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Ireland: Big is good, big and fast is better, and fast is a must

You know the Dolphins are a team lacking dynamic speed. They need plays that eat up yardage and the fastest way to get those on offense and special teams is to get, well, faster.

That is why the Dolphins will go into the draft and free agency looking for fast guys.

But fast guys, you must know, are often not big guys. Chris Johnson is not big. DeSean Jackson is not big. Mike Wallace is by no means big.

And that kind of runs counter to the marching orders Miami personnel people have been working under the past three years. Bill Parcells wanted big guys. He wanted physical guys that made up a physical team.

Unfortunately, that physical team was kind of plodding.

So the marching orders have changed for the personnel men. The Dolphins are looking for big, yes. But they want fast, too. And if fast means not quite as big as Miami previously wanted, an exception might be made, according to Miami general manager Jeff Ireland.

"Well, you're looking for big fast guys, too," he said during his appearance on Armando and the Amigo on 640 Sports here in South Florida. "We need to increase team speed not only on offense but on defense and special teams, too.

"They have to be the right type of guys, the right fit. Durability is a big thing for me. They got to be durable. That's something we had a little problem with this year, having a lot of guys miss games, guys are on [injured reserve]. But we've got to do a better job of increasing team speed, and if that means making an exception for a rare player, we might do that. But first and foremost, we're looking for big fast guys."

I truly believe that the Dolphins will be looking for speed at running back, speed at the punt and kick returner spots, speed in every aspect of the coming offseason.

That offseason, by the way, is split into free agency and the draft. We don't know which will come first because the NFL has an uncertain labor situation. Unless a new collective bargaining agreement is struck by March, it is likely free agency will be delayed indefinitely.

That obviously affects a team that typically fills needs in free agency and then fills out the rest through the draft.

The uncertainty has caused the Dolphins to adjust their plan of action for finding talent this offseason. The fact is the Dolphins will have two plans of action, according to Ireland.

"We're going to have a plan of action to go into it if [the labor situation] is resolved quickly," he said. "We're going to have a plan of action if it's resolved after the draft. There are a lot of unknowns and there's a lot of things you can't control. You just have to plan to attack when the time is there to attack. We're looking under every rock and looking over every acorn that falls out of the tree. Those are things I live by and we'll continue doing that same thing."