latest loss to the lowly Green Bay Packers, the cruelest cut yet on a season in
a complete free fall towards a Top 5 pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, requires a
complete re-think of team priorities.
there to re-think, you ask? Isn’t this season totally lost?
in terms of post-season play, this season is a total loss. It’s been
realistically lost now for two weeks or more. As hard as it is for many to
accept, the brutal truth is that the 2006 squad is a bad team, plain and
simple. They will go down as one of the worst in team history.
are few things left to salvage from this miserable mess…aside from pride.
so, as the Dolphins mercifully head into their bye week, Nick Saban must decide
what’s best for this team over the balance of the season.
what yours truly thinks is best:
H-Back into the Offense
are two reasons why this will help the offense. First, it puts players like
Ronnie Brown, Sammy Morris, and Travis Minor in a position to get more touches and
make plays. All three are fine talents that deserve opportunities to play more,
to do more. Brown, the best player on offense, is especially underutilized.
Putting Brown and Morris on the field at the same time gives the offense a
better chance to be successful. Second, it eliminates the TE as a pass catcher
as the Dolphins simply do not have players at that position that can be
trusted. Randy McMichael’s continued penchant for hurting the team with drops
and mistakes can’t be permitted to continue. It just isn’t fair to the rest of
the team. He can continue to be an effective blocker through the end of the
season, at which time the Dolphins should trade him, along with his on and off the
field problems, to another team. He isn’t the answer.
Lemon at Quarterback
are five reasons why this makes perfect sense. First, he displayed some excellent
ability both running and passing during the preseason. Second, he needs playing
time to develop if the Dolphins are to figure out what they have in him. Third,
continuing to play Joey Harrington will require the Dolphins to surrender a
fifth rounder to the Lions, instead of the sixth rounder they paid. For a team
going nowhere, paying more than they need to makes absolutely no sense. Fourth,
Lemon is hungry to prove himself. That kind of energy, from a guy who is eager
to “earn the confidence of the veterans that (he) can do the job”, can be very
valuable to a group of guys who’s confidence is poor right now. And fifth,
Daunte Culpepper needs more rehab time to regain his All-Pro form.
Jason Taylor for the Season
is a warrior and the very thought of him spending the season on injured reserve
is unthinkable to him. But the reality of his situation is that he has a
potentially serious back injury that absolutely requires rest. It makes no
sense for him to continue to grind down and cause further damage to his back,
thus shortening his career, just so the team might win another game or two in a
lost cause. The man needs rest and rehabilitation so that 2007 will be good for
him and the team. Taylor’s
snaps at DE can go to David Bowens, Vonnie Holliday, and Matt Roth. Roth is a
young player that the Dolphins need to learn more about to determine if he
should be part of their long range plans. The promising Frederick Evans can
spot in the DL rotation; he also needs playing time.
Hagan and Marcus Vick at Wide Receiver
laugh. These two young, promising talents need a lot of reps to improve, and
what better time than now? Solid veteran DBs are already having a hard time guarding
Hagan one-on-one. He deserves a broader opportunity. As for the electric Vick,
he may have the most athletic ability of the entire lot. No one has improved
more from the start of the preseason to now than Vick. The next step for him is
to play. Focusing on the development of these rookies now could pay handsome
dividends for 2007.
for the veterans, Wes Welker aside, Saban now knows everything he needs as far
as ability and character. For Chris Chambers and Marty Booker, it’s still all
hat and no cattle. Clearly, last year was a lie; the real Chris Chambers is
just not a #1 wide receiver. He isn’t a gamebreaker, the kind of player who can
impose his will on a defense. He disappears or drops the ball when they need
him the most, an irrelevant talent that other teams are confident they can
handle. Chambers doesn’t deserve to continue to start; he hasn’t earned the
right. His future as a Miami Dolphin should be in doubt.
Booker is an average player who won’t improve further, a guy who should be
elsewhere next season.At this point he
is simply taking snaps away from younger guys who might be a part of the
radio color man and former Dolphin Joe Rose said it: Travares Tillman doesn’t
make plays. A green Allen cannot do worse. If Allen is as good as Saban
believes, he needs to play to improve and gain experience for next season.
There’s no longer a single reason…not one…that
the Dolphins’ first round draft pick should sit any longer. Yes, he’ll make
mistakes. Let him. When better to learn than right now?
some of the veterans would interpret these moves as a surrender of the season. To
those veterans, I would say that their faith in certain veteran teammates is
what we saw against the Packers, the message is clear. It’s time to play for