5 Miami Dolphins Who Shouldn’t Be Back in 2014
Miami Dolphins: 5 Players Who Shouldn’t Be Back in 2014
The Miami Dolphins are in the midst of change after the organization parted ways with GM Jeff Ireland and OC Mike Sherman. Ireland’s tenure with the Dolphins ended after six seasons, the last five failing to produce a winning record. Sherman was let go after two years with the team.
Sherman’s offense was ranked 27th in the league and only produced seven points in the final two games of the season -- both of which would have gotten Miami into the AFC playoffs. Before joining the Dolphins Sherman was the head coach of Ryan Tannehill at Texas a&M for four years.
Due to the firing of Sherman, Tannehill will be learning a new system for the first time since 2007 under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. Lazor has worked under Joe Gibbs, Mike Holmgren and Chip Kelly, all of whom offer something different and intriguing to Lazor’s coaching style.
The hope is that Lazor can turn Miami’s bland, predictable offense into Philly South or at least produce similar results. Lazor, who developed Nick Foles into the best rated passer in 2013, will have to work closely with Tannehill. Lazor is supposedly a great communicator, and that will be something he needs to take full advantage of when teaching Tannehill to run the offense efficiently.
While Lazor fixes the offense, Kevin Coyle will be tasked with fixing the defense which had potential to be so much better than it was in 2013. Coyle’s defense seemed to have too many men playing uncomfortably. Coyle needs to tweak his defense to better fit the pieces he has.
Unfortunately, Coyle has contradicting pieces that have similar weaknesses, such as Philip Wheeler, Dannell Ellerbe and Reshad Jones’ lack of ability to cover one-on-one. These weaknesses handcuffed Coyle from playing his system the way he wants.
That problem has arisen from a Jeff Ireland roster building failure, another reason why he is gone. When the Dolphins do find a new GM, he will have to provide the Dolphins with the correct personnel and decide whether or not to re-sign 18 free agents. He will also evaluate the Ireland-built team, along with head coach Joe Philbin, to see who should stay and who should go. While salary cap penalties may prevent some of these moves, these are the five Dolphins who shouldn’t be back with the team in 2014.
5. Chris Clemons
While I have a great respect for this former fifth-round pick, if he is kept it means that the Dolphins couldn’t find a viable replacement for the player who was signed to a one-year deal last season as a stopgap. Clemons is a solid starter, but he is not the play-making free safety that players such as Earl Thomas and Jairus Byrd have shown to be. Clemons rarely allows a big play, but him catching or dropping interceptions could be the difference between winning and losing.
4. Reshad Jones
After a career year in 2012 and a hefty contract extension, Jones’ play drastically fell off. Whether it was the system change the defense went through after the linebacker swap of 2013 or a lack of hunger after getting paid, something wasn’t right with Jones. Kevin Coyle’s system must be tweaked to keep Jones out of one-on-one coverage if he is kept in 2014 as this is when he struggled most last season.
3. Richie Incognito
Incognito, while having a better chance than Jonathan Martin of returning to the team, will likely never play for another NFL club after the “bullying” scandal. The contents of the Wells Report -- which should be coming out sometime in the next few weeks -- will be key to whether or not Incognito plays another down in the NFL.
One thing is for sure; despite his teammates’ support Incognito will likely not return to start for an offensive line which gave up a franchise record in sacks. Incognito, despite being a Pro Bowler in 2011, doesn’t quite fit the Dolphins' zone-blocking scheme which requires athletic offensive linemen.
2. Philip Wheeler
Philip Wheeler started the 2013 season with a huge contract and huge expectations playing for a new team. He failed to provide the production that was expected, barely replacing the production of the man he replaced in Kevin Burnett. In 2013, Wheeler had three more tackles and two less sacks than Burnett in 2012. One of the main reasons Wheeler was brought to Miami was his ability to blitz, but he only had half of a sack in 2013. For this reason alone Wheeler needs to go.
1. Jonathan Martin
Martin will not and cannot ever play in the NFL again. It just is not the place for him like the Bering Sea is not the place for a kayaker. The NFL requires a certain type of toughness, and by allowing himself to be bullied by another man Martin proved that he lacks this toughness. With a Dolphins locker room that was overwhelmingly in support of Incognito when the scandal arose, it is nearly impossible to imagine Martin returning. Not to mention the former second-round pick wasn’t very good, being demoted to right tackle before leaving the team.