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Add another need for the 2012 Dolphins

We interrupt the celebration following the first victory of the season to bring you a dose of reality:

Yes, the first win was cool. Congratulations again to the embattled players in the locker room and the coaching staff. They deserve much credit for a hard-earned taste of success. Job very well done last week.

But the week that was also aimed the spotlight on a topic that has been lurking on the margins for quite some time: The Dolphins' need at another position not named quarterback.

While many of you have been fixated on Miami's need to upgrade to an elite quarterback -- a need that has not changed, no matter how well Matt Moore played Sunday -- the last week showed Miami's need at the other end of the passing game.

At cornerback.

Simply, the Dolphins are going to need to identify and draft a fine cornerback either next April or the draft after that -- unless they sign one in free agency -- because the talent on the roster apparently isn't the answer.

There were hopes the answer might be lodged in Vontae Davis or Sean Smith but this season has shown that Smith is a solid complementary cornerback, a good off corner, but he is not elite. Davis, meanwhile, the best and brightest hope Miami had for fielding an elite cornerback has been a huge disappointment.

He has suffered durability issues this year. I wouldn't be too worried about those right now because everyone is struggling to maintain their body in a year offseason conditioning was wiped out by a lockout. So that passes, sort of.

But the fact that in the games Davis has played he has given up as many big plays as anyone on the field troubles. The fact he has not stumbled into an interception here or there is troubling. The fact Davis has seemingly regressed from his rookie year, with interceptions going from four in 2009 to one in 2010 to zero this year is seriously frustrating.

Beyond that, Davis has not only struggling to stay healthy and make big plays, he's struggling to make routine plays. He does not have even one pass defensed in his four games this year.

And then there's the elephant in the room -- he's big and smelly and eats a lot and poops a lot.

Davis was suspended from Sunday's game at Kansas City. Everyone by now knows the facts involved and they include tardiness to practice, drinking to the point of being inebriated the night before that practice, and apparently not even recognizing why he was left home, thinking the reason was his near fight with Brandon Marshall rather than the fact he was late and had been drunk.

All those speak to a chronic immaturity that has dogged Davis since his college days at Illinois. Remember immaturity was indeed the reason scouts said Davis was a risk. Well, the Dolphins have witnessed that immaturity several times, as Davis was benched for the start of the Oakland game last year for being late to meetings and fined for conduct detrimental to the team.

I am not saying Davis is a waste or beyond rehabilitation. But the trajectory of his career is not exactly shooting in the right direction. In his third NFL season, Davis is not exactly showing signs he's about to be the next breakout talent at cornerback.

And that's why Miami needs help at the position.

The Dolphins have no playmaker at one of the biggest playmaking positions on defense. They haven't someone they can count on to end a drive or steal a turnover or maybe even turn the tables and score a TD here or there.

That simply hasn't happened for the Dolphins who are among the league's worst defenses forcing turnovers and are on course to break the franchise record for least interceptions in a year.

The other reason cornerback begs more attention?

The NFL is a passing league these days. Teams don't need one good cornerback or even two good cornerbacks. Teams need at least three good cornerbacks because the nickel corner these days is a de facto starter. The third corner plays between 50-70 percent of the down in today's NFL.

And Miami's nickel cornerback now is Will Allen, whom the team cut earlier this year only to bring back when it cut nickel cornerback Benny Sapp. Sapp, you'll remember, made the team then was booted off the team after struggling in the season opener against New England.

We've all seen the Dolphins this year. Nolan Carroll isn't the answer back there. Jimmy Wilson seems more like a safety. Allen is 33 years old. Smith is good but so far not great and not even very good. And Davis?

Not someone a team should trust or count on.

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I'm back!

this is another area that ireland failed to address and its hurting mike nolan defense. nolan has to form a D with the players he's given. the secondary is a weak link with vontae and sean smith (legends only in their minds0. sean plays "soft" and never punishes. they are not elite corners;not even very good corners. they dont accumulate passes defensed stats or INT's. our SS is getting older and has had problems covering fleet footed TE's. reshad jones nor chris clemons are ball hawking FS. we failed to address the FS position in the draft. we "gave away" a good one; amaya in the bush signing.

K.C. was our 1st win in almost a year! it took sparano that long to realize he may want to "open-up the offense" alittle bit. talk about playing scared football! sparano would be more respected in a loss if he played to WIN! its how we lose thats unacceptable.

Just another piece of garbage that needs to be thrown away.

A very accurate perspective; besides a shut down CB; the Dolphins need a " Speed " WR opposite Brandon Marshall; A consistent TE


The CB play has been disappointing. There is a derth of CB in this year's draft & we HAVE to go there in 2nd Rd. Bump Vontae to #2 where Smith is & Smith to Nickel and they 'may' be more suited to their talent levels. I'd have little problem with blowin' that secondary up & startin' over either. They're not very good.





The success of the defense against the pass depends on two things. The defense needs to get pressure on the passer on a consistent basis. That doesn't happen often with this team. When a defense gets pressure on the quarterback it helps the cb's and safties by forcing the quarterback to make innacurate or rushed throws. That gives the db's an opportunity to make plays on the ball and possibly create turnovers.
In contrast, a good defensive backfield that can cover receivers helps give the line time to get to the quarterback. We all know this and we don't coach in the NFL.
So, neither area has worked too well for some time in Miami.
If Miami has a cb on their board in the early rounds, where they take one is probably going to be a function of where they pick in the 1st round. If they end up in the middle of the pack again there's a good chance their franchise qb is gone. Then, they may look at taking someone like Kirkpatrick or Claiborne. Personally, I like Claiborne better than Kirkpatrick but, if they wait until the 2nd round to pull the trigger on a CB, Johnathan Banks from Mississippi State would be the pick.
For my money Banks is every bit as good as these two guys. He's a very aggressive tackler, especially on run support and he's always around the ball.

I can understand Luck, Barkley and Jones being the top 3 qb's but I don't get Tannehill in the #4 spot. He's having a good season this year but last season was nothing to write home about. He's a 2 year starter with one good season. He has to drop to the 2nd round. It just doesn't make any sense.

Contrast Tannehill to Robert Griffin who threw for 67 td's and only 15 int's in his four year career at Baylor. He did that without a good offensive line and any running game.

In the last game Vontae played in, I noticed something odd...so odd i rewound to see again. Pre-snap..he was lined up 8yds off...with his legs CROSSED..like he was standing in line at the grocery store......he stayed that way until AFTER the ball was snapped....i was shocked.

Can they make it 2 wins in a row now??????????????

vontae had red flags/issues at the draft. ireland chose to ignore the warnings then. we now may have a 1st round player with character concerns.

we need 2 starters (CB, FS) in the backfield.
We also need new starters at QB, WR, TE, RT, 2 OLB.
That's 8 starters needed + depth almost everywhere
With a good GM, we are talking about a 2 year project

Screw CB! Miami better take a QB with their high first round pick!!

Until the get a legit franchise QB, nothing else matters.

on of my buddies was teammates with Vontae at Illinois... Said that Vontae would tell Coach Zook he didnt feel like practicing certain days, used his brother Vernon's credit cards racking up major bills, and even asked my friend "Yo ... tell me how much money I'm gonna make." This guy has no responsible for himself and is a complete waste, bringing him to South Beach did nothing to help. He only cares about himself and making his millions. Time to trade him and get a draft pick and give another team this headache.

I'm more confident about Wilson being able to develope into a good corner than either Smith or Davis.

Let's just go back to the point that this franchise is "new" and we get all of the allowances of a brand new franchise...

Let's just start over, from the point that the city is awarded a franchise...

We are going to have growing pains anyway, we will be able to claim all of the rejects and used ups off of the other clubs rosters, and there won't be any expectations for at least a decade.

So this is where we are at mid-season. Celebrating one win. Ok.

Immaturity can be cured- it's not a terminal disease. It seems that most of the problem might be the never ending hamstring injury.

davis with the right hc will be fine. He needs dicipline and direction and sparano is far from that. Also there will be some quality FA corners out there this year. The whole defense is a disappointment. not sure why you are picking on corner backs.

Davis looks like an undersized LB playing corner, IOWs, HE'S A FATASS,LARD-BUTT,SLOW REACTING,PROFUSELY PERSPIRING,ALCOHOL LIPPED MESS RIGHT NOW! You can't play the CB position like that, maybe Mr. Salguero was describing VD when He said this in the article:

"And then there's the elephant in the room -- he's big and smelly and eats a lot and poops a lot."

Yup, sure sounds like Davis to me...

JJ knows what he's talking about, real well.

"Davis looks like a FATASS undersized LB playing corner"...

Smoking Joe Frazier WHOOOMPA!

Totally agree with you Armando, on the corner back issues the Dolphins have...And that goes back to Ireland and Sparano's ineptness at drafting and or evaluating talent.How can Sparano say Colombo is doing a good job? Give me a break man!!!
First things first...get rid of Ireland and Sparano, get a quaterback and a quaterback coach, then fill your needs...AKA conerbacks etc.

I say move Sean Smith to FS, they say the kid was a helluva WR in College, so He should have ballhawking skills...right?

Another Ireland failure...God what a douche. Armando, you could also add free safety on that list. Who do we have exactly? Culver is decent, but more of a special teams player. Clemons is only playing special teams now, so that tells you everything you need to know about him. Rashad Jones is more of a strong safety, so maybe he takes over for Bell. Every good defense has a playmaker at the free safety position. We don't. Another need coming right up!

Don't tell MiaimiD20 about Davis. Just yesterday he said it was a solid 1st rd pick.

Yea, solid. LOL To think we passed up Matthews, Britt & Nicks to draft him.

Imagine if we had taken 1 of those 2 WR's. We likely would NOT have traded for Marshall & had that headache.

Imagine if we had taken Matthews & he was paired with Wake on the edges? I'd say that combo alone would be worth 2-3 wins a year.

Davis & Smith are nothing but average to below average corners in the NFL. Sad, but true. Infact, I'd rather have Davis than Smith as the #2. Smith is GARBAGE.

I disagree with Mando there & on 1 other thing about the secondary. We don't need a playmaker at corner. We just need decent coverage where a QB isn't throwing to wide open guys. Need decent corners to make QB's have to stick throughs in, instead of being able to be innaccurate & still complete it because the corners are nowhere near the ball.

I think it's more imperative to get a play making safety. One that can hit & get his hands on the ball. You can't have TE's & WR's roaming untoached in the middle of the field with no fear of getting clocked. That's exactly what's going on.

I don't think the corners are a pressing issue. They are not the greatest but not bad. Maybe I'm just super pressed about a qb that I don't care about anything else right now. Unlike others, I'm a fan of Sean smith. I think he's a decent corner. Davis is troubled this year but no need to write him off. I think adding someone through free agency or a mid round draft pick would be nice to add to the depth. Its tough to really grade anyone this year because the team seems to be in such a mess right now anyway.

Re: Sean Smith. Also keep in mind that I was a changing crowder and Tedd ginn fan too. I just thought their gifts were underutilized or unappreciated by the fan base. None of the three were pro bowlers but did add something to the team.

Joe, don't forget...Matt Ryan is just like Jay Fielder. But in the end he'll be better...LOL!!

problem stems from sparano wanting to be liked by the players. this leads to less discipline and players arent held accountable. players in control i'm afraid.

sean smith is always late to the ball. his height prevents him from swiveling his hips to stick with a receiver, especially a double move. he doesnt have INT's or passes defensed because he's not aggressive to the ball. he plays soft and never "punishes" a receiver with a shoulder hit because he's always chasing.

Jimmy Wilson at least plays with emotion,and likes hitting guys. More than I can say for Smith and Davis. Trade Vontae now,before this becomes a consistent problem,just my opinion.

Willy, if Conrad is one thing, its a big hitter for a corner.

Sorry, that should read Vontae. Stupid autocorrect.

I think Washington beats Miami this weekend. I also like Philly, Pittsburgh, and new England.

I remember when Sean Smith had an interception in the pre season game, it might of been in his rookie season against the New Orleans Saints and I thought wow looks like we have a stud.

Two years later he's more like a turd. Vontae has more mouth than anyone, but cant cover squatt. Since he wants to be a muscle head put him at LB.

I like this guy and that guy but not so much the other guy but I think we need to upgrade a few guys in the draft and we might have a shot if this guy or that guy steps up. This weekend I like a few of the home teams and a few of the visitors. We'll see.


Houston Dale Nutt was fired...I'm sorry..'resigned' from Ole Piss yesterday. What the Hell does this have to do with the Fins. Ole Piss realized that the Preacher was not the answer and cut ties with him. The program was spiraling in a downward trajectory. At the end of last season, it was obvious that this FO and coaching staff WAS NOT the answer.....a downward sprial would continue. The owner realized it but screwed up the replacement for this coach. Everything that has happened since has been a FUBAR that can be directly traced to Ross' failed attempt at hiring Harbaugh. Another poor draft, poor decision making once free agency opened, poor dicipline as seen in the article above, poor coaching decisions (on a weekly basis)...the result: 1-7. Prior to the season, I predicted that this team would win no more than 5-6 games. A lot of the booger-eaters on this blog chided me, stating that I should "go cheer for another team b/c it is obvious that your not a REAL fan....too much negativity". It was obvious to anyone who understands football that a team with MANY holes in its roster, multiple poor drafts, lack of depth, tough schedule, and poor coaching decisions (hiring an OC that ran an offense that was actually statistially worse than your own) would not win many games. As a fan of the Fins for 35+ yrs, it was obvious to me (a rank amature) that this would be another wasted year. My only hope as I watched the first 7 games was that we would go winless in order to draft Luck, a true franchise qb. I knew it would not happen....we are not as bad as the Colts..they suck worse than we do..by far. Even if the two franchises tied in the loss column, they would have an easier strength of schedule, therefore get the top pick. But the chance/dream at the top pick represented a potential chance at success somewhere in the future. That has gone by the wayside with the win in KC and the eventual win against the Redskins. Whats to look forward to.....3-13? Finally firing this coach? Firing the front office? Getting rid of the bad apples in the locker room? All of this was obvious last year!! All of this should have been done last year. Why did Ole Piss cut ties with Nutt 2 years early....why announce it now? Not to make it a better team for the remainder of the season, but to tell the fans that they understand that the team is not headed in the right direction and let them know that changes are on the way...give hope. Sparano and Ireland should have been fired last year. The trajectory was clearly downward at the end of last season..a field goal coach in a touchdown world. Our rebuilding process is now one year behind. Fire Sparano and Ireland after the Thansgiving loss, not because it will somehow make them a better team for the remainder of the season, but to let the fans know that change is on the way. Let us know that we have hit bottom and the trajectory is now upward.

I agree with Justin Credible. Vontae Davis is good enough when healthy. Don't go saying that CB is a need more so than WR, QB, FS, NT, RT, OLB

It's funny, the same guys who are criticizing Ireland for drafting Davis with supposed 'character issues' are also criticizing him for passing on Dez Bryant, with......wait for it....'character issues'.

Priceless!!.....just priceless!! What a fanbase!!.....the team is SO lucky to have you....

Not sure if Miami should dump Davis at the end of the season or not... But I am wondering?

In the first two games of the season he kept coming out of the game with cramps. Heard a rumor back then that he had been spotted in a local night club.

Considering he got left behind for the Kansas game because of enjoying the Florida night life, gotta wonder if that wasn't the reason for his cramps the first two games of the year?

Then when you read that his hamstring injury isn't/wasn't healing as quickly as they thought it should...

Not a doctor or anything... But it's common knowledge that booze dehydrates you, and hampers your muscles from healing.

Right on Mando. Teams have gone right at Davis from day one, and he has not stopped anyone. We need to find some "comp" at the position....errr replacement.

vontae and sean smith think they are better than they really are;both have been told how great they are their whole lives. i wish they could play half as good as they talk/tweet. i'll take jimmy wilson and nolan carroll for effort and pass on the prima's.

there is a stat for the secondary's called passes defensed. as for smith,davis and clemons put together;they have very,very few! it all goes back to talent evaluation where we are lacking.

Come on Greg. Davis and smith are not surtain and Madison but Nolan Carroll can't stop anybody.

It's funny, the same guys who are criticizing Ireland for drafting Davis with supposed 'character issues' are also criticizing him for passing on Dez Bryant, with......wait for it....'character issues'.

Priceless!!.....just priceless!! What a fanbase!!.....the team is SO lucky to have you....

Posted by: Craig M | November 08, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Name names. Don't just throw blanket accusations out there. Or do you just have disahrea of the keyboard?

Stop defending Ireland you dufus...Dez Bryant is a playmaker...Davis is a drunk and an average CB at best...Get your facts straight once again...Duuhh..

..Armando. You have been reading your own blog. We covered this yesterday. I'm glad you decided to revisit the topic.

I have another take on our secondary. Yes they are responsible for their poor play. It is telling when your highest rated corner is a seventh round pick from Montana.

Look at what the offense did last week. It was the only time this team had any cushion for error. We alaways play right on the edge of if it isn't perfect we lose. No this doesn't excuse the secondary. But if we had any consitant play out of the offense. It would hide some of the deficiencies on the defense. And perhaps make other offenses change their game plan a bit knowing they had to score more then 17 points to win..17 the magic number the Phins struggle to get over.

Teams like the Packers can take so many risks on defense because they know they have Rodgers back there to bail them out. Same with the Saints. Those teams can afford to bring the house, they can play sucker coverages. Because if they do get burned..They have offenses that can bail them out. We do not. So the defenders have to play much more structured. When was the last time we brought all out pressure on back to back plays? We don't.

Because our offense is so limited. It also limits how aggresssive the defense can be. When you are not aggressive you get jacked up. Now, this isn't an excuse. This doesn't mean I can't see we can't cover, or pressure the passer in our base defense. We should be able to do these things on the reg. I'm just looking at it from a different angle.

Sounds like Vontae is going to drink himself out of the league.

Come on Greg. Davis and smith are not surtain and Madison but Nolan Carroll can't stop anybody.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | November 08, 2011 at 11:06 AM


Madison was probably the worst, most feeble tackler to ever play CB for us. Watching Davis play the run is actually a pleasure.

It's funny how everyone seems to be an expert on Davis and Smith. Even know personal factoids about their health, smarts, and after work activities...

Good point DD. The biggest culprit on this team is the offense. It should be the only focus for improvement. You can win when you are 26th in pass defense (Tampa, green bay, and new England are worse) but you can't win when you're 24th in pass offense. (Only San Fran has a worse passing offense but has a winning record).

Sure Ralph he wasn't a physical tackler, but he wasn't the biggest guy either but man could he cover. Used to wipe out Marvin Harrison when he was in his prime every time.

Right now the CB's are playing on their heels and chasing wide receivers who can double, triple and quadrouple move while the QB sets up a tent and has a campout. Next down do it a again with fresh recievers against a bagged out CB.

Bringing back JT was OK but we really need another pass rusher to compliment Wake.

Armando, you are barking at the wrong people. They aren't perfect for sure but when you have a qb like Brady standing in the pocket forever, he is going to pick you apart.

The big weaknesses are qb and pass rushing. Sign a FA corner, big name if necessary but focus on pass rushing and passing.

my point was i like the guys who play rather than talk. wilson and carroll will make mistakes but are getting better with each game. neither run their mouth and both are aggressive. sean and vontae need to start playing and quit talking about how good/elite they are.

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