The Miami Dolphins have to make tough decisions on two important players this offseason. Mike Wallace is set to cash in on $3 million dollars prior to free agency in March, along with his $9.9 million dollar salary for 2015. Jared Odrick is a versatile DT who can stop the run and rush the passer. He has been a reliable player and will no doubt be looking for a nice pay day now that he’s an unrestricted free agent. So what do these players have in common besides the fact that they play for the Dolphins and they are about to get paid? Both players have had public run-ins with the coaching staff; specifically head coach Joe Philbin. But there is more.
Wallace came to the Dolphins in 2013 with elite speed and a $60 million dollar contract. Along with that contract came enormous expectations. However, I would argue that he has not been able to meet those expectations by no fault of his own. Numerous times throughout the 2013 season Wallace, had his defender beat by a few steps only to have Ryan Tannehill continuously over throw him. They were able to connect on a few long passes this past season but Tannehill still struggled to hit him in stride and they left a few touchdowns on the field. Wallace has tried his best to shed the “one trick pony” label that followed him from Pittsburgh by being more aggressive. I’ve seen him fight for extra yards, not run out of bounds to avoid a hit, and make tough catches in tight coverage. The guy works hard, is a team leader, doesn’t get in trouble with the law, and is almost always open. Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel even quoted Philbin back in October as saying, ‘The biggest thing I’ve noticed is just his work ethic around here.’ So the guy wants the ball more. Who cares? Don’t all playmakers want the ball in their hands? He scored 10 touchdowns this season when he did get the ball in his hands. Not every receiver is quiet and reserved Larry Fitzgerald. Most are brash Dez Bryant.
Odrick has been a nice player for the Dolphins. His play has been one of the only consistent things on an inconsistent Dolphins team. He only produced 1 sack in 2014 but was 2nd in the league for passes defended among DTs at 5. He is considered a vocal leader on a defense that needs a vocal leader. He is a monster at 6’5” 304 lbs, well spoken, works hard, doesn’t get in trouble with the law, and was awarded the ‘Good Guy’ Award by the South Florida media for 2014. His departure will leave a huge hole on the defensive line. Unfortunately for Odrick he let his emotions run high in the Baltimore game this season and crossed Philbin in front of the cameras for all to see. Andrew Abramson from the Palm Beach Post quoted Odrick regarding the incident,
‘Sometimes it’s a player and a coach or anyone that’s involved in an organization that plays football, ’he said. ‘It’s tough to find that gauge of what’s too much emotion and what’s not enough. You never want to border that line of not enough. I think one thing that I bring to the game of football is emotion and I try to do it in the most positive way possible.’
It’s probably “tough to gauge” what too much emotion is because you don’t know if your hyper-sensitive coach is going to cut you because you have your own opinion.
The point here is that Joe has built a reputation of not being able to handle players who voice their own opinion. He likes players like Koa Misi and Cam Wake; quiet leaders who do what they’re told and let their play do the talking. But you can’t keep letting talented players go for nothing. Wallace and Odrick will probably suffer the same fate as Karlos Dansby, Reggie Bush, and Vontae Davis. Released and replaced with sub-par talent. You’re the head coach. You’re the leader. Figure it out! Lead these men! Joe Philbin would rather create more holes for a team that already looks like Swiss cheese than be the leader he was hired to be.
This column was written by Carlos Hernandez. Follow him on Twitter: @LosDez
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