« Garrard said he will have chance to win starting job and that Fins offense perfect fit | Main | Blame past decisions, philosophy for lack of splash in Fins free agency;plus UM;Heat »

Fins lose out on another target Wednesday; Buoniconti gives scathing assessment


Quick Wednesday afternoon FYI: Former Patriots linebacker/outside linebacker Mark Anderson agreed to a four-year deal with Buffalo, meaning the Dolphins will not be able to fill their need for a pass-rusher in free agency unless they bid for 32-year-old Andre Carter. There's no other real accomplished pass rusher left in free agent.

Miami never pursued Kamerion Wimbley, who signed with Tennessee. The Dolphins talked about how important it was to find pass rushers but haven't done anything in that regard beyond adding Jamaal Westerman, who has 4.5 sacks in three years as a Jets reserve. They still must replace Jason Taylor's seven sacks. They'll likely look in the draft, with Melvin Ingram a possibility with the eighth pick.

On to Wednesday's buzz column:


As one of the most distinguished, respected and accomplished Dolphins alums, Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti should be taken very seriously when he speaks. And to say he is troubled by the team’s management would be an understatement.

“There is a monumental weakness in the organization,” he said Tuesday. “You can’t possibly lose out on every single individual, whether management or player or coach, without there being consequences to pay for it. They obviously don’t understand free agency. I guess the most meaningful statement was made by [Pittsburgh safety] Ryan Clark” – that nobody wants to play for the Dolphins. “That sums it up. Fans have every right to be totally disappointed.”

In evaluating a general manager, “you base it on results. And so far the results have been dismal,” Buoniconti said of Jeff Ireland. “I represented athletes for a living [as a former practicing attorney], and I’m not sure Jeff Ireland understands free agency, in terms of creating a scenario for a player that says, ‘We can really do something special with you plugged into this hole, and here’s how it would work.’

“I’m not sure that message is getting across. It’s obviously not just money. It’s the perception of a team that is in a downward spiral. This is what people don’t want to attach their future to.”

What irritates Buoniconti about the Dolphins’ personnel decisions is “there is no boldness here. They are always trying to play it safe. By playing it safe, they have lost out on how many free agents? They are not creative. The message promulgated by management has no innovation to it, no creativity to it.

“It has left the players coming in here with the feeling of, ‘Wow? This is the organization they want me to sign with?’ That’s a problem. You think [recently signed offensive lineman Artis Hicks] is going to turn around a 6-10 team? They could have targeted Vincent Jackson, and they let him slip away. They let Chad Henne go for nothing, and I would rather have Henne than David Garrard by a long shot. They let the guy go a year too soon.” 

He praises Ireland for re-signing Paul Soliai, saying that's one thing he did right, but cannot understand how the Dolphins could ship away Brandon Marshall without a plan to acquire a top veteran to replace him. (All the top free agent receivers are gone.)

Buoniconti believes the organization’s attempt to lure free agents is being damaged by several players’ very public criticism of Ireland. “You may be better off without a general manager,” Buoniconti said “facetiously.”

He said “the thing that bothers me so much is they have a valuable asset in the organization in [vice president/senior advisor] Nat Moore that for some reason, beyond my understanding, has not been put to use except on a marginal basis. He should be on the pro personnel side, as executive vice president of football operations. Don’t have [him] reporting to someone who has failed so far.

“They’re using a guy, Carl Peterson, who took a playoff team and left it in shambles in Kansas City. You combine that with Ireland and Steve Ross, who is a new owner… You have an organization in disarray. I would have surrounded myself with winners if I was Steve Ross. I’m not lumping Joe Philbin in because he doesn’t deserve to be.

“For an ex-player who knew success with Don Shula and Joe Thomas and Bobby Beathard, it’s hard for me to just sit there and say, ‘Things aren’t going in the right direction.’ They obviously aren’t.

“I’m sure Steve is now scratching his head saying, ‘Why the hell did I do this?’ You think he isn’t having buyer’s remorse?”


An NFL person in contact with the Dolphins said the reason Miami didn’t make a bigger offer for Matt Flynn is that Philbin and Ireland were not entirely convinced he would beat out Matt Moore, and they weren’t going to pay him more than double what Moore is due ($2.5 million). Also, the person said Ross is not inclined to order his front office to trade for Tim Tebow. The Dolphins football people do not believe he is a starting quarterback in their offense.

### Asked why he chose Seattle over Miami, Flynn said, "I felt more comfortable in Seattle. They're doing things the right way, being led by the right type of people." (And being offered more money assuredly was a big factor that he didn't mention.) 

### Several hundred people bought season tickets believing Miami would sign Peyton Manning. Oops. A bunch of them have been calling the past few days, asking for a refund. But the team said no.

### Considering Joel Anthony is a good enough athlete to block shots and defend effectively, it puzzles and frustrates the Heat that he’s not a better rebounder. Among 35 qualifying centers, Anthony ranks last in rebounds per 48 minutes (8.9).

### Among players bought out, Ronnie Turiaf is considering the Heat, Boston and others (a decision is expected shortly); Derek Fisher reportedly is working on a deal with Oklahoma City after receiving overtures from Miami; and J.J. Hickson reportedly leans toward Golden State. (WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Turiaf is close to finalizing a deal with Miami.)

### Besides offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, UM coach Al Golden said linebacker Raphael Kirby and cornerback Ladarius Gunter are the other early arrivals making a big impression this spring. The hope is that Kirby can make the type of impact as a freshman that Denzel Perryman did last year.

### Good to see Lake Mary Prep's Ray Lewis III, son of the former Canes icon, orally commit to UM on Tuesday. Lewis, who will join UM's Class of 2013, ran for 2312 yards and scored 29 touchdowns last season. But UM hasn't decided whether he will play running back or safety. "It will be an honor to be there," Lewis told CaneSport. "I will be there to finish off what [my father] started."

### UM badly needs a breakout from Shayon Green, the early front runner to start at one defensive end spot, opposite Anthony Chickillo. Green, ESPN's 102nd ranked defensive end coming out of a Georgia high school, has played in just six games in three years at Miami (no sacks, eight tackles) but is back from two ACL injuries to the same knee, in 2009 and 2011. “People haven’t seen the best of me,” he said, describing his UM career as "rocky and frustrating." Golden calls Green “strong and powerful” but said he needs to develop more speed as a pass-rusher. Ricardo Williams and early arrival Dwayne Hoilett are second team at defensive end.

### MLB Network will air a 60-minute special on the Marlins at 8 p.m. Wednesday... Among the five contenders competing for two backup Marlins outfield jobs, Austin Kearns (.364, six RBI) has been by far the best, ahead of Bryan Peterson (.267), Chris Coghlan (.238), Scott Cousins (.172) and Aaron Rowand (.100, 3 for 30). Donovan Solano (.391) has a chance to beat out Donnie Murphy (.174) for the backup infield job.