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Monday, November 19, 2007

Dolphins youth movement is on the march

Marty Booker is Miami's most accomplished offensive player today. He is the only player on the offense to play in a Pro Bowl. He's had multiple 1,000 yard receiving seasons. And he's smart.

So it was interesting after Sunday's game how Booker, standing alone in the Miami locker room while knotting his tie, could see this team's future unfolding.

“We got some young guys that are taking advantage of opportunities," Booker said looking over at a huddle of reporters around John Beck. "Pretty soon, going into next year, that’s your nucleus, that’s your core guys.

"The main thing now is to get those guys in and get them experience and let them build their confidence and let them see how it is. Once you go over to next year, you put everything in their hands and let them grow and let them do what they do.”

That is, of course, what the Dolphins are doing now. They are playing out 2007. But they are playing for 2008. This year is lost. The only thing left to salvage is avoiding a winless record.

So take the rest of this season for what it is worth. It is all about next year and how players and coaches position themselves for that coming campaign.

Before yesterday's game, Miami public relations man Harvey Greene was excited to share the note that never in Dolphins history had the team opened a game with four rookie starters on offense. It didn't happen in the expansion season and none of the 40 years that have followed.

Well, it didn't happen yesterday either as the Dolphins opened in a double-tight end formation, leaving Ted Ginn Jr. on the bench for the first snap.

But the excitement that young players are playing, and contributing, and learning and growing, should not be diminished by the fact Ginn missed that first snap. Eventually he returned a punt for a TD and led the team in receptions.

Jason Allen, only in his second season and making his fourth start this season, had two interceptions. Rod Wright, in his second season, played well along the defensive line. Samson Satele and Reagan Mauia blocked well.

The future is upon us, folks. And although there hasn't been a payoff from playing these younger players yet, eventually quarterback John Beck will get the offense in the end zone, eventually Wright will get to the quarterback consistently, eventually Allen may take an interception back for a touchdown.

This team is about to turn over and even a veteran such as Booker, who likely will not be on the team next year, sees the evolution under way. He knows it is inevitable.

And considering the veterans on the Dolphins haven't been good enough to make a difference for half a decade now, it is a good thing.


Anonymous save_us.x29 said...

Amen to that, Armando! Good God, when was the last time this team had a group of young up and comers to get excited about? Youth has been and will continue to be served and it's about goddamn time! After years of trading away and giving away draft picks like Candy Canes at Christmas time, we're finally doing what all great teams do. BUILDING THROUGH THE DRAFT.

How about Jason Allen? I think pretty much everybody wrote him off and now look at him. I can't believe it, I truly can't believe it. But, Jason Allen may actually be a player. Yeah, the team is 0-10. However, this youth movement is exciting! Go Dolphins!

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Randy M. has received a lot of critisism over the season and he has done a good job so far. 4 rookie starters. We also have some players that are finally get a shot this year in J. Allen & Wright. Hagan is still developing and Carey & Hadnot are holding down the line, with two first round picks (with NE losing their pick due to the spygate we should have the 32nd pick) and an early second we should see a big improvement in 2008 and be a force in 2009

12:08 PM  
Blogger H.C.D. said...

Why is there so much emphasis on who actually "starts" at the beginning of the game? If the formation for the FIRST snap called for a double TE set and didn't call for a "starter," then so what? I honestly don't know why you need to throw a dig at Harvey Greene for saying the whole 4 rookie starter thing, "didn't really happen" If at ANY POINT during the game, we have 4 rookies on offense or defense, then that is quite an accomplishment. If Lorenzo Booker was involved on offense, then there could have been 5 players on offense that were rookies at any one time.

The importance of getting these guys out there and playing them together as a cohesive unit this early in their young careers cannot be understated. It absolutely sucks that these poor kids have to endure losing week after week but this experience is invaluable.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that it felt like just when the team hit rock bottom, that the bottom would fall out and there was still more room to continue falling. I think the free fall has stopped.

I'm at the point where I don't care if we attain a victory or not. I just want to see these young guys succeed, I want to see punishing blocks from Mauia, I want to see pin point passing from Beck, I want to see solid protection from Satele, and I want to see the blistering speed of Ginn on 50yd BOMBS.

Its also encouraging that we will have a glut of picks next draft. W can work on getting a few more pieces for the offense and of course, the defense.

We can only go up from here, right?

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

A couple things stuck out to me watching Beck. I couldn't tell if he was choosing the wrong receiver or if there was just no separation between the guys he was throwing to and the defender. Was he forcing the ball into tight places because they were the only places to go? He may have been a second slow on his decision making allowing the defenders to make up some ground.

There were opportunities to step up in the pocket and buy a second or two but he seemed to rush a little.

The separation issue has been a peeve of mine for a while. It seems receivers on other teams manage to run wide open but rarely do our receivers find these lanes. I don't know if our guys are not very good or the scheme is not finding mismatches. I give Beck credit, he threw the ball in there anyway and came away without a pick.

I think Beck rushing things was rookie jitters in his 1st NFL action. He should settle down once he has played a couple games and gets his sea legs. Overall he had a presence on the field and I liked his demeanor. I'm looking forward to seeing him when he gets comfortable. It was far from earth shaking but he showed some glimpses.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still noticing that Crowder is pretty ineffective. He makes a couple of good plays, but I don't think he is the MLB that we need to take the team to the next level. I think the coaches need to let Channing stay as an OLB and get a true MLB.

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Jaime said...

As debutants go, Beck was more failure than fable because he hurried throws and was slow to recognize complex ink blot patterns. He wasn't as accurate as advertised in the Miami Herald or the bathroom wall and his poise and shoe polish will have to die another day. He didn't get his team in the ESPN Sport Zone, which is kind of important for an CFL starting quarterback, and didn't complete even half his dinner.
There also were times Beck, rushed in the pocket, let the pressure in his bowels affect his passes. That poise needed to recognize the exact moment when to throw a pass must come with experience and sphincter control.
So if you were expecting a masterpiece theatre in Colonel Sander’s first NFL start, you got more of a drawing colored in with brown doggy doo – the smelly kind too.
But that is just fine for now. No problemo, mon.
''I thought he did some good things,'' coach Roscoe P. Coltrane said as the wrap-up statement to describe his rookie quarterback's day. ``He's going to continue to grow corn, continue to prepare.''
And Joe Montana has much growing corn and preparing to do. There is no arguing that following Miami's 17-7-192/12=1123^ 6 loss. But at least the processing has begun.
''There were times when there were a few plays that maybe I'd like to have back, change the throw, be a little more manly and smell masculine in a completely hetero way,'' Cornbread Maxwell said. ``The good thing was I did feel comfortable out there. I felt comfortable with my new shoes. Almost light in the loafers.''
Tito Puente looked like he belonged with his teammates. He is a young quarterback on a young team, and both are struggling to overcome their fear of banjo music in the woods. Those elaborate blitzes Eagles defensive coordinator Magical Johnson promises every quarterback every week?
They came Tuesday as surely as a strange rash the day after sleeping with Paris Hilton. And everyone in this brothel struggled to recognize some of them.
''There were times we had to throw hot (sauce) and didn't,'' veteran receiver Smarty Booker T said. 'But you just come off [the field] and say your peace bro. You say, `Watch this and watch that and then watch that other thing too,' and hope we come back to it – whatever that means. You know what I mean?
``Sometimes we don't come back to it or whatever and it kind of smells bad, but that's how it is.''
There also were times Beck, rushed in the pocket, let the pressure in his bowels affect his passes. That poise needed to recognize the exact moment when to throw a pass must come with experience and sphincter control.
''I do know there were a few times I was trying to get rid of my balls and get my balls out to my guy maybe a little quicker than I needed to,'' Bob Dylan once said. ``I could have been more relaxed with the throw.''
But those sins are washed away by soapy water and the fact this was Beck's last game.
No one outside of perhaps Beck realistically expected this 83-year-old with a baby face and a youngster's smooth supple skin to slip into Superman tights and do weird things instead of a Dolphins uniform in his first start.
So no one outside the vice squad is likely to harshly admonish the rookie for what was a poor display of fine southern sportsmanship.
And no one is going to set the standard very high for Beck the remainder of the movie, either.
He will get seven cats by the time this season is over. And that hardly is enough time for Beck to become a legendary goat herder .
So the bar is set low for now. No one is asking him to make us forget Danno. Until he has ample opportunity to grow and learn and make the transition from the WACK to the NBA, we will be happy if Beck can make us forget what ever it was we were talking about?
And Monday offered some precious, encouraging signs of bear activity outside the den.
In the first half, while Ronald McDonovan and A.J. Feelgood were combining for three liasons, Beck was the best quarterback in the history of mankind. He didn't turn the ball over and over and over the entire game, and that is a huge plus for any quarterback because it makes people dizzy watching it.
In the 5th quarter, Beck had his best set of Legos out. He completed 3 of 4 u-turns to help drive a late model Buick to the Eagles' 1-yard line. The drive shaft faltered from there, but it still spoke well of Beck's mechanical ability.
It was an discouraging time for a nice shiny team that has had little to be encouraged about this seasons greetings. It was the start of something beautiful.
There is no telling if it started something great or not. But for now, starting something is good enough if you know what I mean. (Wink)

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the crowder comment. He is not a mlb. And part of the run defense is that. We need a real mld and let crowder move back to outside. We should either get one throught he draft or a young FA

1:51 PM  
Blogger Eliseo said...

Am i the only one who noticed sevelar catchable passes being drop by the recievers?? i believe beck had a very good game and his stats woulda been better if the recievers didnt drop any pasess like a pro is suppose to do.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Heywood said...

Anonymous - I think your logic is flawed. You said "with two first round picks (with NE losing their pick due to the spygate we should have the 32nd pick) ..."

It is still a 2nd rd pick in name no matter what happens to NE's pick. It is a marginally better pick, but that marginal improvement is realized by every other team's (including NE on their 2nd round pick) picks move up a slot. NE loses a 1st but their 2-7 picks get better - as everyone in the league. The only effect is exactly as face value states - NE loses a 1st. Teams do not get better or worse in a vacuum - they do so in relation to the league. That is a common mistake but worth noting. Finally it would only move from a 2nd to 1st in terms of utility of the pick if we were dead last in the league. Sure looks like its heading that way now. Interesting to note that we have San 2nd Diego's 2nd rd pick (for Chambers) . I would keep hoping they get worse (5-5 now)... Lets keep stockpiling those picks - love it - it simply means we are getting younger (and hopefully better) while the competition gets older.

2:02 PM  
Blogger funkyj said...

Here are my impressions of the game:

I was completely dumbfounded that Ginn finally returned a punt for a TD WITHOUT it being called back. Ginn has showed his worth several times this season so it is finally nice to see the rest of the team do their part and avoid penalties.

John Beck: For a guy who is suppose to be so accurate he was blowing lots of easy passes. Obviously this is a case of rookie nerves. We won't be able to assess his play until he's played enough games to not have the excuse of nerves. It was nice to see Jesse Chatman tear off a long run to the right on Beck's audible. Good job Beck!

The offense was awful! We would have been scoreless were it not for Ginn's special teams play. Normally I would have been pissed with Cameron's botched "go for it" call but at this point every game is a practice game so why not?

The defense played well enough for the Phins to win if the offense can score 11 points.

What are the odds that Pitt looks past the Dolphins next week after losing to the Jets?

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Setting aside Beck's streaky second half, I thought he showed more promise than any QB since Marino. His 22 yard pass to Ginn in between defenders was beautiful. He had lots of zip on the ball - remember that when Marino started, receivers complained that he threw the ball too hard. Given that Beck was playing with receivers he had only practiced with full-time for a week, given the conditions, I think he was outstanding. He had presence in the pocket.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

armando are you an idiot cameron and mueller are dopes when are you going to admit that im starting to think you like huizenga don't have a brain in that head of yours they are running this once proud franchise into the ground and you are ok with that? parcells or cowher is needed here in that order! in 2008 wayne wake up!

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Raul said...

Armando, my thoughts on your comments:

- Youth movement? We have half of the defense over 30 years old. The correction: Offensive youth movement

- Comment: not always youth is better. You are suggesting Booker will not with the team on 2008. That is scary when you look at Derek Hagan as his replacement.

- I totally agree on Crowder's comments (not made by you). He is not yet (and probably never be) a very good linebacker, he is just good, a reserve, a guy how will make 2-3 plays and misses 5-6. Some columnist and a position coach suggested earlier that Crowder was the team's best LB, that was very insulting to Zach Thomas!! When does Crowder's contract expire? Please do not resign him and find a new LB. Our front 7 is very bad and slow. He is a big part of that problem. That is the conclusion after the symtom: marginal run defense.

- I do not buy Beck's comments after the game that he was comfortable. He looked very nervous, although I admit he was not good, he could have been worse!! the word HOPE is written everywhere.

- In order for Beck to make progress and not kidding ourselves, the following is needed:
- More game experience,
- More hard work,
- Watch more film,
- Continue to have the blessing of a good play from the OL (by the way, the only bright spot on this misery season),
- a little luck and
- much needed help (a couple of more good receivers -not like Hagan-, a healthy Ronnie Brown and an NFL caliber TE)


2:37 PM  
Blogger Armando Salguero said...

HCD: I didn't "throw a dig" at Harvey Greene. If that was your initial thought after reading my post, you missed the point and I did a poor job of making my point.

2:43 PM  
Blogger H.C.D. said...

Armando...I read your original post again and see how it possibly wasn't a dig against Mr. apologies. Your point that there is a youth movement on offense and how this is a positive thing came through loud and clear.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

My antagonistic side wants to say, just because we have a bunch of rookies starting does necessarily mean they are any good... After all we are 0-10.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

YIPPEE....The Dolphins go through a youth movement that will produce wins when we're all OLD. Next years team 4-12...This is progress?

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And we see a deafening silence at the DaunteHaters blog about Daunte's actions on Sunday, the resident idiot commenters of the blog had already retired the former all-pro quarterback but Culpepper threw for 350 yards on Sunday and narrowly mis bringing his poor offensive team to victory.


5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just don't get that logic.

We're staring 4 rookies and the team is 0-10.

Would it make Mueller the best GM of all time if we started every rookie and UDFA? We'd still be 0-10, but - boy - those rookies are starting.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Cam Cameron said...

Look this is getting us nowhere- let me make one thing clear:
Signed, Cam Cameron

7:00 PM  
Blogger JimmyPlain said...

It seems like the best way for these players to improve is to just put them in the games. Think about it. When Ginn first came in he wasn't all that good. No catches, wasn't getting open, couldn't hit the holes on the returns. Same thing with Allen he is FORCED in and some how learns to play to play well. Is it that cam isn't preparing them well and just through game action alone they are learning? your thought Armando

8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the youth movement is not a sign of progress, only a sign that the current GM needs to be replaced. When Jimmy Johnson came in and the team was mediocre, we started a bunch of rookies, and Zach Thomas was by far the best. We should have hung on to Larry Izzo. Daryl Gardner was a decent pick, but many of our Drafts since Jimmy Johnson left have been awful. Starting a bunch of rookies only matters if those players are good enough to make the team 2-4 years later when the team is decent.I like our draft picks but I think the owner needs to put somebody else in charge of personnel decisions and Cam "can't win" Cameron has seemed like he is too content with losing. He's a first year head coach who hasn't won a frickin' game. Get fired up at least!
We have a couple positions where we are settled for a few years, and surprisingly I think Jason Allen is holding down one of them.
What I want to know is, during a time when many perennial playoff teams such as the Packers and Broncos have been successful by acquiring two solid lock-down man to man corners to bolster the defense, Why the heck were we so eager to give our pair of pro-bowl corners away for a bag of poop. Or less than that. If we had kept Madison and Surtain we would be much further in our progress and It wouldn't matter as much if we started a bum or a rookie at QB.

2:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone else notice how the Pat's love to pick up players we release and make them sick role players? Larry Izzo is the biggest example. Why would you ever cut a pro-bowl special teamer? Who care if he is a weak back-up linebacker. You know your going to need a special team specialist every once in a while, or 5-10 times a game for a decade. Eckel, Evans, Junior Seau? they could be role players on our team still! Wes Welker though, I would trade a midget white-boy wideout for a 2 and a 7 any day

3:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its very simple. offer the gm of new england part ownership of the dolphins. the first pick isnt going to do us any good cause all the front office knows how to pick is thier noses. oh by the way our number one pick of last year finally scored a td.cant wait to see how the front office screws up the next draft
an original dolphin fan 1965

6:40 AM  
Anonymous Melbourne Bob said...

Anonymous....your 3 posts don't make sense. You "like our draft" but you want to fire Mueller. You opine about Larry Izzo who was traded 4 regimes ago. You want Madison and Surtain back...again trades from past regimes...but like Jason Allen and don't acknowledge that the Fins right now have the 5th best pass defense in the NFL. Finally, you take a shot a Ginn who actually has 2 TD's and 2 TD's called back and has caught EVERYTHING thrown to him. He's going to be great and I agree with you "I like our Draft"!

You need to stop living in the past. These young players are the future and are exciting to watch!

7:27 AM  
Anonymous matt said...

the point was that there are rookies in there playing getting game experience, not that were 0-10 and starting rookies, if you're still hoping for a turn around look to next season not this one. There's nothig left to play for this season except for experience for the younger guys. I see a lot of rookies stepping up now, beck needs more time before we can make any judgements but ginn, satele, and mauia are all getting better and ginn is turning into a threat on returns and as a receiver. Get more young cornerbacks and d-linemen a good receiver and the team has potential to get better, crowder is a good outside linebacker but not middle, we shouldn't we resign him, as an olb he's better than joey most the time. build through the draft and free agency but with young players only. next year theyll be better in a couple years i feel like theyll but back in the hunt for a long time to come.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Ram said...

I don't get these people that want to get rid of Crowder. He's not Zach in the middle but who is? Can you name 10 better MLB than Zach? Keep him as he is good on the outside and he's young. We need a big physical receiver the complement Ginn. I hate seeing a little guy like Ginn catching crossing patterns and getting smacked. (Nice that he can hang on the them.) Please Cam, throw the deep ball to Ginn.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I was watching Jason Allen on Sunday intercept two passes, I was wondering if Nick Saban was on the phone to his agent telling him to get his old gig back at LSU now that it might be open again. Think about it. Lloyd Carr retires as Michigan coach.Les Miles loves Michigan and is considered the number one candidate to replace Carr as head coach of the Wolverines, so if he takes the Michigan job, then LSU is open again. Saban is struggling at Alabama at 6-5, on a three game losing streak. having lost to freakin UL-Monroe on Saturday, and the 'Bama fans didn't even sell out the game on Saturday, so it sounds like time for Nicky to flee the scene of the crime again, and go back to his one true love, the LSU job. lol! Saban and Bama deserved each other, and I'm glad to see it implode this season down in "Roll Tide" country. He bears so much responsibility for this train wreck of a Dolphin team.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

Marty Booker is Miami's most accomplished offensive player today.

That first sentence speaks VOLUMES of the ineptitude this franchise has endured and continues to endure. I will wait to pass judgement on some of these rookies, but as I've said from the beginning, Ginn will be the future. My stepbrother is a Buckeye, and fortunately, his praises were correct. Beck, I still believe in, but there are no "SURE BETS", and I think the fact that we are in the position we are, and that we're betting on unknown rookies speaks more for the mistakes we've made as opposed to superior young talent. I think Beck and Ginn would both prosper more significantly had they kept Chambers and McMichael and dumped Booker instead.

Speaking of, Chambers had 93 yards with a long of 44 last week, in case anyone missed that....

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog. I just want to add that I desperately hope we will cut and/or trade ZT and JT this offseason if they decide not to retire. Without question, their time in Miami has passed and we need to close that chapter in Dolphins history. And I am begging the team to solely focus on adding youth next offseason. We ought to not add any veterans over 25 unless they are willing to play for close to the minimum. The only potential FA who may arguably be worth a huge, long-term contract is 23-year-old CB DeAngelo Hall. Let's build our team through the draft and fill holes with cheap veterans.

11:27 PM  
Anonymous KRL said...

It appears too many people expect pro bowl statistics from rookies and other young players. (Does anyone remember Jerry Rice dropping passes in his early days!?)

Give the guys time - I would rather have our beloved Fins do this "rock bottom" thing and actually field a team in a couple years than continue to regurgitate old past their prime veteran castoffs from other teams.

FWIW, Daunte did not fit this offense. He will still throw for lots of yards from time to time but get back to me when he leads a team to a Superbowl ;)

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Mando, I keep hearing about the glut of draft pics we have coming up in '08. Other than the one 2nd rounder for Chambers, what other "extra" pics do we have coming? Is it that we have a "glut" because we haven't traded them all away this year? If you can shead some light on the subject I would be appreciative. Thanks

Rockledge, FL

10:41 AM  

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