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39 posts from February 2012

February 14, 2012

Agent: Paul Soliai return not likely

Yesterday I shared the unofficial list of Dolphins free agents and what their status with the Dolphins is for the coming season. What I said about Paul Soliai is that I have doubts he'll return to the team.

Now we hear that his agent David Canter also has doubts he'll be on the team in 2012.

Canter was on my radio show, Armando and Perkins on 640-sports (640-AM in South Florida) and painted a great picture for Soliai. But that picture does not necessarily include Soliai in a Miami uniform.

"The future looks fantastic for him," Canter said. "Whether that future ends up being here, that's obviously not up to me.  It's never been up to me. And I've never felt like the Dolphins have made a very fair push to try to get a multi-year deal done. And I wouldn't anticipate them doing so now with the rumors that they're going to be moving to a 4-3/3-4 hybrid. The reality of it is Paul can play in any defense, but the question is if the Dolphins are gearing up to go try to get Peyton Manning when he gets released ... and whether they're going to try to do some other things in free agency and whether the dollars equate.

"I've had good conversations with [Dolphins general manager] Jeff [Ireland] in the past. We have a very good relationship. I now represent a coach on the staff and it's always been very friendly and cordial. But I also think at some point in time, teams say, 'Hey, we've got to move in a different direction and we've got to go spend our resources somewhere else.' and I imagine that's what's going to happen with the Dolphins since I've had no communications with them regarding contract proposals or extensions or even minimal discussions about the future, as of today. But with that said there's still a lot of time left. We could get a deal done with Paul Soliai in 15 minutes if the Dolphins were willing to go where we're willing to go to get it done."

Let me think for a moment ...

The club and Canter have been trying to figure out a multi-year contract for Soliai since 2010. And they haven't been able to get it done in those 16 months or so. And the sides are suddenly going to get a deal done in 15 minutes because one side -- ostensibly Miami -- is going to completely cave?

I love Canter. He is truly an optimist. But is also a very good bulldog agent. So I asked him, gun to his head, if Soliai is back in 2012 or not.

"No," he said. "You don't need to put a gun to my head. But listen it's not the kind of thing that can't rapidly change. I was all doom and gloom last year at this time that we wouldn't be able to get a multi-year deal done and I still feel that way that a multi-year extension is not something the Dolphins ever really wanted to do ... But it's a very easy deal to do. They know where I am. They know where my numbers are ..."

Check out the full Canter interview below (Scroll to the middle portion of the hour because he had Florida Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell early in the hour). And listen for the offer Canter made to Soliai so that he would not play in the Pro Bowl, a game in which Soliai risked his future payday for a chance to play:


Free agents could bring right age, salary to Miami

Dolphins general manager Armando Salguero would not make Peyton Manning his No. 1 free agency priority in 2012. If this were 2002 and we were talking about 25-year-old Peyton Manning and not 35-year-old Peyton Manning, that would be different. But Dolphins GM Armando Salguero wants to build a team that can compete in the AFC East for the next decade rather than next year and then so he's not putting his money on any old, old, old players. He wants to use his elite free agent money on an elite free agent that isn't past his prime. Dolphins GM Armando Salguero spends his pennies (hundreds of millions of them) on someone who is more likely to rip a quarterback's arm off than a free agent whose throwing arm is already hanging by a thread.

GM Salguero wants Tom Brady to pay attention to his signing and think of the event as bad news.

He wants to strike fear into the heart of Mark Sanchez.

Dolphins GM Armando Salguero's chief priority in unrestricted free agency is .... Mario Williams.

Not Manning. Not Matt Flynn, although I have a serious sit-down with coach Joe Philbin and if Flynn is a guy the coach believes is a franchise QB in waiting, I also try to sign Flynn if I can.

But if you restrict me to one move, one addition, one big-time free agency signing?

Mario Williams, whose resume includes 48.5 sacks in the past 66 games, is my guy. That's the guy I team with Cameron Wake and turn the Miami pass-rush into a balanced nightmare.

But alas, Armando Salguero is but a know-nothing hack columnist. So I will sit and watch as the Dolphins weave their work starting March 13 when the free agency signing period begins. The Dolphins are expected to chase Peyton Manning, assuming he is an unrestricted free agent at the time.

So what other options other than Manning might the Dolphins pursue? It's hard to know now because last year the Dolphins went a little off the free agency reservation. They broke their own rules. They violated some time-honored Bill Parcells tenets.

To begin, they signed a starting running back in free agency, something I'd try not to do because I don't like paying running backs unless they are extremely special -- and Reggie Bush is good but not special.

They signed Jason Taylor, something I didn't think they would do because he was 36 years old at the time and previously the Dolphins had made the point of building with free agents that were about to hit their prime rather than free agents past their primes.

So the Dolphins did some things in free agency that were beyond the parameters of the approach they themselves had set down in previous years. That makes predicting what they do going forward more difficult.

If they sign Manning, it signals they're in win-now mode and will look at everyone and anyone as a possibility. The signings in that case won't be limited to younger players that can become cornerstones. The signings may take on an all-hands-on-deck approach, hitting young and older players alike -- in a rush to be good before Manning because really, really bad.

That is the likely approach the Dolphins will take if Manning is the guy. That's not how I'd do it. I want young guys. I want bargain guys, if I can get them. I want up-and-coming, not down-and-fading, I'm fine with less recognizeable names about to be bigtime over household names that no longer play up to their reputations.

The Dolphins need a quarterback. They must get a pass-rusher. They must get a right tackle or a guard, depending on their plans for John Jerry. Here are some possibilities:

Williams, DE/OLB Texans: He will not be franchised because that number is $22.9 million and the Texans have other issues to address, namely re-signing Arian Foster. So Williams will likely test the market and he will be expensive. What else do you expect of a player who has experience at both a 3-4 rush outside linebacker and a 4-3 DE and is elite?

Cliff Avril DE, Detroit Lions: He is not Mario Williams, but he fills the same need at a more reasonable price. He has 19 1/2 sacks the past two seasons, including 11 last season. He turns 26 in April, which suggests he's going to get better. Dominant? No. Very good? Yes.

Jared Gaither, OT, San Diego Chargers: I watched Gaither sign with the Chargers on a Thursday and start for them on a Sunday against the Oakland Raiders and Richard Seymour. And he got the better of Seymour. Sold! The Ravens gave up on this kid way too early. So did the Chiefs, who cut him ostensibly because he had a costly offside penalty in a game. He is not a break-the-bank guy. He is 25 years old.

Laurent Robinson, WR, Dallas: I know, I know, he's a Cowboy and we've done this before. But Robinson was actually productive with Dallas last year in scoring 11 TDs and he did this in replacing Miles Austin rather than in benefitting from coverage dedicated to Austin. This guy, a former third-round pick in Atlanta, seems ready to take the step toward being a full-time starter.

Pierre Garcon, WR, Indianapolis Colts: Well, if you cannot beat them, join them. I am in the minority arguing against signing Peyton Manning. But if you must sign the guy, give him a receiver he's familiar with ... And give him the young receiver he's familiar with, not 34-year-old Reggie Wayne. Garcon is big (6-foot and 210 pounds) and very fast. He's 25 years old. He is from West Palm Beach and his parent are from Haiti. So maybe he'll give the Dolphins some sort of discount?

Broderick Bunkley, DT, Denver Broncos: If Paul Soliai becomes too expensive, I think Bunkley would be a nice alternative and probably a cheaper one. He is coming off his best season, he's got playoff experience and he's actually younger than Soliai by several months.

Reggie Nelson, S, Cincinnati Bengals: The Dolphins just hired Kevin Coyle as their defensive coordinator after he served as the Bengals secondary coach fpr nearly a decade. That means he knows a little something about the Bengals secondary. And he somehow got Nelson, an early-round draft bust in Jacksonville, to play well in Cincinnati. Maybe Nelson might be the answer to getting some plays out of the Miami free safety spot.

Pat Sims DT, Cincinnati Bengals: Read the above and understand that Coyle saw Sims in practice every day. He has started 23 games in four seasons for the Bengals. He is mostly an anchor inside against the run. He is another, cheaper option to Paul Soliai. In fact, he's a cheaper option to both Soliai and Bunkley and he's only 26. Sims is from Fort Lauderdale so maybe he'd like to come home.

February 13, 2012

Free agency only one month away

Today is February 13th. One month from now, on March 13th, the NFL's second season begins when free agency kicks off in earnest.

Offseason? What freakin' offseason!?

This is the NFL and it's a wonderful ever-expanding snowball rolling downhill in soon-to-be avalanche proportions. There is no stopping it!

And so with one month separating the Dolphins from the first day of free agency, I want to discuss ... what else ... free agency.

First let's begin with Miami's free agents:

The unofficial list of Miami unrestricted free agents: Vernon Carey, Marc Colombo, Ike Alama-Francis, Chad Henne, Kendall Langford, JP Losman, Phillip Merling, Marvin Mitchell, Steve Slaton, Paul Soliai, Will Allen.

[CORRECTION: The Dolphins tell me Merling is actually a restricted free agent based on the fact he did not play enough games in 2010 when he was on the non-football injury list for it to count as a credited season. So he has three years of experience, thus he is restricted.]

The unofficial list of Miami restricted free agents: Lex Hilliard, Lydon Murtha, Ryan Baker.

Am I concerned about either list? I suppose the short answer is no.

There is only one Pro Bowl player on the list and that's Paul Soliai, who earned a trip to the game this past season as a substitute for another player. I have serious doubts Soliai will be coming back to the Dolphins based on the fact his agent David Canter is very aggressive and Soliai doesn't intend to give the Dolphins any sort of hometown discount.

Kendall Langford is a also a nice player although I believe the Dolphins should not overpay for a player who basically has more of a reputation for not making mistakes rather than, you know, making plays.

Phillip Merling? So much potential. So gifted. But it simply doesn't seem to come together for him for whatever reason -- be it immaturity or lack of professionalism.

Everyone else on the unrestricted list is likely done with the Dolphins. Vernon Carey, 32 in July, might be able to stay in Miami as a minimum salary guy but that is frankly the high end of his value. His days of getting a big contract ended after he got his big deal after the 2008 season and then he delivered two inconsistent years in 2009 and '10 in which his play rose and dipped like a nervous stock market. Any team that is willing to go that route again will likely suffer the same result.

Bottom line on Carey is he's a good player when he's hungry and the only way to keep him hungry is to keep him on a one-year contract.

I assume with Tony Sparano gone, the Dallas Cowboys offensive line connection to Marc Colombo will also disappear. Sparano believed in Colombo to the point when the media openly questioned the acquisition of the past-his-prime stop-gap Colombo last summer, Sparano came to his defense and offered, "I watched the tape," on Colombo as proof certain Colombo would be good.

And Colombo was good if one eliminates pass-blocking from his list of responsibilities. He yielded nine sacks in 2011 by my unofficial count. He gave up about twice as many pressures. The man was simply overmatched at times out there because he simply hasn't the quickness to get in front of people. Run blocking was his forte and he did it with enthusiasm and proficiency most of the time. Unfortunately, the NFL is a passing league now. And so pass-blocking is at a premium.

And so, if the Dolphins even attempt to re-sign this guy, it'll be a joke and a statement that upgrade is not what this offseason is about. But I believe that is exactly what this offseason is about so I'm not worried about Colombo being part of the mix again.

I am going to miss Colombo serenading the media in the locker room as he did once this season. Yup, a group of media people were apparently standing too close to his locker for his comfort once during the season while they were waiting for another player to interview.

Colombo, who dislikes the media, went to his locker and began singing, "(bleep) you mother(bleepers), (bleep) you all .... mother(bleepers) ... (bleep) you ..."

He used a word more colorful than "bleep."

It was a shining moment of NFL professionalism.

Chad Henne remains on the lips of many Dolphins fans and general manager Jeff Ireland continues to include Henne every time he discusses Miami's quarterback situation. But who are we kidding?

Henne is better off elsewhere. And Henne will be elsewhere if the Dolphins do what they have to do and address the QB situation this offseason.

Simply, there is no room for a former starter in his mid-20s on the team. The club is looking for a starter and if that man is found, Matt Moore will be the experienced backup -- not Henne. A fourth QB, you say?

That fourth player should be a developmental quarterback that might ascend to something rather than have to recover from a poor (31 TDs, 37 INTs) record as a starter, which is what Henne has to do.

I wouldn't be surprised seeing Henne in Washington or Detroit or Indianapolis.

Tomorrow: Free agents Dolphins should be interested in.

February 10, 2012

Dolphins complete coaching staff

The Miami Dolphins today named Blue Adams as assistant defensive backs coach, Charlie Bullen as defensive assistant, Ben Johnson as offensive assistant, Chris Mosley as assistant offensive line coach and also retained running backs coach Jeff Nixon, thus completing coach Joe Philbin’s staff for the upcoming season.

None of the new hires today were coaching in the NFL last year and only Mosely has experience coaching in the NFL at all. My favorite of today's new hires? Adams, of course. He graduated from Miami High in 1997. I graduated from Miami High in 1980.

Seriously, a quick glance at the Dolphins entire coaching staff suggests very little NFL experience is on staff. Eleven of the coaches are NFL rookie coaches in the jobs they are currently charged with doing with the Dolphins, including Philbin, who is a first-time NFL head coach.

Miami Dolphins 2012 Coaching Staff

Joe Philbin                               Head Coach

Blue Adams                             Assistant Defensive Backs

Lou Anarumo                          Defensive Backs

Charlie Bullen                         Defensive Assistant

Dan Campbell                         Tight Ends

David Corrao                           Defensive Quality Control/Assistant Linebackers

Kevin Coyle                             Defensive Coordinator

George Edwards                     Linebackers

Dave Fipp                                Assistant Special Teams

 Ben Johnson                            Offensive Assistant

Darren Krein                           Head Strength and Conditioning

Phil McGeoghan                     Assistant Wide Receivers

Chris Mosley                           Assistant Offensive Line

Jeff Nixon                                Running Backs

Ken O'Keefe                            Wide Receivers

Dave Puloka                            Assistant Strength and Conditioning

Darren Rizzi                            Special Teams Coordinator

Kacy Rodgers                          Defensive Line

Mike Sherman                        Offensive Coordinator

Zac Taylor                               Assistant Quarterbacks

Jim Turner                               Offensive Line

February 09, 2012

... And another thing that makes Manning wrong choice

A couple of days ago I made the case why I'm not too fond of the idea of the Dolphins signing Peyton Manning to be their starting quarterback in 2012.

I'm not done.

Moving on from Manning's health questions, his age question, his eventual decline, his being a short-term fix at best when the quarterback problem requires a long-term solution, I've come up with annother issue to ponder as I continue to swim upstream on an idea the Dolphins apparently are intent on developing.

I was reminded by a former coach yesterday that adding Peyton Manning to your team can become a royal pain in the posterior.

The point was made to me that whatever team Manning joins will have to make concessions for him. The team will have to run an offense he's familiar with to maximize his talent immediately because, after all, he's going to be 36 years old and time is short. No time for him to learn a new system and get comfy in the system and start to produce maybe late in the year and maybe next year.

In the Dolphins case, that would likely mean new coach Joe Philbin and offfensive coordinator Mike Sherman learning a system Manning is comfortable with rather than the other way around.

So let me get this straight: The Dolphins hire Philbin because they admire his work in Green Bay. They like the Green Bay model. They like the Green Bay system. And he hires buddy Mike Sherman, who was at Green Bay and feels a kinship with Philbin and the system he wants to run.

And having all that familiarity available to them, the Dolphins would scrap it all to make Manning comfortable with a system similar to the one he's run the past 14 years? They would make Manning the de-facto offensive coordinator?

One of the advantages everyone assumed the Dolphins would enjoy by hiring Philbin was expertise on soon-to-be free agent quarterback Matt Flynn, who played under Philbin in Green Bay and is obviously familiar with that system. Assuming Philbin wanted to make some tweaks to the system, the foundation was still going to remain and Flynn was going to enjoy a head start if he joined the Dolphins because he is very familiar with that foundation.

And the Dolphins are simply going to turn their back on that?

That would be better?

I have to say this: The reason everyone knows the Dolphins are enamored with the idea of signing Peyton Manning if he becomes available is because owner Stephen Ross loves the idea. And he's the boss. He is apparently going to make this call come heck or high water.

Everyone knows this as fact because Ross has let his feelings be known on the subject.

But no one knows how Philbin feels about it. Nobody knows general manager Jeff Ireland's opinion on the subject. Don't they get a vote?

Do Miami's football men have the ability to say 'No' to the owner if all their football wisdom tells them to go in a different direction away from Manning?

Now, I suppose it is possible Ross spouted his opinion on chasing Manning after careful consideration and conversation with both Ireland and Philbin. (For Miami's sake, I hope that's the case.) But knowing the Dolphins as I do, my guess is no such conversation took place before Ross indirectly made his desires known.

Despite my worst fear, perhaps such a conversation eventually takes place and Philbin and Ireland are all in on Manning. (Something that will cause me to wonder about both men, but that's another story). At that point it won't be an issue that Philbin might have to subjugate his system for one that fits Manning. At that point it won't be an issue that ownership is dictating which quarterback the team must chase first before checking with, you know, the football experts. Those points would be moot.

But it still raises the question: Why have such a logical connection to a young quarterback after hiring his coach and then going in a totally different direction with an old quarterback? Is that fair to Philbin?

And will it work?

February 08, 2012

Patriots to use franchise tag on Wes Welker

The fallout (as in nuclear) of having Super Bowl success is that other teams get the idea that one way to succeed is to steal coaches and players from the participants.

Such might be the case with New England wide receiver Wes Welker, who happened to lead the NFL in catches in 2011 with 122 receptions. Welker is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. And that is the way it is likely to stay for a while because the sides apparently have a different opinion of Welker's worth.

So do the Patriots lose their top recevier?

No, according to Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe. Bedard joined my radio show, Armando and Perkins, this morning and made it clear he knows New England's plans for Welker.

"He's going to be tagged, that I know for pretty much certain," said Bedard, who clarified that it's the franchise tag the Pats would use. "If they don't, he's going to sign with the Jets and they're going to have to try and cover him twice a year, or the Dolphins ... They want him back. I don't see why things would change now, but the way it stood before the Super Bowl, they're going to tag him."

Bedard said the Patriots don't want to pay Welker like an elite receiver. Welker wants to be paid like, well, an elite receiver. Thus the franchise tag to keep Welker from hitting free agency and going to the Jets. (I doubt the Dolphins would sign him because they are invested in Davone Bess as a slot receiver).

The other intriguing thing Bedard said that should be of great interest to Dolphins' fans is that once the Patriots apply the franchise tag to Welker, things will get interesting. And by interesting he meant antogonistic.

Bedard said once the franchise tag goes on Welker he can see, "another Logan Mankins situation where Welker doesn't report until Week 8 of next season."


Tom Brady without his favorite receiver until Week 8 next season? Best piece of news Dolphins fans have gotten in quite some time.

Ricky Williams retires and we think his value was ....

Going to keep it simple this morning ...

Ricky Williams retired Tuesday. He played seven seasons with the Dolphins and gained 6,426 yards in that time. He sat out 2004 in semi-retirement, sat out 2006 while suspended, and played only a couple of snaps in 2007 because of injury.

In those years, the Dolphins went to the playoffs once -- in 2008 when Williams was a reserve.

The Dolphins paid a steep price for that body of work. They gave up a first-round pick in 2002, a first-round pick in 2003, a fourth-rounder in 2002 and a fourth-rounder in 2003. They got a 2003 fourth-rounder back along with Williams.

Simple questions:

Did the Dolphins get value for their draft picks?

If you had to do the trade again, would you make it?

February 07, 2012

Steep price of trading up can be worthwhile

Sometimes trading up is the right thing to do. Sometimes trading up is brilliant. Sometimes trading up helps win a Super Bowl.

Or two.

If the Dolphins were to have doubts they can fill their quarterback situation the hard way -- the right way, in my opinion -- by trading up to get Robert Griffin III for example, all they have to do for affirmation is look at what the New York Giants did in 2004 with Eli Manning.

Manning, you'll recall, was supposed to be the No. 1 overall selection of the 2004 draft. But the San Diego Chargers held that pick and the Manning clan made clear to the Chargers they didn't want to be in Southern Cal. (Who knows, maybe Eli didn't like Mexican food or something). Well, the Chargers picked Manning anyway, but only because they had a trade already executed with with the New York Giants, who had picked Phillip Rivers with the No. 4 overall pick.

Basically the Giants traded away their No. 1 pick in 2004 (Rivers), their No. 1 pick in 2005 (turned out to be Shawne Merriman), their third-round pick in 2004 (turned out to be K Nick Kaeding) and their fifth-round pick in 2005.

So two firsts, a third and a fifth for the top overall selection.

It was considered a treasure trove of picks then. Today, it is considered a wise investment for the Giants, who have won two Super Bowl titles the past four years with Manning as their quarterback.

So I turn your attention to the coming draft in April. Unless there is a major surprise, Andrew Luck will be selected with the first overall pick. The St. Louis Rams have the second pick and coach Jeff FIsher recently said his team is open to trading the pick to the highest bidder.

That pick can be used to select Griffin.

So what would it cost the Dolphins to rise from No. 8 or No. 9, depending on a coin toss, to No. 2?

A lot.

It will take at least two first round picks and probably closer to three first round picks. And it might actually take this years No. 1, next year's No. 1, the 2014 No. 1 and possibly something else like a third or fifth rounder thrown in there somewhere.

I wasn't kidding when I said a lot.

It sounds like an outrageous price to pay. It seems ludicrous that the Dolphins would pay it. But in weighing whether to pay it or not, one must balance that steep price with the idea that Griffin will likely play a decade and he may well become every bit the franchise quarterback that Eli Manning is today.

No, I'm not saying Griffin will win two Super Bowls someday. I am saying that to a club that has a conviction on Griffin, to a club that believes him to be a franchise talent, the price is worth it.

Yesterday, I told you why I don't believe Peyton Manning as a free agent is the answer in my opinion. Mostly it has a lot to do with the lack of certainty about this nerve issues but it also has a tremendous amount to do with the fact his window with his new team is two, maybe three years at best.

That is not a long-term solution to Miami's quarterback situation.

By the time Peyton is saying good-bye to the NFL, RG3 will be warming up for his primetime years. You must remember that Eli didn't win the starting job his first year in the NFL. And in his second year, he posted a 0.0 quarterback rating in a game against Baltimore. And yet, the Giants had the courage of their conviction on the kid. The stuck with him, grew with him, and now they're reaping the rewards of that long hike to the promised land.

That's how great organizations handle the quarterback issue. The Steelers, Patriots, Packers, Ravens, Falcons, Colts, Lions all trained their sites on draft picks they believed would become franchise QBs and went with their conviction on those players.

I understand Houston, Chicago and New Orleans acquired their franchise QBs differently -- through trade or free agency. But none of the players those teams acquired where over 30 much less 36. Peyton Manning will be 36 next month.

Griffin will be 22 years old next week. He can play a decade for Miami and still be many useable years younger than Peyton Manning is today.

And I get the idea that perhaps Griffin will be a bust. As Bill Parcells is fond of saying, they don't sell insurance for this stuff. But I just don't see how this kid doesn't succeed. He's got the arm. He's got the brains -- he graduated seventh in his high school class, was on the Baylor Dean's list multiple times, was on the Big 12 Commissioner's list in 2010, graduated Baylor in three years and was working on his Master's Degree this past season -- and he obviously has the athletic prowess.

It also must be said RG3 carries no personal baggage. Kid lives right, prays hard, works hard, comes from a military family and is getting married soon. He's the kind of kid you want as a son-in-law.

I do not see how RG3 misses the mark in the NFL. Does he throw off his back foot sometimes? Yes. But I hear that is what coaches are paid to correct.

RG3 will be an NFL franchise QB long after Peyton Manning is out of the league. That's only my opinion. The Dolphins have scouts. I suppose they have an opinion. General manager Jeff Ireland has Baylor connections as an alumnus of the school. I suppose he has an opinion. They should know things about the kid no one else does.

But if they don't know that sometimes you have to pay a price to buy a top prospect, all they have to do is look at the New York Giants and how they got their franchise quarterback. It was done with a draft-day trade-up that cost tons of treasure.

But that trade-up has returned tons of treasure as well in the form of Super Bowl rings.

February 06, 2012

I'm a salmon swimming upstream on the Manning issue

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Dolphins are going to chase Peyton Manning if he becomes available in free agency. That is already decided. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross loves the idea of Manning and has established him as the offseason quarterback priority.

Manning first.

Matt Flynn second.

Drafting a quarterback third.

The Dolphins see Manning as a way to win games, sell tickets and become relevant again. Within their circle of power, they think Manning can do for Miami what Joe Montana did for the Kansas City Chiefs in the early 1990s -- and if you don't remember, that included one failed trip to the AFC title game in Buffalo.

So why am I against the addition of Peyton Manning?

Let me count the ways:

He is a huge injury risk. Huge! I'm not so much worried about his neck, which has undergone three surgeries in the past 20 months and is clearly a big issue. I'm not worried that a Rex Ryan blitz or Vince Wilfork would catch Manning in precisely the wrong position and injure his cervical spine that has undergone three surgeries in less than two years. The risk of neck injuries are a fact of life for all NFL players.

I'm more concerned with Manning's much-discussed dead nerve condition that has affected his triceps in his throwing arm and has weakened his ability to throw. I was told Sunday that Manning's arm strength has diminished by as much as 40 percent as a result of the weakened triceps muscles. And I was told the issue wasn't just to the point where he can throw on game days, but there would be legitimate worry he can throw four or five times a week.

If you know Manning, you know he relies heavily on building an instinctive relationship with his receivers. He wants them to see what he sees. He wants to know how they run their routes and he wants them to know where he's likely to place the football. The only way to gain that is to throw to them -- a lot.

But there is doubt he could throw day after day even if his nerves regenerate because the muscles in his arm could fatigue more easily than they once did.

But put all that aside for a second. Seriously. Cast that to one side and suppose for a second that Manning's arm will eventually be capable of working about as well as it did when he was in his prime. The fact will remain he won't be in his prime with Miami.

He's 35 years old now and will be 36 next month. That's about the time Dan Marino started his precipitous and sudden decline. Montana, too. Troy Aikman was done by age 34. Steve Young was done by 38. Warren Moon had his last excellent season at 36 although he hung on a couple of more years, toiling in mediocrity.

The fact of the matter is if Peyton Manning plays in the NFL in 2012, he would be the second-oldest starting quarterback in the league and that assumes that Matt Hasselbeck will be starting for the Tennessee Titans -- something the Titans are prepared to change because former first-rounder Jake Locker will be coming into his second season and is the future in Tennessee.

So unless Hasselbeck wins a starting job, Manning might be the oldest starting QB in the NFL.

What about that fact suggests a long-term solution to Miami's quarterback troubles? Oh, that's right, nothing! 

The fact of the matter is if the Dolphins sign Peyton Manning it will be because they cannot solve their QB problem the tried and true way -- through the draft. They will have admitted they cannot identify a potential franchise QB at age 22 or 23 and have the conviction to draft that player, develop that player and win with that player for years and years. They will be saying they must instead take someone else's discarded quarterback, one whose best days are behind, and gamble he still has something left in the tank to serve Miami's desperation.

This is akin to treating a deep wound with a band aid. The band aid may stop some of the bleeding for a short time, but it will not help heal the wound. It will not keep the wound from becoming infected. The Dolphins quarterback situation is a deep, deep wound. And the only way to heal the hurt is finding a player that can fill the spot and play it at a high level for the next 7 or 8 years, not the next year or two ... maybe.

Now, I understand the allure of Manning. You see the possibility and think the Dolphins would be adding Manning in his prime. You see the possibility and think he would make the Dolphins instant contenders and get them to the playoffs. It is a gleaming vision of the possibilities.

I say to you all that shiny stuff reflecting in your eyes is fool's gold. The Dolphins have been down this road before. Four years ago, having no answer at quarterback, the Dolphins turned to often-injured Chad Pennington who fell to them like a blessing from the sky.

And it was good for one season. Pennington's great play led the Dolphins to the 2008 AFC East championship. It was fun. But it was fleeting.

NFL games have a way of finding a man's weakness and Pennington's surgically repaired shoulder was eventually exposed just as Manning's injury will eventually be exposed. And when that happened, the Dolphins were left right back where they started -- looking desperately for a franchise quarterback that they didn't spend a high enough draft pick to select.

(The fact Pennington helped Miami to an 11-5 record also pushed the team well to the back of the pack in the ensuing year's draft.)

That's what would happen if Manning comes to Miami. If Manning signs, the pressure will be on to win now. We'll be in win-now mode even though the coach is new and has a bit of a honeymoon period coming. He will have to produce and general manager Jeff Ireland will have to surround Manning with as much talent to win now as possible.

That means addressing must-haves -- like a right tackle and a pass-rusher. That probably means not drafting a quarterback in the first round because Matt Moore is still under contract and that, along with Manning, is enough use of resources at one position.

So, again, the Dolphins will return to all-in mode with a quarterback that needs to be in that mode because his time is running out. Except the rest of the Dolphins roster isn't ready to be all-in. The rest of the Miami roster needs significant upgrade along the right side of the offensive line, at tight end, on the defensive line and possibly in the secondary where a nickel corner and free safety are needs.

It simply does not fit. And so, I predict, if the Dolphins go with Manning, they may have some short-term gain (at best) but have again set themselves up for more long-term pain -- like 2008 and the years that followed. History repeating.

I know, I know, many of you are all in on Manning. If he comes in and wins a division title, you'll be happy with that. Some of you think he might even win a Super Bowl in Miami in his declining years even though he won only one in 14 years with Indianapolis while he was in his prime. (I admire your ability to dream.)

Me? Give me a free agent chase of a great pass rusher. Give me a trade-up for Robert Griffin III or the selection of whatever rookie QB the personnel department gets most comfortable with. Give me the signing of 27 year-old Matt Flynn even. Get me some more improving and building for the long haul. Get me the short-term pain in exchange for the long-term gain.

I know I'm in the minority. I am like a salmon swimming upstream and the Miami plan and the Miami fans are big brown bears waiting in the middle of the flow to swallow me because of my opinion.

That's fine. Let's talk in two or three years when we're right back where we started and you're screaming for a young QB and a new coach and a new GM -- again.

February 05, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday: Live blog right here

INDIANAPOLIS -- The game is here. The time to talk has passed.

Well, our time to talk is actually here still. We will be blogging live in the comments section.

Lots of story lines to discuss.

Do the Giants have Tom Brady's number?

Does former Dolphins Wes Welker win his first Super Bowl ring?

Are University of Miami alums Kenny Phillips and Anrel Rolle going to get it done? Or is University of Miami alum Vince Wilfork going to get it done?

Join me in the comments section.

Manning source: There is no short list

INDIANAPOLIS -- Peyton Manning is completely focused on getting as healthy as he can as quickly as he can and that is all he's thinking about, said a source close to Manning who also mocked the idea the Indianapolis quarterback has a "short list" of teams he'd like to join.

A South Florida newspaper reported earlier this week that Manning had such a short list of team, although it gave no details about what teams are on that list other than the Dolphins. That report followed a Miami Herald report that said Manning owns a condo on South Beach and he and his wife like South Florida.

"The fact Peyton's got a condo on South Beach is a fact but the idea that he's spent any time compiling a short list of teams that he's going to want to join if he moves on from the Colts is ridiculous," the source said Sunday. "Where do people come up with stuff like that?"

That's not for me to answer. Not my worry.

My concern is whether indeed the Dolphins are a viable landing spot for Manning or not.

"Look, I wouldn't get into that," the source close to Manning said. "And Peyton would never get into that at this time. The only thing he is concerned about at this time is getting back to being 100 percent so that he can play football in 2012. That's it. Whether that's with the Indianapolis Colts or somewhere else, all he's thinking about is getting healthy."

The source said Manning will meet with Colts owner Jim Irsay in the coming week to discuss the quarterback's future with the club. The Colts must pay Manning a $28 million bonus by March 8 to continue his career. If the club does not pay Manning the bonus, he would become a free agent able to shop his services to other teams.

Most NFL pundits expect the Colts to release Manning.

That, however, is not the primary concern right now.

"You media guys crack me up," the source said. "Short list? Really? That's asinine at this stage."

Super Bowl should convince Dolphins about pass rushers

Super Bowl Sunday!

Will we ever spend such a day with the Dolphins in the game?

(Alarm clock sounds, dream over.)

The easy thing to discuss in explaining the gap between the Dolphins and a Super Bowl team is by saying the quarterback play isn't good enough in Miami. Well, duh.

But my column in today's Miami Herald suggests the Dolphins would do well to follow the New York Giants lead and address their pass-rush in the coming draft. Yes, I believe the team will do what it must with the quarterback and right tackle spot this offseason. But I believe aquiring a pass-rusher is key to turning the Dolphins into a contender.

I also believe the draft -- particularly the early part -- will be dedicated to improving the pass rush. That's how you help Cameron Wake be more than a one-man rush. That's how you turn Tom Brady, who the Dolphins play twice a year, into a guy who seems at times intimidated. 

Let me make this more clear: I believe if the Dolphins stay at No. 8 or 9 in the first round, they will draft a pass-rusher. Simply, I don't think there will be a right tackle that will be a value at that high spot. I'm also thinking the Dolphins will address QB in free agency -- either through Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn.

At No. 8 or No. 9 the Dolphins might be looking at adding North Carolina's Quinton Coples, or South Carolina's Melvin Ingram, or Alabama's Courtney Upshaw.

So I see a pass-rusher in Miami's future. And I think that's sound strategy.

If you don't believe me, check out today's Super Bowl and watch the New York defense give Tom Brady a workout.

Follow @ArmandoSalguero on twitter.

February 04, 2012

Parcells doesn't get Hall vote, invited to intro Martin

Bill Parcells will have to wait at least one more year to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was not among the six enshrinees just selected to the Hall.

The enshrinees are Curtis Martin, University of Miami great Cortez Kennedy, Willie Roaf, Chris Doleman, Dermonti Dawson, and old-timer (senior inductee) Jack Butler.

Interesting that in speaking about being selected, Martin made a point of saying that Parcells belongs.

"Without him I wouldn't have been 30 percent of the player I was,' Martin said. "He was not only responsible for making me into who I was as a player but as a man."

Bill Parcells will be at the induction ceremony next summer despite not getting in the Hall of Fame now. Martin said he will ask Parcells to introduce him at the ceremony.

And, for the record, I know that Bill Parcells belongs in the Hall of Fame. Dolphins fans blinded by his time with the team will disagree. But anyone with any sense of NFL historical perspective understands Parcells got hosed today.

He belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Dolphins announce more assistants hired

The Dolphins have just announced the hiring of Lou Anarumo as their defensive backs coach, Phil McGeohan as their assistant wide receivers coach and Ken O'Keefe as their wide receivers coach.

As is no surprise, Brian Daboll, the offensive coordinator in 2011, has accepted the job to be offensive coordinator in Kansas City.

Anarumo (pronounced ann-UH-room-OH) comes to Miami after eight seasons as the defensive backs coach at Purdue University. Anarumo joined the Purdue staff following three seasons at Marshall, where he coached the defensive backs from 2001 to 2003. He also served as special teams coordinator in 2003. Prior to his stint at Marshall, Anarumo was assistant head coach at Harvard from 1995 to 2000, working with the defensive backs and coordinating the special teams.

McGeoghan (pronounced muh-GAY-gehn) joins Miami after spending three seasons as the wide receivers coach at the University of South Florida. McGeoghan played in the NFL for four seasons with the New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets - in addition to playing in NFL Europe for the Berlin Thunder.

I don't know what it is with the Dolphins and their coaching hires for wide receivers but does it really take two coaches to handle five or six guys? The Dolphins had a similar setup last year with Steve Bush and Ike Hilliard.

O'Keefe joins the Dolphins after spending the previous 13 seasons as offensive coordinator at the University of Iowa.

None of these additions have NFL coaching experience.

Time to remove emotion out of Parcells dislike

I know many Dolphins fans do not appreciate Bill Parcells.

Those fans see the Parcells time in Miami as a waste. They see Parcells as someone who came in, collected four years worth of salary for 34 months worth of work, and then cruised without leaving the Dolphins any different than they were when he took over as the club's ultimate football authority.

I don't see it that way soI want to take today, when Parcells makes his first attempt at being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as the occasion to make my case.

Unpopular, my opinion? Probably.

But lay aside your emotions and consider the facts:

When Parcells took over the organization the Dolphins were a joke coming off a 1-15 season. They were the worst team in the NFL.

But on the day he took over they had instant credibility. The jokes stoppped. That was worth something.

Within six months they had Jake Long on the roster. Say whatever you will about Long, but his current career arc is not just of going to Pro Bowls, it is of someday being a Hall of Fame candidate as well. That was worth something.

Within 12 months of being hired the Dolphins made the playoffs by winning the AFC East title. Make whatever apologies for that  you will -- the weak schedule, the fact Tom Brady was injured, whatever -- but the facts do not change. The Dolphins went to the playoffs after winning the division and that felt good at the time. It was a good feeling being relevant again -- no matter how fleeting the feeling was. That was worth something.

Parcells presided over three drafts in which he had ultimate power. And in those drafts the Dolphins blew two second-round picks on quarterbacks. I grant you that. But he never got a first rounder wrong. Unlike Don Shula, Jimmy Johnson, Dave Wannstedt, Nick Saban and Cam Cameron, Parcells got three good players -- Long, Vontae Davis and Jared Odrick -- out of three first-round picks. Not a bust among them. Dismiss that if you wish, but the facts are there wasn't a John Bosa, Yatil Green, John Avery, Ted Ginn or Jason Allen in the group. That was worth something.

Now Parcells is gone from Miami. And he failed to deliver a championship to the organization. But one of his two key hires is still running the football side of the team. Parcells hired Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland and while Sparano failed and was fired, Ireland remains. I know many of you do not like Ireland, but that doesn't change the fact he's still running the show. And if he fails, then the two Parcells hires will go down as disasters. But if Ireland succeeds, Parcells should similarly get credit for bringing in a guy who helped the organization.

Disagree with that notion? Then you must disagree with Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin and all the pundits that matter covering Sunday's Super Bowl. This Super Bowl matches two former Parcells disciples as head coaches. Both have talked extensively about how Parcells affected their careers and was responsible for shaping their approaches. In that regard, this is a Bill Parcells Super Bowl. And if Jeff Ireland, whose chief mentor was Parcells, molds the Dolphins into a Super Bowl team, there is no way a logical person cannot understand the importance of Parcells in that.

So hate on Bill Parcells if you wish. He is not Nick Saban in that he never lied. He is not Johnson in that he never promised a championship in three years. He was the anti-Cameron in that rather than going 1-15 in year one, he delivered a division title in year one.

If that still leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, that's your business. I believe the Dolphins are better off now than they were when Parcells took over in 2008.

And I believe his entrance into the Hall of Fame is assured -- if not today, then soon.

February 03, 2012

Source: Dolphins chances with Manning would be good

INDIANAPOLIS -- So far the story of Peyton Manning has been one of whether he'll be healthy, whether he'll be cut by the Indianapolis Colts, and when all this will happen.

But amid the saga of stories and statements and interviews with counter-interviews, I must tell you this:

The Dolphins surely do have a confidence about their ability to land Manning if and when he's available. Why?

Well, here at the Super Site, I got the chance to talk to several NFL and Dolphins sources Thursday evening and everyone tells me the Dolphins definitely will be making the play for Manning. Secondly, I come to find out Manning is something of a South Florida fan.

A club source told me Thursday evening that Manning has indicated several times during his career an affinity for the region and has put his money where his mouth his in that he and his wife bought a condo on South Beach. The name of the condo is Continuum.

"His wife is also a big fan of the area," the source told me. "He likes the area. He likes the vibe of the area more than you might think. They own a condo down here. And no other team that could be trying to sign him will be able to say that."


Source: Dolphins chances with Manning would be good

INDIANAPOLIS -- So far the story of Peyton Manning has been one of whether he'll be healthy, whether he'll be cut by the Indianapolis Colts, and when all this will happen.

But amid the saga of stories and statements and interviews with counter-interviews, I must tell you this:

The Dolphins surely do have a confidence about their ability to land Manning if and when he's available. Why?

Well, here at the Super Site, I' got the chance to talk to several NFL and Dolphins sources Thursday evening and everyone tells me the Dolphins definitely will be making the play for Manning. Secondly, I come to find out Manning is something of a South Florida fan.

A club source told me Thursday evening that Manning has indicated several times during his career an affinity for the region and most recently put his money where his mouth his in that he and his wife bought a condo on South Beach. The name of the condo is Continuum.

"His wife is also a big fan of the area," the source told me. "He likes the area. He likes the vibe of the area more than you might think. They own a condo down here. And no other team that could be trying to sign him will be able to say that."


February 02, 2012

Report: Manning cleared to play (sort of)

ESPN is reporting that quaterback Peyton Manning has been cleared to play by two doctors who determined that "the stability in his neck would have allowed the quarterback to play this Sunday if the nerves in his arm had regenerated to a satisfactory performance level."

Great. Manning, as you know, has had three neck surgeries the past 20 months and the fact there is stability in the neck is a positive sign for the 35-year-old as he tries to return to his NFL career after missing the 2011 season.

But ...

The nerves that had basically quit firing, causing repurcussions in the triceps of Manning's (right) throwing arm, including him feeling numbness, suffering atrophy, and losing strength, are apparently still not completely regenerated.

And that is very, very important because that means Manning doesn't have full strength in his arm. And if he doesn't have full strength in his arm, he may or may not have an NFL caliber arm yet. The report says that Manning's problem is not a "safety issue; it's a performance issue."

Um, well the only reason the Dolphins are even remotely interested in Manning is his ability to perform at a Pro Bowl level. Nobody cares that a quarterback can be safe. That is fundamental. They want a quarterback that can performn.

And if Manning still is fighting performance issues, he's still not a sure thing. If he's merely a gamble with uncertain arm strength, I'd say his chances of joining the Dolphins remain ... a long shot at this point.

Now, if the nerves do indeed regenerate to the point Manning's arm resembles the helped him win four MVP awards, the Dolphins definitely will be one of the teams chasing him -- assuming he is available. But we've not reached that point yet.


The Dolphins announced moments ago they have indeed hired Jim Turner to coach their offensive line, as I reported two days ago. They have also retained defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers, assistant special teams coach Dave Fipp, assistant strength coach Dave Puloka, and defensive quality control coach David Corrao.


February 01, 2012

Miami's 'intimate knowledge' a good thing

Work with me on this ...

The Dolphins hired Joe Philbin as their head coach. He was the offensive coordinator at Green Bay and so one supposes he is familiar with Green Bay reserve quarterback Matt Flynn, who is expected to be available as a free agent this offseason as he searches for a starting job.

Philbin hired Mike Sherman as his offensive coordinator. Sherman was the head coach at Texas A&M where one supposes he became very familiar with starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill is available in the coming draft as perhaps the third or fourth-rated quarterback in the draft.

General manager Jeff Ireland, meanwhile, is a graduate of Baylor University. One supposes he still has ties to Baylor, where quarterback Robert Griffin III did great work in winning the Heisman Trophy in 2011. Griffin will be in the draft and could be the first or second player selected and a target for the Dolphins if they get the hankerin' for trading up.

So, pardon me for doing a lot of supposing here, but I'm supposing the Dolphins should have an advantage over other teams when it comes to knowing and understanding Flynn, Tannehill and Grffin.

"I guess you could suppose that, couldn't you?" Ireland told me during his appearance on my radio show, Armando and Perkins on 640 Sports (640-AM in South Florida) Tuesday. "Yeah, you know, we have some intimate knowledge of a lot of different people. Obviously with Mike and Joe and my ties to those universities and obviously the work that our scouts do -- my pro scouts and college scouts and how they surround themselves with resources and people -- we have intimate knowlege of the market. And that's a good thing."

It is a clear advantage in a situation where more information is always better. Of the five top quarterback possibilities for the Dolphins this offseason, including Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, the Dolphins are ahead of the game on the three mentioned above. They obviously have work to do in gathering information on Manning and Luck, but I have serious doubts Luck is within reach so really, the issue is they know three of the likely four players on an "intimate" level.

Advantage Miami.

The Ireland interview is below. In fact, the entire 8 o'clock hour of the show is below, including our interview with Mike Florio of Profootballtalk.com:



Ireland is aware of the comments about playing with elite quarterbacks that Brandon Marshall made following his winning of the MVP award at the Pro Bowl.

Marshall said his job was easier when he was catching passes from elite quarterbacks because they "put the ball in the right spots." Marshall also agreed with me when I said on my twitter account that if the Dolphins improve the quarterback position, they improve that position and Marshall at the same time. He retweeted my tweet.

Some of you took exception with the comments for various reasons, among them that they were a slap at Moore. Ireland disagreed.

"I don't know if it's a slap in the face at all," he said. "Matt did a nice job this year. And he's going to continue to develop as any quarterback we bring in is going to do. When you're over there and playing with Pro Bowl quarterbacks, they do things differently than some other guys. They're there for a reason. You've got the Tom Bradys of the world, and obviously he wasn't over there, but you have the Ben Roethlisbergers and Drew Breeses of the world and they're Pro Bowl quarterbacks. They play at a little different level than other quarterbacks. But that's not a slap at Matt. Matt did a great job and I think Brandon would tell you Matt did a great job."

I agree.


The Dolphins continue to fill out their coaching staff. I've been told Jim Turner, a longtime friend of offensive coordinator Mike Sherman who served as the Aggies offensive line coach the past three years, is close to being hired in Miami. I presume he will coach the offensive line.

No announcement has been made by the team. Turner has never coached in the NFL. He did coach at Delaware, Northeastern, Harvard, Temple and Louisiana Tech. He also served from 1990 to 1994 in the United State Marine Corps.

So one supposes discipline will not be an issue with his unit.

Semper Fidelis.