Monday, March 18, 2013
With Long Gone, New Era Begins
Written by David Verjano
Jake Long's departure from Miami marks the end of a forgetful era in Dolphins history. An era riddled with mediocrity and little sense of direction. Drafted by Bill Parcells as the 2008 #1 overall pick, Long was supposed to be the foundation of a team built to win championships. Instead, the supporting cast surrounding Long did not add up to that championship equation.
It's not to say that Jake was the cause of the Dolphins' mediocrity. On the contrary, he played all-star caliber football for years in Miami. From '08 to '11 he was voted into the Pro Bowl and Miami couldn't have asked for better protection on the left side of the O-Line.
However, Long symbolically represented the Parcells' dated philosophy of building teams from within the trenches (i.e. drafting and acquiring sound offensive and defensive linemen). And former offensive line coach Tony Sparano was supposed to compliment that philosophy with his line experience. They felt that winning the battle at the line meant winning the game. While this may be partially true, the game has dramatically changed and the front office's focus on the line led to a neglected offense.
The NFL has become a pass heavy league that requires a bonafide quarterback and an array of offensive weapons in order to succeed. Gone are the days where ground attack and defensive minded teams win titles. The Ravens and 49ers may have touted top defenses in the league but they also featured pretty impressive offenses. I mean, the final score was 34 to 31 - the complete opposite of a defensive game.
We wont jump the gun and say that WR Mike Wallace, TE Dustin Keller and WR Brandon Gibson are the end all, be all. But we will say that they are much better options for Tannehill and should only help the QB orchestrate a more prolific offense in Miami.
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