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My reason to wait-and-see with Miami's WRs

If you've been reading me via this blog or my columns, if you've been listening to my radio show, Armando and Perkins on 640Sports in South Florida, you know I am uneasy about Miami's wide receiver situation.

It really isn't anything new. I've been uneasy about Miami's wide receiver situation since, oh, about 1995.

But as these Dolphins have zero to do with those issues dating that far back, let me explain why I'm uneasy with this administration's wide receiver situation -- the current wide receiver situation.

Let me start with history.

Frankly, this personnel department has been hit-and-miss with its wide receiver transactions. Yes, there have have been some notable successes, such as the uncovering of Davone Bess as an undrafted free agent.

But there have been some unprofitable transactions as well.

And the unprofitable stuff has seemingly out-numbered the successes.

An overview:

2008

Ernest Wilford is signed as an unrestricted free agent: The Dolphins gave Wilford a $6 million guarantee. The guy was a presumed starter the first day of training camp. And then practices began and he started dropping down the depth chart. And then he barely made the team his first year. And then he couldn't get on the field on game day -- he was inactive nine games and caught only three passes. The next year, the club tried him at tight end. It was another fiasco and he was cut as a free agency bust.

Signed Davone Bess as an undrafted free agent. Outstanding acquisition. Bess was on the receiving end of more passes at Hawaii than a hot gal at a Luau. But his lack of speed got him overlooked in the draft. The Dolphins took him, used him immediately as a returner and slot guy and developed him into a solid team contributor and weapon. Bess eventually was given a contract extension and remains to this moment Miami's finest receiver transaction.

Extended the contract of Greg Camarillo. Camarillo was alread on campus when the current administration arrived and he was excellent in 2008 because he simply didn't drop passes. He was dependable, a good route-runner and very smart. So the Dolphins gave him a contract extension as he was leading the team in receptions. But one week after getting that contract extension Camarillo blew out his knee and went on injured reserve. Never a speed merchant, Camarillo didn't regain the explosion he had before the knee blew out and he was traded the following summer for Benny Sapp. It was nobody's fault. Sometimes stuff happens. But obviously, this is not a positive result.

2009:

Drafted Patrick Turner in the third round. Turner looks the part. And in practice he sometimes played the part. But he didn't learn very quickly. He didn't progress. To those who watched him at USC, this was not a surprise because he only had one good season there. In other words, he was a one-year wonder and he wasn't truly a huge wonder at that. The following year Turner came back stronger, bigger, faster. And he still wasn't good enough. He was cut as a draft bust. By the way, general manager Jeff Ireland recently mentioned him as a good player he drafted because Turner is still in the league with the Jets. Sorry, players no longer on this roster don't qualify as good acquisitions for this team. Just being real, here.

Draft Brian Hartline in the fourth round. The Dolphins doubled down on receiver in 2009 as they have done at other positions. Smart thinking because while Turner flubbed, Hartline flourished. He was immediately able to learn not one but several WR spots. He showed ability to get deep. In 2010, he earned the starting job and still has the job today. No, he's not a star. But this year he'll be given a chance to take a leap to being an impact player. I doubt he'll take a step backwards, although his durability is a question. There is also the chance he is what we've seen so far and only that, which is to say he's a complementary player. At any rate, a fourth-round pick who is a complementary piece is a successful acquisition.

2010

Traded for Brandon Marshall for a second round pick in 2010 and a second round pick in 2011. It was controversial when the Dolphins added Marshall based on his history with domestic violence and other locker room issues. It was controversial when Marshall continued to have domestic violence problems and other locker room issues, including feuding with quarterback Chad Henne. And it was controversial when the Dolphins decided to trade Marshall for a couple of third-round picks this offseason. Was this acquisition a net plus? Absolutely not. It was a mistake that cost the team tons of cap space, multiple second-round picks, multiple dropped passes, including touchdowns, and more drama than anyone would ever want.

Signed Marlon Moore as an undrafted free agent. Moore came from Fresno State skinny and raw and fast. He didn't exactly wow in college. And with the exception of a 54-yard TD pass against Oakland in 2010, he hasn't wowed in Miami. This is his make-or-break training camp and season. He's either going to show he belongs or the experiment ends. Having said that, I cannot condemn the acquisition because, again, he was an undrafed free agent.

Signed Roberto Wallace as an undrafted free agent. See Marlon Moore. Same story except for the long TD pass and the fact Wallace has been a more consistent special teams contributor. Regardless, it's put-up or shut-up time. We'll see.

Traded Ted Ginn for a box of yummy hot doughnuts: The Dolphins felt compelled to do this because they decided Ginn needed a change of address and scenery. I get it. I do. I also get that Ginn is still better than any return option the Dolphins have had since he was dealt. He's never amounted to much as a wide receiver. But as a return man, he's always been good for a couple of timely touchdowns per season. In hindsight, it can be argued the Dolphins should have kept him in that capacity.

2011:

Drafted Clyde Gates in the foruth round. Gates was picked as the speed on the outside. His job is to blow the top off the defense. Yeah, well, he caught two passes for 19 yards as a rookie. But it was a redshirt year of sorts. He gets more chances this year. The club is working him with starters early this offseason. Everyone wants him to succeed. Will he? No idea. The jury is still out on this one.

As you can see, Miami's recent history with wide receiver acquisitions is mixed at best and unproductive under a more critical microscope.

And as past performance is the best predictor of future performance, I am simply skeptical about the addition of receiver talent in the sixth and seventh rounds this year. I'm not buying anyone's word that either Rishard Matthews or B.J. Cunningham are going to solve the voids Miami has in the receiver corps.

I'll believe it when I see it.

Comments

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First?

we should take a look at Gaffney: a little bit old, but still solid. He could certainly contribute in the multiple- WR sets

Philbin and Shermans offense will be all about the TE position. Our whole offense is going to be based around the te position. In this offense WRs are complimentary, that's what those in the know are saying. No more two tight end sets where both stay in to block leaving us with 3 targets to throw too. We are going to see guys running routes every where and wil finally see the mystical crossing slant that Sparano and company didn't know existed.

So in order for it to be successful Fasano needs to become a better route runner and make more catches when they hit him in the hands. I really don't think the receiver role is as important as Mando thinks it should be when it comes to this offense. What's wrong with Fasano and the new kid (creates mismatch for lb) on the line, Bush in the slot (creates mismatch for anyone in the middle), Miller in the backfield (creates mismatch for LBS) and then Bess or one of the other 15 wrs we have (whomever plays best obviously) as our true WR.?

I see tons of mismatches there and a defense that will have to work over time to prepare. Clay,,,,Hartline,,,,,WE HAVE PIECES! No we don't have pro bowl WRs but who says this offense has to rely on any one guy? Why are we trying to judge what the players will do in an offense that we don't know the first thing about?

Phins78,

I agree with you that Miami actually does have guys that cause mismatch problems. You hit them all but just to reiterate somewhat here I really think Bush will played a lot motioning out to WR leaving empty backfield sets. I also see Clay doing the same thing, playing FB and motioning out on early downs out of a base package. The Dolphins like GB will have 2 calls a run and pass and whichever the defense adjust to the opposite gets called.

However, I still think you need a stud WR. At least 1! I think a guys like Hartline, Bess are maxed out potential wise. What you see is what you get. Gates is the unproven commodity but I have little faith he is anything more then a complimentary piece good for about 25-30 receptions a year for around 450-500 and 3-4 TDs. Not saying it's true just how I see it unfolding.

I think this was the plan to stick to the draft board. Draft a couple late round guys and see how they develop on and also see if Philbin and company can develop any of the current WRs any further and then next year in the draft is when the position gets filled with an early selection or 2. I don't think Tannehill see's the field in a meaningful game this year. If anything some garbage time or a late season start or 2.

Bottom line the team is in rebuild mode with a rookie QB and we shall see if Miami is one of the few lucky rebuild and win at the same time but to me just not enough pieces to win now so filling WRs in 2013 makes sense.

I'm glad you believe in the team. I agree with Phins78, we don't know what the offense will look like but I would believe Philbin and Sherman know what they're doing. So how about we wait and see how it all works out then write and article like this

Phins78, can you tell me again how I'm pathetic cause I don't broadcast everything about myself on the Web like you do?

Just once more, please? For old times sake. I don't think 4 times is enough.

Try to make it longer than 4 paragraphs this time.
We can't get a true appreciation for your long windedness if it's less than that.

Thank you for your consideration!

Rishard Matthews. this kid will be good

cunningham you tube.... pretty awesome.

Armando,

Mixed at best is nowhere near reality. The fins dont have 1 guy that could start as a WR on another team in the NFL. Bess could be a 3rd down guy for another team, but thats it. Hartline isnt even Jimmy Cefalo. We didnt even sign a receiver in free agency. The Patriots signed 4 or 5 receivers this offseason. we didnt get one. Epic fail all around.

Humor me: who threw the 54 yard TD pass against Oakland? Was it the Jags' starting QB for 2012, who posted more than a dozen 350 yard games (and a 420 yard game) for us in 1.5 years as a starter playing in Sparano's offense? Hmmmmm.

I have told everyone from day one that Ginn got a bad rap and should have been kept.

Thanks for a good post, Mando.

LMFAO Phins 78. Miller??? You have exposed yourself as a UM Cane idiot.

Our RB is D Thomas.

that's what those in the know are saying.

Posted by: Phins78 | May 03, 2012 at 04:14 PM

Who is really in the know? I say nobody knows what they will do. The fins team is not the GB team or the A&M team, Don't expect them to just copy those offenses play for play, they've said as much and it makes sense. Heck as someone pointed out Belichek changes his offense quite frequently depending on his players.

Those in the know are Philbin and Sherman and nobody else.

Its definately put up or shut up time with Roberto Wallace, and Marlon Moore. With the draftees and undrafted free agent WRs, Miami should have no problem getting some talented WRs on the field.

NFL football is a chess match between the coaches. The players are fungible. There are about 60 WRs in the league with a body size and speed identical to Brandon Marshall. Everybody has similar RBs and linemen. It's all about the coaches (1) getting the most out of players and (2) calling the right plays and having the right scheme and plan.

All we can do is hope that Philbin is great and not a Cameron.

Ginn was traded, not cut....

With the depth at TE and RB don't be surprised to see bush split out with d thomas and miller on the field. miller can catch and run routes just like bush. I'd expect many 3 TE sets also with egnew split out fasano tight and clay in an h-back role. this offense is set up to not use WR as much as other teams. I see at least 1 if not 2 of our young receivers making contributions. don't forget about jeff fuller either, other than his speed he is nfl ready.

Here is hoping to the 3 year WR development law that all the bundits talk about. We will see if Egnew can jump in at TE and learn to block. His size kinda fits Jimmy Graham mold at NO. If he is half as good, that will work out well.

First off I don't watch college football and secondly Donald Thomas is a fine RB but will cause no mismatches. If you can't see the benefit of having two of the speediest rbs in the nfl on the field at the same time then you might not understand as much about football as you think. You do realize that even though DT and RB arer penciled in as our starting rbs they can still have packages for Miller right? You do understand that in football the on the field personnel change almost every play?

This is the exact post I'm talking about. I stste an opinion and then instead of debating with me you call me names, just like a child would do. It's so cute!

i GOT YOU RILED UP JACK!! RILED UP!!!

Armando: I'm not a Dolphins fan, so I criticize every move they make and try to convince their fans that they should do the same.


Who on God's purple Earth is Donald Thomas???

"Phins78, can you tell me again how I'm pathetic cause I don't broadcast everything about myself on the Web like you do?"

This post makes no sense at all. Does this have something to do with football or the Miami Dolphins? I'm confused about this.

Are you asking me to call you pathetic? Are you asking for my phone number? Are you ordering a pizza? I don't understand this post in a football blog. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with football.

It's weird that you would come into a football blog and want to talk to someone about their personal life and start a fight. Really weird. There's probably something wrong with you mentally. You may need counseling.

None of those picks were Ireland's Armando except Gates. They were BP's. You know that full well. Why do you write such crap here? We know you were buddy-buddy with Parcells, we've seen you two on the sidelines.

Still trying to argue with me. It's so sweet that this guy has a crush on me.

Hey,,,,,,,sweetie? Can you take a break from tossing my salad long enough to talk football? Or are you just happy wallowing away in my s**t?

Don't call it a comeback. I've been here for years.

Can we please sign Ted Ginn back to solidify our return game. At least stick him out there against the Jets.

What does our past history have to do with our Philbin era WRs? Is Ernest Wilford a ghost who will always be on the premises?

JD people in the know as in coaches and GMs who are familiar with NFL schemes. The other hint is that Miami didn't pursue a quality target in a #1 WR. If they believed WR was the be all end all of this offense it seems pretty obvious that they would have gone after one earlier in the draft but especially in free agency. No one knows but least of all us. I'll trust people who know the men behind the offense. But I will also agree that a #1 couldn't hurt! :)

Thomas would be a mismatch in open space(he has fair hands) not due to speed but out of sheer force, the guy is a Brute. So would Clay.

You forgot to mention Anthony Armstrong who now plays with the Redskins. We cut him to keep Patrick Turner I think, and he went on to do well with the skins.

Never heard of those WRs they Drafted, except Egnew.

Dang. Getting uncanny how close Mando and I are in our thinking lately. Just put a post in another forum talking about the project/acorn/young recievers and how we need to see what they can do once and for all.

Hmmm.

Egnew has great athleticism for his size. Same as Ryan Tannehill for being a QB. These are a couple of the New Athletes we have talked about.

TOMMY STREETER IS ANOTHER PATRICK TURNER BUT WITH SPEED...BOTH ARE SOFT.AND THEY ONLY HAD ONE GOOD YEAR IN COLLEGE WHEN THEY NEEDED IT TO GET A LOOK 4 THE PRO'S..MARLON MOORE IS GOOD FOR THE ARENA LEAGUE OR CFL...HIS HANDS ARE SHAKY AND HE'S NOT AS FAST AS PEOPLE THINK..ROBERTO WALLACE IS A NICE GUY ..BUT HE CAN'T GET OPEN AND BOTH DON'T HAVE KARL DORRELL NO MORE TO HELP THEM MAKE THE TEAM...GATES WILL MAKE ALOT MORE PLAYS THIS YEAR..BUT HIS SPRINTER LEGS AND SKINNY BODY DON'T LOOK LIKE THEY CAN SUSTAIN..HARTLINE WILL HAVE 1000 YARDS AND BE OUR MAIN WR...BUT HE STILL HAS TROUBLE MAKING CATCHES WHEN THE DEFENDER AND HIM ARE GOING FOR THE BALL..TOO SKINNY.I HOPE THE ROOKIE WR'S MAKE IT ..BUT ROOKIE RECIEVERS DON'T DO SQUAT ..UNLESS THEY GOT DRAFTED IN THE TOP TEN..NOT AT THE BOTTOM ..BESS IS A GOOD GUY..BUT THIS YEAR HIS PT WILL DWINDLE..HE JUST CAN'T GET PASS 7 YARDS ..HIS LEGS ARE 2 SHORT.DWAYNE BOWE WANTS TO PLAY 4 THE FINS ,,,LET'S GET HIM ...NOW.

I can definitely say, right here and now, that the Game of Football(and all other Sports) will change drastically in the immediate Future.

JS in La,

did you pad your post with useless regurgitation about WRs like Ginn who've passed-through over the years?

livin in the past

Irritation, is easily picked up over the Internet.

blackcerote where are you getting that bowe wants to play for the phins?

Jay ...FROM DBOWE HIMSELF..HE'S A DOLPHIN FAN.

damn I never knew that. he doesn't want to sign his franchise tag, we should get him!

We dont have any WR's worth a crap. Dumpimg Da Beast was insane!

Irelands WR drafts are horrible. All busts.

DWAYNE WANTED TO GET DRAFTED BY THE FINS...THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN...THEN 2 YEARS AGO HE WANTED TO PLAY FOR US BUT WE GOT MARSHALL....NOW HE KNOWS THIS IS HIS LAST CHANCE..HE'S NOT GETTING ANY YOUNGER.

when was he ever da beast for us? yeah we never had a great QB but a so called "great" receiver shouldn't need one. He dropped more TD's than he caught.

I Do Like Miller From the "U".
It'll make the beer commericals better
Think about it " Miller And Bush"
To bad they got rid of Beck,They'd have a backfield of Known brand of beers.
Just saying.

Jay,

Its unfair to judge Da Beast when he didnt have a QB in Miami. We all saw what he did in Denver and in the pro bowl with real QB's.

Bring back O J McDuffie and Oronde Gadsen,I liked them both

Agree with Jay on this one, I remember Marshall dropping 4 or 5 For sure TDs early in the season.

"Da Beast" Was "Da Bust" in Miami, Hope he has a better future with Cutler and "Da Bears".
Again just saying.

I see alot of comments about how some don't know what this offense will look like. I am a dolphin fan, but live in the san francisco bay area where they have run the west coast offense since the early 80's and all those teams had a least 1 great wideout and several other very good ones. bottom line is if wideouts can't get open ,which I am expecting, this offense will stall this year. You have a great QB who most of all makes great decisions and wideouts/TE's who can catch balls consistently. We have none, this year is going to be a practice year of sorts to further review players, we sure as hell ain't going to win anything this season.

Da Beast was on his way to the HOF until he met Check Down Chad!

the same pro bowl game they're getting rid of cause its not an actual game? lary fitzgerald doesn't have a good QB and that guy put numbers up anyways.

Da Beast is a very good Player.

Still think the fins should have gone after Nick Toon from Wisc., Oh well New Orleans gets another weapon for Brees I guess.(Like he needs another one).

Marshall was double teamed on most plays opening up other options. We'll miss that without him.

Chad(The Neck) Henne was a horrid QB, but facts are facts, Marshall dropped more Twice as many TDs last year then he caught.FACT.

and how sold on marshall are the bears since they drafted alshon jeffery's in the 2nd round? player that causes problems on a team is a player I don't want on my team.

Who the hell is Donald Thomas...hahaha LMFAO

Rick, I noticed that while he was dropping TD passes.

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