Wild Weekend

No team was more active on the first weekend of free agency than the Dolphins, who didn't land a big-name player but did bring in eight guys. For the most part, the Dolphins went after younger players with more reasonable price tags as opposed to high-profile free agents like Alan Faneca, Bernard Berrian or Justin Smith. So, how did the Dolphins do? Are they better now than at the end of December?

The answer is probably slightly better, but nowhere near where it needs to be if the Dolphins hope to be competitive anytime soon.

We'll go ahead and say the Dolphins are better now because they have added some depth to a team that are dramatically lacking in that department in 2007. We don't need to rehash what happened, but suffice to say that everything went to smithereens once injuries starting hitting the team.

So that's the good news about the influx of new players, it really helped the depth of the Dolphins.

It's also the bad news. Most of the players signed either are backup types or marginal starters.

Just look at the list: Josh McCown, Ernest Wilford, Justin Smiley, Sean Ryan, Jason Ferguson, Randy Starks, Charlie Anderson, Reggie Torbor.

Of those, only Wilford, Smiley and Ferguson are sure-fire starters next season.

Anderson started only five games for Houston last season and is more of a special teams guy; Torbor also started five games, this after Mathias Kiwanuka was injured for the Giants; Starks was a backup on a very deep Titans defensive line; Ryan is a career backup with only nine catches in four NFL season. And then there's McCown.

He might be the most intriguing signing of the bunch.

The new Dolphins regime don't make it a habit of speaking to the media very often, so there has been no press conference relating to any of those signings.

So the media is left to speculate about what each addition means. In the case of McCown, the stance has been that he was brought in to become the starting quarterback until either John Beck or whoever the Dolphins take in this year's draft is ready.

That's not a real comfortable thought.

McCown has been in the NFL since 2002 and has started 31 games during that time, including nine starts with Oakland last year.

But the results have been less than overwhelming. For his career, McCown has thrown 35 touchdown passes and 40 interceptions. He's got good size, a good but not great arm, and will make some plays from time to time.

But he's also been very inconsistent. He's also never had a passer rating higher than 74.9 in any of his six NFL seasons.

Is this really the guy you want running the Dolphins offense next season?

Let's face it, based on his resume, this guy is no better than Cleo Lemon, who showed after taking over for Trent Green last year that he wasn't the answer. He's not even as good as Jay Fiedler, who took so much abuse from Dolphins fans from the time he replaced Dan Marino in 2000 until he left town in the 2005 offseason.

So here's hoping that McCown was brought in as a backup, either to Beck or to another veteran the Dolphins acquire this offseason. Because otherwise we're looking at another long year on offense.

And all the depth in the world on defense isn't going to make that situation any better.

So was it a good weekend for the Dolphins? Well ... it certainly was active.


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Alain Poupart is the Associate Editor of Dolphin Digest and DolphinDigest.com. To read him every day, visit DolphinDigest.com and become a Miami Dolphins insider.