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Mysteries in Miami

Discussion in 'Miami Dolphins Forum' started by tirty8, Jun 29, 2022.

  1. tirty8

    tirty8 Well-Known Member

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    Okay, we currently in boring part of the NFL offseason just before training camp, so I thought I would throw a lighthearted mystery that I have been thinking about for quite some time now. Who knows, maybe someone here might have the answers or at least some reasonable speculation about how we got to this point.

    The mystery that I am talking about is Connor Williams coming here to play center. When he first signed, I was confident that Grier took a swing on a solid guard who had showed moments of greatness. The thought was actually pretty simple to me. You have a guy who played at a high level that lacked consistency pair him with McDaniel and Frank Smith, both men that essentially made their bread and butter in the NFL by coaching in the trenches, and this good guard could be a great guard in short order. It felt very simple and logical.

    Now lets kinda see the world from Williams' perspective. While at Texas, Williams played LT, and some thought he had a chance to play LT at the NFL level. Eventually, he slid into the guard position and started part of the last season with inconsistent levels of success. The highs were pretty high, but the lows did include an eventual benching. Williams eventually signs a 2 yr/$14 mil deal with the Dolphins. I distinctly remember watching a report that was more focused on the player's perspective. The reporter stated that the big money did not come in for Williams, and his agent wanted to do a shorter deal, so Williams still has an opportunity to get a massive deal in his career. Again, this made so much sense to me. Coming to Miami was a clear and obvious situation where he would be able to secure a starting gig. If he is able to smooth out some of those rough patches and just play more consistently, I have all the reason in the world to think that this guy could be getting a big deal in a very short period of time.

    This is where the mystery deepens. He comes to Miami, and pretty much out the gate, it is known by all that he is here to play center. This is not a case of Austin Jackson and Robert Hunt playing at such a high level that they needed to move him to center just to keep him on the field. This is not a case of the staff tinkering with the line to find the best possible lineup. This is not a situation where injuries have hit us, and we are seemingly motivated by desperation. Here is another thing that I keep thinking about. Our line was awful last year. There are definitely players that drove me nuts, and I wished that Flores would just bench. Michael Dieter was not one of them. Don't get me wrong, he's no pro bowler, but when healthy, he was at least respectable.

    Now let's think back to that bridge contract with the allure of a possible pot of gold at the end of it. If you are Connor Williams, the path to generational wealth is clear. Go somewhere you can start, play well and consistently, and you could be paid handsomely. Based on his contract, I feel confident that he probably had other options. Why come to Miami and switch positions? I feel like as an agent, you would need to implore you client to take a very conservative approach to this. If you play your cards right for the next two years, your life changes forever. I think he would tell him that he has played well at guard and this is a certainty. Switching positions with this much money on the line is risky. Suppose it does not go well, he can slide over to guard, right? Let's say that Austin Jackson and Robert Hunt are doing good enough at those positions. The Dolphins have committed serious resources to acquiring both players (a 1st and 2nd round pick). Also, don't forget about Liam Eichenberg who the Dolphins traded up for in the 2nd round to get. He could be in the mix as well. Sliding over may not be an option. This could leave Williams in a situation where he continues to play poorly at center and put up bad tape. Even worse, he could lose his starting job. Suddenly, that big pay day that looked so close could vanish quickly.

    Now let's think about this from the Dolphins' perspective. A $14 million contract is nothing to scoff at. The Dolphins clearly respect Williams. I truly believe that Grier was thinking, "My new coaching staff are fantastic at coaching the trenches. We could bring in a guard at $7 million per year, and in short order, the staff could have him playing at $13-$15 million per year level for the next two years." This offered a ton of potential unlocked value for the Phins as well.

    So how did the Dolphins wind up seeing him as our center? It would be one thing if he was a guard who played for the Niners or Chargers, and our coaches saw him at practice and knew that he could play the position. That would make sense. Did Grier call the Cowboys and ask them if the staff had him play center at all in practice and how well he performed at the position? It is possible, but why ask about Williams specifically? Of all the free agent guards, why Williams? What makes the Dolphins think he is a better option than free agent centers?

    I am not saying that Williams is going to succeed, fail, or merely be average at center. I am just genuinely perplexed about how this came together for both the team and the player. If anyone has information that I am missing or speculation, it would be fun and informative to hear from you all.
     
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  2. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Two things.

    First, forget about positions on offensive line- they get way over-hyped and twisted into something that just doesn't matter. On any team at any level, you want your five best blockers on the field.

    Second, your center is often your leader for the line, since this person makes the calls for blocking assignments and keeps others in position. They're not necessarily the toughest or the fastest of the group, but they hold their own and they have enough smarts to pull the group together. Again, you want a true leader in this position, and that leadership is what gets bigger contracts over time.

    Personally, I know nothing about Connor Williams, but I do know about vibes with a core group of linemen. Miami has a very young group with a ton of talent and poor execution, simply because we didn't have that field general last year. This brings me back to point #1, that position doesn't matter, because Williams will be that group's leader whether he's at center, guard or tackle. He didn't have that opportunity in Dallas or most other cities, because none of them fired their entire line two seasons ago and decided to start all rookies.

    Our line group is a fresh slate with ample talent up and down the roster. It's a great opportunity for Williams to finally lead and make an impact as a veteran mentor...that's why he chose Miami.
     
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  3. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member Club Member

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    Yeah, I think it has to come down to leadership/experience. Maybe they want someone who won't struggle as much executing/leading McDaniel's offensive line.
     
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  4. Sceeto

    Sceeto Well-Known Member

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    I am a bit worried about this move.
    He was a solid guard, though he had penalty problems. So, why mess with it? There is more responsibility at Center. I know we are deeper at G, but I just wish we had signed someone like JC.
    Who knows? Hope for the best.
     
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  5. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    I’m guessing this is a McDaniels hire. There is something about Williams’ game that McDaniels sees as translating well to how he sees the Center position is played in his scheme.

    The reason I say this is that there seems to have been a straight expectation that Williams was going to play C in the McDaniels scheme. I’m really not a fan of acquiring players with the view that you’re going to change their position, so I will put on my wait and see hat on for this move.
     
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  6. OwesOwn614

    OwesOwn614 Well-Known Member

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    I'm concerned about the line in general, but not about Williams playing center. For once, I'd like to enter the season with depth of talent on the OL instead of contingencies ("if player A plays well and player B can avoid injuries, the Dolphins might have a good line"). In my ideal world, we'd have eight players who could start for most teams in the competition for five spots. With that being said, we do have talent, so I hope that experience and quality coaching will show that the problem is less with the players than with the previous scheme.

     
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  7. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    I agree entirely with your sentiments. One thing about the recent high draft OL picks is that under the Flores regime they suffered from bad coaching*. So there is hope that the OL can be molded into shape.

    * What I know about evaluating OL talent and technique you can carve into the back of an aspirin with an ax. I am relying on some technical analysis posted on the forums about the deficiencies in techniques imposed by the OL coach.
     
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  8. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I worry about that as well, but I think we'll see a much more cohesive line this season. As I've said a million times, Eichenberg has the talent but he was asked to do too much as a rookie. Jackson has the strength but somehow lost the technique. Both are "fixable" with the right coaching and support around them. I'm guessing they will be our right guard/tackle and that scares me some, so we'll see how it unfolds.

    The offensive line will still be a weakness this season, but I think we'll have a dominant left side and that's where most runs will go. Passes will still come out quick so I'm not in a panic over that right side, and I do think we'll have sufficient protection at times to go downfield. The question is really how much of the time will we have great protection and can we offset the rush with a legit run game.

    If we can run the ball effectively while teams try to double Waddle and the Cheetah, then we're not going to see the blitzes very often. That alone is a big win for Tua.
     
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  9. dolphin25

    dolphin25 Well-Known Member

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    Here is what I want to know. Why do teams pitch runs to the short side of the field? Seems like the sideline automatically prohibits many quality runs and is like an extra defender.
     
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  10. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    Because an extra blocker almost always equals an extra defender im the area. The traditional way to make up for the lack of starting numbers is a pulling guard coming over to make the extra numbers at the point of attack before the defense can get an extra body there.
     
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  11. OwesOwn614

    OwesOwn614 Well-Known Member

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    TBH, having a left-handed QB and a weak right-side OL just makes my angst higher. I agree about Jackson and Eichenberg. The talent's there. The only concern is whether they're capable and athletic enough to play in an outside zone scheme.
     
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  12. ExplosionsInDaSky

    ExplosionsInDaSky Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure this idea was discussed with Williams in which case he seems up for the challenge. The guy is trying to make a name for himself and more importantly get paid. This is his opportunity to lead a group and create all that for himself. I think we'll be fine.
     
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  13. dolphin25

    dolphin25 Well-Known Member

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    right, but why not do the same thing to wide side so RB has more room to run?
     
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  14. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    they said about 3 or 4 weeks ago that they weren't done bringing in free agent linemen, so there's a chance we end up grabbing one more before the season starts. We'll see.
     
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  15. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    Because the wide side usually has more WRs and extra DBs, again creating a numbers advantage for the D, unless you have WRs that can actually block. And you want you WRs running their routes hard getting the DBs to commit to that side of the field.
     
  16. dolphin25

    dolphin25 Well-Known Member

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    Seems like all the more reason to run to that side. Have the WR run the defenders out of the area
     
  17. Ronnie Bass

    Ronnie Bass Luxury Box Luxury Box

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    I thought this was going to be like a ghost story thread. Kind of disappointed.
     
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  18. OwesOwn614

    OwesOwn614 Well-Known Member

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    Don't be surprised if we grab somebody after final cuts. I could easily see us finding someone good enough to compete for a starting role.
     
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