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Fine TEs important 20 years ago and today

At the dawn of NFL free agency, the Dolphins saw Keith Jackson dangling there, available and talented, and decided to be aggressive and chase him as their first unrestricted free agent addition.

Why, people wondered, would the Dolphins want to add a tight end -- especially an expensive one?

The Dolphins had Ferrell Edmunds on the roster and he was solid. And Mark Clayton and Mark Duper were still on the team and both were coming off 1,000-yard seasons in 1991.

So why bunch talent at TE? Why take catches away from twin 1,000-yard receivers? (The last question was also asked by Clayton, but that's another story).

"Adding talent whenever you can ianywhere you can on the roster is something we're going to do," Don Shula said. "If there's someone out there that can help us and fits, we'll try to get them. And adding a tight end helps the passing game, helps the running game, helps the receivers get more one-on-one matchups and helps our quarterback. Those are things we like to do."

And so the Dolphins landed Keith Jackson and four days after arriving in Miami he caught a TD pass against the Bills in a 37-10 whipping of the defending AFC Champions.

Fast forward to today. I'm at the Super Bowl. I covered the AFC Championship game last week.

You know what I see?

Teams with pass-catching, seam-threatening tight ends.

The four conference finalists had good if not great tight end play this season.

The Falcons had Tony Gonzalez, who caught 93 passes for 930 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Patriots had both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, who combined for 106 receptions, over 1,200 yards and a whopping 16 touchdowns.

The Super Bowl teams also have excellent pass-catching tight ends.

Vernon Davis is a tight end that runs like some wide receivers. He runs a 4.4 in the 40 and can get deep. This year was a down season for him as the quarterback change from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick resulted in more passes going to Michael Crabtree.

But Davis still had 41 receptions for 548 yards. He averaged 13.4 yards per catch, which is a wide receiver-type average, and scored five touchdowns.

The Ravens, meanwhile, offer Dennis Pitta, who is really starting to emerge in his third year with the team. This year Pitta caught 61 passes for 669 yads and seven TDs. The Ravens have always recognized the need for outstanding tight end play as they drafted Todd Heap in the first round a decade ago and went to the Super Bowl with Shannon Sharpe.

The point?

Successful teams recognize the need for excellent tight end play and they find a way to add that to the roster. The Dolphins of yesterday tried free agency when it was in its infancy, the Falcons traded for Gonzalez, the Patriots drafted not one, but two outstanding tight ends and Gronkowski came with the 41st overall selection. The Ravens have a history of finding fine tight ends as their general manager Ozzie Newsome was a great tight end.

Today's Dolphins, meanwhile, have been chugging along with mediocre tight end play.

Oh, the club's coaches will speak about Anthony Fasano in glowing terms. He's a fine blocker. He doesn't make mistakes. He's got great hands (sometimes). He's like a coach on the field.

But the thing they can never say is that he's a seam threat that worries the defense and is a matchup nightmare. They don't say that because it is not true.

The Dolphins have used resources to improve their tight end corps. Charles Clay came in the draft in 2011. Michael Egnew came in the draft in 2012.

Neither has really contributed to any significant degree. Indeed, if the Dolphins handle this offseason as it should be handled, both should be very nervous about their job status in 2013.

If the Dolphins do what should be done -- namely address the tight end position with significant resources -- Clay and Egnew should come to camp worried. They should come to camp thinking that their scholarships have been revoked and they'll get cut unless they make plays and do it consistently in training camp and during the preseason.

Last season, neither Clay nor Egnew did anything worthy of making the team in camp. They just basically made the team because they were young and there was simply no one else around. In other words, they made the team on promise rather than production.

And Fasano?

He's not starting because he's great. He's starting because he's the best of a bad lot. He's the best Miami's got but he's typically a C-plus player.

And as I look around, teams with merely C-plus tight ends didn't get deep into the playoffs this year.

Comments

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Damn.....it would have been comical as hell if jamarcuss russel wouldve backed up sanchez in wee york next year.....Almost as comical as listening to RANDY MOSS preach to the media that he is the greatest receiver ever to play in the NFL....even more reasons to want bmore to win!!JUST SAYIN!!!

Adding greater offensive firepower will have little to mild effect without solidifying our offensive line. If we need to draft 2

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YG,

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And

ALoco/ Oacar,

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Is It Cause Of The Troll Pact!! That You 2 Signed!!

Life Long Partnership To Troll!!

Give It A Break Clown!!

Or Should I Say Ringmaster!! And YG Is The Clown!!

Heck, Mando EXPOSED BOTH OF YOU!! AS THE PROBLEM!!

And We All Know You Guys Have A Relationship Together!!

Father/Son Type!! With Some Incestual Behavior!!

3rd round pick Ferrell Edmunds,former Maryland Terrapin. Was hoping Nolan Carroll would follow in his as a solid late round pick but not gonna happen.

Think of what Reshad Jones can be with a better FS next to him. He's ProBowl bound for sure if he keeps blossoming. 1 pass rusher, 1 effective CB and 1 ballhawk FS, and we may overtake SF as the best defense in the league.

Draft Thoughts.....

WR
Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, and it’s not unrealistic to see him coming off the board at the 12th spot...... Keenan Allen is another possibility, while Justin Hunter could be another option with their second round pick.....
LT
With Long almost certianly gone that could force the Dolphins to take action and pluck Eric Fisher off the board (although I think the chargers grab him before us ). One way or another, Miami cannot fail to address this position if Long is on his way out.....
CB DL
Landing Dee Milliner would be pretty sweet if he dropped to them, but Johnthan Banks would also be a great talent acquisition, and he wouldn’t be a crazy reach. Xavier Rhodes is my favorite corner to target in round two, and he’s certainly a possibility with Miami’s second rounder...........
If starks should leave watch for Hometown guy Sharrif Floyd who could make some sense in the middle if he can slide to round two, while pass-rusher Alex Okafor should also be available when Miami picks for the second time....

The only way to jumpstart the offense is to get a franchise QB.

Speed (REAL speed) on offense remains the biggest need for this team. Tannehill cannot possibly be expected to run a high-octane offense without that component.

Every single analyst--every one--mentioned it during the past season it was so glaring.

don't get too excited about the upcoming draft. remember,ireland is still doing the selecting. his idea of playmakers are clyde gates,p.turner,c.henne, p.white, m.egnew, c.clay and daniel thomas!

Later round TE prospect to keep an eye on: TAVARES SPROLES from EASTERN KENTUCKY.

Very raw but with insane speed for a kid his size and VERY good hands.

You have probably not seen him play, but you will!!

Combine Ginns speed with Marshalls talent without the antics....there you go, problem solved!!!

greg z

which makes me more inclined to get glaring holes solved during FA in OG, WR, and TE at least on offense...just sayin!!!

I love all my chilrens here. You jes come sit on Mammy's lap honey chile, and dry those tears from yo pretty little face. Mammy loves her babies.

NOBODY should assume that a Player's performance this Season will be reproduced next Season, including Rookies. If you're going to try to improve the Team, you should not do it based on that assumption.

KRIS........

YESTERDAY ,YOU WERE VERY RUDE TO ME PERSONLY .I DO BELIEVE ,YOU OWE ME AN APOLOGY FOR THE FILTHY LANGUAGE YOU USED ..............

Posted by: ALoco | January 29, 2013 at 01:55 PM
------------------------------------------------------

Aloco.....

F....U....

and didn't I tell you to Kill Yourself YESTERDAY......don't disobey again.....


Think of what Reshad Jones can be with a better FS next to him.

Posted by: DC Dolfan | January 29, 2013 at 03:27 PM

This can also be said of nearly every pro bowl or all pro saferty that has ever played the game. Its "EXTREMELY RARE" to great safties play in one defensive backfield.

If you can get one average to above average safety playing next to pro bowler, usually youre doing pretty well. You just cant have two mediocre to plain average safties in the same backfield.

Clemons has his faults, but, getting beat for many tds over the top wasnt one of them in 2012. A safety's "PRIMARY RESPONSIBILTY" is not to allow a "MYRIAD" of tds over the top. Secondly, make plays on the ball in the air. Thirdly, make tackles in both the run and pass game. 2 0ut of 3 aint bad(Clemons).

Tight end should be upgraded. Of course. Understatement of the year.

NOBODY should assume that a Player's performance this Season will be reproduced next Season, including Rookies. If you're going to try to improve the Team, you should not do it based on that assumption.

Posted by: oscar canosa | January 29, 2013 at 04:24 PM

Oscar, Have you finally totally gone nuts?

Based on your assumption every single year evry gm needs to replace nearly his entire single team. Even worse, replace the players who had good season with players who had terrible seasons.

Because according to your assumptions, the player who had a bad year has to be due for a good year the following season. LOL...

Guys,

Again, if we had 22 all pros on both sides of the ball, fa wouldnt allow us to keep them all together.

But it would have been one heck of an idea pre free agency. LOL...

Posted by: oscar canosa | January 29, 2013 at 04:24 PM

Based on this post, I guess you believe we should have also kept Mark Columbo. His 2011 was so terrible, based on your assumption, he had to be due for an all pro season in 2012.

Well sir, 32 gm's, including Ireland disagreed with "your assumption". Columbo was out of football in 2012. LOL...

Oscar,

Maybe the 3-4 or whatever number of fired gm's would have saved their jobs this year had they signed Mark Columbo to play right tackle for them in 2012.

Just saying....... LOL....

ALoco,

Did you see where the idiot odindashi/Phony78 posted you never attack me? ROTFLMAO!..................

Its impossible to have 22 all pros on both sides of the ball because "SALARY CAP" may allow you to pay one side of the ball. But you wouldnt have enough left over to pay even one of your all pros on the other side of the ball. LOL...

YG..........
BACK FROM WORK.................

ARMANDO AND THE FILTHY BLOGGERS;;;;;;

KRIS
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ODIN................


FILTHY PEOPLE.......DIRTY PEOPLE......THEY NEER TAKE A SHOWER UNLESS ,THERE'S AN INSPECTION .

KRIS....

YOU OWE ME AN APOLOGY FOR THE FILTH YOU WROTE @ 4;41 PM...

BOYCOTT THE FINS UNTIL IRELAND IS FIRED! WE'RE TIRED OF THE LOSING! WE'RE TIRED OF THE INCOMPETENT CLASSLESS GM! HELP RESTORE OUR FINS TO THE GLORY DAYS! BOYCOTT AND HELP MAKE THE CHANGE!!

Aloco...

You owe the BLOG an APOLOGY for being a dick.....F U.....

KRIS....
WHAT KIND OF A LIFE YOU LEAD ?

TO USE SUCH LANGUAGE ON A BLOG ,WHERE ARMANDO DOESN'T ,EVEN TRY TO CLEAN HIS OWN BLOG FROM THE FILTH YOU WRITE WITH YOUR (( LOVE BOYS )) GANG .

YOU OWE ME ANOTHER APOLOGY ,DONKEY.

Of ALL you're PERSONA'S Aloco Character.....

This is the one that is the most worthless.....this character is NOT worthy of any reasonable person's respect....

change into the guy that talks football (you know...change you're name).....

and give the blog a break.....

Do we draft a QB or get one in FA? What are the chances Tannehill is the starter again?

KRIS...

I WISH YOUR NEW BABY ALL THE HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD .

taNNEHILL WILL BE THE STARTER NEXT YEAR,THERE'S NO GOING BACK ON THAT...

I'll bet Armando has never even heard of bands like the Understones, Public Image Limited, X, Minutemen, Television, Brian Eno, etc.

He probably thinks crap like Gloria Estefan and Bon Jovi is the height of music.

Clemons has his faults, but, getting beat for many tds over the top wasnt one of them in 2012. A safety's "PRIMARY RESPONSIBILTY" is not to allow a "MYRIAD" of tds over the top. Secondly, make plays on the ball in the air. Thirdly, make tackles in both the run and pass game. 2 0ut of 3 aint bad(Clemons).

Posted by: Yesterday's Gone 4Ever! | January 29, 2013 at 04:41 PM

By your own standards above, I (and the stats) would say Clemons is 1/2 out of 3. He makes tackles in the run game. Pass game tackling, I'd say fair, but inconsistent. But the other 2 (getting beat for TDs over the top and playing the ball in the air), go back and watch the games dude. Miami as a team didn't get beat THAT much over the top, which could very well be due to their level of competition this year (no Brees, no Rodgers, no Manning, we played Brady twice (with no long ball threat on that team) and the rookie Andrew Luck).

Clemons is a DISASTER when the ball is in the air. In a zone, the CBs are generally covered by the safeties, so lots of those long passes were on Clemons (not the CBs).

And Ed Reed gets a lot of help to be as successful as he is, as does Troy Polumalo, so I think 2 better-than-average Safeties is an absolute must if you want to be an elite defense in this day and age. Like many have said here, there IS NO such thing as a shutdown corner. The best there is is Revis, and he got beat like a drum by none other than Ted Ginn, Jr.

superPHIN@ 3:45pm,

You've done a good job of coming up with some possibilities for this team. I like Patterson a lot, even though he's a little raw. I think Fisher would be good also but I have to think they are going to look for a RT, if they let Long walk and move Martin to LT. Not sure in that case they'd need Fisher.

Lots of options and lots of questions. I like Xavier Rhodes too, just not sure how the chips are going to fall.

CRAIG M--YOU MAMBO WITH DADDY PANCAKE TONIGHT! WE GO CLUB, YOU AND I! MAMBO TIME!

MANY DRINK! RUM AND VODKA! MUCH DRUNK!

THEN MORE MAMBO!!


don't get too excited about the upcoming draft. remember,ireland is still doing the selecting. his idea of playmakers are clyde gates,p.turner,c.henne, p.white, m.egnew, c.clay and daniel thomas!

Posted by: greg z. | January 29, 2013 at 03:57 PM
-------------------------------------------------------

Tell it brother! Everytime I start thinking about potential pics/FAs, I come back crashing to earth remembering who's doing the picking.

All four teams in the Conference Championships had great General Managers before they drafted great tight ends!

Assume nothing. Work hard to be as sure as you can before making a decision.

Raise your hand if you thought Scott Pioli was a great GM just a few years ago. C'mon, you know damn well you did.

Now let's see the hands of all those who still believed that after the job he did in Kansas City.

Yeah, that's what I thought.

See, folks, here's the deal: You can blather on endlessly about this guy or that being a 'genius' or an 'idiot' but the truth is NEITHER exists at that level.

There are no magicians. There are no magic wands. And a guy like Pioli can go from genius to bum in a heartbeat. SO much of this crap is pure, dumb luck---especially finding the right QB which more often than not involves SUCKING bad enough to have a top pick.

Don't believe it? Remember how bad Rick Spielman was in Miami. That SAME Rick Spielman was named 'NFL Executive of the Year' just a few years later in Minnesota.

Explain that.

Oh, wait. I forgot you guys have all the answers.

When Randy Mcmichael left, we thought the position would be upgraded. What happened??

Hare Rama

Rama Rama

Rama Krishna

Krishna Krishna

May the blessing of Vishnu be upon you!

greg Z says:
don't get too excited about the upcoming draft. remember,ireland is still doing the selecting. his idea of playmakers are clyde gates,p.turner,c.henne, p.white, m.egnew, c.clay and daniel thomas!
=====================================================
Yes very true; Learning to be a Dolphin fan with an inept GM like Ireland does mean getting positions of great need settled in FA as superPHIN suggests.

Aaron Hernandez was on the board when IDIOT IRELAND passed on him for some long forgotten wide receiver! Thanks Jeffy!

It is true in the Big Picture. Joe Thomas was a Genius GM here and was never the same elsewhere. I believe it is a matter of how well the Organization functions as a Whole.

read earlier that Jeff Ireland drafted b.parmalee. thought that yrs. before jeff. could some one clear this up for me.

Guys,

Remember One Humongously Important Thing:

"If the offseason goes wrong its entirely on "ROSS" not "IRELAND"."

Remember who(ROSS) had the "blind faith" to keep Ireland "one more year" to conduct probably the most important offseason in franchise history.

Just Sayin'.........

I don't get it. if you count all the players people are saying ireland should have picked, there wouldn't have been enough draft picks to cover them. doesn't matter who is GM, if he doesn't draft the players they want, well then he's a hack. Observe the draft and see what he can do with many picks and money to pay them. H.e just might get it right

oscar,

From 1966 to 1970, the Miami Dolphins were a horrendously horrible franchise. Meaning top 5-10 draft order for "5 STRAIGHT SEASONS".

Shula arrived in 1970. By this time picking top 5-10 for 5 consecutive seasons had assembled a lot of great young talent in Miami. Then Thomas traded for Nick Bounticonti and coached by Shula the good times began.

Also, it was either Jim Langer or Kuechenberg(I think), oline coach Monte Clarke had to threaten coach Shula with quitting if he didnt allow that olineman to be a starter.

So it was by draft, trade and clash of wills, that the early 70's Fins championship team was formed. Hell, Shula even threatened to quit himself because of Joe Robbie's drunken ways. So this post isnt neccessarily true:

I believe it is a matter of how well the Organization functions as a Whole.

Posted by: oscar canosa | January 29, 2013 at 07:32 PM

LOL....................................................

Oscar,

Also, from 1966 to 1970, there were far fewer teams and more rds to the draft. So drafting a player in rd 13 was the equivalent to probably drafting a player in rd 7 today.

Drafting a player in rd 7, was like the equivalency of drafting a player rd 3-4 today. A gm with half a brain back then could put together a pretty nice team. Plus there was absolutely no free agency whatsoever. LOL...

Oscar,

I just checked it out. There were only 24 nfl teams(including the fins) when they first came into the league. Thats 8 fewer teams than today. Meaning eight fewer picks per draft rd,

The last 8 players drafted 1st rd in today's nfl. Would have been the first 8 players drafted 2nd rd in 1966 to 1970.

So 8 x 7rds = 56 better players available to the 24 teams.

Meaning up to rd 9 these teams split the same exact quality players as 32 nfl teams do now in 7 rds.

Also, drafting up to 13 rds meant teams actuallu were drafting what today we call "undrafted rookie fa's. LOL...

If Reggie bush is junta kinte Jeff Ireland is toby

Kunta kinte , Toby and kizzie

Oscar you are kizzie

Man I think I lost my mind for a second

All of our free agents can walk we don't need them let them be free

Reggie is the best fumbler ever

Fins kicked colons tires then passed, now he is in SB. Wonder how they feel about their choice now?

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