1. It was a smart, necessary and utterly desperate move by the Dolphins to sign Samson Satele and shore up the center position with Mike Pouncey hurt. It tells there was no capable back-up in place. It also demands the parallel-world question how this franchise's fate could have been better if they had never given up on Satele in 2008.
Satele, for me, always has been Exhibit A of the cost of regime changes and the dysfunction of the Dolphins in recent years. Just look at the six degrees of separation Satele has with so many failed issues – bad trades, expensive thinking, too many resources put into a non-impact position – around this francise.
General Manager Randy Mueller traded Wes Welker to New England for a second-round pick in 2007 that became Satele. Welker went on to greatness with the Patriots. Satele became the starting center in that 1-15 Dolphins season.
The Bill Parcells regime decided after the 2008 season Satele was too small for their power offense. There was merit in this, especially against oversized AFC East tackles like the Jets’ Kris Jenkins, the Pats’ Vince Wilfork and the Bills’ Ted Washington. So they spent $14 million in guaranteed money for free agent Jake Grove, whose injury issues resurfaced in 2009 and played all of 12 games for the Dolphins.
So then General Manager Jeff Ireland solved the position once and for all. He made Mike Pouncey the highest-drafted center in NFL history with the 15th overall pick. Look, no one doubts Pouncey’s talent. But I ascribe to the Jimmy Johnson philosophy of finding game-changers with a high pick.
Anyway, Satele started for three years in Oakland. He started two years for Indianapolis. He was never a dominant center. He was average in his best years. But that’s not the point as he returns full circle to the Dolphins.
Here’s the point: In the past seven years, the Dolphins have put Wes Welker, a second-round pick, $14 million and a 15th overall pick to get a center. Not a quarterback. Not a pass-rushing demon. Not a franchise receiver. A center!
Also, there's this: What if they'd just kept Satele and had those other resources to use for other positions?
Yeah, maybe the last several years wouldn't have been as, um, fun, as they've been.
2. Big night in Sun Life Stadium with my Liverpool playing Manchester United. It’s just pre-season, just another tune-up for the start of the Premier League in a couple of weeks. But this is a chance for South Florida to watch big-time soccer, and this summer’s tournament has proved again that the sport is making strides in America. Just this weekend, more than 109,000 watched Real Madrid and Manchester United in Ann Arbor, Mich.. and nearly 70,000 watched Liverpool and AC Milan in Charlotte. The Steve Ross tournament run by Matt Higgins has proved to be a major success and is talking of expanding for coming years. For all the talk of an NFL team in London, would one of the elite soccer leagues of Europe ever expand to America? The TV money could be staggering. That's the big picture. The small picture I'm still trying to see - can anyone come close to replacing Luis Suarez?
3. Would prospective Buffalo Bills owners Donald Trump or Jon Bon Jovi be more fun to root against if you’re a Dolphins fan.
4. The Marlins keep proving the case that, while they're having a good season, they're still a long way from actually gaining a playoff spot.
5. If everything changed fast for the Heat this off-season, it changed faster for the Pacers. The awful Paul George injury on Saturday night means they have gone from one step from the NBA Finals the past two seasons to a team that probably won't make the playoffs.