Let's get right to it:
Strong side linebacker: Joey Porter vs. Donnie Spragan
| ||Age||2007 Salary|| Games || Starts || Total Tackles || Solo || Ast || Sacks || PDef ||Int|
| Joey Porter ||30||$3,850,000|| 8 || 7 || 26 || 23 || 3 || 1 || 2 ||0|
| Donnie Spragan ||31||$800,000|| 8 || 1 || 18 || 11 || 7 || 0 || 0 ||0|
Assessment: Joey Porter has been a huge disappointment so far. The team forked over $20 million in guaranteed money for this guy, and he is barely outperforming his backup...who has started 6 fewer games. Oh yeah, Porter is also costing the team $3 million more this year than Spragan. No one wanted to see Spragan retain his starting job this season, but his replacement isn't performing any better. There is still absolutely no playmaking potential from the SLB spot, and again Jason Taylor has been forced to deal with double and even triple teams. There are a few defenses for Porter's lack of production, however, including his preseason knee surgery and Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers' abandonment of last year's aggressive and blitz-heavy packages. Porter is not a down lineman, yet he's been forced to play as one for much of the season. Capers' needs to find ways to stand him up and rush him off the edge. I don't think that Porter is completely finished, but he's certainly reached a point of no return as far as being a star player.
Tight End: David Martin vs. Randy McMichael
|Age||2007 Salary||Games||Starts||Rec||Yds||Avg||TD||Catch %|
Assessment: When Miami acquired David Martin to be its starting tight end, I cautioned everyone to not assume that he would become the next Antonio Gates. People were quick to jump on his "potential", but in reality, he was a 28 year old who very likely had already realized his maximum abilities. What we saw of him in Green Bay, is exactly what we are getting from him now. In fact, even as a starter, he's putting up backup-type numbers. The injury-bug label that followed him here established itself immediately, and he's always dealing with some sort of muscle issue. The guy he replaced - Randy McMichael - is outperforming him, but not by a whole lot. One major redeeming aspect of the switch is the salary relief. Martin is costing the Dolphins almost $4.5 million less than McMichael is costing the Rams. In that sense, this was a good move. But, then we look at Martin's backup, Justin Peelle. Primarily known as a blocking tight end, Peelle is putting up better receiving numbers than Martin. He actually looks like an all-around better player than Martin. I think he should get the chance to be the team's starter either at some point this season or next, if the team can't bring in somebody better through free agency or the draft.
Kicker: Jay Feely vs. Olindo Mare
|Age||Games||FG Att||FGM||Blk||Pct||XP Att||XPM||Pct||KO||Avg||TB||Ret||Avg|
Assessment: There's very little not to like about this move. Feely is tied for the third most accurate kicker this season among kickers who have attempted more than 5 FGs. He's only missed one kick all year. In addition, he's become somewhat of a team leader and is three years younger than Mare. The only area that Feely lags behind Mare in is kickoff length. We all knew that would be the case when the switch was made. However, I'd much rather have a kicker who is making over 90% of his FGs instead of one who is only making half of them. The coaching staff definitely saw that Mare's days were over, and they made a great deal by trading him away for a draft pick.