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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Saturday's game most important to L.J. Shelton

L.J. Shelton is perhaps the biggest enigma on the Dolphins roster and it seems his opportunity to convince management he is worthy of a job in Miami is starting to disappear.

Shelton has one game, two max, to show he truly is a consistent, motivated performer because he has not done that to this point in training camp. And if the veteran doesn't reach that consistency and high-motor aggression, he'll probably find himself looking for a job.

That's right. L.J. Shelton could get cut or traded if he's not careful.

The reason is the coaching staff has been trying to prod Shelton to produce at the level they expect -- at the level he reached at times last year -- before they give up on him. The Dolphins need Shelton to be a starter somewhere on the offensive line, or at least promise to be a GREAT backup if something happens to a starter.

Shelton didn't respond early on, reporting to camp overweight and showing little desire to improve his lot.

So coach Cam Cameron responded by unceremoniously demoting Shelton once then again. The guy who has been a starter all his career has been running with rookies, undrafted free agents and other guys likely to be cut throughout training camp. He's been playing at the end of each of the first two preseason games -- AKA garbage time.

The problem for Shelton is he can't afford to continue playing as he has been because his contract pretty much prevents the Dolphins from accepting that.

Shelton is scheduled to make $2 million in base salary this year and it says here there is no way the Dolphins will allow him to collect that kind of money while underperforming -- especially not when they can have a young guy, a guy who may be on the rise compared to Shelton being on the decline, a guy that would make about one-fifth of what Shelton is making.

So Shelton's got to improve to earn his keep or his salary will force the Dolphins to get rid of him.

Of course, the team may decide to ask Shelton to take a pay cut in exchange for allowing him to take up space in the locker room as an emergency backup.

But that course has many obstacles. Shelton, who has a pretty high opinion of himself, may not take the pay cut. And even if he does, the team would have to consider what kind of influence Shelton would be on Miami's young offensive linemen if he's unhappy after accepting a pay cut.

So where does that leave us?

"He’s got a ways to go," coach Cam Cameron said when I asked about Shelton this week. "I like his consistent approach. He’s developed an ability – that’s what I need to see, a guy with a consistent approach. If he’s doing it consistently average, then we’ve got to get that effort to where we need it and then if you can get a consistent effort out of a guy you can really get a true evaluation of what he is.''

That's coachspeak for: They guy has become somewhat consistent, but he's just average. We need to try to raise his level of play beyone what we've seen.

"I’m looking forward to seeing how he plays on Saturday night,” Cameron finished.

We should all watch -- to get a clue whether Shelton will be around or not.

Your thoughts?

24 Comments:

Anonymous John Michaels said...

It's put up or shut up time for L.J. Shelton. We've seen that Coach Cameron is not afraid to get rid of players that underachieve. We all know that Shelton can be a solid offensive lineman in the NFL. It's a shame that his work ethic is so piss poor. If Shelton is serious about being a starter, he'll step up and perform at the level Coach Cameron expects him to be at.

If he doesn't want to perform, then he needs to get the hell out of Miami. I think it's safe to say, that we'll all have our eyes on L.J. Shelton this Saturday.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Orca said...

If the coaches have not seen something they like by now from Shelton, its far to late. Same goes for Hadnot. Get some motivated guys in there.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

If player needs to be threatened to peform, well that kind of performer will never be adequate. As it is he is struggling to be adequate. Cam once said past conduct is the best indicator of future conduct...so, if that was more than just a clever comment, time to let him go and stop wasting cycles in vain on this guy.

10:49 PM  
Anonymous ceed said...

We might as well bring in Mike Williams if that's the kind of player we want. If he's making significantly less than I say move him back to guard and see what he can do there but he obviously isn't working out at tackle and I don't see an improvement happening anytime soon. I can see our line at the start of the season being Carey Liewienski Satele Hadnot Alabi, and any word on Mike Rosenthal because he is definitely better than our other option at right tackle at this point but for some reason I get the feeling he is less than healthy.

10:50 PM  
Anonymous edswood said...

I agree it seems that Shelton's fate is already sealed unless he all of sudden plays like Ogden in this next game. For all of Cams talk he seems to make his mind up on first impression and not change it. Orca, I completely disagree with putting Shelton and Hadnot in the same boat. Hadnot was the best player on the line last game and had a decent season last year. Mando with your inside knowledge I would love for you to explain why Hadnot got into Camerons doghouse in the fist place? With the 2 mil saved when the fins cut the underachieving Shelton they better make a concerted push for the overachieving Kendall when the Jets cut him. The rest of the line could sure use his attitude and style of play as an example. If not the fins are in huge trouble with the untalented and inexperienced lineman they have left. Mormino is definitely not ready to start and Alabi has not looked ready either. Satele has looked decent but not spectacular.
I dont care what type of offensive genius your considered to be no O-line = bad offense, just look at Detroit last year under Martz. I keep saying it Miami will go nowhere until they get some talent on the O-line. Jake Long at #1 next year please.

11:07 PM  
Anonymous FLPD said...

Guys, Shelton's fate is not sealed yet. Armando makes it clear he has one game, maybe two, in his words, to turn things around. It's not over until it's over.

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think all agree that Shelton is under performing for his salary. Unfortunately, Alabi is not NFL material and Mormino is looking like a late round pick that will require time to develop. So, if LJ's cut then the line slips from below average to terrible. The O-line is horribly weak. They'll almost certainly get Green injured early this year. Lemon and Beck should stay loose and work on their scrambling skills. Cameron will have to fill the O-line holes in free agency and the draft next year.

1:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our O-Line is so thin, Shelton is almost guaranteed to be a Dolphin.

Drafted by the Cards 1st-#21 in 1999 to 2004, Browns in 2005, he's already an expensive retread.

Good O-Linemen are scarce, anyone we could pick up during final rosters cuts will be expensive-old READY ... or young-dicey-project who can't help us NOW.

We'll still need Shelton for depth, no matter what.

Go Phins!! Cheers, JerryD

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Tom said...

I remember when Satan signed Shelton. Other anonymous GMs (according to Cole) said the Dolphins were crazy for giving Shelton so much money, that his rap was he was an under performer his entire career. So another Satan pick turns out to be a failure. What else is new?

8:12 AM  
Blogger H.C.D. said...

There is no room for under-performers on this offensive line. When L.J. Shelton came to the team, I was happy, because I felt he was a solid offensive lineman. Where has he been? What happened to the L.J. Shelton I knew? He had better step it up, lose that extra weight, get stronger and kick some ass on Saturday. I'd rather see some young hungry player take over his position than to have somebody who doesn't really want it anymore trying to make holes for Ronnie Brown.

I do believe this line is going to come together. They've got some good young guys in there and hopefully, they can gel quickly during the season and become consistent...open up some holes for the ground attack and provide time for Green to get the ball downfield.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Shelton was pretty good on the right side of the line last season, particularly in the run game. On talent alone, he is one of the top 5 offensive linemen on the team.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's hope for the sake of the team that Shelton steps it up. It is true that he has been known as an underperformer his whole career. I think the reason Saban brought him in was desperation as the OL needed help, as it still does. It's not like this former 1st rounder doesn't have the tools, he should be very good. It seems like he just does not have the drive to excel, and partly due to that high opinion he holds of himself due in large part to his 1st round draft status. What a shame to see a talented guy underperform, and a coach have to use threats to push him.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous NYScott said...

"Consistently average". That is a good description of Miami Dolphin football for a long time now. This is why they should part ways with Shelton. If you don't get better every year how are you helping the team? He doesn't seem to care and/or realize that he needs to play better as is evident by his surprise at being demoted a few weeks back. I like that we finally have a coach who will hold underacheivers accountable for their lackluster performances. He had better play out of his mind on Saturday if he still has the desire to be a starter under our new coaching staff. Don't take any crap Cam and don't listen to your detractors,,stay the course.

12:26 PM  
Blogger j dizzle said...

I say let him go and make room for Kendall when he is released. L.J has a horrible work ethic and is a terrible role model for the younger o linemen!! I say we give up a draft pick for a established O-linemen, I mean we gave up a 5th possible 4th for a old ass Trent Green because we very badly NEEDED a leader there!!! Well they should have the same feeling about the O-line!!

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lets be real. shelton has been the same player since he's entered the league. he's been very talented but not very productive. he's never played with intensity and usually has been out of shape. that's how it's been when he was with the Cardinals, the Browns and now us. He is what he is. It was dumb to give him the money we gave him in the first place. Dump him if he won't take a pay cut. I'd say just dump him even if he would take a pay cut but we just don't have enough guys at that position right now so if the price was right he'd be better than nothing. Alabi won't do any worse than what Shelton would do at RT though.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HE SUCKS JUST LIKE YOU SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please write some original crap.......you seem to like going over the same things......it's better if you don't write anything.....what did you expect...he came from Arizona...hes a journymen.....he is just as good at his job as you are.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Dolfan Girl said...

I think the previous poster SUCKS! He rips Armando but he reads Armando. Right now I can't decide if you are an idiot or just a retard.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Coaching in the NFL is much different than coaching at any other level. Many of the players make more money than the coach and cannot be motivated by same techniques used in college. The trick is to get the most out of your players, that is what defines a great coach. Shula didn't win 328 games by allowing players to underachieve. Shula had a way of getting most out of his players even if the size of their talent was much less than the size of their heart.

And there is the root of the problem with Shelton. He's got no heart. He's got millions of dollars and he's living the dream. Cameron is using the only real motivational trick he can for a guy like Shelton and that is to threaten the dream.

It should not be lost on Shelton that he has been cast off by 2 teams already and this is probably his last stop. Getting boot here probably ends the dream for Mr. Shelton... These guys are really no different than the rest of us when it comes to job performance. There are peaks and valleys but there is also a certain amount of complacency that comes with thinking you're secure. Cameron is threatening that security and I would be willing to bet that we will see a whole different LJ in this game than we have in the past two.

I like the Cameron quote Ken noted about past conduct indicating future conduct. I would say this is the last chance for Shelton, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was kept around because he is probably in the top 7 of the linemen.

1:49 PM  
Blogger j dizzle said...

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHH

Anonymous just got ragged by a female!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL

1:50 PM  
Blogger Helbourne said...

Shelton should be given one option... perform or you're history. This is a problem in all professional sports, that players believe they're owed the money they get without performing or performing when they choose. A player like him, or like Ricky places a team in a bind because they have to wait for these kinds of players to get their shit together. We are hurting offensively because Ricky cannot do without his drugs, and Shelton thinks he can play the game his way.

The NFL needs to step up, and either heavily fine, or allow the teams to take legal action to reclaim money spent and lost due to these million dollar babies. I am tired of reading about the men who think they can play their own game because of their past record. Their pay should be based on that years performance, and likewise with draftees from college. No NFL experience, but they want the big bucks just to come to your team, and then they hold out until the team pays their unbelievable asking price.

Instead of just a cap on what a team spends, there should be a cap on what a draft from college can get. Actually, it should be a pay limit across the board for new players.

That's how I feel.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Helbourne said...

Tom said...

I remember when Satan signed Shelton. Other anonymous GMs (according to Cole) said the Dolphins were crazy for giving Shelton so much money, that his rap was he was an under performer his entire career. So another Satan pick turns out to be a failure. What else is new?

Tom... you are totally correct. Most of the damage here lies with that idiot Saban. His blind sightedness in picking low quality players will haunt us for years. There are so few young men coming from college to pick from, and with competing for replacements with other teams makes it even harder to fix our deficits quickly.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous L.J Shelton said...

I'm not overpaid, am I?

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Dolfan from the beginning said...

The Dolphin OL over the years has been one of the biggest in the NFL. But the Godzilla Principle "Size Matters" doesn't apply. LJ's an example. Saban signed this horse last year to be the LT. Bottom line is that he simply got his a__ kicked. He saved face when he was moved to guard because the position was severely decimated. In reality, the team ain't getting the bang for the bucks they're paying LJ.

Cam's message is basic to LJ, "Play up to your value or 'BYE!'"

Satele will a 10+ year fixture. Mormino, Esera, & a few others will develop. Vernon Carey & Rex Hadnot will stay for a while. Liewinski & Rosenthal are stopgap measures. Toledo's health is an uncertainty. There's more work to do on the OL. Let's be patient.

I'm going into the season with expectation of improvement & the team moving in the right direction for the long haul. The Jets solved a lot of their OL woes w/10+ year fixtures like Ferguson & Mangold. The Chargers found a stud in Marcus McNeill & some diamonds in the rough that gelled into an excellent OL. I'm optimistic that the Dolphins can do the same.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

L.J. Shelton is an awesome player. All yal need to shut the hell up! So what he's big. You have to be big for that position. L.J. is AWESOME! I'm a huge fan of his...

10:53 PM  

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