The current Dolphins’ mess started when Parecells andIrelandchose Jake Long over Matt Ryan in the 2008 draft. Even at that time, the league was pass-oriented. They chose to take a left-tackle, albeit an all-pro one, over a franchise QB for a franchise that was (and still is because of this decision) in desperate need of a franchise QB.
It’s very simple, when you have a chance to take a possible franchise QB and you need a franchise QB, you take the franchise QB.
It has been, since that time, an outdated personnel philosophy (ground n pound, defense first) badly executed (letting go players they should have kept, bad trades, bad draft picks, keeping players they should have let go).
Not only do the Dolphins (still) need a franchise QB, but, with the exception of Pouncey and Long, they need a RT, a RG, and a LG.
Let’s start with the 2008 draft. They could have had a franchise QB, two starting offensive linemen or one starting offensive linemen and a pro-bowl DT, a pro-bowl WR, and a pro-bowl TE:
1st Round: took Jake Long; available: Matt Ryan, QB
2nd Round: took Philip Merling, DE; available: Eddie Royal, Jordy Nelson, DeSean Jackson
2nd Round: took Chad Henne, QB; available: Mike Pollak, C
3rd Round: took Kendall Langford, DE; available: Jermichael Finley, TE, Mario Mannigham; WR
4th Round: took Shawn Murphy; OT; available: Anthony Collins, OT, Red Bryant, DT, Josh Sitton, OT
That was just the 2008 draft.
Let’s go a bit further:
Players in the 2011-2012 Playoffs the Dolphins Had and then Let Go, Traded Away, Could Have Drafted or Signed or Traded For Since 2008 Off-Season when Parcells and Ireland took over:
lg – let go; chd – could have drafted; chs – could have signed; chtf – could have traded for; ta – traded away
Matt Ryan, QB (chd); Andy Dalton, QB (chd);
Bryant McKinney, T, (chs); Andrew Gardner, T (lg); Sebastian Vollmer, T (chd); Jamon Meredith, T (chd); Donald Thomas, G (lg)
Ricky Williams, RB (lg); Lousaka Polite, RB/FB (lg); Darren Sproles, RB (chs) (though Bush had a very good year, Sproles didn’t cost any draft picks and was/is cheaper)
Anquan Boldin, WR (chtf) (for fewer and lower picks and less money than Brandon Marshall); Mike Wallace, WR (chd); Hakeem Nicks, WR (chd); Ted Ginn, WR/ KR (ta) (for virtually nothing);
Jermichael Finley, TE (chd); Rob Gronkowski, TE (chd); Justin Peele, TE (lg)
Bobby Carpenter, LB (lg); Clay Mathews, LB (chd); Erik Walden, LB (lg); Tim Dobbins, LB (lg); Rob Ninkovich, LB (lg)
Gibril Wilson, S (shouldn’t have been signed to such a huge contract by the Dolphins in the first place and wasn’t great but was better than most of the Dolphins’ safeties since. Shouldn’t have been let go for nothing); Andre Goodman, CB; Ryan Clark, S (chs) (he didn’t likeIreland. Go figure.)
We could go back years to Jimmy Johnson, Dave Wanstedt, Nick Saban, and Cam Cameron regimes and detail their mistakes, but they are long gone (4 years since Cameron helmed the fins, 5 years since Saban helmed the fins, etc.)
On the other hand, Parcells andIrelandwere brought in 4 years-ago to clean-up the mess made by their predecessors and return the Dolphins to the NFL elite.
4 years later and the current roster isn’t that much better than the roster Parcells and Ireland inherited from the 2007, 1-15 season, and, is, in some ways, worse:
QB: even, neither had a franchise qb
RB: even, 2011 has Reggie and 2007 had Ronnie
OL: slight edge to 2011 with Long and Pouncey over an improving Carey and a solid Satele, but both has needs at three starter spots and back-up. (OL is where the 2011 roster should be solid if not the strongest with Parcells,Ireland, and OL guru, Sparano emphasizing and specializing in it.)
TE: even, neither had a TE of distinction
WR: slight edge to 2011 with Bess, would have been a bigger edge for 2011 if (head-case)Marshallhadn’t been traded away
DL: 2007 was better with JT, Vonnie Holiday, Keith Traylor and Soliai as a back-up
LB: 2007 was better with Crowder, Thomas, Porter (though Thomas and Crowder ended the year on IR)
SS/CB: 2011 was better only because of Vontae Davis
Parcells walked away from the mess he and Ireland created. Sparano was made a scapegoat (not that he was a great hc) by Ireland and fired. Some how Ireland is still here.
The current regime’s first, most important, and, ultimately worse big decision, the 2008 draft decision to take Jake Long over Matt Ryan, still affects/haunts the Dolphins as they continue to “search” (cheaply) for a franchise QB.
And the 2012 off season, being “lead” by Ireland, has been a disaster so far: No Jeff Fisher, he didn’t like the management structure (i.e. Ross/Ireland). No RGIII, Ireland didn’t offer enough to move up in the 2012 draft to get him. No Manning – see Fisher. No Flynn – see Fisher and Manning.
I would have Fired Ireland before the end of the season along with Sparano and started over again. Maybe the Dolphins would have Fisher and a (potential) franchise qb (RGIII, Manning, Flynn) if Mr. Ross had done that.