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Plagued by 'moving parts,' coaches continue to nurture moving parts in the secondary

First there was the offensive line that was constantly being tweaked. The Dolphinscoaching staff eventually learned that searching for the great combination often times sacrificed good combinations and when that search failed, you got neither great nor good.

Well, we're seeing a little of that with the Dolphins secondary right now.

Yesterday, Dolphins coach Tony Sparano explained that one of the problems the secondary has had this year -- aside from Tom Brady throwing for a jillion yards in the regular-season opener -- was all the "moving parts" the team has had to shuffle back there.

Vontae Davis wasn't healthy so the team had to use Nolan Carroll, until he wasn't healthy and then came rookie Jimmy Wilson. Chris Clemons was back there and then the team went with Reshad Jones until he got hurt and then they had to try Tryone Culver because neither Jones nor Clemons was healthy. Benny Sapp was good enough to be on the team and have his salary guaranteed for the season while Will Allen wasn't good enough because he was injured (again) and couldn't be counted on -- until the day after the first game on which the Dolphins cut Sapp and re-signed Allen to replace him as the nickel cornerback.

A lot of moving parts. It's not a good thing in the secondary.

"I think with the amount of moving parts, Vontae (Davis) hasn’t been in there at times just like you said, Reshad (Jones) hasn’t been there at times, (Tyrone) Culver is in there, Jimmy Wilson is in there occasionally, might be Nolan (Carroll)," Sparano said. "So with the amount of moving parts I think they’ve done a pretty good job back there of weathering the storm. And now we’ve finally gotten guys healthy and I’m seeing them get better and better. The communication is just really improved tremendously and that’s just young players starting to become veteran players. That’s really what that is from Jimmy Wilson all the way up to Ty Culver."

Sounds logical, right?

Fewer moving parts, fewer chances for screwups. Fewer moving parts, more consistency.

Hey, I get it.

Except ...

Why are the Dolphins continuing to nurture more moving parts?

At a time when Reshad Jones is healthy again -- he hasn't been on the injury report in nearly three weeks -- the team has not returned him to the starting job. Tyrone Culver, whom I thought did a good job solidifying the free safety spot when it was given to him in the face of other injuries, has started and done well.

But the Dolphins apparently really, really like Jones. And so Jones has, for the past couple of games, been platooned into the game while Culver has come out.

A team that has bemoaned moving parts in the secondary as one reason for struggles earlier this season, has continued to allow moving parts at free safety.

Coaches obviously want Jones to play and be good enough to win the job outright because he is more a long-term answer at the position than Culver. But coaches also have wanted to stay with Culver because, again, he's doing a good job that does not merit a return to the bench and mostly special teams and some dime package duties.

So coaches are going with the old have the cake and eat it too approach. Both Jones and Culver are playing -- switching in and out at different times in the game.

Moving parts!

Cracks me up.

In a perfect, well-aligned world either Jones retakes the job outright or simply doesn't show enough to do so. (I believe Jones takes the job back and probably fairly soon, maybe even this week against Buffalo or next versus Dallas). But if not, how long do the Dolphins allow themselves to play both, risking a costly miscommunication, by playing two players at a position that requires only one?

I don't understand this need to experiment during games when stakes are so high with arguably the most important position in the secondary.

Why not share the spot in practice and make the decisions to play one or the other player based on what happens in practice rather play both in games? Why does the coaching staff gamble everything in the game to see who plays better instead of making a decision based on practice play?

Now, one can argue that both Culver and Jones are playing well enough to deserve playing time. That's fair. Play both then.

But then don't bemoan having moving parts.

[VIDEO ANNOUNCEMENT: You don't want to miss the segment in the 8 o'clock hour with NFL Network talent evaluator Bucky Brooks on Armando and the Amigo today. We'll go over the college quarterbacks with him to see how he evaluates the class behind Andrew Luck. In fact, we'll see if Luck's struggles versus Oregon has affected his standing as the No. 1 overall pick. We'll also ask Brooks what he thinks of Matt Moore verus Chad Henne. Peronsonally, I see more upside in Moore. In the 9 o'clock hour, agent David Canter, who represents Paul Soliai and Sean Smith will join the show in studio. For you local South Florida sports fans, University of Miami coach Al Golden will join us in the 7 o'clock hour. The show is live on 640-AM on your radio dial. The show is on live video right here all four hours. And you can call in and talk to me from anywhere in the United States at 1-888-640-9385]

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JS LA,

Trading up doesnt leave us screwed. Undoubtedly we have to give up our 2012 2nd rd pick. But whatever position we were going to target 2nd rd, we can target that position #1 in free agency.

Getting your qb for the next 10yrs trumphs all!

BTW, all you Moore fans, and Keenum fans - I'm not dissing your fellas yet. I'm praying they play in the senior bowl so we can see how they handle confusion, advertisity and step-up talent chasing after them. Moore is smart enough, but does he have the physical skills to find lanes versus serious NFL linemen? And is Keenum really another Andre Ware, or is he for real outside of his system?
Need to find out.

wolfman1313,

I have a strange feeling we finish bottom top 10 draft order at best. That's both good and bad.

However, your draft rankings based on right now, Dolphins excluded from your #5 position. Still that means at least 3 teams on top of us(Rams, Panthers, Vikes) wont be drafting qb's. Is great for us because all would be great trade up partners.

If it plays out this way, we would still be able to get a top 3 rookie franchise qb. Luck maybe the only untouchable.

Interesting opinion woodman but as it stands, if they take griffin over Barkley, I'm kicking my neighbor's dog.

Wolfman,
I think the natives would riot if the Fins picked the second QB in the draft and it wasn't Barkley or Jones. I would.
Griffin is lower round, maybe 2nd round. Talent with risk. Those go to teams with less to lose.
In other news, I'm not sold on T. Richardson going first round. He's SLOOOOWWWWW. Slowness bit Ingram hard, and it will bite Richardson harder in draft stock. He'll be a solid Ray Rice type back for someone though.

JSLA,

Mel Kiper has Keenum 3rd-5th rd on his board right now. I see Kellen Moore bottom 1st rd at best. Perhaps a team like Green Bay with Flynn becoming a fa in 2012.

I like Kellen Moore, but if better is available and within our reach, I can live without him. For now anyway.

JSLA,

Trent Richardson is much faster than Ingram and will be a 1st rd pick. Dont know where your info Richardson is slow came from. But its public knowledge Richardson is much faster than Ingram.

Richardson has easily run 4.5 and under on his 40 times.

Yesterday,
Moore will have to light someone's fire with some amazing display in some event (after the season) for him to sneak into the 1st round. He won't have to bend over to get the snap from center ;) He's very similar to McElroy from last year, but McElroy's taller.
Keenum's stats are amazing against the sisters-of-the-poor. So were Colt Brennan's until he saw a real Defense. Oops. Keenum will need some proof, and then folks will buy in. Without proof, Kyper's got him right.

JSLA,

ROTFLMAO! Kellen Moore wont have to bend over to take a center snap? You really are "short" changing him arent you?

At least he's not Atom Ant, he wont have to be a world class pole vaulter to take snap from center. LOL...

Yesterday, I don't know Richardsons' #s, but I watch most all his games. Linebackers chase him down, they just can't tackle him. Tough as a rhino, but not fast. Mayeb without pads he's a speed demon, but during a football run, he's catchable by college linebackers. Anyway, I still say he's Ray Rice, which is good enough.

Info only: Ingram's #s at his pro day were 4.47-4.53. And he was considered slow by draftnicks.
Richardson is currently listed at 4.52. So similar enough that my point is still made. Feature backs are dying in this league. Everyone wants a committee of speedy guys. La Michael Jemas may go sooner than RIchardson depending on program. But he's not a feature back.


Wolfman,
I think the natives would riot if the Fins picked the second QB in the draft and it wasn't Barkley or Jones. I would.
Griffin is lower round, maybe 2nd round. Talent with risk............
Posted by: JS in LA

I hear ya on that. But at the same time, his stock is seriously on the rise. I look at tons of mocks and most have him solidly in the 1st round. I have him higher than any mock draft I've looked at, but that's because I'm taking into account the fact that I think his stock will continue to rise (into top 10-15) and Landy Jones' will continue to fall somewhat (out of top 10).

I'm trying to keep an open mind about it this year. I was pretty down on Newton last year and look at him now. For a very long time last year, I had Newton being a bottom 1st and maybe 2nd rounder just because of his playing style. I know he's not Newton, but he plays that style and has a great passer to boot.

All that said, I would prefer Barkley (despite my hatred of all things USC) and that would certainly be my pick of the two; I prefer prototypical QBs. I just can't help but wonder if Ross would fall in love with this guy's flash and legit potential. You know how Ross is.

I get ya Wolfman. Not dissing Griffin, just scared by him. Risky, and I'm impatient after 11 years of noodle headed or noodle armed Qbs. Besides I've seen Barkley with my own eyes, and also watched the guy go toe to toe with Luck. I'm sold. I could care less about USC (I'm a Gator myself), but Barkley has lived up to rep and specs since he started as a Freshie. Hasn't flinched. I'm definitely on his bandwagon.

@ JS -

I'm on the Barkley bandwagon myself. I think he's going to be a great NFL QB. And of course, all of these "stocks" fluxuate pretty much up to draft day, so who knows....RG III may very well end up being a mid to late 1st round, at which point it would be a no brainer.

I still question Ross' decision making ability though if RG happened to move up to a top 10 prospect. He generally seems more concerned with the "big splash" and celebrity than actual football.

Wolfman,
Griffin is currently projected as late first round, so his stock wouldn't have to rise to get there. But If he Wows at the combine like Newton, then he could place in the top 10-15. Still would take Jone over him. Maybe even Weeden. Damn that age. REALLy don't know enough about FOles, COusins to guess. Hate Tanyhill. Interception machine.

As of todays latest Walter Football mock.RG3 is given to the Dolphins at #2 overall.This guy just may be the future prototype of an NFL QB. Fast and accurate, yet able to stand in the pocket.
He definately has an NFL caliber arm. He`s also no dummy in the classroom.

@ Jeremy,

I saw that.....it's the only mock up I've seen with him in the top 10. Crazier things have happend for sure....I'm trying to keep somewhat of an open mind.

Last year me and a few of my buddies got together and decided to do a fantasy mock draft...we each put $20 in the pool and the one with the most hits gets the pool. We only do the top 15. At any rate, I wiffed it pretty good on where some of these QBs went last year, didn't even have Ponder going in my top 15....so like I said, I'm trying to keep an open mind. I ended up winning by one hit, which ironically was Miami's Pouncey.

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