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Kicking off week 8 of the 2018 NFL season tonight, the Miami Dolphins will play the Houston Texans. Starting at quarterback for the Dolphins will be Brock Osweiler. This is notable because on March 9, 2016, the Texans paid Osweiler $72 million to be their quarterback. Exactly one year later, the Texans paid the Browns to take Osweiller off their hands. Then the Browns cut him. A QB of that calibre has to end up a Dolphin.
Osweiller gets the start for the Phins because oft-hurt Ryan Tannehill is hurt again. Tannehill has started 5 games in the past two seasons, and the writing may be on the wall. Tannehill has already started twice as many games for Miami as any other quarterback since Dan Marino, and his record isn't exactly sterling.
Tannehill's record is 40-42. The quarterback with the second-most starts is Jay Fielder — does anyone else outside Miami remember him? — at 36-23. For comparison, Marino was 147-93. *sigh* (And, since we're here, I might as well remind everyone once again that the Dolphins, under Head Coach Nick Saban, passed on signing free agent Drew Brees in 2006 because of medical questions about Brees' reconstructed shoulder. Brees has only gone 117-79 since, missing exactly 2 games over those 13 years. *double sigh*)
So with fragile Tannehill looking at the tail end of his mediocre career, why isn't there someone in the wings ready to take his place? Osweiller is obviously not a long-term solution, and the third QB on the team depth-chart, David Fales, was shown the door by the Chicago Bears who let him attempt only 2 passes during a 2017 season in which they won only 3 games. The problem here, obviously, is with whoever is in charge of player personnel for the Dolphins. According to his contract, that executive for the Dolphins isn't GM Mike Tannenbaum but Head Coach Adam Gase.
Giving this sort of power to the Head Coach might seem like a good idea after years of Jeff Ireland' blind eye for talent, but maybe Gase isn't the right man for that job, either. It was Gase's decision to trade star running back and "locker room cancer" Jay Ajayi to the Eagles (where he won a Super Bowl) for a fourth-round draft pick. It was Gase's decision to trade star receiver Jarvis Landry to the Browns for fourth- and seventh-round draft picks. And it was Gase's decision to bring Jay Cutler out of retirement to do whatever it was he did last season. If there's no quarterback of the future on Miami's roster, that's Gase's decision, too.
Yeah, I'll be watching tonight as the Dolphins struggle to stay afloat in the race to the postseason, but all I see in the team's future is more of the same old canned tuna.
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The train wreck that was the 2015 Miami Dolphins didn't end today with the season's closing bell. Even before even taking the field to play (and defeat!) the New England Patriots, the team had fired Dennis Hickey, its General Manager of the past two years. Hickey is the same man responsible for overpaying Ndamukong Suh and Ryan Tannehill. Too bad he won't be taking the balance of those contracts with him.
To be fair, Hickey was also responsible for bringing in two players I like, Brent Grimes and Knowshon Moreno. By any metric, he was a far better judge of talent than his predecessor, "Blind" Jeff Ireland. I don't think its any coincidence that in the past two years that Ireland has been scouting for the New Orleans Saints, they've fallen to the bottom of the talent hole in the NFC South.
Hickey is being replaced by Mike Tannenbaum, the man who brought superstar Darrelle Revis into the league when Tannenbaum was working for the Jets. However, Tannenbaum also drafted Mark Sanchez, a quarterback bad enough to ride the bench for the snakebit Philadelphia Eagles. In the five years Tannenbaum was guiding the Jets, the team went only slightly better than .500. In the Dolphins' case, that would be an improvement.
Speaking of drafting talent, the Patriots have won the AFC East for 7 consecutive seasons in part because at draft time they have plenty of picks they've hoarded from trades with other teams. It's no coincidence that they keep reaching Super Bowls with players no one has ever heard of. As a general rule, you should emulate the best teams, not do the opposite of what you see them doing.
Tannenbaum has a pronounced history of giving away picks, averaging about 4 per Jets' draft compared to the Patriots' 8. It's hard to find talented players to fill the roster when your already-talented opponents have twice as many picks as you do. I hope Tannenbaum has learned that lesson. Given that the Dolphins think so highly of him, I'm pretty sure he hasn't.
UPDATE 2016-01-04: Tannenbaum will apparently remain in an executive role ("Executive Vice President of Football Operations," whatever that means), as the Dolphins have announced that the new General Manager is the previous Director of College Scouting, Chris Grier. I am not going to pretend that I understand the difference between an EVPoFO and a General Manager. My guess is that it just gives Tannenbaum someone else to fire before he feels any heat himself. Grier has been with the Dolphins since 2000, which means he's seen just about every possible wrong way to build a team, including the draft busts of Ted Ginn, Dion Jordon, second-round quarterbacks John Beck and Pat White, and many, many other questionable decisions that didn't pan out. I hope Grier has learned his lesson. Given that he's still with the organization, I'm pretty sure he hasn't.
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