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Back to work: Notes and nuggets

Back to work so let's get to it ...

Much has happened since I was last allowed to work by The Herald so let's do some catching up with (hopefully) a couple of nuggets you might be interested in.

Let's begin with unfinished business about Jeremy Shockey. I shared with my twitter followers last week that there would be practically no chance of the erstwhile New Orleans TE landing in Miami if Bill Parcells were still running the show because of Shockey's age and history with injuries would have eliminated him. But with Jeff Ireland running things and there being a greater sense of desperation urgency to win now, Shockey would be in play.

How much in play he is has yet to be really determined because while lots of folks got all excited about him passing a physical with the Dolphins last week, he did it while coach Tony Sparano and Ireland were out of town. So Shockey didn't get the eyes-on approach from the two most important football guys in the organization. In other words, Shockey has zero commitment from the Dolphins.


There will be a meeting -- probably in the next day or two -- between Shockey and the coach and general manager. At that point, the Dolphins may decide to go forward (or not) with Shockey. Obviously agent Drew Rosenhaus, a local guy, will push to get his client on the local team. And Shockey, a local hero because of what he did at the University of Miami, will welcome the idea of playing for the team in the town where he lives.

But ...

The Dolphins must weigh Shockey's value as definite upgrade as a receiving tight end versus what kind of money he wants, how that fits within his injury history, and one other thing.

The other thing is chemistry.

Let's face it, Shockey is not a wilting violet. He's a veteran. He's got opinions about things. He has a way of thinking that was formed long ago. Can that way of thinking fit in a Dolphins locker room where the quarterback situation is unstable, where the leadership in the huddle is unsettled, where Brandon Marshall is already a player the Dolphins feel they have to "manage," according to a source.

That other thing will also be weighed. So it is not as easy as answering the question whether Shockey is an upgrade. That answer seems obviously yes. The answer to the other question might not so obvious.


The Indy scouting combine closes shop Tuesday so let me share some nuggets I've garnered from afar:

I spoke to a scout on Friday afternoon and he told me that despite the obvious glut of QBs in this draft, much of the gold that seems shiny now will tarnish as it languishes on NFL rosters in years to come. Simply, the scout said, teams are generally good at identifying quarterbacks at the top of the draft and working their way back toward the later rounds.

And, generally, those picked in the first round succeed to some degree on an NFL level between 55-60 percent of the time.

Everything after that?

The chances of success drop off the table.

I'm told QBs picked in rounds 2-3 succeed about 20 percent of the time. Everything after that drops into the single digits of success depending on the year. Yes, for every Tom Brady picked 199th overall, there are approximately 91 other guys that never start a game in the NFL.

Think about that if you're advocating that the Dolphins should not pick a QB until the third round or beyond. The chances of such a strategy working is historically low.


Former Dolphins, Cleveland and Cowboys QB Bernie Kosar was on my radio show, Armando and the Amigo, this morning for his regular segment and he brought this nugget from the Combine:

Kosar is doing work in some capacity for Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. He is sitting in on interviews. He is talking to various players. He is also working his NFL relationships to gather information from and about other teams.

Well, according to Kosar, "most teams were fine," with the explanation Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett gave for the persistent yet unsubstantiated rumors of drug use that seem to be dogging him.

Mallett was panned by some media for not answering questions about drugs during his press conference on Saturday. He neither admitted nor denied any connection to drugs of any sort. But it did come up in his team interviews, Kosar said, and he did address the issue in that venue.

In the venue that counts most -- the field -- Mallett was apparently studly. This from the pool report by the Pro Football Writers of America:

"On deep seam routes in the middle of the field, Mallett was flawless, arching the ball with perfect touch and hitting receivers in stride. On out routes to the sideline, Mallett delivered his best fastball and was perfectly accurate. The ball exploded into receivers’ hands.

"His slant route throws were perfect although some of the throws are so hard and fast they will challenge the hands of receivers. He was particularly impressive on his post corners on the right, going four-for-four. If there was a weakness, it was his 17-yard turn-ins to his left. His first pass was high. His second one was a little off, but by the third throw he was perfect.

"Mallett has excellent deep touch on his throws. His challenge is making sure he can be accurate on his intermediate throws."

My personal opinion? I don't know Ryan Mallett from Adam. But I know he played in a pro-style system. I know he has a pro arm and probably the best arm in this draft. Mobile? No. Not at all. It's a red flag he refused to run the 40-yard dash. He cannot run to save his life. But there's a difference between mobility and footwork. I hear he's got fewer footwork issues to resolve compared to the Spread quarterbacks that dominate this draft. Do not underestimate that, by the way.

He has to tighten up his accuracy. It is, in my opinion, the real reason he's not considered a Top 10-12 pick. But neither is his accuracy Brady Quinn bad.

When Cam Newton reveals in an interview with the NFL Network that he "underestimated the timing aspect of playing quarterback," as it related to getting a quick drop, finding the receiver and hooking up with the player, that brings to light exactly how much hard work has to be done with these spread quarterbacks to get them up to NFL speed.

As Mike Mayock was overheard on air as the Network was going to commercial following Newton's throwing session Sunday, "backup," is the word that comes to mind in the short term when looking at Newton perform. If you think he'll be a starter from Day 1, well, that is truly baptism by fire stuff right there.

Mallett would also be baptism by fire. But at least he's taken a center snap in the SEC out of the pro set. At least he's dropped five steps and seven steps under pressure. He's well ahead of the other guys in that regard.


This didn't get much attention out there because it is ultimately about a backup player so I figured I'd serve it up. The Dolphins obviously have several plans of attack for addressing the quarterback spot.

None of them really include Chad Pennington in the best-case scenario.

One also does not include Tyler Thigpen -- in that if Miami drafts a rookie and adds a veteran who can challenge to start, then Thigpen is outty.

But if the Dolphins fail to find a QB in the draft or in free agency, then a spot opens up for Thigpen. Under this scenario, Chad Henne, Thigpen and the new guy QB would make up Miami's three quarterbacks. The new guy would be either a rookie or that veteran that will challenge Henne to start.

If the Dolphins find any combination of two new guys in whom they are investing money or a considerable (relatively high) draft pick ... Thigpen's chances of being on the team for the 2011 season-opener become about zero.