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On Ben Tate ... run defense ... need for more upgrades

In the last two days, the AFC East has seen the departure of Antonio Cromartie from the Jets, Jairus Byrd from the Bills and Aqib Talib from the Patriots. So until Darrelle Revis is cut by Tampa Bay today and decides whether to go to the Patriots or not, the airways promise to be kinder to Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Doesn't matter.

My column in today's Miami Herald says the Dolphins need to improve the ground game -- on both sides of the football.

Yes, the Dolphins signed Brandon Albert to their left tackle job (press conference today) and agreed to terms with defensive tackle Earl Mitchell on Monday. But that better be a start rather than a finished work.

With all due respect, the Albert signing replaces Jake Long one year later. It doesn't make everything better. He's not by himself getting the Dolphins to the playoffs. The Mitchell signing may or may not be an upgrade over Paul Soliai.

So the Dolphins have to giddyup and do more to make their rushing attack and poor run defense -- neither of which was even remotely close to mediocre last year -- a team strength rather than an obvious weakness.

They're not getting Austin Howard. He's gone to the Raiders. Howard will reunite with his former New York Jets offensive line coach who is now the Raiders OL coach -- Tony Sparano.

So ... Zach Strief, please.

[Update: The Dolphins have shown interest in Strief but at this point there is no further movement on the issue. Stay tuned as I work to get more. No visit is planned at this point. Strief wants to return to the Saints.]


He's 30 and will be 31 in September. I get it, that's not what the Dolphins like to do. So get him for two or three years if possible. Geez.

I give you compelling examples of how improving the running game and run defense can help a cellar dweller become a playoff caliber team and how a good team goes to a championship right here.

And I give you one name that could go a long way in helping the Dolphins improve their rushing attack ... Ben Tate.

The Dolphins have shown lukewarm interest in Tate, I'm told. Not surprisingly, most NFL free agent running backs don't exactly break the bank these days. Donald Brown, for example, signed a three-year deal for $10.5 million Tuesday night.

Tate might get more. But not necessarily a ton more.

So why not?

By the way, Dolphins new offensive line coach John Benton should be able to give the Dolphins a solid report on Tate's practice habits, on his affect on the locker room, things that in the wake ofthe Wells report are important to the Dolphins.

Use that information.

If not Tate, would it kill the Dolphins to check in on LeGarrette Blount?

He is a known player to Hickey, who was in Tampa when Blount played for the Bucs. Yes, he knows Blount punched that kind while at Oregon and another one as a rookie while with the Titans. But I imagine he also knows Blount can return kickoffs because he runs a 4.5 in the 40 and is a LOAD at 248 pounds. Blount is a career 4.7-yard-per-carry back.

Blount has seven 100-yard rushing games since 2010 -- as a part-time player. The Dolphins have had a player turn in a 100-yard rushing games only nine times since 2010.

On another front, there is no way the Dolphins don't need to keep addressing the run defense that has gotten progressively worse the past two years ... from No. 3 in 2011 to No. 11 in 2012 to a disappointing and unacceptable No. 24 last season.

Losing Randy Starks (might happen, might not as team has an offer in for him) and Paul Soliai (to Atlanta for a reunion with former coordinator Mike Nolan) while adding Mitchell doesn't exactly scream upgrade. It suggests holding your ground while paying less for the players involved.

But it is not a certain upgrade.

More must be done.

Maybe on Day Two of free agency.


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Still need 2 guards and a right tackle

Tate would be a great signing in deed.
We need to adress the LB corps too, which was a major reason why our run defense got worse.

So how much did that finger cost Randy Starks?

why not go after MJD he will be cut soon and draft a younger and cheaper Tate in C.Hyde in the 2nd rd.

The OG and OT market has predictably diminished fast. The dolphins have to make more OL moves ASAP. Strief actually would be a great signing. He didnt allow a sack in over 1000 snaps last year. There is also the OG Shelley smith from Stl who is supposedly a great it for the dolphins OL. Ben Tate? Fine. OL- way more important first...


I agree with your direction to continue the upgrades. The offensive line will need more players to build a unit that can give Tannehill more time. Tannehill should be tested and if he still has trouble hitting Wallace streaking wide open down the sideline. The Dolphins have to be prepared to move on there also.

It is funny but in Sparano's second season the Phins were pretty good at running the ball. The team couldn't finish. The finish part was on coaching.
Now the team can pass a bit and we can't run. What is it about the Dolphins that creates these glaring weaknesses.
Coaching and GM. On the coaching part, we don't know where the team would have been if the coaching had been one game better last year. A simple change form Go and Go GO against Buffalo would have meant a win.
On the GM part, Ireland had plenty of opportunities to improve the team. He simply did not. He did not make trades and did not have any feel for the pulse of the team. His language and attitude often made me feel he had little respect for players and fans.
So this year, I hope and trust the GM and coaches are on the same page. That is maintain the good passing game (didn't say great) while creating a line that allows the backs to get a few yards.
On the other side of the ball, the coaching failed again last year. Not recognizing weaknesses or weak links and allowing other coaches to run roughshod over out team. That would be New England, (we got lucky in the win) Buffalo and the Jets.
I don't want any fake chest pumpers like Dansby who would make a play 5 yards too late and get all up in their faces.
So it that is what they are planning, no thanks and it will be 8-8 again.
There are good quality guys out there that are relatively cheap. You can build a really great line. You can build a really great d. The team does not need a lot to put it over the top.

Tate could do for us what Priest Holmes did for K.C. He was a good running back stuck behind another one when he was with his first team (Ravens). Then K.C. picked him up and he took off from there. Of course, having a pieced together offensive line won't exactly make him want to come here.

Well I'd be willing to bet that Hickey isn't planning to take the rest of the week off now that he has Albert, Mitchell, Grimes and Delmas signed. I am sure a week off in the Carribean is sounding really good but I think he has the internal fortitiude to not follow his temptations. I am guessing he will stick around the Fins' campus this week and try to take advantage of the salary room he has to work with. I don't know...just guess work on my part.

The Miami Dolphins, . . . meh ?

nothing to see here

Dolphins prob have a weak secondary that will cost them
secondary may be worse than last year as Clem may be a better safety than the newbie and we wont be getting the 4 INTs in 6 games from Patterson who played excellent when healthy

So expect the Dolphins secondary to be worse than last year and so far no upgrades at RB

New Orleans Saints = Wow

If the Pats sign Revis
Another division championship for New England

Home thinks the Pats will do a deal w Revis and a FA WR

nothing to get excited about involving the fish, the got a Fat Guy that sat out the last 4 games of regular season
Albert got the Dolphins to way over pay in FA for a pretty good LT that cannot stay healthy, does not care about the team concept and has a big prob w an eating disorder that inhibits his production

At least Ross is back trying to swindle the tax payers again by making his private property tax exempt

More corporate welfare in the form of hundreds of millions of dollars for another rich greedy businessman that of course, . . . does not believe in welfare


Ross wants to be back on welfare
4.5 Billion is not enough

Home = Gone Fishin

have a HAARPy day !

Does Dolphin coaching have anything to do with the Dolphin's slip at run defense and at linebacker? Would new coaches help us improve more than new players?

Agreed on both counts Armando,we need lineman who can play on both sides of the ball, any chance we could get to keep Starks maybe ? I like the idea of Ben Tate as well and two more veteran offensive lineman if possible.

It doesnt make anything better?

What is the color of the sky in your world?

I believe we had the players to be a good defense in 2013. Why the slip between 2011 and 2013? Who where the defensive line coaches and linebacker coaches in 2011? I bet they are not the same ones as 2013. By coaches I don't just mean "coaching" the players but schemes and play-calling.

Are they putting the players in the best position to do what they do best or are they forcing them to fit into a preconceived scheme (the square peg in the round hole syndrome).

Legarette Blount would make more sense as Hickey has a relationship with him. It would take even more talent away from NE, and give us power in bad weather and another KR if needed.

that said, Hickey is drafting a RB.

I'm Gene Simmons and I'm smarter than you think even though I have long hair and a longer tongue.

Let's not forget, we need some leadership on this team. Zach Strief would fit in perfect.

Jason La Canfora ‏@JasonLaCanfora 5m
DT Randy Starks nearing a return to the Dolphins on a deal worth $6M a season

Starks may be coming back according to La Canfora.

Blount or Tat...either will do.....but not signing a veteran RB who can pick up blitzers and as well as 2 yards when you need it would be a huge mistake.


HIckey has a solid track record recruiting RB's. I don't think he uses the first round pick for one. I'd be surprised if he even uses the 2nd round pick. I think it will be interesting to see his views on Gilislee. Not sure about him being a solid RB in this league. I think we will see him use a 3rd round pick on RB. Just my guess.

Hope so Texas but that would be the first thing La Canfora has been right on.

Do sodomite players enjoy the physical contact with men on the playing field? Do they enjoy watching them undress in the locker room? I'm just curious as people like manifesting their sexual deviance to the world these days.

Is it no politically incorrect for football players not liking other men getting their jollies when tackling them or ogling them in the locker room. Is it different when sodomite men pat you on the butt after a good play than when normal men do?

I speak as a man who loves all human beings and will their good which is eternal salvation. Not as a hater. So if possible just try to answer the questions without calling me names.

PFT also reporting Starks close to signing. Great news. The DT rotation looking ok now with Mitchell, Odrick, and Starks.

Thats assumming Mitchell did sign? I haven't seen it was confirmed.

Will you PLEASE stop mentioning the Wells Report? There was not and is not a problem in the Dolphins locker room other than Jonathan Martin. Is this not evident by him being traded to a location where he can be closer to his Mommy? Armando, you are better than this. The scandal you helped create is over. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE move on, or at least make up another scandal if you desperately need the national attention.

Agree Mando, Run D and Run Game!!

Run D - Miami needs to take a serious look at Jon Beason. He was once considered a top 5 at the position before injuries started to take its toll. I don't know if he's washed up at this point but I noticed a turn around the second he arrived in NY last season. Ellerbe isn't a middle LB. He's not physical and can't fill a hole. Another possibility would to bring in huge run stuffers like Tony McDaniel or Terrance Cody who never lived up to his run stuffing Mount Cody potential.

Run game - The Oline obviously still has holes maybe Strief or Davin Joseph. I don't know anything about Hickey but if I had to trust him on just one thing it would be drafting a RB. The Bucs have drafted several talented RB as of recent with Doug Martin, L. Bount, Mike James. I think RB should come via draft.

Re sign Starks please.

Dolfan Rick,

Mando has said on twitter that the Mitchell deal is done.

Salguero you can not fill every hole on the first day of free agency.There is also a thing called the draft ass clown.

Ok boys days two, three and four are where teams find good value in FA. Players realize they weren't taken day one and they are usually less in command so they are more willing to take offers they wouldn't consider reasonable prior to FA starting.

Players I am interested in:

Randy Starks - still may sign to remain here - it would be geat if he did (MIT might calm down)
Tony Mc Daniel - DT Seahawks - good DT and run stuffer who knows Miami well
Cromartie - CB from Jets - He still has plenty and would be great with Grimes.
Henry Melton - 27 year old DT - Bears
BJ Raji - 27 year old DT - Packers - only getting 1 year offer from Packers
Brandon Spikes - 26 year old LB from Pats - a real THUMPER
Ben Tate - 25 year old RB from Texans - solid RB to help for sure
James Jones - 29 year old big WR from Packers
Daryl Smith - 31 LB from Ravens - goood for 2 years and played well with Ellerbe
Michael Oher - 27 year old RT from Ravens (might be our best option in FA)
Zach Strief 30 year old RT Saints
Jon Beason - 29 year old LB from Pathers who is a good leader and a THUMPER

Others to consider for depth later in FA if money works out:

L. Blount - RB Pats
B.. Giocomini - OT Seahawks
T. Wharton - G Panthers


Thanks thats good news. Now they need to get back to work on the o-line. Good candidates are dwindling.

If it were me I would put all my focus on that and worry about rb, lb, and cb when the o-line is squared away.

Lots of rb and cb options if they want to go that way.

We need 2 new RB's.

According to CBS Sports, the Dolphins are close to re-signing DT Randy Starks.

Per Jason La Canfora, the deal will be worth around $6 million per season. Starks has been a highly effective run-stuffer for the Dolphins and will pair with newly-signed Earl Mitchell in that role next year. Paul Soliai has bolted for the Falcons.


HC and GM have to be on the same page. Ireland was never even on the same book with Philbin. Finding players to fit the scheme is the answer. Ireland came from a "RUN FIRST" philosophy, but now we have Hickey who is very familiar with the WCO. Lets see what he brings in. Coaching need to be looked at too. New offensive coaches with a new play book. Players adjusting to the changes. Most of the pieces of the puzzle are face up. I am waiting to see the final picture in September. Till then there will be a lot of "And, If's and But's".

According to CBS Sports, the Dolphins are close to re-signing DT Randy Starks.

Per Jason La Canfora, the deal will be worth around $6 million per season. Starks has been a highly effective run-stuffer for the Dolphins and will pair with newly-signed Earl Mitchell in that role next year. Paul Soliai has bolted for the Falcons.

Take a deep breath there negative Nancy. It is day two of the FA and you are already bitching. You suck all the positive out of this team and fan base. The moves Hickey has made to this point indicate to me he knows what needs to be done and is doing so. About to resign Starks this morning. Instead of always writing like a Patriot/Bills/Jets fan be happy for a change and stop being such a drain.

I know this isn't related to this blog. But... What will happen to J.Martin after Harbuagh leaves this season?

Could the Dolphins be happy with their starter at RB? Reason they don't need to sign a Free Agent.

Carlos Hyde is a joke as a RB. He is D.Thomas 2.0. Actually D.Thomas runs harder.

If all you can get is 1200 yds rushing as the lead back for an U.Myer offense you are a Mediocre RB.

U.Myer runs a fast paced offense, and he runs the ball about 60% of the time. C.Hyde had Boulevards to run thru. Yet, the First Man always brought him down.

If Starks is resigned, that would be great news. Put Mitchell in DT rotation and the DL is as strong as it's ever been.
Then pick 19 can be used for BPA.
The fact the team was able to get anything for Martin...
So far, so good.

Is anyone surprised that Incognito's nuts?

The Dolphins need RBs that make yards on their own once they get into the open field.The Saints released Sproles who is already 30 years old but he dosent carry all the weight bigger backs do and as they age,a lighter back will remain closer to his peak than someone who carrys extra weight as long as hes not injury prone and has severely damaged knees or other parts of his body.The wear and tear on a rb is severe because they get tackled and hit every play which isnt the case for a WR.

When they had R Bush they let him walk, the OC couldnt create plays or wouldnt, to get him in open space.If you cant get Sproles out in space you shouldnt be an OC in the NFL.
I think maybe the new OC will be similar to the one that left, just younger.Almost all of them run the same plays and have the same tendencies,inotherwords they dont bring originality to the game.

Could the Dolphins be happy with their starter at RB?

Posted by: Dashi | March 12, 2014 at 08:24 AM

Hey, they were happy with Irescum for 7 years so ANYTHING is possible! LOL

J.Martin doesn't have to move out of his Mom's Basement to play for the 49ers.

Dashi also wonders why "Journalist" don't want to point out what is right in front of them. J.Martin left the team because he was HOMESICK!!

Reason J.Martin has never publicly said why he left. He is embarrassed to say he is/was Homesick.

According to CBS Sports, the Dolphins are close to re-signing DT Randy Starks.

Per Jason La Canfora, the deal will be worth around $6 million per season. Starks has been a highly effective run-stuffer for the Dolphins and will pair with newly-signed Earl Mitchell in that role next year. Paul Soliai has bolted for the Falcons.

Is it me or is everyone just giving up on RB Lamar Miller?? He had over 700+ yards with one of the worst Olines in the league, I think he can still improve. It was really his 1st season as a starter, and think if you do bring in a power back for cheap it’s going to help. Maybe look in the draft for another back, and trade Thomas or let him go.

First things first: Home = Eternal Doucher

I would have rather given Linvall Joseph $6 mil per. More of a natural 4-3 DT & younger. At least if Starks does come back it fixes the DT rotation. He gets more penetration than Soliai did.

I'm not keen on spending money on a FA RB when everyone knows talented runners can be had mid-late rounds.

I would like to see them resign Keller to a 1 year deal & see if he can make it back.

I don't think this team needs anymore WR's.

I don't think Strief is in the cards. Face it, in FA, age does matter. As much as FA is about filling holes, it's about trying to fix them for more than 1-2 years.

I think Giacomi (RT-28) from the Hawks or C. Brown(26-LT - NO) is. Dietrich-Smith from the pack or Shelley Smith (26-OG) from the Rams are option at G.

I think they'll be at least 1 rookie starting on the OL with Albert, Pouncey & 2 more FA acquisitions.

Pleanty of capable guys out there. Just because they may not be household names doesn't mean they ain't any good.

I read Miami made an offer on Beadles but, got outbid by the Jags. Who have been surprisingly active. I like what they've done.

Let's not forget, we need some leadership on this team. Zach Strief would fit in perfect.

Posted by: Naples David | March 12, 2014 at 07:29 AM

amen brother...

If the Phins decide to sign OG in FA instead of RT that is fine. Plenty of RT options in the draft. I am glad the Raiders scooped up Howard - he wasn't very good and the fact the Raiders signed him seems to confirm that.

Jason LaCanfora reports Dolphins re sign Randy Staks

Is Davin Joseph a possibility? There are some decent OL still left in FA. I haven't heard of a Collins signing yet. I would think Miami would have at least 1 more OL in the works for FA.

I do hope Starks re-signs too.

Darn it, Randy Starks.

I am happy with Starks if he comes back.

The biggest problem the Dolphins are having now is there are way too many of Jeff Ireland's draft busts on board thus leaving way too many holes to fill in one free agency. Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas are an example. Both are not that good, yet how can they be both replaced? Yes Tate or Blount would be an upgrade but then you have the contracts that remain. Egnew is another. They still need another playmaking TE. Jamar Taylor and Will Davis- the net CB to step up and play opposite of Grimes? Lets just keep our fingers crossed. DT? Who? I'm glad Soliai and Starks are gone but now what there? Safety? Is Reshard Jones really that good? Don't think so. And don't even know about Delmas. I see another 7-9 8-8 season coming.

Now sign Strief and draft Zack Martin, both D-line and o-line are set.

Would be nice to get Starks back. Always liked Soliai, but there is no way the Dolphins should/could have paid that much. Good for him and Nolan.

Starting to look like the Dolphins can go BPA in the draft.

Randomness: When Mark Sanchez is cut, anyone else think he might end up in Seattle? Connection with coach and not that I think he is a good QB, but given a running game and solid D he can manage a game (Jets fabled AFC Championship game loses).

Common Sense.

It is easier for a 200lb person to break free from another 200-250lb person trying to tackle them if they both have about the same momentum.

It is extremely difficult for a 200lb person to break free from a 300-320lb person, and it becomes almost impossible when the 300+ lb person has all the momentum. Which happens when you have the worst O-line in Dolphins history.

L.Miller is the truth. He has the Dashi Seal of Approval.

I only know 1 RB that didn't need any help. And even he needed to fed a regular diet(20 carries a game)to be successful.

Even behind the Worst O-line the Dolphins have ever had, If the Coaches would have gave Miller the ball when he was running good(6.0+ YPC) that day. L.Miller would have had over 8 games rushing for over 100yds. Easily surpassing over 1000 yds for the season.

Common, there is a rift between sancheez & Carrol. Coach said he didn't think he was ready for the NFL. Don't see it as a match at all.

Johnathan Martin will be considered a hero for being instrumental in cleaning up the sports workplace from racism, harrassment, and discrimination. Minorities for decades will have Martin to thank.

Dietrch-Smith? Move Pouncey to RG? Breener, Thomas and Garner fight for RG? Draft RT, resign Clabo? Si?

Also, I can't believe they got something back for Martin. Executive of the year, lol.

**fight for LG**

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