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7 well known players on the hot seat come August

 

Daniel Thomas

This could be Thomas’ last stand with Miami. Another Ireland failed project that may be on the way out. He hasn’t done much since Ireland traded up to get him in the 2011 draft. He has shown flashes of potential since then but is way too inconsistent as a runner and a pass blocker. Between the salary-cap savings and his underachieving play on field, there is a very good chance Thomas does not make the team this time around. He will be competing with Mike Gillisee for one roster spot at tailback and Gillisee is more affordable.

 

Danny Watkins

The Danny Watkins experiment is probably over after signing Shelley Smith and drafting Billy Turner. Dallas Thomas appears to be ready to make a run at a starting spot at guard opposite Smith, and Turner and Brenner fill out the rest of the guard depth. The writing is on the wall.

 

Pat Devlin

Devlin's roster spot may be in jeopardy after not showing much during his time in Miami. Undrafted free agent Brock Jensen looks to have more upside than Devlin. He’s a big kid with a live arm and is the FCS all-time winning quarterback. The Dolphins may also decide to roll with only 2 quarterbacks. They almost did last year.

 

Marcus Thigpen

The writing is on the wall now that Thigpen has been moved into the crowded receiver core. He’s going to have a hard time cracking the top 6 at WR. The one thing that can save Thigpen is his multifaceted skill set as a returner/runner/receiver...but he does leave alot to be desired as a return man. His return averages and his decision making regressed this past season.

 

Rishard Matthews

Another Jeff Ireland pick that is owed nothing by the new GM. The Dolphins haven’t been happy with Rishard Matthews for tardiness, lack of attention to detail and “other” issues, and it’s why they used a second-round pick on Jarvis Landry instead of being content with Matthews as their fourth receiver. Matthews was quoted as saying. "They want me to be more professional off the field, as well as on the field. ... Coach Philbin sat down with me and gave me the ropes. We’re definitely on the same page." He'll have to have a big time preseason to earn the Dolphins' final receiver spot.

 

Michael Egnew

Looks like at least our new coordinater knows how to play to Egnew’s strengths using him out wide and off the line away from linemen, but Egnew is still a long shot to make the cut and he’ll have to have an outstanding camp to make it. He’s competing with 2 recent draft picks Dion Sims and Arthur Lynch. Sims is a massive tight end with upside ability and Lynch is a solid Fasano-like tight end that fills a role we need.

 

Phillip Wheeler

Wheeler was horrific in his first season with the Dolphins. Pro Football Focus credited him with a whopping 18 missed tackles and graded Wheeler out as its worst 4-3 outside linebacker. Releasing Wheeler would cause a $4.2 million cap penalty for the Dolphins, so Hickey may be reluctant to cut him.

 

 

 

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       The NFL Draft is like an desert oasis to true NFL fans. It is that 1 day in the off-season where the problems of the year before are somehow magically solved. It allows the hardcore guys to grasp onto a glimmer of hope that the new draft picks will instantly infuse the team with talent in needed areas and push them into the playoffs in the fall. Nowhere is that more evident than watching ESPN focus on Jet’s Fans chanting J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS after nothing more than a first round pick. Well, things aren’t that different in Dolphin Land either. Last year I had hopes that the Dion Jordan (3rd overall) was going to bust onto the scene Jason Taylor style. I had visions of Brady leaving the game early after being hit so often. Afterall he would be teamed with one of the best DE’s in the game…Cam Wake.

 

       Unfortunately, reality hits just like an NFL MLB….hard and fast. Jordan couldn’t beat out the incumbent and Wake had a down year from all the double teams. Miami became mired in a controversy after one of its Jonathon Martin became the center of Bully-Gate when he claimed he was being bullied by his teammate, Ritchie Incognito. Miami Fans should’ve seen this coming as Martin was bullied all the time….mostly on Sundays by opposing DE’s getting to the QB. But, our aqua and orange sunshades blinded us and like every season, Miami was the ugly bridesmaid of the AFC East. Close…as in most years, but not there. After further review, last year’s draft was extremely light when it came to impacting the season last year. Only 1 rookie, a kicker, made it to the field as a starter. Don Jones became a pretty good special teams guy and Jordan did see playing time and when I isolated him on game film…I thought in limited action he was solid. I could write an entire blog on why wasn’t he given more playing time and why our DC from last year still has a job but I’ll save that for another day. The bottom line, April fools wasn’t on the first of April last year for Miami Fans. It came during the season when the draft results were painfully evident. It was a crusing moment for most of us after what looked to be on paper to be an outstanding draft and off-season.

 

       Fast-forward to this season and last week’s NFL Draft. It was pretty low key with Miami drafting two tackles (1 slated to be a guard?) with 2 of the first 3 picks and a WR in round 2. Last year, I had big expectations. This year I feel like Miami took my expectations and gave them the Aaron Hernandez special. Even my aqua colored glasses seem a little foggy and unable to muster enthusiasm. Maybe it is because I’m numb to high expectations but moreover, I think it looked to me like Hickey was trying desperately to fill needs rather than go after athletes.

 

       So for the first year in a long time, the draft felt like a real downer. Given that the mid-year oasis was dry, maybe it’s the season that will provide the much needed water for my thirst? I guess after being a fan for 40+ years means I’m going to wait and see. I've never been a fair weather fan and while I don't have many reasons lately, I'll be just as excited once September rolls around. As a cheery note, the last time Miami paid this much attention to the OL was in 2008 and 1990. Both years Miami ended up in the post season. Hang your hat on that.

Cheers,

Go Tanny

GD2

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