Bowl's past.

Super Kyler, winner of three state high school championships, rips off 4 second forty's while juggling intricate passing routes and blocking schemes.

Disguised as mild mannered, cool as a cucumber quarterback, with a perfect moral compass, fights a never-ending battle against the evil forces of player profiling everywhere.

Kyler Murray, the savior of the Miami Dolphins, destined to break the stigma that has stifled Heisman Trophy winning QBs since Jim Plunkett won the Super Bowl in 1981.

It's that time of year ladies and gentleman, when lights shine brightly on the Underwear Olympics. Where pro-days extol the greatness of passes thrown to uncovered receivers, stopwatches click the virtues of speed unheard of, and bench presses uncover the superhuman strength hidden beneath flabby exteriors.

Meaningless information, when a film-room will quickly show whether real football production lurks beneath the flashy numbers.

It's the motion of the ocean, not the size of the wave. It's the size of the fight in the dog, not the size of the dog in the fight. It's the production shown on that tape, therein lies the hope of Kyler Murray. An overtime loss to the Georgia Bulldogs kept Oklahoma from a chance at the national title where Murray may have cemented his legend.

Size is always in question, because NFL players fit neatly into prototypical profiles. Football is likened to chess and mistaking a pawn for a queen is instant death. Two quarterbacks that were less than 6 feet tall have each won a single Super Bowl in the last 30 years. That is 28 other winners and every multiple winner - ever.

The implications are not that a less than 6 foot tall QB cannot win the Super Bowl, the implications are that it is statistically unlikely. It's even more unlikely that quarterback will win more than one. Here is where a rebuilding team must think clearly about the future. There are enough improbabilities in selecting football players, why add to those by risking even greater improbability.

When a team is ranked near the bottom offensively and defensively, there is an obvious lack of talent across the entire roster. There is one position that can make up for that lack of talent and every team in the NFL is looking for it, the quarterback.

Miami, having somehow won 6 games, will more than likely have to vault over other teams to select Super Kyler. This means, they will not only be taking a huge chance on the size of the fight in the dog, but they will also have to give up other potential pieces needed to rebuild a faulty roster.

All jocularity aside, the only Super Kyler question the Miami Dolphins need ponder is what to do if he is still available at 13. In which case, the team should sell him off to the highest bidder. Miami would be much better served not taking a bold but foolish chance on the diminutive quarterback.

Miami is rebuilding because of foolhardy decision-making, drafting first round players like Charles Harris, DeVante Parker, Dion Jordan and alas even Ryan Tannehill. These players are no better than any second or third round talent in the same class. These players were mere fodder for a smart team looking to gain more from second and third round picks.

Here's the 2019 rundown from a team that plays the draft game very well.

1st: 32nd
2nd: 56th
2nd: 64th
3rd: 73rd
3rd: 97th
3rd: 101st

In those same three rounds, the Miami Dolphins will select:

1st: 13
2nd: 48
3rd: 78

The mistakes of the past resonate in those numbers...

There is a sentiment, that a quarterback must be selected even if it proves wrong, because the position dictates the game and hence Super Kyler is on the radar of every Miami fan. It is the absolute truth, Miami must find a QB, but they would be foolish to trade up for Super Kyler, knowing it would take all of the selections listed above to pull it off.

There is one thing Super Kyler cannot resolve in Miami...

Kyler Murray cannot absolve the sins of the past. Murray cannot wipe out Mike Tannenbaum's mistakes that have left the Dolphins without picks or salary cap room. The reason Tannenbaum made those mistakes is because winning now was more important than sustaining a team capable of winning every season.

The year is not right for Miami to take a chance on Kyler Murray. There will be another Super Kyler next year and the year after. A cap healthy Miami team, well stocked with starting talent, will be in the position to select him. This year, unfortunately the Dolphins must pass.

Super Kyler will be leaping tall rushers on another team.

While the Miami Dolphins fix the mistakes of the past...

Should the Miami Dolphins Draft Kyler Murray

In openly claiming to rebuild, the Miami Dolphins have effectively shoved Ryan Tannehill out the door. The quarterback drafted by Jeff Ireland and retained by a multitude of fired regimes has been the defining Dolphin mistake. A repeat mistake will leave the team wallowing in mediocrity for another decade.

In the simplest terms, quarterback play dictates NFL success. Debating the merits of each individual player has made the NFL draft a unique American pastime. The shows, the mocks, the experts, many of whom have never stepped foot on an NFL field will pollute the airways with opinions. All culminating in the moment commissioner Roger Goodell steps to the podium and announces the name holding the key to Miami's future.

Mocking the Miami Dolphins, Mel Kiper has Kyler Murray slotted for pick thirteen. The diminutive Heisman Trophy winner is the most compelling player in the 2019 draft, but is he the future of the Dolphins?

The moment falls on Chris Grier, his chance for genius or his moment of folly. Fate is a cruel twist of timing when a year ago five first round QBs left the stage. In 2019, only three seem worthy and only one is beyond debate. As one of the first picks, Dwayne Haskins would cost Miami so much future draft stock, the pick is unrealistic.

The decision for Grier and his posse dangles on the shoulders of a 5'9" young man with undeniable skill, trapped in a tiny body. Those who played little league football remember Kyler Murray. The little guy with so much speed and shiftiness, no one could tackle him. His team won, it won everywhere he played.

Murray is a three-time state high school football champion. Murray took the Oklahoma Sooners to the college football final four. Murray won the Heisman Trophy. Murray was the ninth pick in the major league baseball draft. Murray is a winner, and this fact is beyond debate.

Unfortunately, time catches up to all of us, faster for some and slower for others. Murray will not grow any taller and adding weight would be detrimental to his game. Time has caught up to Murray. Unlike a gangly Tom Brady stumbling along the 40-yard dash still growing into his body, Murray is done growing.

Any illusion of getting more than what is present with Murray is a mistake. Leading to the ultimate question, can Kyler Murray be an NFL franchise QB? No one can answer this question definitively. Mel Kiper is gambling the Miami Dolphins are willing to take that chance. Beyond a doubt, some team will make Murray a rich man, but is it worth the gamble?

Drew Brees and Russell Wilson are the obvious reference points, both have won a Super Bowl, both are taller than Murray. Brees is one of the all time greats, a future hall-of-famer, but how does that relate to Murray? Brees and Wilson were both good college QBs, neither was a Heisman contender, niether was a first round draft pick, both were still growing when they entered the NFL.

Murray signed a $4.75 million dollar baseball contract apparently without understanding his NFL prospects. When someone close to him realized he would likely become an NFL first round pick, he dropped the baseball money and proclaimed his love of football.

Football, that would guarantee much more than $4.75 million dollars. No one can blame him for this, but in his mind, he knew baseball was probably the sport his body would most likely allow him to play. Money is what changed that perspective.

As a true freshman in 2015 at Texas A&M, Murray appeared in games as a backup with several starts late in the season. On December 24, 2015, Murray announced that he was transferring to the University of Oklahoma. He sat out the 2016 season per NCAA transfer rules. In 2017, Murray was a backup to Baker Mayfield. Murray only started one season of college football.

In a disturbing interview with Dan Patrick, Murray was completely indecisive. He was reluctant to answer even the simplest question. The interview got to the point where Patrick stopped asking Murray questions and began to ask Murray's father to answer what Murray thought. It had eerie reminiscings of Todd Marinovich...

Football and football alone must be the basis of any Miami Dolphin decision. List the positives, next to the negatives and see if one clearly outweighs the other.

Arm strength
Winning history

Very little college experience
No Pro style offense experience
Questionable decision-making
Money-first mentality

The college game is not a great indicator of whether a player will make it in the NFL. College offenses are dissimilar to most pro-sets and the Miami Dolphins can determine whether Murray is a fit by self-examination.

By essentially stealing the New England coaching staff, the Dolphins will be running a version of the Erhardt-Perkins offense. It is a multi-formational pro-set that uses two sided pattern calls for passing routes.

The offense is effective when the quarterback has an in-depth understanding and is able to make quick decisions, on the patterns, formations and blocking schemes. Kyler Murray does not appear to be a fit for the Erhardt-Perkins offense.

Murray may have a great career in the NFL. The team that selects Murray must make a concerted effort to tailor their offense and players to the style of play that will make him effective. Unfortunately, Murray's size is a real concern in the NFL. The injury history of small mobile QBs (RG3) is very much against him.

By examining the facts...

The Miami Dolphins should pass on Kyler Murray.

Is Brian Flores Right for the Miami Dolphins

As the Miami Dolphins await new head coach Brian Flores, the idea of a defensive hire amid the offensive revolution deserves scrutiny. For the first time in Super Bowl history, the four highest scoring teams in the league head into the conference championship games. A place Miami has not seen since 1992, over 25 years ago.

The ancient axiom, defense wins championships, has followed the Dolphins into obscurity. Of the four remaining teams, only the Patriot defense, ranking seventh in points allowed, was better than the league average. The Saints, Chiefs, Rams and Patriots outscored their opponents by a combined 549 points, ranking first, second, third and fifth in point differential.

Here’s the saddest fact of all, the Patriots have the lowest scoring average of the four remaining teams at 27.3 points. The last time the Miami Dolphins averaged anywhere close to that was in 1984. The epic second season of a kid named Dan Marino.

The intent is not to ostracize Brian Flores for being a defensive coach, but as the Patriot’s LB coach and defensive play caller, he certainly is not an offensive guru. This hire reeks of Chris Grier bringing in a friendly face to quell his personal job insecurity. Is it understandable for a first time GM to hire a man he's well acquainted with, but is it in best interest of the Miami Dolphins?

This is consistent with the failings of Stephen Ross. His lack of football knowledge leaves him unable to determine the direction of his football team. Grier may indeed have a solid plan to re-build the Dolphin franchise, but any plan in 2019 and beyond must sway decidedly toward the offense.

There is a reason all the Dolphin coaching candidates are still available, none of them is an offensive coach. Even if Flores has an offensive coordinator up his sleeve, the longevity will be fleeting. As soon as the Miami offense achieves any level of success, the OC will become the hot coordinator of the moment and leave to try his luck as a head coach.

Flores is no Bill Belichick. Even sprouting from the Belichick tree says little about his potential. He landed the Miami job because of New England’s success, but consider the esteemed names that came before him. Bill O’Brien has had a little success at 42-38 (1-3 in playoffs), but Eric Mangini: 33-47, Romeo Crennel: 28-55, Josh McDaniels: 11-17, Matt Patricia: 6-10.

In a league that has litigated out any form of dominant defense, the highest-flying offenses are vying for the title. The Miami Dolphins last attainted any level of success when the team had the highest scoring offense in the league, that was 1984.

Hello, 34 years ago!

Yet the Dolphins hire a Linebacker coach because the rookie GM is comfortable with him?

The team has publicly stated it will draft a franchise quarterback in the next several years. There's a reason Bill Belichick wins, and Andy Reed Wins, and Bill Walsh won, and Don Shula won, it's because they can see and coach greatness at the QB position.

Stephen Ross has entrusted a rookie GM that was the head of college scouting when Miami last picked a first round QB. That was Ryan Tannehill and Chris Grier never spoke loud enough to draft another in seven years when it was apparent Tannehill was nothing special.

The irony in this decision making process is, a linebacker coach is now expected to somehow select and teach the quarterback that will define the future of the Miami Dolphins...

Ross has done it again, he's left his franchise hanging on a whim, good to be rich one guesses...

Pundits will say Bill Belichick is a defensive coach, and while it's true, Belichick evolved his offense around Tom Brady. After so long with Brady, Belichick doesn't need stability at offensive coordinator, the coaches are interchangeable. None has had great success after leaving the system, but Grier expects Flores to be different.

Every person with a modicum of NFL football knowledge knows that a great QB leads every good team in the league. Miami can talk the talk about drafting a QB in the near future. The problem is, what does the team do then, hire a whisperer? Isn't that putting the cart in front of the horse? If there is no one who understands what a great QB looks like, how can the team acquire one?

We're going to build from the inside out... Bla bla bla bla... It's like Bart Simpson. Miami made a declaration, we're drafting a franchise QB in 2020 and will concentrate on the interior line in 2019. Franchise QBs don't fall out of the sky. Tua this and some other guy that in 2020, no one knows if those guys will even be available in two years.

It's the same mistake Bill Parcels made when he thought he was the smartest football guy in the room. Let's draft Jake Long and leave Matty Ice out there because, oh we're building from the inside out. No, Chad Pennington was too frail, Chad Henne was nothing more than a backup and let's not even get into Pat White. They don't grow on trees and thinking they do will get you fired.

The point is, hiring a defensive coach 2019 is a questionable decision. Waiting for a franchise QB to fall in your lap is a questionable decision. Hiring a GM who doesn't understand these facts is a questionable decision.

But this is nothing new...

Stephen Ross may be a real estate genius, but football...

Not so much...

Meanwhile Miami fans wait for a man who can go to the Super Bowl with David Woodley and still pick Dan Marino in the following draft. A man who knows what a great QB looks like.

Stephen Ross, is not that man and it doesn't look like he hired that man either.

The Future Could be Changing in Miami

The Miami Dolphins owner unceremoniously announced the team is planning to tank amid reports he’s going to give away two first round picks for John Harbaugh. What you been smoking Boss Ross?

Why the hell would Harbaugh want to join a team that’s set to tank in order to position themselves to draft a QB. They would then have to send the draft picks to Baltimore, so no QB for you. This can’t be true, can it? Throwing ridiculous sums of money at Jim Harbaugh to lure him away from Michigan, sorta makes sense.

This is what’s happened in Miami since Stephen Ross took over the Titanic ship named the Miami Dolphins, he steers it into every iceberg floating in the Atlantic Ocean. Even propping up Chris Grier seems defeatist. “I have no clue who can steer this ship, so I’ll pull the guy out of the engine room.”

Nothing against Grier, he’s much better choice than selecting a failure like Mike Tannenbaum. Yo Ross, didn’t the butt-fumble give you a clue of Tannenbaum’s QB draft history. Maybe that’s why Miami never brought in a serious challenger for Ryan Tannehill. Tannenbaum was afraid of being laughed at for selecting another butt-fumbler.

Mike Tannenbaum wanted a coach that was arrogant enough to think he could make it work with Ryan Tannehill. Yes, the same Tannehill with a career QBR of 49.1 against the league-wide average of 55.1 since 2012. Mike made the awesome decision to extend Tannehill’s contract for some ridiculous millions thinking,
he at least hadn’t butt-fumbled yet...

Isn’t Tannenbaum the same guy that paid Ndamukong Suh $100 million to play defensive tackle and then cut him while still owing him $30 million. Oh yeah, so it’s no wonder Miami has no cap space, no quarterback and a bunch of old injured free agents. But the Boss still thinks he can lure in some Harbaugh because they’re Michigan guys right.

Are there icebergs in Lake Michigan or do they all just talk like Uppers, “how ‘bout a beer, ahey…”

Perhaps Jim Harbaugh didn’t laugh loud enough when Boss Ross’ flew in on that big old jet airliner to grovel while he already had a coach. Tony Sparano (RIP) was destined to coach really well that season after his owner and GM hack Jeff Ireland flew off to hire his replacement. The conversation must have gone something like, “hey Jim, how ‘bout a beer, ahey…”

The "Chris Grier Show" has had an interesting start, he’s supposed to covet at least one guy that can make him look stupid when he gets turned down for a place like Cincinnati. At least the current choices Miami cannot stumble over failing to land, now that’s refreshing. Grier either has super top-secret inside information on one of these guys or they are so bad no other team was interested in signing them.

Perhaps Grier knew Brian Flores, Eric Bieniemy, Dennis Allen, Kris Richard and Darren Rizzi would remain available throughout his ponderings so he could make a thorough investigation. There were eight head coaching jobs open and only one besides the Dolphins is still unsettled, Cincinnati.

Even the whisperer who has never whispered, Ex-Dolphin coach Adam Gase, landed a gig in New York. He thought the Miami press was unreasonable, welcome to the Big Apple Adam.

Six head coaches have been hired and all five Miami candidates are still available. It seems odd Miami’s choices did not receive more consideration and leads to speculation about their validity. Usually Miami is scraping the bottom of the bucket after the latest Jeff Fisher has flown off on the big old jet airliner for greener pastures somewhere in quarterback heaven.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, especially if they’re big tom gobblers and you’re super hungry. Wait… A big tom gobbler is probably meaner than hell and would be pecking at your hand like it’s a massive corn kernel. 

Wait… Where is this going?

Oh, Darren Rizzi, he’s the bird-in-hand…

Grier may be shrewder than we think, he’s got a guy he can fall back on so he’s not jumping the gun and hiring the quarterback’s coach from Texas Tech. He doesn’t have a whisperee so he doesn’t need a whisperer and hence he can make a clearer decision. He keeps peering into that bush rooting out best damn tom gobbler of the whole freaking rafter.

No, it’s not laughter, it’s rafter… That’s what a group of turkey’s is called (I had to look it up!).

So here all Dolphin fans sit in purgatory, waiting for something to change, paying for the sins of our undefeated past. What is it, five generations (yeah now I’m on biblical crap), five generations is how long it takes for a family to absolve the sins of their fathers. Good Catholic boys know this…

Let’s see our last winning coach was Dave Wannstedt, so not counting interim coaches that’s Satan, Cameron, Sparano, Philbin and Gase! Holy spumoni and eggnog batman we finally paid for our sins! It’s time Miami, it’s time… Chris Grier is going to do the right thing!

Darren Rizzi is the guy I called out in the previous article. After reading up on everything, I’m going to change my mind. The new coach of the Miami Dolphins will be…

Kris Richard

Miami Dolphins Must Step Back to Leap Forward

From a swamp the Miami Dolphins came and to a swamp they have returned. While South Florida has expanded wildly over the past 20 years, the Dolphins have regressed. Interestingly enough, Chris Grier has seen it all in his 19 years with the team. Somehow the longest tenured Dolphin, who rode the ebbing tide, will now reside at the top of the heap.

And it is a heap… 31st in offense, 29th in defense, scored the 26th most points on offense and gave up the 27th most on defense. The Dolphins were outgained by 1619 yards and outscored by 114 points. Miami’s 31 sacks were fourth fewest in the league, while allowing 52, tied for fifth most. The quarterback was ranked dead last by Pro Football Focus.

It is amazing this team was able to scrape out 7 wins while being so statistically horrendous. The axe fell on Adam Gase and Mike Tannenbaum, but Gase realistically had little to work with as a fool’s game was playing out behind the scenes. The win now philosophy was doomed without a true star at quarterback and a penchant for paying older free agents that plagued the team with injuries.

The Miami Dolphins are a complete mess and any coach with winning aspirations is certain to choke on this franchise. Not only is Miami once again in a middling draft position, they have very little cap space to work with and enough dead money to fill Davy Jones’ locker.

The Dolphins would have to cut, Ryan Tannehill, Robert Quinn, Cameron Wake, Ja’Wuan James, Andre Branch and rescind the fifth-year option for receiver DeVante Parker, in order to amass $60 million in cap space. Even with these drastic cuts the Dolphins will carry close to $30 million in dead money from Tannehill and Ndomukong Suh’s terrible contracts.

Not a good look for a coach to step into, no money, no quarterback and no early draft picks to acquire one. While division rivals are loaded with cap space and have either the GOAT at QB, or a shiny new QB heading into his second year. The win now philosophy that only ever produced mediocrity has left the Miami Dolphins in dire straights that may take years to overcome.

Wherever Adam Gase is at, he’s probably grinning from ear to ear, having a Miami Miracle of his own being pushed off the sinking ship just before the final plunge. Sometimes a team must sink before it can swim, and Miami is destined to be underwater for the next two or three years trying to amend the mistakes Mike Tannenbaum inflicted.

The only players likely to see the renaissance are Larimy Tunsil, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Xavien Howard. That means Miami should trade players like Reshad Jones, TJ MacDonald, Kenny Stills, Albert Wilson, Kiko Alonzo. Even Kenyan Drake should be included because by the time Miami is relevant, he will be an older running back. The cuts and trades will leave the cupboard bare, but only then can Miami find a way out of the perpetual purgatory of mediocrity.

The six prominent choices making a splash in the press are, Chiefs offensive coordinator - Eric Bieniemy. Bears defensive coordinator - Vic Fangio, Patriots linebacker’s coach - Brian Flores, Steelers’ offensive line coach - Mike Munchak, Cowboys’ passing game coordinator/DBs - Kris Richard, and the Dolphins own special team’s coordinator and assistant head coach - Darren Rizzi.

Of the above names, only Mike Munchak has prior head coaching experience in the NFL and in three seasons with the Tennessee Titans, he never produced a winning team. The problem with this coaching search is, no candidate with any hopes of winning for three years should take this job.

The Miami Dolphins have been gutted and more cuts are needed to add draft picks and cap space. The Dolphins need to find a true stud at quarterback before any coach is going to win with any consistency. The truth is, the Miami Dolphins are at least a three-year project away from winning anything. Coaches who lose for three seasons, are fired like the last five in Miami.

There is one candidate in this bunch that will approach this job without any illusions. Darren Rizzi knows exactly what he is getting into. Rizzi knows what must happen, knows the expectations of Chris Grier and Stephen Ross and knows the players currently on the roster. Rizzi can quickly look at these players and decide which will be peaking in three years and which will have passed their prime.

Rizzi is not the shiny new coordinator of the moment looking to blaze into head coaching with last-to-first aspirations. It’s not to say the next Dolphin coach shouldn’t have expectations, but the shiny coordinators are much like Adam Gase, they want win now and it’s just not going to happen in Miami.

The Dolphins need a coach willing to purge and rebuild. They need a coach who knows this roster. When it’s open season for trading and cutting, there is no worry about being the jerk who sent some player to Cleveland. This coach gets a clean slate without the expectation of winning now. It’s the perfect place for a first time coach with the patience to rebuild.

Miami also needs a homer coach that really likes South Florida, one who understands the pitfalls of places like South Beach. That knowledge is critical in the player selection process because no matter how talented, troubled players always find the dark side of Miami. Rizzi knows this, he knows this town. Newcomers may have heard tales, but when presented with super talent, they make the critical mistake of believing they can change and control people.

For these reasons, Darren Rizzi is the best candidate for the Miami Dolphins. He must tell the ownership he cannot be judged by his record for at least three seasons. After his third season, then the clock can begin ticking because make no mistake about it, the Miami Dolphins will take at least three years to overcome the win-now philosophy that has gutted this team.

Sorry Dolphin fans, sometimes it takes a step backwards to make a leap forward…