This Labor Day Weekend was a huge one for the Miami Dolphins. On Saturday the Fins were forced, like the rest of the NFL, to cut their roster down to the limit of 53.
Some of the big names that were cut to get down to the limit were backup guard Donald Thomas, wide receiver Patrick Turner, tight end David Martin, and safety Nate Ness.
But the chaos did not stop there my fellow Fin fans. The team continued to release some big names on their roster, by terminating the contracts of defensive ends Marques Douglas and Charles Grant. The team also placed injured cornerback Will Allen on the injured reserve list, along with versatile backup offensive lineman Nate Garner. Those two will be out for the season.
The team continued their fall cleaning though when they released backup linebacker Charlie Anderson, and guard Cory Procter.
Anderson was released in favor of inside linebacker Bobby Carpenter, and the Dolphins released Douglas, Grant, Procter, and banished Allen to sign defensive ends Clifton Geathers, and Rob Rose, offensive lineman Joe Reitz, and Jermey Parnell.
The series of moves that the Dolphins made this weekend made little to no sense to me. First off, you cannot tell me that Reitz or Parnell, unproven players in the NFL, would serve as better backups to the team’s starting offensive line than Procter or Donald Thomas. Thomas has 13 starts in the NFL already, and was a proven run blocker in the league. The Dolphins questioned his motor, but they should have given him more time to develop, after all, he is a 5th round pick, not a first!
After the placement of Garner on the IR, I knew that we needed some depth on the line, so one would think that they would have kept both Procter and Thomas on the roster, instead of these young guns that might have something to prove to the league.
Thanks to these moves, the team now has little to no depth on the offensive line. To thicken the plot, the Fins also have career backup Joe Berger penciled in as the starting center, ahead of the superiorly skilled Jake Grove. This is yet another move that does not make sense because Grove was a difference maker last year in his time as a starter, and was the physical force at center that the team was looking for. Starting Berger over Grove will just digress the ground game, and throw off the whole offensive line chemistry once Grove is inserted into the starting roster again.
The decision to waive Martin puts the team in a hole as well because now they only have two tight ends available, with one on the practice squad. And did I mention that the primary backup for starter Anthony Fasano is John Nalbone, who has not suited up for a game yet in his career? For a team that likes to run two tight end sets, they sure abandoned their style with this move, which causes questions to arise on what they will do at the tight end position come gametime, and the team finds themselves in the red zone, with no proven backup tight end to insert in the red zone formation, which features two tight ends.
To keep the confusion and the anger coming, the Dolphins look to have shot themselves in the foot by placing Allen on IR. The Dolphins have announced that veteran Jason Allen will be starting this week because of the immatureness of Sean Smith. The team is waiting for Smith to grow up, and if Smith cannot outperform Allen soon, we will have to deal with Allen’s sub-par coverage skills all season long. This is where Will Allen could come into play. We know what we will get out of him, and he could come back by Week 4 strong and healthy, and be inserted right back into the starting lineup, with no problems. But because Will Allen will not be available all season long, the team will have to improvise if someone were to get hurt, or not perform.
Also, Allen has made it clear that he does not agree with the idea of sitting out the whole season, when he feels he can be back before the teams BYE in Week 5. So why would the team force one of their better players onto the injured reserve list when he feels he can play 3/4 of the season? Only the team can answer this question, and of course, they are not willing to answer.
The release of Douglas and Grant was simply uncalled for and a cheap move on the teams part. In a move to get younger, the team terminated the contracts of the two reliable vets in favor of the inexperienced Geathers and Rose. But what adds fuel to the fire, is that the team will most likely bring one of the players back next Monday after Week 1 is over and done with, so they will not have to pay the guaranteed money on the vets contract.
Talk about a cheap move. Since when are the Miami Dolphins about saving money? Since when is Bill Parcells looking past a game to save a few bucks? If you ask me, a team should have all of the players they want to have over the course of the season on their roster for Week 1, not after Week 1 because they are worried about money.
The chief reason for my major disapprovement of all of this weekends moves is because one big injury or two to the team would be devastating loss that would weaken the team. The Dolphins came into camp with an all-around deep team, now they have lost that depth, and now that injuries are starting to set in, these moves look even more questionable to me.
The Fins of course think these moves are great, but all it will take is one major loss via injury, or another losing season, and then maybe some people will be losing their jobs because of their on-going serach for young unproven talent instead of players that can help the team now.