Dolphins Watch

March 25, 2010 12:10 AM

Who is this man?

WILLIAMS.jpgAccording to some draft experts, he could be the No. 1 choice for the Dolphins in next month's draft.

His name is Dan Williams, and he is a 6-foot-2, 327-pound nose tackle who starred at Tennessee.

Williams led the Volunteers last year with nine quarterback hurries, and he registered a team-leading 8.5 tackles for loss. He finished his career with 61 tackles, fourth-most by a Tennessee interior lineman since 1990.

According to, Williams has good power and is a fine pass rusher. He also has the size and strength to hold his own at the point of attack.

Why Williams over Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain and Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant? Miami's starting nose tackle, Jason Ferguson, will miss the first eight games of the 2010 season after testing positive for a banned substance.

With Ferguson, the Dolphins had one of the top rushing defenses in the NFL. Without him, they got steamrolled for 227 rushing yards against the Steelers in Week 17. It's clear that backup Paul Soliai is not the answer at the position, and in a 3-4 defense, the nose tackle is a critical player.

Williams is rated the third-best defensive tackle coming out this year, behind Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy.

But, should Miami use the 12th overall pick on a nose tackle who could become a great player, or should they attempt to fill other needs, such as at linebacker and wide receiver, with more dynamic players?

I don't know much about Williams, but I do know that McClain and Bryant were great collegiate players who could make an immediate impact. The choice depends on what the Dolphins feel is the most pressing need.

And there is the possibility that McClain and Bryant may not be available when Miami's pick arrives.

I'll break this argument down in more detail in a future post.

Hubbub over OT
The recent announced change in how NFL playoff games will be decided in overtime has been met with much criticism by head coaches, who argue that they have enough on their minds without strategizing for the extra period.

In case you haven't heard, owners voted 28-4 to modify the OT rules for playoff games only, with a game ending only if one team scores on a TD or a safety. If a team kicks a field goal, the opposing team gets one possession before the game becomes sudden death.

Call it the Brett Favre rule, since Favre's Minnesota Vikings offense did not touch the ball, and lost on a field goal to the Saints in last year's NFC Championship Game.

Personally, I think it's a rule that is long overdue.

Over the past 20 years, field goal kicking has evolved into a science, and when kickoffs were moved five yards back, teams had relatively short fields to travel to set up a field goal try. Also, how ridiculous is it that the team that won the coin toss was triumphant a whopping 74 percent of the time under the old OT system?

The old overtime rules were just not fair any more, and rather than adopt the college system -- which I think is flawed because teams have a chance to score the second they get the football at the opponent's 20 -- I believe that the NFL brass made the right decision.

The question is, why limit the rule to playoff games? The regular season has such a small number of overtime games each year, so why not give coaches and players the opportunity to gain some experience with the new rules there? How awkward will it be when some coach or player makes a mental gaffe in a playoff overtime, simply because he has not experienced the new OT rules in a regular season game?

And what's with the coaches complaining about the extra headaches the new rules will cause for them?

Isn't this why they are paid millions of dollars, to make critical decisions like this each year? If you can't figure out whether you should kick on fourth-and-1 from the 5 or go for it so the other team can't beat you on a TD, should you really be coaching in the NFL?

Of course, the way many coaches in today's game butcher the clock and make other questionable decisions, I'm sure this frightens them to no end, the fact that they could be ridiculed to no end for a costly gaffe on the national stage.

And as I stated earlier, if they can't handle that pressure, then they can go back to coaching at the college or high school level.

A Member Of