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41 posts from January 2009

January 31, 2009

Health seems fine for Sparano, Dolphins

The Dolphins' fitness this offseason seems to be pretty good, according to coach Tony Sparano, who on Saturday spent some time talking about his and his players' health issues.

Sparano confirmed he spent some time in a hospital two weeks ago before going to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. He denied rumors the visit was caused by an irregular heartbeat.

"To be honest with you, for me, it was one those routine and get checked up kind of things," Sparano said. "They said I'm healthy as a cow. Or horse.

"I feel great. I feel really good. I'm going to take a break this week on Thursday."

Sparano looked fine, with plenty of color and energy, so there is no reason to think he's not well. As to the players, Sparano seemed upbeat, even saying rookie guard Donald Thomas will be healthy enough to take part in the offseason conditioning program.

"Players are getting healthy," he said. "They're doing a nice job right now. Some of the guys that were injured that need to rehab are in that rehab phase. It's too early to tell with someof them right now. We just finished this thing. Thankfully, other than the obvious injuries, the Camarillo's and the Smiley's, Donald Thomas is really doing pretty well right now. Other than those injuries there really was nothing that came at the end of the year that was significant."

I asked if Thomas, who suffered a foot injury in the regular-season opener and missed the rest of the season, would be inthe offseason program that begins in March. "Oh, Ibelieve so," Sparano said. "I can't put my finger on that yet. But I would say so. He's doing pretty well."

As to the health of Miami's roster, Sparano agrees with football czar Bill Parcells that the Dolphins have much improvement to do. Parcells said Friday the Dolphins need "more firepower."

"I'm not going to identify specific areas, but there are several areas we need to get better in," Sparano said. "Quite honestly, when you're a young team like us, we can get better in a lot of areas out there."

The interesting thing about the Dolphins is that they could easily improve next year and not have that improvement show dramatically in the won-loss record based on the fact the schedule seems tougher for 2009 than it was in 2008.

"It's not something I've sat there and really thought about," Sparano said. "I know we need some pieces to continue to get better and I think that was the plan when we came here. We knew we weren't going to solve everything in year one. We were fortunate to have a little bit of success but we will have a tougher road this yearwhen you look at the schedule.

"That's hard to tell because every year, I don't think people expected some of the teams we played this year not to be ... When you look at this whole thing down the road, I don't know where this whole thing will take us. It's our job to make the sure the team is better and is as well prepared as we can we get out there."

January 30, 2009

Parcells: 'We have a lot to do ...'

Bill Parcells is on ESPN pitching Gatorade. And he's talking about YOUR Miami Dolphins.

It is obvious that Parcells realizes the Dolphins made a dramatic step to improve in 2008. But he thankfully realizes there is much ground yet to cover.

"We got knocked out in the first round of the playoffs so we got to keep things in perspective," Parcells said. "... We have a lot to do in Miami. We need a lot more guys."

Parcells admitted during his interview with Trey Wingo that it was an adjustment for him to not coach a team he is so emotionally invested in.

"On Sundays, at the games, sometimes it's hard," Parcells said. "You have a trained eye and you know where the game is going, you know kind of what's going to happen, but there is nothing you can do. So you sit there and understand you are in a support role for the head coach. And a support role for the general manager. And my job is to assist the general manager in the procurement of players that can help win on the field for the coach, Tony Sparano."

Oh, yeah, Parcells repeated he will stay with the Dolphins through 2009.

"I'm going to be with Miami until I feel that the team is in position and Jeff [Ireland] and Tony have enough experience that they can handle it," Parcells said.

Parcells: Opt-out reports not entirely correct

Bill Parcells has been chatting with his media buddies the last week or so, as he's slowly but surely been lured out the cocoon of silence he typically keeps about himself. And, since many of those Parcells buddies are also Salguero buddies who pass along what Parcells tells them, there is one nugget Parcells keeps giving them that they've passed to me.

Parcells has told not one, but several media buddies that the reports of him having a 30-day window to opt out of his contract with the Dolphins were not entirely accurate. Parcells is not denying a clause exists. But he's saying its length has not been correctly reported.

You will remember it's been vastly reported that in the case of a Dolphins sale to a new owner, Parcells would have 30 days to opt out of the remaining three years of his four-year deal. And, if he decided to do that, the Dolphins would owe him the sum of his remaining salary and he could then go immediately to another team without any repercussions to himself or that new team he might go to.

It seemed like a gigantic hammer Parcells could wield if he decided to do so. He has decided not to do so.

But part of the reason Parcells isn't pounding that hammer could be the fact it doesn't require its immediate use as previously thought. Parcells has declined to give specifics of where exactly the reports of the clause were accurate and where they were not. But it stands to reason that Parcells, who has said he will remain with Miami, is doing so in part because he wants to be in Miami and also because his options either aren't as wide open as we thought or are perhaps much more wide open than we thought.

It will be interesting to see if Parcells addresses this issue during his media availability with former employer ESPN today. Parcells has not returned a phone call to his cellular phone. 

January 29, 2009

NFLPA: Stephen Ross made a wise investment

The National Football League Players Association has a lot on its plate the coming months and years.

In March, the players' union will look to elect a new executive director and you should keep you eye on this process because two of the favorites to replace Gene Upshaw, who passed in August, are former Dolphins teammates Trace Armstrong and Troy Vincent.

Long-term, the NFLPA has to be worried about the fact 2009 is the final capped year off the current collective bargaining agreement, 2010 is scheduled to be uncapped, and the threat of a lock out hovers over the league for 2010 or 2011 absent a new agreement.

In preparing for negotiations that could lead to a new agreement, the NFLPA commissioned a Chicago-based economic team to study the state of the league's 32 teams. The conclusions, based on court documents, and other data, concluded that NFL teams rose in value at a rate of 14 percent the past 10 years, with the average price of a franchise going from $288 million to $1.04 billion. No team obviously opened its books for this study except the Green Bay Packers which are a public-owned team.

The study further concluded that in the last year, the average team made $24.7 million in profits and rose in value $82.6 million for a total of $107.3 million in total annual return. This means that in tough economic times, each NFL owner got about a 10 percent return on his team.

Applying the formula to the Dolphins going forward, Stephen Ross can expect a 10 percent return on his $1.1 billion investment next year, or $110 million. Obviously, that is an approximate projection that doesn't take into account the unpredictability of the current economy.

There are also factors at play for Ross that don't apply to other clubs, such as the debt load he carries for Dolphin Stadium. [Some of that debt will be paid if and when Ross sells naming rights to the facility, which he is expected to do.]

The point the NFLPA is making is that, even as some NFL owners are crying poverty as they look for rollbacks on the players getting 60 percent of the gross revenues, their teams are basically licenses to print money.

Good thing Ross decided against raising ticket prices for 2009.

January 28, 2009

No Dolphins of note in Super Bowl is good news

Dolphins vice president for media relations Harvey Greene and I were talking about the two Super Bowl teams here in Tampa, going over their rosters, and we realized for the first time in a while there are no former Dolphins of note playing in the NFL's championship game.

And that is a good thing.

You have no idea how painful it was last year walking among the tables set up for player interviews and seeing so many former Dolphins starters or stars.

Larry Izzo, Sam Madison, Heath Evans, Wes Welker were among the former Dolphins at the Super Bowl last year.

Adewale Ogunleye in Jan. 2007.

Terrell Buckley, Keith Jackson, Keith Byars, and Jeff Dellenbach in years before that.

All were good players, all were obviously valuable enough to help one of the NFL's two best teams reach the Super Bowl. And all had been discarded by Miami.

The only player in this Super Bowl who ever played a regular-season game for Miami is Arizona defensive tackle Bryan Robinson. He played for Miami on the terrible 2004 team but was hardly a staple and hasn't really been missed.

So the fact this year there is not one former Dolphin that is a guy the Dolphins might still wish they had says something about some of the moves the Dolphins made this year. It says Miami did not release or fail to re-sign a player that had so much left in the proverbial tank as to be able to go to a very good team and contribute.

It says the Dolphins, who signed and discarded players at a high rate in 2008, didn't discard anyone of exceedingly high value.

If you research it, you will actually find that Miami released a bunch of guys that failed to catch on with any other team, much less a Super Bowl team. That list included Anthony Alabi, Boomer Grigsby, Joe Toledo, Drew Mormino and others.

Sure, some Miami discards caught on with other teams. That happens all the time. But the fact none caught on with a team good enough to make the Super Bow, l and the fact none is starting on a Super Bowl team, is a good sign.

It shows once again that this personnel department didn't make as many mistakes of those running the Dolphins in the past. 

January 27, 2009

Is Ginn over Quinn the pick you make today?

Got on an American Airlines flight out of Miami to Tampa Monday afternoon, as I am spending the next seven days of my life covering my 18th Super Bowl.

So who was on the same flight?

Brady Quinn ...

The Cleveland Browns quarterback ...

... The guy who should have been the Dolphins quarterback after the 2007 draft.

Aside from the fact Quinn was flying coach and that seemed odd to me -- he's a millionaire -- I got to thinking how things would be different today if Randy Mueller and Cam Cameron had picked Quinn and not Ted Ginn Jr. in April of 2007.

Had that happened, it is possible 1-15 might never have happened. It is also likely 11-6 might never have happened because I believe Quinn might have played better than John Beck did in 2007 and then-owner Wayne Huizenga might have been less likely to pull the plug on Cameron and Co. after one season -- thus ensuring 2008 would not have been the success it was.

But forget what the pick meant to fate for a second. Consider the pick as it was, straight up, and tell me if you would make the same choice today given the same set of circumstances. If you are sitting with 15 minutes on the draft day clock and have both Brady Quinn and Ted Ginn Jr. on the board, knowing what you know today about both players, which do you pick?

Do you pick Quinn, a quarterback who might become a good player down the road but has not gotten that far down the road yet? Or do you pick Ginn, a receiver who might become a good player down the road but hasn't gotten that far down the road yet?

So far, Ginn has been the more productive player. His stats show a player who nearly doubled his output from 2007 to 2008. But we all know he has a long, long, long way to go before he becomes a legitimate No. 1 NFL receiver. 

Quinn's stats show he has proven absolutely nothing in two seasons with Cleveland. He's started only three games and then got hurt after throwing two touchdown passes and two interceptions last season. He has a long, long, long way to go before showing his a starting-caliber NFL quarterback.

But to be fair Ginn has gotten far more opportunities than Quinn. And to be fair, Quinn didn't look like the moment was bigger than him when he got in games last year. He looked comfortable and able to lead.

So would you make the same decision as the Dolphins did knowing what you know today about these guys? It is a question I have been pondering ... and now I leave it to you to ponder.

January 25, 2009

Tuna now sounding definitive about Miami future

Bill Parcells spoke to New York Daily News columnist Gary Myers Friday and, in his most definitive statement about his situation with the Dolphins following the team's sale to Stephen Ross, finally made it clear he intends to remain with the Miami Dolphins in 2009.

"My intention is to do what I've been doing," he said. "I think we will have ample time to figure each other out. I'm very optimistic. I've had two or three meetings with Steve Ross and he seems to be a guy who wants to do things the right way. There will be a period of adjustment. He's got to find out about the business. We are going to try and make things work. I'm not doing this forever."

Parcells, who has a clause in his contract that stipulates he can walk away from the Dolphins in the next 25 days and still collect the entirety of his contract's $9-$12 million still to be paid, also dismissed the notion he wants to rework the deal in exchange for not exercising the stipulation.

"I will never take another dollar from the Dolphins other than what I am earning," he said. "I'm not trying to leverage anything. I got more money than I can spend now."

This is great news for Miami and its fans.

January 22, 2009

Meeting with Parcells most import to ... Ross

New Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has a meeting with Big Tuna Bill Parcells, Tuna Helper Jeff Ireland, and coach Tony Sparano scheduled for Friday. At this gathering Ross expects to ease any fears he plans significant changes from the way former owner Wayne Huizenga did business with his football people.

Ross said: "The three of us are sitting down and letting them know, 'Hey business as usual,' and any questions they might have, especially Jeff and Tony, to make them feel totally comfortable that business will continue the way it has and they're wanted and I have a lot of respect for what they've done."

The hope is Ross continues to make Parcells feel comfortable about staying with Miami beyond the 30-day opt-out period that began Tuesday. During that period, Parcells is able to opt-out while collecting the total remaining salary from his contract, which still has three years remaining and is worth between $9-$12 million.

If Parcells walks, Ross has to write him a check for the entire remaining sum and Parcells can decide to go to the race track, go to work for another team, or simply hang out with his son-in-law Scott Pioli in Kansas City if he wants to -- nothing the Dolphins can do about it.

Parcells has not made a public statement about what he intends to do one way or the other but sources have indicated he wants to stay ... assuming he feels good about Ross.

So today is important.

But thinking about this, I'm of the opinion todayis much more important for Ross than Parcells. Think about what I just wrote. It is more important for Ross, the billionaire owner, to impress and defer to Parcells than vice versa. It is more important for the boss to please his employee than vice versa.


Let's walk this through: Suppose the meeting doesn't go well. Suppose Ross, for whatever reason, gives Parcells the willies and Parcells decides he simply wants his collect his check and check out. Which one becomes the villian? Is it Bill Parcells for leaving or Ross for not moving heaven and earth to make Parcells want to stay?

Ross would be the bad guy.

The fact of the matter is no matter what Parcells does the next 30 days, he wins. If he stays but his team doesn't win big, as we all hope, he's a hero for at least trying to finish what he started. If he stays and wins big, he's a hero for doing something Don Shula, Jimmy Johnson, Nick Saban and others could not do since the 1984 season.

If Parcells leaves and the Dolphins win big, he's a hero for laying the foundation and bringing the people to Miami that ultimately delivered the big prize. If Parcells leaves and the Dolphins fail to win big, he's a hero for turning things around the one year he was here while his reputation for being the genius behind that improbable great season is heightened because the Dolphins will prove they couldn't do it without him.

In other words, the man who has spent practically his entire adult life trying to win in the NFL finds himself in a no-lose situation now.


Live chat blog Thursday starting at 1 p.m. until ...

It's been a while since we talked, discussed, debated and insulted each other.

So let's do some of that this afternoon.

I am calling a live chat for 1 p.m. and promise to stick around for at least an hour, and more if someone else is actually interested enough in chatting to be on here with me.

No Dolphins subject is taboo (like the banner promises).

We can talk free agency.

We can talk trades.

We can talk Bill Parcells.

We can talk draft.

Or we can talk politics, religion and other less controversial subjects.

If you cannot be here with me starting at 1 p.m., you can leave your questions or comments in advance and I'll answer them anyway. Then you can return to this blog at your convenience and see what response you got from me and others.

Oh, one more thing: I plan to turn the tables on some of you guys a little during the chat. I'll explain when it starts. Until then ...

January 20, 2009

OT Jake Long headed to the Pro Bowl after all

Dolphins left tackle Jake Long, originally a first-alternate to the Pro Bowl, is going to Hawaii after all.

Long was named to the team Tuesday after Buffalo's Jason Peters ceded his spot on the squad for physical reasons. Long joins running back Ronnie Brown and linebacker Joey Porter as Miamians on the Pro Bowl roster.

"It's a huge honor to be named to the Pro Bowl team," Long said in a statement released by the Dolphins. "I'm excited about the opportunity to join so many other great players in the game, and looking forward to representing my teammates and the Dolphins organization in Hawaii."

Long, the first pick in the 2008 draft, becomes the first player selected No. 1 overall to make the Pro Bowl as a rookie since George Rogers did it for the New Orleans Saints in 1981. Only four No. 1 overall picks have made the Pro Bowl as rookies since the NFL merger in 1970 -- the other three were Rogers, Billy Sims and Earl Campbell.

Congrats, large man.

By the way, if you're thinking the Dolphins won't be going back to the offensive line in the draft, think again. I am told a player who is impressing the Miami contingent in Mobile, Ala., in advance of Saturday's Senior Bowl, is Oregon State's Andy Levitre.

Levitre, 6-3 and 317 pounds, played primarily right tackle for the Beavers. But he projects as a guard in the NFL and can always work at right tackle in a pinch -- something the flexibility loving Dolphins are always looking for.

Keep an eye on Levitre, who is not a first-rounder, but likely no worse than a third rounder.

Dolphins sold and Parcells is staying -- for now

The Dolphins are expected to announce the completion of their sale from current owner Wayne Huizenga to new owner Stephen Ross later this afternoon.

That is a potential paradigm shift for the franchise Huizenga has steered since 1994. And that matters to you only if you are a ticket-buyer or if you're concerned about what the ownership change might mean to the future of football czar Bill Parcells.

Parcells, reached in Mobile, Ala. where he is scouting players in advance of the Senior Bowl, was not aware the sale had gone through Tuesday afternoon. "I didn't know that," he said."Good. That's good."

And that is where the conversation pretty much ended.

Parcells declined to discuss his future with the Dolphins and declined to discuss the specifics of a clause in his contract that allows him to walk away from the Dolphins and be paid his entire salary if the team changes ownership.

So that was a dead end.

But on this day of change for the Dolphins, other sources within the organization have been willing to give a glance into what Parcells is likely to do.

And they say he is going  to stay ...

... unless he gets a reason not to stay.

One source close to Parcells says the man charged and credited with turning the Dolphins around has a "a developing relationship" with new owner Ross. And that relationship needs to develop more.

While Parcells is acting like, and saying he is staying with the Dolphins, he wants to be certain that new ownership understands him. More importantly, he wants to make sure new ownership understands the NFL business is not like the commercial real estate development business in which Ross made his fortune.

Things happen overnight in the NFL. Unexpectedly. And Parcells wants to have the freedom and wherewithal to react to keep the Dolphins competitive. One example I was given was the acquisition of quarterback Chad Pennington late last preseason.

To make the move, the Dolphins had to come up with an unbudgetted $4 million to pay Pennington a bonus. Huizenga approved the check with little delay. Parcells wants to make certain Ross would understand the need to move quickly in such instances and be able to tap resources in a similar manner.

He is not completely certain of that yet.

Parcells, I am told, wants to stay with the Dolphins and, indeed, is planning to do just that. That is one reason he is in Mobile to begin with.

But there is a small loophole that cannot be ignored.

So Parcells is staying 100 percent ... unless something changes. And then that percentage goes out the window.

Breaking down the chance of a Boldin trade

I'm not going to describe the ugly scene because a picture is worth a thousand words and, frankly, I don't want to overload the Internet with so many words as it might break or something. So check out Arizona receiver Anquan Boldin going after offensive coordinator Todd Haley on the sideline during Sunday's NFC Championship game.

Those eight seconds of boiling rage from Boldin came after months of simmering dissatisfaction the receiver felt while playing well for the Cardinals. Boldin, productive, competitive, and headed to the Super Bowl, is unhappy because he believes the Cardinals reneged on a promise to give him a new contract.

So his goals are to help his team win the Super Bowl and then force his team to trade him.

Boldin's agent, Miami-based Drew Rosenhaus, asked the Cardinals to trade the player on several occasions since July. I know Rosenhaus will make things seem more urgent this offseason -- turning a request into something of a demand.

So Boldin is hoping the Tampa Super Bowl is the first of many he plays in his native Florida this year. That's because Boldin badly wants a new contract, badly wants out of Arizona, and would prefer to play in Florida -- preferably with Miami, and possibly with Tampa or Jacksonville.

So we know Anquan Boldin would welcome the chance to become a Miami Dolphin. But is a trade plausible?

The chances are against it. I would say the chances are about one in ten ... thousand.

I believe the Cardinals might be tempted to move Boldin this offseason for the sake of removing an unhappy player from the locker room. Boldin has been productive and, video above notwithstanding, he is not usually a problem child. But Arizona has one of the two best receivers in the NFL in Larry Fitzgerald, another 1,000-yard receiver in Steve Breaston, and the chance to upgrade further in the coming draft if need be.

So the Cardinals would practically have to consider trading Boldin for a first-round pick and other considerations in the coming draft. The team will deny any desire to trade a core player such as Boldin because it sets a bad example that players can get out if they pout. But in truth, considering a trade that returns multiple draft picks makes business sense for the Cardinals.

And Boldin is probably worth multiple picks if you're talking about a late first rounder and possibly a late second-day pick. Remember Wes Welker has brought New England a nice return on their investment of a second- and seventh-round picks. Some GM needing to upgrade a receiver corps will consider it. Some GM out there would likely be willing to do it.

But is that GM's name Jeff Ireland? I seriously doubt it.

Big Tuna Bill Parcells and Tuna Helper Ireland seem convinced they can more effectively upgrade the Dolphins the more traditional way -- through the draft and free agency. Yes, they made several significant trades to upgrade the team last year, but did you see the picks they were willing to give up in those deals?

They gave up a fourth-rounder for Akin Ayodele and Anthony Fasano. They gave up a sixth-rounder for Jason Ferguson. First day picks? Not in their DNA. 

I grant you, Boldin is not typical bait dangling on the trade line. He is 28, which means he's just about entering his prime. He is a No. 1 receiver, as he has four seasons with at least 1,000 yards or more to his credit, including 2003 before Fitzgerald wason his team. And, although not rocket fast, Boldin is the prototype of what Parcells would love in a pass-catcher: He is 6-1 and 218 pounds of chiseled granite that punishes the secondary with yards after catch as well as good blocking downfield.

From a production standpoint, Boldin would be perfect in Miami.

But here are the problems -- and there are plenty:

1. The Dolphins are trying to be in the business of collecting draft picks, not shipping them elsewhere. They have nine picks in the coming draft, including three in the first two rounds.

2. The sideline outburst in which Boldin ripped into Haley, even as the coach was trying to direct Arizona's game-winning drive, was terrible form. It made Boldin seem more selfish than competitive.

3. The fact Boldin wants out of Arizona only because he wants a new deal has to worry Miami or anyone else considering him. Boldin has two seasons remaining on his current deal, which he signed after the 2005 season. Were the Dolphins to make the trade and give Boldin a new deal, what guarantee would they have that two years from now, the player wouldn't want to start from scratch all over again?

So what we have is a player who will do all he can this offseason to escape a Super Bowl team. He will do all he can to get home to Florida first, but really, get any place that gives him a new contract. We have a local agent who can be very persuasive. And we have a rare talent and production level that is tempting because the draft might not offer an equivalent.

We also have a Super Bowl team that likely would listen to trade offers to rid itself of a disgruntled player while also getting a chance to add valuable draft picks.

And we have a big-play starved Miami offense that could seriously use the upgrade.

It all adds up nicely on paper.

But this deal wouldn't be made on paper. And, considering all the factors involved, I doubt it would be made at all. 

January 19, 2009

Cameron Wake: 'I know I can play' in the NFL

New Dolphins outside linebacker Cameron Wake just took part in a conference call with a handful of American and Canadian reporters.

During the call Wake addressed what seems to be the biggest question about his weekend signing with the Dolphins after a stellar career with the British Columbia Lions: Can he match what he did in the CFL in the NFL, particularly after not getting drafted in 2005, then washing out with the New York Giants and not playing in 2006?

"I know I can play," Wake said. "And I know what I can do. Every time I step on the field I wanted to show people that I belong and that I can play and produce. That's the mentality I took to the CFL and that's the mentality I'm going with to the NFL."

Wake was out of football entirely in 2006. He has worked as a mortgage broker.

"Definitely wasn't something I appreciated," he said of his time away from football. "Not being in football, I was sitting at home on the couch watching people I played with and played against all my life. I know what it's not like to not play. I know what it's like to be at home hoping and wishing I could play. It's something I can carry with me the rest of my life."

Wake suffered an MCL tear in 2001 but that clearly wasn't the reason he was not drafted in 2005. It also wasn't the 4.49 time in the 40-yard dash Wake said he ran at his pro day. So why wasn't Wake drafted?

"That's the first question I asked," Wake said. "I had no idea. I know I wasn't a dominator or crazy All-American in college. But I tested with any of the names at linebacker and at defensive end at the combine and during workouts. So I don't know. That's a good question."

Wake played defensive end for the BC Lions and led the CFL in sacks both his seasons there. But he says he's already been told he's going to be used as an outside linebacker in Miami. He said he weighs between 250 and 260 now.

Wake said between four and five NFL teams showed serious interest in signing him immediately after the CFL season was over. So why Miami?

"I wanted to eliminate all the fluff," Wake said. "It wasn't about whoever offered the biggest deal. It was about the coaching staffs, the opportunity, the organizations. Miami put themselves above the others in those things even if it wasn't by much."

Having said all this, I would caution all of you to appreciate the signing but not go overboard. The fact this is good but not great contract as it would relate to proven free agents should tell you how the Dolphins view it.

The team is hopeful Wake comes as advertised. If he does, I would say Charlie Anderson should be worried. But to suggest this signing makes Matt Roth obsolete is wrong. Roth will come to camp and compete as will Wake.

And the better player will play.

January 18, 2009

Cameron Wake signs Miami Dolphins contract

[This entry has been updated as Wake has now officially signed and the Dolphins announced the signing of another player today also.]

The Dolphins thought they had turned over a stone and found a shiny diamond when they brought CFL defensive end Cameron Wake to Miami for a workout last week. Then, after an impressive workout, they sat down to negotiate with the kid and realized other teams were also trying to tap the potential mother lode.

So the Dolphins not only had to outbid eight other interested teams for Wake, they had to give the kid a nice chunk of guaranteed money to land him. But land him they apparently have.

Wake, the CFL's leading sacker the past two seasons, has agreed  and signed a four-year contract with the Dolphins, the team is now confirming. Wake's deal is worth approximately $3.6 million with over $900,000 in guarantees. The contract has incentives clauses that could add about $1 million to the deal.

The Dolphins also just announced the signing of safety Ethan Kilmer, who spent the past three years with the Cincinnati Bengals. Kilmer, 25, is going to have to overcome injury problems to make an impact in Miami as he's been on the injured reserve each of the past two seasons.

In case you haven't heard Wake's tale, this is some background you should read.

The Dolphins have been searching for a pass-rusher so that it's not all about Joey Porter next year. The team also realizes Porter, who led the team with 17.5 sacks last year, will be 32 in March. At 6-3 and 241 pounds, Wake is not a defensive end in the 3-4 set. He is more suited to the strong or weak side linebacker spots in Miami's base defense.

The team can use him as a down end, however, in its four-man rush on obvious passing downs. By the way, the video below shows Wake in the BC Lions locker room, basically jumping to the ceiling and getting himself some lunch money for his trouble.

January 16, 2009

Third in series: A look at free agency

[Blog note: This is the third in a series of posts evaluating Miami's player acquisition moves of 2008. Today: Free agency. Next, which does not necessarily mean tomorrow: The draft.]

We've already agreed in the first two parts of this series that Big Tuna Bill Parcells and Tuna Helper Jeff Ireland did magnificent work in remaking, refurbishing and retooling the Dolphins this season. We've already established they did great work overall and did great work with their trades.

Unrestricted free agency?

Did I mention they did great work with their trades?

Unrestricted free agency was not the duo's shining moment, with the exception of one Chad Pennington. I grant you, signing Pennington as a free agent when the Jets released him was Miami's signature move of the season.

Pennington changed everything. But does that completely erase the problems with signing Ernest Wilford? And Josh McCown? And Boomer Grigsby, and Chris Crocker, and Sean Ryan?

Were it not for Pennington becoming unexpectedly available, Miami's 2008 venture into free agency would have graded a C-minus, at best. Of course, Pennington's acquisition turned an ugly picture into a winning portrait.

But as the team prepares for the start of a new free agency period in about a month, one hopes some lessons have been learned. The Dolphins seemed to overpay on some players -- Wilford. The Dolphins figured some players would develop into starters and they did not -- Randy Starks.

And the Dolphins refused to dabble in any players past the age of 26-27 when clearly expanding the horizon a bit might have improved the team's ability to add talent. On the bright side, Miami apparently learned that last lesson by the time the 32-year-old Pennington became available.

What follows is a player by player breakdown of the free agents Miami signed from other teams. Miami's own free agent signees will be evaluated later in the series.

The player: QB Chad Pennington. The deal: Signed a two-year, $7.9 million contract on Aug. 8. The deal included a $500,000 guaranteed roster bonus for 2008. The skinny: The Dolphins convinced Pennington to come to Miami over Kansas City. That was great for both parties, but greater for Miami. Pennington brought leadership, confidence and work ethic to the QB, something the offense had lacked for years. Pennington was the team MVP and that far overshadowed the fact he is still challenged in getting the football down the field because of his arm strength. Pennington has already been named the starter for the 2009 season by coach Tony Sparano. The bottom line: Stellar acquisition.

The player: OLB Charlie Anderson. The deal: Signed a three-year, 7.35 million contract on Feb. 29. The deal included a $2.5 million guarantee. The skinny: He was the starting weak side linebacker for about five minutes during training camp before the Dolphins realized he wasn't good enough for the duty. So Anderson instead was asked to become a special teams and pass-rushing specialist. As the special teams specialist, Anderson was Miami's third-leading tackler but led the special teams in penalties, including one that cost a touchdown. As a rusher, Anderson had 2.5 sacks and forced two fumbles. The bottom line: Anderson was OK but to say he played up to his contract is exaggeration.

The player: QB Josh McCown. The deal: Signed a two-year, $2.25 million  contract on Feb. 29. The deal included a $2.5 million signing bonus. The skinny: McCown would have been a good hire as a backup, but the Dolphins actually considered him starter material when they signed him. Bad call. McCown struggled in training camp and was actually playing no better, perhaps worse, than rookie Chad Henne when Pennington dropped from heaven. The bottom line: The luck in getting Pennington overshadowed the lack of insight in believing McCown could start. But the Dolphins should try to avoid living on the edge like that in the future.

The player: G Justin Smiley. The deal: Signed a five-year, $25 million contract on Feb. 29. The deal included $9 million in guarantees. The skinny: Smiley was confident he would be better than Alan Faneca, who signed with the Jets for a lot more gaudy numbers. That didn't happen even as Faneca declined somewhat. Smiley came to the Dolphins with something of an injury history and, through no fault of his, was injured when the team was making its final-month push for the playoffs. But Smiley was invaluable in helping rookie Jake Long. He was tough. He usually played well when he was healthy. He was an excellent locker room influence. The bottom line: This one won't be decided for another year or two. If Smiley can find a way to get, and stay healthy, this signing will prove wise. If he isn't on the field all the time the next couple of years, the Dolphins didn't get their money's worth.

The player: DL Randy Starks. The deal: Signed a five-year, $20.05 million contract on March 1. The deal included $7 million in guarantees, of which $5.75 million was a signing bonus. The skinny: Starks played and produced better in 2008 with Miami than he did in 2007 with Tennessee. So in that regard, he was what the Dolphins hoped -- a player on the rise. But Starks was also something of enigma in that he didn't produce as much as he had in 2005 and 2006, and he spent the entire season behind a couple of rookies in Phillip Merling and Kendall Langford. The bottom line: If this is the price of depth on the defensive line, it didn't come cheap.

The player: ILB Reggie Torbor. The deal: Signed a four-year, $14 million contract on March 1. The deal included $5 million in guarantees, of which $4 million was a signing bonus. The skinny: This signing will pay dividends (or not) this offseason. At that point, the Dolphins may feel good enough about Torbor to allow Channing Crowder to walk via free agency. But if the Dolphins make moves that ensure Torbor will continue being a fallback option at ILB, then his contract seems way too rich for a backup and special teams player. The bottom line: If this is the price of depth and special teams help, it was way too expensive.

The player: Boomer Grigsby. The deal: Signed a one year, $525,000 contract on March 5. The contract included a $5,000 signing bonus. The skinny: Grigsby was a victim of not having familiarity with the Dolphins coaching staff while also declining at the wrong time. He was replaced by Casey Cramer, who played for several Miami coaches in Carolina. Grigsby didn't help his cause by missing a key block in the season opener, but his fate seemed sealed even before that game was played. He did not sign with another team during the season. The bottom line: You win some, you lose some. The loss is mitigated by the nominal investment.

The player: S Keith Davis. The deal: Signed a two-year, $3.5 million contract on March 11. The skinny: Part of the Cowboyfication of the Dolphins, Davis seemed like a lock to make the team. But before the final preseason game he was cut even though Miami didn't need to make space on the roster. Davis was better on special teams than several players that remained on the roster. And later in the season coach Tony Sparano said Davis cut because he was behind other players at safety -- except the Dolphins then had to bring in less accomplished safetys such as Brannon Condren and Courtney Bryan to play on special teams. Davis re-signed with the Cowboys. The bottom line: The signing was a good one but waiving the guy was a mistake.

The player: Nathan Jones. The deal: Signed a two year contract with undisclosed terms on March 14. The skinny: Another former Cowboy signed primarily to play on special teams, Jones was valuable on special teams throughout the season and increased his value starting in Miami's nickel and dime package the final month of the season. The bottom line: Assuming he got about $1 million per year, Jones was a good addition.

The player: Chris Crocker. The deal: Signed a one-year, $1.15 million contract on March 31. The deal included $300,000 in guarantees. The skinny: It looked like a wise move for a while as Crocker took the free safety spot Jason Allen could not keep during training camp. And then the season actually started and Crocker was responsible for several busted coverages in the deep secondary. He was demoted, then released on Oct. 21. Interestingly, Crocker joined the Bengals and became a valued member of their secondary. The bottom line: You win some, you lose some. This was a loss.

The player: WR Ernest Wilford. The deal: Signed a four-year, $13 million contract on March 1. The deal included a $6 million signing bonus. The skinny: Wilford was inactive 10 of 17 games, including a playoff game in which the Dolphins felt more comfortable going with only three receivers than having him suited up. Wilford caught three passes for 23 yards and was labeled a, "disappointment," by an understating Ireland midway through the season. The bottom line: Miami's worst personnel move the entire season, including free agency, trades, and draft.

The player: TE Sean Ryan. The deal: Signed a one-year, terms undisclosed. The skinny: He was waived Sept. 12 when the team needed to make room on the roster for T Kirk Barton, who was claimed off waivers from Chicago. The moved proved fruitless all the way around as Barton was waived a month later. The bottom line: The Anthony Fasano trade erased the mistake of this signing.

Dolphins go international in talent search

This summer Bill Parcells assigned a couple of Dolphins scouts to scour the CFL for talent.

"Find me a guy that can do something special," Parcells told his scouts.

The scouts answered that mandate this week when they presented the Dolphins with one Derek Cameron Wake. Wake, 6-3 and 241 pounds, is a former Penn State linebacker. In 2005 he was signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent but was eventually released in 2006.

In 2007, finding no NFL suitors, Wake signed with the British Columbia Lions. Having struggled as a tweener with the Giants, Wake was converted from a linebacker to a defensive end in BC. Wake rewarded the Lions with 16 sacks and earned the league's rookie of the year and defensive player of the year awards.

This season, Wake picked up where he left off -- in the backfield tormenting quarterbacks -- as he led the league with an eye-popping 23 sacks. And he was named most outstanding defensive player again.

This week Wake got a workout with the Dolphins because he can do something special and because his specialty happens to be a Dolphins need. The Dolphins are looking desperately for pass-rush help. Although Miami had a very respectable 40 sacks in 2008, 17.5 of those came from one player, Joey Porter. So the Dolphins are looking for another pass-rushing threat.

Although Wake cannot play defensive end in the NFL at his current 241 pounds, he can definitely help in Miami's four-man rush in nickel and dime situations. (This suggests Charlie Anderson could become expendable.) Anyway, Wake was good in his workout, according to a source. The guy is in shape -- a big plus to the Dolphins -- and apparently has a great motor.

It will be interesting to see if he is signed as a free agent.

Check out the video of Wake getting the outstanding defensive player award from 2007. It includes some of his work.

January 14, 2009

Dolphins fire line coach Maser; hire replacement

The Miami Dolphins are confirming they have fired offensive line coach Mike Maser. Giants assistant offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo has been offered the position and accepted but there are details about his contract still being worked out.

That puts to bed the speculation coach Tony Sparano would take over as the team's offensive line coach.

Sparano will announce DeGuglielmo's hiring if and when the contract details are resolved. The new coach is expected to bring to Miami a tough approach to offensive line play, one that more closely fits what Sparano wants.

Maser was hired on January 18, 2008 after 34 years of coaching experience and 13 as an offensive line coach in the NFL. Maser came to Miami after working with offensive coordinator Dan Henning at the the Carolina Panthers and with Sparano himself with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Maser was Jacksonville's OL coach in 2002 when Sparano coached the tight ends.

The Miami offensive line was a good-news, bad-news story this season. While offensive tackles Jake Long and Vernon Carey either met or exceed the expectations of Bill Parcells and Sparano in various categories, the interior of the line was troubled throughout the season.

Center Samson Satele seemed to regress after a good rookie season. And both guard spots were a weak point after injuries befell starters Justin Smiley and Donald Thomas. Another disappointment for the offensive line was the development -- or lack thereof -- of rookie guard Shawn Murphy. Murphy was the team's fourth-round draft pick but was inactive every game this season despite a need for upgrade at his position.

The Dolphins gave no reason for Maser's firing, but Sparano was clearly not happy with the performance of his guards throughout the season.

It is not known if any other Dolphins assistant is in danger of losing his job, although keeping the remainder of the staff doesn't mean there won't be further changes. Assistant head coach Todd Bowles is a head coach candidate in Detroit and is scheduled to interview in St. Louis. Defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni has been tied to speculation he might be interviewed for the head job in Kansas City.

Second in series: Grade Ireland, Parcells trades

[This is the second in a series of posts about the Dolphins personnel department. Today we look at the trades Jeff Ireland and Bill Parcells made in 2008. Next: Ireland and Parcells in free agency.]

Let's get this out of the way right away: Jeff Ireland and Bill Parcells did a fantastic job last offseason whenever they got on the phone with other NFL personnel men and agreed to exchange players or draft picks or both.

So, to dispense with the formalities, both get a rousing ovation from the peanut gallery for their trade acumen in 2008. Both deserves an A for their jobs. Both should put in for their raises immediately ... oh, Parcells is about to do that already. Never mind.

But for the sake of the exercise, it must be noted these two men go into this Dolphins offseason with still much to do. So let us recount the trades they made this season and the reasons you should love them to try more trades in the coming months.

The TRADES: There were plenty of them and it began with the raiding of the Dallas Cowboys. Jason Ferguson was acquired for a 2009 sixth-round draft pick and the exchange of the teams' sixth rounders last year. Ferguson rewarded the Dolphins with 13 starts in 15 games and was a good anchor at nose tackle. Yes, he's a stopgap at the position. But the Dolphins didn't have anyone else. They need to address that spot this offseason. A little-known factoid about this trade is the Dolphins used the sixth-round pick from Dallas on Donald Thomas, who earned a starting right guard spot in the season opener before getting injured. The Cowboys used the sixth they got from Miami on linebacker Erick Walden, who they eventually waived. After the Chiefs claimed and then waived Walden, the Dolphins claimed him from the Chiefs. In other words, the Dolphins traded their sixth-round pick this year for Ferguson, Donald Thomas and Erik Walden, who showed promise on Miami's special teams and I think will be a good player down the road.

On April 26, the Dolphins traded a fourth-round pick to Dallas for Anthony Fasano and Akin Ayodele. On that same day, the team got a fourth-round pick from Philadelphia for Lorenzo Booker. The Dolphins essentially traded Booker, a player they had determined would not play a role in the offense, for the team's new starting tight end and a starting inside linebacker. Oh yeah, thumbs up!

On April 27, the Dolphins traded away another fourth-round pick (115 overall) and a seventh-round pick (208 overall) to Chicago in exchange for Chicago's fourth round pick (110 overall). The move put the Dolphins in position to draft guard Shawn Murphy of Utah State. Murphy did not play in any games in 2008, which is a disappointment considering the team eventually resorted to Andy Alleman and Ikechucku Ndukwe as its starters. Unless Murphy gets his act together, this trade will have resulted in no benefit to Miami.

On July 20, with much uncertainty about Jason Taylor's future hovering about, the Dolphins said good-bye to their most decorated player. It was a bittersweet moment for everyone but Bill Parcells who didn't want any unhappy players in the locker room at the start of training camp. Taylor, eager to play for a contender and doubting the Dolphins would contend, wanted out. He got a ticket punched for Washington and was thrilled about that. The Dolphins got a second-round draft pick in the coming draft and a sixth-rounder in 2010.

Taylor started eight games for the Redskins and contributed 3.5 sacks. Before the season was over, he admitted he wasn't worth the $8 million Washington was paying him in salary and he expects to be cut this offseason. Because the Redskins failed to meet Taylor's (or their own) expectations, and finished with an 8-8 record, they will draft 13th in the first round. The Dolphins now own Washington's pick in the second round, which is higher than their own pick in the round. We don't know what that second-round pick will bring, but the trade looks to be tipping in Miami's favor at the moment.

On Aug. 20, the Dolphins pulled the trigger on sending cornerback Travis Daniels to Cleveland for a seventh-round selection. The Dolphins were planning to waive Daniels within 10 days. So they got something for him, albeit only a final round pick this coming draft. Daniels, meanwhile, didn't exactly light things up in Cleveland. He played in seven games and started in one. He had five tackles without an interception or a pass defensed.

Ireland and Parcells made a free agent signing mistake on Josh McCown -- we'll get to that tomorrow. They tried to get out from under that error by trading McCown to the Carolina Panthers on Aug. 27. Miami got a seventh-round pick in exchange for McCown. McCown got in two games but did not throw a pass for the Panthers in 2008. This trade was a save-face move. At least the signing doesn't go down as a total loss.

The ROUNDUP: Can you find one trade that screams major mistake? I cannot. The move to get Murphy made sense at the time. It has not worked out, but is it a major error? Not really. Can you find one trade that suggests the Dolphins lost on the exchange? Again, no. Can you find reasons to think picking up four starters, a 2009 second-round pick, a special teams player, two 2009 seventh-round picks, and a 2010 sixth-round pick for one starter, one backup cornerback, a failed free agent quarterback, and an unproven third-down back is good business?

I can.

The FINAL WORD: The next trade Ireland and Parcells make for the Dolphins that goes awry will be the first trade they make on behalf of the Dolphins that goes awry. And if I'm Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells or Jeff Ireland are calling, I do not pick up the phone.

January 13, 2009

Bowles' second interview [Updated w/ audio]

Dolphins assistant head coach-secondary Todd Bowles is in Detroit this afternoon for his second interview with the team as it searches for a new head coach.

Although other names such as Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier also are getting second interviews, it is fair to believe Bowles is among the group of leading contenders for the job because he is in for a second look. Bowles last week interviewed in Detroit and then Denver.

This article in the Detroit News gives an excellent account of what's happening with the Lions' coaching search.

Although Bowles is not allowed by the Dolphins to speak to the local media, the Detroit Lions put him in a press conference setting today. The audio for the entire press conference is below, courtesy John Niyo of the Detroit News. Technology is grand, ain't it?

In this interview Bowles talks about how Bill Parcells long ago told him he would be a head coach in the NFL. He explains how he'd fix the Detroit QB problem and compares it to the Miami QB situation when he arrived in Miami. He also talks about the importance of getting guys out of the training room and onto the field.

Finally, Bowles said he is scheduled to interview with the St. Louis Rams for their head coaching job later this week, although he says, "This is the only job I want," meaning Detroit. Bowles has also interviewed with Denver.

Blog note: Check the first of my series on Dolphins draft and personnel posts that can be found earlier on this blog in case you missed it. It includes a video! Wow! Video!

First of series: Rating the 2004-2006 drafts

[This is the first of a series of articles analyzing Miami's drafts and personnel acquisitions. The series will run through the end of the week. Next: Grading Jeff Ireland and Bill Parcells.]

During the hard times, which I guess was anytime after 1995 and before 2008, much was written about how the Dolphins got little or no help from their drafts.

Remember the sobering statistics about the 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 drafts? The Dolphins have a grand total of one player -- Yeremiah Bell -- from those drafts helping the cause now. Those drafts, in part, were blamed for the franchise's steep decline prior to this season.

One could not really measure or rate the 2004, 2005 and 2006 drafts because, to be fair, the results don't come in fully on a draft until each class has at least three seasons to prove itself. Well, three seasons or more have passed for the 2004-2006 classes as well. And outside of 2005, the results are not good.

Today the Dolphins have one player on the roster drafted in 2004. In other words, of the class that saw Vince Wilfork, Steven Jackson, Chris Snee, and Bob Sanders picked after Miami selected in the first round, there remains one player on the Miami roster -- first round pick Vernon Carey.

And Carey is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next month unless he signs a new contract.

So the 2004 draft class that included such memorable acquisitions as Tony Bua and shrewd moves such as the trading away of a fourth-round pick to Minnesota to move up one spot in the first round, the Dolphins got one player with lasting value.

No wonder Miami had a new coach and a new personnel administration by 2005. And that new coach and general manager, Nick Saban, had his finest hour in 2005. He won more games (9) in 2005 than in his other season (6). And his 2005 draft was successful.

The Dolphins plucked three starters with lasting value, including one Pro Bowl player, out of the 2005 draft. Pro Bowl running back Ronnie Brown was picked in the first round, starting outside linebacker Matt Roth was picked in the second round, and starting inside linebacker Channing Crowder was picked in the third round. The Dolphins even got a little mileage out of fourth-round selection Travis Daniels.

In rating the 2005 draft a success, one must also remember Saban salvaged a pretty bad situation. He wasn't supposed to have a second-round pick because previous GM Rick Spielman had traded to Philadelphia for A.J. Feeley. But Saban got a second-rounder back when he traded away Patrick Surtain. Saban also didn't have Miami's own third-round pick based on the Lamar Gordon panic move trade from the year before, and didn't have a sixth-round pick in the David Boston fiasco trade -- again, left to him by Dave Wannstedt and Spielman.

So one must say Saban did well in his 2005 draft, considering what he had to work with.

2006? Not so much.

The players drafted in 2006 have now finished their third NFL season. And they are now proven to be unspectacular in most cases, and labeled as busts in other cases.

The 2006 draft brought Miami Joe Toledo in the fourth round. The guy was cut by Miami last January, picked up by San Francisco, and true to form, did not play in a regular-season game. The second round pick was forfeited to Minnesota in the trade for Daunte Culpepper. You know how that worked out.

Miami had no fifth-round selection because it invested that pick during the supplemental draft on one Manny Wright. Wright's best game in Miami was his crying game, which you can see below in the video. Anyway, three years and six tackles later, Wright was out of the league in 2008.

Fred Evans, picked with the first of three seventh-round selections, showed promise but was cut when he threw up in a Miami Beach taxi cab and was arrested for public intoxication and allegedly assaulting the driver. Seriously, I don't have the imagination to make this stuff up. Evans played this season as a backup with the Minnesota Vikings.

And that brings us to the two remaining players still on the Miami roster from that 2006 draft: First-rounder Jason Allen and 7b pick Rodrique Wright.

Wright has been something of a non-factor. He started nine games in 2007 when injuries devastated the team. He didn't play in any regular-season games this season, as he was inactive every weekend.

But the guy was a seventh-round pick -- the second of Miami's three seventh-rounders. It's understandable when someone picked that late doesn't contribute. At least the guy has shown enough promise to be on the roster so the coaches can work with him.

Jason Allen is another story. After this, his third season in the league, he is officially a bust.

Allen is an enigma to me. He has size (6-1, 200 pounds). He is fast and quick enough to play. He always seems to be around the football, as evidenced by his three interceptions in 2007 when he started nine games.

But something just fails to click every time he gets an opportunity. And he's had plenty of those. In his rookie season the Dolphins tried him at safety, where he didn't seem to understand Saban's complex system, and at cornerback, where he didn't seem to understand Saban's complex system.

When Saban left, new coach Cam Cameron kept Allen at safety and wanted him to compete there. Except Allen couldn't compete. He was overmatched by the skill and experience of players such as Cameron Worrell. Cameron Worrell!

It wasn't until the Dolphins suffered injuries to Worrell and Bell and Renaldo Hill and a couple of other guys, that Allen got his shot. And Allen played OK during that opportunity, considering he was basically playing for the first time.

So we all hoped for better in 2008. And initially things looked better. Allen was basically handed the starting free safety job in training camp which no one questioned because he's a freaking first-round pick! But Allen's grasp on the job was fleeting.

Chris Crocker passed him. Renaldo Hill, coming back from knee reconstruction, passed him. Even when Crocker was cut, Allen still couldn't get ahead of guys like Courtney Bryant or Tyrone Culver in the deep secondary.

So the Dolphins moved him to cornerback, where he started in Miami's nickel package for ... five minutes.  And then Randy Moss burned him and it was over for him. Allen was removed from the nickel defense and was passed by Nathan Jones and then Joey Thomas.

Allen was playing only on special teams when the season ended.

So to recap: Saban didn't know what to do with Allen so he benched him. Cam Cameron tried him at two different spots but didn't trust him until half the team got injured and a couple of fans refused to come out of the stands to play safety. Then, handed a starting free safety job this season, Allen handed it back. Then he lost his position, then was moved to a new position and handed a new job in the nickel package. Then he handed that back as street free agents passed him on the depth chart.

Initially, I believed Allen was getting a bum deal.

Then I thought he was just unlucky. I'm now convinced he cannot be very good when three coaching staffs have basically relegated him to special teams duty.

There is a word that defines a first-round pick who plays only special teams in Year Three of his career: Bust.

And that makes the 2006 Dolphins draft every bit a bust as some of the others.