As all of you are well aware by now, Brandon Marshall was stabbed late last night/early this morning by his wife Michi Nogami-Marshall, but is apparently okay and has already been released from the hospital. I caught wind of the incident before I had to go out of town for the day, so I had no time to write up a post about it until now.
The knife reportedly didn’t harm any of Marshall’s internal organs, which is extremely fortunate considering it was likely inches, if not centimeters away from possibly seriously threatening his life. Marshall’s wife was arrested by the Broward County Sherriff’s department on a domestic-violence charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, but was released on $7,500 bond this afternoon.
Those are the important details.
There will surely be plenty of he said, she said in the coming days, but right now Brandon Marshall, his family, and the entire Dolphins organization needs to count their blessings because this could have been much, much worse.
Now comes the speculation. Marshall’s wife claims she stabbed her husband out of self-defense. If you know anything about Marshall’s past, you know this isn’t the first time he’s had a domestic dispute. He’s been arrested at least three times for domestic disputes involving women, including getting arrested in Atlanta, Georgia in March 2009 for a dispute with Michi Nogami-Marshall, who was then his fiancé.
Although, Marshall has relatively behaved since being acquired by the Dolphins, his troubled past in Denver suggest he likely wasn’t simply the victim last night. But is it really fair to make that sort of assumption? Not enough details are present to know for sure.
You don’t want to completely let Marshall off the hook by saying we don’t know what really happened yet, because his wife had to be provoked to some degree. I don’t think we can jump to conclusions yet either, though, because Marshall’s wife could very well be mentally unstable enough to stab her husband over a simple fight. I guess we will have to wait for the legal process to run its course before we can make such judgments.
Luckily for Brandon at least, the police didn’t report any wounds or bruises on his wife, so it will likely be hard to prove that she was being physically threatened enough to take such a drastic measure. Marshall did, however, reportedly lie to police in a sworn testimony by saying he slipped on a vase. But that’s enough speculation for one night. The important thing is that Marshall is okay. But I’m sure the Dolphins will wrestle with the question of whether or not they did the right thing when they invested two second-round picks and $50 million in Marshall a year ago.
Peter King predicts Dolphins will take TCU’s Andy Dalton in first
Peter King is one of the most respected sports writers in the business, so when he pencils in Andy Dalton to the Dolphins 15th overall in his latest mock draft, as much of a reach as that may be, it may be time to expect the unexpected in next week’s draft. King’s inside information into Dalton’s latest visit with the Dolphins may have something to do with that prediction.
King writes that the Dolphins sent a portion of their playbook to Dalton only a few days before they were scheduled to meet with him and told him to digest every one of the 100 something formations- including all of the motions, shifts, and protections. According to Dalton, he did fairly well when tested over the playbook by the Dolphins. He didn’t think he fared quite as well on the other test offensive coordinator Brian Daboll threw at him, though.
Daboll supposedly flew into the meeting room shouting at Dalton about not getting the football thrown his way, supposedly to simulate how Dalton would handle a disgruntled receiver like, oh I don’t know, a Brandon Marshall. That’s quite the microscope the Dolphins put on Dalton, even if they do similar test to every quarterback they’ve met with in the pre-draft process. Call Peter King crazy for thinking the Dolphins could be targeting Dalton in the first round, but you have to believe he could at least become a strong possibility in the second and third rounds if Miami hasn’t drafted a quarterback yet and Dalton is still on the board.
We already knew which opponents the Dolphins would face in 2011, but tonight we learned when they would play those teams. The 2011 NFL season is still about five months away and who knows how long the lockout will continue to jeopardize the year. But the new schedule gives the Dolphins a clean slate and a renewed sense of optimism after the bitter taste last year’s 7-9 record left in our mouths. Let’s take a look at the brand new schedule.
Week 1: Monday, Sep. 12 7:00 p.m.
Dolphins vs. Patriots
Week 2: Sunday, Sep. 18 4:15 p.m.
Dolphins vs. Texans
Week 3: Sunday, Sep. 25 1:00 p.m.
Dolphins at Browns
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 02 4:15 p.m.
Dolphins at Chargers
Week 5: Bye
Week 6: Monday, Oct. 17 8:30 p.m.
Dolphins at Jets
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 23 1:00 p.m.
Broncos at Dolphins
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 30 1:00 p.m.
Dolphins at Giants
Week 9: Sunday Nov. 06 1:00 p.m.
Dolphins at Chiefs
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 13 1:00 p.m.
Redskins at Dolphins
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 20 1:00 p.m.
Bills at Dolphins
Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 24 4:15 p.m.
Dolphins at Cowboys
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 04 1:00 p.m.
Raiders at Dolphins
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 11 1:00 p.m.
Eagles at Dolphins
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 18 1:00 p.m.
Dolphins at Bills
Week 16: Saturday, Dec. 24 1:00 p.m.
Dolphins at Patriots
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 01 1:00 p.m.
Jets at Dolphins
The first thing that stands out is obviously the big Monday Night Football opener Week 1 against the Pats and the other MNF game Week 6 at the Jets. For the second year in a row the NFL has given the Dolphins a golden opportunity to make a strong early season push in the AFC East race on primetime. Last year Miami squandered away a great opportunity to jump out to any early lead in the division with back-to-back losses to the Jets and Patriots at home on primetime. They surely can’t afford to the same in 2011 if they want to be a legitimate contender in one of the league’s toughest divisions.
Thanksgiving provides another exciting opportunity for the Dolphins. In a game that has provided some memorable moments in years past, the Dolphins get to travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Football on Thanksgiving is one of the league’s most meaningful traditions, and it’s always more special when the Dolphins get to be a part of that.
On a concerning note, the Dolphins will have a difficult road in the season’s final three weeks. The Dolphins will face all three of their AFC East rivals in consecutive weeks and will be forced to travel to Buffalo in Week 15 and to Foxboro in Week 16, games that figure to produce frigid conditions if not snowstorms.
In what is basically a meaningless statistic, the Dolphins have the 11th hardest schedule in 2011, as their opponents were a combined 132-124 in 2010.
If you’ve visited this blog before, it’s fairly obvious what I want the Dolphins to do in next week’s draft. I would love to see them trade down and acquire a second-round pick, but at the end of the day, I firmly believe their number one priority in the draft’s first round should be landing Ryan Mallett. I don’t care if they stay put at fifteen, trade back, or trade up, if the Dolphins are on the clock when Ryan Mallett is still on the board it just makes too much sense to pull the trigger on the only quarterback in this year’s class that has all the tools to be a franchise quarterback.
However, if we must play devil’s advocate for a moment, the Dolphins are a team that prefers to draft high-character guys. In last year’s draft they made a concentrated effort to select players who were captains in college and who were widely thought of as good kids. If the Dolphins are planning on going that route again in 2011, Colin Kaepernick may be the quarterback prospect they have secretly been targeting all along. If it was me, I’m holding out for a veteran in free agency to compete with Chad Henne if the Dolphins pass on Ryan Mallett, but it’s easy to see why the front office could have a strong interest in Kaepernick.
Size: 6-4, 233
Projected Round: 1-2
Pros: Physically, Kaepernick’s measurables are about as eye popping as Mallett’s. At 6’4, 233 pounds, Kaepernick has the prototypical size you look for in an NFL QB, and he accompanies that size with superb athleticism. His 4.53 forty at the combine is almost off the charts for a quarterback with his size. Doesn’t have great acceleration, but because he’s such a long strider, he’s tough to catch once he gets going. He also throws very well on the move, which suggest he will be very useful on rollouts and broken plays at the next level.
Don’t label him exclusively as a scrambler, though. The kid has the arm strength to make any throw in football and was fairly accurate in the short to intermediate passing game at Nevada. Many GM’s believe the theory that the biggest factor in determining which quarterbacks will succeed and which quarterbacks will bust is experience. Kaepernick was a four-year starter at Nevada, where he became the only quarterback in Division 1 history to pass for over 10,000 yards and rush for over 4,000 yards in a career.
And if the Dolphins are looking for a guy who’s got a good head on his shoulders and has excellent leadership ability, unlike Ryan Mallett in the former and Chad Henne in the latter, Kaepernick may be their man. His stock significantly varies depending on which expert you talk to. It would be a little unexpected if the Dolphins were to use their first-round pick on Kaepernick, but I wouldn’t be shocked. Ideally, though, if they are convicted on Kaepernick as the new potential long-term solution in Miami, the Dolphins will trade back into the late first round and use their newly acquired second-round selection on him.
Stepping aside from the first-round debate for a moment, where all the talk and speculation is revolving around the likes of Ryan Mallett, Mark Ingram, and whether or not the Dolphins will trade down from the 15th overall selection, let’s take a look at the tight end prospects in this year’s class that could potentially upgrade a huge position of need for the Dolphins.
Anthony Fasano has been a solid starter in Miami for three seasons now as a fantastic blocker that can contribute some in the passing game as well. But the Dolphins lack a tight end of the athletic mold that can consistently make a living in the middle of the field as a receiver. With all the attention Brandon Marshall attracts on the outside, a seam-stretching tight end would have the space needed to make an immense impact on the Dolphins’ offense.
Regardless of whether or not the Dolphins invest a high-draft choice on a rookie or stick with Chad Henne, a receiving tight end would truly be an asset for whoever the signal caller is as a crutch in the short to intermediate passing game and an extra red zone weapon on an offense that was pitiful in the red area in 2010.
School: Notre Dame
Size: 6-6, 259
Projected Round: 2
If only tight end was the Dolphins’ primary need, Rudolph would potentially be Miami’s most coveted player in the 2011 draft. He excels at exactly what the Dolphins are missing from their tight end corps. Rudolph possesses great size, adequate speed, and has elite ball skills as a tight end that catches the ball with his hands, not his body and can make difficult receptions in traffic.
There are concerns about Rudolph’s blocking and whether or not he can get clean releases because he spent so much time in the slot at Notre Dame, but his skill set would greatly compliment former Irish Anthony Fasano. Doesn’t look like a realistic option for the Dolphins, but if they are able to trade down, pick up a second-round pick, and Rudolph slides some, you never know.
Size: 6-2, 243
Projected Round: 2-3
Doesn’t have ideal size, but has the initial burst and speed to be a threat in the passing game. Runs routes well and receiving comes pretty natural to him. Would fit what the Dolphins are missing as a receiving first tight end, but don’t underestimate Kendricks’ blocking ability.
He was rarely used as a lead blocker at Wisconsin, but he has the ability to seal off the edge. Kendricks is flying under the radar a bit, but he could be a mid-round option for the Dolphins when they figure to begin to consider addressing the position in round three.
At the beginning of the pre-draft scouting process, Mark Ingram was the center of attention in most talks pertaining to what the Dolphins would do with their first-round pick. Although Ingram at 15 was never unanimously agreed upon amongst Dolphin faithful, the outside media once portrayed him going to Miami as nearly a sure thing. How things change in a matter of weeks.
It’s becoming more and more apparent that Ryan Mallett is the fan favorite among first-round caliber prospects. Not saying that every fan is high on Mallett, and certainly there are people out there that hope the Dolphins stay clear of his “character issues,” but it’s safe to say that a higher percentage of Dolfans want Miami to draft Mallett over any other prospect.
The media is beginning to open up to the idea as well. More and more mock drafts are penciling in Mallett’s name as the 15th overall selection. And most importantly, the Dolphins appear very interested in the former Razorback.
The front office reportedly began a two-day meeting with Mallett today in South Florida, which marks their fourth meeting/workout with him since the NFL Combine. So either they are strongly considering taking Mallett somewhere in the first-round and are doing as much homework as they can on one of the draft’s most polarizing prospects, or they are going way, way out of their way to create one big diverting smokescreen. Even putting my personal bias aside, as I’ve been a huge advocate of the Dolphins drafting Mallett since January, I tend to side with the former over the latter. Let’s take a glance around the web at some of the headlines relative to Mallett today.
Gruden host Mallett on ESPN’s QB Camp
Ryan Mallett got the chance to sit down with Jon Gruden on ESPN’s always entertaining Quarterback Camp. If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check it out right here. Gruden grilled Mallett some on how to handle the blitz, something many draft experts warn Mallett will struggle with at the next level. But we do get a great look at how Mallett digest the X’s and O’s of the game. For a guy that some have called "dumber than a box of rocks," Mallett sure seems like he grasps the mental aspect of the game just fine.
Sport Science chronicles Mallett’s size and arm strength
If you’re a fan of Sport Science, their Ryan Mallett feature is a much watch. As you can see, Mallett has truly elite size at 6’6 with hands that would be proportional on the body of Yao Ming and a laser rocket arm. Legitimate or not, Mallett’s so-called character concerns will likely cost him millions of dollars on draft day because the kid has the physical make-up of a top five pick.
Dolphins interested in Matt Hasselbeck?
John Clayton speculated to 710 ESPN Seattle that the Seahawks will likely let quarterback Matt Hasselbeck test the open market. “And now it's put the Seahawks in a position where I think what'll happen is, if free agency would start -- and we all don't know when -- I think they'll let him test the market,” Clayton said. “And that could be dangerous because he could go someplace else."
Where exactly is that someplace else, you might ask? Well, Clayton goes on to mention three teams that may be interested in signing the 35-year old veteran signal caller; the Arizona Cardinals, the Minnesota Vikings, and the Miami Dolphins.
This isn’t the first time this offseason that the Dolphins have been thrown out there as a possible destination for Hasselbeck if he indeed becomes a free agent whenever a new collective bargaining agreement is in place. But it does serve as a reminder that the draft prospects we have been discussing for the past several weeks aren’t the only options out there for the Dolphins.
It all depends on what the front office’s mindset is. Some say they are in a situation where they feel they have to win this season, and won’t be patient enough for a rookie quarterback to develop. If that is the case, a veteran like Hasselbeck that would provide competition and insurance to Chad Henne would make sense.
I happen to believe that the Dolphins should do whatever it takes to find a franchise quarterback because they will never be a Super Bowl contender in today’s pass happy game without one, but that’s just me. The Dolphins do have themselves a playoff caliber defense, though, so maybe a veteran quarterback that could step in and provide a little bit of consistency would be enough to get them over the hump and into the tournament in 2011.
But is just becoming a playoff caliber team enough, or should the focus of this regime be doing whatever it takes to get the Dolphins to that elite level? If you feel that they should pursue the latter, it may be time to step away from the conservative route and invest a first-round pick in a quarterback.