Sunday, May 8, 2011

No QB For You

I knew it.  I knew it I knew it I knew it.  The Dolphins needed to draft a top QB prospect.  We all knew it.  But for the 28th consecutive season, and the 12th since the retirement of Dan Marino, the organization would not pull the trigger on one.  Three times in the past decade Miami chose not to use a first round pick on what would have been a franchise quarterback.  Drew Brees in 2001.  Aaron Rodgers in 2005.  Matt Ryan in 2008.  All could be Dolphins right now.  (To their credit the team also passed on Brady Quinn in 2009).  No matter who has had the final say in personnel matters for the franchise, the common denominator has been that none of them believe in gambling a top pick on a quarterback.  All have preferred the safety of free agency.   And nothing changed in 2011.  Jeff Ireland had a chance to say yes to Ryan Mallet, Colin Kaepernick, or Andy Daulton in the first round.  He said no.  Miami went the safe route and went Mike Pouncey, a center/guard.  The pre-draft consensus had Pouncey as a solid dependable player but not quite as good as his brother DeMarkice, a ? for the Pittsburgh Steelers  (I saw one commenter at The Herald say "Great.  We got the Frank Stallone of the draft").     Well, it's not the like the team didn't need another good lineman.  But a new center or guard isn't taking this team to the Promised Land.   
Ok, maybe if a qurterback fell Miami could still get a bargain in the next round. Problem was the Fins didn't have a 2d round pick. Well, as it turned out they had a good amount of later round picks to use and they packaged them in a deal to move up into the 2d round. And Ryan Mallet was still there. Would this be the awaited quarterback move? Uh, no. Miami grabbed RB Daniel Thomas instead. Well, it's not like the team didn't need to get a new running back. But focusing on improving the ground game isn't how you win in the 21st Century NFL. Look at all the stud QB's that have won Super Bowls over the last 15 years. Favre, Elway, Warner, Brady, Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, Brees, Rodgers. Eli Manning was a #1 pick and has been a Pro Bowl QB. The only two Super Bowl winners who might be considered below average, Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson, also happened to play for teams with all-time great defenses. It wsn't the running game that got those teams over. The Dolphins might field a fine defense in 2011 but I doubt it's going to be the kind of defense that can carry a team to a championship.
There's no obvious answer in free agency and as the lockout drags on there might even be the opportunity to grab a free agent QB. So once again it all rides on Chad Henne's shoulders. Sometimes a team just needs to roll the dice and grab a potential franchise QB. Sure it can blow up in your face but you're not going to win anything unless you try. Look at the Chargers. Could that Ryan Leaf pick have turned out any worse for that team? But just a few years later they got Drew Brees. And a few years after that they spent an even higher pick on Phillip Rivers. They haven't made the Super Bowl yet but they've been a perennial contender at least for the last seven years. Seven! Because they focus on the QB position. Miami doesn't. And until they do they aren't contending for a Super Bowl. Unless Chad Henne busts out of that cocoon in 2011 of course.

1 comment:

J.A. Morris said...

Matt Moore? Are you kidding?