The Dolphins personnel people and coaching staff are, to sum it up, excellent. Football czar Bill Parcells is without peer right now in his personnel acumen, Jeff Ireland was a rising star before Parcells plucked him from the Cowboys and has continued his ascension, and Tony Sparano has long ago put to bed any questions about how he would respond to being a new head coach.
These guys are among the best in the business and the best Miami has had since Don Shula, who was the best coach of all time.
Having said all this, every single person I just mentioned is human. They don't always get it right. They don't always hit home runs. They admit as much.
And now I'm wondering if there isn't a blind spot with this group in Miami.
The receiver position.
Forget for a second that Miami's receiver group isn't impressive by any definition. There are good players in Davone Bess and Greg Camarillo, but there are no great players. Never mind that.
The issue that worries me is how the Miami brain trust views receivers.
Example: This week as the New York Jets made a trade for receiver Braylon Edwards, there was much excitement in Gotham over the acquisition that sent Chansi Stuckey to Cleveland. The Jets figure they have traded a slot-type receiver for a full-fledged No. 1 type receiver that can stretch the field.
“I think he’s a receiver who really draws attention," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "In other words, you almost have to game plan specifically about someone with Braylon’s talent, and if you don’t, we’ll take advantage of that situation. That’s a guy with his type of size, speed, type of talent he has, it’s almost more of what defenses really can’t do to us anymore. Again, I think he’s just going to be just a huge part of our success.”
Obviously the Jets see Edwards as a major upgrade over Stuckey. ESPN's Scouts Inc. analyst Matt Williams, while noting Edwards drops a lot of passes, which he does, also agrees New York's new receiver is an upgrade over the previous one.
"That offense is now complete," Williamson told ESPN AFC East blogger and reporter Tim Graham, "and for the long haul, too."
My problem is that while the Jets and outside "experts" see Edwards as an obvious upgrade over Stuckey, the Dolphins apparently don't agree with that. While Ryan is saying Edwards is a player you "have to game plan specifically about," Sparano sees Stuckey and Edwards in the same light.
The coach the Edwards addition does not change one iota Miami's preparation.
"Stuckey was a pretty good player," Sparano said. "We thought he was a pretty good player. From our end it is just another weapon out there. Do you know how many weapons the team last week had? We sat here and talked about it, they had a bunch of them. And the team the week before? Every week there is a bunch of weapons out there and we need to prepare for them. From our end, the preparation really won’t change.”
So clearly, Miami's evaluation of Edwards is that he is not necessarily special. New York's evaluation is that he was worth two draft picks and two players in trade.
One also has to look at Miami's attempts to improve their receiver corps this year when discussing this issue.
The Dolphins hit a home run on Bess as an undrafted free agent. They struck out on Ernest Wilford as a high-priced ($6 million guaranteed) unrestricted free agent. And it is too early to tell on 2009 draft picks Brian Hartline and Patrick Turner -- although Hartline is contributing and Turner is not.
And what about history?
We know that Parcells doesn't like tempermental wide receivers or those that might seem to become tempermental -- likely as good a reason as any why the Dolphins didn't buy into the Edwards trade talks.
Parcells didn't want Jerry Jones to sign Terrell Owens. Parcells didn't want the Patriots to draft Terry Glenn. He was overruled on both counts and eventually left both teams, in part, because of that overruling. Owens and Glenn did, for a time, produce bigtime for the Parcells teams that acquired them.
Glenn, matter of fact, was good enough that Parcells brought him to Dallas when he went there.
Meanwhile, name another outstanding receiver to have been uearthed by Parcells? Mark Ingram? Stephen Baker? Phil McConkey? Miles Austin? Patrick Crayton? Am I forgetting somebody?
The point is some solid football people have disagreed over the years with the Dolphins current brain trust on receiver decisions. And the brain trust has been wrong on some of the more notable decisions.
So it merits study what happens going forward with the Edwards trade, what happens going forward with Hartline and Turner, and what happens going forward with Miami's resolution to its receiver issues.
That will give us the answer whether there is a blind spot with that position ... or not.