FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Nearly four years after Bill Parcells took over, the Dolphins are 25-29, and on the brink of a meltdown this season. The franchise is in worse shape than when Parcells, General Manager Jeff Ireland and coach Tony Sparano inherited it. Here are the top 20 reasons for the Dolphins failure in the Parcells era:
Building off Bill Parcells' bigger-is-better blueprint. The Dolphins put too much emphasis and energy into linemen and have little to show for it.
Not providing competition for Chad Henne in '11. The Dolphins avoided investing a draft pick on a QB, and then added Matt Moore, a journeyman.
Drafting Jake Long over Matt Ryan with the No. 1 pick in 2008. Long is a three-time Pro Bowler, but passing on an elite QB set the franchise back years.
Disappointing use of second-round draft picks. The 2009 selection of West Virginia QB Pat White, who lasted all of one season, was a historical draft bust.
Mediocre evaluation on free agents. Many, such as Ernest Wilford and Gibril Wilson, were colossal disasters in their short tenures, especially factoring in the money thrown away on guarantees and bonuses.
Overpaying free agents Jake Grove and Justin Smiley. Both offensive linemen, who had troublesome injury histories, lasted two years despite the lofty investments made.
Never finding a pair of suitable offensive guards. Draftees such as John Jerry, Shawn Murphy, Donald Thomas and Andrew Gardner were all disappointments.
Routinely signing and trading for Cowboys castoffs. Constant retreads like OT Marc Colombo helped this regime lay its foundation, but are doing more harm than good.
Failure to address the tight end deficiency. John Nalbone was the only TE drafted by this regime. The team selected Jerry in the third round in 2010 instead of UM's Jimmy Graham or other promising prospects.
The inability to find a quality free safety. That includes picks used on Chris Clemons and Reshad Jones and failure to sign Antrel Rolle and Ryan Clark as free agents in 2010. Gibril Wilson and Chris Crocker were major flops.
Spending money and picks for WR Brandon Marshall. The receiver, for whom they gave two second-round picks to Denver, has been somewhat productive, but hasn't lived up to the team's expectations.
Trading for Reggie Bush. Statistically speaking, according to profootballfocus.com, Bush is one of the least efficient tailbacks in the NFL.
Franchising Paul Soliai. The move made him the highest-paid player in Dolphins history at $12.4 million. He's been a solid part-time player on the Dolphins' 3-4 defensive front, but likely bolting after this season.
Fielding a pedestrian return game since trading Ted Ginn Jr. The Dolphins dealt Ginn to San Francisco for the fifth-round pick (CB Nolan Carroll). Ginn has scored three times on kickoff or punt returns in 19 games.
Trading starting C Samson Satele for a sixth-round pick (OT Andrew Gardner). Satele's started 34 of the 38 games he's played for the Raiders and is viewed as a promising center.
Cutting former starting LB Matt Roth for no clear reason. Roth was quickly picked up by Cleveland and has remained productive in the NFL.
Drafting Phillip Merling in 2008 over a receiver such as Desean Jackson. Merling, an injured, overweight DE, has started five games and has contributed 3.5 sacks in four seasons.
Failure to create a cohesive coaching staff. Tony Sparano has fired or pushed out every major coach or coordinator in his first three years.
Not hiring an experienced QB coach. Former receivers coach Karl Dorrell, who had never coached the position before, was given the job in a critical make-or-break season for Chad Henne.
The Dez Bryant fiasco. Ireland asking the Dallas receiver if his mom was a prostitute during a predraft interview was a clear lapse of judgment and decorum.