The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack

WITH THE FIRST PICK IN THE 2008 NFL DRAFT THE MIAMI DOLPHINS SELECT . . .

It’s official, with their 1-14 record the Miami Dolphins have wrapped up the first overall selection in the 2008 NFL Draft. No matter what happens in the last week of the season, they are officially the worst team in the NFL. How’s that for good news!

Sunday’s game in Foxboro was pathetic. The Pats jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead and hung on for a 28-7 victory. Cleo Lemon managed to lead the team to only one touchdown, notwithstanding 4 Patriots’ turnovers. The Patriots walked away with a 3-TD victory even though they played without any spark in the second half when Tom Brady turned ice cold (after throwing 3 TD passes in the first half). These two teams are clearly not in the same class. The Patriots are the indisputable best in the league; the Fins are the absolute worst.

With Cleo Lemon being given the starting nod again, the prevailing question is: Why? The answer is probably that Coach No Cam Do has to be the only person in the Western Hemisphere who doesn’t know that Cleo is not the answer to the Fins’ quarterback question. If he understood that, then he wouldn’t have wasted another precious pre-draft start on him. It will be interesting to see if Bill Parcells, his new boss, forces the issue in the last game of the season against the Bengals next Sunday. There really is no reason to stay with Cleo when the team needs as much information as possible about John Beck before the 2008 NFL Draft this coming April. Let’s face it, the Fins have all the information they need about Cleo.

The Fins will have some interesting choices come draft day. Whether they opt for a QB like Brian Brohm or Matt Ryan will no doubt depend on how Parcells views Beck. Whether they opt for everyone’s clear top running back Darren McFadden will depend upon how Dr. Andrews views Ronnie Brown’s surgically repaired knee. Whether they opt for Jake Long to shore up the offensive line or Glenn Dorsey to anchor the defensive line will depend on what Parcells sees as the team’s most pressing need. And face it, this team has more pressing needs than a dry cleaning chain that’s been hit with a wildcat strike.

It’s ironic that at a time while Wes Welker is on the verge of setting a Patriots’ team record for receptions and Chris Chambers is catching passes in San Diego, the Fins’ have no true front-line receiver. First-round pick Ted Ginn remains a work-in-progress while Marty Booker literally and figuratively limps along. Meanwhile, Derek Hagan has more drops than a lemon. And speaking of a lemon, we all know that there is no one to throw to the receivers, even if the Fins’ had one worth throwing to in the first place. In the last several weeks, the offensive line has turned up with more leaks than a colander. And then there’s the defense, where the biggest question is where to start in the rebuilding process. The defensive line (which Cameron and Mueller depleted last off-season) needs help, the defensive backfield (which Cameron and Mueller did nothing to rebuild last off-season) is a horror and the linebacking corps is depleted and next year will have to do without Zach Thomas who should retire while he still knows his own name.

Last week against the Ravens the Fins’ accomplished only one thing: they avoided an 0-16 season. This week against the Patriots they also accomplished only one thing: they managed to waste a second consecutive opportunity to learn more about John Beck. Hopefully, that gave Bill Parcells an opportunity to learn more about Coach No Cam Do. For if Parcells took notice of that important lesson, then the loss to the Patriots will not only be the clincher for the first pick in the draft, but it will also be the clincher for Parcells’ decision to find a new head coach.

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