Miami Dolphins: 5 Biggest Mistakes of 2013 So Far
5 Mistakes The Miami Dolphins Made This Year
The Miami Dolphins had an exciting offseason. They lost some big names, made some big re-signings and brought in some big names. They had one of the best drafts of the Jeff Ireland era. They won the Mike Wallace sweepstakes on the day that it started. It finally seems like the team was back to a winning mentality. They retooled their linebacking core by letting go of Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett. They replaced them with the Baltimore Ravens' Dannell Ellerbe and the Oakland Raiders' Phillip Wheeler. They are going into the 2013 with high expectations.
Many analysts are picking the Dolphins to be a better team in 2013. They were quietly pretty good in 2012 when they went 7-9 with a rookie quarterback and a rookie head coach. With a year under both of their respective belts, they can only get better in 2013, barring they avoid the dreaded sophomore slump. They are trying to jump on the misfortune of the New England Patriots, who have had the most turbulent offseason in all of the NFL. It is still a long shot, but the goal for this Miami team is to take the division for the first time since Tom Brady tore his ACL.
For every good move the Dolphins made, they made some bad moves as well. The question is which will be more prominent in the 2013 season? How bad will the bad moves end up being?
This season will prove a lot towards the future of this team. The Wallace signing did not make the top five biggest mistakes, but that has the highest odds of coming back in their face in a bad way. They gave $60 million, $30 million of which is guaranteed, to a player that declined tremendously last year. The jury is still out on that signing, so he cannot make this list quite yet.
The following are the five biggest mistakes made by the Dolphins' brass. If you plan on running an NFL team, this is a not-to-do list.
5. Dustin Keller Signing
It's probably unfair to call this a "mistake". It was clear that Dustin Keller's knee injury was a fluke, but in the large scheme of things, it will go down as a mistake. The Dolphins will pay Keller $4.5 million to play exactly zero regular season games. This hurts more knowing they let Anthony Fasano walk in the offseason. Keller tore his ACL, MCL, PCL and dislocated his knee cap. It was a gruesome injury. Hindsight is 20/20, and if you ask the Dolphins' brass whether they would sign Keller again, the obvious answer is no. He might have been good had he played, but his season is over.
4. Ugly New Uniforms
I really don't know how to explain the Dolphins' new uniforms. They have partially the same colors, but they seem dulled down. This was just a situation in which you are starting to see the influence that Nike will have on jersey designs. They even changed the logo, which has been the same for decades. I don't understand what their need for change was. Obviously in the grand scheme of things, this isn't too big of a deal when it comes to on the field, but I think this was definitely a mistake. Hopefully, Nike doesn't try to change more uniforms around the league.
3. Mike Pouncy Wears A "Free Hernandez" Hat
This wasn't so much a mistake as it was just dumb. Mike Pouncey and his brother Maurkice were seen in public wearing hats that read "Free Hernandez". It is referring to their buddy from the Florida Gators, Aaron Hernandez, who is incarcerated on the murder of Odin Lloyd. With the quickness that the Patriots and the NFL tried to distance themselves from the whole incident, a public show of compassion towards Hernandez was exactly what Roger Goodell didn't want. Making it worse, Pouncey refused to answer any questions in regards to the situation, even with his twin brother issuing a public apology for it. This showed very bad judgment on the part of Pouncey. This was his mistake, and the difference between how his brother and himself acted over the situation have caused some to question the discipline that comes with being a Dolphin.
2. Running Back Situation
The current running back situation may end up hurting this Miami team more than anyone realizes. The player that is currently slated to start has a total of 250 career yards and one touchdown. Lamar Miller is the favorite to start the season as the Dolphins' no. 1 running back. The player competing with him, Daniel Thomas, can't seem to stay on the field for a full season, and saw his production go down last season. Reggie Bush may not have had the best season last year, but he is a serious threat to have on your team. The fact that he is one of the best pass-catching backs in the NFL only add to his appeal. The only running back they added to the roster that will see the field is Jonas Gray who hasn't played since 2011 with Notre Dame. The Dolphins improved at many positions this season, but they got exponentially worse at running back.
1. Letting Jake Long Play Somewhere Else
I will not sit here and say that drafting Dion Jordan was a mistake. He was no doubt the best pass rusher in the draft. That is a position that you need to excel at to be a good team. Him and Cameron Wake will cause havoc for every team in the league for years. The problem is with the loss of Jake Long, was Lane Johnson more of a need? If you want to go there, why didn't the Dolphins do everything to keep Long in Miami? Imagine how great Jordan would become facing Long in practice every day. He went on to sign a four-year, $34 million contract with the St. Louis Rams. His contract is extremely backloaded and would have given the Dolphins a chance to continue with their free agent frenzy. The $4.5 million he will make this season doesn't even put him in the top 10 at his position. Since 1960, three offensive tackles were selected first overall (not counting this season): Ron Yary was the first overall pick of the 1968 draft. He played all but one of his Hall-of-Fame seasons with the team that drafted him, the Minnesota Vikings. Orlando Pace was chosen first overall in the 1997 draft. He played all but one of his Hall-of-Fame seasons with the Rams. Do you see a trend? When you use a no. 1 overall pick on a can't-miss tackle, you do not let him walk away.