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October 19 2021

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• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
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• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
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• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
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• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
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• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
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• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
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• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
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• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
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• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
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• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud

Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale

The Dolphins Did What Now?
October 18, 2007

As we prepare the next print edition of The American, we‘re gathering words about the big game in London later the same week. We‘ve got an article about London–born Giants End Osi Umenyiora, we focus on fellow Giant kicker Lawrence Tynes, we preview the game, and we speak to Sky Sports‘ resident American ex–pat, presenter Kevin Cadle. And we have some nice, neutral, diplomatic stuff about the Miami Dolphins ...because they might see a copy.

Here‘s different. Here‘s where I get to lay into the NFL‘s worst, to kick a Dolphin when it‘s down, because this team isn‘t getting better, it‘s getting worse. They‘re at the bottom of an oceanic abyss and they‘re still digging away with those flippers.

This week, on the eve of the trade deadline, they traded away receiver Chris Chambers, the Dolphin with the fifth–most receptions in Dolphins history, their player with the most receptions this year (he has more receptions than the rest of their wide receivers combined). He will be replaced by either Ted Ginn Jnr or Derek Hagan, whose combined career receptions don‘t equal the number Chambers has caught this year. After all the fanfare, Ginn has 3 receptions so far in his rookie year. Derek Hagan had 21 in his rookie year. Chris Chambers had 48 in his debut season, and more than that in every season since. A team with an ineffective offense just got rid of their most proven offensive player. How is that anything except getting worse?

Was this really the only way they could get Ginn into the offensive game plan? Shouldn‘t he be earning that start job? Ginn and Hagan? They could have had Welker and Chambers on the field this year – a combined 69 catches, 801 yards so far. The Welker move was unconscionable – sending a clear break–through, possession–type player to a division rival. The Chambers move isn‘t much better. Well, okay, taken in isolation it‘s smart, because they get a second round pick for a 29 year old player, but on a team that‘s looking for a spark, this was a big soggy dousing of defeatism.

"At 0–6 we‘re looking for answers," said GM Randy Mueller "Draft picks are valuable to our team right now."

Well, you see, there‘s a time for draft picks and there‘s a time for winning games. October‘s a good month for winning games. April‘s a good month for draft picks. Draft picks are valuable, but some other teams get by with a regular load without selling off what few assets they have. And if you‘re not very good at drafting, what‘s the point of draft picks? How do you compete with the better teams when you keep giving your good players to those better teams. This is parity–defying behavior. At least they didn‘t send a good player to a division rival this time.

Thank goodness the trade deadline has passed, so that they can‘t trade away Zach Thomas or Jason Taylor until next year.

And if the Dolphins organization has shrugged off 2007 and is looking ahead to the next draft already, why is Cleo Lemon under centre? Why not Beck? I like Cleo Lemon – I think he‘s one of those real good career No.2 QBs who will be in the NFL for a decade or more, but all the same, if it‘s time for Ginn and Hagan, it must be time for Beck?

The problem is deciding who to blame. Is there a case for blaming Mueller, who has been the GM since 2005? He‘s only been in charge of signing Joey Porter, passing on Brady Quinn, ignoring the line, drafting Ginn... well, okay, maybe there‘s one or two things. But he wasn‘t making the personnel decisions when Nick Saban was there – Saban was. Do we blame the coaches, then? Wannstedt and Saban for taking us here, or Cameron for reeling off more losses to start the season than either of them managed. It‘s hard to blame Cameron – at least he has the running game working. Ronnie Brown is playing football even if nobody else on the team is. You can win around a running game as long as you have a defense to keep the games close. But now the defense has suddenly aged. Either that or they just don‘t care. If they did last week, they‘d need the commitment of Job to care this week.

Questionable personnel problems go back years, through successions of control. Take a look at some of these top picks from the past: Yatil Green, John Avery, JJ Johnson, Eddie Moore. Sure, they also drafted Randy McMichael (4th round), Jason Taylor (3rd round), Zach Thomas (5th round), but between the bad and the good there‘s a heck of a lot of ho–hum. Are these just flukes or the law of average?

Their timing on free agents is astonishingly bad. Joey Porter looks like he hit a wall the minute he strapped a fish to his head. Daunte Culpepper was pushed into the line–up when he was still crocked, then cut a year later just when he was getting fit enough to start, to be replaced by Trent Green. Green has thrown 5 TDs, 7 picks, and an ill–advised block at Travis Johnson‘s knees. They missed out on Drew Brees‘ great 2006 – which would at least have been one good year at the QB position; how was it that Randy Mueller couldn‘t acquire Brees, but his brother Rick in New Orleans could?

And who do they play this week? The Patriots.

But that‘s okay. Because when the Dolphins get beaten by – what‘s the spread now? 17 points – at home, with Wes Welker scoring two touchdowns (thank goodness ex–‘Fin RB Sammy Morris isn‘t playing, or he‘d get one as well), it‘ll at least be an opportunity for Ginn to get on the field and impress us with his speed. If Lemon finds anything resembling protection, Ginn might even get a chance to catch a ball or two.

And all I can say is thank you, Miami Dolphins. Thank you for bringing this debacle to where we can see it first–hand. After all the talk of bringing competitive meaningful NFL football to London, here‘s some receivers who get a chance to play only when their predecessors are traded, a back–up QB, one of the NFL‘s less distinguished lines, and an 0–7 record. After all the years of waiting, British Dolphins fans deserved better.

If the Giants provide anything like the pass rush they did against the Eagles a few weeks back, and Umenyiora racks a couple of sacks early, the commemorative Dolphins towels being handed out with the game programs aren‘t going to swing the neutrals to the Dolphins‘ cause. And Dolphins fans – including those poor Floridians making the most expensive travel arrangements in ‘home game‘ history – will have every reason to boo.


Tanager Wealth Management

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