Andy 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. Occasionally, like today, Andy will provide six things to think about. Thus, the title, “Six at Six.”
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1. It’s so easy now to see the pieces coming together. A left tackle. A defensive tackle. A guard. A cornerback. It all fits. It all makes sense. It is all part of The Plan to re-tool the Dolphins quickly and efficiently. Week one of free agency gave us the first real sign of what the new tandem of GM Dennis Hickey and Coach Joe Philbin is all about. And, truthfully, how can you not be impressed?
2. The Dolphins showed us a nice mixture of going for the big money talent and going for value. They quickly closed the deal on left tackle Branden Albert, and didn’t hesitate opening the vault. They paid what the market dictated. Then with some of the others, like defensive tackle Earl Mitchell and offensive guard Shelley Smith, they went with players who have just scratched the surface of potential. They paid enough to make it happen, but didn’t overspend. The same with defensive tackle Randy Starks.
3. Dennis Hickey has gotten off to a solid start as the team’s general manager. He clearly does his homework and comes across as sincere and diligent. I’m anxious to see where he goes from here. I like the fact that he didn’t mind rolling the dice a little with a player like cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who struggled last season in St. Louis after putting together an impressive resume with the Titans for six seasons. Low risk, very high reward.
4. Imagine if Finnegan works out. Imagine if he returns to the form that saw him become one of the league’s most consistently good corners. The Dolphins would then have perhaps the smallest starting duo in the league (both Brent Grimes and Finnegan are about 5-9) but the feistiest as well. I just love the attitude that Grimes and Finnegan brings to each Sunday. Let’s just hope it’s contagious.
5. There is still plenty of work ahead on the offensive line but left tackle is set with Albert, center remains solid with Mike Pouncey and you can now pencil in Smith at one of the guard positions. That leaves one tackle and a guard and maybe some added depth to find in free agency and the draft. With three of the five pieces in place, a complete makeover/upgrade is clearly now attainable.
6. What now? What should we expect in Week Two and beyond? The answer is simple: More of the same. I expect the Dolphins to continue to look for value, and there’s still plenty of that out there. Oh, Hickey may have one or two big splashes left (running back? right tackle?) but I don’t see panic on the agenda and I continue to see a well-defined plan of attack unfolding before the draft fills in most of the final pieces.
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