Twitter and Facebook both saw a spike Monday night, after the announcement that someone had finally signed a deal to be the quarterback of the Miami Dolphins. The problem is, the spike was due to all of the Dolphin fans having a melt down over the signing of former Jacksonville Jaguar, David Garrard.
The outcry stems from the embarrassing way that the Dolphins have been chasing their tail this off season. First, there was the promise to hire a proven head coach, only to choose an offensive coordinator with no prior experience. The choice was made after the position was rejected by Jeff Fisher, who opted to become the head coach in St. Louis. All of the stops had been pulled out in the pursuit of Fisher, even owner Stephen Ross‘ personal helicopter, and to lose him to the St. Louis Rams was a blow to the Dolphin Nation. It was not the way anyone envisioned the beginning of the off season, and unfortunately, it would only get worse.
The decision to bring in Joe Philbin probably wouldn’t be considered a gaff, if it were not for the flourish with which they chased Fisher. Philbin brings with him a system that has been very successful in Green Bay, but the talent that they have at quarterback, and receiving corps, surely has had something to do with that. The team would need to rework those positions to achieve the same sort of success. Still, the hiring of Philbin would have brought excitement to South Florida, had the front office just gone after him first.
When Philbin came on, it was considered a sure thing that he would be bringing free agent quarterback, Matt Flynn, with him. Flynn has very little NFL starting experience, but in his two starts, he has looked every bit of the National Championship MVP that he is. Regardless of his potential, Flynn took a back seat to the living legend, Peyton Manning, after the future Hall of Famer was released by the Indianapolis Colts. For the second time this off season, the Dolphins set off in a fruitless chase, this time courting the former Colts QB, with all of the NFL analysts cheering them on.
The hype from the media is probably what makes the Manning debacle sting so badly. Every news outlet that ran a sports story led with the probability that Manning would “take his talents to South Beach”, and the fan base began getting excited about someone finally coming in to fill the shoes of the great Dan Marino. These visions of grandeur were quickly dashed, when Manning never even bothered to go to the Dolphins facility, making them the only team that was not able to pitch him from a position of strength. It was pretty clear that Manning never gave the Dolphins any real consideration, and it came as no surprise when they became the first team dismissed from consideration. In the meantime, the Seattle Seahawks took advantage of the Dolphin’s distraction, enticing Matt Flynn to forgo South Beach, in favor of the American Northwest.
With Manning rejecting them, and Flynn stolen away, the Dolphins quickly set up a meet with Alex Smith, who was looking to make the San Francisco 49ers jealous after they came out of the shadows and let everyone know they wanted Manning, too. Once again, though, Manning ruined the Dolphins’ day by selecting the Denver Broncos, which likely means Smith will make up with the 49ers and sign with them.
Just hours after the announcement from Peyton Manning, the Dolphins worked out David Garrard, and, in a move that reeks of desperation, signed him to a one year deal. Garrard had come close to signing with the Dolphins last season, but could not come to an agreement on the numbers. He then ended up out for the whole season, after having to undergo surgery to repair a herniated disk.
To many, this looks like the Dolphins are slapping a band aide on a gaping wound, while telling everyone not to panic, and the fans are furious.
It does not help that the Dolphins unexpectedly cut defensive veteran, and team captain, Yeremiah Bell. Leading the team in tackles last season, Bell represented everything that the fans love about their defense. The details aren’t out on the release, but letting Bell go, while signing David Garrard, has the fans screaming for General Manager, Jeff Ireland, to be fired.
With the best of the talent already snagged from the free agent pool, Miami will need to have a fantastic draft to help solidify the team, and fans should still expect to see Ireland to pick Ryan Tannehill, if the Texas A&M quarterback is still available.
The draft represents an opportunity to salvage the off season, and the front office needs to take advantage of that. If Ireland and Co. fail at this too, then they may as well trade for Tim Tebow. At least then the fans would have something to come and come and cheer for.