Monday, March 10, 2008

Early FA Reviews: Dolphins

The Bill Parcells-Tony Sparano-Jim Ireland regime has, as expected, already started to overhaul the Dolphins' roster. They can't possibly do a worse job than Spielman, Cameron & co., who left behind a 1-15 team with an aging defense and serious questions on offense. It's impossible to get into all the moves in a single post but here are some highlights.

As a general matter, Parcells & co. have tended towards bigger players, especially on defense, like NT Jason Ferguson and DT Randy Starks. This is an interesting contrast with the Jimmy Johnson regime, which relied more on faster, smaller defensive players, and the Cameron regime, which focused more on guys with nice upstanding families. It's currently uncertain whether the team will run a 3-4 or 4-3 defense - Starks may be a fit at DE or NT in the 3-4. Here is a good breakdown of the choice on this front. Whatever the shape of the new defense, it's looking less likely that it will involve Jason Taylor.

On the offensive side of the ball, QBs Trent Green (newly signed with St. Louis) and Cleo Lemon are out, leaving only John Beck from last year's roster. Beck, a 2nd year player who will be 27 when next season starts, was unimpressive in limited time last year - his only passing touchdown came in garbage time against the Bengals in the season finale - but it's not clear how much this will be held against him given the miserable circumstances he was walking into. He'll compete with journeyman Josh McCown for the starting spot; one wild card here is whether the Fins will spend the first pick of the draft on Matt Ryan. If that ends the John Beck experiement, it wouldn't be the first time they've wasted a draft pick on a quarterback (recalling those they traded for Daunte Culpepper, Trent Green, and A.J. Feeley). Whoever emerges at the starter will have Ernest Wilford, a big good-hands guy to throw to, who will help fill a receiver corps depleted by the recent exits of Chris Chambers and Marty Booker.

At RB, backup Jesse Chatman is gone, but the most eye-catching aspect of this report is the note that "Bill Parcells has taken a liking to Ricky Williams." Williams will presumably join versatile second-year player Lorenzo Booker, who showed decent running and pass-catching ability in the last few games of 2007, behind Ronnie Brown, who was enjoying a breakout season before a season-ending knee injury. Chatman's departure notwithstanding this could be one of Miami's few areas of strength in 2008.

The offensive line - one of the few units last year to exceed expectations - is similarly unsettled, here's a good write-up of where things currently stand on this front.

On special teams, the biggest news has been signing wedge-buster Boomer Grigsby. Good name for a wedge-buster.

Note: the Miami Herald just published a good recap of the Dolphins' moves so far


  1. cecil collins - kareem abdul-jabbar - bernie parmalee - ricky williams - irving spikes - mark higgs - lawrence phillips - bobby humphrey - aaron craver - ricky williams - sammy morris - samkon gado - terry kirby - keith byars - jesse chatman - ronnie brown - lorenzo booker - rob konrad - heath evans - jim kiick - M.MORRIS!

  2. this is the year!