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With the Dolphins coaching staff just about complete, with another Super Bowl right in front of us and with draft speculation heating up, I bring you some things to ponder on this Tuesday morning in late-January.
• Seeing Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier together in Mobile for the Senior Bowl practices reminds me of the importance of their relationship as the Dolphins begin a long offseason of player evaluations and upgrades. You get the feeling watching them work and listening to them talk that the ever-so-important trust factor is firmly in place. It is important that Tannenbuam and Grier work as one and there is every indication that will be the case.
• Then you’ve got to add head coach Adam Gase into the equation because this is a clear a triumvirate of decision makers. I know the football hierarchy of this team wasn’t always on the same page, but that doesn’t appear to be the case with Tannenbaum, Grier and Gase. This will have plenty to do with the overall success of this team.
• Speaking of Gase, how smart was his move to sit down for an extended visit with Don Shula? There can be no more significant endorsement than from “The Don of the Dolphins” and it was clear by Shula’s comments that he was very impressed with the team’s new coach. There was a time when Shula, just like Gase is now, was the youngest head coach in the league. Whatever advice Shula offered, you can be sure Gase paid close attention.
• The media will get to sit down with new coordinators Clyde Christensen (offense) and Vance Joseph (defense) later this week, but based on their career resumes both seem like an excellent fit. Christensen brings a wealth of experience and someone whose offensive expertise could serve as an excellent compliment for Gase. Joseph is getting his first shot running a defense, but his credentials quickly get your attention and many in the business believe he is a rising star.
• Really like the fact that Darren Rizzi was brought back to coordinate the special teams. The same for Lou Anarumo with the defensive backs. Both are quality coaches and first-class people. Both really understand today’s players.
• So five Dolphins are going to the Pro Bowl with safety
• The speculation has already begun. Who will the Dolphins select with the No. 8 overall pick? I know they won’t ask my opinion, but I would go with the most impactful defensive player on the board.
• For those who have followed the Dolphins for as long as I have, it’s hard not rooting for Mike Shula to get a Super Bowl ring as offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers. I’ve known him most of his life and while in many ways he is father’s son, Mike has carved his own niche in this league and deserves plenty of credit for this Carolina offense playing the way it has all season long.
• I’m picking Carolina to win 27-24. But there is a part of me that would love to see Peyton Manning cap off his remarkable career with another championship. I just believe deep down this is Cam Newton’s season. Now he’s got one more game to prove it.