Before you read this, remember that these are just my opinions and thoughts...I know it's a bit long, but I do think there are some valid points in here. I was thinking to myself well if Saban is trying to build a winning franchise for the future, why is our team made up of so many veterans. Then it came to me. Saban is trying to win early and often. In fact, Saban is trying to make a playoff run this year, and will put the Phins in position to do that for years to come. Heres why:
1) Let's start with the defense. We all know Saban is a defensive coach, so he built a defense based on veteran players that can learn his scheme and make things happen. He brought in Shulters, Jones, Holliday, Carter, Spragan, and Traylor to play alongside other veterans Taylor, Seau, Thomas, and Madison. If Saban wasn't trying to win now, why wouldn't he have signed younger players whom he could train and teach his philosophy and have them ready for upcoming years. No way, Saban is a winner and he brought in older guys that would learn his system and play lights out defense. These guys don't have much left in their NFL careers, so these are not who you rebuild with. Saban brought in players that are hungry for a championship, and he knows that at their stages in their careers, they'll buy into any new system if it means one more chance at a championship.
2) Now for some offense. For those of you that thought that there was a quarterback battle during the preseason, you were slightly deceived. Once again, Saban brought in a proven offensive coordinator that can put points on the board. And who does Saban get to come along. Gus Frerotte, yet another veteran, that knows the offensive system thoroughly. When Saban first came he never really settled on giving AJ (Even though Marc Trestman [QB coach under Wanny] told Saban that he thought AJ would be a great QB one day if just given the chance) the job and when he got his chance to get another veteran player that was hungry to win, he took his chance. Frerotte was brought here to be the starting quarterback. If he was going to be a backup, he could have done that in plenty of other places. His family loved Denver, and they hated having to move to Miami, but what made it worth it, was that Gus was going to be the man. They knew that, and I think that's what brought them here. Now we can look at the preseason, after AJ got ripped by Brian Urlacher, he didn't get another snap with the first team offense until the Falcons preseason game. Despite a couple of poor outings, and AJ's good numbers in his stints, Gus was still the man getting the reps with the ones. Saban knew what he was doing.
Of course, Saban would proclaim an open quarterback battle and that everyone had a chance for the spot. But in press conferences you could see that both he and Linehan were finding ways to rationalize Gus' play and Saban would always say he wanted a quarterback to manage the game, and a quarterback that wasn't going to make mental errors. Saban watched AJ's play last year and he knew that AJ didn't fit the bill of what he was looking for in the QB position, but nonetheless, I do believe that after his impressive play in the preseason, AJ had his chance to win the battle during the falcon game, but the chance went back to the endzone on the pick six.
3) Then at running back, Saban drafted high just in case, Ricky would go awol and not show up. In one report, I heard Ricky say he was contacted by Saban in January. Saban had been working on Ricky's return the day he took the job. He knew how special a runner Ricky was, and he wanted his services. Saban knew that it was a win-win situation. If Ricky does come back, he can have to explosive backs, and Ricky could actually be a positive influence on Ronnie Brown in terms of what it takes to be a dominant back in this league. If Ricky didn't return, Saban would still be satisfied by knowing he got the most versatile player in the draft. Not too shaby.
4) Now for the draft...Saban drafted guys at positions where he already had established veterans that could tutor these young guys and make them something special. Early reports in camp indicated that Carter was getting real close with Vickerson and helping him adjust to the NFL game. Then we know how Madision is helping Daniels to be a great cover man in the league. That is a great situation because Daniels can help Sam learn Saban's complex defense, and Sam can mold Travis into a dangerous cover corner. Then at linebacker. Wow, what a student Crowder has been. He's been getting knowledge from two of the greatest to play the position, Seau and Thomas. From them he's learning a great deal. Now there's even reports that Traylor is taking Manny Wright under his wing. Then Ricky will help Ronnie out. Saban is so smart, even his young players are going to be contributing at a high level very soon. In fact, some are doing so right now (e.g. Daniels and Crowder). Now he'll get a young QB who will learn the intricacies of the offense of none other than Gus.
Saban is trying to win early and often. He's never lost at any level he has been, and he's not trying to start now.