Commentary

Marshall more of the same for Miami

Dolphins still have need for big-play receiver

Updated: April 14, 2010, 12:04 PM ET
By KC Joyner | Special to ESPN Insider

The Bill Parcells-led Miami Dolphins have, for the most part, a very strong track record in the area of personnel acquisition. Jake Long, the Dolphins' No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft, has turned into one of the best left tackles in the league. The trade for QB Chad Pennington helped Miami win the AFC East in 2008. Cameron Wake looks like he could be a dominant pass-rusher, and Karlos Dansby gives the Aqua and Orange a solid run-stuffer.

For all of their successes, however, Miami has struggled when it comes to upgrading many segments of the passing game. In some cases, their disappointments have been understandable. Vontae Davis and Sean Smith both looked to have the physical skills necessary to improve the Dolphins' poor pass coverage, so it was something of a surprise that they each ended up ranking in the bottom 10 in the league in cornerback YPA (yards per attempt) last season.

Having said that, part of the reason for Miami's horrendous pass coverage in 2009 stemmed from signing Gibril Wilson to play free safety. Wilson had posted solid coverage metrics when manning the strong safety position in his days with the Giants and Raiders, but his coverage metrics when he played free safety for New York in 2007 were abysmal. That Miami seemed to overlook this and asked Wilson to do what his skills and coverage history strongly suggested he wasn't capable of was quite a surprise.

The same thing can be said for the Dolphins' trade for former Denver wide receiver Brandon Marshall. On its face, the acquisition does seem sensible, as Marshall has posted statistics that look like what a team would want out of a No. 1 wide receiver.