Dolphins

Miami Dolphins hoping to duplicate Green Bay Packers’ open, diverse offense

 

abeasley@MiamiHerald.com

Joe Philbin owes his current job, in no small part, to the amazing success of the 2011 Packers.

Maybe he believes the best way to stay employed is to replicate that success here in Miami.

He is certainly brought the blueprint with him: Get offensive weapons — the more, the better.

The signings of Mike Wallace, Dustin Keller and Brandon Gibson dominated the headlines — both here and around the country — in the first week of offseason. Left unreported: How exactly the Dolphins intend to use Brian Hartline, Davone Bess and all those new toys.

A source familiar with the Dolphins’ thinking said the plan is to duplicate the open, diverse offense that Philbin led in Green Bay. And for good reason. The Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010, and Aaron Rodgers was the league’s MVP the year after.

By adding Gibson — he signed a three-year deal after visiting the Jets — some made the logical leap that Davone Bess could be the odd man out.

But he survived Friday without getting cut, and here’s a possible reason why: Philbin wants five real receiving threats, and the Dolphins are willing to spend to ensure he gets them.

“I think that in today’s NFL day and age that you got to have more than one or two passing attacks, ways to get people the ball,” Gibson said. “I really feel like this is a young and talented group and if we stick together we could be very good.”

Assistant wide receivers coach Phil McGeoghan on Twitter Saturday: “Dolphins WR’s currently under contract total 267 rec 3606 yds. and 15 TDs in 2012. Exciting time to be a Phins fan.”

Those numbers stack up pretty favorably with the top four wideouts from the 2011 Packers — except for touchdowns. Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, James Jones and Donald Driver combined for 210 catches for 3,292 yards in 2011.

But Green Bay also led the league with 560 points that year, getting 39 touchdowns from their wide receivers.

A case can be made the Dolphins’ group is just as talented, if not as accomplished. Wallace is faster than any of them. Hartline is considered an ascendant player, and Gibson and Bess have a knack for getting open and making the tough catch.

But neither they nor Keller have yet played in a system nearly as pass-happy at Philbin ran in Green Bay. If the Dolphins really do open it up this year, their stats will in turn improve.

“[I] like the group of players,” former scout and current NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said Saturday. “Price tag was high but they got better.”

So are they the Packers South?

“I guess if you could want to call us that, sure,” Gibson said. “But I think we’re the Dolphins.”

Of course, that all depends on the development of Ryan Tannehill. And none of these best-laid plans will matter if he can’t stay upright.

That’s why the Dolphins continued their push to keep Jake Long on Saturday, both publicly and privately, The Miami Herald has learned. CBSSports.com reported that Long and his wife Jackie spent much of the day at Dolphins camp. A team source said that he is hopeful that the late charm offensive is working — and that it will continue.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins brought in no unrestricted free agents from other teams for interviews Saturday. Teams are making their way to Arizona for the March owners meetings, with agents expected to make personal pushes for clients who are still on the market.

Read more Miami Dolphins stories from the Miami Herald

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