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3 posts from October 21, 2013

October 21, 2013

What did the Dolphins get in Bryant McKinnie?

We've known the for nearly a week the Dolphins have been looking for an offensive lineman in trade and now that they got Bryant McKinnie the question that resonates is, what exactly did they get?

"He is a proven and experienced player who will be a great addition to the offensive line," general manager Jeff Ireland said in a statement.

"Bryant McKinnie was a good player at one time but he stinks now," a former NFL coach told me today.

Bryant McKinnie is 34 years old and was once a dominating NFL left tackle. He never allowed a sack at the University of Miami. He had one holding call his entire two seasons at UM -- against Dwight Freeney.

And he was outstanding playing for the Minnesota Vikings from 2003 to 2009, including his Pro Bowl selection in '09. But there are other things that mitigate McKinnie being a great player back in the day, so to speak, and even a good player now.

Well, there's the partying for one.

In October 2005, McKinnie was charged with a misdemeanor for his involvement in the infamous  Minnesota Vikings boat cruise scandal that involved hookers and drugs and violence.

On May 26, 2006, McKinnie pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and being a public nuisance on a watercraft in connection with the Love Boat scandal. He agreed to pay a $1,000 fine and perform 48 hours of community service. The NFL fined McKinnie one game check for the incident.

In 2008 McKinnie was arrested and charged with aggravated battery, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after an incident at Miami's Club Space. Police said McKinnie spit in the face of a bouncer when he was removed from the club, then, after heading across the street to another establishment, returned to the club and argued with the bouncer. McKinnie then allegedly shoved his phone in Otero's face before picking up a heavy pole and hitting him. A judge ordered McKinnie to complete 25 hours of community service and anger management classes.

McKinnie's hard partying is legendary in NFL circles. He's been known for spending $100,000 on a bar tab in one night.

McKinnie's love of strip clubs is also well known. McKinnie was kicked off the 2010 Pro Bowl roster after partying too much in South Beach and missing practices.

Is he a Joe Philbin-type player? Absolutely not.

But the Dolphins are desperate. McKinnie can move in as the left tackle -- the position he's played all his professional life -- and they can move Jonathan Martin to right tackle, which is the position he played last year.

McKinnie, not exactly a try-hard guy so far this year, has nonetheless given up only one sack in 2013. So that is indeed an upgrade.

But does he come with warts? Yes. 

Dolphins acquire LT Bryant McKinnie

The Dolphins have acquired left tackle Bryant McKinnie from the Baltimore Ravens, The Herald has confirmed.

McKinnie, who played collegiately at the University of Miami, was available because the Ravens traded for Eugene Munroe three weeks ago. That trade sent McKinnie, who had been underperforming and was overweight in Baltimore, to the bench.

It also made him available.

The Dolphins will almost certainly move left tackle Jonathan Martin from left tackle to right tackle. But that will happen only after McKinnie gets comfortable with the Miami system. Once that happens, McKinnie would be Miami's left tackle.

Tyson Clabo, who has given up eight sacks in six games, would likely go to the bench or be traded. Or eventually cut.

McKinnie was eager to leave Baltimore (because he was benched) and go to Miami (because he'll be starting). He also is familiar with the city -- which, with his history for partying, might not be such a great thing.

FoxSports was the first to report the story. Barry Jackson of The Herald confirmed it.

The compensation for the trade is unknown but I would not bet that it's very high. Perhaps a seventh or conditional sixth rounder.

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin spoke to the media before the trade was public so he was not asked about it. Dolphins offensive coordinator, who just spoke with the media, declined to discuss the topic.

 

The fallout from a third consecutive loss

The honeymoon is over for Joe Philbin and his coaching staff, as I wrote in today's Miami Herald.

After weeks of watching sweeps on third-and-inches, or having Mike Wallace always line up on the right side of the formation, or not committting to the running game, or watching Jimmy Graham shred Miami one week getting free releases but getting shut down by New England when they tied him up at the scrimmage line, the tipping point came on Sunday.

Off a bye, against a fourth-string QB and offering no solutions to old problems, the Dolphins coaching staff deserves some critical scrutiny.

They are not alone.

The offensive line, was mostly good enough on Sunday. And then Tyson Clabo, a good man having a bad season, gave up two sacks the final two Miami possessions.

"Those sacks are my sacks," Clabo said. "There's no way around it."

It didn't help that coaches asked Clabo to block Mario Williams one-on-one on the play which Williams beat Clabo and forced a Ryan Tannehill fumble. What was offensive coordinator Mike Sherman thinking?

Look, it's one thing to have the other team beat you.

But when you beat yourself with poor decisions in the coaching booth, the frustration is palpable.

Obviously, the coaching staff was not totally responsible for this upset loss.

Tannehill had a horrible first half -- throwing two interceptions -- despite inconsistent pressure on him from the Bills, who managed no sacks until the fourth quarter. One was returned 19 yards for a touchdown. He floated another near the goal line and what seemed like a scoring opportunity turned into another turnover.

The defense didn't do great work.

They gave up two fourth-quarter field goal drives that gave Buffalo the game.

They allowed the Bills to convert 9 of 19 third down plays (47.3 percent success rate).

About that defense: I have not questioned the defensive coaching staff but perhaps they merit a look as well. They inherited a defense that was sixth in the NFL in scoring in 2011. It wasn't perfect but it was good. Well, they were seventh in scoring under this staff in 2012 and are 20th in scoring this season.

That's going in the wrong direction.

Dion Jordan, the third overall selection in the draft, is only a part-time player. Players that were here and deemed too slow or too old -- Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett -- are playing better elsewhere than they did here.

It all raises eyebrows.

The Dolphins opened this season on a hopeful note with three consecutive wins. Now they are on a three-game losing skid and must travel to New England next Sunday trying to dig out of being in third place in the AFC East and already owning a home loss to the last-place Bills.