AFC East: John Jerry

DAVIE, Fla. – The mammoth size was apparent on the first day of Miami Dolphins rookie camp. So was the youthful exuberance.

First-year offensive linemen Ja'Wuan James and Billy Turner looked the part of two major building blocks in Miami's 2014 draft class. The Dolphins invested first- and third-round picks, respectively, in hopes that James and Turner can fix Miami's struggling offensive line.

[+] EnlargeJa'Wuan James, Billy Turner
AP Photo/Wilfredo LeeRookies Ja'Wuan James, left, and Billy Turner are aiming to be immediate contributors on Miami's rebuilt offensive line.
James and Turner have the potential to become Miami's dynamic rookie duo in the trenches. Both were in shape and ready to begin competing for starting jobs when the veterans returned for organized team activities next week.

“It felt good to get back out here,” James said after Friday's practice. “I haven’t played football in a long time. We've been practicing to be track stars through this whole draft process. So it’s good going out there and competing."

Dolphins first-year general manager Dennis Hickey was left with an empty cupboard on the offensive line when he joined the team in January. On the field, Miami’s offensive line allowed a franchise-record 58 quarterbacks sacks and had an inconsistent running game that was ranked 26th in the NFL. There also was a bullying scandal off the field involving three starters: center Mike Pouncey and former guards Richie Incognito and John Jerry.

A major overhaul of the offensive line was needed, and Miami could have as many as four new starters this season. Hickey and the Dolphins are hoping James and Turner are NFL-ready rookies. Both are former team captains and four-year starters with 105 combined collegiate starts.

“Well, I know those guys are talented players, and through our research we felt like they had the makeup that could contribute and help our team,” Hickey said. “So, obviously, that’s why we drafted them. They played a lot of football. They’re both smart and they’re both tough and we’re excited to have them. They’ve done an outstanding job so far.”

Turner will have the hardest time of the two rookies to win a starting job. Miami has an opening at one guard position, but there are a lot of competitors with more NFL experience. Holdovers Nate Garner, Sam Brenner and Dallas Thomas are all potential competitors for Turner this summer, and the coaching staff will not play favorites.

We will know more about Turner's game once he puts the pads on in training camp. At North Dakota State, Turner was known for his mean streak and dominant play against small-school competition. He will try to translate that style to the NFL level.

“I like to hit people. That’s why I play the game, that’s why I play offensive line,” Turner said. “I’m an aggressive guy. ... Coming off the ball being as aggressive as I can is how I play.”
The Miami Dolphins were a competitive 8-8 in 2013 and just one win away from making the playoffs. They signed Branden Albert, a Pro Bowl left tackle and drafted right tackle Ja'Wuan James in the first-round to fix the offensive line. Miami added 1,000-yard running back Knowshon Moreno to boost their shoddy rushing attack.

Add veteran signings such as cornerback Cortland Finnegan, defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, safety Louis Delmas, a new draft class and the Dolphins should be projected to take the next step, correct?

Not so fast.

The early 2014 projections are in and it doesn’t look good for Miami. So far, many experts are predicting the Dolphins slide this year.

ESPN.com recently ranked the Dolphins in the bottom third of the NFL at No. 24. One voter -- NFL Nation reporter Kevin Seifert -- rated the Dolphins No. 30, which rubbed a lot of Dolphins fans the wrong way. Bleacher Report also rated Miami last at No. 32 and the worst team in the NFL. Football Outsiders predicted Miami would finish 7-9.

Why is Miami being ranked low nationally? Here are three theories:

1. Head coach on the hot seat

Analysis: It rarely looks good for a team when the head coach enters the season on the hot seat. Joe Philbin is a shaky 15-17 in two seasons. He has yet to post a winning record or make the playoffs. There are no excuses for Philbin to fail in his third year. Although the Dolphins won’t admit it publicly, it’s playoffs or bust. What if Miami gets off to a slow start? What if the Dolphins are out of the playoff race in November? Miami must win early to quiet the speculation. Philbin must also get his players to respond week in and week out despite his status.

2. Not much confidence in Tannehill

Analysis: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has one of the top-selling jerseys in the NFL. He gets a ton of support in South Florida. Yet, Tannehill doesn’t get the same love nationally. Tannehill has a mediocre 15-17 record as a starter. He hasn’t proven to be a winning quarterback in two seasons and it’s now or never. Tannehill is learning a new offensive scheme for the first time since college. He has also struggled throwing the deep ball and holding the ball too long. Based on early Power Rankings, it appears the national media does not think Tannehill is going to do anything special this year.

3. Bad Press

Analysis: Fair or not, the Dolphins have the national perception of a team in turmoil and previously with a bad locker room. Last year’s bullying scandal rocked Miami and put the entire organization in a bad light. To the Dolphins’ credit, owner Stephen Ross, first-year general manager Dennis Hickey and Philbin have done a lot to clean up last year’s ills. They let Richie Incognito and John Jerry walk in free agency and traded Jonathan Martin. But recent issues on social media with Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey, who may face an early-season suspension, and Don Jones keep Miami’s locker-room issues in the spotlight.

When you consider all these factors, it’s easier to see why the national media isn’t giving Miami much respect this upcoming season. The Dolphins also have the 12th toughest strength of schedule.

Miami will have a chance to fly under the radar. That could be a good thing. Meanwhile, Dolphins fans shouldn't expect much respect from the national media leading up to the regular season.
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DAVIE, Fla. -- It was one of the worst-kept secrets in the NFL draft that the Miami Dolphins desperately needed to fix their offensive line this week. Miami’s weakest unit allowed a franchise-record 58 quarterback sacks and could have as many as four new starters next season. Major changes were needed.

But the first pick of the Dennis Hickey era felt like a reach Thursday night when the Dolphins selected right tackle Ja'Wuan James at No. 19 overall. Most draft experts did not rate James as the 19th-best player in this draft. James said himself that some people told him he was projected to go in the second round. There was a solid chance the Dolphins could've landed James later in the first round by trading down to acquire more picks, which seemed like the best scenario.

However, Hickey said James was the best available player on the Dolphins' draft board. (I have yet to see a general manager willing to admit the opposite.) James was a player Miami did extensive homework on and fits many of the characteristics the team is looking for.

But the big question remains: Did Miami get the right value for this pick?

“We had a couple calls [for trades], but we were just excited about picking Ja'Wuan James and adding him to our roster,” Hickey said. “He’s a guy that definitely fits in from a talent aspect as well as a person, and brings what the Dolphins were all about.”

The draft board did not fall in Miami's favor. The Dolphins were put at a disadvantage when top-tier offensive tackles Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan and Zack Martin were all taken off the board in the first 16 picks. That left the Dolphins with the option of picking the fifth-rated offensive tackle, which is their biggest need, or another position. Miami passed on higher-rated players by the general consensus such as safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, receiver Brandin Cooks and cornerback Darqueze Dennard.

On the positive, James could be a Day 1 starter for Miami. The Dolphins' offensive line was ravaged this offseason due to the loss of offensive tackles Bryant McKinnie and Tyson Clabo in free agency and guards Richie Incognito and John Jerry with last year’s bullying scandal. James started 49 career games at Tennessee in the competitive Southeastern Conference and comes to Miami with plenty of college experience.

“I’m a tough, smart offensive lineman,” James said on a conference call with the Miami media. “I pride myself on being smart and not making many mistakes. I bring athleticism to the table, strength and a lot of experience.”

The Dolphins held the No. 19 pick only twice before in their team history. Miami selected two solid players: offensive lineman Vernon Carey (2004) and defensive end Kim Bokamper (1976) with those picks. Perhaps James can join the aforementioned pair as a quality contributor for the franchise. If that's the case, no one will care several years from now where James was taken. But Hickey's first draft pick in Miami lacks sizzle.
One of the worst-kept secrets in this year’s NFL draft is the Miami Dolphins will draft offensive linemen. There is a strong chance Miami will dedicate at least two of its six draft picks this year on fixing the position.

The Dolphins are in the process of completely making over the offensive line. Miami could have four new starters next season after the departures of tackles Bryant McKinnie and Tyson Clabo in free agency and guards Richie Incognito and John Jerry due to last year’s bullying scandal. Jonathan Martin, who began the 2013 season at left tackle, was traded after leaving the team in late October due to the harassment.

Miami could only do so much in free agency. The Dolphins signed starting left tackle Branden Albert and guard Shelley Smith. But another guard position and right tackle remain wide open entering next week’s draft.

Top prospects such as Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan are expected to be off the board when the Dolphins select at No. 19. Therefore, former NFL head coach and ESPN football analyst Jon Gruden shared his thoughts on this year’s second tier of offensive tackles in a recent conference call:
“Morgan Moses at Virginia is a very interesting guy to me. They've had a history of left tackles come out of Virginia. Moses is a kid that played one year at left tackle. He was a right tackle for a couple years. Joel Bitonio at Nevada is an interesting player. A fifth-year senior, been around, worked hard. I think he has some position flexibility, can play right, left or go inside. I like Zack Martin at Notre Dame. He might be my favorite linemen in this draft – 52-time starter, captain, really excelled at the Senior Bowl, drill work. Cyrus Kouandjio at Alabama, interesting player. Had some knee issues. I believe he's rounding into health. Massive person with experience on the left side. There's a number of interesting big people in this draft. I think last year we had three tackles go in the top five. So we got a lot of good quality offensive linemen coming into pro football here.”

The Dolphins are expected to have interest in all of these prospects. Martin is the top target at No. 19 of this group. But Moses and Bitonio also are possibilities in the second round.

Look for Miami to not only look for offensive linemen in the early rounds, but also in the middle and late rounds, as well.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell provided some closing thoughts on this week’s NFL owners meetings.

Here are some tidbits Goodell offered about the Miami Dolphins:
  • Goodell was pleased with the progress the NFL made this week on locker-room culture. There were several productive sessions to help coaches and general managers be proactive and avoid what happened last year in Miami during the Dolphins' bullying scandal.
  • In terms of suspensions, Goodell said the NFL will not take action until all three players complete their medical evaluations. Goodell announced Tuesday that Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey must seek treatment. “The medical evaluation is a priority for us,” Goodell said.
  • NFL vice president of football Troy Vincent added that the league will “consider everything” when it comes to potential suspensions. Pouncey could be in hot water because NFL lead investigator Ted Wells didn’t find some of Pouncey’s accounts credible, according to the report.

The Dolphins and the NFL leave Orlando with a much better grasp on how to improve locker-room culture, which was a major focus at the owners meetings. The next step for Miami will be awaiting word on Pouncey's playing status for the start of the regular season.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday that improving the workplace environment is a major focus for the league moving forward. Goodell said he spoke numerous times to the Miami Dolphins and 40 players total from nine different teams on how to fix the league’s locker-room culture.

“What do we need to do to make sure we have a workplace that we're all proud of?” Goodell said at the annual league meetings. “Those [talks] have been very productive.”

None of this would be possible without the Dolphins. Had Jonathan Martin not left the team on Oct. 29 amid bullying and harassment claims and caused a media firestorm, this topic would not be near the top of the docket at the NFL’s league meetings. That is perhaps the biggest silver lining the Dolphins can take from one of the most controversial chapters in franchise history.

The curtain was pulled back on Miami’s locker-room culture last season and prompted conversation and change. Mike Pouncey, Richie Incognito and John Jerry were three players cited for harassment in the 144-page Ted Wells report. That certainly caught Goodell’s attention, and the NFL is examining various measures to prevent another situation like this from happening again.

“We’re trying to get as much input as possible,” Goodell said. “This is a culture change. ... This is more about people understanding the importance of a professional workplace where there’s respect for everybody, whether it’s a teammate, an opponent, game officials.”

In this case, change is good. NFL locker rooms have long been behind the times. The Dolphins just happen to be the team that exposed the need for change. What the Dolphins experienced last year was negative, but learning from it going forward is a positive for the Dolphins and the entire NFL.

According to Goodell, no decisions have been made on potential suspensions for Incognito, Pouncey and Jerry. Goodell said all three players must first go through medical evaluations before the NFL makes a decision.
Branden AlbertPeter G. Aiken/Getty ImagesThe Dolphins bolstered their O-line by agreeing to a five-year, $46 million deal with Brandon Albert.
NFL free agency kicked off with a bang Tuesday, and Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert was one of the biggest names to switch teams. Albert signed a five-year, $46 million contract with Miami Dolphins. He spent the previous five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs.

One team’s loss is another team’s gain in free agency. ESPN.com’s Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher and Dolphins reporter James Walker weigh in on both sides of the Albert signing.

James Walker: Adam, the Dolphins are ecstatic to land a player of Albert’s caliber. Pro Bowl left tackles do not grow on trees, and Albert was the highest-rated player at that position on the market. Albert also filled Miami’s biggest need on the offensive line, which was torn apart last season with the bullying controversy. The price tag wasn’t cheap. But the Dolphins feel it was worth the investment, especially after watching their quarterback get sacked a team-record 58 times last season. Albert will protect Ryan Tannehill’s blindside. Adam, how are the Chiefs dealing with the loss of Albert?

Adam Teicher: It’s a loss for the Chiefs for the short term without a doubt. Eventually, the Chiefs should be able to handle his departure. The Chiefs and Albert were so far apart on a long-term contract last year that they knew it was never going to happen. So they began preparing for this day last year by selecting a tackle, Eric Fisher, with the first pick in the draft. Fisher started as a rookie at right tackle but didn’t play well. He was a huge disappointment, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t eventually become the player the Chiefs envision. He needs a year in Kansas City’s weight program. That alone should make him better.

The Chiefs and Dolphins talked about a trade involving Albert last year. How disappointed was Miami they couldn’t acquire Albert then?

Walker: The Dolphins liked Albert last year, but the person calling the shots this year is different. Miami fired former general manager Jeff Ireland and hired new GM Dennis Hickey in January. Ireland liked to acquire picks as opposed to trading them away. So it wasn’t a shock when talks with Kansas City failed. It turned out to be a mistake as Miami’s offensive line was atrocious, which played a factor in Ireland losing his job. Hickey doesn’t want to make the same mistake. It appears he values the perks of a good offensive line and is making it a priority by putting money into Albert.

Adam, the Chiefs’ offensive line appears to be in transition with losses of Albert, Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz. How will they recover?

Teicher: They’ve tried to prepare for this. Over the last four drafts, the Chiefs have used five picks in the first three rounds on offensive linemen. Four of them will start next season. They have three developmental linemen and the Chiefs could slide one of them into a starting spot in the middle of the line. Their depth will definitely take a hit, particularly at tackle. They’ll have to find some backups and perhaps even a starter through free agency or the draft.

With regard to the offensive line, is anything left for the Dolphins to do or are they set?

Walker: The Dolphins are far from set, Adam. Unlike Kansas City, Miami has not invested much in the offensive line in the past year. Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey is the only starting offensive lineman expected to return. Last year’s starting guards -- Richie Incognito and John Jerry -- will not return due to their involvement in Miami’s high-profile bullying scandal. Offensive tackles Tyson Clabo and Bryant McKinnie are both unrestricted free agents who are long in the tooth. Pouncey and Albert are a solid foundation. But the Dolphins still need two starting guards and a right tackle to play alongside their two Pro Bowlers.

Free-agency primer: Dolphins

March, 7, 2014
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» AFC Free-Agency Primer: East | West | North | South » NFC: East | West | North | South

Key free agents: DT Randy Starks, DT Paul Soliai, S Chris Clemons, G Richie Incognito, G John Jerry, OT Bryant McKinnie, OT Tyson Clabo

Where they stand: The Dolphins are expecting major turnover on their offensive line this offseason. Four starters -- Incognito, Jerry, McKinnie and Clabo -- are unrestricted free agents; most are not expected to return after Miami set a franchise record with 58 quarterback sacks allowed and were 26th in rushing. Incognito and Jerry were both involved in Miami’s high-profile bullying scandal. McKinnie and Clabo are older veterans at the end of their careers. So the Dolphins will look to get younger at offensive tackle. Starks and Soliai are solid defensive tackles who could get interest on the open market. Clemons is an average safety who has starting experience.

What to expect: Incognito and Jerry are as good as gone. Both were cited in the 144-page Ted Wells report. The Dolphins will let them go elsewhere in order to distance the franchise from that ugly scandal. Miami has plenty of cap room and will look to spend it at offensive tackle. Free-agent tackles like Eugene Monroe and Branden Albert could be high priorities. If the Dolphins can land one of them, that rules out a return for McKinnie. The defensive tackle position is interesting. Miami may aim to bring back Starks or Soliai, but nothing is guaranteed if neither player is signed before March 11. There is a chance the Dolphins could lose both players and need a contingency plan.

Miami Dolphins combine preview

February, 18, 2014
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The Miami Dolphins have been "team turmoil" as of late. They have been dealing with the aftermath of the Ted Wells report, but there are some other things on the way in terms of free agency and the NFL draft.

With that in mind, the NFL combine kicks off later this week. The Dolphins hold the No. 19 overall pick.

Here are some key questions and answers:

1. How will the new GM handle the combine?

This is the first NFL combine as the top guy for Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey. He worked in both college and pro scouting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 18 years before getting the GM job in Miami in January.

Hickey was not Miami’s first choice, but he has an opportunity to begin proving his worth at the combine. Scouting is his specialty and one of the primary reasons he got the job. The Dolphins have some holes to fill.

Hickey will address the media on Thursday in Indianapolis. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, Hickey most likely will have to spend a good amount of time addressing the fallout from the Ted Wells report, which was released last week and detailed Miami’s bullying scandal involving Dolphins offensive linemen Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin.

2. Who are some players to watch for Miami?

The Dolphins were 8-8 in 2013. So they are not a rebuilding team with a bare cupboard. However, Miami does have some well-defined needs that must be addressed if the Dolphins want to get to the next level.

For starters, Miami must rebuild nearly its entire offensive line. It was the weakest part of the team last year, allowing a franchise-record 58 sacks to go with an inconsistent running game. The Dolphins have four starters about to become unrestricted free agents: offensive tackles Tyson Clabo and Bryant McKinnie, as well as guards Incognito and John Jerry. Incognito and Jerry were two parties involved in the Ted Wells investigation for Miami’s bullying scandal and won’t return. Clabo and McKinnie are older players and the Dolphins will look to get younger at the position.

That means Miami will have a long look at guards and tackles in the draft. The Dolphins are fortunate that this is an area of great depth this year. Some offensive tackles to keep an eye on are Notre Dame’s Zack Martin, Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio and Virginia's Morgan Moses. All three should be in range for Miami at No. 19. Potential second-round selections could come at running back, where players like Carlos Hyde from Ohio State or Wisconsin’s James White could be available.

3. What is Jonathan Martin’s future?

Scouting rookies isn’t the only business that happens at the combine. Team executives also meet with agents in Indianapolis to discuss current NFL players, potential trades and contracts. One major issue for Miami is what to do with Martin.

The 2012 second-round pick has two years left on his rookie contract. But it’s clear after the Wells report that a mutual parting of ways is best for both parties. Both sides are expected to meet in Indianapolis to figure out where to go from here.

Miami Dolphins Stock Watch

February, 18, 2014
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The Miami Dolphins have a lot going on this offseason.

Here is a look at whose stock is rising and falling this week:

Falling

Incognito
1. Richie Incognito, guard: Incognito's already poor reputation took a bigger hit last week during the release of the Ted Wells report. Incognito harassed teammate Jonathan Martin and former teammate Andrew McDonald, according to the report. This will not make it easy for Incognito to find a job next season.

2. Jim Turner, offensive line coach: Outside of Incognito, Turner most likely will be the biggest fall guy in Miami’s bullying scandal. Turner was the supervisor responsible for the offensive line, which was described as an “anything goes” group. The Wells report also showed Turner, at times, was a willing participant in the banter, which doesn’t look good. I wouldn’t be surprised if Turner loses his job soon.

3. Mike Pouncey, center: The Dolphins will have an interesting decision with Pouncey. Incognito was the ringleader, but Pouncey took part in the harassment. He’s also under contract and is one of Miami’s top players. Will Pouncey get fined? Suspended? That remains to be seen. But it’s doubtful the Dolphins will offer Pouncey a contract extension, despite his quality play on the field.

Rising

1. Dennis Hickey, Dolphins GM: This has to be exciting times for Miami’s first-year general manager. He's running the show for the first time and will be a major part of Miami’s plans at the NFL combine. College scouting is Hickey’s strength. Therefore, this week’s events will be right up his alley. Miami also has plenty of cap room for Hickey to spend in free agency in March.

Grimes
Grimes
2. Brent Grimes, cornerback: Grimes put in the work last season and made his second Pro Bowl. Now it’s time to cash in. Grimes will be an unrestricted free agent in March and is in line to get a sizable contract extension. The Dolphins also can use the franchise tag on Grimes, which will pay him top dollar for 2014. Grimes wants long-term security, but he will get paid handsomely next season either way.

3. John Benton, assistant offensive line coach: With Turner most likely on the way out, that may provide an opportunity for a quick promotion for Benton. He joined the team just last month. The Dolphins had an idea of Turner’s role in the bullying scandal and hiring Benton, who formerly worked with the Houston Texans, may have been a pre-emptive move. Benton will work with a group that struggled mightily in 2013 and could face wholesale changes.
The much-anticipated Ted Wells report is complete and so is the conclusion of one of the biggest stories in the history of the Miami Dolphins.

Martin
Now, all that is left is the fallout.

One of the biggest issues is what will the Dolphins do with Jonathan Martin? The Wells report concluded that he was constantly harassed by three teammates: Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey and John Jerry. Martin left the team in October and didn’t return.

A return to Miami seems highly unlikely for Martin. Here are several reasons why:
  • Dolphins owner Stephen Ross already declared publicly that he doesn’t expect Martin or Incognito to be back on the team in 2014. Incognito is a free agent, so that’s an easy decision. Martin has two years left on his rookie contract and is expected to be traded or released.
  • Miami’s locker room made it clear last season that Martin isn’t welcome. Right or wrong, many Dolphins players believed Martin could have handled the situation better by keeping it in-house. Instead, players believe he walked out on the team and partially left them to deal with a national media firestorm. There is a two-way level of trust that’s broken between Martin and the Dolphins’ locker room that would be difficult to repair.
  • Bringing Martin back would be a public relations nightmare. The Dolphins spent three months with a dark cloud hanging over the team during this bullying scandal. So much media attention and scrutiny would be on Martin returning and trying to fit in Miami’s locker room culture again in 2014. Martin is an average or below average offensive tackle. Keeping him is not worth the huge distraction for the Dolphins.

Look for the Dolphins to try to get something in return for Martin. He’s young, cheap and can play left and right tackle. Those players do not grow on trees.

But Martin certainly comes with baggage from this bullying scandal. Teams also know that Miami will probably release Martin if it can’t find a trade partner. That lowers his value.

Either way, do not expect Martin to be on the Dolphins’ roster next season.


The Ted Wells report pulled the curtain back on the sordid locker room culture of the Miami Dolphins. One of the biggest developments was fellow offensive linemen Mike Pouncey and John Jerry joined Richie Incognito in the persistent harassment of Jonathan Martin and others on the team.

The immediate futures of Incognito and Jerry are simple: Both are unrestricted free agents in March and the Dolphins can easily wash their hands by letting them walk. Neither player is expected to return.

However, Pouncey’s situation is more complex.

Not only is Pouncey still under contract, he’s one of the best players on the team. He’s certainly Miami’s best offensive lineman, which is an area the Dolphins cannot afford to lose talent. Pouncey made his first Pro Bowl this season.

The NFL surely will review the Wells report thoroughly and determine if further action is necessary. Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey are all on commissioner Roger Goodell’s radar, which is not good for those three players. A fine or suspension is not out of the realm of possibility if Goodell believes this trio violated the NFL’s code of conduct.

Last week I wrote that Pouncey, based on his on-field play, is outperforming his contract and could be due for a raise. Now, I don’t see that happening following the details of the Wells report.

Expect the Dolphins to remain in wait-and-see mode with Pouncey this offseason.

Dolphins suffered a systemic failure

February, 14, 2014
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I need to take a shower.

After reading all 144 pages of Ted Wells' report Friday, I feel the need to scrub off the sludge coming from the Miami Dolphins' locker room.

The persistent harassment.

The racial slurs.

The homophobic language.

Verbal taunts and physical acts most people would deem unacceptable in the workplace happened with the Dolphins, and were made public Friday for all to see.

We knew details of the twisted relationship between Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito before Friday's report. What we didn’t know was the degree of oversight -- or the lack thereof -- within the Dolphins' organization.

Where were the leaders in this situation? Why didn't any responsible person with the Dolphins step forward and stop this mess before it became a national media firestorm?

What about offensive line coach Jim Turner? He was, at times, a willing participant in the Dolphins' screwed-up culture. According to the report, Turner used vile language toward Martin and even played a homophobic prank on another player. Turner appeared to be the person in authority who was most aware of Martin's issues with other offensive linemen. Turner was in position to stop the harassment, and didn't.

What about head trainer Kevin O'Neill? The investigation states one of his assistants, who was born in Japan, was the target of racial slurs from Incognito, Mike Pouncey and John Jerry. O'Neill failed to do anything and "allegedly even laughed at some of the racial insults," according to the report.

These are clues that should have been picked up. Yet the negative culture was allowed to fester.

Where was coach Joe Philbin? According to the report, Philbin was completely oblivious to what was going on inside his locker room. Although that's enough to keep his job, it's certainly not something to be proud of. The Dolphins, after all, were his team, and these ugly details -- 144 pages' worth -- happened on his watch. That is a stain on Philbin's résumé that is hard to shake.

The Dolphins as a franchise deserve just as much criticism as the players involved in this scandal. The Wells report pulled the curtain back on Miami's locker-room culture and showed a mixture of negligence and a lack of awareness that is unacceptable. We had an inkling months ago as to what went down in Miami, but the details that emerged Friday were worse than originally imagined.

The Dolphins' offensive line was described in the Wells report as having a "freewheeling, 'anything goes' atmosphere." That must be eradicated immediately. It is the only way to prevent another Martin-Incognito scandal from happening.

Martin was harassed, demeaned and ridiculed. But it also should be noted that Martin never reported the abuse to the Dolphins before leaving the team in October. No one -- including Martin -- is 100 percent absolved of blame.

However, the bigger picture is that a stronger team infrastructure could have prevented this. Had Martin felt more comfortable with the power structure above him, it's more likely he would have told Philbin or another person of authority about his concerns instead of leaving the team altogether. That is a systemic failure.

The Dolphins are a proud franchise with a rich history. They have won two Super Bowls and are still the owners of the NFL's only undefeated championship season.

However, Friday's sordid report is now part of the Dolphins' history. Hopefully, it can be used as a teaching tool by the Dolphins and other teams for what must be done to prevent a similar situation moving forward. That is the only hope the franchise has for cleansing itself of this scandalous chapter.
With the 2013 season officially in the books, it’s time to shift our focus to 2014. ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both produced their post-Super Bowl mock drafts on Thursday.

Here is how they view the Miami Dolphins with the No. 19 overall pick:
Interestingly, both Kiper and McShay projected the same position and player for Miami in May’s draft. It’s no secret that offensive line is a huge need for the Dolphins after allowing a franchise-record 58 sacks last season. Miami's running game also was rated 26th in the league. Starting offensive linemen Bryant McKinnie, Tyson Clabo, John Jerry and Richie Incognito will all become free agents in March and most -- if not all -- are expected to leave.

Martin would be a solid addition with the 19th pick. He was a very productive player at Notre Dame and is coming off a productive Senior Bowl. He is a three-year starter and team captain, which shows leadership.

The only question I have about Martin is his physical tools. He's not as naturally gifted as other left tackle prospects in the draft. But Martin is a high-motor player who gets the most out of what he has.

Martin would be a safe pick for the Dolphins, albeit not a spectacular one.
MIAMI -- The Dolphins finished another disappointing season at 8-8, and Miami fans want answers.

Who stays? Who goes? What improvements will be made this offseason?

Let’s open the Dolphins mailbag.

If you have additional Dolphins questions, send them my way via Twitter @JamesWalkerNFL.
 

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