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Dolphins mysterious personnel staff make some mystifying moves

Let me begin here: I am not a genius and I hate to second-guess. But some things simply do not add up and critiquing what is being done is not second-guessing, it is judging what is happening, and often times failing, right before your very eyes.

Having said that, I do not get the Dolphins' pesonnel moves sometimes. I also don't get their non-moves sometimes. In other words, when it comes to personnel acquisition, I often do not get the Miami Dolphins.

Let us begin with the latest and work our way back. You'll notice that today, as the Dolphins travel to Cleveland for their third game of the regular season, the team's secondary is one pulled muscle from being in shambles.

CB Vontae Davis is out with a hamstring injury. S Chris Clemons is questionable with a hamstring injury suffered weeks ago. Will Allen is questionable with a hamstring injury suffered in practice Thursday.

The Dolphins are starting Nolan Carroll at one CB spot even though he struggled in the preseason and then has struggled so far in the regular season.

It is a difficult situation authored, in part, by happenstance of injuries. It is also a difficult situation authored by strange personnel decisions.

To wit:

At the end of the preseason, the Dolphins decided Benny Sapp was their best option as the nickel back. He won the job and I agreed with it because he made plays in games (one interception) and had tons of plays in practice. Will Allen was mostly injured, nursing a hamstring injury for three weeks, after he missed the past two seasons with knee issues.

So I got that Sapp was on the team. The decision spoke for itself. The Dolphins saw what everyone else saw and they made the right call with Sapp.

Then after one game, they changed their minds. The Dolphins played one game in which Carroll, Davis, Sean Smith, and Sapp were beaten for significant gains or scores and decided that Sapp had to go.

The only guy that made any plays in the secondary in preseason, indeed, the only defensive back that made a play against New England, got fired.

Yes, Sapp had given up a 99-yard TD catch to Wes Welker. Yes, he gave up a 2-yard TD grab by Welker also.

But guess what? Jones took a bad angle on that Welker play and could have made the tackle around the 40-yard line if he hadn't. Guess what? Sapp played that WR screen perfectly in the first half and forced the tip that Jared Odrick intercepted, and that remains the only play the Miami secondary has made so far this season. Guess what? Players give up 2-yard catches in the NFL all the time.

Still, Sapp got the axe.

So basically, Miami's personnel decision-makers watched Sapp throughout six weeks of training camp, in four preseason games, in countless practices and nearly a thousand repetitions, and deemed him worthy of being on the team.

And then changed their mind in four quarters of football against the best quarterback in the NFL the past decade and an offense that led the league last year and is en route to that again this year?

Really?

So Sapp was out, even though as a vested veteran, the Dolphins were then on the hook for his 2011 salary.

Then they brought back Will Allen to replace him. Yup, the guy who's been injured most of the time since 2009 and was injured most of training camp was brought back last week to replace Sapp. And guess what? One week later, he's injured again.

Brilliant thinking, personnel department!

With Davis also down, the personnel department had to go find another cornerback. They couldn't rehire Sapp, although he knows the system and he's obviously in shape and would fit right in because, you know, that would look bad. It would look like somebody made a boo-boo in hastily firing him after New England.

So they go and sign Nate Jones. They go get a former Dallas Cowboy, of course!

Jones actually was not a bad player -- around 2009, that is. In 2008-2009 he was brought to Miami as a nickel back. He served a purpose and then was allowed to leave because, frankly, he has flaws and he was paid handsomely by the Denver Broncos. It was the right decision to move on.

Except now Denver has moved on. They've apparently found someone better. And the Dolphins?

They're back to 2009's solution. You know what that tells me?

The Dolphins haven't really addressed the nickel position well enough since 2009 to avoid having to resort to the old answers. Two years have passed and they're still trying to solve problems with old answers. What were they doing the past couple of years? Why didn't the issue get resolved in two offseasons of free agency and drafts with a better, younger, more expensive player?

Why are we trying to solve old questions with old answers you've already decided weren't good enough?

This example is not the only one bothering me about the personnel department.

They draft A.J. Edds in the fourth round in 2010. Nice pick. But after he gets injured and is out for the entire season, they cut him before the 2011 season begins. The kid got no opportunity to be in a Dolphins offseason conditioning program. He didn't have the luxury of OTAs or offseason camps. He was basically brought to camp a year after reconstructive surgery and told perform or you're cut.

And he led the team in tackles in the preseason. And he was cut anyway.

And for what?

Dante Rosario.

Yup, the Dolphins cut Edds to make room for Dante Rosario. No disrespect, but a great personnel man whom I greatly respect said this to me about Rosario when the Dolphins picked him up: "Rosario sucks!"

I took it with a grain of salt because I figured the Dolphins knew what they were doing. I will not make that mistake again.

Rosario was cut by Carolina. He was cut by Denver. He was then signed by Miami. And he was cut two weeks later because they found out what the other teams and that personnel man already knew. He's not the answer for them at tight end.

By the way, speaking of tight end, I'd like to hear from the personnel department why they looked the other way all of free agency and the draft on tight end. Jeremy Shockey signed with Carolina. Zach Miller signed with Seattle. Greg Olsen was traded from Chicago to Carolina for a third round pick.

And all the time the Miami pesonnel department is wanting us to believe the Dolphins are fine at tight end? No upgrade needed? Ok, if that is your best evaluation of your situation, fine. I will defer to your expertise.

But then you throw that expertise to the four winds and once other teams start cutting tight ends, you pick them up, one after another, like a homeless person picks scraps out of a garbage can?

What? The proven guys were too good?

You had a really good feeling about Jeron Mastrud, who has zero catches in 10 NFL games?

All I can say is Charles Clay, a running back in college, better be a stud tight end.

He also better be a short-yardage stud and blocking fullback stud because the personnel department decided Lousaka Polite was expendable. Polite was excellent in the locker room. He was one of those players that fit the team's "right 53 players" outlook the past three years.

And on third-and-1, he was nails. Polite carried the ball 15 times on third-and-one or fourth-and-one last year. He converted 14 times.

This year the Dolphins are only 2 of 4 on third-and-two or less. They are only 1-for-2 on fourth and 1. So already they've blown three times more short yardage plays in two games than they did all last year handing it to Polite.

But, maybe the personnel department would argue it had the answer for a fullback. Paul Soliai!

How'd that work out against New England.

Look, the truth is the personnel department wouldn't argue anything. General Manager Jeff Ireland is not talking to the media. He hasn't spoken since the draft. I asked to speak to him this week. Nothing.

His right hand man, Brian Gaine? Hardly ever see the guy. Doesn't mean he's not around, but he is definitely a behind the scenes guy.

And that's fine. They can stay behind the curtain. But their moves?

I promise you, from this point forward I will continually put them before your eyes.

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As I said the other day, Sparano is good as gone. I don't see it happening until the end of the season though. My greatest fear is Ross keeping Ireland. He seems to like him as evidenced by the trip to (try) hire Haurbaugh and some of his statements.

Also Darryl, I agree about the 4-3 defense. 3-4 is great but you have to be hitting on all cylinders. 4-3 is much more 'forgiving'.

Great article Armando way to shine a spotlight on this guy.

Great post! Finally time to start calling this management/ownership out. Sporano's intellect and conversational aptitude barely makes the NFL minimum (which is a low bar to start with). He is in way over his head with game plans that simply try to stay afloat.

Mondo, Thanks for those words, most of which Ive been writing in the blog. All your words did not fall on deaf ears(ours). This is why the Dolphins will lose today in Cleveland and Mr Ross will fire Sparano/Ireland, let the DC , (cant think of his name) have it the rest of the yr., I mean how bad can he be? He's not "Sparano" bad. And Im sick and tired of Sparano wearing sunglasses during press briefings. Hes trying to hide something or everything. I really believe Sparano is a nice guy, but he cant evaluate talent nor can he Head Coach. I have never see the Dolphin Francise look so pityful, and Ive been watching since 1965.

DC, I agree with an earlier post in the sense that on game day no fan should be in "suck for Luck" mode. If you're a fan you support the team come Sunday.

But, and it may be the first irrational thing I have ever read from you, thinking Luck may not be the best 1st round QB choice out there leads me to say "come on man"! Scouts inc. rates him at 99 out of 100. My eyes rate him 100 out of 100.

I stayed up and watched Matt Barkley almost throw two pick six's against a very average Arizona State team. Not impressed.

Peyton Hillis is out today.

Go Dolphins!

Beat the Cleveland Montario Hardesty's.

YOUR ARE RIGHT ARMANDO IRELAND SUCKS TOO!!! THEY BOTH SHOULD BE GONE BY THE END OF THE SEASON, AND THEN WE WILL BE REBUILDING AGAIN TOUGH TIMES FOR FINS FANS THE PAST 10 YEARS OR SO, WE DID HAVE A PRETTY AWESOME DEFENSE AT ONE TIME, BUT THATS ABOUT IT, TONY AND JEFF HAVE TO GO THEY JUST ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH PERIOD!!!!

AND ONE OTHER THING IT IS AMAZING HOW THEY KEEP SIGNING ALL THE PLAYERS WHO CAN'T MAKE THE COWBOYS TEAM WHICH HASN'T WON ANYTHING IN THE PAST 15 YEARS OR SO AND EXPECT THEM TO BE STARTERS FOR US NOT MUCH BRAINS GOING ON THERE!!!

DD, I'm gonna take your word for it (don't really watch baseball anymore).

What impressed me about Beane (in the movie at least, not sure how close to the truth it was) is that he realized he couldn't do the same thing and expect different results. That (apparently) is the hardest thing for a GM/Coach to do. Look here, we've had a bunch of different people running the team, but all did relatively the same thing, and NOTHING EVER CHANGED. We were mediocre back with Fiedler (though better than today), and we're mediocre now, a decade later.

Beane took a chance on something new. Also, to call it a quirky system, small market, to me says nothing to the fact that he was offered the job of Red Sox GM, and didn't take it, and the Red Sox used HIS QUIRKY SYSTEM to win the World Series, something no fan ever thought they'd ever be able to do. I think that gives some justification to his quirky system, don't you?

I just WISH, there was a GM/Coach here with the BALLS to try something new. You're telling me no one thought of drafting a 1st-round QB in TWELVE YEARS here? No one thought of maybe, you know, putting together a powerhouse offense to outscore other teams regardless of what the defense was doing? That it took 4 years to figure out that running on first and second down is a LOSING strategy? That we didn't need a TE combo (like Martin in '08) with Fasano LAST year? That our secondary CAN'T COVER A MANNEQUIN?

A Billy Beane-type GM would have figured that out MUCH sooner than the yahoos running this organization, and for that I stand behind my initial statement. I don't like (or know) everything about the guy, and am not saying the A's are the best team in baseball (however, they did break records with that 20 game win streak, right?), all I'm saying is he was a guy that didn't do the same thing again and again and expect different results, and as a fan of a crumbled franchise, that was a refreshing sight to see.

Good report and did that NFL personnel guy also tell you that the Miami Dolphins also suck!

Please Mr. Salguero, Keep your promise and the heat on this idiot Ireland. Not only does Sparano needed canned, but Ireland as well.

DC..Good post...And defense of Bean. I have huge issues with the guy as fan of the A's. Trust me. If the tables were turned and he was the Phins GM..After his early success the fan base would have eaten this guy alive..To the point of him not taking the Boston job..His moneyball scheme wouldn't work there..they have to much cash to many expectations. Also the Red Sox go out and buy the best players they can..I understand that they used his formula as framework to their first cup.. But is a total different sitaution..The Red Sox still were one of the largest payrolls..Hardly money ball.

To me there is nothing mysterious about the personnel moves they have made. It only shows further proof that they don't know what they're doing. FIRE Ireland now!

Great post Armando love it.

Acorns = NFL players who've never played to thier potential or only had very limited upside to begin with. Squirrels loves acorns because there's no worry of acorns biting back.

This fo has drank so much of the play not to lose koolaid. They've been forever innoculated against playing to win. Even Herm Edwards knows, "You Play To Win The Game"!

When this doesnt happen, see Herm Edwards current mode of employment.

As I stated yesterday, the Miami Dolphins have become a bad B-rated movie with even worse C-rated actors!

Oh and I hate that whole "It's about the right 53, not the best 53". Sparano is an idiot! It's always about the best 53!

Ummm Amardo, how can you win!!!!!!! WHEN THE ONLY THREE COACHES (TOOD BOWLES,BRYAN COX AND DAN CAMPBELL) THAT HAVE NFL PLAYING EXPERIENCE AND ACTUALLY PLAYED IN THE NFL!!!! LOOK AT TEAM's BIO??? HOW CAN U TEACH THE SPEED OF THE GAME??? WHY DID EVERYONE WANT TODD BOWLES??? BECAUSE HE KNOWS THE NFL NOT SOME PENCIL PUSHING MORRON??

This franchise has become the joke of the NFL! Teams have lapped us in rebuilding even when we started before them. Sparano wouldn't even be an OC or DC when he's fired! He was an OL coach and he gets the reins of an NFL team?

Ireland?? For every good move he makes, 3-4 crappy moves replace it.

I sat through many down years like most of u.. I went to 7 home games in the 1-15 season and still had fun! This is different.. It's the same dumb personal moves and bad coaching over and over!

I've had it.

Armando.. Keep the pressure on IRELAND.. he is just as bad as our last GM!

ha i knew it..da front ofice is jus like da players,if u hire mediocre personel,u get mediocre players....fire ireland,,bring in carl peterson,,,fire spagarano,,,let nolan finish da season as coach,,,hire tony dungy...

GET RONNIE BROWn,LOUSKA POLITE AND CHANNING CROWDER!!!BACK!!!!! THE PROBLEMMMMM ON THE OFFENSE ISSS OFFENSIVE LINE. THAT"S WHY REGGIE BUSH PROJECT IS NOT WORKING!!!!!

I think it was you that answered your own question in todays paper about why they did'nt go after better talent. The owner "told them not to spend money" even though they are $8M under the salary cap. Also, hamstring injuries?! Don't they have a strength and conditioning coach that's supposed to deal with issues like that?

I feel pretty confident in saying that Dolphins ownership are viewed as "clowns" around the league.

Maybe they can use Henne/Moore like Woodley and Strock if Henne can't convert in the red zone. Henne certainly got in the red zone consistently so far this season, maybe
Moore can finish the job. Yeah, I am half joking and this will be looked at as crazy and desperate, but is it crazy enough to work?

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