Miami Dolphins: Lurking in Marino's Shadow Are the QB Options for 2011
The 2010 NFL Season officially ended last night with the Green Bay Packers triumphing over the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25. Both were lead by All-star quarterbacks that are he face of each others franchise.
It's time for the Dolphins to do the same now.
How can I team that was picked by NFL.com to be a Super Bowl calibre team, end up not even making the playoffs? The poor play of a quarterback thats how.
Their are no excuses for Chad Henne's poor play this year. The Dolphins built a team around him to succeed with. The Dolphins traded away their offensive line that 4th in the league in rushing for more of a pass-blocking line. They went out and got a Pro-Bowl wide receiver in Brandon Marshall. Yet Henne still played poorly throwing 15 TDs to 19 Interceptions.
And you can't say the Dolphisn didn't give him time to develop. Henne was slated to start in 2010, only getting about 12 quarters of play in 2009. But Henne played 59 quarters (13 starts and 3 quarters of back-up play) in 2009, adding to his development time. He got to learn under one of the smartest quarterbacks out their in Chad Pennington.
Now let's take a look at the different quarterback options for the Dolphins this offseason, if a new CBA is worked out.
Free Agency: Matt Moore
Moore played great football at the end of 2009, leading the Carolina Panthers to some late season victories.
2010 was a lot different. Moore ended up throwing 5 TDs to 10 Interceptions before getting injuried 6 games into the season.
Moore could still be a viable quarterback option for the Dolphins. He has nice accuracy and a good arm. His decision making skills are nice for someone who didn't get to be developed.
What Moore would do for the Dolphins is give them a quarterback that could succeed with a huge running game, which the Dolphins plan on using under Brian Daboll.
Free Agency: Matt Leinart
Matt Leinart is one of those guys that nobody should be down on. The say that he was a bust for playing poorly with the Cardinals, but did he ever really get a chance?
The answer is no. Leinart played in 12 games as a rookie, completing 57% of his passes for 2,547 yards, 11 TDs and 12 Interceptions. Those aren't bad numbers for a rookie playing on a team that was as bad as the Cardinals back in 2006.
Leinart would give the Dolphins another quarterback that could end up being like either Bob Griese (Not a big stat guy but a QUARTERBACK that could get it done when needed) or Dan Marino (Stat guy that leads the team).
Free Agency: Marc Bulger
What Marc Bulger would give the Dolphins is a veteran quarterback to be put into place for right now.
Bulger would probably a 1-2 year guy that let's the Dolphins have a quarterback, focus on other positions in the draft, and let the Dolphins get their franchise quarterback next year, or get a project quarterback this year.
Either way Bulger is not a long term deal. Just a veteran to hold things together for a bit.
Free Agency: Caleb Haine
Did anybody see Hanie almost bring the Bears back to a victory over the Packers to go to the Super Bowl? I did.
Hanie played great for a 3rd string quarterback with virtually no game experience. He looked poised and did the quarterbacks job of leading the Bears down field 3 times in 1 quarter. Yes he threw 2 picks that ended up costing the game, but they weren't that bad of throws and he is a 2nd year quarterback who wasn't even expected to play at all.
Hanie has a nice arm and makes pretty good decision. If the Dolphins start developing him, it could be huge for them.
Free Agency/Trade: Bruce Gradkowski/Jason Campbell
The Raiders have both Gradkoswki and Campbell. I doubt that they will keep both.
Both have good accuracy a nice arm, pretty good mobility. But more importantly, both are good game-managers and have brought victories to a Raiders team that was expected to be in the bottom 10 of the leauge.
Whoever the Raiders don't decide to keep, the Dolphins should make a play for, whether it be Campbell or Gradkowski. Really don't care which.
Free Agency: Dennis Dixon
Dixon is 2-1 as a starting quarterback, even though really he is the 3rs string on the Steelers roster.
Dixon has an arm that can make all of the throws needed of an NFL quarterback. He has good accuracy and decision making and is mobile in the pocket.
Dixon would help both the passing game and the running game and would really give the Dolphins a "Vick".
A good leader that can play well at the Quarterback position, Dixon would be a great steal for the Dolphins.
Trade: Kevin Kolb
Kolb was slated to be the Eagles starter this year, but an injury in Week 1 and the unexpected play of Michael Vick lead to him getting benched.
Right now the Eagles are listening to offers for the 6-4 220lb. Kolb who has a nice arm, good accuracy, and pretty nice mobility.
Kolb would play great to Brandon Marshall's talent and is a great fit for the Dolphins offense.
Trade: Kyle Orton
Orton was playing great until a rib injury sidelined him for the last 3 games of the season. Orton probably could have played in those games, but the Broncos wanted to see how Tim Tebow could play.
Trading for Orton would reunite him and Brandon Marshall (both had their best season with each other). That would be a great fit once again and could get the Dolphins into the playoffs easily.
Orton posses a Henne-like arm, but accuracy that is much, much greater than Henne's. Which is needed in this position.
Draft (Rookie Season Starter): Cam Newton
Cam Newton has to be more of an interesting prospect then Tim Tebow was last year.
Newton possesses a cannon arm, great size, toughness, great leadership, a great mobility. However he played in a spread-offense in college and we never know how that will turn out in the future.
Newton has pretty good accuracy but really needs to improve on it. If he can display the knowledge of a pro-style offense during offseason workout. Newton would be great for the Dolphins.
If he's still available at 15, the Dolphins might have to think about drafting him.
Draft (Rookie Season Starter): Ryan Mallett
Mallett has the best arm I've ever seen on a quarterback. He has great size also at 6-7 238 lbs. and is accurate for the most part.
Mallett has made poor decisions in the past, including a last minute interception in the red-zone against Ohio State during the Sugar Bowl. But Mallett is still a great prospect. His accuracy isn't all that bad, better than Henne's, and his arm makes up for alot of it.
Questions about Mallett's character have arisen, but they really aren't that bad. It's mainly minor stuff that involves drinking. Mallett needs to get a mentor to keep him on the right path so he doesn't end up like Ben Roethlisberger.
If Mallett is available at number 15, and the Dolphins think that he has good enough accuracy, I won't be surprised if they go for him.
Draft (Rookie Season Starter): Jake Locker
Locker has fallen from the Consensus Number 1 overall pick that he was last year. Now he'll be lucky to get drafted in the 1st round.
Locker has a great arm that can make all the throws needed of a quarterback. He has good mobility and better accuracy then they say he does. He played on a Washington team that was not very good so Locker dealt with poor blocking and bad receivers which led to his free-fall. Locker needs to make better decisions and not always throw passes. If he can read defenses and show better mental poise, Locker is going to be a steal at 15.
Draft (Rookie Season Starter): Christian Ponder
Christian Ponder is vaulting back up draft boards after the Senior Bowl. For the most part he played pretty good, minus the bad pass to Leonard Hankerson.
Ponder has great size, a nice arm, good mobility, and great accuracy. If Ponder has a good combine, he will be a sure-fire second round pick, which the Dolphins don't have right now, but Jeff Ireland has talked about trading down to make sure he has a second round pick.
Ponder has had injury troubles before, but he still would be a good prospect.
Draft (Project QBs): Colin Kaepernick
Kaeprnick, like Newton, is another interesting prospect. He has great size and nice measure ables and intangibles like a good arm and accuracy and great mobility, but he played in a Pistol offense while at Nevada.
Like Newton Kaepernick will have to show a great arm and knowledge of a pro-style offense to get drafted in on Day 2.
Kaepernick is a great project Quarterback though, if he spends a year or two developing, he could end up being gold.
Draft (Project QBs): Greg McElroy
McElroy is a proven winner. In his two years starting at Alabama, he lost 3 games, and won a National Championship.
McElory has a nice arm that can make the throws that Henne can. But more importantly he has great accuracy, mental poise, and knowledge of the game. McElory completes his passes and puts it right to the receiver. He is also the smartest quarterback in this years draft class. McElroy could end up being Chad Pennington all over again, minus the injuries.
The Dolphins need to find a quarterback and need to do it soon. Head Coach Tony Sparano's job counts on it.
Right now I'm going to separate the quarterbacks I previously talked about into two categories.
1. Bob Griese Types- Quarterbacks that will step up and do their job, but aren't gonna be putting up huge numbers all the time.
2. Dan Marino Types- The Quarterbacks that are going to be putting up big numbers.
Leave your comments on who you want to be the Dolphins quarterback.
Bob Griese Types
1. Matt Moore
2. Matt Leinart
3. Marc Bulger
4. Caleb Hanie
5. Colin Kaepernick
6. Greg McElroy
7. Jake Locker
Dan Marino Types
1. Kevin Kolb
2. Kyle Orton
3. Bruce Gradkowski/Jason Campbell
4. Dennis Dixon
5. Cam Newton
6. Ryan Mallett
7. Christian Ponder
8. Matt Leinart