Miami Dolphins In-Depth Offseason Analysis

By tonygraham
Steve Mitchell-USA Today Sports

As of Thursday, March 28th in the 2013 NFL offseason, there has been a considerable amount of opinion tossed around the sports world about the Miami Dolphins free agent spending. The general consensus seems to be that the Dolphins have spent a lot of money, but haven’t made much overall improvement in talent.

In looking over the Dolphins’ offseason acquisitions, I think it paints a different picture.

Brian Hartline signed a five-year deal and is a valuable 2nd or 3rd option. He had a 1083 yards receiving in 2012  and has developed a rapport with Ryan Tannehill. That is important for a 2nd year QB.

Chris Clemons was probably the Dolphins’ most productive defensive back. Clemons lead all DBs on the team with 98 combined tackles. Eventually an upgrade will be in order, but signing him for a one-year deal at $2.5 million is fine if attempts to upgrade the pass are successful.

Now, this is where everyone made the Dolphins offseason a trending topic. The theme of the criticism you hear about Mike Wallace is that he is a one trick pony.  But in all actuality, nothing could be further from the truth. Wallace was targeted 119 times in 2012. 64 of those targets where for 20 yards or less. He’s not going be your Calvin Johnson, but he’s an excellent route runner with good hands who makes life easier for the rest of the offense. The attention defenders give him will translate to easier match-ups for teammates.

The Baltimore Ravens trusted Dannell Ellerbe to be the linebacker to fill the void Ray Lewis left after his retirement. Karlos Dansby lost a step and favor with the coaching staff. Like Ellerbe, Phillip Wheeler is a younger and faster alternative at linebacker. By transitioning from Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett, the Dolphin LB corp will be better fits for Kevin Coyle’s scheme. These guys have the speed and athleticism to cover and blitz. Covering TEs and putting pressure on the QB go along way in taking over the AFC East.

In 2012 Brandon Gibson Started 13 games for the St. Louis Rams. He had 51 catches for 691 yards and five TDs. If he can add three games, 15 catches, 150 yards and one TD to those stats for his 2013 total, three years at $9.78 million is money well spent.

The transition from Anthony Fasano to Dustin Keller at TE is another positive move.  Keller is more of a pass catching threat with better speed.

Lance Louis can play guard or tackle and has the athleticism to fit the Dolphins’ zone blocking scheme. More importantly, he’s NOT John Jerry. Coming off of an ACL Louis gets a fair 1 year deal.

The Dolphins have signed former San Diego Chargers DE Vaugh Martin. Martin played DE in 3-4 for the Chargers, but will move inside to DT for the Dolphins. Sounds like Jared Odrick (who is a natural DT in the 4-3) is a candidate for a trade, but who can say. Martin didn’t play well for the Chargers in my opinion.

In 2008 Jake Long was an easy selection as the number one over all pick. Miami implemented a man blocking system and Long was a perfect fit. Brian Daboll and eventually Joe Philbin changed to a zone scheme that required lateral quickness and athleticism. Playing in that scheme and injuries led to a drastic decline in Long’s play. He’s a better fit for the Rams, who play an man system. Long should return to form there, if healthy.

Sean Smith was overrated. All any receiver had to do to get open on Smith was change directions suddenly. He was not horrible covering the deep ball, but he lacked the hip flexibility at 6’3 to keep up with double moves, sudden cuts and jukes. Dolphins can find a better option for a lower price.

Reggie Bush has left for the motor city. Lamar Miller has shown flashes. Bush was a huge contributor, but I’m not worried about the position, because tail backs tend to flourish in it.

The Dolphins still need to improve the pass rush opposite Cameron Wake. They need DBs and offensive linemen as well. Im not confident in Jeff Ireland‘s drafting. I know regime changes can result in a roster that doesn’t match the game plan, but he’s had his share of misses. I’m predicting with five picks in the first three rounds, Ireland can improve his odds this time.


Tony Graham is a Miami Dolphin writer for

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