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 John Clayton: 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Made This Offseason 
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Post John Clayton: 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Made This Offseason
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Offseason decisions that backfired
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

Tuesday turned out to be clean-up day in the NFL.

The Houston Texans admitted a mistake when they released safety Ed Reed after nine non-impactful games. The San Francisco 49ers thought Kyle Williams could get them through their injury problems at wide receiver, but they released him.

November is a time to evaluate the moves, or non-moves, of the offseason. What were five of the biggest mistakes made this offseason?


1. The Cowboys going to the Cover 2: Monte Kiffin is one of the most impactful assistant coaches of his era. He helped make the Cover 2 defense a strategy that got franchises to the Super Bowl. His resume has been impeccable. But moving the Cover 2 to Dallas has turned into a historically bad decision. No team has given up an average of more than 300 passing yards a game through an entire season. The Cowboys are giving up 313 passing yards a game and have lost middle linebacker Sean Lee for 3-4 weeks with a hamstring injury. Following Sunday night's 49-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints, owner Jerry Jones said his firing of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan "doesn't look good right now." The Saints put up 625 yards on the Cover 2. Kiffin isn't getting fired, but he's only on a one-year contract and it's not like the Cowboys can promote Rod Marinelli to take the job. Marinelli is loyal to Kiffin and would reject being an interim coordinator. Jones wanted turnovers in making this change. The turnover to the 4-3 has resulted in 12 interceptions, but the Cowboys have given up 20 touchdown passes.

2. The Dolphins neglecting the backfield: General manager Jeff Ireland was the league's biggest spender this offseason. He invested heavy to build around quarterback Ryan Tannehill by adding Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson and Dustin Keller. He swapped older, run-stopping linebackers for better blitzers in Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler. He let two corners go and gave their positions to Dimitri Patterson and Brent Grimes. Aside from all the problems in the locker room, the Dolphins' biggest mistake was letting Reggie Bush walk and not having anyone ready to replace him. Bush is one of the reasons the Detroit Lions jumped from 4-12 to atop the NFC North. The Dolphins are averaging 87 rushing yards a game and have had three games in which they've been held below 25 yards.

3. The 49ers neglecting the receiver position: Coach Jim Harbaugh was confident enough with his system that he thought he could get by until Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham came off the physically unable to perform list. The 49ers did well by getting Anquan Boldin, but the inability to add more has resulted in Colin Kaepernick's passing numbers to drop dramatically. Williams and Marlon Moore have been released. They contributed only 13 receptions. They traded for Jon Baldwin, but he has only three catches and spends his time on the inactive list. The offense hits a breaking point when tight end Vernon Davis goes down. When he's out, there is no pass-catcher who can get separation from a defensive back. Rookie tight end Vance McDonald has only six catches. Wide receivers not named Boldin have 20 catches in nine games. No wonder Kaepernick is completing only 56.4 percent of his passes and the 49ers are netting only 173.9 yards a game through the air.

4. The Ed Reed move: The Texans knew with a tight cap it was going to be tough to re-sign Glover Quin at the beginning of free agency. Quin got $4.7 million a year and is doing well in Detroit. To replace him at safety, the Texans gave Ed Reed a three-year, $15 million deal. It didn't work out. Reed came with a hip injury and left with a termination notice nine games into the season. Even though he was healthy Sunday, Reed was stripped of his starting job, used as a backup and was in for only 12 plays against the Arizona Cardinals. The Reed signing isn't the reason the Texans are 2-7, but it was a big-name move that didn't work out.

5. Teams getting caught short at backup QB: This is a list that will grow during this second half of the season. You start with the Buffalo Bills. EJ Manuel surprised everyone at camp with the look of being a decent young starting quarterback. But he missed preseason time with a knee injury. Another knee injury tested the Bills' backup situation. They shouldn't have let Tarvaris Jackson go in the spring. They entered the regular season with Jeff Tuel, an undrafted rookie, as the backup and then went to Thaddeus Lewis, who was on the practice squad. Some people outside of Green Bay wondered if Graham Harrell had the arm strength to back up Aaron Rodgers. The Packers gave up on Harrell and brought in Seneca Wallace, who went on injured reserve Tuesday. Scott Tolzien is now the starter. The Packers are fortunate the Bills released Matt Flynn, who was signed to be Tolzien's backup until Rodgers is healthy.


http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/99687 ... -decisions

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Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:29 am
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Post Re: John Clayton: 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Made This Offseason
Miller was averaging 4.7 ypc before the buc's game so I think those numbers are a little skewed seeing as how we never consistently run the ball with pass happy Sherman... And I would love to see Bush run behind our awesome o line.


Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:09 am
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Post Re: John Clayton: 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Made This Offseason
"the Dolphins' biggest mistake was letting Reggie Bush walk and not having anyone ready to replace him."

Clayton must not be following the team very closely if he thinks that was the biggest mistake. In the right offense, Bush is a difference maker........Philben/Sherman were unwilling to develop schemes to properly use him.


Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:18 am
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Post Re: John Clayton: 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Made This Offseason
shularino wrote:
"the Dolphins' biggest mistake was letting Reggie Bush walk and not having anyone ready to replace him."

Clayton must not be following the team very closely if he thinks that was the biggest mistake. In the right offense, Bush is a difference maker........Philben/Sherman were unwilling to develop schemes to properly use him.


I agree there. I'm not sure what makes Clayton think that Bush would be better in our scheme behind this offensive line. They are worst than last year and he sure did a lot of dancing. Lamar Miller was more decisive last year.

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Post Re: John Clayton: 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Made This Offseason
Looking back & even though I agreed. The biggest mistake was not keeping Long or at least having a back up plan.

Trading up for Jordan might play out in the future, but not this year. Miami had more needs than a thin raw athletic pass rusher. Brandon Albert for a 2nd & taking a DT for replacement looks to have been the better play.

I know the tackles drafted have not been better, but at least it would have been a plan & one I think most would have agreed with at the time had Miami drafted Johnson at No. 3.

This team needs new blood from top to bottom.

Since Shula was ran out for JJ this team has been in shambles.

Sorry, Don. Haven't we all suffered enough. Lift the curse.


Last edited by Dphins4me on Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:06 am
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Post Re: John Clayton: 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Made This Offseason
Dphins4me wrote:

Sorry, Don. Haven't we all suffered enough. Lift the curse.

Shula replies:

There will not be success for the Dolphins until the day I die. You all cheered that day when Wayne booted me out. You will suffer the wrath of my hatred for you all. I pretend to be good with it, but my eyes do not ever want to see the Phins succeed.


Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:09 am
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Post Re: John Clayton: 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Made This Offseason
Reggie Bush would have done nothing behind this line. He wasnt that great of a runner while he was here.


Sat Nov 16, 2013 1:31 pm
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Post Re: John Clayton: 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Made This Offseason
Reggie Bush would have done nothing behind this line. He wasnt that great of a runner while he was here.


I agree that Reggie may have a tougher tiime with this line HOWEVER last season with a crappy line he still averaged 5.0 a carry landed over 1000 yards and caught 43 passes.

Lamar Miller is NOTHING close to his caliber....yet. No question in my mind at 28 years old and with his experience Miami should have resigned him for another 2 years.

I hated that he was under utilized and that they let him walk.


Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:06 pm
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Post Re: John Clayton: 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Made This Offseason
Finhead34 wrote:
Reggie Bush would have done nothing behind this line. He wasnt that great of a runner while he was here.


I agree that Reggie may have a tougher tiime with this line HOWEVER last season with a crappy line he still averaged 5.0 a carry landed over 1000 yards and caught 43 passes.

Lamar Miller is NOTHING close to his caliber....yet. No question in my mind at 28 years old and with his experience Miami should have resigned him for another 2 years.

I hated that he was under utilized and that they let him walk.


He averaged only 4.3 last year. Miller was the one at just about 5.0 per carry.
I think people here have false memories of Reggie Bush as a Dolphin.
He'd have his 3 big games per season and was average for most of the other time here. Too much of a dancer through the hole.


Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:19 pm
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Post Re: John Clayton: 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Made This Offseason
Finhead34 wrote:
Reggie Bush would have done nothing behind this line. He wasnt that great of a runner while he was here.


I agree that Reggie may have a tougher tiime with this line HOWEVER last season with a crappy line he still averaged 5.0 a carry landed over 1000 yards and caught 43 passes.

Lamar Miller is NOTHING close to his caliber....yet. No question in my mind at 28 years old and with his experience Miami should have resigned him for another 2 years.

I hated that he was under utilized and that they let him walk.


Might want to recheck Bush's stats from last year.

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Post Re: John Clayton: 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Made This Offseason
I think the biggest thing missing from letting Reggie Bush walk is the big play from anywhere! He could be used as a RB, WR,PR and KR even though we didnt do that during his 2nd year much as we did the first year. He is better than Miller at this stage in the passing game, especially on screens, which we dont run that often but should have when we had Bush. He also is better at making people miss than Miller does, at this stage. And his veteran leadership. When he got to Miami he made it a point to set an example for teammates in work ethic and professionalism (not sure how JMart would feel about that part). So you cant compare the two only running behind a weak OL, have to look at the whole picture. I was one of the few that thought he was worth keeping for another 2 years. We have Gilislee that hasnt seen the field at all so what was the point in drafting a player to sit for a year when you already had a proven playmaker? Its part of the overall plan of getting younger, cheaper, and hopefully developing good depth.

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Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:15 pm
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Post Re: John Clayton: 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Made This Offseason
Might want to recheck Bush's stats from last year.

Yeah, I realized it after Swerve pointed it already, thanks.


Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:09 pm
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Post Re: John Clayton: 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Made This Offseason
Reggie Bush got benched yesterday. LOL


Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:10 pm
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Post Re: John Clayton: 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Made This Offseason
Yep he did. He fumbled in the inclement weather during the Pittsburg game and I don't blame the coach for doing that. However, at nearly 1000 yards total offense 4 TD's he is still having a decent year thus far and with 6 games remaining.

It is a shame that Miami did not use him more efficiently to get the most out of his skillset.


Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:16 pm
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Post Re: John Clayton: 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Made This Offseason
we also don't have Calvin Johnson to draw triple coverage


Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:24 pm
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Post Re: John Clayton: 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Made This Offseason
we also don't have Calvin Johnson to draw triple coverage

Nope we do not. However, even with Lamar Miller and how fast he is, personally with his speed, I would be working in more quick dump offs and screens and the back side throw back passes that the Dolphins themselves always seem to get burned on. We should be doling that out and using Miller more like a Daren Sproles.


Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:30 pm
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Post Re: John Clayton: 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Made This Offseason
I dont want to make a fuss about it. But Miller seems to have trouble catching the ball..... Through the preseason, and the season so far, he has dropped a few passes when he takes his eyes off the ball...... Those little swing passes Sproles gets in NO are very well placed balls, and are typically NOT timing plays. They are safety valves that Brees gets through quickly and dumps it off. It seems like if the play IS designed for Miller to be a first read, he gets it and goes... But I keep thinking about those two out and up patterns he's ran where it came right to his hands, and they went right through because he was thinking about his first move with the ball..... that probably translates into practice too....... and with those swing passes there is still a chance they can be called laterals/fumbles.... there probably isnt enough confidence in those patterns yet. Maybe next year. But for now.... lets worry about him getting yardage, and not drops..... just saying. I agree with the idea, but it seems like an area he has struggled with in the past


Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:37 pm
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