« What do you want to see? | Main | Kapernick's cap »

Nothing new on Vonta

This is David Neal, blogging in place of vacationing Armando Salguero.

Everything's come to stop around July 4 holiday as regards fullback Vonta Leach while the significant parties are out of the office, doing that Rest of Their Lives thing. Sunday is the earliest anything's expected to happen.

Back to your regularly scheduled July 5 hangover.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Would love to see it happen. ireland is playing tough again. Has worked so far.... Go Phins!

Below is the opinon of Gary Stevens...

I worry about Vonta Leach. I have never seen a reliable metric that accurately measures the relative talent at the fullback position, nor one that reliable measures an upgrade at fullback to the overall performance of the offence.

The first concern is more germane. How exactly do you measure fullback play? Such players face a similar dilemma to that of the old-school in-line blocking TE in that the fact that they periodically touch the ball actually skeweres any casual observers evaluation away from what they do on plays when they DON'T touch the ball (the plays on which they make their money, in other words).

So the fact that Lou Polite had was 19 for 19 on 4th and short or whatever nonsense was being spouted at the time is accurately an infintesimally small component of the overall contribution of the position.

But the problem that occurs on non-football-touching plays is that that, evaluating individual talent as part of a group blocking scheme is incredibly difficult...

...not impossible...mind you, there are a class of scouts and offensive line coaches who excel at identifying this talent. However public (and media) assessments of fullbacks suffer from the same problem as that faced by guards and centres. So many of the players, including top players, are effectively anonymous in their role that people naturally conflate talent with the few players they can actually play.

For fullbacks, this name recognition comes in the form of highlight plays -- which occassionally happen even for FBs -- but, again, the bruising Mike Alstott-style runs that get on SportCentre are, as descrived above, not even slightly representive of the overall contribution a FB is paid to make.

So is Vonta Leach worth it. No says I. Not at the price tage he is shopping for, anyway.

(Gary Stevens welcomes your feedback)

Well said... However, if we don't notice what they do when they do it correctly we certainly do notice when they don't. Why is the QB on his back? Who did not pick up the blitzes? Ah, now there's a measuring stick.


Thanks for the update. It's short and to the point, but even providing an update that indicates that there's no update with Vonta is appreciated. I've been checking 2-3 times a day just to see if we can rope this guy in. People shouldn't underestimate what a top-tier fullback can add to the running game. This guy is special.

I like the pick up for one reason. We sucked rotten arse in short yardage last year. We have smallish RBs and one big RB who can't pick up that yard. They need a battering ram.

didn't Lane have a couple Goal Line runs for touchdowns?

I appreciate the humble concerns from Gary Stephens. I'd be lying if I said I understood everything about the fullback position. But here's a couple of things- Ray Rice goes on and on about Vonta Leach that extends well beyond professional politeness. Opponents of Vonta claim that he as a cult following- he not only punishes defenders, but is great in pass protection, and flat out manages his responsibility every play. On top of that, he does have the highlights. I can't pretend to comprehend all of his assignments and roles, but I've read enough to when I heard he was thinking about joining the Dolphins-> it was a story that had my attention.

BP, if he did, I surely don't remember them. I do remember continuing to question why they wouldn't run QB sneaks in short distances because of Tannehill's size and athleticism and the overall aptitude of their centre...

Shorter David Neal:

Ireland & Philbin fiddle while Davie burns.

The assessment of a fullback is very simple and involves two dynamics (I played football in college). It's like this: are an elite blocker and can you catch? Those are the two dynamics that make Vonta Leach a head above the rest and separates himself from Lou Polite and any current fullback on roster. If you have a fullback that can't block but can catch, then sign a wide receiver or running back. If the guy can't catch but can block, convert a lineman. But to have a both makes a guy gold. There isn't a metric assessment for these dynamics, especially in the shotgun or option offense.

Agreed on Tannehill, even Brady been running those QB sneaks for years.

Lane has 2 strengths. That slant they throw to him and short yardage pick up.

But Leach is a complete Full Back.

I agree with Gary Stevens regarding how the FB position is viewed but feel the contribution of a top notch player at the Pos. cannot be understated either. The prblem lies to an extent in the evolution of the game which minimizes the Pos. at the NCAA level were we have seen over the last decade more and more top notch programs playing a Pro set or the spread employing the one back formation. You have potential recruits refusing to sign letters of intent unless they're promised they will play certain Positions and FB just isn't one of them making the pickings slim which in turn has NFL teams evolving into Offenses that don't employ the Pos. and the reason why the pass blocking RB has become an important component of todays game.

Vonta Leach is that rare player at his Pos. and the best athlete I've seen at FB in a LOOOOOOOONG TIME! The last great FB was Lorenzo Neal and it's no coincidence that the best statistical Seasons LT enjoyed in S.D. were with Neal clearing for him 03 to 07. As a matter of fact the Chargers had a few RB's shine when pressed into duty thanks in large part to Neal. Alot of others remember the Cowboys OL's of the 90's as being the key reason why Emmit Smith gained so many Yards but forget that early in their careers they missed alot of blitz assignments ect... and Aikman was getting killed being sacked more than any QB from his rookie Yr. into his 3rd getting alot of the concussions which eventually ended his career in 99 when Lavar Arrington leveled him in Tex. Stadium.

The one constant was Moose Johnston who when not blowing up the free blitzer was clearing the LB for Smith and was very good coming out of the backfield as a pass catcher. Another great lost in the FB debate who made great contributions for his team was Tom Rathman in S.F. people talk only of R.Craig as a dual threat but forget what a great blocker Rathman was in both run and pass as maybe the ultimate West Coast FB and everybody has total amnesia as to what a great pass catcher he was coming outn of the backfield. With Rathman and Craig in the backfield folks forget the 49ers ripped off something like 19 Regular Season wins in a row on the road and Montana was at his absolute best.

If you want to rate Leach today go no further than G.B.'s George Koonce who doesn't have a fraction of the athletic ability of Leach and has become a cult hero of sorts in an O Philbin help install giving you an idea of what he could mean to the Dolphins O. The point is while the Pos. may not get sexy glamour points and maybe lost on the novice fan it doesn't minimize what it could mean to a team. I for one look at teams that were on the cusp of Chamionships over the last 10 Yrs. like Philly and wonder what an established running game with a FB may have done for that team if not for thick headed Coach Reid isisting to go without forgetting that the S.B. ring he wears from his time in G.B. came in part to the play of his 2 back formation with Dorsey Levens and William Henderson who took alot of Favre screens house!

No news is no news.



Didnt we hear that Philbin does not like to use two backs, kind of what is problem was with Reggie Bush, as he couldnt block on passing plays. Then why would we be looking for a Fullback??? Doesnt that go against the grain of the quick west coast offense?

Having Vonta Leach is equal to having another Offensive Lineman protecting the QB. We have inexperience at the LT position and having Leach will pay dividends in the blocking department. Plus, a back like Lamar Miller only needs a little breathing room to go the distance and Leach can make this happen for him. Furthermore, we should sign Eric Winston in order to add depth to our line and I think we can get him at a lower price tag since he hasn't been picked up yet.

My question is, do we need more help in our secondary and are there any names out there which can help us? As we know Grimes is great but we don't know if he will be 100% and even if he is that is only one side of the field. Thoughts?

Some of you talk about the WCO as though there was a fixed, defined rule book on how it must work. No such thing. No two teams are ever built exactly alike. Coaches look to maximize the abilities of the talent on the roster and use that to game plan against their opponent. Just like defenses that may be considered 3-4, still many alternate between 3-4 and 4-3 depending on their opponent and game situation. Same is true for WCO. It's a philosophy, not a recipe for every down. Either way there are always going to be evolving variations.

Orlando, we just drafted a corner with a 1st round grade.
Then took another corner and a safety.
The Secondary is one of the deepest units on the team.

This is true. Seattle was a WCO offense too but they did some mighty fine power running with Walter Jones, Steve Hutchinson, Sean Alexander, and Mack Strong.

Teel | July 05, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Your point is true to a degree. The consistantly good NFL teams have an identitity and rarely stray from it. When facing an opponent they gameplan to a teams weaknesses explioting favorable match ups from week to week but never change they're identity. Your point is more valid on the D side of the ball were teams diguise coverages, alternate formations ect...

Whenever the FB is on the field we will only have 2 WRs on the field.

when do tranang camp opens?

If Bal, Atl, NO & Indy gameplan to our weakness in the first 5 weeks will they be attacking Grimes or our other CB?

ExposingTheFraud | July 05, 2013 at 01:19 PM

IMHO there are a few things to look at in your question.

How does Grimes fair in his return and will he play Right or LCB. Who plays opposite him?? Will it be rookie J.Taylor and if so it will be wait and see given highly toutes Maurice Claiborne the Cowboys moved up for in 2012 was toasted as a rookie by the new Century vertical NFL as was former teamate Patrick Peterson in Az. in 2011. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie for his Special teams play but was victimized early as a rookie Peterson's jump in play coming in Season 2 last Yr. and that from in my book the best young CB in Football with the ability to truly be elite and having played the best in College in the SEC.

The transition to the Pro game is tougher on CB's than before given the rules changes and level of talent. Taylor comes out of an NCAA Conf. were he dealt with the likes of Rishard Matthews as the #1 WR and Kaep's fav. target in Nevada but still a player who couldn't crack our top 4 in the NFL. The other CB we drafted out of Utah St. saw less caliber competition. I'm not saying they can't play but there transistion should take time and with Marshall and Patterson as the other options I suspect teams will come at us early and often testing them.

The other thing is the development of the DL in our 4/3 scheme. How much of an impact can tweener Jordan make as a rookie also can Vernon, Shelby and Co. make the jump opposite Wake. If they can get to the QB it will force quicker reads and throws helping mask the 'DB's like the Giants did in their 2012 S.B. run.

Good response.
I think Jordan will more of a factor in the future when he gets bigger and stronger but our DL as a whole is probably our strongest unit.
I say Tanne and the WR's are the 2nd strongest unit.
The RT, LT and CB position concerns me.
If we fall behind early and have to pass 40-50 times will the line give Tanne the time to hit those WRs.
If yes will be in a lot of high scoring games and that will be fun.
If not we're going to lose a lot of lopsided games and that will not be fun.

I was a fullback in college and a fullbacks job according to my position coach was to "go through the line, blow f'ing body parts all over the place, and let the ambulance clean up after"
So typically you judge a FB like you do a lineman, if he touches the ball and its positive then great.
Vonte Leach is the type of player that loves contact and wants to dominate you when he gets his hands on you. If he does when he blocks then he will do it when he touches the ball as well.

People can be so intemperate and boorish, yet life itself is but a brief interlude between nothingness and the finality of death.

All is vanity.

3rd & 1 and 4th & 1 you need the fullback play I agree. But how many FB's are we gonna keep? Charles Clay and Javorski Lane are both supposed to fill that role now so either one or both will be gone.

Charles Clay is an H-Back who will be used in different offensive sets I believe. Maybe I'm wrong, but Javorski will no longer be a necessity if we bring in Vonta.

Who you were blowing back in college is your business.

Javorski Lane made the team on the heels of one play in the Pre-Season last Yr. in Dallas were he ran a Defender over. It seems every DB in the League saw it to because when the regular Season started I think Lane must have been blown up and put on hi ARS more than any big back in the game period! If Leach is inked Lane is a goner! Clay is being molded as an H-Back not a FB in the Cooley mode, 2 very different positions.

The best fullback I ever saw was Tallyho Bumpers at Western Idaho. Just a beast.

It really doesn't matter what Gary Stevens, others think about Leach. If Philbin is not satisfied with the FBs we have and feels Vonta will improve the O significantly, he will get him, no matter the $.

Ross is too cheap to pay Vonta?

We do have ?s with the starters and depth at LT, RB and CB positions. So, yes, NFL is right, expect some waiver wire pickups at final cuts, maybe a trade or two.

Leach has no part of the rebuild. When we are ready to compete in 2-3 years he'll be done. I'd rather see a young guy get the snaps that will be effective 3 years from now.

The best fullback I ever saw was Jim Brown.


I think the key to the season is Jordan's ability to get to the qb opposite wake. If he can provide 10 plus sacks the dolphins will win AFC East hands down. Reason being is that the team is and will remain tough to run against and therefore teams can't control clock on them,also the dolphins lead the league in redzone defense. This means the only effective way to try to attack the dolphins is to attack the secondary which brings us back to rushing the qb. If Jordan can form that pass rush tandem with Wake it will make a secondary look better than they are and cause more turnovers and more possesions for an upgraded offense. This is why Vonta Leach is important because he will open up holes for Lamar miller to probably rush for over 1200 yards. This will help the passing game and leads to more points.(Touchdowns not field goals) If all this pans out the dolphins can easily go 12-4. NE has too many loses and they will slip a little this year. Dolphins have the talent to go 6-0/5-1 in the division easy. My only concern is a slow start they cannot go into the bye week with a losing record.


If you look at the way they've constructed our team's contracts, you'll recognize that they're really hoping to do something special either this year or next. After that, we're gonna have to make some serious adjustments due to cap casualties. It's all about these next 2 years, and that's why Vonta is a valuable commodity given that you believe his play matches his hype.


Anyone can hope for anything but realistically it will take time for the young guys to mature and the new guys to develop chemistry. There will still be holes to plug after this seasons over.

Shula 72,

You're probably right. All I can say is that they've structured this team with hopes that it will win in the next 2 years. The chances of winning a Super Bowl are always minimal, but they're putting their hope in the talent maturing and coming together to do something special. After 2 years though, the organization will need to pay higher premium salary bases and will no longer be able to afford the talent they've assembled per cap requirements.

Teel | July 05, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Your point is true to a degree. The consistantly good NFL teams have an identitity and rarely stray from it.

Posted by: fin4life | July 05, 2013 at 01:04 PM

Well they will stray from it when their personnel dictates it would be to their advantage. Shula and Belichek for example, changed their offenses quite a bit to accommodate the change in their talent.

Football Season is around the corner. Let the Trolls out!!!!

How many of you applied Greek Ointments to your aching muscles and joints today?

Please go to your nearest supermarket and purchase Greek Ointment.


The Houston Oilers and the Baltimore Colts will be good this year.

Posted by: ExposingTheFraud | July 05, 2013 at 02:37 PM

More great insightful postings.. keep them coming..

If the Dolphins really want to compete this year and not wait for next year, there will be urgency to win as much as possible at the beginning of this Season. If we wind up 3-2 after the first 5 Games, we have a good chance to win the Division(it will be tough, they would have to go all out, regardless).

Shula and Belichek for example, changed their offenses quite a bit to accommodate the change in their talent.

Posted by: Teel | July 05, 2013 at 03:57 PM

From Season to Season not from game to game. Shula went pass happy when he got Marino. Belichik transitioned from a running team with Dillon and Faulk in 05 to Welker, Stallworth and Moss in 06 and then into a Double T.E. set with Gronk and Hernandez in the 2010 Off-Season after they're rookie Yrs. post Moss. You stated in your original post that teams changed philosophy based on opponent from game to game and that just isn't so given the good teams in the League have their respective identity and don't sway from it if for noting else than for cohesivness, timing ect..

Expecting the QB, RB, LT, and TE, as well as the rest of the team to play at a SB level is like expecting to hit the powerball lotto. Its totally delusional. 6-10 would be good in the 1st year of the rebuild.

This team is crap. The franchise is crap. The Ross/Ireland combo will never come near a Super Bowl. They are flat out pathetic football executives. One winning year would be a miracle and an accident for these incompetents.

It seems to me that Philbin and his Coaches are not the types that like to wait for a "rebuild" to produce winning results. Also, Mr. Ross needs to establish a winning Culture here Now. We'll see.

The sky is falling. Anyone can see that.

Posted by: NFL Observers qweer son | July 05, 2013 at 05:09 PM

It already fell. Thats why the stadium is empty on gamedays.

NFL Observer,

I'll agree that we do have a lot of question marks that we have yet to determine as positives. LT, QB, and RB anyway. I feel good about our TE with Keller and Dion Sims' potential. I also like our stable of running backs, especially Mike Gillislee as the backup to Lamar Miller. I'm not sold on Miller (yet), but I love the overwhelming excitemen that the team and staff have for him. But I have seen Gillislee and love the fact that he has the potential to be a complete back. I've never been more excited with a Dolphins draft than this year.

LT is still tenuous, and we all need to be very cognisant that Tannehill has yet to prove that he has what it takes yet. We've got some talent. We've got some playmakers. But if Ryan doesn't improve it won't matter.

"Winning is not everything, it's the ONLY thing", VL.

Quando torna Armando?
Mi sono stufato di post che non dicono nulla!

Krillian is on to something. He answers the trolls posts with well thought out responses then kills them with kindness. Throws the whole game off and the troll is left feeling confused and unsatisfied. Everyone should follow his lead. If you're going to answer their posts do it in that manner or just ignore. Great job man.

leachs agent said today he will choose between 6 teams by sunday

Please bring Armando back Miami Herald. I miss his quirky blog posts.

1 2 3 »

The comments to this entry are closed.