One Down, One to Go
Chris Shashaty, Phins.com Columnist
so it begins.
complete makeover of the dismal Dolphins got underway earlier than expected
with the sudden resignation of Head Coach Dave Wannstedt.
is unclear right now who will be the head coach in 2005. Names rumored to be in
the running include LSU’s Nick Saban, New England’s Charlie Weis, and
Philadelphia’s Brad Childress.
thing we can be clear on is that Wannstedt’s departure will have little impact
on the fate of this putrid 2004 season. I would wager that Don Shula couldn’t
do much better with the lot that interim boss Jim Bates has inherited.
brings us to the other suspect in this year’s debacle: General Manager Rick
Wannstedt bears his share of the blame. But it was Spielman who was the chief
personnel man. It was Spielman who recommended the players to Wannstedt, who
recommended decisions every year save this one.
what you will about Wannstedt, but know this: his professionalism and commitment
to what was best for the Miami Dolphins was the ultimate lever in his decision
to resign from the team. He lived his accountability to the last.
wonders if Rick Spielman has the clarity of vision to draw the same conclusions
about himself. If he does, he’d resign immediately.
all, this is the man who believes that all of his personnel decisions have been
sound, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.
is the GM who failed to build a respectable offensive line to support the team’s
run-first philosophy. In fact, this is the GM who managed to actually downgrade the talent across the
offensive line, a unit now widely regarded as one of the worst in the NFL.
bad as the line was last year, it was some accomplishment to make things even
is the GM who decided that it isn’t good policy to re-sign one’s own good
players (e.g. Todd Wade, Adewale Ogunleye) and instead shopped for inferior and
cheap replacements (e.g. John St. Clair and Chidi Ahanotu).
case you hadn’t heard, Ahanotu quit the team last month.
is the GM who failed to adequately address the quarterback situation.
of signing a solid veteran player to lead a veteran team with a limited window
of opportunity to win, he panicked and overpaid for an inexperienced guy (a
second rounder for A.J. Feeley who had started all of 13 games since high school) and then re-signed
another (Jay Fiedler) who has proven that he cannot consistently deliver the
insult to injury, the second rounder sent to Philadelphia will likely become
the 33rd pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.
is the GM who allowed defensive end Adewale Ogunleye, the team’s 2003 Most
Valuable Player, to leave via a bad trade.
that is, for the Dolphins.
that Ogunleye’s market value was a first and third round draft pick. Instead,
Trader Rick gets Marty Booker and a third round pick out of the Bears,
declaring Booker of equal value to a first rounder (a boast that no one who
knows football truly buys).
has since done little as a Dolphin except cry into his pillow about how the
Bears betrayed him. The third rounder? Promptly traded to the Rams for running
back Lamar Gordon, a flat out bust in Mike Martz’s system.
oh by the way, Gordon is out injured…for the year.
is the GM who badly mismanaged the 2004 draft, suckered into paying a 1st
and 4th rounder for a need player (Vernon Carey) who couldn’t crack
the starting line-up behind a guy nicknamed “Turnstile” (St. Clair).
is the GM who decided to acquire an injury and behavior risk (David Boston) and
opted against drafting a young, speedy wide receiver to hedge the bet.
Boston is out injured, for the season, and is in trouble with the law.
is the GM who decided to give WR Derrius Thompson a contract extension after
Thompson caught just 23 balls for 359 yards and no TDs in 2003.
is the GM who seems mystified why you don’t see how good his moves have been,
who defends every decision in defiance of the realities of the grades his work
has earned on the field.
is the GM who has a 1-8 mark hanging around his neck, as responsible for it as
Spielman accept responsibility for what has happened on his watch, as he vowed
to do when he took the job?
will tell. For now, Spielman had better pray that Bates has more success with
this group than Wannstedt did.
it’s Spielman who should jump next.