The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Dolphins Deserve their Fate - Regardless of what Ricky Did

Since it’s flip-flopping week here at The Book of Mike, I’ve decided to come out and blame Dolphins’ management as much as Ricky Williams in the whole “now we don’t have a running back because Ricky retired debacle.” This thought had not even occurred to me until yesterday, when the Dallas Cowboys released their starting quarterback, Quincy Carter, allegedly because of a positive drug test (rumored to be his second positive test).

Granted, Carter is not the quarterback that Ricky Williams is the running back, but for all of last season, he was the Cowboys starter. When was the last time you heard of a starting quarterback – a young one at that – being outright released during the first week of training camp? I can’t remember it ever happening.

But it’s as-if the Cowboys knew this was a risk in the off-season and so they planned for it. They acquired Drew Henson when he decided to give up football. They also signed aged (he’s past the “aging” stage) Vinny Testaverde, who formerly played under Coach Bill Parcells when the two were with the New York Jets. During the offseason these seemed like unusual moves – particularly the Testaverde signing. But now it all makes sense. Henson is really the quarterback of the future for the team, and Vinny is the bridge to get the Cowboys there. Quincy Carter was just in the way the whole time, and now that it’s been confirmed – at least to the Cowboys – that Carter is going to be an issue off the field, they don’t have time for him.

Luckily the Cowboys are prepared. Well, they’re prepared to some degree. Regardless of how you evaluate the Vinny Testaverde – Drew Henson tag team, you’d have to admit that they’re better positioned than the Dolphins, who are left with Travis Minor and Sammy Morris in their backfield.

Who do the Dolphins have to blame for this? Sure there’s Ricky. But the Dolphins knew that he had marijuana issues in the past and that Ricky had some issues dealing with authority or society or whatever you want to call it. Apparently Ricky previously tried to retire from the Saints so that he could go back and play baseball (in case you don’t remember, Ricky played with the Phillies in the minors during the summers when he was going to school and playing football at Texas).

So if the Dolphins knew that Ricky came with all of these risks, why didn’t they do something about it? That’s where the blame with the Dolphins lies. They should have done something. They should have signed a top-tier backup or drafted a college player in an early round. They knew that Ricky came with some risks. But they didn’t do anything about it, so now they have to play with the hand that they’ve dealt themselves.

Granted, I didn’t see it this way last week. The Ricky retirement thing blindsided me just like it did the Dolphins apparently. But I guess that’s why I’m not an NFL general manager or front office executive. Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones and head coach Bill Parcells, who have more Super Bowl Championships between them than probably everyone in the Dolphins organization combined, knew what to do though. They planned and positioned themselves for a variety of alternatives. In the short run and the long run, they’ll be better off for it.


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