Let's start out with a little about me. I'm 17 and started watching the Dolphins when Marino was inducted to the HOF. I loved watching our D shutdown the opposing offense, but hated the fact we would lose 3-0. Now I know you guys think I'm misguided, but I love the Dolphins, even though they continually break my heart year after year. I also love analyzing the team's weaknesses and scouting (the best I can) the draft.
Next up is grading each position:
Brian Hartline (BH): Our big play guy. When he went on IR, our QB's YPA fell 2 yards. No coincidence. He will make the stupid play to start the game, like fumbling a reverse, but he has to do that so he can redeem himself the rest of the game with his ability to get down field. He is our fastest WR with a pro day 40 of 4.49. He is very good running the football if he can get the blocks. As a WR, he does it all. He has the size and speed to go downfield (He's 6'2"), but neither his speed or height is 'elite', he is an underrated deep threat, but not among the better ones in the league. He is very strong for his size (170 lbs.), in fact he's the strongest pound for pound on our team. He needs to learn to extend his body and shade the CB, but this will come in time. He was only a 2nd year player, but all signs point to him being a great #2 WR in the league, if not a good #1 if your team likes to spread the ball around. He ran a deep out a lot and that is because of predictable play calling, but I'll get to that later. While most don't think he's a good match with BM, as they are basically the same WR, but Hartline is more of a medium to long guy and BM is a short to medium guy. I think the problem is more Bess, because he is always the first or second read and is a short to medium guy.
Davone Bess (Besst): He has a great story, Great at Hawaii, went undrafted, in TC he became a starter. He has been golden at moving the chains since his arrival in Miami. the only problem is that his speed and size keeps him from running routes past 10 yards. Any time he gets open deep it is because the D is playing him short and any time he catches a deep ball it is because the DB's back is turned (this is all Bess) or that he just never does. He also kept up his production despite being forced to run a 5yard out route 90% of the time. That last point is a shot at Henning, but we'll get to that later.
Brandon Marshall (BM, Air Marshall): This guy is consistently a top 3 WR. He also is probably the only #1 WR that isn't much of a deep threat. He was brought to Miami to make plays and in that regard he has disappointed. But he would have had 100+ receptions with a 12.4 YPC if he didn't miss two games and his QB wasn't playing on a knee that should have put him on IR. I really have no complaints about this wide receiver.
Roberto Wallace: Everyone's favorite UDFA rookie at the phinsider. He has the same size as Marshall (6'4" 225 lbs.) with 4.4 speed. He is the fastest WR, but he doesn't see many snaps. He needs drastic improvement in route running, but has the most potential outside of Marshall.
Marlon Moore - My favorite rookie UDFA. He has all the shiftiness and quickness of Bess, but with 4.4 speed. He can be very dangerous in space, but that space isn't there due to poor route running. I would love if Moore made drastic steps, enough for us to trade Bess and not have to draft a guy like Torrel Smith from Maryland.
Jake Long is a total Beast. In his third year he is going to his third pro bowl and got his first All-Pro selection. He is a great guy to run behind and will shutdown any pass rusher except for ATL's Abraham. Abraham is a short speed guy that can also bring a very respectable bull rush. Hard to defend against that, because his size gives him leverage.
Incognito is more of a RG because he can't pull effectively, but is great when he only has to block straight ahead. He played C in the 1st half of the Detroit game and silenced Suh by himself. Quite an accomplishment. This was also the first time our running attack had the claws it was missing since last year. I think we need to get a guy to play here via FA and move Incognito over to C. This would solve two problems with one addition. The loss of Smiley was terrible because we lost one of the better pulling guards and replaced him with a good RG / C. Very odd.
Let's start with the end of last season. Grove was a very good run blocker and an above average pass protector, but he just couldn't stay healthy, was 32 years old and was overpayed. I didn't mind his releasing, but what came next was the head scratcher. We did nothing to get a starter. We let our backup, Joe Berger, get the starting job uncontested. This was Just a horrible decision.
We let Donald Thomas go, for reasons I can't explain. Actually, I can. He wasn't big enough for this regime. Although he was a pure mauler and the strongest pound for pound of our lineman, he was 20 pounds too light. He was an outstanding run blocker though. I loved this kid, but they let him go because while he could play the position he was a little undersized for their liking (about 305 lbs., they like 320+). He had the same strengths of our our line, could demolish the guy across from him in run blocking, and once engaged in pass pro. they weren't getting to the QB. Also, last offseason the game was starting to slow down for him and a position switch to LG was possible. I can't fault this team for letting him go too much though because they drafted a guy in the name of John Jerry. Jerry, while not as good a run blocker, is 30 lbs heavier and in Sparano's eyes that means he's a better player, period there is no way a smaller lineman can outperform a bigger one. I'm surprised how Sparano could keep a job as an O-line coach. JJ was ok in just about everything. It's hard to grade his run blocking abilities though, because it takes more than one lineman to create a hole. Oh well, hey, JJ has experience at RT and we might see a move.
Carey is an overpayed, old player that we signed to an extension last offseason. He also can't stay healthy. He is usually ok in pass protect, but can't block a speed rusher to save his life. I think we might move him to RG and move JJ to RT.
OL Dishonorable mentions:
Pat McQuistan (McFAIL) - This guy fails at every aspect of playing Line. The only good thing about him is he can play every position, but he sucks at every position as well.
Sparano - F*** U for micromanaging our Line, we went from a top 5 OL to a bottom 5 OL thanks to you. Seriously WTF?
Ronnie Brown - He is a good all around back, but doesn't have the wheels you look for. He consistently fights for extra yardage, but he likes to wait for the hole to open up and this OL opened no holes this season so his running style didn't suit this OL. He is very dangerous in space, but Henning's offense doesn't allow that.
Ricky Williams - He is just a pure runner. He can't really catch that well. His running style fits this OL, run to the hole you are supposed to go to and if the hole isn't there run into the Line.
Lex Hilliard - Amazing player. He can playt RB FB and is a ST ace. This year was odd as he was our best ST player in 09, but they didn't use him in 10. This is a failure to the coaching staff. He actually outplayed Polite at FB when he got the chance to. He also is a great pass protector. He also is very good at catching passes out of the backfield, but is slow. As a pure RB, he is a bruiser at 240 lbs. He has in the past flatout run over LBers. I can't stand that he doesn't see about 5 touches a game.
Cobbs - Is our extremely slow scat back that is mediocre at everything. He gets touches over Hilliard beacuase he has a great work ethic. Doesn't matter if you have a great work ethic if you have no talent.
Sheets - Is an extremely fast back that might see snaps next year with the departure of Ricky and Ronnie.
Polite - Wasn't money on short yardage situations, but a lot of that was on the OL ineptness. He also was the 2nd worst run blocking FB.
Henne - So many things, it really does deserve it's own series of fanposts. At The PHinsider, e aren't just beating the dead horse. We beat the horse to death, kept beating it then, killed ourselves and beat to death the horse's spirit / soul and were beating it until we all agreed enough was enough. There will be portions where I will mock a discussion on Henne with a pro-Henne and an Anti-Henne personaltiy
There are many that were call for his head by week 6 because he didn't show improvement from last year. They say he has bad ball placement, inaccurate, and makes bad decisions. While he does make the occasional bonehead play (what young QB doesn't when asked to be the entire offense), but the other two aren't really knocks that are applicable.
Pro: He has a 61ish comp %, so he isn't inaccurate, actually he is middle in the league
Anti: But he checks down often, so the numbers are skewed, he is only 24th in YPA.
Pro: His YPA by 2 yards went down when our only deep threat, Hartline, went down half way in the year, also Hartline got injured around the same time as Henne. Henne was going to be put on IR, but then they realized how awful our offense was with Thigpen at the helm and thought that a one legged Henne > a fully functioning Thiggy. His knee injury was so bad that it was a wonder he could jog, much less play! After the Oakland game (the last game Harline would play the whole game) he had a YPA of 8.1. This would have been good for tied with M. Vick for 4th best. Not bad for a guy that is inaccurate and afraid to take shots down field like you say he is. After Hartline went down the defense didn't have to respect any ball past 15 yards down field. Also, before Hartline went down he had a 70.4% completion percentage. That is far from inaccurate. Before his injury in the Tenn game, his YPA was 7.9 same as Brady's and his comp% of 72. That one extra game after is the difference. Also it should be noted that, due to injury, the backups started in the Oakland game and beyond.
Duece Black: Hartline isn't a deep threat!
Weecho81: Thiggy should have been starting over Henne!
Anti: You can't just pull stats from one part of the season.
Pro: Yes, you can if you notice two or more subsets of data.
Anti: A great QB would not have seen his numbers go down that much after his #3 WR went down. He also has thrown more picks than TDs. Speaking of TDs BM only had 3 and his numbers went down.
Pro: BM's lack of production rests on Henning's shoulders. During the first NYJ game we put BM in motion a lot to avoid the jam, and BM absolutely destroyed the coveted Jets D. We never put him in motion again until the second Jets game, and we only did that for the first two drives because we were comfortable with a 10 point lead.
Anti: It was also Henne. Henne has bad ball placement and that led to BM getting less YAC and less TDs.
Pro: Ball placement is hard to prove or disprove as it is purely subjective and without masses of game tapes we really can't say. Also, BM had the same YPC, (I can't find YAC) so there seems to be the same yard per catch.
Anti: Yes, I can prove he has bad ball placement, he doesn't pass the eye test.
Pro: (sigh) No comment.
Anti2: Henne makes too many mistakes.
Pro: Yes, but that will come in time. He is showing enough promise right now. He had no running game this year and his OL was bad the whole year and horrendous after the Bears game.
If you have any questions or observations please comment below. Thanks you and prepare for round two.