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'Everyone in the building' knows Dolphins need a burner

Rishard Matthews is going to have his playing time increase dramatically the rest of the season if things go according to plan. Earlier this week when the Dolphins cut Jabar Gaffney, they did so because they weren't thrilled with the veteran and because they have seen Matthews steadily improving in practice and deserving more playing time.

Gaffney was standing in the way of that playing time. So ...


That means the Dolphins have four wide receivers on the roster: Brian Hartline, Davone Bess, Rishard Matthews and Marlon Moore.

And that seems good to coach Joe Philbin.

"I like the guys that we have right now,” Philbin said.

Great. But Philbin is either stretching the truth or totally alone on this one because I am told "everyone in the building" at the Dolphins facility is aware the Dolphins need to add a dynamic speed receiver or two this offseason.

And that is what Miami fully intends to do somehow -- via the draft, free agency or kidnapping.

The Dolphins currently have what is commonly being termed as a red zone offense. That, by the way, is not a good thing.

A red zone offense is a unit that basically operates inside a 20- to 30-yard span of field throughout the entire field. In other words, the club doesn't have players that consistently threaten to go 70 yards for a score. The Dolphins offense doesn't have a receiver that scares the defense,

The Dolphins believe they need a receiver that a) forces the defense to game plan for that receiver and b) forces the secondary to back up because that receiver can blow the top off the defense.

Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace comes to mind.

I'm not saying the Dolphins will go after Wallace in free agency. I'm saying the team needs someone that does what Wallace is capable of doing.

Hartline, a good No. 2 wideout, is not that guy. Neither is Bess, although he's a good slot guy. Both are solid. Both have value. But both are complementary to a Wallace-type.

The ironic thing is the Dolphins have been in need of this kind of player for years. And they've been trying to some small degree to land this kind of player -- thus the drafting of Ted Ginn by Randy Mueller and Clyde Gates by Jeff Ireland.

But neither Patrick Turner nor Brandon Marshall nor several of the other wide receiver fixes the Dolphins tried to make aside from adding Ginn and Gates were flyers that made defenses respect the entire field rather than just worry about a 20 to 30 yard swath.

Ironic, isn't it? Fans have been begging for a speed receiver for a long time. But the Dolphins haven't really had a good one since Irving Fryar. That was the mid 1990s. (Hand it to Don Shula! He had Mark Duper and when Duper declined, he traded for Fryar. He also had a guy named Paul Warfield.)

But everyone not named Shula has missed on getting a bigtime deep threat.

Jimmy Johnson once famously said "separation is over-rated" by a wide receiver. The Dolphins went to big, physical but not really fast wide receivers such as Marshall and Oronde Gadsen. And even O.J. McDuffie, a possession receiver, led the team in catches.

Nothing wrong with that.

But today's game is not three-yards and a cloud of dust. It's not even 15-yards and a first down. Today's game is 49-yards over the top and touchdown!

The Dolphins apparently have come to the realization, from what I'm told. They need a productive burner on the outside.

They need to upgrade.