Miami engenders a special group of people — whether they are making love to foliage at The Ultra Music Festival or banging pots and pans down Calle Ocho. What Miami engenders most proficiently, however, is bandwagon fans.
The cellar-dwelling Miami Dolphins announced two large signings recently, wide receiver Mike Wallace and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. Wallace, one of the fastest and most explosive wide receivers in the league, will create an option that the Dolphins have not had for years. Ellerbe, Ray Lewis’s heir apparent in Baltimore, will replace the under-performing Karlos Dansby with a fast paced, “hair on fire” playing style. Two players does not a team make and winning the offseason rarely guarantees winning the postseason.
And yet, the pots and pans are banging down Calle Ocho. These two young players, alongside budding quarterback Ryan Tannehill create a firm base to build around. Undoubtedly, these signings are moves in the right direction. But, above all, the team needs to draft well. This method of acquisition has been the team’s Achilles’ heel, while other organizations have used it to transform and revamp their squad, the San Francisco 49ers for example.
The Dolphins’ two most recent number- one draft picks (Ryan Tannehill and Mike Pouncey) are still on the squad and continue to achieve their potential. Their number-one draft picks before that? Jared Odrick, Vontae Davis, Jake Long, Ted Ginn, Jr. and Jason Allen. One of those players, Odrick, is still in a Dolphins uniform; the others are gone. That barren track record is shameful and it is partly to blame for the decade of lackluster seasons. On top of that, the Dolphins haven’t hit on a high-round draft pick since Brian Hartline in 2009 and, before that, Yeremiah Bell in 2003.
To make up for this expansive chasm of missed opportunities, the Dolphins have turned to the free agent market to remodel the uninspired football team. The premise is a good one and it is refreshing to see the Dolphins conduct proactive and pragmatic moves to attempt to change the underperforming tides. But these moves cannot be mistaken for panacea.
These latest additions fill two holes in an otherwise imperfect squad. However, they are signed to long-term deals, which allows the team to build around them. These players will be a part of winning teams in South Florida.
Jeff Ireland, general manager of the Miami Dolphins, doled out some of his spending cash to try to salvage his poor reputation and it appears that he has.
Spending always makes fans happy. Losing always gets them upset. For the next couple of years, this team may spend and lose. It is all part of the growing pains from restructuring the roster from the massacre at the hands of Bill Parcells.
If the Miami Marlins have taught the local fan base a lesson, it should be that spending does not equate winning. Of course, that should not cause the local fan base to malign spending. The Dolphins are trying to bolster the squad and the additions they have made are steps in the right direction. However, they do not assure success in the short-term.
Preston Michelson is a senior at Palmer Trinity School where he is the public address announcer for all varsity sporting events. He is a frequent contributor to this newspaper and the opinions he expresses are his own and not necessarily those of the editors and publishers. Contact him on Twitter at @PrestonMich or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org