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Dolphins in need of some more "acorns"

You know that immediately after the draft, general manager Jeff Ireland referred to players the Dolphins can pick up here and there as "acorns."

Chad Pennington was an acorn last year. Jason Taylor was an acorn this year.

Well, the Dolphins are a few acorns short of a full bushel.

Looking at the roster as it is currently constructed, one would have to agree the Dolphins have upgraded at various positions. They've improved (potentially) their pass-rush with the additions of Jason Taylor and Cameron Wake. They've improved (potentially) the anchor of their offensive line with the replacing of center Samson Satele with center Jake Grove. They've addressed (potentially) the secondary by adding free agents Gibril Wilson and Eric Green and drafting Sean Smith and Vontae Davis and Chris Clemons.

But there are two areas of concern to me now that were areas of concern to me when the offseason began. And I am having a hard time believing either has been significantly improved.

One area that hasn't even been addressed is the right guard spot. Right now the spot that was a revolving door problem for the Dolphins last year continues to look that way this year. Yesterday's news that Donald Thomas has a torn pectoral muscle means the Dolphins once again are without their starter at the spot. Furthermore, the injury raises questions whether Thomas can be counted on at that spot.

Thomas, in his second season, has exactly one quarter of NFL regular-season football experience. And he also has a major foot injury that caused him to miss all of 2008 and now the pec issue that will cause him to miss valuable time in the offseason program and camps. The Dolphins might think they have no recourse but to wait on him to get healthy and plug him back in, but I say the team needs an acorn at that position.

The Dolphins will/should scour the waiver wires and weigh trade possibilities leading up to the season to try and plug the leaking hole at RG.

It is fair to suggest the team doesn't need to do this because there are bodies already on the roster who can fill the void. Andy Alleman is still on the team as is Ikechuku Ndukwe -- both of whom started games last season. But that is hoping for a solution. Neither excelled at the spot last year and while the hope is they improve and become exclamation points, today they remain as question marks.

The Dolphins also have free agent signee Joe Berger and second-year player Shawn Murphy on the team as possible solutions. More hoping here. Berger has never been an NFL starter and while that doesn't mean he won't be, it says something about him that Brandon Frye, a former tackle, was running with the first team at right guard Tuesday while Berger was backing up at guard and center.

Murphy is intriguing in that he was a fourth-round pick last year. The Dolphins have high hopes for Dale Murphy's son. But he hasn't hit it out of the park yet, if you get my drift.

“With Murph, really one of the things that he needed to do, he was very young at the position," coach Tony Sparano said. "When we took him he started out on the other side of the ball and then we took him, so he didn’t have a lot of experience maybe playing the offensive line, but he has good mentality. I think what we didn’t see out of him or what we would like to see is the game being able slow down a little bit in there if that makes sense, so he can play a little bit faster.

"[Monday] he had a real good day out here, he did a nice job yesterday, did some things, played a little bit faster. You can see that he’s got a pretty good understanding [of] what’s going on, so that process I think is what we want to see him take the next step with, really the game slowing down for him so we can see the physical things come out that we seen in the draft.”

Ah, the physical things. The fact is Murphy was surprisingly soft last year. He was overweight. And he combined that with below average strength. Not a good combo.

The Dolphins are hoping that is being addressed this offseason.

“When he came in, we took some weight off of him, then when he got down in body weight, we brought him back up the right way so his body has completely changed since the time that he walked in the building here," Sparano said. "[He's] much stronger now physically, without a doubt and I think in a lot better shape, so I think we are going to see him take some steps forward here.”

Let's hope.

[BLOG NOTE: Later this afternoon, I'll update you with the other position that remains unsolved. Yes, the Dolphins did things they hope will cure their ills at the spot, but we'll discuss if you believe that's been done. So discuss the right guard spot and can you guess the other position that needs HELP in my opinion? And why?]



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Acorn means, an ok player who can play about 8 games a year and teams can take a gamble on and who can't find a team to sign him so you can sign him w/ little money.
based on that PENNE wasn't acorn b/c he was in very high demand ,so please don't include penne as ACORN.

Nose Tackle. Fergie can't possibly effective for 60 minutes, and who knows what Solai is up to these days.

Nose tackle - we need a guy that can give us 15-20 snaps at nose.

Do I win a cookie?

Gopats, could it be, just maybe, that people whos opinion mean much more than you, have a differing view/definition of acorn.

Now excuse me as I go to a Pats site and make stupid comments...

How about the left guard spot and center? I don't know why they keep getting players with a injury history like grove and smiley. Grove has NEVER played a full season exept once. How Alan Fanaca would look good right now. The same goes for the WR'S, Turner? never lived up to his standards and who the hell is Hartline? Another mistake was Pat White, they should have taked Clint Sitcom who played the 3-4 and worked under Al Grogh. Bottom line, take as many hurt players and people who never lived up to thier potential.

I would say that the other position is NT. They have some potential there but nothing solid after Ferguson. I'd be very nervous if he was out a any significant amount of time.

I was concerned about the RG position as well. I looked that the available options and I came up with Pete Kendall. While not great, he is pretty reliable and has been around. I beleive Parcells brought him to the Jets and is a good option. He is a veteran that would be a good backup (I'd consider him an acorn as well, maybe not a Pennington or JT sized acorn, but just below them).

Armando, two things, 1) the other area of concern has to be a backup NT that will spell Ferguson and eventually replace him. Soliai is a question mark. 2) RE the RG spot, you are correct in wondering if Thomas is injury prone, however let's face it that on any NFL team if a starter goes down, you are not going to be able to replace the guy with another starting caliber player. There is only so much top tier talent out there and the cap is also in play. No team can have 53 starting caliber players on the roster.

Injuries are a big X facotr in this league which is why Parcells is so big on off-season conditioning.

Just to add the NT point. Not sure who saw the OTA video on MD.com but they showed Soliai stretching at one point and he looked HUGE!!!! He looked to be in the upper 370s. He did not look like a football player stretching but some obese guy trying to reach for another cookie.

finsupremo, i notice the IQ on this blog and you are a good example , any word you use could mean many definitions based on how you use it and armando is using it like when fins gets an ACORN, it implies that's a good deal for the fins money wise and a player that is fell of a tree like JT ,so to implies that Penne equal in value as JT as a player to the team is wrong.
p.s...Penne will get a great contract by end of 2009 ,so many teams need a good QB

Mando: For the record, Thomas played the entire game vs. the Jets last season before the foot injury was diagnosed, not one quarter.

Thats why I was ripping this regime during the last draft - they spent a 3rd and 4th round pick on WRs who were widely considered 6th round picks in a draft that was really deep at receiver. There were guards available in those slots. Offensive line is simply more important than WR. Lineman are much harder to find, and more important to the success of the team by far.

Obviously this regime has earned credibility for how they've turned around the roster. This roster was an absolute joke when they took it over and it is light years better after just 2 offseasons. I just would have liked some more emphasis on the line and front 7 rather than taking 2 mediocre receivers in the middle rounds.

Mando -- Assuming the progress on Thomas' foot looked OK it's hard to blame the trifecta for not foreseeing problems at RG. Why were you worried about the position at the start of the offseason?

Depth might of been a concern, but it looked like we had our starter.


I'm positive Ireland is looking at all possibilities to improve every position on the team. But the wavier wire is not loaded with stars. And MJZ is correct by saying no team can have 53 caliber starters. So Armando, you have been relieved of your GM duties and may now return to your previous position of being a reporter.


1. Donald Thomas played the entire first game of last season, not just a quarter.

2. The Dolphins will not find any acorns on the market or in a trade better than what they currently have on the roster. Unless someone cuts a good lineman after roster cuts in Sept. or a losing team near the trade deadline has a fire sale "Everything must GO!", the RG spot will be filled in by someone on the roster.

3. I like the younger guys who may fill in at RG's potential... I think you can look around the league and find only a few teams with the strength and depth that Miami has on the oline... Alot of teams would be decimated if they lost one of their lineman to injury... Miami showed last year that they can compensate and in some times compete at a high level with their backups...

4. I think you have a pretty good team if your biggest concern is who will man the RG position.

Also, you have to read between the lines... If the Dolphins went through the whole first 5 rounds of the draft without picking 1 olineman, that says something. Especially when your head coach is an offensive line coach. It says loud and clear, "I like who I have on the offensive line." You have to believe that they came into this offseason not knowing how Thomas would recover and didn't put all their eggs in his basket. They felt good about some of their other guys or else they would have taken someone in the draft.

Well Mando Im going out on a limb and say that it is the WR position,I agree in a way I still think we need that number one guy shoot me but I did not care for the two we drafted maybe that all will change because these can be diamonds in the rough but we really need a vet in here to take looks away from Ginn and Bess and maybe as a mentor to these younger players.

i dont get you people on here, the dolphins wasted picks on drafting WR's and not NT yet if we had drafted to NT instead of wideouts we would be missing wideouts and this team would need wideouts to compete blah blah blah. SHUT UP ALREADY!!!! damn they have done a great job this offseason with the draft free agents and everything yes we arent a super bowl contender but we arent that far off. we have a solid D and a stable quarterback. good running backs oh yeah and the wildcat as a pass threat now. So for all you idiots that talk out of your ass this is me tell you to SHUT UP !!!!

Defensive Coordinator.

'nough said.

Thomas is our starter. I would be worried if he had another foot setback. Mando, by your thinking, we should have 2 starters for every position. Though that would be nice we don't have the cap space for it. If there was a question if Thomas would be able to start the regular season I would say go get another starter that can play left and right guard and center so we have a great backup plan.

The other position is WR right? We have a lot of WRs to compete for starting spots. Our WRs from last year are a little short and small except for London. We drafted a tall receiver and now have someone to work with. I don't think we have to be concerned with our WRs. Just because we don't have a star doesn't mean we can't throw the ball. We have great TEs that can get downfield. If we are going to trade or spend to get a playmaker I would rather it be on the defense.... ILB?

You guys need to read it again Mondo wrote exactly one quarter of NFL regular-season football experience.

All I know is I hope the ferocious Dolphins and that meany Jason Taylor don't tear my baby's leg to shreds. That defense looks tough. As for the offense, I'm sure coach Belimidget will be dumbfounded and duped by the wildcat again.

P.S. Tommy, you forgot to make your bed this morning, so get home this minute!

If the other position is NT your right. We need someone solid and reliable. We got Louis Ellis that everyone is high on. I hope he is the acorn we were looking for.

sorry, Mando.

The right guard position was the biggest reason for the playoff loss against Baltimore. They couldn't block anyone in the passing game or the running game. Baltimore does have (or did have last year) a great defense with some big bodies on the line, but that was really a sad display.

I think Thomas will be the answer. It's not even crucial that he be playing at a high level for the first part of the season. He just needs to be healthy down the stretch.

Foot injuries (like acl's) are just random. He probably torn his pec lifting. He'll be fine eventually.

low IQ =t.bMommy, you said all that since j.jhonson,nick and cameron were here.that's why we send our boys from north east to fix your team as for fans like you , i hear that Vick in his way to FL to work w/ humane society to work on things like you.

Please release the following family....the Ginns, Ted(opps I droped anothe) Ginn, his clip board holding daddy, cousin rufus(the human blocking dummie) Ginn, and his little sister Tednisha(all The way) Ginn....

Acorn = ???? what to you menace

Armando what does it take to please you, some organizations would feel it were walking on water right now in only year 2 of rebuilding. The way some Finfans feel that we should be competing for a SB championship now is totally preposterous.

Be reminded that when your team is only one season removed from 1-15 you're not doing patchwork, you're rebuilding the entire ship. A few deficiences or not I absolutely love or position we're presently in.

Look at teams like say Detroit, will they ever get it right? Try being a beat writer for the Detroit Free Press and I'm sure your problem finding skills would be so well honed you would bee competing for a Pulitzer by now.

Right now as a whole our team's more solid than one Marino took to its last SB appearance and you beat writers were so blinded by the light there weren't as many many complaints as there should have been back then. My goodness we're barely one full season removed from year one of rebuilding and everyone wants to buy tickets for this year's Super Bowl. Be realistic, despite the few flaws currently present our franchise is in great shape and have clearly shown that we are moving forward at an alarming rate.

Has not 11-5 shown you anything or were you like countless others, Blinded by the light! If we didnt make a SB appearance until year 5, which is year one after a 4yr rebuilding plan is supposed to be complete, I would totally still be satisfied. Anything in between like last season's AFC East title is a little blessing on the way and not a right of passage as some of seem to think.

How bout if we drafted a NT and a WR instead of two wideouts Huss

NT maybe WR I think TED GINN is going to have a 1000 yard year to show progress maybe 7 TD's. But CHAD's arm will stop him from his true threat down the field.DONALD THOMAS will be OK and if not SPARANO was O-line coach and with VERNON CAREY and GROOVE I think BERGER will be OK. NT is pretty weak behind FERGERSON but they did bring in players and let players go and the cycle continues.This is the 2ND YEAR of the 11-5 REBUILDING MODE. So to ARMANDO,GOPATS and the rest of dolfdoubters.. 11-5 last year SO QUESTION TO ALL YOU 11-5 this year will mean what going against this years teams.BECAUSE I CAN SEE 11-5 again.

MAYBE 13-3

Gopatsies: ACORNS are all free agens

Mando you won't stop harping until we get an overpriced "big time" receiver who, like the statue from Jacksonville, won't even get on the field.

Oh, my guess is your going to whine about our wide receivers. Duh!

The major reason we lost to Baltimore was because our whole interior line was hurt and Ed Reed. Smiley was gone, Thomas was gone and Satele had one arm. There aren't many inside lineman who can handle Ngata anyway... And Baltimore did make it to the AFC championship game last year didn't they? That wasn't a bad team to lose to...

Inside linebacker. and defensive tackle

I agree with most people here saying NT is the position that wasn't addressed that needed to be. But maybe the Dolphins do have that guy already on the roster. Wasn't Ferguson himself a 7th round pick by Parcells?

The 'phins signed Joe Berger for this exact reason, you aren't going to sign a top guard to 3-4 mil per season IN CASE someone gets hurt and sit on the sidelines in the meantime. The fact that Berger isn't taking snaps right now, doesn't mean a whole lot.

However, you do know that Mando is going to harp about the WRS even though Ginn and Bess showed a lot of talent last year, Camarillo was reliable, and they invested two mid round picks on the position. Didn't Bess catch a 40 yarder in the scrimmage yesterday even. What else do you want these guys to do???

Hey, you can't fault Mando... His best times of the year are from January to April. He is the best when it comes down to finding inside information on free agents, coaches and the draft. Once it gets time to get on the field, it's time to change the channel... He relies on stirring the pot to get traffic because he is not great at the X's and O's...

Marcus, are you questioning Mando's technical strengths? I heard he was coach of the year in the Dade County Flag Football League

Acorns corrupt according to Hannity & O'Reilly---stay away from them!

Good luck in finding those acorns:

ARMANDO: Check with your sources about ex Steeler Kendall Simmons. He hurt his achillies last year and is rehabbing. I read he'd be ready by camp time. If so, Miami should be checking him out.



Why dont you let us share your post via DIGG, FB, etc...I want the world to see what an idiot you are

afc east CHAMPS my foot ,what a name for a fan who's needs a lot of football to learn.

P.S According to ARMANDO GET RID OF EVERYBODY and BRING IN THE patriots BUMMY OVER the HILL players.

how come the fins stayed for very long time in the cellar of the NFL ,when they had such smart fans like " THE AFC EAST CHAMPS "

Why did GOPATS cross the net?........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................TO GET ON THE WINNING SIDE



Ignore that disease that is named gopats. You were right. He is wrong. Do not go to a Pats blog and lower yourself to his level. You know why? We (true) fans have no desire to go to another teams web site. He is a fool.


What kind of a name is gopats? It even sound gay. I mean really. He is a disease to this blog, and I am the cure.


Gets his feelings in a tiffy when he hears upbeat Dolphin fans talk about their team. Well I say then get off this blog! My friggin head hurtts just thinking about it. Gopats should rename as gotohell

you know who, are you afraid of gopats, you sound scare you fool, i don't see gopats insutling any one here or afraid like you


HEY superfin72. Maybe akin O'dele can play RG in place of thomas. Top o the morning to ya ! LOL

you know why,

I am not afraid of a pencil neck piss ant. It is like a disease in your body. You will get sick of it and want it out. You are a stupid moron if you believe he is not insulting anyone that is a fan of this blog. Read the last post you freak!

A couple of comments based on your comments:

Donald Thomas did not play the entire games last year in the season opener. If you go to NFL.com and buy the replay package you can watch the opener again and see he was out by halftime and Ndukwe took his place.

Secondly, Superfin72: It takes a championship to please me. Maybe you are happy with one-and-done in the playoffs. But that is a loser's mentality. No one in the Dolphins organization -- not one player, not one coach, not Jeff Ireland, not Tony Sparano and not Bill Parcells -- is content with what happened last year. They want to do better and know they have to GET BETTER to BE BETTER. And they are working EVERY DAY to get better. And that includes adding more talent. So in that regard, I am thinking as they are thinking. You can either get on board ... or continue to live in 2008.

Marcus, I am a journalist, a writer, a person who makes his living having coaches, players, insiders tell me things they don't tell other people and relaying those things to you. That happens relative to offseason acquisitions and X and Os questions alike.

I am not a football coach or an X and O guy. That is the reason I asked Tony Sparano to explain Patrick Turner "dropping his hips" in the rookie camp and asked him to explain the unbalanced line's advantages last season. I then used those explanations to me to explain them to you, the readers.

If you want to change the channel, go right ahead. But I hope you are changing to the channel run by a CURRENT COACH because otherwise you are fooling yourself thinking some other journalist can tell you what is happening with Xs and Os based on his outsider's knowledge of the game -- without studying film, the playbook or opponents.

Brian Waters. Not happy in KC, maybe the sixth we got from Washington and another low-round pick would get him.

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