« Sunday column: This bloke's got hang time | Main | Value of Dolphins draft to be weighed »

Moore and Wooden on the value of experience

Ran into a couple of former Dolphins players at the Jimmy Buffett concert announcement Friday. As I told you in an earlier post, Dolphins great Kim Bokamper and Dolphins mediocre Joe Rose were there. Receiver Nat Moore, a rightful member of the Dolphins Honor Roll, was there as was former safety Shawn Wooden, who is a class act by any definition.

I got to talking with Moore and Wooden when the topic of the new drafted receivers took a left turn and became the topic of the current draft class. That topic also took a detour and got Moore talking about how Ted Ginn Jr. and John Beck were basically thrown under the bus from a planning perspective.

"Look at what the plan was when both those guys were drafted," Moore said. "Beck was supposed to sit a year and learn behind Trent Green. Then Trent Green got hurt and the next guy got benched and now what was supposed to be a two-year timetable is a two-month timetable because Beck is starting.

"Look at Ted Ginn. He comes in as a guy who is going to help the team as a receiver down the road but initially the plan was for him to learn that position while contributing on special teams right away. That was the plan. But they trade away Chris Chambers and now the kid has to play and then they cut Marty Booker and the guy has no veteran teaching him how it's done."

I have long valued the presence of veteran leadership on a team because without it, a team is simply incomplete. Look at all the great teams. None are comprised of just young players. Or just old players. I believe all great teams strike a balance between experience and youth, and are served from both camps.

The same can be said of groups of players on the team. The Dolphins had experience in the quarterback group (Chad Pennington) last year. They had experience in the linebacker (Joey Porter, Akin Ayodele and Channing Crowder) group. They had experience on the defensive line (Vonnie Holliday and Jason Ferguson). They had experience in the secondary at every starting position. They had experience in the running back corps. They had experience at tight end.

But they had no experience of note at wide receiver. And guess which group of players frustrated most with promised potential that did not fully arrive?

The wide receivers.

Davone Bess was a rookie. Greg Camarillo was a first-year starter. Ernest Wilford, the veteran with most experience, was a non-factor. Derek Hagan, a third-year veteran, was a glorified practice squad guy. And Ginn, the No. 1 receiver, was only in his second year and first as a full-time starter.

In other words, the group lacked an experienced mentor among their ranks.

So why is that important?

"It's very important on a football team," Wooden said. "I remember when I came in, guys took me under there wings. Louis Oliver taught me how to break down film. When Sam Madison got drafted, T-Buck (Terrell Buckley) helped him learn the game. When Pat Surtain got drafted the next year, both of them helped him."

So I asked the question that has always floated in my head when this subject comes up. In the absence of an experienced veteran, isn't it the position coach's job to step up and be the mentor?

"It is but they don't do it," Wooden said. "They really can't do it. It's like a family. The coaches are your parents. But the veterans are the older brothers. You listen to your parents, but you try to pattern yourself after your older brothers. When they say things it has more authority because they've just been there. That's how it is on a team. The older players know the tricks, they're on that field, they know what you're going through because they're going through it, too."

And that, according to Wooden and Moore, is invaluable.

"Look, football isn't all about being the best athlete," Wooden said. "I can go over to Liberty City and find five guys who can run a 4.3. But that doesn't make them a professional football player. That doesn't mean they have it up here (pointing to his head) or can be professional or have work ethic."

That other stuff must be learned. And it is Wooden and Moore's opinion that having mentors on the team to teach it to younger players is important. Unfortunately, Ted Ginn Jr. hasn't had a mentor to teach him.

Discuss ....


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Moore and Wooden on the value of experience:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Why is are the Dolphins the ONLY team in the NFL that is arrogant or optomistic enought to ignore a position for 3-5 years such as wide receiver and think they even have a chance to win? And why do we as fans, media, and consumers alow them to get away with it again this year unscathed. I don't care if you're rebuilding-you are ripping me off as a consumer-if I was a stock holder-it would be actionable malfeasance of office, and fiduciary responsiblity. Listing Mr. Roth????

I Didn't know Matt Roth owns the dolphins.

Joe Rose was a solid TE (13.3YPC, 1TD/9 catches). As was Bruce Hardy (9.6YPC, 1TD/10 catches). I bet most of the people ragging on Rose were sperm when he played. Mando wasn't (even if he does look like he's 12 - which is a good thing because he's actually getting kind of old) but that doesn't mean he's right - he was 19 when he started covering the Fins in '82. what does a teenager know? Rose and Hardy were a big part of the Dolphins early 80s success and should be shown some respect.

Ted Ginn has the speed and hands to be a good or marginally better than good receiver in this league. What he doesn't have is courage. He showed that he could be worthy of the 109th pick in the draft in a couple of games last year (most notably against Buffalo - 175 yards - the fact that the CB (McGee) was coming off a knee injury notwithstanding). He still has a lot to prove and it would be a really nice luxury (and a giant relief for fans) to have a veteran #1 on the other side to mentor him and give him some single coverage. Some Dianabol might be good too - add a little size and may grow a testicle or two. I really do hope he has a break out year in 2009 because if he doesn't we might be a little screwed.

enough, rose was ok . but we are talking complete different era of football, who cares, and why is it even a discussion? please. the skins had a great white back in riggins. they also won a superbowl with a black doug williams. the game is just simply not the same. lester hayes, jim plunkett, the list goes on& on. stop your snifflin worry about "09" oh yea f jim kelly.

U guys worry too much about stupid things. The dolphins will not do good. Brady rules. Better luck nexts season

Love perspective like this. Fans like me hear it but still do not and cannot appreciate its significance.

gopats, it brings me to my knee's but damn if i dont agree with you.

well except the brady part. but what it's just fun.

if it's another 11-5 season im going to golden corral.

Go back to your Pats blog. Nobody gives a rats azzz what you think....you weasel.

Agree Dfan 100%, Hey Jaksin get ahold of yourself. Don't listen that fool gopats. He is an idiot.

yea, go pat down your pillow be for you bite it.

ace, i know but come on, some of these arguements, i mean honestly. im dolphins all day.

yea the pats, quite possibly the oldest team on the field, but you know what? they will defiey all odds and look marvalous in the eyes of non football enthusiast becuase every one likes to root for the fave. mean while they really suck balls, but some how there still so great. the party's over. dolphin's will roll your a$@

howie, quite vocal, but i like your style.

stop it.

duper & clayton ran the show. nat rocked though.

Some Dolphin fans seem so mesmerized by everything that comes out of Parcells that they think he can’t make a bad move. He has taken this team to a new level and we commend him for that but not every move turns to gold. I was the first person that said let JT go but now you have to sign him if only to keep him out of NE.

To all you bozo's hating on Joe Rose...until YOU can say you caught a TD from Marino, SHUT UP.

u guys pizzz me off.

Joe Rose is a turd. Sucked as a player. Sucks on the radio. Just plain sucks.

I will eat Joe rose's children.

what did marino won ? any one ?
Rose was a great player , but your QB can't deliver the football ,every suck

Oye Tickle me...And how does that make u feel?

I have to agree, in sports experince speaks volume, watching a guy do it, not just any guy but one who has made a liven doing it that's BIG! To be able to ask him question get one on one time, come on you have to value that! One last point it must mean something to have veteran leadership it's a BIG PART of what the Pat's do every year..... yeah think about it again.

eeeh....ahem...you are right.

Just went looking for Shawn Wooden's rookie diary as I read it when I was in college and like nick362 has said, it's something I really enjoyed reading.

Long shot but does anyone still have it? I now coach at a University in a country where football is a non-event for 99% of the population but would like to highlight stuff like Shawn's diary to these kids.


« 1 2 3

The comments to this entry are closed.