There’s already been a lot of speculation and “inside information” (which is really just a reporter making a guess while pretending to have a friend on the inside) about which players the Dolphins will keep and who will walk, etc.
And before we start, just remember what I always point out: Nobody is ever cut because of salary reasons. They are let go because, in someone’s eyes, they aren’t good anymore. If you are a zillion dollars OVER the cap, there are still creative ways to afford new free agents, and this happens all the time. So when the team says “It was a business decision,” don’t buy it.
Let’s start with Julius Thomas, who was a bust of epic proportions in 2017. Here’s a man with a long history of working with Adam Gase. Let’s face it: Gase added Thomas as a personal favor to a friend, because he certainly didn’t bring him aboard to drop passes and run incorrect routes. Thomas dropped so many easy passes this year that he looked like DeVante Parker. He was an utter embarrassment, and he hurt the Dolphins far more than anyone else on offense.
Needless to say, Thomas is gone. Gase will say he is gone because it’s a salary decision, and will not acknowledge how awful Thomas played. And, sadly, in Gase’s mind, Thomas probably did play well.
Ju’Wuan James is our starting right tackle. Like the rest of our line, he had an up-and-down year. He made mistakes, but otherwise he was steady. The Dolphins merry-go-round on the offensive line has to end now. We need to keep Ju’Wuan James. He may never be an All Pro, but I’ll pay more for some stability and reliability, rather than being cheap and bringing in some old free agents or even more young undrafted free agents. That has not worked. Pay James, or even overpay James. But let’s keep some continuity for once.
Jermon Bushrod is another lineman who the “experts” say should be gone. Again, Bushrod is steady when he’s healthy. He’s not a devastating force on the line, but he’s serviceable and knows the offense. Drafting a guard in the early rounds will be a mistake, especially since we need playmakers on defense.
With regard to James and Bushrod and the rest of the line, can you name me one game that the line cost us? Sure, they let up some sacks and had numerous false starts. But in no game were they manhandled the entire time. Cutler cost us games. Moore cost us games. Certainly Julius Thomas and Devante Parker cost us games. Even Jarvis Landry fumbling all over the place in our last two games contributed to losses. But the line? Leave it be and hope the younger guys step up.
That leads us to Landry. Although he infuriates me with his after-play antics, he’s one of the few players fighting to win. There is no doubt that he hates to lose, and that means a lot on a team when everyone else is so fine with losing. (For example, we’re still waiting for Ryan Tannehill to show some anger with a loss or a bad play). Landry is our best playmaker on offense, and it’s a no-brainer that he’ll be back.
While other analysts see Lawrence Timmons as a bust, he really won me over. After skipping the first two games because of some whacky immaturity involving his kid, Timmons grew into our best linebacker. Yes, I know that’s not saying much. I’m not looking up the number of tackles or hits or sacks. I’m just going by instincts after watching every single Dolphins’ play. Timmons was decent in coverage and chased down quite a few guys. He has that Steeler pedigree, which goes far. Seriously, which of our linebackers was the best of the bunch? No one stands out for me. But at least Timmons wasn’t out of position every other play or getting beat by tight ends every other play.
Anthony Fasano is a guy I would beg to stay another year. He was our most steady tight end, and very under-utilized by Arrogant Adam Gase. All year long, Gase continually called plays for Julius Thomas. After Thomas got hurt, Gase called plays for practice squadder AJ Derby. It was ridiculous. Fasano is a valuable receiver, and Gase is just clueless on how to use him. You don’t have to consider these subjective opinions. Just watch tape of all the drops Julius Thomas had this year. It’s baffling why Gase kept going to him.
So I’m in favor of keeping James, Timmons, Fasano, and even Bushrod. I’m certainly against re-signing Julius Thomas.
That leads us to the draft.
I would select linebackers in the first 4 rounds. Nothing but linebackers. We need defensive playmakers desperately, especially at that position. I would fish for a backup QB in with our second 4th-round pick. Then I’d go back to defense.
Our offense already has the materials to succeed. We have some dynamic play-makers. We need a play-CALLER who understands that.
In our next blog, I will write about the coaching situation. I’ll assess Adam Gase and discuss what coaching changes need to be made. Ideally, Ross fires Gase and gives us Jon Gruden, but this is Dolphins Truth, not Fantasy Land. 🙁