That’s right! After an 8-year hiatus, Karl Dorrell is back in Miami ready to resume his position as the wide receivers coach Coincidentally enough, last time he came here was the start of a new regime as well and he made it through the Sparano regime. .
When Dorrell first arrived in 2008, he didn’t have much to work with. Chris Chambers arguably the Dolphins best receiver at the time, was traded the year before to the then San Diego Chargers. The final roster consisted of WR’s such as Davone Bess, Ted Ginn Jr., Greg Camarillo, Derek Hagan, Brandon London and Ernest Wilford. Bess and Ginn both had strong preseasons particularly in the special team’s department as they both had a punt return for a touchdown. Camarillo caught the game-winning touchdown pass against the Baltimore Ravens in 2007. None of these guys were top end WR’s to say the least.
2009 did not get much better. The Dolphins did spend a fourth-round pick on Ohio State prospect Brian Hartline but his best years were in the Philbin era as he had over thousand receiving yards both in 2012 and 2013. Worthy of a pro-bowl bid for him but Dorrell was already gone by then.
Things were looking up in 2010 as the Dolphins would make a blockbuster trade for six-time pro-bowler Brandon Marshall who would be with the Dolphins, the rest of Dorrell’s tenure. Marshall would continue to perform at a high level though after four straight seasons with a hundred or more catches, he would average over eighty his two seasons in Miami.
In 2011, Dorrell would make a slight career change as he would become the Dolphins new quarterbacks’ coach. Dorrell would have his work cut out for him as three games into the 2011 season, the Dolphins starting quarterback, Chad Henne, would be lost for the season. The bright spot is backup quarterback, Matt Moore would turn out to have his best season of his career. Again, nothing spectacular but Moore did pass for over 2,000 yards in 2011 and through thirteen games he did help give the Dolphins all six of their wins that year.
Dorrell would not return to the AFC East till’ 2015 where he would become reunited with Brandon Marshall as the New York Jets wide receivers’ coach and he would remain in that position for the next four years until his return to Miami. Marshall would go on to have the second-best season his career as well as his sixth pro-bowl bid, his second under coach Dorrell. The 2015 season would arguably be Dorrell’s best from a talent standpoint as he also had Eric Decker to work with.
In 2017, the New York Jets made a trade with the Seattle Seahawks to acquire Jermaine Kearse and he would end up having his best season of his career as he caught 65 receptions for 810 yards. Again, not spectacular but noteworthy.
In doing my research on Coach Karl Dorrell, I’ve since come to realize that his best strength is probably his ability to redeem lost projects. Moore, Marshall, Decker and Kearse were all journeymen athletes who Dorrell coached up and even though Marshall and Decker were already skilled players before Dorrell, he was instrumental in their continued success.
The Dolphins wide receiver group was hardly special without Jarvis Landry in 2018. But it was the best part of our offense last year and Dorrell is going to have a chance to build on that. Albert Wilson was the main proponent of this group until he went on injured reserve. He’s not making much at $8 million next season. There’s no doubt in my mind, he is returning to the Dolphins in 2019. Dorrell should be able to take advantage of his speed in a big way.
Some fans do not agree with me, but I think Danny Amendola is coming back in 2019 as well. He might not be the most productive receiver in the world but in his first season in Miami, he was tough as nails and we need players like that. The fact that he has that mentality even at his age should be commended not taken as an insult. It also helps that he is being reunited with several coaches he had in New England, the most significant is Chad O’Shea our new offensive coordinator and former Patriots wide receivers’ coach. So, hopefully, Dorrell can develop charisma with O’Shea in order to get more production out of this unit.
What the Dolphins truly lack is a big-body receiver who can create those mismatches that will allow the offense to score more. The Dolphins have a big decision to make with Devante Parker. All signs indicate he is on his way out and that is probably for the best. But the Dolphins do have another option as well.
Brice Butler was a late-season pickup in 2018 due to all the injuries at the position and he didn’t disappoint. He’s been a journeyman but as already stated, Dorrell has a skill in developing journeymen players. He would be the perfect project for him.
I’m not opposed to the Dolphins drafting a receiver in 2019 but I don’t think it’s entirely necessary at this point. Dolphins are in another rebuild and no doubt Dorrell has his work cut out for him, but he is very experienced, and this isn’t his first rodeo doing this job. I think he will be fine, and I look forward to watching him coach again on Sundays.