A Modest Proposal
Today is October 17th - the trade deadline for the 2006 NFL season.
I bring that up because it means that there are only a few hours left to rectify the biggest mistake the Miami Dolphins made this year - the acquisition of Daunte Culpepper.
Now you know that I am not normally a negative fan. I like to think of myself as either an optimistic realist or a realistic optimist about my favorite team. I am usually in favor of giving a player or a coach plenty of time to prove themselves. Hell, just a few weeks ago I argued that Culpepper should be given three chances to prove himself before being moved to the bench for the year.
Of course, that was before we learned that Culpepper quit his rehabilitation treatments early in an effort to get back on the field. (See the Miami Herald Aricle: Dolphins' Culpepper begins rehab)
Yes, you heard me - Mr. Culpepper was doing "so well" and was "in such a hurry" to get back in the lineup that he quit his rehabilitation treatments early this past summer to practice more.
While I applaud that kind of desire in a player, it must be tempered by intelligence and good judgement - especially in a quarterback. Otherwise they end up hurting the team more than helping.
In other words, he made one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well known is this: he forced himself back into the lineup before he was ready.
Usually it's coaches that get players to step back into the game before they are fully healed. OJ McDuffie was thrown back on to the field by Jimmy Johnson and company and paid the price of that miscalculation with a premature end to his career.
In this case, however, it was Culpepper who apparently quit his rehabilitation and started practicing.
Of course, the coaches have to take some of the blame for this as well. It is the coaches' responsibility to know the health and medical treatment status of their players, especially ones as important to the franchise's success as Daunte Culpepper.
But they either didn't know or didn't care that their new star was not working towards his rehabilitation as he should and as a result, all of us - Culpepper included - are paying the price in a lost season for the team.
So, what should we do about this?
As you may have guessed by now, I have a modest proposal for the Dolphins to rectify this situation - and it's only partially facetious.
I think Nick Saban should get on the phone to Oakland and trade Daunte Culpepper to the Raiders.
Why the Raiders? Well, I think that's pretty obvious - Al Davis is the only owner left in the league crazy enough to take a chance on Culpepper at this point in the season. Big Al has a history of taking on marginal players with major talent, Culpepper's style fits Big Al's offensive philosophy and I think that Big Al just wouldn't be able resist the opportunity to reunite Culpepper and Randy Moss.
On top of it all, the Raiders are in the worst need of any team in the league for a starting quarterback. They are so desperate that they even signed Jeff George in the preseason for a tryout.
No, I think with a little marketing, the Dolphins could convince Big Al to take Culpepper off their hands.
What should they ask for the love boat captain? Well, how about Jerry Porter? That would allow Big Al to solve two problems with one trade and get Miami a talented receiver who drops a lot of passes. He would fit right in.
Personally, I don't care what the Dolphins get for Culpepper. I'd be happy if they traded him for a mocha latte and two tickets to a Miami Heat game. I just think that the Dolphins should move him along because I don't believe, at this point, that he will ever return to being the player he was in 2004.
Culpepper has a great arm and amazing athletic ability, but after seven and a half years in the league, he takes too long to make up his mind and doesn't have good pocket presence. Those things will not change, even if he manages a full rehabilitation of his knee.
Right now, Joey Harrington is the better choice. While his stats don't clearly show it, Harrington has demonstrated better mobility, quicker decision making and better pocket presence. His arm is at least as strong as Culpepper's right now and he's more accurate. There is no area of quarterback responsibilities where Culpepper is better than Harrington right now - or is likely to be in the near future.
So if you're reading this, Coach Saban, please - get on the phone to the west coast and send Mr. Culpepper to California. The Raiders need him - and the Dolphins don't.
At the end of this little diatribe of mine, it must be said that I realize that what I'm saying is all just so much lawn fertilizer. I'm just exercising my God-given rights as a fan and venting because it's the only thing us fans can do to deal with our frustration.
And while I truly believe that trading Daunte Culpepper right now would be a very smart move, I know that I have a better chance of winning tonight's megamillions lottery than the Dolphins have of trading Daunte Culpepper - even if they wanted to.
For Daunte Culpepper - I don't have anything against him personally. I admire his drive and determination to lead the Dolphins. I just wish he'd shown a little better judgement about his rehabilitation and waited to step in as the starter. That would have been the smarter move. And he could have done it....
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/04/2009 12:22PM by curt.