After a frustrating 6-10 season, the NFL's Miami Dolphins have officially begun the rebuilding process. It won't be an easy to take this team from also-ran status back into the playoffs, but as the saying goes, "a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step."
That first step came on January 9, 2016 when Dolphins' owner Stephen Ross authorized the hiring of Adam Gase to take over as the team's head coach. Gase was hired after spending much of the past eight years acting as either a quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator at the NFL level. As a rookie head coach, it's difficult to figure out how much pressure Gase will be under to get the Dolphins back into the playoffs within the next couple of years.
With the coaching staff finally coming together, it's time for the organization to start looking at player personnel. Therein lies many of the team's biggest issues. Coming out of the 2015 season, there are a lot of questions that need answering. Some of those issues revolve around the defense, namely what to do about the often fined and/or suspended Ndamukong Suh, and how effective players like Cameron Wake, Kiko Alonso and Mike Pouncey will be coming off major injuries.
On offense, the Dolphins are faced with figuring out how to beef up its running and whether or not QB Ryan Tannehill is indeed the right man to lead the offense. In all fairness to the 5th-year quarterback, he has shown improvement in passing yards and interceptions in each of his four years in the league, all as a starter. Last year, he completed 62% of his passes for 4,208 yards and 24 TDs with only 12 interceptions. Those are respectable numbers.
The biggest knock against Tannehill has been his leadership. While the team struggled during the second half of the 2015 season, critics started pointing fingers in Tannehill's direction. They questioned his ability to deal with adversity and complained about his apparent inability to hold onto leads late in games.
Before anyone starts thinking about other quarterback options, Coach Gase should think seriously about surrounding him with better personnel. Perhaps, that's why he summoned free agent offensive guard Kraig Urbik to come in for a look, as reported by Barry Jackson of the Sun Sentinel.
Urbik was originally selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft. When the team's high expectations turned to disappointment, he was released at the end of the 2009 season, only to be picked up off waivers by the Buffalo Bills prior to the start of the 2010 season. The Bills subsequently released him at the end of the 2015 season with one year remaining on his contract.
During his time with the Bills (2010-2015), he played in 84 games, 57 of them as a starter. Of the 81 players qualified at his position in 2015, Urbik ranked as the 48th most efficient guard.
One glaring problem for both Tannehill and the offense was the fact the offensive line struggled to protect the quarterback. The evidence of the offensive line's failure lies in the fact Tannehill was sacked 45 times, third worst in the league. The hope is a veteran player like Urbik can bring back stability to the offensive line.
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