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2015 Main Page
I'd like to take the time to remember those who gave their life for the freedom that we all enjoy today. Thank you!
1. OTA's .... are here!
Well, despite what our wives think, for some of us the NFL season never ends. If you are reading this blog then you are not an exception. When our season ends we are all ready thinking about free agency, the draft, rookie workouts, NFL "voluntary" offseason work outs, OTA's, Mini Camp, the preseason .... you know what I am talking about.
Tomorrow begins OTA's. That means real drills are now allowed. Here are the 10 days of OTAs:
While the pads do not go on yet, the Dolphins will start their conditioning program and even do some 11 on 11 drills. Tanne-thrill will get time to develop chemistry with his new receivers ... and boy, does he have new receivers. This is what it looks like at the moment:
WR : Kenny Stills - Rishard Matthews - Matt Hazel
WR : DeVante Parker - Greg Jennings
WR: Jarvis Landry
2. SUH ... More Is Expected Than Being Great on the Field
As the media has let us know, Ndamukong Suh showed up for the first day of Voluntary Camp and that was it. Dolphins president/football operations Mike Tannenbaum issued a face-to-face challenge to Suh to be a leader to the young players. With the cap-crippling salary the Dolphins are paying Suh, he needs to make the players around him better. Tannenbaum said this week ....
“We have a lot of young players not only on the defensive line, but on our team. If we were sitting here in 10 years and Jordan Phillips is talking about hopefully the career he’s having, I’d love for him to say that in his formative years Ndamukong Suh impacted him.”
While I think it is disappointing that Suh did not participate in the offseason program, I am not gnashing my teeth about it. Neither should you. Suh is true to himself. Anyone who thinks that he is now going to show up for voluntary camp after not doing it in the past is just looking for something to complain about. Unless it was written in his contract, expect Suh to be Suh. He has plenty of time to learn the offense and bond with teammates once things become "mandatory". Things become mandatory tomorrow.
Face it ... Suh always misses voluntary camp and he always plays like a man on a mission. He makes players around him better.
3. Philben Wants Coyle to Simplify the Defense
This is needed .... especially with the inability of young players to get on the field. I love his blitz packages and his aggressive approach, but it is very obvious that players are not getting it. It is too complicated. Dumb it down, coach, or you'll be looking for another job.
What needs to be "dumbed down" are the packages and assignments. Hey, Coyle. Here is a novel idea: why not make Cam Wake rush the passer rather than covering backs coming out of the backfield? I have another idea: stop having the cornerbacks drop off 10 yards from the receivers. Play to win, not "not to lose" defense.
This is good on two fronts. First, we are tired of players thinking too much during plays. Players need to react to what is happening around them. Second, it shows that Philben may be learning how to improve the team. It seems to me this is the only way he could keep Coyle after last season. He had to identify a problem and have a solution. Now Philbin has to figure out why his teams swoon the last half of the season. Last year he lost 5 of his last 8 games. In 2013 he lost his last two games of the season against AFC East rivals which put us out of a playoff appearance. When the defense swoons, so, does the team.
4. Lamar Miller Does NOT Need More Carries
Last year I would have said "yes, he needs more carries". Lamar Miller improved greatly last year after watching Knowshon Moreno in the preseason. He started to hit the hole harder and more aggressively. He was one yard shy of 1100 yards and he had a 5.1 ypc. He added 9 touchdowns but did fumble 3 times. Let's be honest ... we hadn't seen that type of production since Ricky Williams in his prime.
With the addition of RB Jay Ajayi, we are looking at a very nice 1-2 punch with he and Miller. In fact, we may be looking at the future of the position with Ajayi because Miller becomes a free agent after this season. It is going to be impossible to keep Miller and Olivier Vernon due to the cap hits of Suh and Tannehill.
If you haven't read our draft analysis on Jay Ajayi you'll have to check it out here. It is a very complete body of work on him. He is going to be a impact back for us if his body holds up.
5. Deflate Gate? Guilty as Charged.
Come on, we aren't stupid. While it may be personal to many fans it isn't to me. Brady had this done. Heck, who knows how many years he has had his "ball boys" tamper with the air in the balls. Heck, there is even a report that Belichick doesn't believe Brady.
Now, I think he deserves the 4 game suspension, and the team should be hit with more than 3rd round draft pick. It's cheating, and it happened on Beli-Cheat's watch. And I don't mind that we do have to play Brady twice next year because if we are to be the best then we need to beat the best. The AFC East Championship goes through New England. They are the AFC East Champions.
The Miami Dolphins had picked the 5th year option of Ryan Tannehill original deal, and the Dolphins had already been in talks with Ryan, so it is not a surprise that the Dolphins and Tannehill have agreed to a 6 year/96 million dollar deal with 45 million guaranteed. I am glad to see Miami get the deal done, and I believe it is a solid deal for both sides. This now allows Miami to put their focus on extending DE Olivier Vernon, who will become a free agent at the end of the year if they choose to do so.
Miami recently completed their 1st rookie camp with their draft picks and undrated free agents, and I want to take a look at the draft picks that I believe could be contributors in 2015.
The 1st and most obvious one is 1st round draft pick DeVante Parker, the WR out of Louisville. Parker gives Miami that big body they have wanted in the Red Zone, but also gives the Dolphins a player that is dangerous after the catch, a player that can give you the valuable YAC, Yards After Catch. He has a big catch radius, which gives Ryan a little room for error when throwing to this talented wide receiver.
Next is 2nd round draft pick Jordan Phillips, the big DT from Oklahoma. Phillips reminds me a lot of Darryl Gardner, who came out of Baylor as a big, freakish prospect that had the saying tagged to him of looking like Tarzan and playing like Jane. Well, Gardner turned into a FORCE with the Dolphins and along with DT Tim Bowens, gave Miami a dominant set of defensive tackles. Phillips has that type of ability, but it up to him to give and bring that energy and take his game to the next level. There are several, young talented DT along with veterans Earl Mitchell and Ndamankong Suh, so Phillips should always be fresh. This kid could help give the Dolphins a young, dominant defensive front if he develops. He will be given every chance to do just that.
Then we get to a couple of 5th round picks that I think can provide immediate help. Boise State RB Jay Ajayi was projected to be a 2nd round pick, but dropped to the 5th round because of concerns of a bone on bone condition with his surgically repaired knee. The knee has not given Jay any issues since he had the surgery to repair the torn ACL 2011, and many think Ajayi is a gem of a deal in the 5th round, myself included. The kid runs with good power and vision and is very good in the passing game as well. He is that big back the Dolphins wanted, and combined with RB Lamar Milller, will give the Dolphins a potent 1-2 combo.
The other 5th round pick that I think can contribute is Memphis CB Bobby McClain. McClain will be used in the slot and in dime and nickel packages, and in this passing league that the NFL has become, you can never have to many cornerbacks. McClain is also a very dangerous return man, but the thing I like about Bobby is his ability as a cornerback. He is fiesty, aggressive and has very good ball skills, as he had 11 interceptions in his last 2 years with the Tigers. It's about Playmakers, on both sides of the ball. McClain is a playmaker.
The next group of prospects will contribute from a special teams standpoint, especially 5th round picks S Cedric Thompson of Minnesota and CB Tony Lippett of Michigan State. 4th round pick OLG Jamil Douglas of Arizona State will be given every opportunity to win the OLG spot as he will be competing with OLG Dallas Thomas for the starting position. Thompson joins a safety group that is deep, while Lippett is making the conversion from wide receiver and part time cornerback while at Michigan State, to a full time big cornerback for Miami. He will need to put in the work from a foot work and technique standpoint, but I like Lippett potential.
As I mentioned in my blog last Sunday, I expect all the members of the 2015 Draft class to make the 53 man roster for the Dolphins. The goal and the hope is that some of these kids can become contributors for the Dolphins in 2015. If the Dolphins can get 3-4 of their draft class to become solid contributors, this will be a very successful draft class.