Posts Tagged ‘John Nalbone’

Dolphins Waive the White Flag

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

By now, you’ve probably heard that much-maligned Dolphins quarterback Pat White has been shown his walking papers after one disastrous season in which he became just the fourth QB to not complete a single pass with at least five attempts since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.  It’s hard to argue that it was the wrong decision, especially with three better-qualified players ahead of him on the depth chart, but I’m a little dismayed by how the situation was handled by the coaching staff.

Pat was White trash to the Dolphins... <em>(Chris Graythen/Getty Images)</em>
Pat was White trash to the Dolphins... (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The Dolphins never gave White much of a chance to succeed.  During the regular season, he was inserted into the occasional “Wildcat” formation in which he could never fully show what he had to offer aside from scrambling on the ground.  In the final game, he was thrown into the fire against a stout Pittsburgh Steelers defense in the thick of the Playoff hunt.  And then, in the 2010 preseason, White took nine total snaps (none in the fourth game), kneeling down three times and throwing (and completing!) four short passes in garbage time.

It’s clear that the Dolphins front office was convinced that White wasn’t part of the team’s future plans before the preseason started and didn’t bother to give him an extended look or attempt to increase his trade value for QB-needy teams.  And that’s the part that I’ll never understand.  The Dolphins are hardly the first team to give up on an early-round draft pick — hell, the Arizona Cardinals released Matt Leinart, the 10th overall selection in 2006 — but the fact that White wasn’t on the field for even a single quarter at the expense of injury-prone veteran Chad Pennington, who hardly needed the extra work, or given the opportunity to battle Tyler Thigpen for the third QB spot doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Of course, White isn’t without fault himself.  There have been indications that his heart wasn’t fully into football after he took a vicious hit that knocked him unconscious during last year’s finale.  Despite possessing the quickness (4.44 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine) and shiftiness that would make him well-suited to play part-time wide receiver, a la Brad Smith and Joshua Cribbs, White refused to switch positions and indicated that he’d rather play baseball.  Those aren’t exactly the kind of words that management wants to hear out of players on the roster bubble.

Be that as it may, White is gone and somewhat surprisingly, wasn’t claimed off waivers despite having most of his 2010 salary paid by the Dolphins.  I asked Sun-Sentinel reporter Omar Kelly to do some NFL Betting on where White will end up — the CFL, the New England Patriots, or the New York Yankees.  Kelly didn’t even rule out a full retirement from football to be a “regular Joe” in White’s hometown.

Other News and Notes:

*Did the Dolphins think they could save some money by releasing TE David Martin and then re-signing him after the first week?  It’s hard to believe Miami was prepared to rely on John Nalbone, who entered training camp fourth on the depth chart and didn’t blow anyone away during preseason, in its two tight end packages.  Martin ended up signing with the Buffalo Bills, who quite coincidentally, I’m sure, happen to play the Dolphins in Week 1.  The Dolphins could quickly end up regretting their decision.

*In a less surprising move, last year’s third-round pick, WR Patrick Turner, was released over the weekend and signed with the division-rival New York Jets.  Undrafted rookies Marlon Moore and Roberto Wallace must have extremely impressive during practice for the team to keep them at Turner’s expense, because there isn’t a glaring difference in the preseason numbers.

Player Rec Yards YPC Long TD
Marlon Moore 9 106 11.8 34 1
Roberto Wallace 8 101 12.6 31 1
Patrick Turner 5 90 18.0 34 0

Turner could revive his career with the Jets while playing alongside his former USC QB Mark Sanchez, but chances are slim after he couldn’t get on the field last season and was beaten out by a pair of undrafted rookies in camp.

UPDATE: Yep, Turner has already been cut and is now on the Jets’ practice squad.  So the Dolphins paid him a $714,000 signing bonus and $310,000 in salary to make zero regular season catches and become a practice squad player on a division rival a year later. Awesome.  (more…)

Phins Fantasy Football: TEs

Monday, August 9th, 2010

In 2008, with Chad Pennington at quarterback, the Dolphins’ two primary Tight Ends, Anthony Fasano and David Martin, caught a combined 65 passes for 904 yards and 10 touchdowns — half of the team’s total receiving TDs. In 2009, Martin missed the entire season with a knee injury, and Fasano and backup Joey Haynos had 50 receptions for just 504 yards and four TDs between them. Will any of the Dolphins Tight Ends regain fantasy relevance with Chad Henne under center, or is no player worth a roster spot?

Anthony Fasano, TE – Fasano’s drop in production last season was largely due to a different role in the offense, as he was asked to provide more pass protection at the expense of running routes.  While he was the second-best run-blocker in the league, his yards per catch dropped from 13.4 to 10.9, he had only two scores a year after catching seven, and he led all TEs in fumbles (3), including two in the season opener.

Ah, memories.  Fasano runs into the end zone in a 38-13 Dolphins victory in Foxborough on Sept. 21, 2008.
Ah, memories. Fasano runs into the end zone in a 38-13 Dolphins victory over the New England Patriots in Foxborough on Sept. 21, 2008.

Although he doesn’t possess the downfield receiving ability of the elite TEs, with an improved offensive line and the addition of star wide receiver Brandon Marshall, Fasano should see more opportunities to work the middle of the field and get open in the end zone.  He’s being drafted in only 2.7% of ESPN leagues as the 25th player at his position, but makes for a solid second TE who should be in for a nice bounce-back season in 2010.

2009 Statistics:  31 catches, 339 yards, 2 TDs
2010 Prediction:  33 catches, 414 yards, 5 TDs

Joey Haynos, TE – After catching only two passes in seven games in 2008, Haynos was used in more two tight end sets and played 51 percent of Miami’s offensive snaps in 2009.  But while the 6’8, 270-pound TE showed flashes of future potential, he was far too inconsistent and had only three total receptions for 17 yards in the two games that Fasano missed with a hip injury.  Although he’s an intregral cog in the Dolphins’ offense, Haynos isn’t likely to see a significantly increased pass-catching role or threaten Fasano for the starting job anytime soon, making him largely irrelevant in all but the deepest of fantasy leagues.

2009 Statistics:  19 catches, 162 yards, 2 TDs
2010 Prediction:  24 catches, 203 yards, 2 TDs

Does the addition of the Martin mean the end of the Kory Sperry Era?
Does the addition of Martin mean the end of the Kory Sperry Era?

David Martin, TE -Martin, an eight-year veteran who’s familiar with the Dolphins’ system after spending two seasons in Miami, was unexpectedly re-signed last Friday.  While he averaged 14.5 yards per catch in 2008, it’s hard to imagine the 31-year-old has much left after spending last year on Injured Reserve.  If he’s fully healthy, Martin would allow Fasano to catch more passes by taking over some blocking duties, and could prove to be an effective situational downfield threat.  His signing means very little in fantasy cirticles, but certainly signals the coaching staff’s unhappines with the progress of their young Tight Ends.

2009 Statistics: None – missed season (knee injury)
2010 Prediction:  12 catches, 180 yards, 1 TD

John Nalbone / Kory Sperry, TE – Both Nalbone, a fifth-round pick in 2009, and Sperry, who was signed as an undrafted free agent after attending the San Diego Chargers’ training camp, spent most of the 2009 season on the practice squad.  While Nalbone didn’t play a single snap in the regular season, Sperry made the most of his lone start, catching three passes for 31 yards and a TD in a win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The more-experienced Martin likely has the  inside track on the third (and perhaps final) TE spot, and barring an injury, Nablone and Sperry would only provide blocking and special teams help.

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