The subpar performance by the Miami Dolphins this season leaves a lot of questions in hand.
With all the uncertainties and questions revolving the offense, there is no question: Things need to change.
Head Coach? Let's face it, Tony Sparano still is a good fit in Miami. He has established a new energy and vision in Miami that had been missing for quite sometime.
But, is he the guy who is finally going to bring the long awaited Lombardi Trophy back to Miami? That remains in question.
Though Sparano is a tremendous motivator and team leader, his game strategy is very questionable. Sparano has never been the "X's and O's" guy; history has shown us it is the heady IQ breed of coaches who are the ones that have their teams playing in January and February.
If Stephen Ross decides to give Sparano the can and brings in someone established like Bill Cowher or Jeff Fisher, their credibility will have the immediate approval and backing of the fan base as well as the players' attention.
However, this is the decision that will have to be made by Ross very soon.
Offensive Coordinator? Dan Henning was at the fore front of the Dolphins dismal offensive play this year.
Stephen Ross can expect one of two things if he does nothing to address the OC situation:
1) An empty Sun Life Stadium.
2) A Sun Life Stadium filled with irate fans. It seems anyone would be an upgrade from Henning and his frustrating offensive philosophy and play-calling. Given Miami's tools on offense, a young, fresh-minded OC would probably be best suited.
Quarterback? Everyone in Miami is calling for Chad Henne's head. Though Henne is still very young, it's going to be hard to see him make any drastic improvements unless the entire quarterback situation is changed.
First, they must get rid of Thigpen. He will never be the anwser, so Miami might as well bring in some young quarterback to develop and put some heat on the guys ahead of him.
Some veteran options are Kevin Kolb, Vince Young, Donovan McNabb and Kyle Orton. All of these guys are low risk-high reward options. And it seems with Stephen Ross love of the celebrity and big name guys, I could see Miami taking a chance on Vince Young, the same way Philadelphia took a chance on Mike Vick.
Running Back? It won't be Ricky Williams, who at 34, torched his way out of town with a postseason radio rant earlier this week. He's also a free agent.
The question is whether Ronnie Brown, another free agent, returns. There could be some solid free agents and players on the block available, such as Carolina's Deangelo Williams, Michael Bush, Ahmad Bradshaw or Darren Sproles.
Wide Receiver? This is a position where Miami is pretty solid in, with the acquisition of Brandon Marshall and undrafted gem Davone Bess.
All that is missing from this core is the speedy deep-threat guy with hands that would open up things for Marshall and Bess. Miami would be best suited aiming to improve in this area via draft.
Fans know this improvement would only work if the offensive coordinator situation was handled first because teams won't be afraid of you going deep when you're afraid to go deep.
How should they draft? It's pretty obvious the main focus of the draft will be on improving Miami's struggling offense.
If Miami does not trade down and keep their No. 15 pick, Mark Ingram (if still available) would be the no-brainer choice here.
If Ingram is not available, it would be best suited to trade down and pick up a tail back in the second round. I am positive Miami will make a move before the draft to secure the second round pick (by either Ronnie Brown or Channing Crowder trade) that was given up for Brandon Marshall last summer.
With that in mind, I could see Miami drafting either a speedy wide out like Niles Paul or Jerell Jernigan, or a proven guard/tackle in Stefan Wisniewski, Rodney Hudson or Marcus Cannon.
Then expect Miami to go with a athletic tight end selection in the third round, although it wouldn't surprise me if Miami looked at improving on their all ready impressive defense. Some possible tight end prospects are Mike McNeil or the high potential pick in Rob Housler.
With Rounds 4 and 5, I could see Miami addressing the quarterback and o-line situation. Possible quarterback choices here could be T.J. Yates, Andy Dalton, or Nathan Enderle; O-line prospects to consider are Clint Boling, Derek Hall or Mike Pouncey.
The remaining rounds could be used on adding athletic pieces to challenge reserves on offense and improve Miami's return game. Familiar Miami names like Graig Cooper and Damien Berry will also be considered in the later rounds of the draft.
Don't underestimate the draft class this year; if Miami plays the draft correctly, they have a chance to improve in many area's and push closer to that consistent playoff contender the "Dolfans" have been waiting a long time for.
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