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What they do, not say: Pass-rush edition

First the news: ILB Rashad Jeanty signed a contract today with the Philadelphia Eagles. He went with the Eagles even though the Dolphins and the Jets also offered him similar one-year deals.

The reason the South Florida native went north?

A source tells me he was simply more comfortable with the situation in Philadelphia over that with the Dolphins and Jets. He felt he had a better chance to start there than in Miami or New York.

On another front:

If you are a Dolphins In Depth reader with any standing or memory, you know I've told you to be wary of what the club and its personnel say but always accept what those folks do as gospel.

We remember this lesson from the Gibril Wilson lovefest of last offseason that led to his departure. We learned it when Cam Cameron loved on Daunte Culpepper publicly while I told you the kid was on the outs -- and months later he was cut. We learned this when Dave Wannstedt went on and on about how valuable Dan Marino was and how he could write his own ticket in the waning years of his career and, meanwhile, the Dolphins had him come to their offices to void his contract and usher him out.

It is not always about what they say. It is about what they do.

Well, the Dolphins last year where seemingly thrilled with Cameron Wake exploding onto the NFL scene with 14 sacks. They repeated time and again how pleased they were with rookie Koa Misi's development as a pass-rusher even though he showed good-not-great ability and good-not-great results with 4.5 sacks.

(For the record, I think Misi will be fine as a pass-rusher. He's more an effort guy, a high-motor guy. He's not the most gifted guy on the field, but he'll get his stats because he never quits and works hard. And he'll probably be a bit better when he learns the game and techniques better.)

So the Dolphins seemed quite pleased with their pass-rush and obviously the 39 team sacks for the season was good enough to tie them for 10th in the NFL.

But ...

While the Dolphins seemed satisfied in what they said about their pass-rush, their deeds yelled otherwise.

Even as many folks were hoping GM Jeff Ireland would improve the offense during the season any way he could -- perhaps putting in a waiver claim on Randy Moss -- he instead went with a waiver claim on outside linebacker Shawne Merriman when San Diego cut him loose.

Obviously, Ireland and the Dolphins saw a need to improve the pass rush at the time even as Wake was going nuts on offensive tackles.

Recently, The Miami Herald reported, the club interviewed former linebacker Bryan Cox for a defensive line coaching position. Although the club has yet to finalize anything on that front, a club source says part of the intrigue with Cox would be getting him to 1.) help defenders upgrade their pass-rush skills 2.) bring a more aggressive and perhaps even emotional approach to the front seven.

So, again, pass-rushing is on the club's mind.

What does that mean?

Obviously, the team is not afraid of improving an area of the team that is already fairly stout. It's a good idea because, after all, the New York Giants long ago wrote the recipe for defeating Tom Brady and the Patriots and that was hurry him, rush him, sack him, and hit him time after time.

This also suggests we should not lose sight of available pass-rushers in the coming draft and eventual free agency. I won't go into names here. It's too early for that. Or you can do it in the comments section. But, I tell you, do not sleep on additions to the pass-rush this offseason even as everyone is focused on offense.

Sure, the Dolphins haven't said they want to add a pass-rusher. But remember, it's about what they do, not necessarily what they say.

[NOTE: This will be the last blog update until Feb. 28. The Miami Herald, you see, imposes mandatory furloughs on its employees to reduce salary costs. It does so twice a year, lately. I am on mandatory furlough this week so I will not be working for The Herald thus not allowed to update this blog.

That doesn't mean I'm off this week. I will still be on my morning radio show, Armando and the Amigo, every morning 6-10 from Monday to Friday on 640-Sports in South Florida and streaming live on the web. If anything Dolphins related happens, you can bet I'll be discussing it on the air and taking calls about it, too. So you can tune in or call, if you wish.

I will also be live on my twitter account which is under my name. Please follow me to get my tweets. Later this week I will be sharing information on the NFL scouting combine. I'll hope to be back here with you on Feb. 28.]


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1/3 of being able to effectively run the ball is being able to pass it. Then 1/3 is on the rb's and 1/3 is on the oline.

The formula for effectively passing is just vice versa. A truly great offense has to be truly greatly synchrinized in all phases. All of the skill positions plus the oline have to be on exact same pages.



A quality O-line makes mediocre skill position players look great yet the best skill position players can become totally ineffectual behind a poor O-line.

I have said it before and have seen nothing to think otherwise.

Ricky and Ronnie did not suddenly become bad RB's.

They did not have holes to run through.


I would absolutely love to see a pro bowl calibre pulling guard and center on our squad. Just see no way of making it happen for the 2011 season, if we have one.

Oregon, I saw the same comments by Schlereth who BTW is a good analyst. And I couldn't understand why the line could manage something more difficult but fail on something easier.

What I saw was pretty good pass protection early in season. But as season progressed, not even a HOF QB could have survived.

Ricky, the Great Ricky, ran for 1800 yards behind a dismal oline the rest of the NFL literally laughed at. And people wonder why after Wanny ran him 9238 times straight he needed to toke up in the offseason. I wholeheartedly agree about the importance of an oline, it isn't debatable. Yet one can not dimished the importance of a really good RB compared to a generic one. Now, someone out there may cite some fluke exception, fine, they exist. I say its best to be prepared. I can't see passing up on Ingram in our current situation if he is still available.

Incognito has trouble pulling so why not move him to center?

How about Robert Gallary as a FA pulling LG. I read somewhere that he could be the best pulling G available in FA. The guy is apparently swift yet is the size of a mountain.

Sign Gallary and VY and the offense is well on its way to being a better unit.

Just a friendly reminder, the Miami Dolphins currently do not have one single 1st string RB on their roster.

Cocoajoe, that's interesting about the decertification. Still, it appears to be a last ditch weapon for when the union fails on whatever it's demands are.

Give Hillard a shot. Sign Ronnie.

Cocoajoe...I couldn't agree with you more...I side with the players..Thanks for all the good insight about the decertification topic. It can get a little confusing, and isn't really something that is that fun to research, or discuss....

I want to retract my statement about the Combine being over-rated. The NFL network guys did a great job explaining the drills and their value in the evaluation process. I actually learned something watching the skill positon guys. One guy that impressed was Dion Lewis. He should be available in the mid rounds. He was quick, lightning quick in those agility drills. A great jump step!!(see I learned that today)lol

If you have a very poor oline it will make great skill position personel look useless. It works vice versa too.

Not having a vertical threat or seam threat TE shares equally with making Ronnie and Ricky look virtually non-existent.

No matter how great a run blocking oline you have they are not going to have a high success rate against 7-8 men in the box. You'll see 3rd and longs far more often than not.

Ronnie hasn't had more than 3 great games per season since he arrived. Lex? I have yet to see anything that suggests he is a back DC's will even acknowledge exists in the backfield. Let's not be so happy with mediocre.

Sure you can get RB's later, not like Ingram. I'd rather lock up a solid RB for years to come and then focus on the oline which can be found later in the draft too. We seriously need some offensive weapons.

Darryl, no it ain't that much fun. But it's what it's come down to. It's kinda sad when an average fan has to resort to researching pros and cons of this crap just tryin' to make sense out of it all. And all we wanted is to see some football.


Time of Possession-- 30:42 to 29:18 opposition

Total Net-- 5,170 to 4949 opposition

Total Plays-- 1040 to 988 opposition

Rushing Net-- 1643(102ypg)to 1601 opposition

Passing Net-- 3527 to 3348 opposition.

Points Scored-- opposition 333 to 273 us

Guys we outperformed the opposition in every area except points scored. That doesnt reap of dreadful oline play. It reaps of lack of explosion at the skill position.

If oline was a primary problem we wouldnt have out performed our opponents in all of the other areas I listed either. We had a losing 2010 record primarily because of lack of explosion on offense.

Its offensive explosion that puts an abundance of points on the board. Last I checked oline wasnt considered an offensive explosion position. Positions responsible for this is what "PRIMARILY" needs to be fixed.

Many needs for the Mighty air-breathers. They need a QB,RB,NT,WR,Speed,A new coach(Sorry guys, Dont see the fis pumper making i past tthe Bye-Week) A new Owner(Sorry again but Mr.Hollywood may be the biggest idiot on the east coast)(I guess you could call him he Al Davis of he east if you will), What do you guys say??

DB & 0x80,

I think we will have to agree to disagree.

I am far more concerned about finding O-line talent for the long term than a RB.

RB's are no longer nearly as important in the modern NFL IMO.

DB, you want to say 1/3rd o-line, 1/3rd, TE and speed WR. I just disagree. I find the O-line to be far more important.

A RB can not run through holes that do not exist.

I also think coaching a philosophy is extremely important too and the Dolphins are simply lacking in that area.

I suspect the Dolphins will draft Ingram, it's just not what I would like to see happen.

If oline was your primary problem rushing net would be around 1100yds for the entire season and Passing would be right at or under 3000yds for the year.

As you can see we were well over both of these low water marks to guage oline play in 2010. There's your evidence oline wasnt a primary weakness.

The one true exception being the Bears game when almost every olineman went down with injury.

Oregon, as I stated earlier... I really good top RB can run through where holes don't exist. Look at Ricky's early years with the fins...the Run Ricky Run days...he made it happen behind a pathetic oline.

Make no mistake, I agree wholeheartedly on the importance of the oline. We do have some players there currently, while currently we have no bona fide RB on the roster. Thats all.

So fine, we are not so far apart, just a little...and we agree to disagree.

I hear the Marino comparison w Mallet but after what i saw today his facial expressions and color under his eyes give me doubt I also have the same doubts about Henne he looked out of it during games this year he played aweful in. I've been to Anne Arbor its a bunch of hippies smoking graSS i wouldn't be surpised at all that the rumors are true about Mallet. Marino only had a marijuana issue brought up as well not cocaine. Also Mallet looks out of shape

Breed, I think Miami led in FGs scored.... That's worth a quick fist pump... Huh??


I guess you'll never see no matter how great an oline is you're never going to have consistent success against 7-8 men in the run box. You'll also never understand the only way to eliminate this is vertical and seam threats.

Yes you need a very good oline but at the same time you need to be good at all of the skill positions too. Dude if the skill positions arent up to snuff DC's can take away a lopsided advantage of a great oline alone.

Thats all Im illustrating here. A great oline alone can be nullified!

If Mallet is available in the third then yes I'd take him but 1st rd now no way in hell

I posted this in 3 parts several pages ago. Please note this is history and APPOXIMATE VALUE. The chart is decending value from 1st thru 7th

If history teaches us lessons about the future, then teams have a lot to learn.

Consider the success rate of the wide receiver position. Historically, wide receiver ranks as one of the most targeted positions in the first two rounds of the draft (more than running backs and tight ends combined), and yet they experience the highest attrition rate in the NFL.

Of the 43 wide receivers talented enough to be chosen in the first round in the last 10 NFL drafts, guess how many have been invited to a Pro Bowl? The answer is a mere nine -- not a ringing endorsement for teams that continue to go all-in early. By comparison, 22 of the 47 first-round running backs and tight ends went on to a Pro Bowl.

So, if not wide receiver, which positions would be wiser investments early in the draft?

Before we get our hands dirty, a more advanced measuring stick is needed to evaluate NFL production; a checklist of Pro Bowl selections won't suffice. For that, we call upon Pro-Football-Reference.com's newly launched NFL player metric, Approximate Value (AV). Without delving into the gory mathematical framework, we'll describe AV as a tool that attempts to capture a player's seasonal contributions in a single number, no matter what position he plays. Consider it an NFL version of John Hollinger's NBA Player Efficiency Rating. Offensive linemen, quarterbacks and linebackers are all graded on the same objective scale.

This system allows us to study talent depth across various positions in the draft which offers a guide to help identify value opportunities outside the bank-breaking first round. Teams shouldn't feel obligated to pony up A-plus money for an A-minus prospect if they can wait to spend B-plus money on an A-minus prospect of the same position in a later round. On draft day, evaluating talent depth can be just as vital as evaluating the individual talent itself.

Average yearly AV by position
While good quarterbacks have come almost exclusively from the first round, other positions produce value deeper in the draft.

Position 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th
QB 5.7 2.0 1.4 1.5 0.2 1.0 0.6
RB 6.2 4.4 2.8 1.8 1.2 0.7 0.5
WR 4.8 3.5 1.9 1.7 0.8 0.5 0.6
TE 5.3 3.3 2.3 1.6 1.3 1.0 0.5
OT 5.4 4.6 2.5 2.0 1.0 0.7 0.7
G 5.9 3.5 2.5 1.5 1.7 1.4 0.8
C 3.8 3.9 3.4 1.3 2.0 1.0 0.5
DE 4.8 3.0 2.2 2.5 2.1 0.7 1.1
DT 4.7 3.0 2.2 1.6 1.4 1.0 0.4
LB 6.4 3.6 2.2 2.1 1.2 1.2 0.9
DB 4.6 3.5 1.8 1.8 1.2 1.0 0.9

After studying the talent distributions of the past 10 drafts, several trends rise to the surface. Almost all of the talent in certain positions has typically been stored in the first round, whereas the depth in other positions is more equally dispersed. Two positions that teams would be wise to position themselves early are quarterbacks and linebackers, while two positions where the talent pool is typically deep enough that it rewards patience are defensive end and running back.

Jump the line

Don't wait for a quarterback. In all likelihood, he won't be there. Talent-wise, quarterback is by far the most top-heavy position, with the well drying up even before the second round arrives. Sure, Drew Brees (second round) and Tom Brady (sixth round) were plucked after the opening round, but the crop of quality quarterbacks who follow them hardly deserve a mention in the same breath. Consider that of the past 10 NFL drafts, the third best quarterback, according to career AV, drafted outside of the first round is David Garrard, who was named to his first Pro Bowl this past year only because Peyton Manning had a Super Bowl to play in and three other quarterbacks pulled out because of injury.

Garrard's bronze medal may be unfair to Matt Schaub, who was drafted in the third round in 2004. Schaub held the clipboard behind Michael Vick for three years before a trade to Houston gave him a long-awaited starting gig (a waiting time that probably served him well, as our own Chris Sprow shows). Two promising yet injury-riddled seasons and a Pro Bowl campaign in 2009 has Schaub among the top quarterbacks in the game. But he's an anomaly. As Todd McShay points out in the Feb. 22 issue of ESPN The Magazine, all five of 2009's leaders in quarterback rating were among the first 33 picks.

Looking deeper in the history of the position, we find that quarterbacks have the steepest drop-off in production from the first round to the second round. The average quarterback drafted in the first round posted a yearly 5.7 AV in the NFL, good for fourth highest among the 11 positions tracked by PFR. In the second round though, the average NFL production from a quarterback plummets to 2.0, which ranks by far the lowest of any position in the sport. Who's a 2.0-level quarterback, you ask? Think Quincy Carter.

This is not to say it is impossible to find a quarterback past the first round. But with Garrard, Trent Edwards, Marc Bulger and Schaub headlining the past decade, teams searching for their quarterback of the future would be best served to follow the New York Jets' lead in 2009 and jump to the front of the line.

Behind quarterbacks, the second biggest drop-off in talent historically belongs to the linebacker position. While they are one of the most heavily sought-after positions in the opening rounds of the NFL draft, the abundance of star-quality talent is usually scooped up before hungry teams come back around for seconds.

That's because, from top to bottom, the crop of linebacker talent drafted in the first round has performed better than any other position. The average linebacker posts an AV rating on par with the caliber of five-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro Julian Peterson (6.5 AV). That's just the benchmark.

But in the second round, the norm is cut nearly in half to 3.6 AV, which is someone like Victor Hobson. What's more, just six of the 43 linebacker picks in the second round have been named to a Pro Bowl, which is just a third of the rate in the first round.

Worth the wait

Defensive end
What do Jared Allen, Trent Cole, Jay Ratliff and Aaron Kampman have in common, besides each being named to multiple Pro Bowls? More than 125 picks came and went before they heard their name called on draft day.

How do many of today's elite pass rushers slip to the later rounds? Former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah of MoveTheSticks.com believes tenacity, not freak athleticism, is the trait that that all elite pass-rushers share and that teams are quick to overrate combine athleticism and overlook what's upstairs.

"Look at a guy like Kyle Vanden Bosch," Jeremiah says. "You're not talking about a rare athlete; you're talking about a guy who has all-out competitiveness. I'd rather have a good athlete with a great motor than a great athlete with an OK motor."

The difficulty to assess mental motivation, a key characteristic for the game's best pass-rushers, might scare off some teams unwilling to do their psychological homework. But for the savvy teams, it provides the rare opportunity to pick up All-Pro talent from the draft-day scraps.

Running backs
This is simply a case of supply and demand. With enough supply of high-caliber running backs to last at least two rounds, it's bad business to pony up big money for a first-round prize.

The roll call of elite running backs that slipped past the first round is jarring; Maurice Jones-Drew, Matt Forte, Frank Gore, Clinton Portis, Brian Westbrook, Marion Barber, Brandon Jacobs, Ray Rice and Steve Slaton were all selected in the second round or later. Furthermore, of the 20 most valuable running backs the past two seasons according to AV, only nine were first-round picks.

In this year's draft, Seattle might feel pressure to grab a running back with their first pick, but they should hold off. The lesson, as always: History repeats itself.

Tom Haberstroh is a contributor to ESPN Insider. Research provided by Matt Lyon of ESPN Stats & Information.

Nate Solder looked really good yesterday especially for a guy 6'8 i would like to see the OLine finally fixed. Get the best OT available and move Carey either via trade or to RG. I'm sure Pats would love Carey maybe even a 2nd rd pick for him

Statistics often tell a distorted tale.

Last year the Dolphins moved the ball between the 20's and could not get 1st downs in the red zone. Hence the numbers.

Part of that was being predictable but a big part was being dominated at the point of attack when it counted.

The run blocking could not get to the second level and Henne consistently had players in his face as he planted to throw.

DB you can spout all the numbers you like. I did not see a good O-line last season or really even the season before either.

Tony's baby has underperformed.

CoCo, I hear that Mando is looking for a guy to Plagerise like the guy from last year he had..., Iam voting for you bro... LOL..


Ricky in his prime had great acceleration. This type of rb can be bottled up for 15 of his 20 carries. But its what he does with those 5 carries he did get loose is what hurts the defense.

This type of rb can average 20ypc just in those 5 carries alone. His final stat line can read 20 carries 145yds, but he picked up 100 of those yds in 5 carries.

The other 15 carries he averaged 3yps(45yds). Thats what's great about having a rb with explosive acceleration through the line. That's what I was talking about a Kendall Hunter type rb.

Oregon, have to agree. I'm big on the eyeball test. What I saw last year was bum's rush by the enemy too many times.

Lord knows I'm no Henne guy but the poor guy didn't have a chance. And that's exactly the reason why Thigpen didn't either.

No line= no nothing

DB -I actually think Ricky was better than you give him credit for, which was more like a Barry Sanders type player. Ricky had his share of brutal running up the middle to for 3,4,5 yards endlessly. Even to those that say its a passing league and don't want a 4 yd cloud of dust offense...that type of player, along with a quick burst and great hands catching, is a major assett on any team.

cocoa - one other interesting stat regarding RB's. Only 1 single Heismann winning RB was taken after round 14 (Salaam)


You werent suppose to see a consistently good oline playing against 7-8 in box and facing a very disportionate number of 3rd and longs.

If you dont have legit vertical and seam threats nfl DC's are going to make you look bad. You saw the results of what happens when a DC doesnt have to play you honestly.

They took away everything else and forced Chad Henne to have to be a super qb. You usually dont have that with a young(3yr)qb in his first full season as a starter. With no real vertical or seam weapons to boot.

Breed, Agree 100% about Ricky, I remember seeing him in his 1st year with he fins only having 50 yards going into he 4th Quarter knowing that he defense has been "Battered" 15 to 20 times by Ricky and you knew it was only a matter of time before Ricky would bust a 60,70 or 80 yard gain in the 4th quarter...

So DB,

now your telling me the things I will never see and never understand?

Dude, I can disagree with you all I like thank you very much and I can see thing differently without being blind thanks.

It was a good discussion.

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel had this on.

Cuban, thought we were buds. Why do you think I was plagiarizing? Because I didn't incl quotation marks? Ok, here you go, " " " " "

Happy now?


Thats exactly how Wanny ran Ricky into the ground. If Ricky was so consistently explosive every carry he would only need 20 carries per game and we would have 35pts on the board by then and tell Ricky sit down and have a nice day by mid 4th qtr.

But it didnt happen that way. Ricky was running 30 sometimes up to lower 40 carries in a single game. It was inhumane what Wanny was putting on Ricky.

I can't decide whether or not trading up for Cam Newton would be a good move I'm not saying giving up the bank but to move down a few spots to 10-12 to grab him might be the best move

Bryant Gumbel was talking about the exactly the same thing the other day on the Real Sports show

COCO, We are, I saw the ending of your post that had who wrote it, It was actually a slap at Mando who had a guy last year plagerize a article about the combine and tried to say it was his(Mando's stooge) That wrote it... It was quite a scandal....

Yes 0x80, I've often thought the Heismann was just about meaningless when it came to the NFL.


You take things way to seriously. I enjoy your post. It aint all about who's wrong or right. Im just expressing my opinion. Your frustrations are getting the better of you my friend.

Your twisting my opinions to be a personal attack on you. Dude thats the furthest from my intentions. Just means I doubt we'll ever see "eye to eye" on this oline subject. Im not trying to berate you even though your perception of what I say tells you differently.

I cant appologize for you perceptions of things because all of our perception of things differ to degree. But I do have empathy you feel this way.

Ingram is running a 4.61 not the best RB in the draft LOL

those Connecticut RBs the FB Sherman put up 225 32 times and Jordan Todman look pretty good... Might be steals late in the draft


How did Ingram's 4.58 go to 4.61? Also, if you think 4.61 is slow trying foot racing a guy that runs a 4.61 forty.

In the nfl its not soley about the best 4o time for a rb. Its about his his explosion thru the line of scrimmage. Remember John Avery? 0 nfl tds!

Oh ok Cuban, didn't pick that up. I was just trying to illuminate. We both love Miami and the Dolphins.

Did you see Cocaine Cowboys on TV last night? Seen it before but I watched it again. Shootout at Dadeland and Godmother Guisell Blanco.

I think Ronnie Brown ran a sub 4.5 40yd dash. Beerphins where did that get us. The guy's should have toe shoes instead of cleat behind the line of scrimmage.

Also, Ingram has run as low as 4.45 in a time 40yd dash. Do a little research my friend.

Griselda Blanco

not at the combine prolly by one of his coaches which is unofficial

I was in Jr. High at Palmetto Jr. High back then,Saw a lot of friend succumb to the White Powder back then, Hated it, Hated the Idiots that were dealing the stuff, Hated the banks and Polliticians that looked the other way, Maybe thats why I took up Law enforcement..., Or maybe cause I like the uniform... Who really knows.....

Some of here would make great prosecutors. Prosecutor do not primarily seek the truth. They seek to make thier cases.

lowest 40 time for Ingram is 4.59 not very good at all He is slow without the pads too LOL

Ronnie Brown is a probowl RB he needs help from the offensive line.


Love or not the truth comes out during the football season. I dont try to make my case I seek to assemble the truth.

The truth is your boy LeShoure looks avg against better defenses. Ingram has looked super against great college defense at some point in his college career. LeShoure hasnt. I wont endorse what could be fools gold.

Give me a 235 LB back with a little speed, let him hit that line 20 times in 3 quarters and I guarantee come the 4th QTR he breaks a 50 or 60 yard TD run.....Been that way for years, and will be that way for years..

And the Offensive line needs help from the Jeff Ireland to add a seam and deep wr threat. So they dont have to consistently block against 7-8 men in the box. One hand washes the other.

Breed, I have my Doubts that Jeff Ireland could draft a football Tee........


Why are you still talking about moving up to take Cam Newton? I mean seriously, are we one player away? You're looking to mortgage the future and we are already short of picks and uncertain of when FA will begin. I mean seriously, are you looking for this team to go backwards further or what? Nobody knows if Newton is going to be any good but apparently you do? How is that? What is it you think we'll have to give up for Newton?

One other thing....everyone is raving about Ingram but you are claiming he's slow. How does that work? I've looked at Ingram, LeShoure and Williams and to be honest I would be fine having any of them running the ball next year. I've been touting Williams because ?I think he's going to be a good pro and I think we could get him in the second but I'd be fine with any of these guys. To say Inram is slow is an ignorant comment.

Cuban, glad you saw what became of our fair city. There was a definite 'before' and 'after'. Better when the mob was in control...LOL

If everything were conclussively based upon 40 time for a rb. It would be John Avery wearing the hof yellow jacket and Larry Csonka being a little remembered footnote in nfl and Dolphin team history.

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