AFC East: Cam Cameron

Greg CamarilloJoe Rimkus Jr./Miami Herald/Getty Images
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This is the final of three plays nominated as the most memorable play in team history. Earlier this week we featured Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino's fake spike play against the New York Jets in 1994 and Hall of Fame coach Don Shula's "Hook and Lateral" play call in the divisional playoffs in 1982. Please vote for your choice as the Dolphins’ most memorable play.

Score: Dolphins 22, Ravens 16 (OT)
Date: Dec. 16, 2007 Site: Dolphin Stadium

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Which is the most memorable play in Dolphins' history?

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    5%

Discuss (Total votes: 33,173)

At a time when no one should have cared about this game, the Miami Dolphins were in the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Miami, a proud franchise with two Super Bowl titles and the undefeated 1972 team, was on the verge of also becoming the first NFL team to finish 0-16. No team had accomplished the feat since the NFL expanded to 16 games in 1978.

The Dolphins were brutal in 2007. They averaged a measly 16.7 points per game and allowed 27.3 points per game. Cam Cameron was an awful choice as head coach and was fired after one season. The Dolphins also went through three starting quarterbacks in 2007 and lost their first 13 games -- often in blowout fashion.

Enter Week 15, where the Dolphins were again underdogs against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens were by no means world-beaters this season. They were 4-9 entering this contest. But Baltimore at least had talent, such a 1,000-yard rusher Willis McGahee and 1,000-yard receiver Derrick Mason on offense and future Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed on defense. Even in a down year, Baltimore was expected to win this game.

But in this game the Dolphins showed a resilience they had not shown all season. The Ravens jumped out to a 13-3 lead at halftime, and the Dolphins unexpectedly rallied in the second half behind quarterback Cleo Lemon (315 yards, one touchdown) and the game was tied 16-16 at the end of regulation.

In overtime, Lemon sent shockwaves throughout the NFL when he connected with receiver Greg Camarillo for a 64-yard touchdown throw to beat Baltimore and deliver Miami’s only win of the season. Lemon and Camarillo are two forgotten names when you think of the history of the Dolphins. But they prevented Miami from experiencing one of the most embarrassing chapters in franchise history.

Ironically, after the Dolphins narrowly avoided history, the Detroit Lions set the record a year later by going 0-16 in 2008.
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Dolphins should avoid second-round QBs

February, 22, 2012
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Here is a memo to the Miami Dolphins: Avoid drafting quarterbacks in the second round this year.

I'm not very superstitious, but I know a trend when I see one. For Miami, picking three quarterbacks in the second round since 2007 has been nothing short of disastrous.

Lets start in '07 with the first second-round pick: John Beck. This was former Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron's quarterback of the future. Beck was taken in the second round (No. 40 overall) out of BYU and showed nothing in his two years in Miami. He threw one touchdown, three interceptions and had a 62.0 passer rating before being traded to Baltimore, where Cameron landed after getting fired in Miami after one season.

The next year, new head coach Tony Sparano was looking for his long-term solution at quarterback. In '08 the Dolphins selected Chad Henne in the second round (No. 57 overall). Sparano backed Henne all the way to the bitter end, when Sparano was fired in 2011 and Henne suffered a season-ending injury. Henne will be let go by Miami this offseason.

Finally, in '09 Miami drafted Pat White in the second round (No. 44 overall) with hopes of adding a dynamic element to the Wildcat offense. The Dolphins were criticized for this pick, because it was clear that White would struggle in the NFL as a conventional quarterback. His only potential impact would be for gimmick plays, and Miami wasted a second-round choice on that possibility. White made just five pass attempts in his one year in the NFL.

It's no secret the Dolphins will look at free-agent options first, such as Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn. But when it comes to the draft, they should avoid second-round quarterbacks. They simply don't pan out in Miami.

Can Beck make Miami look like a loser?

May, 18, 2011
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Miami Dolphins fans are shaking their heads over all this John Beck talk.

The quarterback who failed in Miami and haplessly produced some of the signature moments of the 1-15 season apparently is Mike Shanahan's choice to start for the Washington Redskins.

"NFL Live" took a look at Beck's rise to prominence. ESPN's Adam Schefter, who has a close working relationship with Shanahan, reported Beck "will go into camp as the Washington Redskins' quarterback, barring the unforeseen."

The Dolphins drafted Beck 40th overall in 2007. He was considered their quarterback of the future and was supposed to develop behind Trent Green and Cleo Lemon. Injuries and ineptitude eventually forced Beck into the starting lineup. He went 0-4. He threw one touchdown and three interceptions.

Bill Parcells formed a new front office and the Dolphins dumped Beck after the 2008 season.

The Baltimore Ravens signed Beck, reuniting him with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, the Dolphins' head coach when they drafted Beck. The Ravens traded him to the Redskins last year.

But what if -- as Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero wondered Tuesday -- Beck performs well for Washington? The Dolphins have been hurting at quarterback for years. Chad Henne doesn't look like the answer. They used a second-round pick on Pat White and cut him a year later.

How much should the Dolphins dread the possibility of Beck proving them wrong?

Miami owner manages to get less popular

May, 11, 2011
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Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, estimated by Forbes to be worth $3.1 billion, has decided to slash employee salaries.

Miami Herald reporter Jeff Darlington wrote the Dolphins are blaming the lockout and economic uncertainty for the decision to reduce pay by 20 percent for any team employee making more than $75,000, 15 percent for anyone making between $50,000 and $75,000 and 10 percent for anyone making under $50,000.

Pay checks will return to normal when the lockout is over.

This is another in a long line of unpopular moves Ross has made in the past year. His local Q-rating might be lower than Cam Cameron's or Pat White's.

The starry-eyed Ross has surrounded himself with celebrity investors and turned parts of Sun Life Stadium, including some of the press boxes, into nightclub-style suites that divert the focus from football. Ross last year predicted the Dolphins would go to the Super Bowl and suggested Chad Henne would become more successful than Dan Marino or Bob Griese in Dolphins history.

After a failed season in which the Dolphins won a single home game, Ross and general manager Jeff Ireland flew cross country to court Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, while still-employed head coach Tony Sparano twisted back in Davie, Fla. The episode was a national embarrassment for the Dolphins.

Two months ago, Forbes ranked Ross the 362nd-richest person on the planet and second among all NFL owners. He was behind only Seattle Seahawks owner and Microsoft c0-founder Paul Allen.

In 2010, the financial magazine ranked Ross 277th at $3.4 billion.

Bills coaching staff to work Senior Bowl

January, 8, 2011
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The Senior Bowl has announced the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals will serve as coaches for the Jan. 29 all-star game in Mobile, Ala.

Coaching in the Senior Bowl is a strange honor. The NFL asks teams with the worst records to serve. The Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos had worse seasons, but they don't have head coaches. The Bills and Bengals were next up.

Bills coach Chan Gailey and his staff will oversee the South. This will give them hands-on interaction with some of the top players in the upcoming draft, but I've always viewed the opportunity as overrated.

All workouts are public and attended by all 32 teams. Whatever the Bills' coaching staff sees, so will the rest of the league.

Some teams decline the offer to coach in the Senior Bowl because they'd rather just evaluate than have the additional obligations that come along with coaching. The St. Louis Rams owned the No. 1 pick last year and passed on the chance to.

Mike Nolan coached the South three years in a row when he was with the San Francisco 49ers. That obviously didn't provide much benefit for him.

The Miami Dolphins couldn't coach in the Senior Bowl the year after they were 1-15 because they were had fired Cam Cameron's staff and were in the process of building a new one. The Dolphins did coach last year's Senior Bowl after some teams passed and others in the pecking order were involved in coaching searches.

How I See It: AFC East Stock Watch

December, 29, 2010
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NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

FALLING

1. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills quarterback: Bills fans have been debating the merits of sticking with Fitzpatrick as their franchise quarterback or drafting a prospect. Sunday's meltdown against the Patriots would favor new blood. Fitzpatrick committed five turnovers -- three interceptions and two fumbles. The Patriots turned his first three giveaways into 21 points and romped.

2. Jets' run defense: It took a statistical review a few days after the fact to drop Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall below 100 yards rushing against the Jets two weeks ago. He would have been the first to hit the century mark against the Jets since Nov. 15, 2009. Their streak remained intact for that week only because Bears running back Matt Forte rushed for 113 yards (5.9 average) and one touchdown Sunday.

3. Davone Bess, Dolphins receiver: He's still one of the Dolphins' top players, but his second-half production hasn't measured up to his hot start or the lucrative contract extension he signed in October. That's the definition of a slumping stock. Bess caught his first touchdown pass since Week 7 on a tipped ball that should have been intercepted. He also fumbled a punt return the Lions converted into a field goal and fell down to allow Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy to intercept and score the winning touchdown in a late fourth-quarter collapse that might cost people their jobs.

RISING

[+] EnlargeShonn Greene
Mike DiNovo/US PresswireShonn Greene helped get the Jets' running game back on track Sunday.
1. Chances for another AFC East coaching change: We could be following an AFC East head coaching search for the eighth straight year. The Dolphins would appear primed for change after a dull and disappointing season that can be described as mediocre at best. The Dolphins began the year with Super Bowl aspirations and went 1-7 at Sun Life Stadium. They lost to the Browns, Bills and Lions in their final three home games. It's pretty easy to see Tony Sparano joining Dick Jauron, Eric Mangini, Cam Cameron, Nick Saban, Mike Mularkey, Herm Edwards, Dave Wannstedt and Gregg Williams as AFC East head coaches who either were fired or stepped down since the 2003 season.

2. Shonn Greene, Jets running back: The Jets couldn't find a better time to get their torpid rushing attack in gear. Greene ran 12 times for 70 yards and his first touchdown in 10 games Sunday against the Bears. Greene's 5.8-yard average was his highest of the season.

3. Gary Guyton, Patriots linebacker: He continues to shine while Brandon Spikes is suspended for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Guyton had a strip-sack and two passes defensed in Sunday's victory over the Bills. Over the past seven weeks he has three sacks, an interception, five passes defensed and a fumble return for a touchdown.

'07 Dolphins know power of one Bills win

November, 12, 2010
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Greg Camarillo Gary Rothstein/Icon SMIThe 2007 Miami Dolphins flirted with 0-16 before beating Baltimore in overtime in Week 15.
When the 11 o'clock news came on that night, Vonnie Holliday sat back with a smile on his face and relived the glorious moment.

He watched his teammates go bonkers in celebration. They jumped. They hugged. They raised their fists -- even a few index fingers -- in self salute.

The Miami Dolphins hadn't won just any game. They had won their first game. It was Week 15.

"I remember watching how crazy we were acting out there," said Holliday, the veteran defensive tackle. "I don't know if people could really appreciate it. If you weren't a part of that team or one of those guys who went out every day and worked as hard as we did to get it, you wouldn't understand it."

"That was just one win, but it was our Super Bowl."

The power of one victory is immense.

Members of that '07 Dolphins team know what the Buffalo Bills are going through this year -- and then some.

The Bills are the NFL's only winless team. They're 0-8 heading into Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The '07 Dolphins lost their first 13 games before they pulled out a dramatic victory, beating the Baltimore Ravens when undrafted quarterback Cleo Lemon connected with undrafted receiver Greg Camarillo for a 64-yard touchdown in sudden death. Camarillo hadn't scored a touchdown since high school.

That's how thin the Dolphins' margin for error was.

"That day, we made a play," said Lemon, now playing for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. "It was a great moment. But as a professional you never want to have a season like that."

The '07 Dolphins lost six games by a field goal that year. The Bills have lost each of their past three games by three points, two of them in overtime.

Bills tight end David Martin tells his teammates how much a single "W" can wash away the pressure, the doubt, the feelings of inadequacy and the ridicule that builds with each passing defeat.

Martin played on the '07 Dolphins, too.

"One win would make a big difference," Martin said by phone Thursday from One Bills Drive. "We have a young team, and I'm sure right now it feels like we're doing all this for nothing. But one win will lift everybody's spirits.

"Every game you lose is heartbreaking. That first win in 2007 felt like the Super Bowl. That's what one win will do."

In speaking this week with some players from the '07 Dolphins, I heard them unapologetically compare winning their first game to the feeling of winning a championship. They insisted they weren't being hyperbolic.

I thought the best way to quantify achieving victory late in the season would be to ask somebody with a Stanford engineering degree. I put the question to Camarillo in algebraic terms.

If the value of any victory is "x," then what is the exponential value of a victory when a team is 0-8 or, in the '07 Dolphins' case, 0-13?

I'm not sure if Camarillo pulled out a pad of paper and a slide rule, but he paused for a few moments to weigh the equation.

"If you get it in your first five weeks, it's not that big," Camarillo said after Minnesota Vikings practice Wednesday afternoon. "When you're 0-8, it starts getting really bad. When you're 0-5, you still have time to get things rolling.

"That one win in our 14th game was the equivalent of winning 10 games. That win for us was as good as winning a playoff game."

At 0-8, Camarillo thought a victory might be worth five to the Bills.

Camarillo bemoaned that losing so many close games is mentally grueling. He sounded exhausted just talking about 2007.

Without inside knowledge of the Bills, Camarillo surmised how they're feeling right now. He said they're working hard each week, sacrificing and stressing over that first victory. To repeatedly come close and then have the game slip away on the final play -- or in the waning moments -- becomes torture.

"You go into each week actually thinking 'OK, this is going to be the week. We're going to get our victory this week,' " Camarillo said. "As the season wears on, you're still a professional. You might turn from thinking you're going to win to hoping you're going to win. But you're ready to compete.

"Then as soon as something goes wrong -- you're 0-8 and throw a pick six or fumble the ball -- you drop your head and say 'Oh, no. Here we go again.' It's that mentality that causes you to lose more games."

The '07 Dolphins dealt with greater pressure than this year's Bills are encountering. Imagine what it must've felt like to get so close to becoming the first team in NFL history to go 0-16 -- the Lions didn't pull their oh-fer until a season later -- when your franchise's claim to fame is being the only team to go undefeated and win the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the New England Patriots were making their run at surpassing the '72 Dolphins' perfect season.

Miami was plagued by significant injuries in 2007. They lost their starting quarterback (Trent Green), best two running backs (Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams), star linebacker (Zach Thomas) and several other starters to major injuries. They traded top receiver Chris Chambers. First-year head coach Cam Cameron seemed overmatched.

"Week in and week out ,you're the butt of the joke," said Holliday, a 13-year pro who's now in his first season with the Washington Redskins. "It gets frustrating.

"These guys are tremendous competitors, and everybody's watching. Every conversation you're having with your friends, your family, the media, the fans is about you losing. That gets very tiring."

Jay Leno already is using the Bills as a punch line in his monologues.

One victory would put an end to that. One win and the Bills go from being an obvious laughingstock to one of many, including the Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers and others.

"If you're 1-9, they will stop talking about you and that 0-16 talk," Camarillo said. "As soon as you've won you're just a bad team. You're not the worst team."

In Western New York, however, there's an undercurrent of support for the Bills to avoid winning. Talk-radio shows, message boards and my e-mail inbox are inundated with aspirations of 0-16 to ensure the top pick in next April's draft.

For those who feel that way, know the players don't agree with you.

"If you're thinking about going 0-16, there's going to be some major changes on that team," Camarillo said. "Players aren't planning for next year because half the people won't be back."

Another recurring concept in my conversations for this story was the idea of momentum. The Dolphins didn't win again after stunning the Ravens in December 2007. They had only two more chances, though, and Cameron became a dead man coaching when Bill Parcells was hired to oversee football operations right about then.

"We have more pieces to the puzzle here," said Martin, comparing the teams. "I think when we get that first one we can string a few in a row and get that winning feeling around here."

Lemon is close friends with Bills cornerback Drayton Florence and gets the impression when speaking to his former San Diego Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars teammate the Bills have their heads in the right place.

"These guys are fighting hard," Lemon said. "They just haven't been able to finish games and just seem to find a way to lose. Unlike us in 2007, they're healthy. They're making plays. If they can get just one win, they can easily turn it around and have a respectable season."

Even if the Bills can't win half of their remaining games and cobble together a 4-12 record, they still have something to look forward to every Sunday for the next two months.

One win at this stage won't earn the Bills any kind of trophy. But they probably will run around the field in jubilation like they'd just won the Super Bowl.

"I did feel like it, though," Holliday said with a laugh. "It felt really, really good."

'07 draft class nearly purged from AFC East

October, 15, 2010
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After they dumped quarterback Trent Edwards and traded running back Marshawn Lynch in consecutive weeks, a lone member of the Buffalo Bills' 2007 draft class remained on the roster.

Just three years later, one keeper is a lousy return.

But consider how the rest of AFC East drafted in 2007.

Only six of 30 AFC East draftees from 2007 still are with the team that drafted them: two New York Jets, two Miami Dolphins, one New England Patriot and one Bill. (See chart below.)

[+] EnlargeDavid Harris
Anthony J. Causi/Icon SMIThe Jets traded second-, third- and sixth-round choices to move up and select David Harris.
The Jets were most effective. They drafted just four players. Their first two have been stars, and the last pick helped them acquire a standout receiver. They traded up to select star cornerback Darrelle Revis 14th overall and top inside linebacker David Harris 47th. Seventh-round pick Chansi Stuckey was sent to the Cleveland Browns in the trade that landed receiver Braylon Edwards.

The Patriots were the least efficient on nine picks, but they had only two selections inside the first four rounds. Their lone keeper was Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather in the first round.

The Dolphins made 10 selections in what was the final draft class for general manager Randy Mueller and the only one for rookie head coach Cam Cameron. They famously misfired on ninth overall pick Ted Ginn, who was traded for a fifth-round pick this offseason, and second-round quarterback John Beck. Still around are defensive tackle Paul Soliai and punter Brandon Fields.

The last man standing from Buffalo's seven-man 2007 draft class is second-round linebacker Paul Posluszny.

So that's a 20 percent retention rate for the AFC East on all draftees and a 40 percent rate for those selected in the top three rounds.

With help from ESPN researcher Keith Hawkins and the Elias Sports Bureau, I wanted to find out how those percentages compared leaguewide.

Poorly, it turns out.

Of the 225 players chosen in other divisions that year, 100 have remained with the teams that drafted them. That's 44.4 percent overall, more than twice the AFC East rate.

When narrowing the field to players taken within the first three rounds, 89 prospects were absorbed into other divisions, and 54 have stuck, a success rate of 60.7 percent.

A few notes turned up by the research:

  • The Dolphins are the only team that has gotten rid of their top four picks.
  • Twenty-six teams have parted ways with at least one of their picks from the first three rounds.
  • Of the 19 teams that had at least one pick in each of the first three rounds, only the Pittsburgh Steelers retained all of them (Lawrence Timmons, LaMarr Woodley, Matt Spaeth).

Ginn acutely aware of Dolfan displeasure

August, 13, 2010
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Former Miami Dolphins receiver/returner/pariah Ted Ginn isn't above Googling himself to see what people say about him.

"You could check a lot of things out over the Internet," Ginn told NFC West blogger Mike Sando. "There are a lot of things on there when you type 'Ted Ginn Jr.' Through the offseason and just times when you are alone, you go and look at different things like that and you see what some people think about you and what some people don't think about it. 'Inconsistent' is one of the words that is out here about me, and I don't like that. So I just try to go out every day and just try to get better."

I doubt "inconsistent" was the worst adjective Ginn encountered.

Sando is reporting from San Francisco 49ers camp, where Ginn is trying to find a fresh start. Ginn was a bust with the Dolphins. He was the ninth overall draft pick in 2007, an obnoxiously bad draft class for the Dolphins. Bill Parcells came aboard later that year and fired general manager Randy Mueller and head coach Cam Cameron.

Ginn turned in some high-wattage plays here and there. He was the main reason the Dolphins went 2-0 against the New York Jets last year. But he mostly was aggravating to watch. He dropped passes, turtled to avoid contact, ran out of bounds rather than fight for yardage.

Miami traded him to San Francisco for a fifth-round draft pick in April.

"You can't get mad at a fan who loves Miami that has been down there for 40 years and understands the tradition, just like you can't get mad at a fan who knows San Francisco," Ginn said. "They want something out of you that they expect that you should do. It means I have to go out and give it to them."

Ginn still dropping balls with 49ers

May, 18, 2010
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Ted Ginn Jr. has brought his dropsies to the Bay Area.

The San Francisco 49ers were rightfully excited to acquire Ginn for a measly fifth-round choice. Three years earlier, the Miami Dolphins drafted him ninth overall.

He's a dazzling kick returner and provides turf-scorching speed.

But folks are starting to notice why the Dolphins gave up on him.

Bay Area News Group columnist Cam Inman watched him running at Monday's voluntary workout and came up with "Ted Gazelle Jr." as a nickname. Wouldn't be the first time a guy named Cam became smitten with Ginn's quickness.

"But when he repeatedly dropped balls, he looked, well, a lot like the reputation that came with him from his Miami Dolphins days," Inman wrote.

Inman added Ginn looked fine fielding punts, but "when he failed to catch one punt near his waist, it wasn't good -- other than it was only mid-May and he wasn't in Candlestick Park."

"You've got to shake it off," Ginn said later. "You've got to treat it like a [defensive back] when he gets scored on. You can't tank. They're going to happen and you just can't have that many."

Dolphins finally give Ginn the thumb

April, 16, 2010
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One of the many running jokes from Cam Cameron's brief tenure with the Miami Dolphins in 2007 was born when he stepped to the microphone at a draft party to herald Ted Ginn Jr. as their selection.

[+] EnlargeTed Ginn Jr.
Jonathan Brownfield/US PresswireTed Ginn Jr. was traded on Friday after three mostly disappointing seasons in Miami.
The Dolfans gathered in the team's practice bubble were livid. They booed and jeered. They delivered emphatic thumbs-down gestures.

"Hey, we need that thumb to go this direction!" Cameron said, giving a cheesy thumbs up.

On Friday, the Dolphins' front office took Cameron's thumbs up and directed it over their shoulders -- as in the heave-ho. Ginn has been ejected from the Dolphins' roster after three uninspiring seasons.

A league source has confirmed to NFC West blogger Mike Sando the Dolphins have sent Ginn in this direction: to the San Francisco 49ers. The Dolphins reportedly received a fifth-round pick in next week's draft from the 49ers in exchange for Ginn.

That's a dramatic fall for a ninth overall pick in three years.

Ginn wasn't needed in Miami after the trade for Brandon Marshall. Even before that blockbuster deal, Ginn was on his way out.

Ginn was fun to watch when returning a kick, but he was a mediocre receiver. He frustrated Dolfans with his dropped passes and propensity to run out of bounds to avoid contact.

ProFootballFocus.com tallied 10 drops last year for Ginn. That tied for most in the NFL. Factor in his 38 receptions, and Ginn's drop percentage was 20.8 percent, third-worst in the league among all wide receivers and tight ends.

ESPN Stats & Information calculated Ginn had the worst catch percentage among all NFL receivers on passes that travel more than 20 yards downfield. The Dolphins tried him deep 15 times, but completed three.

Only nose tackle Paul Soliai and punter Brandon Fields remain from Miami's 2007 draft class.

Love the Marshall deal? Be grateful for Ginn

April, 15, 2010
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National Football Post columnist Andrew Brandt raises an interesting point about the Brandon Marshall trade.

If you're a fan of the move, then you should thank former Miami Dolphins general manager Randy Mueller and head coach Cam Cameron.

They're the ones who drafted Ted Ginn Jr. ninth overall in 2007, creating a problem that would take three years to correct.

Brandt, a former Green Bay Packers vice president who writes about the business side of football, cites the Ginn misstep as the reason the Dolphins were compelled to deal two second-round draft picks and then make Marshall one of the highest-paid receivers in NFL history to keep him.

Brandt writes:
The Marshall trade proves the maxim that, in most cases, big free-agent signings or blockbuster trades are the price paid for high draft picks who don't pan out. Ted Ginn, now being shopped at a bargain price, was the ninth pick in the 2007 draft -- with $14 million guaranteed -- and was projected to be the Dolphins' breakout star at the position. And after trying the free-agent route a couple of years ago with Ernest Wilford and another $7 million, the Dolphins are now taking a different route to fix the mistake of Ginn.

In fairness to Mueller and Cameron, the same front office that swung the Marshall deal also misjudged Wilford, but that was spackling compared to the massive restoration of the receiving corps Marshall provides.

Ginn's days appear to be numbered with the Dolphins. He might be able to bring back a kickoff, but don't expect much return in a trade.

Report: Dolphins trying to drop Ginn

April, 13, 2010
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The Miami Dolphins reportedly are trying to unload disappointing receiver Ted Ginn, the ninth pick of the 2007 draft.

This will be viewed among Dolfans as the most encouraging offseason news since the club signed inside linebacker Karlos Dansby five weeks ago.

[+] EnlargeTed Ginn
AP Photo/Wilfredo LeeIn three seasons, Ted Ginn has 128 receptions for 1,664 yards and five touchdowns.
Ginn arrived with whatever the opposite of fanfare is.

Rookie head coach Cam Cameron was booed and heckled by Dolfans when he stepped to the microphone at a draft party in the team's practice bubble. Many fans wanted the Dolphins to select Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn.

As fans chanted "Bra-dy! Bra-dy!" Cameron was extolling Ginn's virtues as a punt returner. Not exactly what you want to hear about a ninth overall pick.

Quinn didn't work out for the Cleveland Browns, who traded him to the Denver Broncos for running back Peyton Hillis, a sixth-round draft choice in 2011 and a conditional pick in 2012.

That sounds like a bonanza for Ginn, especially when you consider the New York Jets acquired Super Bowl MVP receiver Santonio Holmes for a fifth-round choice.

NFL.com's Jason La Canfora reported the Dolphins are shopping Ginn around the league. That could be the harbinger to the Dolphins selecting a receiver with the 12th pick because Ginn is the Dolphins' lone downfield threat, however inadequate the rest of his game might be.

Ginn has electrifying speed, as demonstrated when he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in a Week 8 victory over the Jets.

But he has been a bust as a receiver. Over three seasons, he has 128 receptions for 1,664 yards and five touchdowns.

Ginn's known more for his dropped passes and penchant for running out of bounds to avoid contact.

Stat site ProFootballFocus.com tallied 10 drops last year for Ginn. That tied for most in the NFL. Factor in his 38 receptions, and Ginn's drop percentage was 20.8 percent, third-worst in the league among all wide receivers and tight ends.

What good does Ginn's blazing speed provide when he can't make a play?

ESPN Stats & Information calculated Ginn had the worst catch percentage among all NFL receivers on passes that travel more than 20 yards downfield.

The Dolphins tried him deep 15 times, but only three were completed. Arizona Cardinals star Larry Fitzgerald and Detroit Lions receiver Bryant Johnson had identical numbers. Fitzgerald, of course, makes other types of great catches Ginn does not.

If the Dolphins dump Ginn, they will have only two players -- nose tackle Paul Soliai and punter Brandon Fields -- remaining from their 2007 draft class, the final group selected by general manager Randy Mueller and Cameron before Bill Parcells fired them.

Draft Watch: AFC East

February, 24, 2010
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NFC Busts/Gems: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Draft Watch: Biggest needs (2/17) | Busts/gems (2/24) | Schemes, themes (3/3) | Recent history (3/10) | Needs revisited (3/17) | Under-the-radar needs (3/26) | History in that spot (3/31) | Draft approach (4/7) | Decision-makers (4/14) | Dream scenario/Plan B (4/21)

Each Wednesday leading up to the NFL draft (April 22-24), the ESPN.com blog network will take a division-by-division look at key aspects of the draft. Today's topic: Busts and late-round gems.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills' drafts have been pockmarked, at best. They haven't reached the playoffs in a decade, which means they should have benefited from desirable draft position throughout the 2000s. Even so, the Bills haven't obtained much star power in that span. A perusal of their draft history should come with a warning to Bills fans that it shouldn't be done without antacids. Only four Bills draft picks in the 2000s went to the Pro Bowl. The lone first-round choice to wear a Bills helmet in the Pro Bowl has been running back Marshawn Lynch, who did so as an alternate and lost his job to Fred Jackson last year. Their biggest bust was tackle Mike Williams, the fourth overall selection in 2002. Williams simply didn't have the heart for football and lasted three full seasons, none of which could be deemed remarkable. Buffalo's best draft choices in the 2000s have been top cornerback Terrence McGee and solid defensive tackle Kyle Williams. McGee was a fourth-rounder in 2003 and went to the Pro Bowl as a return man. Williams was a fifth-round pick in 2006 and for the most part has started since his rookie year, but there might not be a fit for him when the Bills transform into a 3-4 defense.

Miami Dolphins

The first player who comes to mind when considering Miami's recent busts is receiver and return man Ted Ginn. The ninth overall pick has come to symbolize the lost 2007 season under former general manager Randy Mueller and one-and-done coach Cam Cameron. The Dolphins had 10 draft choices in 2007, including four in the top 71, but only Ginn, defensive tackle Paul Soliai and punter Brandon Fields remain on the team. That class was a collective bust. Is it possible, however, that 2006 was worse? The Dolphins drafted five players (albeit three of them in the seventh round) and only one is on the roster. Defensive back Jason Allen, the 16th overall choice, has started 12 games in four seasons. The Dolphins have been overhauled so much under football operations czar Bill Parcells, most players on their roster haven't been around long enough to label draft gems or duds. Discoveries from previous regimes aren't with the club any longer. The Dolphins drafted guard Rex Hadnot in the sixth round in 2004. Tight end Randy McMichael, selected in 2002, might be the best fourth-round pick in franchise history. The greatest find on Miami's roster -- by far -- has been safety Yeremiah Bell, a sixth-round long shot from Division I-AA Eastern Kentucky. Bell didn't make the team as a rookie, fought his way up from the practice squad, overcame early injury problems and played in the Pro Bowl a few weeks ago.

New England Patriots

Tom Brady not only is the greatest Patriots' draft discovery, but also the best of his generation. The 199th pick of the 2000 draft -- 16 slots after Spergon Wynn -- went on to win four AFC championships, three Super Bowls and two Super Bowl MVP awards. He's a five-time Pro Bowler and owns a few records. More recently, center Dan Koppen has proven to be a nice acquisition in the fifth round of the 2003 draft. Koppen has been New England's starter since Week 2 of his rookie season. He was named to the Pro Bowl for 2007. The Patriots also were able to spin quarterback Matt Cassel, a 2005 seventh-round pick, into the 34th overall choice in last year's draft. As for busts, the Patriots haven't been immune. They have an impressive first-round track record, but tight ends Daniel Graham and Benjamin Watson were hiccups. New England took Graham 21st overall, but he was erratic and produced one good season before leaving via free agency. Watson's tenure will be remembered similarly, but with more injuries. Wide receiver Chad Jackson was another prominent pick who flamed out. The Patriots wanted him badly enough to trade up 16 slots to snag him 36th overall four years ago. He missed his entire rookie season with a hamstring injury and left New England after three seasons with a grand total of five receptions for 83 yards.

New York Jets

The Jets don't have a lot of recent picks to scan. Since Mike Tannenbaum took over as general manager in February 2006, the Jets have made only 23 selections. They've drafted 13 players over the past three years. Maybe it's too soon to be slapping the bust sticker on pass-rusher Vernon Gholston, but through two NFL seasons, the sixth overall pick from 2008 has started three games and has been a healthy scratch for three games. Gholston has yet to record a sack and has made only 10 solo tackles. Kellen Clemens also falls into the failure category. The Jets used the 49th pick on him. Second-round quarterbacks are supposed to play and get paid accordingly. The Jets were so down on Clemens, they made major gambles to keep him off the field, trading for Brett Favre and moving up to select Mark Sanchez fifth last April. The Jets have had success unearthing talent in the fourth round. The list includes running back Leon Washington (2006), safety Kerry Rhodes (2005) and receiver Jerricho Cotchery (2004). The Jets made a fine selection when they used a seventh-rounder on running back Derrick Ward in 2004. But Ward didn't make the roster. The New York Giants signed him off the Jets' practice squad. He won a Super Bowl with the Giants and rushed for 1,025 yards a year later.

Crowder gives Bills fans sneak D preview

February, 5, 2010
2/05/10
12:40
PM ET
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- If you're looking for insight on what kind of transition the Buffalo Bills will go through as they morph into a 3-4 team under defensive coordinator George Edwards, you can do a lot worse than talk to Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder.

"George is like my second father," Crowder said Friday morning along Radio Row in the Super Bowl media center. "The coolest coach in the NFL."

Crowder knows Edwards well. They went through a 3-4 transformation together with the Dolphins, where Edwards was linebackers coach the past five seasons.

Edwards left the Dolphins in January to be the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida, Crowder's alma mater. Crowder shook his head at the idea of Edwards leaving the Gators after three weeks.

"I guess he thought the opportunity in Buffalo was better," Crowder said. "I was upset about the Florida thing, but with the love I have for George Edwards and knowing the type of coach he is, I'm happy for him. Buffalo got a great coach."

The Bills operated out of a Tampa 2 system under head coach Dick Jauron and interim coach Perry Fewell.

Crowder sketched out Edwards' philosophy as one that emphasizes stuffing the run above all else, with pass-rushing the second priority.

"That's all he talks about, stopping the run and then try to get pressure on the quarterback," Crowder said. "He preached that to us the whole time. So, to Buffalo fans, that's what he'll do."

Crowder said Dolphins linebacker Reggie Torbor already had been on the phone with Bills linebacker Kawika Mitchell to give an Edwards testimonial. Mitchell and Torbor won the Super Bowl together with the New York Giants.

How big of a project will it be to switch to a 3-4? Crowder didn't think it would be difficult.

Nick Saban, who preferred a 4-3 defense, brought Edwards to the Dolphins and drafted Crowder. When Saban split for Alabama, Edwards remained on Cam Cameron's staff and continued to coach a 4-3.

But when Bill Parcells took over as football operations boss after the 2007 season, the Dolphins switched to a 3-4.

"I didn't know anything about a 3-4," Crowder said. "He taught me everything. I didn't know about taking on linemen. For me, it was always 'See ball, get ball' my whole career. That's basically what a 4-3 is. Stay in your gap, find the ball and take off running.

"He got me to the level where I can be a starting 3-4 inside linebacker in the NFL."

Crowder foresees defensive tackle Marcus Stroud playing the five-technique position, an outside defensive tackle. The Bills will need to identify the all-important 3-4 nose tackle.

"That nose position," Crowder said, "I don't know if they have that guy. That five can destroy one side of an offensive line. Then you need that big nose to plug the middle.

"It's a different defense, different schemes. There are different blocking techniques. It's a learning curve, but I believe with the talent they have at linebacker, they'll be OK.

"I can guarantee their defense will be better."

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