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Hester or not, Dolphins can use return competition

Devin Hester apparently is going to have a decision to make soon.

The former University of Miami standout who happens to also be a former Chicago Bears Pro Bowl returner is apparently noticing his market in free agency is heating up and he has a decision to make.

 

So, yes, with God's help Hester is going to decide where he'll be playing in 2014. He told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel last week he'd like to play for the Dolphins. I'm certain if a paper in 30 other NFL cities had been asking, he might have told them he'd like to play for their teams as well.

It's called marketing.

I suppose that's why he's visiting the Atlanta Falcons today and has other visits set up as well.

Yes, Hester back in town would be good for him. But it's also about the right money and there is no knowing what kind of value the value conscious Dolphins would put on a 31-year-old returner.

But I will say this ... The Dolphins should put some value into improving their return game because last year it took a something of a step backward.

The Dolphins averaged 21.3 yards per kickoff return last year and that was 26th in the NFL. A season earlier, in 2012, the Dolphins averaged 27.1 yards per kick return and that was No. 3 in the NFL.

Marcus Thigpen saw his kickoff return numbers drop from 27.4 yards per return in '12 to 22.5 yards per return last season.

On punt returns the Dolphins went from 11.2 yards per return in 2013 to 7.8 yards per return in '13 and that meant a drop from the sixth best return unit in the league to 23rd. And again, Thigpen's stats suffered in direct parallel to the team's.

Thigpen averaged 7.8 yards per return last season with 20 fair catches. He averaged 12.2 yards per return with only six fair catches in 2012.

And Thigpen, who had a kickoff and punt return TD in 2012, didn't score on either a kickoff or punt return last season.

Hester?

He averaged 27.6 yards per kickoff return, which ranked him sixth in the NFL last season. And he averaged 14.2 yards per punt return, although he only had 18 of them with 11 fair catches.

Now here's the rub ...

How much would Hester expect from the Dolphins? Or anyone?

The last time he signed a new contract was 2010 when he got a four-year, $21.956 million deal from the Bears. That was a different time and different set of circumstances.

The Dolphins aren't likely to pay anywhere close to that because, well, Hester's not 26 anymore, they don't value him as a wide receiver as the Bears did back in the day, and the team has approximately $19,185,752 of salary cap space as of Monday afternoon.

Also, Thigpen is cheap by comparison. He's only scheduled to make $570,000 in 2013.

So whether Hester is a fit and whether the Dolphins value him enough to outbid other teams for him is the question.

But as to Thigpen, there is little question.

The team will either replace him or bring in some competition for training camp. If he wins the competition, great.

If Thigpen cannot win the competition, the same relatively inexpensive salary that makes him so attractive also makes him a target. Because if the Dolphins cut him before the start of the regular season, they will carry only $2,500 in dead money.

Comments

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Hester is still effective, teams still kicked the ball away from him last year. Thigpen just seemed to lose quickness and a step last year, no idea why. And thank you Goodell for making kickoffs irrelevant - why not just kick it from the 50 so there are no returns? Heck, why not outlaw tackling and blocking - that would eliminate all the injuries wouldn't it?
Don't expect this team to draft a WR before rd 4. The current receiving corp is 'good enough'. Other areas need to be addressed first.

Want to Bet K.Benjamin doesn't fall out of the first round. You can't teach 6'5" 240lbs at WR. You can teach route running. And he doesn't need to run routes. His job is to out muscle CBs for the ball which he excels at. K.Benjamin is a walking 10+ Red zone TDs. Tannehill could use another 10TDs to his total.

You just love to start early don't you.

Dashi said, How "I, Dashi' would fix the RB position for good. As in going all out and fixing the position in 1 off season. You know like your idiot ass says Draft 4 O-linemen with our first 4 Spots.

Dashi has been on the Record that I wouldn't take a RB in this Draft. I would take one next year when the RB talent is better. But If I were to take 2 RBs in this draft it would be The Mason and A.Williams. Both are real good complimentary RBs.

And the Value of Good RBs hasn't gone down. The problem is that no good RBs are available in Free Agency.

You have less Elite RBs walking around than Elite QBs.

Right now the NFL only has 2 Elite RBs.

But you would know this if you watched and understood what you watched. But you don't. You spend all your time on here making ridiculous comments on game day. Instead of paying attention to the game.

Admit it after all this time you are still a Bandwagon Fan.

...loso204. I think Lamar Miller has a chance to be that playmaker. He was brutal last year. Blame it on the line, blame it on everyone except Miller. But he wasn't good enough. I think this offense will force him to be a better inside runner. He has to be or the scheme will not work. If we are running a version of a "Chip Kelly" offense. There are 2 bread and butter plays that the whole offense is built off.

The inside zone, and the zone stretch. Both plays set up everything. You cannot just bounce everything outside. That is what Miller tried to do last year. Live to see another play. Take the 2 yard gain, the 20 yard big one will happen.

If Miller cannot run inside..He is going to be replaced by someone who can. Especially in this offense.

And before you say something stupid like "Who E.Lacy and L.Miller", NO YOU IMBECILE!!

DD, Daniel Thomas?

Its not as if there are players falling all over each other to want to play for us. The allure of South Florida has hit an all-time low now that our buffoon owner and "deer in the headlights" coach are making these decisions. If Hester wants to come here, why not. He still has skills and can make a difference in a game. No one is confusing Thigpen with any elite returner so why does it matter. You can also throw Hester into the WR mix for a change. Oh wait a minute, Philbin doesn't like "change" so it might not work.

MiT, I knew it was not a chump that beat him out; Armstead's name escaped me though. I remember him from the combine--very athletic. I think Brown puts us into the draft in an excelent position. Don't know what money he wants, just guessing four years with 15 mil guaranteed with incentives to 22.5 would get him.

I want a runner on the team that relishes laying a lick on the other team. Can you name one runner we currently have that fits that bill?

...Mark...NOOOOOOO! D'Anthony Thomas. You know..Played RB at Oregon! lol

There are plenty of good RBs in this draft and a good mixture of power backs, speed backs, and all around backs. I expect Miami to pick one between rds 2 and 5, and am leaning towards them taking a power back to complement Miller, who is a decent complimentary back. The Daniel Thomas experiment is hopefully over. Speaking of RBs, can't believe no team has gone after Knoshawn Moreno yet. He was pretty darn good for Denver last year.

Dashi, benjamin is much more stiff than I thought he would be. Guy will be a red zone threat but not much else - he is pretty much a jacked up Oronde Gadsden. I ad high hopes for him but his athletic traits are those much more reminiscient of a tight end, not wr - I wouldn't be surprised if he is moved inside at least between the 20s in the NFL.

That being said though - he probably won't fall further than KC - although if I was them i would be praying for Brandin Cooks.

can't believe no team has gone after Knoshawn Moreno yet. He was pretty darn good for Denver last year.

Posted by: MassDolphan | March 18, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Most likely because of your earlier statement about runners being available in the draft.

As far as the Devin Hester thing goes... What is the downside..? If he can give Tannehill a shorter field, that is a GOOD thing. We started deep and did it often last year. 80 yard drives against NFL defenses usually end in punts. Cut that distance to 55 yards or 60 yards and that is two fewer first down Miami needs to make.

In a statement Hester made on March 17th, he said "I just ran a 3.38 40 a few days ago."

Well, that is great, but Hesters speed isn't what got great returns. It was his field vision and ability to make people miss. I doubt that has diminished aggressively.
To make it even MORE SIMPLE... If by giving Miami better field position, and less offensive plays to run Hester made plays that lead to 1 or 2 games being won that may have been in question.... Where is the downside..?
Try not to throw up when you hear this.... "One or two great returns may have led to Miami being able to win a couple of the tight, 4th quarter losses.
I'm not going to bang the table for him. But I do think he'd give this team just ONE MORE extra player who was able to change how a games finishes.

...MassDolphan.. There was a report on the 4 letter that said the Moreno was meeting with the Phins. That report was taken down. I don't know how valid if at all the report was. I would tread lightly concerning Moreno. I smell product of Peyton Manning being the quarterback. I do not think we would get anywhere near the production here as Denver did.

It is a bit worrysome that the Broncos let him go. It tells me they think anyone can come in and do what he(Moreno)did..

DD, oh yeah... sorry man ... remember the head trauma...

Should be available late .. but he is a gadget player ... he's fast but he's so very tiny.. you think he can stand up to the NFL? I see a torn spleen waiting to happen.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MY LITTLE PONY? I LOVE MINTY AND STARSHINE!!

YAAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Coltrane (ccol name BTW), I think if he was offered that, he would pizz his pants with enjoyment. Think you could get him for less and he would be happy. useful guy too - would be an upgrade at Rt and can play LT ina pinch if need be. Guys like that are extremely useful.

And oh yeah, Knowshown Moreno sucks... before Peyton ,,, crappola... after peyton... crappola.

DD,

L.Miller can run Inside. He is a One Cut Runner. Problem is can't run inside when your guards are 2-3 yds behind the Line of Scrimmage. Not talking about you DD, but that is how I know people don't really pay attention to L.Miller. L.Miller isn't scared to run inside. You can say he is easy to Tackle. But if you have seen L.Miller run. You can see he isn't scared to run inside. Most of his big runs have come up the middle or from him cutting an outside run in.

L.Miller can Also Catch. He is also a good route runner for a RB.

L.Miller was an adequate Pass Blocker coming out of College, Has gotten better as a Pro. I would chalk it up to when you are as talented as L.Miller you aren't asked to block a lot. You are asked to run and Catch the 2 Years you are in College.

One last thing, To run the Ball inside the most important thing is to hold on to the football. And L.Miller is a good protector of the Football. 1 Fumble in 2 Years. Zero Fumbles in College.

I didn't say that the RBs you chose would not fix the RB position. I admitted they were good.

I was insinuating that you are blinded by a shinny toy like a small child that has no sense of need or worth in proportion to cost and availability.

I think Ronco has a new pocket fisherman you will really love.

Denver is more than happy going forward with montee ball, who is also nothing special.

heck with teams playing the pass against peyton, even joseph addai can be pretty functional...

..MIT..What happened to your head? I would say D'Anthony Thomas would be a great value choice in the 6th or 7th round. I wouldn't touch him before that. But he is fast. Some team will go out and take him in the 3rd round. My point is he would have a pretty good grasp on the offense..I this is indeed(Omar from the wire) the offense we will be running a version of.

And the 1 Fumble was a heck of an effort by the other player.

6th or 7th round are usually lottery picks. Some people like picking a qb down there ... I like picking guards down there. Guys like Brenner or Lance Louis or even Shelely Smith. Guys that have great atheltic abilities but not yet ready for prime time, stash them on your roster for a year or two and see if your o line coach is worth his pay and turn them into something. I did a rundown of interior linemen in the NFl and the average round for starters was somewhere in the 5th round. So it seems a lot of teams are doing this.

But taking a flyer on a guy with one high end athletic trait (in this case speed) is also a good idea.

Can criticize Ireland for a lot things but he was good at this. We have got awesome resturns for 6th and 5th round picks during his time. Wish he knew what to do in the 2nd and third though...

It's 12 years late to get Hester.
DUUHH!

Dashi is Board Moron

Armando,

According to your last blog on Cap Space and players signed, the Dolphins apparently have gone from the best Cap Space to the worst in the AFC east in 10 short days. Not only that but they have the least amount of players on the roster. Not a good sign.

MIT,

Benjamin is B.Marsha with Better Hands. And More Hops.

M.Bryant is the better Route Runner.

But you can't deny Benjamin's ability. He goes up and gets the ball. He was the only one that can make the play to win the National Title. A Slant on the goaline thrown about 12 Ft High with a guy hanging on him.

And for his size Benjamin is an adequate Route Runner. And at FSU, J.Fisher makes all his WRs run the Route tree. Benjamin just needs to polish his cuts in and out. But he isn't rounding out routes like Ted Ginn.

Plaxico Burress was Mediocre if it wasn't for him being 6'7". At least Benjamin can play the position.

I think the offer for Brown will be necessary to get him before the draft. I think he is worth it if to get a four year healthy starting RT that can play LT for less than 6 mil a year.
After the draft, I think he will be a hot commodity.

Oh yeah, DD, was hung over Saturday, completely out of it and smashed my head on the marble in the shower. i was a bloody mess. Probably ocncussed... but I fought through it like Zach did back in the day.

..Dashi. I want to see Miller be an effective inside runner. I know the line was brutal. But I haven't seen yet what you are talking about. I saw a guy that had to have everything go right to make positive yardage. A guy that was poor on initial contact, didn't make guys miss. A lot of it was that he was being tackled behind the line of scrimmage. but I wonder how much of it was Miller trying to do too much? It has to be a combination of both.

I am not one of the people who are ready to quit on Miller. He is young, he gets to develop like everyone else. It was clear he was still learning how to play the position at this level. He looks the part, has the speed. He is who he is, but I think that his ceiling is pretty high. There are just some parts of his game that need to be better. Obviously the team has faith, or we would have seen a free agent by now. There isn't a back in this draft that I think will be better then Miller can be this year.

On the pass pro...I think both backs get a bad rap. I blame the scheme more then Millers blocking ability. He shouldn't be asked to block as much as he had too last year. If you are going to block with 5 lineman and never ask your tight end to do anything more then catch balls. Your running back is going to face the brundt of the abuse. IMO the team would have been better suited having Miller in space catching check downs, or quick slants off a chip then being the last line of protection. By design..And this is one of the negatives of spreading the field...You ask your backs to block guys lineman struggle to block, free rushers, blitzers. It was bad design last year. The line couldn't block anyone...Yet, we are going to ask our backs to do what the guys that were paid to block couldn't do...Great.

CANES SUCK KEEP PIGPEN!

Never understood the love fest with Moreno. He was Average and underachieved at UGA. Was grossly over drafted as a Top 15 pick. Only had 1 mediocre season and that was with P.Manning and a Good O-line.

Don't get it. It must be R.Bush Syndrome.

Dashi, Marshall is an athletic freak..fora man his size,Benjamin is not. Marshall outscored him in every single athletic test except bench which he didn't do.

Marshall had great agility and explosion and a 4.5 forty time... I was hoping for Benjamin to score similar to what marshall did and I would've pounded the table harder for him than any other prospect.

But I've backed off on him because he was poor athletically. he's not even average athletically, he's below average.

Benjamin will be a good red zone threat, undeniable ... but not worth the 19th pick in the draft.

These are the wrs you want ...

*Brandin Cooks
Jordan Matthews
*Davante Adams
*Donte Moncrief
*Bruce Ellington
*Odell Beckham Jr.
*Sammy Watkins
*Martavis Bryant
*Allen Robinson
Robert Herron

Dooshy, tell us again what a great GM Jeff Ireland was LMAO!

..MIT..Thatta boy! 2 receivers I like..Odell Beckham, and Jordan Matthews. I think Matthews could be an upgrade to Hartline down the road. The problem..I do not think receiver is an issue. I think we have a good group. Especially if Binns can crack the roster.

Yeah Ireland seemed to be a lot better picking in round 6-7 than rounds 2-3.

2011- Charles Clay and Jimmy Wilson
2012- Rishard Matthews

2 good depth guys and contributors and 1 good starter.

Personally, I like Dri Archer more than D'Anthony Thomas, but I would not start looking at either until Day 3.

I agree with everyone that says Thigpen needs competition in some form. I'd look at Hester if the price is right, I think he has a good couple years left.

Coltrane, if it was up to me, i would've signed Charles Brown yesterday...end up with two of the top 10 OTs available in free agency would be a definite win for this line. Draft an OG somewhere in the first three rounds and let Shelley battle it out with our other incumbents for the last spot and our o line should be much improved...

Lamar Miller = Annother Irescum bust

DD,

Great post. And Agree. L.Miller still needs to get better. I would like him to Add at least 5-10 more Lbs up to 225lbs, help him with his leverage.

DD, I watch L.Miller play and he reminds me of C.Portis, Portis was faster. As long as the Linemen can get the defense moving sideways, they would use their vision to find the right hole.

I also would like Lazor to implement some of the concepts from the Kelly Offense.

They did most of their running from the Shotgun.

DD, Jordan Matthews, Devonte Adams, Donte Moncrief, and Martavis bryant all fit that mold of athletic, big bodied Wrs that our corps is missing right now.

But man, it seems all of their draft stocks have soared and justifiably so. Moncrief and Bryant may be the only ones left when we pick 2nd and we still may not be able to afford that pick yet.

Only guy available from that lot when we pick 3rd are Ellington and Herron and I hear NE is watching Herron from Wyoming very closely.

Hester would be a tremendous upgrade over Thigpen. IMO, Thigpen has been an underachiever as a return specialist. His initial burst is slow, often he stutter steps only to make an awkward first move and if he gets clear of the first wave he, he seems to trip himself up. Hester would take his job, no doubt about it.

Moreno had a pretty good year last year and is a complete RB. He had 13 TDs (running and receiving) and in the games I watched he ran very well, much better than any Phins RB. But I do agree he is not really a fit for the Phins. Issue is he hardly ever puts together a whole season due to injuries.
Still can't believe the Phins did not pursue Ben Tate more strongly, Cleveland got him pretty cheap.

"approximately $19,185,752" lol - seems pretty exact to me

I say lets get him even if we overpay a little up front. Special teams can make a huge difference. a couple returned TDs last year and we're a playoff team

The thing that Ireland was good at was burying teams 10 feet under. The Dolphins dont have near enough talent to compete in their division. Its gonna take 3-4 years to fix the mess Ireland put us in. And thats IF Hickey makes mostly good decisions....

Coltrane, if it was up to me, i would've signed Charles Brown yesterday...end up with two of the top 10 OTs available in free agency would be a definite win for this line. Draft an OG somewhere in the first three rounds and let Shelley battle it out with our other incumbents for the last spot and our o line should be much improved...

Indeed sir, the remaining guard should be an easy fit in the draft. Brown is the last piece in the FA puzzle. To allow Hickey to be aggressive and conniving in the draft.

DD,

I know this is a 2012 Clip, but it is L.Miller in a Dolphin Uniform.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=7khPECxIbxY

Is L.Miller still scared to run Inside?

I believe with the new Scheme, A Better O-line and L.Miller developing more after starting for 1 Year. We will see a more improved running game.

I would just like the Dolphins to feed him the Ball more(15-18 carries a game). A couple times last year L.Miller was on Pace to have a big game just to get benched in the second half.

We lost a couple games last year for leaving the run game when it was doing good with L.Miller.

MIT, the big receiver I have on my radar is B. Coleman. Projected to day three; I think he will be a steal there, if he makes it. I think he is better than Benjamin, and we see how high some are on him.

WR is the best position in this draft. It looks like we could get a real good one in round 3-4.

Dashi, I sure hope you are right about Miller. I'm holding out hope that improved O-line will help our running game.

No On Moreno

2013-1038yds-4.3avg
2012-525yds-3.8avg
2011-179yds-4.8avg
2010-779yds-4.3avg
2009-947yds-3.8avg

Yeah, the guy is spectacular. Just like Reggie Bush!!

Do you know why K.Moreno cries before every game? because he knows how bad he is going to play.

I recognize Thigpen's value, where we got him and our minimal investment in him....but last year he played exactly like a bargain basement find out of the CFL-he was way too indecisive in his kickoff returns, apparently totally unaware that he's not terribly fast (relatively) so cannot outrun the coverage laterally (uh, can one of the coaches tell him that please?)--so was dropped many times at/near the 10-15 yard line, so we started with poor field position alot--brutal--run upfield, get what you can get.....or get cut.

Draft

The Dolphins have 3 out of 5 OL penciled in hypothetically. Pouncey and albert obvious locks and I think Shelley Smith unless he's an epic failure is one as well. He fits the zone blocking scheme well even if it's only a slight upgrade it will do. I'd like to bring back McKinnie. He said he would play RT. Along with hopefully a much stronger Dallas Thomas in year 2, Garner and Brenner this OL should be improved significantly.

Which brings me to my point. I don't want the 4th or 5th best OL at 19 like Zack Martin or Cyrus Koundijo in such a deep draft. I don't neccessarily want an OL at any point if it's a total reach. I want BPA with restrictions to a point.

If you can get Ryan Shazier at 19 you take him. He's a player! I'm a Michigan fan and obviously would not be high or biased toward an Ohio State guy unless the guys talents and abilities are screaming. Shazier shows up everywhere tackling, side line to side line and a great blitzer. Best I've seen in college from a base D. And he has what all of Miami's LBs lack which is instincts. Miami's run D was terrible last year because of the terrible acquisitions by Ireland at LB. Between Ellerbe and Wheeler, resigning Misi and drafting Jenkins we are in LB hell. Shazier would be my pick at 19 if he were there. He would be the best LB on Miami in his first year IMO. He's going to be special and again this is from a Michigan die hard.

BOYCOTT THE FINS UNTIL ROSS SELLS THE TEAM! WE ARE SICK AND TIRED OF THE LOSING! WE ARE SICK AND TIRED OF THE CHEAP CLUELESS OWNER! BOYCOTT AND HELP MAKE THE CHANGE!

Moreno's 2013 numbers are due to the fact teams mostly used Nickel and Dime defenses against the Broncos on all downs in an effort to shutdown their passing game. As the season went on Moreno wore down and his numbers decreased significantly. Moreno will not have that type of success with a different team. He's an NFL average RB at best.

..Dashi...Nice clip. So I don't know if scared is the right word. Hesitant maybe the better word. At least last year. I felt like everything was bounced outside. Now of course I do not know what Miller sees, or what the play design was. And if you watch the Indy game Miller had some nice runs off the B gap. Perhaps you get a bit gun shy when you are being tackled behind the line of scrimmage 75 percent of the time.

I am very familiar with this offense. The run game is 2 plays basically. One of them requires the back to be an inside runner. This doesn't neccesarily mean he has to break tackles. I think people confuse the 2. It is a product of what the defense is giving. Use the inside zone to set up the outside stretch. When this offense gets shut down is when teams find a way to stop both. This is why the up tempo helps because hopefully you are getting a personnel advantage.

However we will do it. If we cannot find a way to run inside. This offense will look stale.

It starts with the blocking, but the back has to be commited to the right gaps. I do not know what the rules are for bouncing it outside on an inside zone. I'm sure there is room for interpretation. If we can establish Miller inside. He will have plenty of opportunities for big gains.

The Dolphins didn't pursue RB Ben Tate because he's not a very good pass catcher and durability is an issue as even is a part-time role with the Texans he was often injured.

i guess they are not planning on rebuilding the o line in one year. started strong and finished cheap. maybe playoffs in 2105 is there thinking

Miller:Sherman
as
Baby:Bathwater

fix the OLine, Run the Miller.

veteran RB maybe LATE in FA, after OTA perhaps.
B-MAC late in FA, maybe as depth.

OLine in draft for sure (it is deep)

Draft a RB and add a Andre Brown

Moreno is ok but he obviously benefitted from P. Manning and that O. He was an after thought for defenses. I'd much rather draft a RB in round 2 or 3. Tre Mason, Sankey and then Hyde would be my targets and in that order.

Adding Andre Brown would be the FA move Id make. He is often injured but in a time share 5 carries a game situation I think he's a good fit. He is very good short yardage and goal line back and is a good pass blocker. Adding the guy I want for this offense like Tre Mason would give Miami a nice 1-2 punch. D. Thomas needs to be cut. He's terrible! Has worst yards per carry of any back in the league since he was drafted. Enough said! Lamar Miller he's ok but not a starter a nice home run, change of pace back and should be returning kicks.

Hopefully they are getting the right players for the Oline. I'm guessing we see some rumors surface in the next couple of days around that RT spot.

AndyNJ, Mark In Toronto and I are on the Shazier bandwagon as well. I would take him at 19. There will still be good O-line and RB candidates in round 2-4.

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