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Vontae trade criticized; Dolphins roster breakdown; Rookie QB tidbits; Canes notes

WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN

Note: Please see our last post for a recap of Tuesday night's episode of Hard Knocks, offering exceptional behind-the-scenes access on the Vontae Davis trade.

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All football today:

### Though former Colts executive Bill Polian insists the Dolphins “did really well” by getting a second-round pick and a conditional sixth-rounder for Vontae Davis, others do not agree – from current Dolphins (“I’m still bummed about it,” one player told us, among several Dolphins players puzzled and irritated by the trade); to an NFC executive (who said this reinforces Steve Ross has the wrong people running his front office) to a very good former Fins cornerback.

Then there’s Jimmy Johnson, who said Miami’s return on the trade isn’t as good as it seems.

“Normally, in trades, you devalue the trade one pick per year,” Johnson said. “Since you don’t have a chance to use the player [Davis] this year, you’re in essence getting a third-round pick back.”

Johnson said he didn’t intend to rip the Dolphins when he tweeted: “Let me think.. Dolphins trade Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall for nothing, release best receiver, trade away a good cornerback.”

Johnson said by phone: “Only they know what’s best for their team. An outsider can’t evaluate it. I was making an observation that for a building team, they have lost some talent. Marshall is talented and they gave up a lot to get him. Davis is talented; you gave up a one to get him.”

Jeff Ireland said “it’s unprecedented to get such a high pick at this time of the year.”

But Johnson countered: “At this time of year, talent is valuable because you’re about to play in two weeks!... Good corners are hard to find.”

Davis and Sean Smith hoped they would become a reincarnation of Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain.

"I don’t agree with the trade,” Surtain said at the Dolphins’ kickoff luncheon at Jungle Island Tuesday. “In this league, with so many passing offenses, you need more than two good corners. Vontae was on the verge of the next step and that would have been a formidable trio with Vontae, Sean Smith and Richard Marshall. And who knows if the draft pick they got will pan out? They traded a second-rounder for me and got Matt Roth!”

### A sobering stat: The last time Marshall was a full-time starter (2010 in Carolina), he gave up more completions (73, in 97 throws in which he was targeted) than all but two cornerbacks in the league.... Nolan Carroll, who will play more than 60 percent of the time now, allowed 19 of 38 passes to be completed against him in his first two years (above average) for 14.1 yards per catch (below average, and equal to the average reception against Marshall last year in Arizona).

FINS ROSTER PROJECTIONS

NFL roster projections are hardly scientific, especially with this Dolphins team, considering three to six new players could be added this weekend. And there are always surprises. With that said, some points to chew on:

### Offense --- There are at least 17 spots seemingly well secured: Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore, Reggie Bush, Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, Davone Bess, Anthony Fasano, Charles Clay, Michael Egnew, Jake Long, Richie Incognito, Jonathan Martin, Mike Pouncey, Artis Hicks, Brian Hartline, John Jerry and Legedu Naanee (barring a flurry of veterans available that the Dolphins deem better than Naanee). And it would be surprising, at this point, if fullback Jorvorskie Lane and centerJosh Samuda don't stick.

That's 19. Add three receivers from the current group of Marlon Moore (who has received the most recent first-team reps of the bubble guys but can exasperate, such as an easy drop in Monday's practice), Roberto Wallace (has lost some momentum), Clyde Gates (making a late push), Jeff Fuller (intoxicating skills but prone to drops), Chris Hogan (couldn't even get receiver snaps until the fourth quarter against Atlanta),  Rishard Matthews and B.J. Cunningham. So that's 22.

If Miami keeps 26 on offense and 24 on defense (which would make some sense), that leaves four spots: two to backup offensive linemen (injured and not-especially-cheap Nate Garner and Lydon Murtha - once front-runners - are now at serious risk); perhaps either a third quarterback or a fourth tight end; and another running back (Steve Slaton or Marcus Thigpen, who said he was used in Monday’s practice at receiver because the Dolphins want to make him multi-positional).

Pat Devlin has a chance Wednesday night in Dallas to validate that he's worthy of being a third quarterback here or elsewhere. It's difficult to see the Dolphins justify keeping David Garrard and his $2.75 million salary (barring a trade of Matt Moore), but this organization routinely goes against conventional wisdom. If Miami keeps two quarterbacks and four tight ends, it could look elsewhere to upgrade over blocking tight end Jeron Mastrud.  Miami also could keep five receivers, four tight ends and three quarterbacks.  

### Defense --- Firmly in place are Cameron Wake, Jared Odrick, Paul Soliai, Randy Starks, Olivier Vernon, Karlos Dansby, Kevin Burnett, Koa Misi, Reshad Jones, Chris Clemons, Jimmy Wilson, Sean Smith, Richard Marshall, Nolan Carroll and Tony McDaniel.

Tyrone Culver could be added to that group, at $800,000, unless Miami finds someone better. Jason Trusnik (among Miami's best special teams players) seems in good shape to be one of three backup linebackers. That’s 17. And the other primary backup linebackers, Gary Guyton and Austin Spitler, have done good enough work to give them a good chance to stick, though Josh Kaddu and Cameron Collins remain in the mix and outside options will be considered.

So that's 19. Add a No. 4 and No. 5 cornerback and that brings the number to 21; one or two jobs will go to cornerbacks currently not on the roster, based on whether Quinten Lawrence is kept. Wednesday night is huge for Lawrence.

Under the 24-player-on-defense scenario, that leaves three spots more for the defensive line – another tackle (Kheeston Randall; skilled, under-the-radar Isaako Aaitui; and perennial survivor Ryan Baker) and two ends (Jamaal Westerman and Derrick Shelby are front-runners).

ROOKIE QB TALK

### Though it seems unlikely, the Dolphins are hoping Tannehill does what Andy Dalton did for Cincinnati last season: take a sub-.500 team and help transform it into a playoff squad. (The Bengals went from 4-12 to 9-7 but had a better receiver corps and defense than Miami’s.)  

So just how unusual is it for rookie quarterbacks to post winning records? Consider: Since 1960, 68 rookie quarterbacks started at least half their team’s games. Of those, only 15 had winning records as starters (22 percent) – including one of 22 between 1960 and 1979 (Phil Simms) and one of 18 between 1989 and 2002 (Kerry Collins).

Two Dolphins are among those 15: Dan Marino (7-2) and David Woodley (6-5).

The good news: Nine of the past 21 of those rookie quarterbacks who started at least half the time (42.8 percent) posted winning records. The best of those 11: Ben Roethlisberger (13-0 as a rookie) and Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco (each 11-5).

Problem is, “you named a bunch of guys that joined pretty good teams,” CBS’ Dan Dierdorf said. “Roethlisberger, Flacco joined really good teams. Matt Ryan joined an up-and-coming team. And look at how teams protected them. Tannehill won’t be in that position. He will have to have growing pains.”

### Though most everyone expects the Dolphins to have a losing record, remember Vince Young, Trent Edwards, Ryan, Flacco and Dalton all had winning records, as rookies, on teams that finished below .500 the previous season, though most or all had better material around them than Miami. The Titans were 4-12 before going 8-5 with Young. The Falcons were 4-12 before Ryan led them to 11-5, albeit with clearly better talent than Miami’s.

### Couple other rookie QB factoids, while we're on the topic: Keep in mind that of the 15 quarterbacks who posted winning records as rookies, several either have been merely adequate as pros (Mark Sanchez, Chris Chandler, Kyle Orton) or turned into journeymen: Kyle Boller, Woodley Young and Edwards.

 ### Several recent first- and second-round quarterbacks joined bad or mediocre teams and continued to lose as rookies, which is what many pundits expect with Tannehill because of a weak supporting cast: Christian Ponder (2-8 as a rookie), Blaine Gabbert (4-10), Jimmy Clausen (1-9), Sam Bradford (7-9) and Matt Stafford (2-8). Carolina improved from 2-14 to 6-10 in Cam Newton’s first season.

### Overall, rookie quarterbacks are 83-106 since 2006. But they’re often a good bet for gamblers: In those 189 games, they’re 102-82-5 against the spread, according to beyondthebets.com.

### The odds of a rookie quarterback not only leading his team to the playoffs, but winning a postseason game? Very low. Only Sanchez, Flacco, Roethlisberger and Shaun King have done it since 1970, according to nfl.com.

CANES TIDBITS

Mike James and Rashawn Scott pointed to receiver Kendal Thompkins as the biggest surprise of fall camp. UM people say he has a knack for getting open, but we’ve heard the Thompkins hype every year and we’re still waiting. Our vote for most surprising: Linebacker Thurston Armbrister, who keeps making plays in practice and is in a tight battle with Eddie Johnson to start. Armbrister is long and active and looking much better than a typical two-star recruit. We'll see if it translates to games.... Brandon McGee has distanced himself from UM's other cornerbacks, Al Golden says, adding that Thomas Finnie also has emerged in the past week. Golden wants prized freshman Tracy Howard to be more careful with his hands so he doesn't leave himself open to penalties....

Expect UM to run more 8-to-10 yard hitch routes now because Stephen Morris will get the ball to the receivers must faster than Jacory Harris did, and UM believes the receivers will excel in yards-after-catch…. Though Luther Robinson keeps winning one-on-one drills in practice and Olsen Pierre has improved, defensive tackle is UM’s biggest worry, and with good reason… UM says it hopes impressive freshman linebacker Raphael Kirby (knee) can return by October. 

Two veterans UM wants more from: tight end Clive Walford (needs to play with same motor every play) and safety Vaughn Telemaque (must make more plays).

 

Comments

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Mario

Really looking bad for fins, hope were wrong but agree with JJ, we need players not draft picks. We need a number one or number two receiver pronto

Tim

Dolphins always get rid of guys without having a replacement. Typical.

DolfanNaples

Hope they keep Jeff Fuller. Lots of upside there. Tired of waiting on Wallace.

jta

As a Franchise this organization has been irrelevant since JJ pushed Shula out the door, something many fans wanted. I see this team falling apart, there is open dissension among the defense leaders, and I expect a prominent name to be moved, possibly to Chicago, before the season starts, which will put the final nail in Cam Cameron oh I mean Philbins career as head coach, really before it starts. Until, some owner with class buys this team it will stay irrelevant.

Ringling Brothers

The Dolphins are one of the moth pathetic franchises in sports. Its sad to see a once proud team run into the ground. I don't forsee this team recovering for years, especially with the a.s.s clowns who are running it now. We have replaced the Bengals and Lions as the running joke of the league.

mike

There is nothing in Philbin that resembles Cameron. You show your ignorance when you say that.

jedivader

Everyone acts like Vontae was a top CB in the league. He is not and has never been one of the top CB's in the league. He has not lived up to his natural skills and seems to be more concerned with goofing around than trying to get better. People want to rip the Dolphins for getting rid of their best players but what have these "best" players done to improve the team? Marshall was a headache and a distraction and Vontae was all Hype. Give me 53 Camarillo's any day.

Mike Mizzie

Hey whats up with former NorthwesternHigh and UM Wide Receiver Aldarius Johnson ? Hasn't anyone given him a tryout? He was suspended for his Senior season but stayed at UM and got his degree. He's a better receiver than most of the guys on the Dolphins team. They should give him a shot!

dolphin Dan13

Anybody who blames this mess on Philbin is clueless. This is all on Ireland. He is the guy sending the Dolphins into a gun battle, with a dart gun.

Simon B Phins for life...

We need to get back to trash talking, I'm not taking bleep from no one team...I am tired of seeing the team get run over every years with these prima donna players...Where is the Dolphins pride, wtf...

CANETILLIDIE....DH

So now we have...

An Oline that will kill our QB

NO deep threat WR

Got rid of our best DB

And we're supposed to field a team with what, spit and duct tape?? Losing season and Philbin gets axed. Way to go management.

Stuart

Where is our WR Ireland?? You clueless turd!

jOHNE MARION

So Ireland said at a 2nd round next year is unprecedented? Is he out of his mind or just plan stupid...as JJ said, at this time of year PLAYERS ARE WHAT WE NEED NOT FUTURE YEARS PICKS WHICH ARE DISCOUNTED BY ROUDN PER YEAR..
THE Facade continues.. when are the clowns, Ireland and Philbin going to be cut...hope soon.
Trade away your best receiver for nothing and not replaced. Cut your current best receiver. Trade one of the best corners, 24 years old for nothign...A JOKE.

Mike W

How can any Dolphin fan say that Vontae Davis was any good? Do you not watch any games? He gives up way more plays than he makes, then laughs about it on the sidelines. VONTAE DAVIS SUCKS!!! Go tell your grandma!!!!

Mike W

PS How many TDs did Marshall drop last year? Thanks for nothing BM, go punt footballs around with loser buddy QB Cutler.

frank wilson

Ireland Philbin wht is the problem you supose to put a team together not tear it apart you supose build a teamaround the player u got not sending them off.Thank Ross you again made a bad decision thanks for another bad season

y-not

So let me get this straight - Jimmy Johnson who's last great act of defiance (BEFORE HE QUIT) was to get his arse beat 62-7 by Jacksonville in the playoffs. Yeh I really value his judgement.

I just gotta say this about you Ireland bashers. It is obvious since the rancid Tuna left Ireland has been getting what the head coaches want. Clearly Philbin wanted to be done with Marshall - Chad dikweed Johnson and Vonte "can I call my Granma" Davis. Philbin has said repeatedly that he wants to build from the draft and develop players.

Now for what really bugs me about most of you bloggers because the following example is so TYPICAL of the know it alls:

Most everyone was PO'd when Ireland and Philbin passed on Matt Flynn from GreenBay - Flynn got beat out by a third round rookie and you dolts don't have anything to say about how you ranted and raved when Miami passed on him. Screw off loosers and let Ireland and Philbin rebuild this team with their kind of players.

If your so dang smart go be a GM somewhere.

Marios

Almost time to puff a blunt and see the joke that is the dolphins. Feel sorry for Tanneyhill, I think he'll want to switch back to receiver to show these special teamer impostor Wrs how to catch, and specially after getting killed tonite by Ware. Seems Jake always gets hurt when he has to face an elite DE right? Against the Falcons J Martin got run over and put on his ass by a blitzing linebacker like he was hit by a bus, it was actually funny. What will Ware do to him?

sagneul

1-15 somebody wants to bet??

CANETILLIDIE....DH

1-15 somebody wants to bet??

Posted by: sagneul

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Nope, you win.

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