Dolphins blame starts at the top
The Dolphins have a problem. No, not the one they stuff into uniforms and put on the field every Sunday and not the one in the stands where ticket prices were raised in time for fans to witness the team's second 0-4 start in four years.
We're talking about a credibility problem.
Seems this organization is infected by an inability to properly gauge an issue, identify a solution and then resolve the situation. The Dolphins have made turning the thing around into rocket science and, at last glance, Wayne Huizenga had yet to hire an aeronautical engineer.
The problem rightfully starts with Huizenga because, despite his disconnect from the team, he is the man at the top. And so when he makes statements based on inside information and conversations he has had with employees, the tendency is to believe what he's saying and defer to his expertise.
But now we see that expertise is limited.
Before the start of this regular season, Huizenga talked of conversations he had with coach Cam Cameron and said, based on those talks, he expected to field a good team, a playoff-caliber team.
This just in: The Dolphins ain't making the playoffs.
Huizenga sat down with Cameron and general manager Randy Mueller several times before the season and came away from those talks convinced his team needed only a little refurbishing instead of a full-blown reconstruction to compete.
''We don't look at it as rebuilding,'' Huizenga said then. ``Our defense is pretty much intact. We kept the guys we wanted to keep. Now we've got to make some changes on offense. I don't look at that as a rebuilding.''
Sorry to tell you, Mr. H, but you have a major rebuilding project on your hands.
Huizenga has often stood by his philosophy of hiring experts for his football team and then letting them make expert decisions. But now those experts have a credibility problem also.
Cameron put his stamp on this team when he handpicked Trent Green as his quarterback way back in February while Miami fans were still dreaming Daunte Culpepper could regain his old form.
Cameron, along with Mueller, decided Green could still play after a severe concussion even as they decided Culpepper could not immediately return to form after a terrible knee injury.
So the Dolphins traded for Green and jettisoned Culpepper and, upon doing so, Cameron stated unequivocally that Green, at 37, would continue being the outstanding player he was prior to his injury last year.
Well, Trent Green today is tied for the NFL interceptions lead. The 14-year veteran is pressing, making bad decisions, failing to see lurking linebackers, and often throwing weak prayers off his back foot.
So Cameron's credibility on this quarterback decision isn't looking so good.
`WORK IN PROGRESS'?
The Miami brain trust, in fairness, has had only one offseason to fix what it took Dave Wannstedt, Rick Spielman and Nick Saban years to break. That is why no one questions Cameron or Mueller when they talk about this team being a ``work in progress.''
But right now the Dolphins can only aspire to being a work in progress because they are more like a work in regress.
The signature free agency acquisition of Joey Porter has paid no dividends on a $32 million investment. The drafting of Ted Ginn Jr. in the first round has been a disappointment -- not so much because at least five other rookie receivers drafted after Ted Ginn Jr. have been more productive, but because Ted Ginn Jr. is doing zero on special teams.
''You're going to be thrilled every time you watch him as a punt returner,'' Cameron said on draft day, ``because he's going to be a great returner for us.''
When? Five rookies today have better punt return averages than Ted Ginn Jr.. Four rookies have better kickoff return averages than Ted Ginn Jr.. And none of those rookies cost their teams a draft pick.
They were all undrafted signees.
With the Dolphins so far looking so wrong on so many meaningful decisions, it casts a giant shadow on every future decision they make. Cameron said Monday that Green would remain his quarterback, dismissing the notion of playing either Cleo Lemon or John Beck.
But why should we trust that is the correct call in light of the Green decision?
And how can we believe the defense, ranked last in the NFL against the run, can be fixed when Miami's experts told Huizenga the unit only needed tweaking and remained ``pretty much intact?''
There is no organization that gets every move right. But it shouldn't be too much for the Dolphins to stop getting so many things wrong.
It shouldn't be too much to get some expertise from the experts.
Armando Salguero can be heard weeknights from 7-8 p.m. on 790 The Ticket.
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