A common criticism of the Miami Dolphins is that they are boring. Their playbook is boring, their offense is boring, the coaches they hire are boring and their draft picks are boring.
This year, Dan Henning saw to it that things continued that way. The playbook was abject, and the offense was pedestrian to say the least. With the exception of Brandon Marshall, there is hardly a great ensemble of exciting playmakers; Davone Bess might just be creeping into the category, but that’s a story for another day.
The front office continues to embrace the snooze-fest. Coaching hires such as Brian Daboll hardly stimulate the fan base. After all, he was one of two offensive coordinators who oversaw an offense who managed fewer points than the Dolphins last season.
However, each season they are given the chance to rattle the fans up into a frenzy at the NFL draft; year after year, they do little more than anaesthetise them.
The sole pick in the last few years designed to excite was quarterback Pat White, selected in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. It has to be said, that pick didn’t exactly turn out well.
Coming off a rookie season which accounted for 54 rushing yards, no complete passes and a concussion, White found himself on the unemployment line, before his career was revived by Kansas City.
Only it wasn’t the Chiefs, it was the baseball team…
So, this year, the Dolphins went back to basics.
The 2010 NFL Draft saw them select a defensive end, linebacker and guard, with their first three picks. This was followed by one more linebacker, a cornerback, a safety and another two linebackers. Hardly the exhilarating selections fans hoped for.
There was no star wide receiver to complement the newly acquired Brandon Marshall. Truth be told, Jeff Ireland probably put pay to that idea when he asked Dez Bryant if his mum was a hooker.
There was no ball-hawking safety, despite obvious needs at the position, and Earl Thomas was still on the board when Miami decided to trade back.
There wasn’t even a giant nose tackle; the Dolphins instead chose to move a defensive end to that position to deal with the issue. After all, you wouldn’t want to whip up any excitement by choosing a player like Mount Cody would you?
No, the Dolphins stayed true to themselves, and traded back, before selecting Jared Odrick. No offense to Jared, he looks like a damn good player from the couple of games we saw him play in, but he’s hardly the big-name selection that Dolphins wanted, was he?
Still, by ignoring Dez Bryant, at least we avoided a potentially volcanic meeting between Jeff Ireland and Bryant’s mum right?
Wrong. Even that would have been exciting! In fact, that could have been the most exciting moment in recent Dolphins’ history!
This year the fans are at it again, and they want a quarterback.
That’s not to say we don’t have one of course. We have several; Chad Henne just came to the end of his first full season starting in Miami, Chad Pennington is making a comeback from his season-ending shoulder injury and Tyler Thigpen (Brandon Marshall’s new best buddy), is still on the roster.
The problem is, fans don’t like Henne because he couldn’t get things done behind a porous offensive line, with no running game and an offensive coordinator who recycled his 1920s playbook for this year, and this year only.
Pennington lasted a whole snap before separating his shoulder again, and took just two snaps all season. He’s now on course to try and rehab from a fourth shoulder surgery.
Thigpen, (who was heralded by fans as Henne’s replacement and the potential saviour of Miami’s season), well, now the season’s over, nobody cares about him. He’s a free agent, and despite his rave reviews from disillusioned Dolphins’ fans, who enjoy nothing more than drinking from a half-empty pint glass on a Sunday afternoon, there hasn’t been a single fan anywhere on the Internet advocating Thigpen’s resigning (not that I know of anyway).
So, this year, a quarterback is (again) the weapon of choice.
Only, despite the desires, there aren’t a whole lot on offer.
The best one will be off the board by the time Miami pick.
Out of the others, one might try his luck at becoming Vince Young version 2.0 (with the help of a decidedly dodgy daddy), one has a strong arm, but inconsistent accuracy and one has good athleticism but inconsistent accuracy.
All options will require time to develop. None are guaranteed to become elite quarterbacks in the NFL.
This means fans are onto their next consideration for Miami’s exciting pick.
Running back Mark Ingram has a Heisman Trophy to his name. He also has injury concerns, and isn’t all that different from the current crop of backs Miami have on their roster. He’s not the explosive runner that people want anyway.
None of the other running backs are even tipped to go in the first round.
The most exciting wide receiver, A.J. Green, will be gone in the top 10 picks. Nobody else really warrants consideration; they aren’t exciting enough, and our GM has very little scope for insulting them or their families. Justin Blackmon’s returning to college after all.
Cue the disappointment then. There will likely be no exciting first-round draft pick this year either.
But should fans be disappointed that Miami might again do something sensible? Not at all.
Out of the areas of concern on this year’s Dolphins’ team, the main area to upgrade is the offensive line.
Miami could do with a center, two guards and a tackle, so they should stick to their guns, and do the most boring thing that a team could possible do in the draft.
Trade back, and select a lineman.
Crazy stuff isn’t it? Wouldn’t you all like to rush out and buy a jersey with Carimi or Solder on the back? How about Pouncey or Wisniewski?
What? You wouldn’t?
Well, in that case, would you like to see Miami challenge for the AFC East title again, or even the Super Bowl in the next few years? Do you want to see the vomit-green cheating machine miss out on the playoffs?
Do you want to see Sexy Rexy throw his headset into the ground again? Do you want to see Miami turn back the clock and do better than the Patriots?
Then shut up and pay attention.
Cam Newton is not the answer; nor is Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett or Mark Ingram.
The answer is a lineman; the Dolphins are weakest on their offensive line. They should, therefore, improve their offensive line.
So, any player who can start for the next decade on Miami’s line is a must; be it anchoring the center, or opposite or alongside Jake Long.
Miami should trade back to recoup their second-round draft pick too; and they should consider using that on a lineman too.
Right now, the only Dolphins’ lineman destined to be a great lineman is Long. The others may be good, but they aren’t great. A new, young, lineman can help improve the line for years to come. Two new, young linemen would be even better.
Sure it’s not exciting, but it is necessary.
One top lineman will likely fall into the second round too (they nearly always do). If Miami could get him, well, I’d be excited at least.
The quarterback, running back and fast receiver can come in rounds three, four or five. Maybe even through free agency. It might not be as exciting, but right now, they aren’t the priority.
Henne performed well behind a good offensive line. Ricky Williams, and Ronnie Brown (when healthy), did too. Who’s to say they can’t again? (Except Ricky anyway, he’ll be doing it behind an O-line somewhere in the US outside of South Florida).
Miami need to revert to type this year. They need to be boring. They need to trade back, and they need a new lineman (or two).
The sexy pick is rarely the sensible one. This year isn’t the year to press the front office for excitement, so embrace your team, and hope that they do the boring thing this year too; it’ll be the quickest way Miami return to the playoffs.
As for next year, you can start harassing people for that sexy pick again.
Anyone else want to hop on board the “trade-everything-for-Andrew-Luck” bandwagon? There are still a few seats left.