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Rebuilding can frustrate when it's done over & over

There is building a franchise. Don Shula did that and it resulted in a couple of Super Bowl titles.

There is rebuilding a franchise. Jimmy Johnson did that and the nucleus of players he brought in were flawed on offense, very good on defense, and ultimately good enough overall to contend for playoffs spots from 1997 through 2003.

What we have now, however, is something much different. What we are seeing with the Miami Dolphins now is in some respects rebuilding position that we though had already been rebuilt. Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland are in the midst of doing that and so far the results are mixed.

Miami's dynamic and enigmatic personnel duo corrected a lot of wrongs their first season, turning a 1-15 disaster into a division winner and playoff team. But last year was a step-back season as the Dolphins dropped to third place in the AFC East with a 7-9 record. (Some of you may not accept it was a step-back year, but the facts are impossible to ignore.)

Now, after two years of building the team as they would want it, the Dolphins find themselves in the curious position of rebuilding the same team. 

After two years on the job, Parcells and Ireland got about the business this offseason of rebuilding practically the entire defense. The defensive coordinator is new. At least three of the four opening-day starters at LB will be new. The starting nose tackle will be different in the 2010 regular-season opener than he was in 2008 and 2009. The starting free safety will be new for the third time in three regular-season openers. Miami's right defensive end will be new -- again -- as the Dolphins will start Jared Odrick or Phillip Merling or Tony McDaniel as the fourth person to fill that starting job in three years.

All these are facts. And all the facts speak of the Dolphins having to cover ground in rebuilding that they already supposedly addressed in their initial rebuilding of this team the past two years.

Let's face it, the club has failed to properly address the free safety spot -- first giving the job to Jason Allen, then Chris Crocker, then Renaldo Hill, then Gibril Wilson, and now another player to be named at a later time.

Let's face it, the Dolphins invested two years, a modest draft pick, and millions of dollars in ILB Akin Ayodele only to find out he wasn't very good at stopping the run or in coverage.

Let's face it, the nose tackle position was an issue before last season began. Everyone knew Jason Ferguson was a stopgap measure and I remember Ireland being asked why he didn't address the position in the 2009 draft. He basically answered there are only so many big bodies to go around and one of them didn't fall to the Dolphins.

So Miami went into 2009 with Ferguson and he broke down. The Dolphins finally addressed the issue this offseason by moving Randy Starks to nose tackle.

The greater point here is Miami has reached a stage where the fixes need to finally take. The club cannot keep addressing the defensive line time and again. The club cannot keep addressing the free safety spot year after year.

And this rebuilding upon a rebuilt position also affects the offense. For all the money and resources the Dolphins have invested on the offensive line, the unit is still not completely resolved. In 2008, the right guard spot was an issue. In 2009, the right guard and left guard spots were issues.

Can we get the guards addressed once and for all, please?

The Dolphins believe they have done that at right guard where Richie Incognito is expected to compete for a starting job with Donald Thomas and perhaps Nate Garner.

The left guard spot is much less certain. Garner and rookie John Jerry seem the most likely challengers for the job. Justin Smiley, who Miami signed to a 5-year, $25 million contract in 2008, lasted only two years. He is now on the trade block because of shoulder injuries that one might have seen on the horizon when he was with San Francisco and was forced to miss the latter part of 2007 with a shoulder issue.

So three years into rebuilding their offensive line ... the Dolphins are still rebuilding the offensive line.

My greater point is this: Everyone accepts the Dolphins needed a thorough rebuilding. Everyone accepts it was going to take time to do. But it is hard to accept that the Dolphins are already in Year 3 and still rebuilding what they already supposedly rebuilt. They are having to double-back, so to speak, to address issues they supposedly already addressed.

That slows things down.

And it cannot continue because, as with all teams, new issues pop up every year. Next offseason the Dolphins could be looking for help at running back or tight end, and perhaps wide receive. Next year the Dolphins could be looking for more backup quarterback help. Anyone looking off into distance can see that.

The last thing the team needs is to have those concerns, while also needing to address OLB (again) or FS (again) or CB (again) or OL (again).

Therre is still a lot of building being done around the construction site that is the Dolphins roster. Here's hoping the work currently being done won't soon require that it be redone. Again.


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I have never commented on this blog before, but now I can't hold back.

I'm sorry Armando, but that was about the most ignorant piece of football writing I have ever read. My jaw is still on the floor.

Have you ever heard the comment, "Rome was not BUILT in a day." or "rebuilt" as you so eloquently described as rebuilding a rebuilt team. Waaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhtttttttt! Are you kidding me.

I am just flabbergasted as I don't agree with your entire premise, "insight" (lack there of) about building a football team, football chemistry, understanding of the dynamics of a football team, or the effort and ability required to build "acquire talent" in this business.


Sorry Armando, I don't agree. What we'e going through is no different than what every other team in this league goes through. It's why they have free agency and the draft. Every team has holes to improve upon every year. We could stick with the guys we've got or we could try and improve through the draft and FA. It's no different than what NE or Indy is doing every year. This team will NEVER be perfect. You try and get better every off-season. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Some of these draft choices will pan out and some won't. It's how the whole process works.

MANDO, I hope you move up in out of covering the Dolphins, I wish I can apply the VADER technique to you, your negative perspective is "most disturbing".

The real key is getting all the positions to fall in place for a brief period in order to make a run at a title. This is virtually impossible unless you focus on the positions this regime has focused on, yes, over and over, trying to get it right.

Without a good O Line, you cannot build the QB position first, then the running game. How many stars did Denver's O Line make out of mid round draft pics? Too many.

Without a solid D Line, it doesn't matter who's LB, S or CB.

For the first time since 1973 I feel REAL good about the O Line, and I'm very optimistic about QB, CB, RB, WR and CB.

I think they've done a decent enough job to contend for the AFCEast Title, and who knows after that.

Ok... Sorry Armondo, but you definitely stretched the truth... O-line isnt a need, we have plenty of depth, making the Smiley loss (eventually) not a problem... Just cuz we lost him last year, there wasnt a drop-off in productipn from the unit.

CB wont be a need next year either... We're set at the starters for years to come and W.Allen as 3rd, Carroll and J.Allen at 4th and 5th... Looks pretty deep there.

What youre saying is true at FS, but the D-line is pretty deep as well especially the DE's... NT can wait till next year because if the Starks experiment at NT doesnt work out in the first 8 games, Ferguson will be back on fresh legs and hold up from that point on while Starks reverts back to DE...

Great Article Armando...no doubt the trifecta are rebuilding the rebuild as it goes along...isnt that to be expected?..Of course not all moves work out and everything is easy in hindsight...What you gotta ask is this...AT THE TIME...was that the correct decision..??...
Lets take Wilson....at the time...he was a Superbowl winning FS from NY GIants....he had a fairly strong CV....YES they paid haevily...but this is similar to the purchase of Dansby in a way...big money and played at Supebowl level ( although didnt win)...
Its an EDUCATED gamble when you do these things....in hindsight we know Wilson was woeful and cost us plenty....but at the time, the decision was not out of bounds...it was within good reason...
The really DUMB decions for me are
1. trading GINN...who is an elite KR and would work beautifully in a WILDCAT situation..and offers SPEED...we need him at N05 WR...MISTAKE
2 Not acquiring both Marshall and BOLDIN....it would have been fantastic...I also think we could replace Haynos and Fasano with Patrick Turner and David Martin..a thought only.
We should try to CONVERT Pat White to running back and see what happens...if not this draft pick was a dumb move indeed.

I pretty much agree with your article MANDO....as usual you are SPOT ON...

This year this FO will be scrutinized in depth but I think they have done very well...I liked the draft but will depend on KOA and ODRICK being elite or not...I have doubts on MISI

What about a TE , don't we desparatly need help there or am I the only one that thinks that

>I knew this blog post would incite the "nothing-to-see-here, everything's just fine," crowd

This is the reason for the article. Nothing more, nothing less.

Writers need readers, so they push their buttons.

I would be very dissapointed if Carlito is really gone.

And by the way, take last year's team and play them against the team from 2008 and I think last year's team wins more than they lose... and I think this year's team will be better yet... so regardless of what our record was, I think we have consistently moved in the right direction.

Think about all of those quick fix attempts for over a decade that set us so far back on talent/depth at almost EVERY position.

ugh, this blog has been a major buzz kill.

Wow, great way to stir up the troups. The truth in my mind lies somewhere in between. Yes, most likely they felt Wilson had enough talent and could be coached up. They were wrong. But, since they felt he was the best available player, why not? Other then financially, how can you really lose if a player like this does not pan out?

In hindsight we know the result. They have to project. Projecting really is much tougher.

Now, with Merling he is not the force they were expecting, but he is not a complete bust either. Maybe he will feel the fire behind him and hang on to his job, maybe not. Regardless, 50% of top draft picks are busts. It happens. Look over the Patriots drafts over the last 5 or 6 years. Granted their roster is more talented so a players chance of sticking is lessened, but you'll get my point.

This regime may not have build us a champion yet, but at least it is a team we can get behind. They play with effort which is a great improvement over a few of the previous coaches.

Be fair in your expectations, they only have a handful of opportunities each year to upgrade the team, and as you said yourself, holes open every year as well. The NFL is designed that way for a reason. It keeps it interesting. And, in May we are all gunning for the trophy.

Germany said,,

After looking at it SABAN was not that bad with still having 6 players on the current roster.

I say,,

Ronnie Brown 2005 Saban - Nice pick, but certainly has durability issues.
Channing Crowder 2005 Saban - As close to a bust as a 5 year starter can be.
Patrick Cobbs 2005 Saban - Nice backup.
John Denny 2005 Saban - Special teamer.
Jason Allen 2006 Saban - Special teamer.
Will Allen 2006 Saban - Quality player, winding down.

So in my mind we have Brown who probably wont be back next year. Crowder fighting for his job. Cobbs if healthy will contribute in a limited role. Can you really say these were good drafts overall? I think not.

Saban at best gets a D+

LMAO@Mandy..Lets face it you know VERY little about Football but it wouldn't be funny IF you didn't act like you do.

The ONLY way your issues could be fixed "once and for all" is to do away with the salary cap and you not realizing that speaks volumes about your lack of knowledge of how the REAL world works in the NFL.

Later this week you will write yet another moronic entry where you will refer to this post as "Merely trying to spark debate and check the pulse and knowledge of Dolphin fans!".

I've given you three years to get your arrogant head out of your buttocks but the fact is you don't get,you never have gotten it and you never will get it and would be much better at covering the Jets because their fans are absolute morons,such as yourself,and you could pass your standard BS off to them and they would be none the wiser.

Smoke some more of that s"&t Armando. Rebuilding takes 5 years, even for a genius like Parcells. We will be fine in 2 years no matter the coaching staff or the front office personel. Be patient. We have young talent everywhere you m@/$n!

yr. 3. free agent splash: Dansby. trade splash: Marshall. the two returning free safeties played better than the one released - Wilson, and one is in his second year. this regime see's problems and attempts to solve them - unlike Wanny who drafted Fletcher (is he still in the league) while passing on Wayne. this is why writers opine, and thank god do not run the front office!

Stirring things up again, huh Mando? Actually, I've seen you give credit where it is due on occassion. Your synopsis of Miami's recent past was insightful, relevant, and to the point. I agree predominantly with most everything, that you said.

Though, most teams have similar woes from year to year, I believe Miami has had a disproportionate amount misfortune. In particular, the patchworks that didn't seem to take hold. That is devastating for a young team on the rise. They need experienced leadership.

Yet it's funny that the two teams that the Dolphins played their hearts out in and should have won, just happened to be two teams that were Super Bowl bound.

Time will tell if the powers that be, are getting it right or not. It's a process that takes time. They are heading in the right direction. This is a time when results speak louder than actions.

Last year was NOT a step back... it was evidence of what injuries do to an NFL team. Lost the starting QB, starting NT, and pro bowl running back for the stretch. name one team that would keep moving forward under those conditions. the key this year will be Henne in the fourth quarter... and ultimately that may be the reason Brandon Marshall is now a Dolphin.

absolutely the WORSE article I've read by Mando in two years. Unbelievable! way to keep finding 'clouds' in our 'silver lining'. the saying goes, "it doesn't take much talent to be a critic", but I guess that is what most daily blogs are for. EVERY team works EVERY year to keep getting better. Did New Orleans sit out the draft because they won the super bowl. Someone woke up in a bad mood! keep writing like this and I may have made my last visit.

Okay it is official, you are crazy.... 2 years ago we were 1-15. How quickly do you think it takes to change the culture and team that stunk so bad... You forget we won our division in 08, because Brady was out... I am sure if he would have played in those games they would have won at least one more game than we did. Last year wasn't a step back, we lost our starting QB, CB, ILB, RB, and the list goes on... Last year help identify the areas we need to improve on to become an elite team. Not to mention the HARDEST schedule last season, coupled that with only a running game on offense and two rookie CB's, 7-9 record was courageous. It could have easily been 9-7, 10-6, but our weakness was exploited, we had no defensive leader, and we couldn't catch teams from behind. My suggestion to you, would be to take a chill pill, relax, have a drink or two, but God's sake stop over analyzing every little thing about the Miami Dolphins. Become excited about the up and coming season.

One more point, if you think you could do a better job, apply for it.... I can't recall you ever playing football or coaching a Superbowl team, but hey let us all put faith in your ability to build a team better than the brass at Dolphins HQ.....

The rebuilding process will take time. I think the Dolphins are doing a good job and have a sound philosophy. The deconstruction of the Dolphins began with the end of the Johnson era and did not stop until Parcells was hired. One or two guys a year make an impact via the draft and the success of free agency as a means to fill spots depends on who available, the cost, competition with other teams, and the loss of your own players. The Dolphins were the worse team in the league only 2 and one half years ago, they have come along way!

Im a reader of this blog but i never bother to leave a comment until now, this is the dumbest thing that i've seen Mando type up. Your basically saying that the FO has no idea in what their doing, i'll put my money on them any day, and you Mando, your just garbage, i have read alot of people trash you and your blog and now im starting to see why, with all your negativity about the Dolphins, you deserve it. The o-line was a strong point of the team last year even after smiley and grove went down, and because their making it stronger you say that it was misses by the FO. Even Ireland said that its nothing wrong with making a strength of the team stronger. Gibril and Wilford are the only ones that i know got a big pay day by the FO and never lived up to it. So thats 2 misses out of how many hits? Why dont you start talking bout the positives with this team instead of them missing on 2 free agents. You cant say smiley was a mistake because he came in and did what was asked, which was to turn this team into respectable opponents again.

I agree that 2011 is a make or break year for the trifecta but that is about it in the blog

Rebuilding should be though of as a 3 year process. You can't build a good team in less time

This is the age of free agency and the salary cap. Mediocre players come and go to fill needs. So smiley are akin aren't great example of mistakes. Fins were horrible on 2007. You have to pick up some mediocre players to fill the gaps on a bad team. The fact that they will be gone next year just means we can get better (just like when we added them we made a miserable team better) it doesn't mean a mistake was made.

Mando I think you are stretching the facts a bit to make your point. If you need to fins some long term additions that may define the future of the team why no mention of Jake long or vontae Davis - both solid 1st round picks on the heels of drafts where players like ginn and Jason Allen were picked (in the prior 3 years). Try not to forget what this team was in 2007 when you criticize they guys - I can guarantee more new players will come and go before they are done. It's the nature of the beast

Armando -

What do I want? A team that can win the division. That's what I want.


From the movie..."A Few Good Men"


Seriously.... how do you get paid to do this?
go back and look at the names of the people on the roster in 2008 and tell me where those people are now and how well they are playing... Matt Roth seems to be the only true "starter" we lost, porter and taylor were getting past their exp date and the braintrust wants the younger guys to gets reps. Oh no! not young guys who could help this team for the next decade!!!!! not that.... anything but that! IMO, just cause the Fins lost more games in 09 than 08 doesnt mean it was a let down... they literally went from one of the NFLs easiest schedules one year, to the NFL's hardest in win percentages... I'd say losing heart breakers to the 2 teams that were in the Superbowl, and sweeping the Jets makes me a little more excited for Miami's future than Armando. I guess he doesnt remember the days of going 1-15... look at the holes in that roster, and ask any coach how long it wouldve taken them to turn that team around.... i bet they would say longer than the regime has taken... You sir wrote a very pessimistic article. I expect better from the MIAMI herald...

Madfin..did you just quote a 30 year old movie with that cheese..you might as well say show me the money and bounce around like you just won the lottery ;)

Mr. Salguero:

I will respectfully disagree with the logical basis of this article. Let's face it, with FA in the NFL virtually every team is in a state of perpetual rebuilding. That is a reality in a league where many of those undervalued second tier players (i.e key backups and special teams stars) on a very succesful team will be gone to the highest bidder the next season. Thus, any comparison with the Shula years has to be dismissed OUT OF HAND. Secondly, the Dolphins made us fans extremely happy in 2008, I am not diminishing this outcome but it was against a creampuff schedule awarded us after finishing 1-15 in 2007. Last years' 1st place schedule was infinitely more difficult. A declining win total should have been expected; although a 4 win decline was disappointing! Bottom line is, do fans feel that the correct positions are being addressed, because we cannot address every area simultaneously? I strongly feel that OL, WR and QB have been succesfully upgraded at this time. I feel (less strongly) that DL and defensive backfield (as a unit) have been upgraded to above average leaguewide.
This leaves the LB and TE positions as works in progress ( I would argue that RB was our strength before the current regime stepped in and it remains a team strength). This years draft reinforced depth and possibly upgraded the LB position. I will give the team management a B in their rebuilding effort overall. If the Gibril Wilson (free safety) moves and the WR position had been a better outcome, this would be an A, but those are the risks of today's NFL talent scouting.

Madfin..did you just quote a 30 year old movie with that cheese..you might as well say show me the money and bounce around like you just won the lottery ;)

Posted by: COWKILLA | May 12, 2010 at 02:02 PM

Na, I just always think of that court room scene with Jack Nickolson when I hear people arguing about the truth.

This blog has been very good, good job Mando for keeping me from doing any work...at work! LOL

...now if I had an Acorn (ireland pun intended) I'd throw it at you! LOL :-)

Marc, I was directing my question to Armando. I've found that most of the readers here seem to have more football acumen than the purported expert. I've read your posts before and have found them to be mostly fair-minded. That seems to be the case more with the readers than the blog author himself. Sorry if you thought I was going after you though, as I was not. Still waiting for Salguero's response.



The bottomline is the dolphins have sucked since when we got taylor and ricky in 2002-4! we have done NOTHING since then! Why, bad coaching, bad drafting and a LOSING culture period... Personally the only thing I like about the regime so to speak is that when and if they do fail BP wont have any more excuses!! But I dont want them to fail because then my team fails! Armando makes an excellent point I have been watching my team rebuild since 1979!! The one thing I hate about this regime is that they seem out of touch with modern football! Such as PASSING the ball deep and OFTEN (not cuz i like it but because thats how you win these days)!! And this committment to the lines and not to secondary which to me was the WHOLE PROBLEM last year PERIOD.. But armando at least they got rid of wilson my question is why are players like crowder still on the team hes a loudmouth bum!!!

Jax, in case you haven't noticed, I interact with the folks on here that are readers and posters that come here in good faith.

You come here to stir crap and complain and divide. Therefore, you shouldn't hold your breath on getting me to respond to your sarcastic questioning.

Complain? Divide?? Sounds like you're projecting again. I can't remember when you have had anything good to say about the team we all love. Naturally some of us respond to your negativity. All I asked was why not offer solutions to go with your criticism of the Dolphins? Why not offer both sides of the question? Because you want to stir crap, and incite fans against the Parcells regime because they wont talk to you. I realize fairness is too much to ask from you, but we keep reading because of our need for Dolphins info.

Jax, the "you're not ever nice to the team," whining doesn't fly. If you want to see positive pieces, search the archives and you'll find plenty of that. Look on the Herald site for my columns. You cannot come here once a month, stumble onto a critical post and say things are always negative. That only makes you a propogandist, and a bad one at that.

Hi Mando

loved the article - thought provoking and well reasoned. I would like to take you to task for some of the underlying arguments. The average Nfl career is just over 3 years - therefore it is not unexpected that approximately 33% of the starters would rotate each year. As some of the other posters have commented which is better - to constantly churn the roster to allow the cream to rise ? Or to allow players to consistently play together to build continuity ? From seeing the changes along the offensive line throughout 2008 and 2009 I see evidence that this coaching staff favours different looks to see which players take advantage of opportunities over the status quo. As a famous dog breeder once said "if they don't bite as pups they won't bite ever". The commitment to excellence of this staff should not be criticised but rather applauded - the wombat has spoken

First of all the dolphins would have been just fine last year if it weren't for injuries. And the offensive line is just fine. No one could stop the wildcat then Ronnie went down so did the wildcat. And let's not forget bill runs a 3 year program and now we are in the 3rd year. As far as the defense, bringing in mike Nolan was a great move just look what he did with Denver defense in one years time. All I can say is in bill we trust. Everyone said that all our receivers were number 2 and we didn't have a true number one then comes Brandon so our number 2s will have a field day this year. Chad has all the throws and a strong arm. If you watched the games last year he would have been one of the best in the league if it weren't for dropped balls. We would have definitely been in the playoffs if it weren't for dropped balls ( ginn). We would have beat the superbowl champs and the runners up. So in my eyes we are right there and I say again in bill we trust. Miami dolphins #1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You are closer to the situation than I am however I don't quite agree with your take on the situation.
Back when the trifecta took over in 08 season, we all could see a immediate roster rebuild takeover.
The top thirty players on the team today that gets most playing time on offense and defense, as far as I can see, only a handful were on the roster prior to trifecta rebuild began... They are RB-RBrown, RWilliams, RT V Carey, WR-GCamarillo, LS JDenny, P-BFields, LB-CCrowder, S-YBell.
Everyone else of top players either drafted or free agency.
I have followed this team with passion since 1967, and when Parcells came on, I always assumed his preference would be to overhaul the roster primarily thru the draft and occasional free agent.
In 2008 when all these LBs came on board like Torbor, Anderson, and def linemen etc, I perceived it as an attempt to TEMPORARILLY upgrade a weak roster until better younger quality starters could be found via the draft.
Maybe they really did hope that Anderson and Torbor would be long term solutions to our LB corps, I missed their intentions if that were the case.
So this past draft and prior drafts have not been sexy but essential to rebuild.
Take a look at the Giants and Ravens drafts, their strengths in prior years have been defense yet their draft focus appeared to be defense.
The Dolphins strongest unit for now is offensive line, and using the NYGiants front 7 from their superbowl win in 08, they showed how critical it is to have a deep defensive front seven able to rotate fresh players in and out and apply constant pressure on the QB. They beat a 18-0 offensive team that seemed unbeatable.
If anyone plays chess and is good at it, they know you control the game and board by mastering and controlling the center four squares.
I see football no different, the game is won and lost at the line of scrimmage. Control between the tackles and you usually win the game if turnovers are minimal.
All the trifecta is doing is strengthing it's center core beyond the initial starters which is critical.
The interim starters brought in 2008, were upgrades to 2007 I just always saw them as temperary bandaids.
Most teams average two starters per draft for players in rookie year.
Dolphins have done this and better.
Only thing I would change is perhaps be a little more aggressive in free agency.
Brandon Marshall is one of Dolphins biggest free agent signings in decades, it is amazing how this top WR will impact play for QB, RB, and other WRs.
Bess 130 catches in first two years and we have found our slot and Wes Welker replacement.
If I was in control of free agency, I would have given up a 4th or 5th to grab SHolmes in addition to BMarshall. Then two young stud WRs and suddenly the Dolphins would be set for years to come

What a wuss. What does Salguero do when people get the best of him? Just delete the post. Would that we could return the favor. No guts.

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