In Dennis Hickey‘s first year as Miami Dolphins general manager, it seems as though he isn’t waiting around to make his mark on the franchise. Under his leadership, the 2014 free agency period for the Dolphins has been a very calculated and organized endeavor. Hickey’s put a very deliberate plan in place to improve a Dolphins’ roster that was the closest of margins away from the playoffs last season. The message has been clear from the start. Hickey is looking to create competition and depth to bring out the best that the roster has to offer.
In an interview with the Finsiders, Hickey spoke about retooling the Fins roster and creating healthy competition across the board. That competition starts at the offensive line, a unit that clearly needed a revamp and is most certainly getting one in 2014.
“Obviously we’re very excited about those additions, especially adding a Pro Bowl left tackle (Branden Albert) because we all know how important protecting the blind side of a quarterback is. That is a premium position in the NFL,” said Hickey. “I’m very excited about him , and adding Shelley Smith and adding Jason Fox, and we’re excited about the upcoming draft. But we’re also excited about several second year players that did some nice things and we’re excited about their development. ”
Running back is another position that Hickey was looking to generate some competition, and that became clear when the Dolphins added former Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno. Moreno gives the Dolphins the ability to be more creative on offense and adds another asset in the backfield to the already dynamic grouping of Lamar Miller,Daniel Thomas, and Mike Gillislee.
“I see three down value, the ability to pass protect and the ability to catch the ball,” said Hickey when talking about Moreno. “He caught 60 passes (last year), and he’s a good runner, that’s established, and we’re excited to bring him on board.”
Adding another established back was a shrewd move by Hickey. In today’s NFL, you can’t just rely on one workhorse back like teams did 20 years ago. Teams now need two or three backs to get through a season with all the punishment that they take nowadays. Hickey recognizes that you need a platoon of runners to be successful in this league.
“But we all know in this league with running backs, you need more than one,” said Hickey. “We’re all about competitive environments, and our players embrace that and say let’s bring good players in and let’s compete to be the best. We’re about winning a championship here, that’s our goal, and that’s what drives every decision.”
Hickey has even added competition at a position that was already very deep in the wide receiver spot. Even with reliable playmakers and pass catchers like Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, and Rishard Matthews, Hickey doesn’t see a problem adding to that group to help push them to be the best that they can be.
“We’ve got a lot of talent there. But we’re going to use a lot of receivers and we all know that you need playmakers and skill players that can score touchdowns,” said Hickey. “Always adding and trying to raise the level of competition makes us all better, and we’ll let it play out.”
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