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Week 6: Dolphins at da Bears
Will Losing Pouncey Derail Miami's Season?
Sometime in offseason workouts C MIKE POUNCEY tore the labrum in his hip. That means that the Dolphins will be without the only member of their offensive line who is returning from last year, and he was a Pro Bowl center to boot. He will be back sometime in October, but we are hearing that the time frame is a hopeful prediction as it is a pretty serious injury. I know most of us do not want him coming back too soon to reinjure it again or make it worst (see OJ McDuffie who is STILL fighting a lawsuit against the Dolphins).
I've been sitting around waiting for what seems a "coon's age" to see the Dolphins seriously address the loss. With the OL performing so poorly last year as QB RYAN TANNEHILL was on his butt a serious 58 times, new GM DENNIS HICKEY made rebuilding the offensive line a main priority.
His first move was to sign LT BRANDON ALBERT to a 5 year, $47 million contract with $26 million guaranteed. He pocketed $8.5 million as his signing bonus. Was he overpaid? You betcha, but that is what free agency is all about: overpaying for a glaring need that you did not draft well for. It had to be done, and you can bet that if Ireland had traded for him as we all told him to do last offseason that he could possibly be still here. The Chiefs were willing to trade him. Getting Albert should definitely decrease the amount of sacks that Tannehill gets because it also gives him more time for obvious reasons and also because Tannehill does not feel pressure the way he should. Great quarterbacks have a sixth sense about pressure and we are hoping that Tannehill improves on this. He has to be one of the toughest quarterbacks that I've seen.
Anyways, 2013 undrafted rookie Sam Brenner is penciled in as the starter right now, and the Dolphins have not signed a veteran to compete for the position. The Dolphins did bring in former Dolphin first rounder C Samson Satele and ex-Broncos C Steve Vallos (started 15 games), but they ended up signing G Daryn Colledge (say what??). Colledge will give the Dolphins good veteran depth along the OL as he has been a 16 game starter for each of the past 6 seasons, but he isn't the veteran center that we are hoping that will start for our first 6 games (or longer).
Now, I understand that any veteran center that is on the open market right now is there for a reason. Most are aging and winding out their careers as we saw with Bryant McKinney and Tyson Clabo. Some do argue that we should sign McKinney to a Dolphins-friendly as backup insurance should Brandon Albert go down this year.
Below is the list of available free agent centers with PFF grades from 2013. Hopefully the Dolphins will sign one of the better centers off of this list by the time the season begins. As we know, the sooner the better because offensive lines need chemistry. I'd hate to be a doom and gloom kind of person, but if the Dolphins do not get serious about this position, I can see the wheels falling off of the 2014 season. Aside from the QB, I find the LT and C positions to be of upmost importance. The Center sets the tone for the line.
Sexy Rexy is Predicting the Playoffs for the Jests?
I know he is the rival coach for the cursed Jets, but how can you hate him? I love his humor and he is one of those coaches that can coach his way out of a wet paper bag. His Jets finished with the same record that we did, and comparing talent for talent, you know that he outcoached our Joe Philben. Heck, the Jets offensive line was worst than our offensive line. I was hoping for a bit of a house-cleaning from both teams and the thought of us hiring Rex Ryan as our head coach put a smile on my face. Call me crazy but Rex is a good head coach and his team believes in him. He also believes in his team.
This year, HC JOE PHILBEN needs to put together a playoff appearance (and a win once we get there in my opinion) to retain his job. I think he made a good job of hiring Bill Lazor, and Lazor had us very excited about the 2014 season until we lost Pouncey. I do think that Philben made a blunder by changing a 3-4 defense into a 4-3 defense. Hopefully the personnel will step up to the new system this year. Hopefully.
Dolphins FINALLY sign 3rd round Offensive Lineman Billy Turner.
Man, what took so long to get this done? I think you're looking at our future starting LG, but he has to get past last year's 3rd round draft pick Dallas Thomas. Thomas was a serious disappointment last year, but I admire that he has put a lot of hard work in to actually beat out Turner in offseason workouts. Turner has the size and ability to grab this position at some point. He is part of Hickey's rebuilding plan on our offensive line. Hickey liked him so much that he traded up in the 3rd round with the Raiders to get him.
The surprise player from spring practices has been second-year offensive lineman Dallas Thomas. The former third-round pick didn’t contribute anything during his rookie season. Not much was expected of Thomas, especially after the Dolphins drafted a similar player in 2014 third-round pick Billy Turner. But Thomas showed up for offseason workouts in good shape and is flashing good athleticism. He’s done enough to earn the inside track on the starting left guard position next to Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert. Thomas’ next task is to hold off Turner when the pads come on in training camp and the preseason. (ESPN)
The 2013 Redshirt Draft Class
A lot has been said about how disappointing the 2013 draft was for our Dolphins. Aside from K CALEB STURGIS and possibly JELANI JENKINS, no one really contributed much. Well, let me just say that I am expecting that class to step up to the plate this year.
* DE DION JORDAN. Even though he is suspended for the first month of the season for violating PEDS, you have to love his work ethic. He has majorly bulked up (uh, well, that would explain the suspension, I guess), but last year he came to the team injured. Even though Ireland traded up for him to the overall #3 position, the coaches knew that it would take him a year to make an impact. He was injured and could not bulk up and practice much in the 2013 offseason. He still wasn't 100% during the season, but even the great Jason Taylor "spoke VERY highly of Dion Jordan who he said could be a lot better than I ever was. Taylor clearly must believe Jordan was underutilized and one has to wonder if this coaching staff can get that kind of production out of Jordan that many believe he is capable of having." And let me get the negative thoughts of the trade up out of your mind, this team has plenty of role players and they need real playmakers. It was worth a chance of moving up to get him. He could be great and is very versatile.
* CB JAMAR TAYLOR. Jamar fell in the draft to later in round 2 due to injuries. Last year he had a sports hernia, a torn abductor, and a kidney condition which prevented him from taking anti-inflammatory medication. He felt and played so poorly that he thought his career was over. Well, he's 100% and I am expecting to see him start for us by next year. In fact, he may beat out Cortland Finnegan for the starting spot opposite of Grimes, and that would not surprise me. Finnegan's play has dropped off majorly the past two year but that could also be attributed to the system that he was stuck in at St. Louis. To me, Finnegan would excel as our nickel corner, so, having Grimes, Taylor, and Finnegan on the field at the same time could make our secondary one of the best in the NFL.
* LG DALLAS THOMAS. He is looking much improved this year, and he had to. When the Dolphins had offensive line problems last year, he was the only player the coaches had little confidence in to put on the field. That was telling. There are a lot of reports that say that he is looking very good this year. Let's hope it all isn't hype and that he looks in pads as well.
* CB WILL DAVIS and PK CALEB STURGIS should both look better. Sturgis did well last year, but was clearly not as good as Dan Carpenter. He was much cheaper and Ireland hung on to Jimmy Johnson's thought process of not overpaying for a kicker. And Will Davis should look more consistent as well.
* JELANI JENKINS gets an honorable mention from me. He actually peformed better than expected last year and he had to since Ireland's free agent additions at linebacker stunk to high heaven.
John Jerry fools another team.
The Giants are hopeful that John Jerry will beat out Chris Schnee at RG.
Is Pouncey Dumb as a Rock?
Yep, but what do you expect from a Gator player drafted by the Dolphins (OK, I'm a Canes fan;)? You'd think Pouncey would try to stay out of situations that he could get into trouble at, especially being that he is in a contract year. I understand that you want to celebrate your birthday, but maybe nightclubs are just not good places to go to when you want to avoid trouble. Just saying.
Do I think the Pouncey bothers beat the guy up? I have my doubts. The brothers are trouble, but I just can't get past the fact that the "victim" was just standing there and one of the Poucey's decided to just hit him. So, let me get this straight ... he was just standing there and all of a sudden he was attacked ... for no reason. Yeah, right. That justs doesn't make any sense. Plus the bouncers were involved, too. Something really smells and I think the vic smells Pouncey's bank account.
Oh, and don't expect the Dolphins to go in another direction after this season. Even though this is the last year of his contract don't be shocked that he gets a nice longterm contract some time during this season. Good centers are very hard to find and drafting one in the first round next year does not guarantee that we will get another good player at the position.
And please don't compare Pouncey to Brandon Marshall (who is happy and shining with the Bears now). While they both do seem to find trouble away from the game, the difference is that Pouncey is a great teammate on the field. Marshall needed babysitting in practice and on game day. The coaches had to always keep an eye on him.
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