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Miami Dolphins

Comparing the 2007 Miami Dolphins to the Current Squad

Travis Wingfield

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The Dolphins have been to rock bottom before, but it was pretty different then

The 2019 Dolphins are going to be bad; very, very bad. In fitting juxtaposition, the Dolphins were almost the first team to capture a perfect season, and the first to take a winless trip around the sun.

The 2008 Detroit Lions became the first team to accomplish (endure?) the latter feat, and the 2017 Cleveland Browns have since encored the victory-free tour. Could the Dolphins join the obscurity of those rock bottom outfits?

It’s possible; very, very possible.

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably a survivor of the horrors that were the 2007 Miami Dolphins. The ‘Phins won only a single game, the Patriots breezed through the AFC Championship unscathed (and then Perfectville’s population was quickly quarantined at one), and Miami fired its Head Coach just 11 months after his appointment.

After what we saw Sunday, and what we expect to see from now through the bye week, we could be looking at a season that tops (bottoms?) that atrocities we saw in 2007. With that, let’s compare the two worst Miami Dolphins teams in the history of this once proud franchise.

On the Scoreboard

It’s only one game, but Miami’s average margin of victory is on track for the worst deficit in the history of professional football. The 2007 team was probably the same, right? Wrong.

Cam Cameron’s Dolphins point differential, after week-one, was 46 points better than the current Miami deficit. In fact, it took Washington five quarters (overtime) to take down Zach Thomas and the road team.

The close losses would continue. The 2007 Dolphins lost six of the first 11 games by exactly a field goal. The average point differential through those 11 games was negative 8.55 — but then things got ugly, which makes Greg Camarillo’s memorable moment that much more…memorable.

Miami lost three of its final five (the win sandwiched between) by at least three touchdowns, and a seven-point defeat in the season finale against the Bengals.

On the season, the Dolphins average point differential was negative 10.25 — a total of 164 points.

The current Dolphins are already nearly a 50-burger (49) in the hole. For Miami to equal the 2007 team’s negative 164-point differential, the average point-differential the rest of the year would have to be negative 7.67 points per game.

With the Patriots coming to town on Sunday — a team that just whopped Pittsburgh by 30 — the differential is likely to come in a lot closer to negative 49 than negative seven.

The Roster Construction

Miami’s plan to — shall we say, leverage this season for future gains — was discrete throughout the spring and summer, but the plan was ultimately unveiled just before the season kicked off.

Ushering in 13 new players — a 26% roster overhaul — just one week prior to the season opener, was a sure sign of two things. First, that the 2019 team is already unrecognizable from last season, and that the same sequence will be true in 2020. Second, it securely ensured that Miami would struggle off the bat.

Sep 8, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins cornerback Eric Rowe (21) wraps up Baltimore Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III (3) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason outgoing box was far busier than the incoming stack. Eric Rowe, at a whopping $3.5 million for one year, was the team’s prized free agent. The other, Dwayne Allen, didn’t survive August. The team made just one draft pick inside of the top 75.

Pushing resources down the road was the main objective, but the secondary effect was that this team would lose a lot of games, and wind up in position to select a quarterback early in next April’s draft.

The 2007 team took a different approach. Less than a week after he was cut by the Steelers, Miami inked Joey Porter to a deal worth $32 million in total value.

Veterans Vonnie Holliday and Keith Traylor were brought back before hitting the open market — both of those players were on the wrong side of age-30. Yeremiah Bell and Donnie Spragan were brought back on one-year deals after the initial wave of free agency ended, two more long-time vets.

Cameron and company added David Martin to the offense and spent $6 million on kicker Jay Feely. The brain trust then spent the 9th pick in the draft on the Ginn family, a move made for interim success, and without much foresight.

The total free agent money spent totaled in excess $45 million. The 2019 Dolphins spent less than $20 million in free agency, with half of that coming by-way of the Ryan Fitzpatrick contract. And consider the increase in overall cap space in the league from 2007 to 2019.

The 2007 team’s latest notable departure — aside from cut-down day — was the release of Quarterback Daunte Culpepper, on July 17. Naturally, Culpepper would return to town and lead the Raiders to a three-score victory over Miami, but I digress.

That team made moves to compete for that season, which is understandable in a pre-tanking era. And they almost won themselves right out of the first pick, which didn’t matter any way as they chose an offensive lineman over a quarterback that has played in a Super Bowl, 10 playoff games, and four pro bowls.

Coach’s Contracts

Cam Cameron was one-and-done in Miami. The commitment to Brian Flores almost assures that he won’t endure the same fate, especially when considering the differences in their contract values.

Cameron received the customary four-year deal, where Flores’ contract is for five years, and the deal is fully guaranteed. — perhaps a nod to the throwaway 2019 season. Of the eight coaches hired this offseason, Flores was the only one to receive a fully guaranteed contract.

Future Resources

While Miami’s available cap space entering 2008 is not readily available, we can rest assured that it didn’t come in anywhere close to the approximately $120 million available to the 2020 Dolphins powers that be.

And draft compensation isn’t even a comparison. The 2008 team picked up an additional second-round pick after dealing Chris Chambers at the deadline — an area in which the 2019 Dolphins will likely be active — in addition to three sixth-round picks.

In total, the 2008 team had nine draft picks, but just five in the top 110 picks.

The 2020 Dolphins are slated to make 11 selections in April’s draft, and then come back in 2021 with nine more picks. An estimated 12 of those picks will occur within the top 100 draft picks. All of this is to say, the 2007 team didn’t start tearing things down until it became bleak.

Losses certainly played a part in Miami punting at the trade deadline, but the mounting injuries certainly played a part. Trent Green suffered a horrific concussion, Ronnie Brown tore his ACL, and the secondary became so depleted that Cameron Worrell is forever remembered for making his way onto one of Randy Moss’ all-time greatest receptions highlight reel.

The one thing that turned around the 2008 Dolphins, just one year removed from an arduous 1-15 season, was the acquisition of Chad Pennington. The former Jets quarterback led Miami to an 11-5 mark, an AFC East title, and did so as the runner-up as league MVP.

Funny how a quarterback can do that.

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Local Residents Sue Miami Dolphins over F1 Race Track

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: MotorSportWeek.com

This may be the last thing on the mind of Miami Dolphins fans everywhere, but there seems to be a prominent legal battle taking place in South Florida.

A new Formula 1 race track was recently approved (by a 6-6 vote) to be “built” around Hard Rock Stadium, with races beginning in 2021.

While city officials press to approve the new track, local residents are up in arms about the potential race. F1 cars are notoriously loud, and as we mentioned above, these races aren’t contained within an arena or stadium.

City officials believe this will bring in additional revenue for Miami and the surrounding area, as annual races are expected to be held around Hard Rock Stadium for the next 10 years. The local populous is arguing that these races are too loud for local streets, and will cause an enormous amount of disturbance and will be detrimental to the environment. Overall, this will cause a “serious degrade to their quality of life.”

Just so you can have a reference, F1 engines tend to run between 130-145 decibels. If you go to a concert and stand relatively close to an amplifier, you’re only dealing with about 100-110 decibels. The average lawn mower is about 90 decibels. Needless to say, these engines are LOUD.

Unlike NASCAR, Formula 1 (F1) race tracks are essentially “created” using local roadways that are already in place. Though there is obviously a lot of preparation that goes into “creating” the course (to ensure the safety of racers and fans alike), no new venues need to be built.

With that said, the City of Miami Gardens and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross are attempting to host the race solely on Hard Rock Stadium grounds. Given Ross’ ownership in the land surrounding Hard Rock Stadium, it’s possible this race doesn’t officially occur on any public roads.

To give some background, Stephen Ross attempted to buy F1 a couple of years ago, but the sale ended up going to another group. Though he didn’t win the bid, he reached an agreement with the new owners and is now one step closer to making the Miami Grand Prix a reality.

Tom Garfinkel, President and CEO of the Miami Dolphins, issued the following statement on behalf of the approved 6-6 decision:

This recent vote was the biggest hurdle potentially preventing the Miami Grand Prix from happening. Though the legal battles aren’t over, it seems unlikely that the decision to host F1 races will be reversed.

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Sign Tight End Michael Roberts

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins are beginning to bulk up the depth of their roster as they head into free agency.

According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Dolphins have signed tight end Michael Roberts. The exact terms of the contract are currently unknown.

Originally a 4th-round pick by the Detroit Lions, Roberts has served mostly as a backup tight end; accumulating 146 yards on 13 receptions in 23 active games between 2017-2018.

Roberts was placed on injured-reserve towards the end of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury, and was traded to the New England Patriots for a conditional 2020 7th-round pick prior to the 2019 season. Due to medical reasons, the trade was voided a couple of days later.

The Green Bay Packers claimed Roberts off of waivers, but he was subsequently released by the Packers two days later for failing a physical. Roberts was not active for any games in 2019.

Signing Roberts doesn’t necessarily mean the Dolphins aren’t going to pursue tight ends in free agency or in the draft. Mike Gesicki is the only “lock” to make the 2020 roster, as Durham Smythe‘s blocking ability might not survive if the Dolphins find themselves in an advantageous situation at the position.

Look at this as a way for Miami to get ahead of evaluations.

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Miami Dolphins

A second Dolphins mock draft from someone who doesn’t watch football

Shawn Digity

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J.K. Dobbins 2020 NFL Draft
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

(Locked On Dolphins) – Last week, Person A dazzled us with their blind mock draft, and now we’re back with the next entry in the series.

Person B is ready to go with their mock.

Keep in mind that all the blind mock draft contributors have little to no knowledge of the NFL.

I had all the contributors standardize their boards and the process so that everyone was on an even playing field.

They all used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator with seven rounds, the predictive board, and had to choose the players manually.

Without further ado, here’s Person B’s mock draft.

(1) 5. Tua Tagovailoa – QB, Alabama
(1) 18. J.K. Dobbins – RB, Ohio State
(1) 26. Terrell Lewis – Edge, Alabama
(2) 39. Lloyd Cushenberry III – iOL, LSU
(2) 56. Xavier McKinney – S, Alabama
(3) 70. Rashard Lawrence – iDL, LSU
(5) 135. Chase Claypool – WR, Notre Dame
(5) 144. Justin Herron – OT, Wake Forest
(5) 147. Terrell Burgess – S, Utah
(6) 165. Lamar Jackson – CB, Nebraska
(6) 177. Jacob Breeland – TE, Oregon
(7) 223. David Reese II – LB, Florida

As I did with Person A, I reached out to Person B to get their reasoning behind the selections.

Me: “I noticed that you took Tua [Tagovailoa]. What led you to that decision with the fifth pick?”

Person B: “I knew the Dolphins wanted to get a QB, and Tua has been talked about so much that I just went with him.”

Me: “Which of your other selections did you feel particularly good about?”

Person B: “I need you to send me the link to my draft. I forgot who I picked since it took five attempts.”

[resends mock draft to Person B]

“I like my J.K. Dobbins pick. O-H-. And Rashard Lawrence. Because I figure he’s pretty good since LSU was really good this year.”

Me: “Your picks are really good. I’d put yours ahead of Person A. But it’s almost suspiciously good. Did you put your thumb on the scale somewhere along the line?”

Person B: “Well, by my 5th attempt (1 and 2: I didn’t select manual mode, 3: I didn’t pick 7 rounds from the drop-down menu, 4: I completed, but the site froze, and I lost everything), I figured out that I should probably pick from the top of the list first because if you don’t then those players just go like hotcakes.

So, I just matched up the positions the Dolphins needed to fill with the players highest on the list, and if I recognized a name or team, I would select them over someone I had never heard of.”

Me: “OK, well, we’re all out of time. Do you have any parting messages for Dolphins fans?”

Person B: “Well, I think the Dolphins are on the right track, and I hope that all of the true blue fans who have hung in with them for all these years will get to see another Super Bowl in the near future. GO FINS!”

And that wraps things up with Person B.

What are your thoughts on Person B’s mock draft? Leave a comment or tweet your thoughts at me directly on Twitter (@DIGITYnodoubt).

Tune in next time for Person C’s mock…

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