In an effort to try and create reading material and discussion in dull times, I thought I would highlight which Dolphins I feel are a bit underappreciated by the fan base.
To make myself clear, these aren’t the top five Dolphins that are underrated on the national scale. For example, Davone Bess and Cameron Wake may be a couple of the most underrated players in the entire league, but here in South Florida, knowledgeable fans are well aware of how valuable both are to this franchise.
These are the five players that many Dolphin fans and some Miami media alike underestimate and undervalue, in my opinion.
As with any top five list, there is plenty of room for debate. Feel free to tell us which Dolphins you feel get the shaft in the comments.
5. Kendall Langford, DE: 3-4 defensive ends are some of the most underappreciated players in the game. They don’t have the appeal 4-3 DE’s do because they typically don’t get to the quarterback often as predominant run stuffers. And they don’t get the credit nose tackles do, which serve as the anchor of the 3-4 defensive line.
Regardless of appropriate recognition or not, the Dolphins are blessed to have arguably one of the best 3-4 DE tandems in the league and without a doubt one of the deepest rotations at the position. Langford may never be a household name nationwide, and probably won’t even grab many headlines locally here in Miami, but he’s becoming one of the best in the business. 2010 was his best season yet, racking up 47 tackles and 3 sacks.
There has been a lot of talk in South Florida regarding which veteran running backs could be on the Dolphins’ radar once free agency begins, but the speedy, homerun threat runner this offense is missing could already be in house. I’m referring, of course, to third year running back Kory Sheets.
Technically, there is no guarantee Sheets will be a Dolphin in 2011, as he was scheduled to be an exclusive rights free agent under the old CBA. But even in the event that the new CBA doesn’t permit exclusive rights or restricted free agents, it’s widely speculated that Sheets will remain in Miami in 2011. The Dolphins need depth at running back and Sheets will be cheap to resign.
Some may consider Sheets only a camp body with an outside shot at cracking the final-53. But looking at what Sheets could bring to the table for what was a boring and slow offense in 2010, you probably shouldn’t sleep on him as the dark horse candidate to split the majority of the carries with second-round selection Daniel Thomas.
Unfortunately for Kory, though, the Dolphins don’t exactly have a grasp on what they are getting with him. He went down early with an Achilles injury in last year’s training camp, a year after signing with the Dolphins mid-season off the 49ers’ practice squad. Camp and the preseason is when roster fringe players like Sheets get the most reps and the biggest opportunity to make an impression. Kory has yet to have either with the Dolphins.
That’s the biggest reason why I doubt Jeff Ireland will forgo acquiring a veteran back once the lockout is over. But hey, you never know. An outstanding camp and preseason or an injury to one of the projected starters, and Sheets could be right there getting an opportunity to be a playmaker for Brian Daboll’s offense.
So let’s check in with Kory to see how the Achilles is progressing, what his goals for 2011 are, and more. He was a bit brief with his responses, but minimal reading material is better than nothing at all, especially in the midst of a lockout. The interview can be seen after the jump.
Recently, I got in touch with Dolphins 6th Round Draft Pick Charles Clay from the University of Tulsa. For those of you who dont know much about Charles, he is a halfback/fullback/tight end. Charles started for the Tulsa Hurricanes for 3 years before declaring for the draft this year. His 31 career touchdowns in college is only eight shy of tying the school's all-time TD record set by Tarrion Adams (2005-08). Charles also pilled up 2,018 career receiving yards along with 21 TDs through the air. Charles fits a need that the Dolphins had this offseason as they were looking for a versitle player to fill the TE/FB position. Clay should help stretch the field with his pass catching abilities out of the backfield and tight end position. At 6'3, 235 this talented rookie from Tulsa is looking to make an immediate impact starting year one for the Dolphins.
Interview : Q + A with Charles Clay
1) Are there any current NFL players you model your game after?
I like to watch guys who kind of move around a lot like myself, guys like Dallas Clark, Chris Cooley, but Aaron Hernandez may be my favorite of them all I try and model myself after those guys.
2) Which Dolphins player you most looking forward to meeting up with?
I dont know where to start of course im looking forward to meeting Chad Henne. At the same time I watch so much football so im looking forward to meeting guys like Brandon Marshall, Anthony Fasano, Lousaka Polite and just getting acclimaited not only with offensive but defensive players as well.
3) Did the Dolphins show any interest in you before the draft?
They were one of the teams I had official meetings with at the scouting combine so I got a chance to meet the Jeff Ireland, Coach Sparano and the rest of the coaching staff there.
4) Have you spoke to Coach or Brian Daboll yet?
After I was drafted I had a chance to speak with Coach Sparano shortly but havent got a chance to talk with Coach Daboll yet, I'm looking forward to getting to talk to him though.
5) Any ideas on what number you want to wear ?
I think I will wear number 31 nothing is written in stone at this moment so at least temporarily that's the number i'll wear.
6) Do you have any interest in trying out the Wildcat?
I did it some at Tulsa, so I dont mind trying at all, if I can help the team that way than im all for it. My teammates at tulsa often made fun of me for being a little too stiff in my quarterback stance so I need to work on that a bit.
7) Any trash talking words for Rex Ryan or Tom Brady ?
Haha it may be a little too early for that. As a rookie coming in that's kind of a right you have to earn. Im focusing on making the team and contributing any way I can right now
8) What are your goals for your rookie year?
Like I said mainly just making the team and helping out whether it's just situational stuff or special teams starting out however I can help is what i'll do.
9) Are you happy with where and when you were drafted?
The draft is all stuff that I cant control I put in the work to get drafted as high as possible but when it's all said and done and it's time to step on the field no matter where you get drafted its all about whether or not you can play so just being drafted and getting my foot in the door was the first step now it's on to doing all I can to put me in a position to play.
It’s May and we are in the middle of a lockout. Any news regarding the Dolphins is probably going to get a little more attention than it deserves. Mike Sims-Walker telling the Florida Times-Union that “we would love that,” in regards to reuniting with former college teammate Brandon Marshall in Miami is a prime example of that.
Once something to ponder over before the draft, I don’t think signing Sims-Walker would be something the Dolphins would still consider. The obvious reason for that is by drafting Edmond Gates in the fourth round, the Dolphins, on paper anyway, have finally assembled a fairly complete receiving core.
Yes, there is quite a bit of uncertainty there with Gates. He may or may not emerge as a playmaker at the NFL level. But the Dolphins are going to give him every opportunity to. Bringing in Sims-Walker would only limit the amount of opportunities Gates would have to become the deep threat this offense is missing.
And even before the Dolphins drafted Gates, you could have made the case the receiving core was already capable without a speedster. Brandon Marshall is obviously the alpha receiver, Davone Bess has become one of the league’s finest slots and actually does an adequate job when asked to line up on the outside, and believe it or not, Brian Hartline was on pace to put up about 820 receiving yards in 2010 before he went down for the year with a broken finger in Week 13.
I have argued all along that a franchise quarterback would flourish with this receiving core. Continuing to load up on weapons for Chad Henne may give him a better chance to succeed, but it’s not going to make him a franchise quarterback. He either has it or doesn’t. But brining in a franchise quarterback would instantly make the Dolphins’ receiving core one of the best in the league, in my opinion. Any deficiency in the passing game is going to stem from whoever the quarterback is in 2011.
With a top five talent in Marshall, a potentially solid number two in Hartline, one of the most productive slots in the league in Bess, and now hopefully a legitimate stretch the field playmaker in Gates, the Dolphins have more than enough weapons to get the job done with consistent quarterback play.
Besides, if the Dolphins are willing to spend the type of money it would likely take to bring Sims-Walker to South Beach, they should probably put that cash to better use. Preferably, on a pressing need like quarterback, running back, offensive guard, or even another pass rusher. So while signing with the Dolphins may be a dream come true for Mike Sims-Walker and Brandon Marshall, don’t expect Jeff Ireland to seriously entertain the possibility.
Before you start reading this post if you’re expecting some thorough analysis on the Dolphins or the NFL well, this post isn’t the one to read. This post is a result of a fun experiment on twitter (@phinstake). So, it’s Thursday night and I am going through my closet and see a bright orange 55 Junior Seau jersey and it inspires me to go through all my Dolphins jersey. In my closet I got,
Aqua: Marino, Henne, Terrell Buckley, Davone Bess, Jason Taylor, Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams
White: Chris Chambers, Brandon Marshall, Cameron Wake, Zack Thomas, Jake Long, Larry Csonka
Orange: Junior Seau
Framed : Marino Aqua Signed Qb's of the century (Marino, Elway, Joe Cool, Johnny U)
Wish List: Vonte Davis + Daniel Thomas + (New QB Dolphins Going to acquire)
I decided to go to Dolphins nation on twitter to see what my fellow phins fans had in their closest. I was curious which Dolphins players’ jersey would be the most popular? Which would be the most old school jersey? Which jersey people wanted the most? Here are my results,
Around 60 people responded me on twitter, so thanks guys for the responses
Most Popular Jersey people had: Zach Thomas
Jersey people most wanted to get: Davone Bess
Jersey that came with the most amount of regret : Chad Henne ( every person that had a Henne jersey wrote a L face or an LOL beside it sarcastically, people seem to enjoy their Pat White and Daunte Culpepper and even Ted Ginn jerseys more. Ouch!)
Jersey I wanted the most that someone had: Oronde Gadsden 86
What does your main man Omar Kelly from Sun-Sentinal got in his closet: White / #13 Marino, had it since his teens
Weirdest Jersey: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Honorable mention Jersey: Jim Mandich
All right boys and girls, hope you had a little fun with this blog
In honor of Mad Dog,
ALL RIGHT MIAMI!!
Besides adding a veteran quarterback to compete with Chad Henne, signing a starting caliber running back is the next virtual lock for the Dolphins this offseason. We may obviously be talking about something that won’t materialize itself until September or October with the way the lockout is playing out, but rest assured, rookie Daniel Thomas will have a capable compliment to share the workload with whenever the Dolphins take the field.
Who that compliment will be is where the debate begins. Most fans and even the Miami media agree on which back is at the top of their wish list. That back is former Carolina Panther DeAngelo Williams. I agree with the notion that Williams should be the Dolphins’ number one priority at the running back position when the lockout is finally over. He’s easily a top five back when healthy, and he’s the electrifying runner this offense is craving.
But there’s no guarantee the price will be right. I don’t think the Dolphins should make Williams the highest paid running back in the league by any means, considering he’s already 28. That may sound young to most fans, but 30 is nearly the new 40 in running back years. Backs usually hit a steep decline when they turn 30 or soon after.
Even if the price is right for Jeff Ireland, DeAngelo could always return to Carolina where he could be optimistic about the addition of Cam Newton, as he’s went on record saying how teams address their quarterback situation will be a huge factor in his decision.
Where would the Dolphins then turn? Like we speculated on Tuesday, they could always welcome back Ronnie Brown. But being that Ronnie is on the verge of turning 30 in December, has a long history of injuries, and is an identical runner to Daniel Thomas in many aspects, there surely has to be better options on the market.
Another back that could be on the Dolphins’ radar is Darren Sproles. Don’t get me wrong, I love Sproles as a versatile third-down back and special-teams ace, but he wouldn’t provide Miami with a great one-two punch. His career high in rushing yards in a season is only 343.
He has been right around 500 yards receiving the past two seasons, though, which would make him a perfect fit as a third-down back if the Dolphins were to sign an early-down compliment to Thomas or bring back Ronnie. But with Thomas being fairly unproven, I just feel that the Dolphins would be better suited to acquire someone that is capable of carrying the rock 15-20 times a game.
Enter my plan B for the Dolphins if signing DeAngelo Williams isn’t in the cards, Ahmad Bradshaw. The Giants reportedly have made resigning him a priority this offseason and Bradshaw would love to return to New York. But his counterpart Brandon Jacobs is scheduled to make $9.55 million in base salary in 2011, and if he isn’t cut, the Giants may not be able to afford to keep both.
Fantasy football! The Wikipedia definition of fantasy football is as follow, “Fantasy football is an interactive, virtual competition in which people manage professional football players versus one another. Fantasy football allows people to act as general managers of a pseudo-football team.” My definition is slightly different. The Daniel Eliesen definition of fantasy football is very simply, “Fantasy football is the thing that consumes 24 hours a day, for 7 days a week of my life.” That being said it’s time for my summer 2011 fantasy football preview. Some might say it’s way too early to be writing this blog but I want to have it as a reference in August when the free agency and trade period of the off season was practically over, and depth charts have begun to be formed. Due to the fact it is a tad bit early to project how things will change this off season, I will only make a mock draft of the first round of a 12 team PPR and Non PPR league.
Before I start out my mock draft, I wanted to give a shout out to @yahoonoise Brad Evans of yahoo sports who is basically my go to for all fantasy football news. In terms of fantasy football, he is your guy. (Well in less you like my advice betterJ)
Before you analyze and look over my picks, you should take into account my thought process of most of my selections. In fantasy football the key thing to look for in WR’s and RB’s is drafting players who get Rushes (rushing attempts) and Targets (how many times the player is thrown too). When I draft a player I want to make sure that he is seeing the ball on almost every play. The more times the ball is in my player’s hand the more opportunity there is for him to put up the big points.
So without further a due
Round 1 – Non PPR League
1) Johnson, Chris
- Coming off a good but not great year, I still have CJ coming off the board first because the Titans offense runs through this guy. With a new rookie QB you know he is going to get the ball. CJ is one of a select few in the NFL that has the ability to make a 2 yard run into a 90 yard burst to the end zone.
2) Peterson, Adrian
- Another murky situation at the QB position makes Peterson role with the Vikings even larger. While the Vikings might struggle this year, I think Peterson will have an outstanding year.
3) Charles, Jamaal
- Charles showed last year that he is the real deal. Despite sharing the back field with Thomas Jones he was still able to find his way to Hawaii. I expect more rushes this year and even better numbers.
4) Foster, Arian
- Last year Foster was the unquestionable top player in fantasy football, no long under the radar there will be questions whether he can repeat his brilliance of a year ago.
5) Rodgers, Aaron
- Not much I need to say to defend this guy, top fantasy QB two years in a row and was the top NFL QB last year taking his team to the big dance and winning it all.
6) Jones-Drew, Maurice
- MOJO’s wheels have slowed down a bit this past year with a little bit of an off year but like Peterson and Johnson he will remain the focal point of this offense and should get a bulk load of carries which should equal to fantasy football points
7) Rice, Ray
- Ray Ray is a talented scat back running back that gave many fantasy owners headaches last year with his up and down play but hopefully he can come back with a strong year like the one he had 2 years ago.
8) Vick, Michael
- Vick’s value in fantasy is so high due to the fact that not only does he produce points through all the passing statistic but his legs will help your fantasy squad as well.
9) Johnson, Andre
- As long as Andre the Giant is healthy he is by far the most consistent fantasy WR in the league and has been for the past 3 – 4 years.
10) Turner, Michael
- Turner the burner has increased value in NON PPR leagues because he doesn’t really catch the ball all that much but the guy has a knack for finding the end zone so still has major fantasy value.
11) Gore, Frank
- This one is tough, Gore when healthy is a top 5 fantasy back year in and year out BUT the dude is never healthy, some people might not even gamble on Gore in the first round due to his previous injuries but if he manages to stay on the field you will certainly be rewarded.
12) McCoy, LeSean
- McCoy has more value in a PPR league but still managed to put up big points last year regardless of the scoring system.
Round 1 –PPR League
- Johnson, Chris
- Foster, Arian
- Peterson, Adrian
- Charles, Jamaal
- Rodgers, Aaron
- Rice, Ray
- Jones-Drew, Maurice
- Vick, Michael
- Johnson, Andre
- McCoy, LeSean
- Gore, Frank
- White, Roddy
You will notice I made a couple of changes in the PPR draft. Foster last year nabbed a bunch of passes through the air and his value only increases in PPR leagues. Roddy White replace his fellow Falcon Michael Turner in the first round due to Turners lack of pass catching skills and White’s incredible consistency.
I am a fantasy football junky, so for me its fun to make these projections even as early as in May but surely my board will look a little different after off season is over, and free agents are signed and players are traded. I look forward to hearing what you guys think of how my mock draft lines up now, so let me know what you think about this year’s fantasy football season and where you think players will be drafted.