After today’s news of Peyton Manning heading to Denver, Yeremiah Bell getting released, and David Garrard signing with the Dolphins, most fans are calling for Jeff Ireland’s head. I’ve even heard there is going to be a rally in Miami tomorrow to show the disapproval of Ireland. Are you serious? Having a rally calling for Ireland to be fired would be as embarrassing as the plane that flew over Sun Life Stadium begging Stephen Ross to fire Ireland. Please stop embarrassing yourselves, upset Dolphin fans, doing that is not what this team needs.
Let’s take a look at what was out there at the quarterback position in free agency that Miami didn’t get. Peyton Manning was obviously the best one to get, and Miami was right to pursue him. It was clear from day one that Manning had some idea of where he wanted to go, and Denver is a pretty good choice for him. Sure, San Francisco has the more talented roster, but Manning made it pretty clear that he didn’t want to leave what he was familiar with, and he didn’t want to compete against his brother to reach the Super Bowl. Manning has played in the AFC his whole career. He has studied the teams in the AFC and their defenses, and he knows them well. Moving to the NFC would have put Manning against defenses, players, and scheme’s he wasn’t familiar with, and I understand why he wouldn’t want to deal with learning them. Yes, you could argue the fact that Miami’s roster was up to par with Denver’s, but do you really think Tebow would have won 8 games last year against the AFC East? No way! Manning went to a team with a great defense, a great running game, and went to a division he could win the next 4 or 5 years. I don’t think anyone would argue that Manning and the Dolphins would win the AFC East hands down the next 5 years, not when facing Tom Brady twice a season.
Manning made the decision based on what was best for him. He will get the money he wants, play in a division he can win, and won’t be faced with enormous expectation for winning a Super Bowl. Not to mention the media in Denver is probably similar to that in Indianapolis. Manning is a creature of habit, and choosing Denver supports that. The Broncos will still have enough cap room to land some of Manning’s former teammates. Had Miami got Manning, the would have had to do some major roster adjustments to get anyone else.
The second best option, according to the experts, was Matt Flynn. If Miami would have really wanted him, they could have gotten him. Don’t give me this crap that Ireland is the reason Flynn chose Seattle. Ireland doesn’t coach the quarterbacks, or the offense. Flynn would have been playing in the only offense he has learned since he has been in the NFL. If the Dolphins and coach Philbin really though Flynn was the answer, they would have done whatever it took to sign him, thinking any other way is flat out stupid if you ask me. No one in the NFL had more information on Flynn than the Miami Dolphins, and he wasn’t the guy a lot of fans hoped he was going to be for the Dolphins.
After Manning and Flynn (supposedly), who is better than Matt Moore? Sure, David Garrard doesn’t seem to be, but when he was healthy he was. Miami didn’t sign him to a big contract, in fact, he’s not getting any guaranteed money until he makes the final roster. He is being brought in to be a backup, nothing more. I remember some fans were screaming for him last season after Henne was hurt, now you are all pissed? The free agent market for quarterbacks was weak this offseason, much like it is every year. Teams with great quarterbacks keep them, they don’t let them walk to another team.
The Marshall trade was another thing that got fans riled up. Let’s take a closer look at it. He saved the team $11 million or so in cap space. He was involved in yet another offseason incident. He ran his mouth after the Pro Bowl when he had a career game in what looked like 7 on 7 drills. If he had a quarterback he could do that all the time……yeah right! I can remember at least 5 touchdowns he dropped last season. He was targeted 145 times last season and was tied for 2nd in the league with 12 drops. He was beginning to become a problem in the locker room because he claimed the quarterbacks he had didn’t put the ball where he could catch it. When you all watch games doesn’t it seem like the great receivers go up and get the damn ball. Doesn’t it seem like Johnson and Fitzgerald just make the play no matter where the ball is? Marshall was hit in the hands plenty of times, not in traffic, and he dropped it. Then he blames his quarterbacks? He says things like he wants to get himself thrown out of games by halftime, and fans are upset that he’s gone? Miami is much better off without him.
This afternoon, Miami announced that they have released Yeremiah Bell. Of course, this upsets a lot of fans. Sure he was the team’s leading tackler, and a great locker room guy. He played his heart out for Miami, but as we all know the NFL is a business, and this was a smart business decision. Bell was a liability in the secondary. Quarterbacks that threw his way had a 105 rating. It was time to move on, and the move saves the team $4 million in cap space.
No, the offseason hasn’t gone the way most fans and media thought for the Dolphins. They all blame Ireland for his tactics, and claim that no one wants to play in Miami because of him. Just take some time and look at the good things he has done since assuming ‘full’ control of the roster, and not hold it against him the things that Parcells did during his time with Miami. In his first draft he took Odrick in the first round, in his second draft he took Mike Pouncey. Both players are starters and potentially Pro Bowlers. He signed Matt Moore and traded for Reggie Bush. His late round choices of Reshard Jones and Jimmie Wilson have shown some playmaking ability. He brought in Richie Incognito and Kevin Burnett. This offseason he was able to re-sign Paul Soliai and Lydon Murtha. He also signed Richard Marshall, who could be the answer for Bell.
With the possibility of signing Anderson to compliment Wake as a pass rusher, this defense is still going to be good next season. New defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle thrived as a secondary coach in Cincinnati, which was the major weakness for this defense last season. Yes, the offense needs some pieces, but with the Marshall trade Miami now holds 4 picks in the first 3 rounds. They will build this offense to suit what Philbin wants to do through the draft. It’s foolish to think in today’s NFL that a quarterback taken in the draft needs 2 seasons to develop. Dalton, Newton, Freeman, and Bradford have all done well early.
So for those of you calling for Ireland’s head, GET A GRIP! Wait to see what takes the field in September. I can’t remember the last team that won a Super Bowl through free agency. Last years free agency winner, the Philadelphia Eagles, were watching the playoffs just like the Dolphins.