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Andy Cohen: A Crucial Time Begins Today For Dolphins
By on March 11, 2014 at 5:55 am

140311_AC_AMAndy Cohen’s column on Dolphins.com appears at 6 a.m. every weekday from training camp through the season and when events warrant during the offseason.

Be sure to follow Andy Cohen on Twitter at @ACohenFins

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Who will the Dolphins sign? How aggressive will they be? Do they go for the marquee names in the first week or sit back, evaluate the landscape, and then make their move? Yes, the sweet smell of free agency is in the air. And isn’t it refreshing?

This is a franchise that desperately needs to move on and Free Agency 2014, which begins today, affords them the opportunity to do exactly that. The rumors are flying everywhere. The agents are whispering to their confidants. The negotiations have reached the fast lane. And the Dolphins, with plenty of money and all sorts of needs, are right in the middle of it all.

I expect the Dolphins to be aggressive over the next few weeks. Kind of like a hurry-up offense in mid-March. But I’m also realistic about what can be accomplished. You don’t turn around an entire football team in one free agency period. That’s for dreamers. But you can, nonetheless, fill all sorts of needs, build some real offseason momentum and set the stage for a productive draft.

Yes, the fun is about to begin. No, it doesn’t come close to replacing that feeling of a sun-splashed Sunday afternoon in September at Sun Life Stadium. But, as far as the offseason goes, free agency and the NFL Draft are about as good as it gets.

It’s time for research to produce results, time for convictions to produce contracts, time for the Dolphins to start improving as a football team. There is plenty to do and the decisions that are made over the next several weeks will have a profound affect on both the short term and long term fortunes of this team.

Dennis Hickey and Joe Philbin, you are on the clock.

I’m really interested to see how the offseason game plan takes shape, the strategy Hickey and Philbin utilizes in re-building this offensive line and the areas, other than the line, where change is deemed most important. Running back? Linebacker? You’ve heard the rumors. Now they start coming to life. Now we start getting a clear sign of the goals and priorities.

What we know right now is that the status quo isn’t the answer. We know that what happened at the end of last season simply won’t suffice. The mandate is clear and undeniable. Fix the problems. Upgrade the talent. Spend wisely.

I’ve said this before and I will keep repeating it. It doesn’t matter what decisions Hickey has made in the past; it matters what he does with this team at this time. That’s how he will be judged. That’s how he should be judged. It’s all about making prudent decisions just like the one that was made in signing cornerback Brent Grimes to a four-year contract. That sent an important message. What happens over the next few weeks will send an equally important message.

I’ve been asked numerous times over the past few months which of the available left tackles the Dolphins should go after in free agency. My answer is always the same: The right one. I’m not being funny as much as I am truthful. We’ve seen this franchise select “the wrong one” far too many times over the years at all sorts of positons. We’ve seen millions of dollars spent on the offensive line alone without the results any of us were looking for.

That needs to change. And those changes need to begin now. Hickey and Philbin have established an excellent working rapport in a short amount of time. They share similar views and strategies and have, I’m told, put together a well-calculated plan of attack.

Today, that plan begins to unfold. A different type of March Madness has arrived for the Miami Dolphins.

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Free Agency Preview: Linebackers

 

 

 


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