When he woke up Monday morning Chris Grier was the General Manager of the Miami Dolphins. With the exact details of his responsibilities shrouded by the presence of an Executive VP, Grier likely didn’t know the potential wreckage he was driving into on his Monday commute.
Unexpected to most, Stephen Ross acted swiftly. Reports of Adam Gase’s dismissal became public knowledge around 10 A.M. EST. Still, a cloud of mystery hovered about the next moves this once proud organization would enact in the coming days.
Or, in this case, the coming hours.
Ross took to the podium with Chris Grier. The announcement was made that the former General Manager would take a promotion up to the head of all football operations.
The man whose job Grier takes over, Mike Tannenbaum, has been re-assigned to a non-football working role within the organization. Essentially, he’s Jack Barker from Silicon Valley. Or Milton from Office Space – whichever you prefer, probably age-dependent.
Grier sat alongside Ross as the pair answered questions regarding Miami’s vision and plan going forward. Ross, visibly weary, announced his intentions to be a hands-off owner. Entrusting everything on the football side to a scout that rose up through the ranks within the organization.
“When you talk to people in the NFL, he’s one of the most respected people in the league. He’s been here a long time and he’s earned the respect of everyone in the organization. I’m confident that I already have the best person for this job.”
Ross’ glowing review of Grier isn’t unique.
Grier, the son of former Patriots Executive Bobby Grier, has worked alongside some of the more illustrious names in NFL lore.
Beginning as an intern in 1994, Grier was promoted to a position as a regional scout from 1995-1995. Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll were each able to call Grier a colleague during his tenure with the Patriots.
Grier would migrate south to Miami for eight years (2000-2007). Then when his former boss, Bill Parcells, signed on with Miami, Parcells made Grier the director of college scouting.
With Parcells leaving the franchise three years into his contract, Grier remained in the same role through the 2015 season.
After being named General Manager in 2016, Grier is now in the same chair previously occupied by Tannenbaum and Parcells before him.
Walking down Grier’s memory lane serves a purpose. Grier, himself, addressed the media today to talk about his vision moving forward.
“I’m not [going to] just throw it out there for you guys, but look at who I started with,” Grier said about his roster building philosophy. “Parcells, Carroll, Belichick, Saban a lot of those guys influenced me and I still talk to them.”
As a fly on the wall during the Saban, Cameron, Sparano, Philbin and Gase eras, Grier has seen it all. And the breadcrumbs of those mentors brings his philosophy largely to one area.
Seeing the failures of previously renowned offensive guru Adam Gase (and may as well toss the milquetoast Joe Philbin into that pairing), Grier figures to turn back to his roots. Parcells defines the old school while Saban, Belichick and Carroll’s programs are featured defensive stalwarts.
Miami has made quick work of identifying a list of coaching interviews to conduct over the coming days and weeks. Before we uncover those candidates, a few more quotes from the 12-minute presser from Monday.
Stephen Ross [paraphrasing]:
– The decision to move on from Adam [Gase] was made last night (Sunday).
– Today, we are no further than when I bought the team. We have a good young roster and attacked the remaining issues with some older free agents and a few draft picks. But to continue to operate under that practice would be the definition of insanity. We’ve done the same things over and over since I’ve been here and it lands us in that 6-10 to 10-6 range – that’s not good enough. It’s time for the organization to take a different approach.
– Tom Garfinkel has done a terrific job with making the game day experience great for the fans. With that, and the stadium renovations, we’re proud of that, but we aren’t proud of what we’ve done on the football field.
– We want to build a sustainable winner. Even if it takes some time, we’re going to look to build this thing the right way.
– Chris Grier is more qualified to do this job than anyone we could’ve found. He will have total responsibility, make all the football decisions and report to me. The Head Coach will report to Chris.
Chris Grier [paraphrasing]:
– It’s important to have an aligned vision with the Head Coach. I’m not going to be rigid in my views and dismiss new ideas, but we need to have the same vision.
– It’s about knowing who we want to be and staying with that vision and building this thing the right way.
– The process begins immediately, as soon as we’re done with this press conference.
The term immediately shouldn’t have been taken lightly – Grier meant it. Since that press conference, the Dolphins have announced their interest in interviewing five separate candidates for the vacant Head Coach position.
Vic Fangio –
Tied to Head Coaching jobs in the past, Fangio has instead kept to his craft of coaching dominant defenses – and boy did he ever in 2018. Fangio will not be available until the Bears are eliminated from post-season contention (they play Sunday vs. Philadelphia), but his work transforming that side of the football was instrumental in Chicago’s first trip to the post-season since 2010.
Fangio does two things; chew gum, and built great defense – and he’s all out of gum. Fangio directed the number one defense in the NFL in 2018, up from his 2017 work where he had the Bears in the top 10.
Those big jumps took some time as the Bears ranked 20th and 24th in total defense in Fangio’s first two years. The 2014 defense Fangio took over was 30th in the NFL.
The story was the same in San Francisco prior to his arrival. A good defense in 2010 (13thoverall), Fangio’s four years brought back two second-ranked defenses, a third-ranking and a fifth-ranked squad in 2014.
Fangio was at the forefront of the coaching vacancies around the league in 2017, but declined to move on because of what he was building in Chicago. He also felt that coaching defense in Chicago was a privilege and something he didn’t take lightly.
Fangio spent one year at the college ranks with Jim Harbaugh (who brought him to San Francisco for the 49ers job thereafter). Prior to that, Fangio was on John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens staff in 2008 and 2009 (a holdover from Brian Billick’s Ravens’ staff).
Fangio, age 60, has been coaching football since the 1970’s. He’s never been the Head Coach anywhere, but neither was Bruce Arians until his Coach of the Year 2012 season with the Indianapolis Colts.
“He’s an evil genius.” – Khalil Mack
“He’s a mob boss – the godfather all the way.” – Aaron Lynch
Eric Bieniemy –
The next in line from the recent lineage of offensive geniuses, Bieniemy is the latest apple to fall from the Andy Reid Tree. With the success of Matt Nagy in Chicago, Bieniemy will likely have his pick of Head Coaching gigs this off-season – if that’s what he desires.
Bieniemy just took a good offense and turned it into a revolutionary one in Kansas City. The running backs coach from 2013-2017, Bieniemy took over the offense along with new Quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Under Bieniemy, Mahomes threw for more than 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns.
His first year as a coordinator in the NFL brought back number one ranks across the board. Total offense, scoring percentage, scoring offense and yards-per-play, nobody outdid Kansas City’s 35.5 points-per-game in 2018.
A second-round draft pick in 1991, Bieniemy played for nine years before returning to his alma matter, Colorado, to coach the running backs. Playing with the Eagles in 1999 Bieniemy established a relationship with Andy Reid that would turn into a coaching job 13 years later.
Following up Reid’s mantra of being a teacher above all, Bieniemy is a stickler for the details.
And it works.
Eight of the 11 Head Coaches from the Reid Coaching Tree have gone on to make the playoffs. Three of them went to a Super Bowl (Ron Rivera) and two of them won it (Doug Pederson and John Harbaugh).
“He yells, he screams, he says funny things and it is awesome. We have affectionately termed these funny things Bieiniemyisms.”
Eric is a phenomenal football coach. I can’tcan’tspeakspeak for other people on that,butyougoout,openthedoorandtalktoeverybody. At the Senior Bowl, I talk to guys and say let’s talk some ball. As long as a guy loves ball, he’s got aptitude and is willing to work, I’m all in on it, man, and that’s what Eric is.” – AndyReid
Bieniemy won’t be available for at least two weeks – his Chiefs are onto the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Mike Munchak –
The only man on this short-list with NFL Head Coaching experience, Munchak has earned the admiration of multiple teams in the league with coaching vacancies.
Munchak took over the Pittsburgh OL job in 2014 after being dismissed from Tennessee (as the HC). During his time in Pittsburgh, Munchak has turned mounds of clay into one of the best offensive lines in the NFL – most notably with Alejandro Villanueva. The massive six-foot-nine, 320-pound tackle was a project after serving as a Captain in the US Army – now he’s one of the best in the business.
“What makes Coach Munchak, great first and foremost, is that he’s a great person. He’s a person that has a great set of values that works harder than anybody. He’s a person that truly understands the game from a technical aspect. He’s not going to really worry about things that just happen in football where other coaches might spend too much time thinking about those little mistakes.
He’s such a good person and he’s such an admirable man in every single way. The way he behaves, the way he carries himself. He’s very consistent, treats everybody the same. He’s always the same person. It gets to the point where you really don’t want to let him down. You want to play your best for him.”
There probably doesn’t need to be another character reference beyond that one.
Munchak was an underwhelming 22-26 with the Titans. He never found a quarterback (the team traded up for Marcus Mariota the year after his dismissal) and, frankly, never had a roster worth much more than the middling .500 returns he provided.
Brian Flores –
A member of Bill Belichick’s staff since the 2004 season, Flores has worked his way up the ranks. From a scouting assistant, pro scout, all the way up to the Defensive Coordinator in 2018, Flores is well-versed in the scope of an entire football operation.
With a patchwork group on the defensive side, Flores coached the Patriots defense up to the 7th lowest yards allowed in 2018. Only five teams allowed fewer points than Flores’ defense.
Something this blog has harped on is the lack of teaching being done by Miami coaches. The first thing Bill Belichick references with Flores is his ability to do just that – teach.
“I think Brian and our defensive staff has done a good job in teaching the players and installing our system,” Belichick said.
“I’m excited for where he’s at right now,” said safety Duron Harmon. “He’s worked to put himself in this position.”
Flores won’t be available for two weeks at the earliest – his Patriots have a first-round playoff bye.
Kris Richard –
Coordinating the defensive passing game and coaching the DBs in Dallas, Richard’s connection to Chris Grier goes through Pete Carroll.
Richard spent the first 10 years of his coaching career in Seattle. He was promoted to Assistant Defensive Backs Coach in 2009 when Carroll arrived and his ascension would continue at a rapid pace.
Richard became the Defensive Backs Coach in 2012 before taking over as the full time Defensive Coordinator in 2015.
Coaching the Legion of Boom could entice Richard to look at what Miami has to work with in the secondary. Xavien Howard (Richard Sherman), Minkah Fitzpatrick (Earl Thomas), Reshad Jones (Kam Chancellor) could make up an intriguing defensive scheme for Richard to build in Miami.
“He’s got a great presentation about him,” [John] Schneider said. “He’s got a great way of teaching guys like in a real, clear concise manner not like guys are having their heads spinning. That’s probably the best way to describe it.
“He’s had rooms where he’s had a lot of strong, alpha personalities, and he handled it.”
Richard’s Cowboys play the Seahawks Saturday in the NFC wildcard round.
As we know, both of the Harbaugh brothers bear a special interest to Stephen Ross. If the Ravens are eliminated from the post-season on Sunday, expect the rumors around a trade between Baltimore and Miami to resurface for the services of John Harbaugh.
Lincoln Riley is still nothing more than a hot name at this point on the college landscape. Iowa State Head Coach Matt Campbell declined an interview with the New York Jets, but remains open to the idea of a jump to the league.
Baylor Head Coach Matt Rhule has been linked to some NFL jobs – he turned around a Baylor program that was headed for utter purgatory following a 1-11 season and its own scandalous nature.
Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern) is another name that has been mentioned for HC jobs in the NFL. Colts DC Matt Eberflus, Saints Assistant HC Dan Campbell and Dolphins Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi all figure to garner interest as well.
We’ll have you updated with any and all changes the Dolphins make in the coming days both on LockedOnDolphins.com and the Locked On Dolphins podcast.
Miami Dolphins 2019 Training Camp Guide – Safeties
Over the next two weeks, Locked On Dolphins will bring you your one-stop shop for all things Miami Dolphins 2019 training camp
Game-By-Game Predictions Part 1 – 7/24 (Part 2 coming in September)
For the majority of the Ryan Tannehill era, the Dolphins entered training camp as dark horse candidates to seize a wildcard playoff berth. Things have changed for the worse in 2019, but the step backward comes with the hopes of constructing a perennial AFC East contender capable of winning games in January.
That’s the big-picture snapshot of the Miami Dolphins rebuild. In the interim, however, establishing the core principles of the Brian Flores program, as well as developing young talent, both capture the forefront of this year’s training camp objectives.
Over the next two weeks, we will get you familiar with each player on the roster. With biographies, quick-hitter scouting notes, and a prediction on the player’s ultimate role on the 2019 Dolphins, this serves as your guide for Miami’s summer practice session.
Cross-training promises to serve as the buzz phrase of this rendition of Dolphins camp. No position offers more dual functionality than safety, especially in a defense undergoing sweeping schematic changes.
In the past, the safety spots have been directionally based, opposed to the traditional strong and free distinctions. This round-peg-in-a-square-hole philosophy led to frustration; so much so that Miami’s longest-tenured defensive player pulled himself from a game last November.
Now, these safeties will have specific roles designated to suit their respective strengths. The universal trait of the group will be the ability to come down and cover the slot, tight ends, and running backs.
Tony Oden is one of two holdovers from the previous staff. Oden has been coaching defensive backs since 1996, including a GA stop at Brian Flores’ alma mater Boston College.
Reshad Jones – 9 years of service (10th in MIA)
Opening Day Age: 31.5
Contract Details: 3 years remaining, $35M total, $13M guaranteed
Jones’ absence was the story of voluntary organized team activities. Amidst rampant trade rumors, Jones was present for mandatory work and an understanding has, apparently, been achieved between he and Coach Flores.
Jones is still a punishing hitter that excels defending both the strong and weak-side C-gaps on the defense. This scheme will put him back in a familiar situation playing in close to the line-of-scrimmage and sending him on a variety of run and pass blitzes. Jones played single-high, 20 yards off the ball, far too often last season.
Declining coverage ability, the occasional poor angle, and considerable medical concerns all add up to an uncertain future for Jones in Miami. The age and contract aren’t doing Jones’ long-term prospects any favors either.
Gotta love Reshad Jones. pic.twitter.com/gUs18ktATh
— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) December 24, 2017
2019 Projected Role: Strong Safety, 100% snap-taker
Bobby McCain – 4 years of service (5th in MIA)
Opening Day Age: 26.0
Contract Details: 4 years remaining, $22M total, $9M guaranteed
After a stellar 2017 season, injuries and position changes led to a down year for McCain. Among the game’s best slot corners two years ago, McCain was rewarded with a new contract, but he was outplayed in the slot by 2018 rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick. In 2019, the two could be interchangeable working in slot coverage and as a single-high safety (as well as two-deep looks).
This scheme utilizes three safeties the majority of the defense’s snaps. McCain could serve as the middle of the field man in those three-safety packages, and come down in two-slot looks for man-coverage responsibilities.
McCain is a terrific leader, astute tackler, and an occasionally effective blitzer.
Let’s start it off with Bobby McCain. Man up with one of the game’s best. Engages, breaks it up – this is teaching tape. pic.twitter.com/aDEHjNBtFf
— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) December 6, 2017
2019 Projected Role: Free Safety, Slot Corner 85% snap-taker
T.J. McDonald – 6 years of service (3rd in MIA)
Opening Day Age: 28.4
Contract Details: 3 years remaining, $17M total, $3.6M guaranteed
With one more year of guaranteed salary, McDonald needs to successfully transition into a new role to have a future in Miami. Inexplicably taking the job previously manned by Reshad Jones, McDonald’s inclusion into the defense wasn’t a positive one.
No longer among the top four, or even five, defensive backs on the roster, McDonald will come onto the field in sub-packages. He’s effective working downhill and should provide Miami’s dime package with a quality tackler and sound cover-man in the underneath shell.
McDonald robs Darnold on the INT. pic.twitter.com/J1Mc5jjusB
— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) September 18, 2018
2019 Projected Role: Third Safety, Dime Linebacker (Dollar) 60% snap-taker
Maurice Smith – 2 years of service (3rd in MIA)
Opening Day Age: 24.3
Contract Details: 1 year remaining, $645K total, $0 guaranteed
It’s difficult to assess Smith’s value the last couple of years. He rarely made it onto the field, but that could just be another indictment of incompetent coaching. At his best, Smith plays the robber role, dislodges footballs, and steps in front of intermediate passes.
With 10 players acquired in the secondary since Smith arrived in Miami, he has an uphill battle to fend off the newcomers for a job.
2019 Projected Role: Camp cut
2019 Dolphins Safeties at a Glance:
The decision to forego any acquisitions at safety this offseason was surprising. The most important position in the defense, Miami comes up a couple of bodies short unless McCain’s conversion is a success. He’s a bit undersized for the position, but he offers the instincts, tackling, and ball skills to provide some promise.
Jones’ role, and subsequent impact on the defense, is one of the more intriguing storylines of the year for the Dolphins.
With a lot of questions and fewer solutions, this group could be in for more changes next offseason.
Miami Dolphins sign cornerback Tyler Patmon
The Miami Dolphins have filled out the final roster spot by signing a familiar face: Tyler Patmon
After a Sunday night visit on July 21st, the Dolphins have officially signed cornerback Tyler Patmon. The corner was with the team during the 2015 season but failed to leave his mark during his first stint with the team.
Tyler Patmon has, however, managed to keep his career chugging along with time spent in Dallas in 2014 and 2015 and Jacksonville in 2017 and 2018.
The news was broken on Twitter by the official DEC Management account, who represents Patmon.
— DEC Management (@davidcanter) July 22, 2019
The team makes reference to Patmon’s first attempt with the team, but this time should be a better fit for Patmon considering the team’s roster makeup. With a few more years of experience under his belt, Patmon stands a better chance of getting a foothold and making an impact.
Tyler Patmon is also a special signing because of his being the 91st player under contract. The Dolphins have found some value in signing a player internationally, which has allowed them the ability to sign Patmon as a bonus player.
The Tyler Patmon the signing gives the Dolphins 91 players. Reminder that Durval Neto’s position on the roster allows Miami to keep the extra player courtesy of the Internarjonal Pathway Program roster exemption rule.
— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) July 22, 2019
I can’t say for certain if Patmon will ultimately end up on the final 53-man roster. My initial inclination is that it’ll be an uphill battle, but stranger things have happened. He might be able to step in and make some waves with the experience he has over some of the younger defensive backs.
Remember The Dolphins (Part 3: The 2010s)
True. The final chapter of the Dolphins’ current decade has not yet been written.
At the dawn of the 2019 training camp, the stars of Miami’s 2019 Super Bowl Champion team have not yet emerged and had their names stamped into the NFL history books.
But going by on the widely-held assumption that the Miami Dolphins figure to be at the very bottom of the league in 2019, we’ll draw a line under the decade of the 2010’s as the Dolphins begin their ‘hard’ reboot to bring the franchise back to glory.
In this third part of our Remember The Dolphins series, we’ll trudge up some painful recent memories by taking a look back at the years 2010-2018 and try to pick out those individuals who perhaps deserve some more recognition for the part they played despite the team’s overall lack of success.
For the Miami Dolphins, the 2010’s was a decade filled with unfortunate drama. The Jonathan Martin bullying fiasco; Richie Incognito; the resulting ever-changing revolving doors which built the offensive line; Mike Pouncey’s “Free Hernandez” hat; Dion Jordan; overpaid Free Agents; terrible draft picks; Chris Foerster bringing his out-of-office habits into the team facility; Brent Grime’s wife; a queezy, litter-picking coach; Vontae Davis’ grandma; the “Go” and Go, Go” offense; Matt Burke’s incomprehensible defensive scheme; and last but by no means least, Adam Gase.
It was not exactly a fun-packed decade for fans.
From one year to the next, the 2010’s barraged the Dolphins with national embarrassment off the field and an on-field product which no one could quite figure out.
The 2010’s undoubtedly will be most remembered, for better or worse (depending on which side you sit) for the Ryan Tannehill years.
Landing in the NFL as a franchise’s heralded saviour is generally tough enough. But landing in a city already drowning in football mediocrity, with a fanbase tired of the lacklustre QB carousel and desperately thirsty for a leading passer under the scorching South Florida sunshine was inevitably going to be a recipe for division among fans.
Add in the ever-present shadow of Dan Marino and the unforeseen successes of other young QBs around the league and anything less than spectacular would be deemed a failure.
And that is the past decade of Dolphins in a nutshell…
Cameron Wake was nothing short of awesome as the team’s premier defensive player and remains a living legend, seemingly ready to finish his career in Tennessee. It’s scary to think that Wake spent 10 years with the Dolphins (2009-2018) in which he started 126/146 games, accumulated 98.0 sacks, 358 combined tackles, 97 tackles for loss and 213 QB hits. As Dolfans, we have just witnessed the end of the most successful Dolphins tale of the decade. But that alone was not enough to gain the team anything more than one playoff game.
Save for a handful of highlight performances in 2016 to drag Miami to the playoffs, including Jay Ajayi’s back-to-back 200 yard games and Andrew Franks’ overtime field goal over the Bills on Christmas Eve, the Dolphins continued their desperate struggle for success for another decade.
2010 started badly for Head Coach Tony Sparano, then entering his 3rd year. Chad Henne (301 of 490) threw for 3301 yards, 15 TDs and 19 INTs. The Dolphins had broken the bank to bring in WR, Brandon Marshall to help in Henne’s development and aid a struggling offense. Although Marshall hauled in 1014 yards, a lowly 3 TDs was the ultimate result. The Dolphins found themselves sitting at 30th in the league in points scored and achieved a 7-9 record.
Things didn’t exactly improve quickly, if at all.
2011 saw the firing of Coach Sparano who was temporarily replaced by defensive co-ordinator, Todd Bowles after a 4-9 start to finish 6-10.
2012 saw the arrival of Joe Philbin and rookie quarterback, Ryan Tannehill which produced a now-familiar 7-9 record. The QB/HC relationship lasted 3.5 years and left everyone a “little queezy”.
The Dolphins scraped .500 records in 2013 and 2014 before falling to 6-10 in 2015 under the final year of Philbin’s reign.
Nothing of note had begun to shine out from the shadows of mediocrity and the patience of Miami fans was beyond tested.
Enter, Adam Gase.
The Peyton-Manning-endorsed offensive ‘genius’ arrived in 2016 taking the Dolphins to the playoffs despite a season-ending knee injury to the starting QB. And whilst the victories of 2016 weren’t repeated, the rare taste of playoffs had bought Gase enough stature that even the team’s brightest stars weren’t safe from his methods and relationships continued to sour to the point of breaking and eventual trade.
Jarvis Landry had stolen headlines with some highlight-reel catches and was unanimously adored by the Dolphins fanbase. Jay Ajayi had bulldozed his way into the history books before his relationship with the head coach turned to ash. Both players were quickly gone, uncerimoniously – their departures embodying the Dolphins’ constant inability of retaining success.
A number of players publicly spoke out against Adam Gase, as prime examples of what the Dolphins had become at their core – divided, unstable and without direction.
But looking back over the dysfunction of the 2010’s, let’s try to pick a handful of names out of the rubble who (outside of the Miami Miracle) deserve to be looked at in a brighter, warmer light and be remembered despite the team’s on-field and off-field failures.
Position: Running Back
The Saints’ 2nd overall pick of the 2006 draft found his way to Miami in his 6th year, following a trade with the Saints in July 2011. That season, he provided a spark of electricity to Miami’s offense and rushed for 1000+ yards for the first time in his career and scored 6 rushing TDs with an average of 5.0 yards per carry. Bush remained with the Dolphins for 2 years (2011-2012) and despite having been labelled as injury prone during his time in New Orleans, managed to be a dependable on-field presence, rushing for 2072 yards and 12 TDs as a Dolphin, whilst hauling in a further 588 receiving yards and 3 TDs. He was named the AFC Offensive Player of The Week in 2011 following a 203 yard performance against the Buffalo Bills in Week 15.
Position: Running Back
The homegrown running back was drafted in the fourth round by the Dolphins in 2012 out of the University of Miami, sharing his rookie year with Reggie Bush. By his second season, Miller had adopted the starting role, but it wasn’t until 2014 when he really began to find his feet out of the Dolphins’ backfield. Miller’s totals of 1099 rushing yards and 8 TDs in 2014 remain his career highs, with a highlight 97 yard TD run against the Jets on 28 December 2014. Over the course of his 4 years in Miami, Miller started 48/61 games and rushed for 2930 yards and 19 TDs whilst catching 117 passes for 887 yards and a further 3 scores, before signing a 4-year $26m deal with the Houston Texans in March 2016.
Karlos Dansby came to Miami in 2010 after 6 years in the league with the Arizona Cardinals. His final 2 years in Arizona saw him tally 228 combined tackles including 17 for a loss, 5 sacks, 3 INTs and 3 forced fumbles. He was therefore a big-name target for the Dolphins in 2010 to help solidify the linebacker group under Tony Sparano. Dansby joined the Dolphins on a 5-year, $43m contract which (at the time) was the highest paid contract for an ILB in NFL history. In his 3 years at Miami, Dansby started 45/46 games and racked up 332 combined tackles, 1 INT, 5 forced fumbles and 6 sacks.
Position: Defensive Tackle
An absolute man-mountain, Paul Soliai was drafted by the Dolphins in the fourth round of the 2007 draft. He became a staple on Miami’s defensive line and spent 7 years in Miami (2007-2013), working his way to a full-time starting spot in 2010. Soliai started 62 of 99 games in his Dolphins career and had a knack for swatting down passes with 12 deflections. A huge body in the middle of the Dolphins defense, Soliai was predominantly a space-eater but also racked up 117 solo tackles (160 combined) including 25 TFLs and 4.5 sacks. He signed with the Falcons in March 2014 and the Panthers in March 2016 before signed a one-day contract to retire as a Miami Dolphin on 19 April 2018.
Position: Wide Receiver
A productive fourth round pick of the Dolphins in 2009, Hartline spent 6 years in Miami (2009-2014). Hartline’s best years came in 2012/2013 following the arrival of Ryan Tannehill and he developed into something of a trusted safety blanket for the young QB and set a Dolphins franchise record for receiving yards (253) in Week 4 of 2012 against the Cardinals. With over 130 targets in each of those years, Hartline caught 150 passes for 2099 yards, but only 5 TDs which is an indication of the team’s lack of productivity in the red zone. Injured early in his career, Hartline started 69 of 92 games in Miami hauling in 4243 yards and 12 TDs with a catch rate of 57.1% and 8.1 yards per target. In the final game of 2014, Hartline suffered a PCL injury which ended his tenure at the Dolphins and a quick year in Cleveland saw the end of Hartline’s NFL career and he is now WR coach at Ohio State.
Position: Wide Receiver
Similar to Hartline (and more recently Jarvis Landry) Davone Bess spent his first NFL years with the Dolphins before being signed by the Cleveland Browns. Arriving with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Hawaii, Bess quickly exceeded expectations. He was primarily positioned at slot receiver until injury forced Greg Camarillo off the field. Bess finished his rookie year positioned 3rd amongst rookie WRs in receptions. During his time as a Dolphin, Bess hauled in 12 TDs and had dependable hands (63.8% catch ratio) with a 6.9 yards-per-target average and he amassed a total of 3447 yards receiving. Bess was traded to the Cleveland Browns in April 2013 before troubling issues saw him placed on the non-football illness list in December 2013 prior to a series of arrests.
After 4 years in Dallas and 2 years in San Diego, Kevin Burnett signed as a Miami Dolphin in July 2011. He started all 32 games at linebacker during his 2 years with Miami (2011-2012) and stole 1 Pick-6, had 5 sacks with 216 combined tackles and 15 TFLs. Although always the truest of professionals, the productive and dependable player was released following the mistake-riddled free agent signings of Darnell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler in March 2013.
Position: Defensive End
I liked Jared Odrick. Generally considered a surprising first round pick (28th overall) of the Miami Dolphins in 2010, he unfortunately suffered a foot injury in October 2010 cutting short his rookie season. Returning with a strong 2011 season, he registered 6 sacks and and an INT as a backup DE and didn’t take himself too seriously, evidence by his very odd Pee Wee Herman sack dance. Odrick spent 5 years in Miami (2010-2014) but suffered with injuries and started only 41 of 65 games. Alongside his INT, Odrick swatted down 11 passes and caused 3 forced fumbles, had 16.5 sacks and 129 combined tackles including 30 for a loss and 47 QB hits. Following his Dolphins career, Odrick spent 2 years in Jacksonville before his retirement after being placed on IR in December 2016.
A fifth round pick (145th overall) by the Dolphins in the 2010, Carroll was seen as a promising rookie and played a considerable amount on special teams. Fans will recall that during a kickoff return on 13 December 2010, Carroll was tripped over on the sidelines by the Jets’ strength and conditioning coach, Sal Alosi. Carroll was promoted to a starting role in 2012 and over the course of his 4 years in Miami he started 26 of 58 games, grabbed 5 INTs with 23 passes defended, 1 forced fumble and 3 sacks. He racked up 123 combined tackles before signing a 2-year $5m contract with the Eagles in March 2014.
And there we have it.
At the dawn of the 2019 season, with the imminent start of training camp, the Dolphins now have an opportunity to write the decade’s final chapter.
Under the leadership of Head Coach Brian Flores, the Dolphins seek to change the story of their long-term mediocrity. With a young group of talented players ripe for development, we can only hope that many of them will seek to etch their names into the future of Dolphins’ history from 2020 and beyond.
- Miami Dolphins 2019 Training Camp Guide – Safeties July 23, 2019
- Miami Dolphins sign cornerback Tyler Patmon July 22, 2019
- Remember The Dolphins (Part 3: The 2010s) July 22, 2019
- Dolphins Roster Moves Ahead of Training Camp July 22, 2019
- Miami Dolphins 2019 Training Camp Guide – Cornerbacks July 21, 2019
Miami Dolphins1 week ago
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Staff Predictions: Which rookie will have the biggest impact in 2019?
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