MDD Staff Writer: Chad Pullen
Maybe the Miami Dolphins should have given Dan Marino jersey number 14 in 1983. Because replacing #13 sure seems about as lucky as chasing a black cat under a ladder with a broken mirror in your hand for 13 hours staight.
With Matt Flynn signing in Seattle, many Dolphin fans resumed their search for the perfect bridge to leap off of and panic was the word tossed around carelessly by the national media. Folks, what was Matt Flynn going to do to make everyone feel so much better?
It did seem like a natural fit, on paper. New head coach Joe Philbin coached Flynn in Green Bay, Flynn knows the system Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman will install in Miami, he seemed to have a leg up on everyone else. However, if that same coach doesn’t feel Matt Flynn is worth offering more than 26 million dollars, why does everyone else? Pete Carrol in Seattle is going into his 3rd season as head coach, and this will be his 3rd QB in those three years, not exactly the recipe for great success. And unfortunately for Flynn, he does not get to bring all of his Green Bay wide receivers and tight ends with him to Seattle, nor would he get to bring them to Miami if he had chosen to sign there. So before everyone takes that final leap, take a step back and try to see the bigger picture.
Matt Moore played in 11 more games than Flynn has in his entire career, just last year. Moore has played in 35 games in his four years and has shown flashes of being the game managing type of QB that is popular when you do not have the “franchise” type QB on your roster. Moore may never win an MVP, or take a team to the Super Bowl, but he can play the position and costs the Dolphins about six million dollars less than Flynn would. It may be possible that Philbin and Sherman together can help to improve Matt Moore and help him develop even further in 2012. He will not be the long term solution in Miami, but he could be a cheaper bridge to that future QB while the team addresses other needs first.
The 2012 NFL Draft is a month away and after Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are selected with the first two picks, the next two names off the board at QB should be Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden. They are both decent prospects, and Tannehill could be a natural fit as he played under coach Sherman at Texas A&M, however, if the Dolphin front office is wise and looking ahead, they will see the 2013 NFL Draft is deep in quarterback potential and could produce an even better prospect than one they could select next month. Seniors that will be available after their final season, Matt Barkley, Landry Jones, Tyler Wilson, Geno Smith, Sean Renfree, Jordan Rodgers (Aaron Rodgers brother) EJ Manuel, Mike Glennon, and Collin Klein. Underclassmen that could declare and join this class include Tyler Bray, Logan Thomas, Bryn Renner, AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray, Casey Pachall, and Pete Thomas. Not all of the names on this list will declare, (or even be guaranteed first round picks) but if even half of them do, you’re looking at a class that could approach 1983 levels, the year that Miami handed Marino #13. Keep in mind, that class was so deep, Marino was selected 26th in the first round. Miami most likely will not be drafting in the mid 20’s next year so no one should worry about missing out on the right prospects like this year. Had Barkley, Jones, and Wilson all declared for this year’s draft, suddenly the Dolphins would have plenty of QB’s to choose from with pick #8. With next year being even deeper, having a top 15-18 pick should be more than enough to land a top shelf signal caller.
Hopefully the Dolphin front office doesn’t cave to fan pressure and reach for a QB that could cause them to miss out on the class of 2013. Veteran David Garrard will be visiting the Dolphins today, if Miami can sign him to a modest contract and go through the 2012 season with Matt Moore, Garrard, and project QB Pat Devlin on the roster, that should allow them to be in position to take a franchise QB next year. In the meantime, solidify the roster with an improved Oline, depth at receiver, and add a couple playmakers on defense and suddenly the roster is in better shape for a QB to step right in and lead the Dolphins back into playoff and hopefully Super Bowl contention.