Any website can post "offseason grades" for NFL teams, mixing the draft and free agency into transaction soup, then straining it through the mind of some sportswriter who doesn't know who half the players are. Only the Shutdown Corner has the resources to get actual players, coaches, and executives from each team to evaluate their own offseasons! That's right: over the next few weeks, you will get transaction evaluations straight from the horse's mouths: straight talk about who was signed, who was lost, who was drafted, and why.
(For the satirically challenged: all player, coach, and executive remarks are made by an impersonator).
In this segment, Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland breaks down his team's offseason moves.
JEFF IRELAND: Have we started? We have? So I just type and words appear on that Internet thing? Okay.
First of all, let me tell fans about our exciting season ticket offer. You get four tickets to a game, four swordfish tacos, four sodas, a Cameron Wake bobblehead, a copy of Ricky Martin's new EP El Olor de la Desesperacion, and a coupon for a 10% off Oil Change for $100. It's the best deal in town. Operators are standing by, I think. I may have forgotten to hire operators. I better call the temp agency after I finish this offseason report. Anyway, order now before the seats on the 50-yard line against the Patriots are all sold out. And if you get a busy signal, send an email, or something.
I suppose I should give my side of the awkward Peyton Manning situation. I had Manning's agent's number programmed into my cell phone, but then when I tried to upgrade, the kid at the mall kiosk said that the numbers did not transfer over. So I posted on Facebook: "Help! New Cell Phone! Need Numbers!" Well, my cousin got back to me, and the dry cleaner, but most people did not leave their numbers, including Tom Condon. So, I followed him on Twitter and sent him several messages to follow me back so I could direct message him an offer, but he never responded. I even tried calling Bud Adams while Manning was meeting with him in Tennessee, but Adams' secretary put me on hold for over fifteen minutes. So I just gave up.
That will never happen again, folks: I sprung for the data backup plan for my new cell phone at $9.99 per month. The kid at the kiosk said all of my important numbers are stored in the clouds, or something. I think he was high.
So then we called Mike Flynn. I told him straight out: Mark Flynn, I said, you are our second choice. And you have to expect to be treated like a second choice and paid like a second choice. Then, Mitch Flynn must have had his own phone problems, because the line went dead. Honesty is the best policy, I think. Meanwhile, I forgot the pass code to check my phone messages, so I didn't realize that Chad Henne signed with the Jaguars until I read it in a fan blog.
We now have David Garrard, Matt Moore, and rookie Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. Tannehill is very talented but very raw, because he played wide receiver for much of his college career. Garrard and Moore are both journeymen who won't kill you if they have to start for a few months. The most logical thing to do, in my opinion, is to name Tannehill the starter, put incredible amounts of pressure on him, become very critical of any early-season mistakes, then shuffle Moore and Garrard into the lineup as soon as we have a losing streak. Then, Tannehill can get his confidence back by sitting on the bench and dwelling on his mistakes, and maybe running one Wildcat play per game. Right now, he may be our third-best receiver. It's the best technique for developing a rookie quarterback I can think of. I sent the full proposal in an email to coach Joe Philbin. It got returned because I spelled his address wrong.
Before the quarterback confusion started, we traded wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Bears. I think it's best that a young quarterback have as few receiving weapons as possible, so he does not get a false sense of security. Free agent Legedu Naanee will replace Marshall in the lineup. Naanee had more holding penalties (three) than touchdowns (one) for the Panthers last year. One of my goals this year is to have the best 1st-and-20 offense in the NFL.
Let's see, what else did we do? We lost Jason Taylor, an all-time Dolphins great who was still an effective pass rusher last year. We didn't replace him. We signed Brandon Marshall, a veteran cornerback, and Gary Guyton, a former spot-starting linebacker for the Patriots. Both of these guys probably filled needs, or something. I really don't know. Steve Ross kept calling me about Peyton, and Gloria Estefan kept sending threatening salsas, so I had to do something so we could post "Dolphins Sign Ex-Patriots Defender" on the team website and I could slip out for a round of golf.
This has been a confusing offseason. But there is one thing that I know for sure: Dolphins are fish. And fish need gills to breathe. In Garrard, Naanee, and Tannehill, I have given this team the gills it needs to survive. I plan to keep these Dolphins submerged deep in the life-giving water, far from the deadly surface, until they become the most dangerous fish in the sea.
So be patient, Dolphins fans. And don't forget to buy season tickets!