In addition, New England had another former Dolphin, fullback Heath Evans, starting and employed a special teamer, in Larry Izzo, who was once Miami's property.
Oh, and the Patriots have some guy by the name of Junior Seau playing linebacker.
Fans have been quick to point out that most of these players have either maintained their level of play or have vastly improved since leaving their South Florida confines, making some wonder if letting them get away is part of the reason why the Dolphins are now so bereft of talent.
However, it's very likely that the reason these and other Miami castaways have done so well in their new locations has more to do with the overall ineptitude of the Dolphins than with the departed players' own intrinsic talents.
In layman's terms, guys like Chambers and Welker are talented, but their newfound success has more to do with the talent around them than anything else.
Consider that Chambers was already a productive wide receiver in Miami, notching one Pro Bowl berth prior to being traded to San Diego in October. Now he's playing with a vastly superior quarterback and an array of offensive talent around him the likes of which he never came close to enjoying in Miami.
And even more importantly, perhaps the reason that Chambers is showcasing his playoff prowess so much this season is because he has already played double the amount of postseason games that he did as a member of the Dolphins.
Welker was a gritty and productive player in Miami, but he also had just one career touchdown reception in three seasons before joining the offensive juggernaut in New England.
Lee was known more for his fumbling than his pass-catching abilities, but now that he has a Hall of Famer throwing him the football, he's suddenly a legitimate offensive weapon.
Finally, Seau was a marginal and injury-prone starting linebacker with Miami; however, now that he's a role player surrounded by talent, he's back to being a playmaker.
The list goes on and on from there.
Again, it's not to say these ex-Dolphins aren't intrinsically talented or that their success is solely attributed to the players who surrounds them. Instead, it's Miami's lack of overall talent and continuity which are glaring, and it's the main reason that the Dolphins are considered to be little more than a stepping stone to future NFL success.
And until Bill Parcells and Co. create a true foundation of personnel and progress, this most embarrassing perception will continue to persist.
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