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Who is going to get the personnel decisions right: Dolphins or the Ravens and Panthers

NFL teams pay a lot of money to men who watch tape and judge players and decide whether the athletes should serve on their roster. And these men get it right some. And these men get it wrong a lot.

The ones who are wrong less often typically are considered the really good ones.

Not surprisingly, these NFL general managers and personnel experts often have a difference of opinion. And this week the Dolphins are right smack in the middle of such a difference of opinion. So someone is going to be right ... and someone is going to be wrong.


On Friday, the Carolina Panthers decided Bene' Benwikere, fresh off a toasting at the hands of Julio Jones in which he (Benwikere) allowed nearly 250 of the 300 receiving yards the Atlanta receiver gained in a game, decided the cornerback was not worthy of being on their roster. The Panthers gave up on Benwikere.

A couple of days later, the Dolphins decided Benwikere was worthy of not giving up on and so they claimed him off waivers. That's about the same time the team, fresh off a beating at the hands of the Tennessee Titans, decided Billy Turner, among others, was not worthy of being on their roster. The Dolphins gave up on Turner.

And Wednesday, one day after the Dolphins cut Turner, the Baltimore Ravens decided he was worthy of not giving up on so they claimed him off waivers.

So what we have here is either the Miami Dolphins are right...

Or the Carolina Panthers and/or the Baltimore Ravens are right.

(I know, I know. Dolphins fans think their team never gets it right and we all remember the Panthers went to the Super Bowl last year and Baltimore is historically a winning organization while the Dolphins ... well, 1972 was a good year).

Here's the serendipity of these events: The Panthers asked a part-time player, generally a slot cornerback, to start a game on the boundary, out of position. Against those seemingly stacked odds, the team asked the player to succeed. And when he didn't, the team cut him.

The Dolphins asked a part-time player, generally a guy who worked at right guard or tackle most of the time, to start a game, play at left tackle, out of position. Against those seemingly stacked odds, the team asked the player to succeed. And when he didn't, the team cut him.

So the Dolphins added a player who was cut generally for the same reasons they cut Turner.

And now the Dolphins believe Benwikere will perform better for them, while the Ravens believe Turner will perform better for them.

(A little insider perspective here: The Dolphins expected Turner to be a tough brawler type who might not always use perfect technique but would at least fight the opponent. But that fight has been sorely lacking. And the technique didn't improve. Also, while it seems unfair Turner moved to left tackle, the truth is he did get some reps at the position last week. As to the idea that Jermon Bushrod, who has played left tackle basically all his previous nine NFL seasons, could have done a better job at left tackle, the Dolphins disagree. The team believes Bushrod's days as a left tackle are pretty much over.)

I have no idea how Turner views his release from the Dolphins. But I gained instant respect for Benwikere when he refused to blame the Panthers or say he was put in a position to fail by coaches when he spoke about his situation.

"You know, I could say that, but at some point you have to take responsibility for yourself if you want to be in that role, especially if that's what you're working towards," Benwikere said. "You have to take that preparation and effort and take those steps. That's something I put on myself. And that's why I talked to myself.

"I talked to myself about the conditioning, I had that inner talk with myself about what do I really want to become. Do I want to be just another guy? Or do I want to be an elite player and step up and make great plays? That's the effort I need to take about my own actions."

Now, that's not to say the Benwikere's situation was fair and he acknowledges that.

"What happened, that's not on me to decide whether it was fair. Do I think it was fair? No," he said.

But he has moved beyond whether it was fair to what he can do to avoid a repeat. And to avoid a repeat Benwikere needs to learn the Miami defense as quickly as possible because the Dolphins are hurting at cornerback.

He also needs to improve his conditioning, as he mentioned, because that was a factor in his poor play against the Falcons. The Falcons, you see, would apparently shuttle Jones out of the game to rest him then put him back in to run deep routes against Benwikere who had been in the game the whole time. The cornerback has said he simply ran out of gas covering Jones on the deep routes after covering another receiver the previous play.

"Conditioning was definitely a factor in the last game seeing how I split time before and then things fell a certain way and they needed me to play more often," Benwikere said. "So I wouldn't say my conditioning was bad but to be a great-caliber player when you're going against another great caliber player, you need to have the extra step to get the edge."

It is a new day for Benwikere in Miami as it is for Turner in Baltimore.

"When I came in the first thing they talked to me about was a clean slate," Benwikere said. "It don't matter what happened where you were. We don't really care. So my main goal is come get better, throw that performance out the window, put that behind me. Throw everything from that system away and get ready to get to work here."

Either the Dolphins or the Panthers will be proven right on this one.

Either the Dolphins or the Ravens will be proven right on Turner.

We shall see.