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2 posts from November 1, 2012

November 01, 2012

Trade deadline at 4 p.m. but move would surprise

The trade deadline is expected to come and go this afternoon at 4 p.m. and, as of this hour, the Dolphins are not working on a blockbuster. There actually aren't many blockbusters out there to be had, frankly, unless you plan to overpay for D'Angelo Williams.


It would surprise if the Dolphins pull off anything by today's deadline.

And that brings me to this:

Remember when the Dolphins traded cornerback Vontae Davis? The impression the team left when that trade was made was that the assets they received from Indianapolis -- a second-rounder and a conditional sixth-rounder that is now in jeopardy based on Davis being injured a lot this year -- would be used immediately.

General Manager Jeff Ireland said at the time that he could use the extra picks to trade for a wide receiver, which the team clearly needed then and, frankly, still needs.

Ireland called it "ammunition to do things this year or any year." There was a strong belief at the time that Ireland, eager to make his team as good as possible as quickly as possible, would use that ammunition this year.

But unless the Dolphins pull that big trade surprise in the coming hours (not likely) it seems he actually meant next year.

The extra ammo wasn't meant for Dwayne Bowe -- who is very, very expensive and is unsigned for next year.

The extra ammo wasn't meant for Mike Wallace -- who was in the doghouse in Pittsburgh at the time after not reporting to training camp.

The extra ammo wasn't meant for anyone today.

I'm not saying this is bad or wrong. It is, however, now fact. Truth is the Dolphins attacked the need at receiver on the waiver wire and through street free agents.

Anthony Armstrong was acquired via waiver, came in, washed out, and is now in Jacksonville. Jabar Gaffney was signed off the street, came in, marinated for a time on the inactive list, and is now getting playing time as a third receiver.

And the Dolphins feel relatively comfortable with that situation.

Me? I know this team needs to upgrade at receiver. I don't buy the argument that status quo is good enough. It is not. The Dolphins don't have anyone that scares anybody. They have solid role players. But they certainly could make the WR corps better with a star.

Apparently, however, the team has decided that star will have to come in next year's free agency or the draft at the earliest.

Welcome to a November that matters

Today is November 1, 2012. The Dolphins are preparing for a game that is meaningful to them.

How you like them now?

It hasn't been that long since the Dolphins went into November with something riding on the outcome of the coming games. In 2010, the club was 4-3 to start November before finishing 7-9.

But because we often remember what went wrong more than what has gone right, I had to actually remember why there's been such a feeling of dread around the Dolphins to start November -- even with what seemed like a chance to do damage in 2010.

Perhaps it's because last season,  In 2011, the Dolphins were 0-7 going into the first week of November and there were "Suck for Luck" calls echoing throughout Miami fandom. In 2009, the Dolphins were 2-4 through October and with Chad Pennington already down for the year and Gibril Wilson still on the roster helping the other teams win, there simply wasn't a ton of optimism surrounding the team.

This year seems different. It feels different.

I'm not saying the Dolphins are going to be a playoff team. Frankly, I'm not sure they'll even be at .500 when all is said and done. But there isn't a feeling of dread over this squad. One is not expecting the next shoe to drop like last season when I was basically reporting weekly updates on whether Tony Sparano was being fired. 

This year the club is relevant. Blessed by a favorable schedule, the Dolphins should be in Sunday's game at Indianapolis, the games at home against Seattle and Tennessee, and the Bills don't scare anyone.

So November doesn't loom as a catastrophe month. December does. But November does not. (Keeping it real, folks.)

And that's good for you. That's good for me.

And that's good for the team.

Players report to work happy to be working instead of feeling like its drudgery. Coaches aren't on the hot seat and they can do their jobs better because the players are engaged.

"It’s always fun," coach Joe Philbin said. "I told the players, ‘There’s nothing better in the National Football League than coming to work in November and December and, like you just mentioned, having meaningful games.’ It’s a lot of fun. It gets your juices going as it should. That part of it’s fun, no question.”

Happy November!