The Dolphins are 10 weeks from the kind of transformative change that will spin your head. There will be a new head coach. There probably will be a new personnel boss. And the players you see on your program on game days?
I would estimate that the coming change will sweep many of them out as well.
That simply is the truth of most changes in administration. The players this administration considered treasures may be trash to the next administration. I've seen it happen when Jimmy Johnson blew out Don Shula's players. I saw it when Nick Saban blew out Dave Wannstedt's players. I saw it when Randy Mueller blew out Nick Saban's players. I saw it when Bill Parcells blew out Randy Mueller's players.
Starting next January, somebody will begin blowing out Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano's players.
(Note to the players on the current roster: This means you! And so if you're searching for motivation these next 10 weeks, consider you're on a job interview with your next boss.)
With that in mind, I want to look at at some of the players who will require decisions when the next administration takes over:
QB -- Chad Henne will not be Miami's starter anymore. He's unsigned next year and might not be re-signed at all by Miami. If he is re-signed, it'll be as a backup. Matt Moore? He's signed through next year. He's got to play better the next 10 weeks to be around.
RB -- Reggie Bush is being misused by this coaching staff, which is why his production is modest at best. The next staff might decide to use him differently and make him something of a specialty player. If not, he's gone ... Daniel Thomas is a rookie who suggests better days ahead. He'll likely be around at least next year.
OL -- Marc Colombo will be gone after this year. He should never have been signed but his ties to the current administration sealed that. He's not good and the next administration will probably recognize that ... Vernon Carey is in the final year of his contract. His fate depends on who is in charge but I wouldn't bet on his return ... Center Mike Pouncey will be here for years to come ... left guard Richie Incognito will likely be here barring some unforeseen circumstances ... Jake Long will be here with the next administration and probably the one after that as well ... A new administration may be a blessing for John Jerry because the current administration sees him as something of a disappointment, depending on who's opinion you ask.
TE: Charles Clay is only a rookie and has shown a flash of talent. He's too young to discard ... Anthony Fasano is a good soldier so most administrations like that. But ultimately his playing talents will determine his fate, which I would say looks good short term but nothing beyond that. Depends on what kind of offense the next coach runs ... Jeron Mastrud and Will Yeatman are guys. Impossible to predict how much they'll improve or not or how much next coach will like or loathe them.
WRs: Brandon Marshall is an acquired taste. Yes, he's talented. But yes, he's not productive to the heights of his contract. As the next administration is not tied to the decision to bring him here for two second-round picks, getting rid of him will be easier ... Davone Bess is dropping too many passes to be totally secure beyond this season. If he steps up his game, his spot seems much more secure ... Brian Hartline is a favorite of the current administration. No idea how the next administration will feel ... Clyde Gates has not been very productive as a rookie, but most later-round rookies are not. He will likely get next training camp to show he belongs ... Same with Marlon Moore ... Roberto Wallace has to prove he's healthy, improved and among the best five or six to stick around next year.
DL: Paul Soliai is expecting a big payday this offseason and I have serious doubts that payday will come from a new administration that has time to rebuild the entire team through the draft and won't be held hostage on money matters. So I'd say it's 60-40 against him returning under a new administration ... Jared Odrick is a young guy and relatively productive as a bacup so he's back ... Randy Starks is signed through 2012 so he's likely back ... Phillip Merling is unsigned and unproductive so he is gone ... The plan of this administration was to re-sign Kendall Langford but then the season began, the team stunk and owner Stephen Ross put the stop sign up on re-signing players that are only borderline productive. Langford has his best game Sunday, if he has 10 more like that he comes back. If he doesn't, his chances of returning are 50-50, depending on who is making the call ... Tony McDaniel is signed through 2012. He's not great and not terrible. He's a role player and so he's got a role player's chances of returning ... Igor Olshansky is unsigned after the season so his chances of returning are 50-50 at best. I do like him at the right price, but I can confirm I will not be running the team next year.
LBs: Jason Taylor is playing his final year with the Dolphins and likely his final year overall. A new administration is unlikely to bring back a 38-year-old player to start a new tenure in a new town ... Cameron Wake is signed through 2012 so he'll be back ... Karlos Dansby had perhaps his best game on Sunday. He's excellent against a downhill running offense. He's signed through 2014 so no use making an extra hole to fill when you've got a pretty solid player in the spot already ... Kevin Burnett is a curious guy. He's hurt the team more than he's helped. No idea what the next administration will decide there. He's obviously not a slam dunk to keep ... Koa Misi will likely be back, but unless his production increases, he cannot be assured that he would start for the next coach and general manager. Their commitment to him won't be like the current coach and GM ... Jason Trusnik is a role player. He's neither an absolute keeper or guy one gets rid of.
DBs: Please use your heads and not your hearts here. Don't shout kill Sean Smith or dump Vontae Davis just because ... Both are signed for next year. Both are young. Both will be back. But both will have to compete in training camp because I expect the next administration to look at CB as a need ... Both safeties are in the same boat. Strong safety Yeremiah Bell is starting to get up there in age. The free safety spot is probably the second-highest need on the team behind QB. This defense does not have a playmaker in the secondary. The free safety as that guy is a blessing -- just look at the teams like Pittsburgh and Baltimore for proof ... Jimmy Wilson is getting better and will be back no matter who the coach is, assuming he keeps his nose clean ... Nolan Carroll will have to win a job next preseason.
Kicker/Punter/LS/RET: Brandon Field might be in the Top 3 in the league and definitely in the Top 5 ... He'll be back ... Dan Carpenter is solid but I wouldn't be surprised if the next administration will bring competition to camp for him ... John Denney is still excellent, but just as he surprised Ed Perry many years ago under a new coach, he has to be vigilant to falling to a similar situation based on his salary ... The Dolphins will be searching for returners in 2012.