The general manager search finally came to a close for the Miami Dolphins this week as the team announced that former Tampa Bay Buccaneers player personnel director Dennis Hickey will fill the role in 2014. Hickey was involved in several key acquisitions for the Buccaneers during his tenure with the team.
In the last few seasons, the Buccaneers have been very successful in their drafts, been very aggressive in free agency and scanning the waiver wires. Current Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik states that many of the moves the franchise has made in recent years are a result of Hickey’s involvement.
The first order of business for the Dolphins will require fixing an offensive line which was among the worst units in the NFL. QB Ryan Tannehill had trouble remaining upright in the pocket, after being sacked 58 times in 2013. The next order of business will be jumpstarting a weak rushing attack. RB Lamar Miller led the team with 709 yards, but doesn’t appear to be a feature back.
Miami finished the season with just eight rushing touchdowns, QB Ryan Tannehill and TE Charles Clay each contributed one.
Given Hickey’s experience with Tampa Bay and his willingness to be aggressive in free agency, look for the Miami Dolphins to have some interest in free agent running back LeGarrette Blount, currently on the Patriots roster.
Dominik told reporters that Hickey’s insistence to pick Blount up after he was released by the Tennessee Titans resulted in the running back landing with the Buccaneers. In his rookie season, Blount rushed for over 1,000 yards and showcased a very physical rushing style, often running through or over defenders.
Blount’s fumbling and attitude issues didn’t sit well with then head coach Greg Schiano and the bruising back was traded to the New England Patriots after he was deemed expendable with the emergence of rookie Doug Martin. Blount finished just one yard shy of leading the Patriots in rushing this season and did find the endzone seven times on the ground.
Blount finished the regular season strong, rushing for 189 and 166 yards respectively in the Patriots’ final two games, but came up short in the AFC Championship, carrying the ball just five times for six yards.
The Patriots will likely want Blount back after a solid season, but Hickey might want to reunite with one of his former players. Right out of the gate, Hickey could make his predecessor, Jeff Ireland, proud by overpaying for a player.