Wednesday, January 14, 2009

OL Coach Mike Maser fired

Chris Mortensen of ESPN is reporting that Miami's offensive line coach Mike Maser has been fired.

A lot of people have been expressing some surprise over this move, which I don't really understand.

First off, just because this team overachieved its expectations by a huge margin does not mean that it should now just sit pat and refrain from any and all changes.

Second, did this offensive line perform all that well this year?

Sure, Jake Long and Justin Smiley played great, but they are already great players. What did the other guys achieve? To me, it was pretty clear that Maser failed in his duties as a coach to improve the progress of the young players and the guys forced in starting roles due to injuries.

For instance:
  • Samson Satele regressed significantly after coming off a promising rookie season.
  • Ikechuku Ndukwe's play at right guard was so uninspiring that the team had to alternate series between he and Andy Alleman.
  • Vernon Carey, coming off an above-average season at LT, was moved back to his natural right tackle position, and he seemed to lose his dominance in the run game, and took a step back overall. And this happened in a contract year.
  • Rookie G Shawn Murphy was taught only the left guard position - a failure of Maser's to get him some position flexibility while he is still young. Also, the team traded up in the fourth-round to get Murphy and he was inactive for every single game this year. That's unacceptable and a large portion of that blame must rest with Maser.
So, don't be so surprised that this move happened. Change is good, and in this case, I think it's obvious that change was necessary. There were reasons beyond simple personnel issues that prevented the Dolphins from successfully running out of their base formations all year long. The Wildcat did its job, but the team shouldn't have had to rely so heavily on it. A lot of that is Maser's fault.

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