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The Miami Dolphins are their own worst enemy

Now three years removed from their improbable division winning 2008 campaign, the Miami Dolphins have made exactly two big splashes since that time to actually improve their roster: they traded multiple second round picks to Denver for WR Brandon Marshall, and they hired Mike Nolan to coach their defense.  Really, what else have the Dolphins done to get better in the last three years.

Well, they’ve drafted okay, and they’ve done well signing undrafted free agents, the lifeblood of an organization.  But as much as I love an undrafted free agent, it doesn’t do for an organization what sheer competency does.  And in the competency department, the Dolphins ownership and front office is severely lacking.  In no uncertain terms, they are one of the worst organizations in the sport today.

It seems like just days ago that Bill Parcells was in the upstairs offices at Dolphin Pro Player Sun Life Stadium, giving direction to this group.  The Dolphins cashed in big with their 2008 draft, landing college teammates Jake Long and Chad Henne in the first two rounds before flat stealing Kendall Langford in the third.  Phillip Merling looks like a bust, but if you need to rebuild an organization that took Ted Ginn, John Beck, and Samson Satele in the first three rounds the year before, then went 1-15, that’s the kind of draft I would want.

Except since then, the Dolphins have done everything to limit their ability to build an offense around Chad Henne, and have now turned the gun on Henne himself.  Jake Long is the best player on the offense, but there isn’t a clear second.  There was Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown, and Lou Polite, who together formed a backfield that could hide a young QB, but with Williams aging, the Dolphins made the decision to go out and get help for their passing game.  They paid a hefty price to acquire Marshall.

Look, that move didn’t work.  If you want to know why that didn’t work, LiveBall Sports’ NFL archives are great for that.  Brandon Marshall isn’t a useless player, but when a team gives up two second round picks for him, you need to question whether that team understands how to evaluate talent.  This offseason gave us our answer.

First of all, the Dolphins have yet to admit their mistake on Marshall, keeping him locked in as their number one receiver for the future.  And after letting Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams walk this offseason with little effort to keep them, they used a late second round draft pick on a moderate-upside running back in Daniel Thomas from Kansas State, and traded for Reggie Bush under the promise that they would not acquire other running backs to make their team better.  Bush is their guy.

Needless to say, the Miami Dolphins have no idea what made Bush successful at times in New Orleans (starting with the fact that, in most cases, he was a liability).  It certainly wasn’t New Orleans’ decision to put less talent around him as not to threaten his role in the offense.  The Saints always used Reggie Bush very judiciously, to the point, in fact, where they were statistically a better offense with him inactive.  In Miami, Reggie Bush is the Dolphins only insurance against working Daniel Thomas (not a fantastic RB prospect to begin with) into the ground as a rookie.  Thomas is the most critical member of the Dolphins this year with regards to whether they win or lose.  Considering the talent-evaluating deficiencies of the organization, it can’t be comforting for Dolphins fans that Daniel Thomas is completely unproven and so critical.

The Dolphins still have good receivers on the roster, but they are limited by the Marshall acquisition.  There’s shuffling on that offensive line — Vernon Carey is reportedly moving inside to guard.  This is HC Tony Sparano’s forte — the offensive line — so it’s possible that this unit will improve in the end, but it’s also possible that Sparano is desperate to make change for the sake of change.

The worst part about this organization is that what they are doing to Chad Henne right now, dangling him out there in pursuit of incredibly underwhelming quarterback names, is something they already did to their own head coach when Jim Harbaugh was available in January.  You can’t blame Harbaugh for not wanting to come to this circus.  Give props to Sparano, he’s handling this job very well, and the Dolphins have a strong coaching staff, and Henne is a more than capable quarterback with some upside.

The 2011 Miami Dolphins project to have a very good, perhaps elite defense, and have some hope on offense.  That hope decreases by the day.  Today’s event: rumors of interest in Brett Favre.  If the season began today, the Dolphins would probably open as the second best team in the AFC East.  By the season, I fully expect them to finish in last place, and it will make the need to turn over their front office to be evident to all.  All except owner Stephen Ross, perhaps.

I would expect this to be a very rough upcoming decade for the Miami Dolphins and their fans.  The people of South Florida deserve better than this.

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