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Team of free agents can win, but will they?

I watched the replay Saturday of the infamous Tuck Rule game from back in January 2002. (Yes, I have no life). Anyway, that game between the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders which the Patriots won in overtime and used as a springboard to beating Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship and St. Louis in the Super Bowl got me thinking.

As I watched, it seemed everywhere I looked I saw players that the New England Patriots did not draft. I saw free agents all over the field. I saw a team that clearly stomped all over the theory that championship squads must be home grown via the draft.

Consider the free agents on the Patriots:

RG Joe Andruzzi: He was picked up on waivers from Green Bay in 2000. He signed with the Patrtiots. He started every game at right guard in 2001.

LG Mike Compton: He left the Lions and signed with the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent in 2001. He started all 16 games and in the playoffs. So, yes, the Patriots starting offensive line had a couple of free agent starting guards.

Linebacker Bryan Cox: Yes, that Bryan Cox. After leaving the Dolphins and the Bears, Cox spent three years with the Jets. Then the Patriots picked him up in 2001 and he started seven games and played in 11. He had three fumble recovers and two forced fumbles and he scored a TD. The guy was in decline but he always had been a playmaker.

Running back Antowain Smith: He was originally drafted by the Bills. He was added as an unrestricted free agent and led the team by rushing for 1,157 yards. He'd been considered something of an enigma in Buffalo. He was a locker room leader in New England.

Linebacker Mike Vrabel: The Pittburgh Steelers drafted him but let him go to New England as an unrestricted free agent. So much for that theory that the Steelers don't let good players go in free agency. Vrabel started 12 games and had three sacks with two interceptions in 2001. He got better later and had three Super Bowl rings with New England before he went to Kansas City in 2010.

Linebacker Roman Phifer: Originally the 31st overall pick in St. Louis in 1991, Phifer went to the Jets as a UFA and signed a three-year deal through the 2001 season. He was, however, cut after the 2000 season and the Patriots signed him to a one-year minimum salary deal. Phifer started all 16 games. He was re-signed after the season for three more years. He was a Pro Bowl alternate two of those three years.

Cornerback Terrell Buckley: The former Packer and former Dolphins joined the Broncos for one season in 2000 and then went to New England when he was cut. He played with the Patriots in 2001 and 2002. He was the team's nickel cornerback and had an interception in the AFC title game against Pittsburgh that helped New England go to the Super Bowl.

Tight end Jermaine Wiggins: Another Jets castoff, Wiggins signed as a free agent in 2000 and lasted through the 2002 season. He also had a big game in the Tuck Rule game.

Cornerback Otis Smith: He played for the Patriots in 1996 but left to join the Jets for three years. Then he returned as an unrestricted free agent in 2000. He started 15 of 16 regular season games and throughout the playoffs.

Linebacker Larry Izzo: He was an undrafted free agent who made the Dolphins in 1996 and stayed through 2000. The Patriots signed him in 2001 as an unrestricted free agent. There he became the special teams captain and won three Super Bowl rings. He recovered two fumbles in the Tuck Rule game. Two.

Wide receiver David Patten: The Cleveland Browns cut him after 2000. The Patriots picked him up in 2001 and he started 14 games. He was the club's leading receiver in the Tuck Rule game.

No, this is not a Patriots blog. But I happily use the Patriots to prove the point that a team can be brought together from other teams and turned into a cohesive, high-caliber ballclub.

And, yes, that leads me to the Dolphins.

As you know they've been doing work this offseason in free agency. No, they probably haven't done as much as I'd like. The flirtation with Elvis Dumervil which I reported last Tuesday and the Denver Post reported Friday didn't bear fruit. Dumervil signed with Baltimore Sunday and his salary cap number for 2013 is, get this, $2.5 million.

So the Dolphins still have work to do finding more pass rush, adding a cornerback and possibly a defensive tackle. The offensive line is still in need of an upgrade, too. Eric Winston is still a possibility. He'd like to play for the Dolphins, according to his agent Drew Rosenhaus, but would also like to get paid so there's that. The Dolphins may be waiting for the price on Winston to drop somewhat.

The Dolphins may add one or two more free agents.

And that brings up the question whether a team can win with a bunch of recently added veterans? Obviously, I just showed you the Patriots did it.

But I saw Don Shula not only fail to do it in 1995, it was something of a chemistry nightmare. And the following year I remember Jimmy Johnson cleaning house and telling me he didn't want veterans who learned to do things under different coaches to come to him and expect him to do what they were used to.

"I want rookies and players I draft to learn to do things the way I want them to," Johnson said. "I don't want to deal with fighting the veterans."

Well, the Dolphins have some new veterans now. And now it's up to coach Joe Philbin to get them to do things the way the Dolphins do things or he'll have to adjust to them.

Philbin isn't talking like he's the one who will be making the adjustment.

“They’ve got to get acclimated," he said. "We hopefully, in 13 months, we’ve been able to establish a culture and environment, an atmosphere of how we do business when they walk into that door. While these guys are veterans and we’re certainly looking for them to put their stamp on things and make an impact, they’ve got to kind of fit into how we do things. So I think it’s more them, at least, understand these are responsibilities, the obligations that come with being a Miami Dolphin and kind of fall in line and then let their football stuff care of itself."

It'll be interesting to see how that goes.

 

Comments

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I've got your showcase right here!

klndry, definitely the coaching has to take a lot of the blame with Henne. With this current coaching staff, he may have become a good starter. Coaching is a huge part of the equation in football. Sparano is a moron as evidenced by his rapid descent from head coach to one of the worst offensive co-ordinators ever to offensive line consultant. No wonder Ross flew across the country to try to lure Harbaugh...

So The Patriots Build Thru Free Agency, Not The Draft!! (Thanks For Clarifying)

Mando Also Forgot To Point Out, Belichek won with The Team Parcells Built!! (Real Players From Those Pats' W.Mcginnist, T.Bruschi, T.Law, T.Johnson, The TE's, The Wr's, And Many More Were Drafted By Parcells)

Belichek Did What Wannstedt Was Suppose To Do. The Team Was Already Built He Just Had To Find A Replacement For The Old Qb!

But The Pats' Haven't Kept Building!! They Are Maintaining. And They Are Running Out Of Pieces To Maintain.

Phins78, what say you to Bobby's eloquent response?

Sheesh ....

Wow,lol.

Mark you were asking the question at the same time I was giving my response. Hahaha

Mark have to agree on Henne. Guy very well could have been a decent starter if he ever had a coach that could develop a QB. Definately got the short end. Still with as much as he gets dumped on, he is better than Sanchez.

Phins78,

Great Point.

Why Are We Even Questioning Philbins Ability Or Influence.

This Is The Same Guy People Were Complaining Because He Makes Sure His Players Are Properly Dressed And That Everything Is Clean And In Order. Even The Practice Field.

Somebody With That Much Attention To Detail. Will Definitely Know What The GM Is Doing Everyday!!

Just Because The Fins Haven't Had A "REAL HEAD COACH" In Decades. Doesn't Mean We Have To Act Surprised When Philbin Does Things His Way. The Right Way!!

Klndry,

I Blame Spo For Henne's misfortune. He Turned Him Into Roboqb. Henne Had All The Tools. The Coaching Is What Did Him In. Sherman Would've Made Henne A Qb. Agreed, Henne is Better Than Sanchez!! Henne Is Better Than M.Moore!! The Mooreaholics Will Say No!! But The Truth Is Henne Got Screwed By Dansby And Marsha The First 7 Games Of The Season!! Henne Had More 300yd Games That Season Than Moore.

But Dansby Threw Games And Marsha Threw Temper Tantrums!!

Also,, With Spo As Coach Matt Ryan Would've Failed Historically!! He Would've Been A #1 Overall Bust!! In Miami!!

I guess I was okay with the questions last year Dashi but now it's different imo. I believe he earned a little trust. I understand it's okay to question certain things but in this instance I believe Philbin will do the right thing. He has shown us he isn't afraid to get rid of players who don't fit in with the system or into his way of doing things.

So I don't believe for a second that Joe and Jeff went into these signings in a half a$%ed manner. They did their homework, they interviewed the players, and they picked who they felt fit.

I'm hoping Winston fits because I want to fill that spot before the draft. Move Martin left and draft another tackle who is a LT first but can play both so there is more competition. Looks like OSI is going to Atlanta and I heard we may stick with Vernon because they believe in his potential and don't want to bring in a progress stopper.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww, is YG mad at Odie.

Tell me, is it because we exposed you as the main troll(aka ALoco, Cuban Menace, etc, etc add nauseum)? LOL...

Or is it because I called you on Odrick being a top 10 3-4 DE for all those years(though he wasn't and he only played the position for one stinking year year). LMAO......

Maybe it's because we laughed at you for weeks, while you cried and whined about Hartline. Then Ireland and Philbin resigned him just like me and Mark TOLD YOU they would. ROTFLMAO.....

Or was it(My Personal Favorite-lol) because SpOrano was going to be the most sought after head coach in the NFL after we fired his ass? Bhwaaaaaaaaaa Haaaaaaaaa Haaaaaaaaa!!!!

Yep YG, you're pretty good at talking shyt, butchering paragraphs and mispelling words.

But, you've made it PAINFULLY(lol)clear that you don't know Jack Squat about Football or the Miami Dolphins.


Wake soliai Starks odrick
Wheeler ellerbe kaddu
Jones Clemons trufant mathieu Marshall dimitri as our four corners

Draft the best tackle available in the first trufant and Matthieu
With the other 2 high draft picks we will draft dt which is a position Ireland said he will never ignore and lb

Phins78,

I Understand Some Of The Skepticism Last Year. Even Though After Watching Hardknocks and The First Couple Of Games You Can See Philbin Was The Truth.

This Is The Same Thing As Someone Blaming The Past Decade On Ireland!! Philbin Wasn't The Head Coach When The Fins made All Those Bonehead Decisions!!

All Great Coaches!! Want Players That Resemble What They want On The Football Field!! That Is/Was Spo Who Likes To Play Puppet!! And Let The FO Do All The Work And He Has No Say In It!! Look At The Heat.... My Bad Going Off Topic Again. Real Coaches Love To Build Their Team In Their Image!!

dam @ 12:35....shot gun blast out of nowhere..

Give vernon a chance. Wake didnt exactly tear it up his first year in the nfl. Got shipped to canada and had to start over. Wake prob has vernon taking notes and tells him horror stories of up north ball.Just to scare the kid to greatness.

Odrick is a solid de and the talk of makin him a full time dt is silly. Just because you play a spot against kids in college doesn't mean you can do it against grown men in the nfl. If that was the case tebow would be the best qb in the league

Vernon had a decent year. Not like he played all 4 downs and didn't produce. He got spot duty and made some plays. Think he blocked two kicks (maybe just the one) and had some sacks. Had a great game vs the Rams. Lots of upside, with good coaches, and other great players on the DL to learn from. I'd expect him to take a step up this year.

Streak endson the 31st...No way the Spurs are having that in their house...

Remember all of those debates about the value of tackles in the NFL? I never got involved but read plenty of them.

I just wanted to point out that most mocks have three offensive tackles going in the top 5 picks this year. That means in a year where there are safeties,cbs and other playmakers available, teams are bypassing to protect their qb. Plenty of reasons and excuses but the bottom line is 3 teams are placing top 5 value on a tackle.

You would think belechick would get brady a power running game to ease off his arm in the playoffs. Seems brady is slowin down like peyton and his arm starts to tire near the end of games. Didnt both of their playoff games end in int's?

3 teams said to be picking them, we will see.


dam @ 12:35....shot gun blast out of nowhere..

Posted by: Kris | March 25, 2013 at 12:40 PM
--------------------------------------------

Kris,

YG went berserk on me on the last blog.

Just as I was going to post this reply, Mando put up this new one. I was the first to post on this new one, but this "mysteriously" disappeared-lol.

Just thought I would repost it.

PS: BTW, besides being a numbskull, YG is vulgar. Like a 12 year old. LOL...


shulas 95'

Like I said a million times, the QB makes or breaks a team. How would have the Patriots faired with all those free agents if Drew Bledsoe was the QB? Bottom line a team lives and dies by its QB and a strong OL. Those two factors will dictate the suceess of everyone else around them.

"I'm pposed to axe you a question,,,,,,,,,what I'm pposed to axe him about"?

Dwayne Wade

Yikes guy, how old are you?

The biggest problem we've had is that we never properly replaced Don Shula.

Replacing Marino got all the Airplay, but we were getting ahead of ourselves.

I thought Jimmy Johnson was going to be able to handle it, but he gets "Burnout" at just the wrong time. Either that or he was just getting one last payday to finance a new boat. Kind of like Parcells.

Either way, we put the cart ahead of the horse. Can you imagine? We had to sit through people like Wanny, Camoron and SpOrano all trying to fill Shula's Shoes!

Hopefully we've endured enough and paid for our sins tenfold. Hopefully we have the right Coach. The one that can lead us back.

If so, everything else should fall into place soon. I think(or hope)that's what were witnessing now.

Go Philbin!!!!

Odinseye, Armando and/or the Herald will delete any post at the beginning of a new blog if it doesn't mention the stories content. It happened to me a couple of times too. Both times my posts were replaced with posts by "oscar".

Odin, what happened between you and our resident sociopath? be careful, he will now daydream about you all day. What you're doing, what you're wearing, what you do in your spare time. he will create an entire virtual existence for you and then talk about it with other bloggers when you're not here. The guy is cracked.

Vernon and Odrick are 'solid' and 'acceptable' but they are not DOMINANT DE's.

In a 4-3 base you want DOMINANT DE's.

Wake is one. He plays the run very wella and is an elite pass rusher.

The Fins need another DOMINANT DE.

I'd like to see Freeney or Abraham added for 1-2 years.

This allows them to use picks #1, #2 and #2 on T and CB's. They should be able to get starters out of those three picks. Not sure we will get starting and DOMINANT T, CB, CB and DE out of the first four picks.

Hey Sammo @ 12:40, it's pretty good up here man!!! Sure the winters are a bit long but come on man ...

Woodshed gang Jake Long was rated higher than Matt Ryan. The debate in here was the Dolphins should have taken Ryan instead. That means this year someone will draft a LT very high and most likely those fans will be arguing in the off season that the team should have drafted one of the playmakers.

Freeny is probably going to Denver and Abraham is said to be a bad fit in our defensive system JPAO. Just to give you a heads up. I was hoping for osi but hes probably going to Atlanta. Looks like they want to see whaat they have in Vernon. They must believe in the kid.

Woodshed @ 1:04, yeah the three tackles (well more Fisher and Johnson) are some of the toppound for pound athletes in this draft regardless of position or even football acumen which they also have in spades. Same thing with the 3 DTs (Floyd, Richardson, and Lotulelei). Now Star has a health issue which should be clarified by draft day ... perhaps he drops because of it but if he gets it remedied then whoever takes the chance shoudl get a spectacular return on investment.

Thanks Howard, I would accept your offer. What time is good for you. I will bring a 12 pound ladybug and a bicycle made of molasses.

Number One...good point....I can't dispute that....

Odin....

I did see that post @ like 4:20 this morning (headed to the gym).....

and you're right id dissapear.....

this is a strange place indeed....

while your post wasn't football related....it wasn't that insulting....and we have ALL seen far worse....

I guess these will be deleted soon as well....since we are discussing the incident...

Sammo I agree with you about Vernon. He has power, did you see the second Jets game where he pushed out 2-3 guys to open the hole for Thigpin to return that kick. The man has got some strength.

Armando,

Yes the Patriots did win with all those free agents. They did so while knowing the other teams signals and snap counts. When you know what the other team is going to run via taping a walkthrough, it makes you look like a genius. It was funny during their run of championships how they always seemed to have the perfect play dialed up when they needed it most.

If all of their coaches were so great, then how come Weis, Crennel, McDaniels, Mangini, etc have all been failures since they have left New England?

A lot of what they did was swept under the rug by the league to avoid further embarassment. There was a lot more that never made it to the media.

Mark I just meant compared to the nfl lifestyle. I should have clarified but I post in between chasing my two year old so I condense most of the time. I know its quite a country up there as many friends and family have made the trip and always enjoy themselves.My bad. Darkoak didnt see the game BUT I was keeping up on the blog.

Woodshed, if you were the main driver then I pledge 100% support for that. His athelticism is just unreal. I mean there are some players I don't have complete imformation on yet but I currently have Lane #1. Eric Fisher and the three DTs I think are also equal prospects.

Hoawrd,

I never realized Cher was dead. Did I miss something? otherwise why are we "honouring her memory"? WOuldn't it just be a tribute?

I am filling my shoes with low grade motor oil in anticpation. Love the way it squishes through my toes.

Sammo, no worries, i was just ragging on you.

Truth is, my friends and I rag on the CFL all the time.

I remember running into John Avery all the time (yeah the same John Avery) and talking to him about his Dolphins days. We used to talk about currency .. well not real currency but female ass (i.e. how well you did as an NFL player versus a CFL player) and he said it wasn't even close. In Toronto, CFL players are viewed as semi-pro athletes. Certainly don't have the same prestige around town as (in order) Maple Leafs, blue Jays, and Raptors. They are probably on par as MLS soccer players on stature.

Haha, man this Howard is a riot.

Okay now I'm intrigued. I have to go back and read what happened. Ha!

Keep hearing about Eric Winston. Isn't that the same Eric Winston that last year cried about his Q.B. taking a million hits and taking the blame? Don't think Dolphins should sign that dude He's young and looking for his third team!! Doesn't sound like a good sign to me

Semi pro tail is probably top end to most normal guys but I get what your saying. I liked avery. I remember he caught a 10 or 17 yard TD from danny boy in traffic and held on in the endzone.I read an article some 10 years ago that as long as you accept you wont be a millionare life in the CFL aint bad at all..

the incident...

Posted by: Kris | March 25, 2013 at 01:35 PM

I read it. I was expecting something different for some reason. Seems YG was talking about Odin for a while (nothing new there) and then Odin showed up and wrote his response.

Two things stood out. YG must have been super tired because those "your momma is sooo" jokes were falling short but he was laughing like crazy over them. And two it was pretty much par for the course considering someone today was talking about a posters wife in a sexual manner.

It never ceases to amaze me what people will say on the internet. Equally amazing that the blog editor does nothing about it. The guy wrote the word d%$k and used it in a sentence to describe what someones wife would do to someone for a draft position. SMH

Talk to you all when something happens. I'm out

Jim try telling people a Canadian invented basketball, heads will explode, and it's true.

Crew,

The way things are looking now, Geno Smith is going to be a top 10 pick. Now we just need Matt Barkley to have a great Pro Day on Wednesday to possibly get him into the top 10 too. Then we will have a ton of options at 12!!!

I didn't know that, interesting stuff Jim.

Umm isnt there only like 6 or 8 CFL teams?Traveling to the same cities and seeing the same players cant get monotonous at all huh? And you are like 4th in line for public adoration according to a fan who lives in canada . So how is that in ANY way equal to the nfl? And because someone has traveled they have the right to question another's intelligence? Please.

Sammo, not like these guys are broke in the CFl. They make good livings .. jsut not millionaire or jet set lifestyles for the most part. The QBs are realtively well paid though. The entrenched starters do have seven figure earnings.

And yes, jim is correct, football is older in Canada than in the US. Some of our franchises go back to the 1800s.

And Darkoak is right Dr. james Naismith, the founder of basketball is a Canadian but the first game was in massachusetts I believe.

AND the first organized game of baseball was in Toronto, CA ... and the great jackie Robinson made his pro baseball debut in Montreal .. so technically the colour barrier in baseball broke in Canada.

We have a great sporting heritage, just not the pure population to sustain big league because our population is about 1/10 on the USA.

But yeah, no doubt the NFL is better. Better players, better funding, better product.

But once in a while we do spit out some nice players to the NFL...

jim no doubt the Americans entering WW2 were the turning point for the allied forces but had it not been for the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbour, my country would've had to give several more lives and all of Europe would be speaking German.

The USA took a long time to get involved but thank God they did ...

After a lot of noise the first few days, we've actually done very little in the free agent market. We've lost more players than we signed. We upgraded at WR but at a high cost. TE doesn't look like too much of an improvement. LB? Who knows? We lost big at RB and OL. We have sat back and watched top pass rushers go to other teams. We haven't upgraded at CB, a desperate need for several seasons. So far, I rate this off season a B. Time will tell.

Sammo, not close to life as an NFL player but then again what league on the planet is on par with the NFL? None, I don't think. Maybe the English Premier League (Soccer) comes closest.

Someone told me that on the list of most valuable sports franchises, the NFL monopolizes most of the top 30 spots. I've never verified that but I don't doubt it.

I didn't realize I touched a nerve guys but i'll take the history lesson in stride. My thanks to All canucks who helped form Football in all its entertaining and lucrative forms.And lets not forget its the birth place of Wolverine , marvel comics cashcow and all around bad ass.

Bruce, the good news is that extra cap space can be rolled over to next year and Ireland still has 5 picks in the first 3 rounds and 8 picks in the first 5 rounds.

Miami will be in great shape salary cap wise going into next year, despite all the big signings. I agree that time will tell and a B seems like a fair grade so far. Lets hope it gets better after the draft.

hahaa, Sammo ... nice! Currently we have a moose and a Loon on some of our coins, maybe the Wolverine would be better???

Posted by: Phins78 | March 25, 2013 at 02:21 PM

What never ceases top amaze me is that your one of the most chronic complainers in blog history here, yet when crap isn't going on, you juice it up by accusing posters of hiding under aliases.

Another thing never ceasing to amaze me is you never cease to come back for more. Youre like a fking bull in a china shop when it comes to matter that totally do not pertain to you, blowing your direction, or is any of your fking business.

Like I said, youre a total bull in a china shop when pertaining stfu, moving on, and minding your own fking business.

You sir, I anoint blog dipsht of the decade. LOL...

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