Friday, January 30, 2009

Don't Make a Mockery of Me!

Out of curiosity I checked out the updated mock drafts from some of the most popular draft sites and I found something completely bizarre. I swear I am posting this exactly in order as I browsed on firefox. These are the Miami Dolphins first pick at #25 in each mock. They have all been updated within 72 hours.
  1. Walterfootball - Duke Robinson
  2. NFLdraftsite - Alphonso Smith
  3. NFLdraftdog - Larry English
  4. Draftking - Percy Harvin
  5. - Clint Sintim
  6. NFLdraftblitz - James Laurinitis
  7. fftoolbox - Louis Delmas
  8. fftoolbox(2) - Victor Harris
  9. Draftcountdown - Brian Cushing
  10. NFLdraftexperts - DJ Moore
  11. drafttek - Sean Smith
Isn't it odd that I went to eleven mock drafts in a row without ANY repetition of names? 5 Linebackers, 4 defensive backs, and one offensive lineman. For the record, on the 12th attempt, it was Brian Cushion Chest again.

Check out the BRAND NEW poll!

previous poll result - How long will Bill Parcells stay with the dolphins? 3 years - 45%, 2 years - 17%, 1 year - 28%, Until training camp - 1%, 3 weeks tops - 3%.

The Commish, Season 2009

Some snippets from Goodell's press conference:
  • BBC reporter claims he spoke to high ranking official in Goodell's office that said according to the Commissioner, London will have an NFL franchise within 10 years. Goodell responds by saying, "Give me his name." The room erupts in laughter for 0.07 seconds.
  • Doesn't sound like Los Angeles is getting a team anytime soon.
  • The current Black-Out Policy will remain in effect. A Detroit whiny reporter asked if they would change it due to the economy. It's not the economy, son, it's your crappy team in your abandoned City!
  • Same Detroit whiner wanted to know if the league was going to take the Thanksgiving game away from Detroit. Goodell says they are not doing that this year.
  • Goodell says it's unfair to the fine upstanding individuals in the league that the NFL players get stereo-typed due to the bad behavior/attitudes of a small group, ala Pacman Jones, Michael Vick, etc. He also implied that he's wasted no time even thinking about Vick.
  • The NFL is working with the unions to keep everything up and running.
  • Commish says the league may rule on Plaxico Burress' suspension before any court decisions come down, which, if you do the math, means they expect to oust Burress from the league.
  • Jennifer Hudson will sing the National Anthem so there might be some crying going on at the game. There's no crying in baseball, but there's plenty in football.
  • Miami will be in rotation with Hawaii for the annual Pro-Bowl (more revenue for Ross).

T.G.I.F. [updated]

Thank God it's Friday! Because it means it's almost Sunday. And as soon as Sunday comes we can have the Super Bowl, the Monday after the Super Bowl, the Tuesday after the Super Bowl, then maybe a few days more of obsessing over whoever wins the Super Bowl...then the real fun begins. For us Dolphin fans, anyway!

Yeah, so we missed out on the Super Bowl this year by...3 games...the point is we can't really get into the swing of the off-season until the dust has settled from the Super Bowl. I predict the Steelers will win, btw, simply because high-octane offenses like Arizona's rarely get revved up in the big game. I can't remember the last time a team was offensively proficient in the Super Bowl, but to be honest I haven't really been paying attention since my team has never been there in my time as a fan. In any event, I go by the creed that defenses win Championships. I would prefer that Arizona win for the good story and that Fitzgerald deserves it and I don't think he'll have another chance anytime soon. But in a low-scoring game like the Super Bowl tends to be, my money would have to be on the Steelers, who are the kings of the low-scoring wins.

In the meantime, here are the latest gossip, rumours and reports that are NOT about the Super Bowl:

  • If you think nothing's going on at the Sun-Sentinel blog lately, feel lucky you're not a Baltimore Ravens fan/Baltimore Sun reader. Their last blog entry was almost two weeks ago and it was a call for help from the fans to come up with something to talk about!
  • The 2009 franchise tag prices are available now. The linebacker and offensive linemen tags are virtually identical so I think Baltimore will be tagging their Tackle.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pennington on TV

Fantastic sit-down chat with Chad Pennington on the NFL Network has been posted on Aquavision.

Sparano Snubbed! Again!

The Motorola Coach of the Year award goes to....Mike Tomlin? The guy who got into a fight with Santa?

For the second time out of four tries, Miami Dolphins Head Coach, Tony Sparano, failed to capture an annual coaching award. He lost out by one vote in the AP poll, then secured consecutive wins in the Pro Football Weekly and the NFL Alumni competitions.

But in the only award vote on by the fans, Sparano came up short to Pittsburgh Steelers coach, Tomlin. Tomlin's win was most likely buoyed by his teams run to the Super Bowl.

It's the Star Search of Place-Kickers!

So there's this thing going on this week called the Super Bowl - don't know if you've ever heard of it, but also occurring nearby in Tampa is the 11th Annual College Football All-Star Challenge. Now as far as I can tell, only 2008 seniors took part in the competition so it's not technically a 'college all-star' challenge - more of a 'former college all-star challenge'.

It's basically just a little fun distraction that is packaged up and aired on ESPN a few days later. SPOILER ALERT! So in my efforts to one-up ESPN, here is some of what happened:

KICKING - FSU's Graham Gano kicked a successful 54-yard FG to win the long distance challenge while WVU's Pat McAfee won the accuracy challenge which works much like the 3-point shootout in the basketball world. Actually more so than any other participants, the kickers actually have some pressure on them here because scouts are watching them at these challenges. It's not like they get to show their stuff much at the all-star bowls. However, I think for next year they should add an event where punters have to kick balls into oil drums, which are possibly on fire.

QBing - Ah, when I was just a wee lad I took part in a QB challenge very similar to this one. They made us throw the ball as far as we could - Nate Davis won this by throwing for 67 and 70 yards respectively. They also made us do an accuracy event - Graham Harrell won this by tie-breaker over Nate Davis.

RECEIVING/RUNNING - Ramses Barden apparently had the most impressive dance moves but not the most impressive obstacle running as his valiant effort came up just short.

I think it would be really impressive if they did these challenges every week leading up to the combine. But instead of the same players they could do the 'All-Star Beat Writers Challenge' or 'All-Star Mass Media Scout/TV Personality Challenge' or 'All-Star Philadelphia Eagles Fan Challenge.'

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"The Value of Team" by Mr. Bungle

The other day I heard a little commentary on sports radio about the value of a team in sports and how it translates into championships. You look at the sports world and you see teams that keep turning over their team by signing high priced free agents or trading away draft picks to win NOW!

Then you see teams that have a system and a culture of how they do things. Only players who buy into it remain and they only acquire players they feel fit their team. There are many examples of teams who keep going for the gold but never build the foundation of leadership and winning. It's like too many chefs in the kitchen. Everyone wants the ball or to be the man instead of letting it play out and allowing the talent and leadership to rise to the top.

A lot of teams that just muddle about don't have that. Look at the Dallas Cowboys. Lots of talent but they can't get over the hump and this year they didn't even get to the hump.

The 1990-00 New York Yankees championship teams were built through their own farm system and then they added the final pieces in free agency. Players like Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Andy Petite, Jorge Posada and of course Mariano Rivera. Core players built right up the middle who would be there for the long haul groomed their way. You need that core and every great team has their core. Since then they've gone the free agency route ala Washington Redskins and they try to buy a championship. Doing it that way doesn't have a great track record.

Look at the Patriots teams that Belichick built. They have a culture (cheating, LOL) and a core group of players year after year, not complete turnover. The Colts under Dungy had the same thing. The Steelers have drafted linemen on both sides of the ball and LBs for decades and they're playing in their 7th Super Bowl this year. Their 3rd since the 90s and 2nd in 4 years.

Let's focus on the 2008 Miami Dolphins shall we. How did they go from a dismal 1-15 2007 season to an 11-5 division title and playoff berth in 2008? They didn't have an immense amount of elite talent. Maybe there are only a few players we could even argue have elite talent. They didn't overwhelm their opponents.

It started with Bill Parcells and his method of what makes a good football team. He brought in people he believes in (yes Tin, Parcells believes in stuff, LOL) and they share a similar philosophy. The first thing they did was set a standard for conditioning and accountability. Then the coaches went to work with what they had and found the best players to do what they thought would help them win games.

A lot of fans believe it's all about great talent , QBs with rocket arms and just adding big names. But that's not it. It's about team play. The organization sets a standard, the players buy into it, the coaches enforce it and the GM evaluates it. Creating a winning philosophy is more important than talent. Of course you need talent. I'm not saying fill your team with nothing but scrubs, but a clear level of leadership and focus towards ultimate goals goes along way.

The new coaching staff lead by Tony Sparano set the tone with tough practices and a no non-sense atmosphere. Players were afraid to screw up and get called out, demoted, benched and embarrassed in front of their teammates. There was accountability. If you didn't show it, you're either gone or not part of the core group.

Look at Wilford, Soliai and Crocker for different reasons. They were also tough on John Beck. He was demoted. It was either because they don't see much upside in him and he was an okay #3 QB, or they do see upside in him and they're challenging him. One thing is clear, this regime enforces the rules and sends messages to players.

The Dolphins won in 2008 because they were well conditioned, coached and prepared. They didn't make a lot of mistakes; penalties and turnovers. Not because they were lucky and had an easy schedule like a lot of pundits like to say. Without most of the above this team could have easily gone 6-10 or 7-9 and still most of us would have been happy with that turn around.

Most of us didn't think we had the talent to even pull this season off. At 6-5 the word came out that if we win out, we win the division. What did we do? We won the last 5 games and won the division. To me that is bigger than a draft slot or how much cap money we have to buy free agents.

We went way beyond that because we became a team and built a winning mentality. We didn't approach the season like losers trying to gain some props for trying harder and winning a few more games than 1. Sparano had no intention on being a losing team. Very impressive.

After Don Shula, Jimmy Johnson had the right idea sans his relationship with Marino. He couldn't duplicate what he did in Dallas. Okay fine! He built a nucleus to work with. Then JJ retired and recommended promoting Dave Wannstedt to Huizenga and he takes the bait. Wanny was in over his head as a full control head coach. He would have been better off with a proven GM, not Rick Spielman, his handpicked personnel guy who eventually replaced him. LOL

Nick Saban treated veteran players without adult respect and that did not go over well. That's why he's back in college and that's all I have to say about that.

Cam Cameron brought a laid back San Deigo attitude with him to Miami. He was arrogant in a polite way. He liked to confuse you so you wouldn't ask the question he didn't answer the first time, again. The first sign was when he decided not to coach the last preseason game and allow Capers to be the head coach just incase. WTF? Bad move!

Tony Sparano is the best, most well respected coach we've had in Miami since Shula, and his rookie coaching debut season was nothing short of amazing. I truly can't see him all of sudden struggling from here on out. I just can't! He's the head coach, not the 'everything man'. When the Tuna leaves Ireland is the man. Is anyone ready for that? Do you trust the Tuna and his ability to promote from within? I do.

The Difference for 2009:

It starts at the top with the owner Ross, the football VP Parcells, the GM Ireland, the head coach Sparano and his staff, all the way down to the 53rd man on the roster. You know, the guy busting his butt just to stay on the team. That's what kept this thing going. The 53rd guy is watching the top tier and how they go about their business. Even the practice squad players are doing that.

For the first time in a long while, this team will head into the next season with the same culture, head coach, systems in place and starting QB. Ahh the QB! How important is that? Chad Pennington became a leader the first day he arrived. He earned the respect of his coaches and teammates from day one. He not only worked hard himself, he worked with his receivers and O-linemen overtime to develop chemistry. He created a new culture and professionalism that everyone else followed.

Think about the value of that. Leadership and respect goes a long way. Guys will fight for a guy and a team that has that. He educates with what he's seen taking thousands of snaps in his career. A team with no direction doesn't always play up to it's potential.

In 2009 we will probably have 30-35 players that were here last year. A lot of core players. Sure we need upgrades and depth, and we'll lose a few free agents, but we will address those upgrades and replacements in free agency and the draft. This organization will look for players who fit their philosophy and the ones who don't won't even get a sniff. That's how it works. It's about team and the philosophy is the Trifecta likes players who are smart, passionate about football and big guys who can run.

They also like to build areas of the team simultaneously. Like Pennington, Henne and Beck at QB; Ronnie, Ricky and Cobbs at RB, Long, Smiley, Satele, Thomas and Carey on the OL; Ginn, Camarillo, Bess and London (Wilford's replacement) at WR: Starks, Merling and Langford at DE. 16 of those 18 players have 5 years or less experience and 6 were rookies. It has begun.

The trifecta doesn't like to rebuild every position every year but they had to do some of that this season out of need. Give Jeff Ireland some props. He really worked that scouting department during the season.

The players who were part of 2008 will set the tone for the new players. Their belief in what they're doing was earned because of the 2008 success. They know it works. They can sell that to the new guys because they lived it. If they had a 7-9 season it might not be that way.

Some of the players we acquire this offseason may not rock our world but know that they fit what we're looking for. At least most of them, some will fall by the wayside. Winning changes everything and that's the culture that was brought to Miami in 2008. We are building a culture that wins, not filling our team with just big names, dumb trades and big price tags who don't fit the mold. Those days are over. Finally!

Think about the way this team started the 2008 season and how they finished. It only makes sense that in September 09 they'll be ahead of where they were last September.

Come Beck to Dallas!

Well there appeared a little blurb in the Herald about John Beck being offered to Dallas for the second time which prompted the speculation that the Trifecta is going to try to gain more draft picks for the upcoming draft. The speculation suggests that there would be a conditional pick of the low round variety. Well this makes no sense at all, because obviously if the Dolphins are trying to move him now, they are trying to increase their draft pick count for THIS year with the draft 3 months away. Otherwise they would keep him though camp till his value might go up with other teams facing injuries/busts/etc.

Then this brings up the fact that if they drop one quarterback they will need to replace him with another. With Chad Henne on the bench they would not need to draft for youth, but could bring in a value-priced veteran for insurance purposes. Or maybe they are interested in drafting Pat White for the Wildcat!

It would seem likely to me that the Trifecta would try to hoard as many picks as possible so that ON THE DAY they could finagle trades to move up and down to get SPECIFIC players.

What do you guys think?

Maybe I can change this C+ into a B+...

The following are the once again updated ScoutInc's 'top 32' with their grades. I feel bad for Michael Oher because he got the same grade as Everetter Brown but they gave Brown the #15 ranking whereas Oher is at #20. Who knows how many players have a 90 score. A couple of days ago William Moore was at #29 with a 90 score. He might be at #45 with the same score for all we know.

1. Michael Crabtree 98

2. Aaron Curry 98

3. B.J. Raji 97

4. Andre Smith 97

5. Mark Sanchez 96

6. Malcolm Jenkins 96

7. Eugene Monroe 96

8. Matthew Stafford 95

9. Jason Smith 95

10. Aaron Maybin 95

11. Rey Maualuga 94

12. Jeremy Maclin 94

13. Brandon Pettigrew 94

14. Brian Orakpo 94

15. Everette Brown 93

16. Knowshon Moreno 93

17. Percy Harvin 93

18. Vontae Davis 93

19. Brian Cushing 93

20. Michael Oher 93

21. Tyson Jackson 92

22. Peria Jerry 92

23. Chris Wells 92

24. D.J. Moore 92

25. James Laurinaitis 92

26. Clay Matthews 92

27. LeSean McCoy 91

28. Larry English 91

29. Hakeem Nicks 91

30. Louis Delmas 90

31. Alphonso Smith 90

32. Alex Mack 90


Don't quote me on this but this is "the last all-star game" before the combines, and it's sort of similar to the East West game in that it includes a lot of players from smaller schools as well as some 'good' players from the big programs. Rich Ohrnberger is there. We went to some school called Penn State. And the QB with the best name in sports, Drew Willy hails from Buffalo.

The other similarities between the two aforementioned games is that Gene Stallings coached in the East West game and takes the reigns again two weeks later in this game. Why doesn't the guy just come back to coaching if he wants to do it so much? Or is it that he wants to coach TWO teams each year?

Anyway, here are some players to watch (some with Chad Reuters notes from the practices):

Ohrnberger - I think he was on my watch list LAST year. "
left guard Rich Ohrnberger played as though [he was] from the major program. Ohrnberger's mauling style inside was as expected."

Willy - at 6'3", 217lbs, that's a big willy!

Terrance Knighton, DT - this guy showed up to practice 30 lbs heavier than he was listed at. He is now 6'4" 324lbs! The guy's size and playing style SCREAM nose tackle.

Dominique Edison, WR - 6'2", 200lbs. I actually saw this guy play and was impressed with his hands and motor.

Dudley Guice, WR - at 6'3", 213lbs he sure sounds like someone worth a look. "
Northwestern State's Dudley Guice took Edison's place as the premier wideout on the field. Guice snatched several balls outside the frame of his body and high-pointed a few in red zone drills. In another drill, he faked the fade and used his hands to get inside position for a quick slant near the goal line. The 6'3", 213-pound Guice is not a track star but his feet were quick in and out of routes."

Michael Reed, LB - "It's not often you see a 293-pound linebacker. That's right, 293 pounds. Central Oklahoma's Michael Reed (through Yuba Community College and the University of Oklahoma), however, still manages to attack the ball in the flat and even gets into the deep third."

Cornelius Lewis, OT - "The top lineman on either side of the ball was Tennessee State left tackle Cornelius Lewis, a Florida State transfer who will probably move inside at the next level. He used his arm length and athleticism to hold up his man at the point of attack or direct him around the pocket in drills and scrimmages."

This just in...Omar Kelly is Alive.....

....and apparently working at a 1920's themed on photo for details.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dansby: "Parcells is Pretty"

This article popped up on the Sun-Sentinel about Karlos Dansby complimenting Bill Parcells. What the article doesn't tell us is what the context of the remarks were.

I would assume that it was prodded out of him with a question from a South Florida reporter who would've had to have brought up the name Parcells. Maybe it was Harvey. Maybe he flat out asked Dansby if he 'could see himself playing for the Dolphins'. He must've, right? Why else would Dansby say, "Definitely, I like South Beach."?

The weirder part was that he said "[The Dolphins] definitely need a linebacker."

Why would a guy who's getting ready to play in the Super Bowl even have this thought on his radar? Unless...

Alert! Alert!

Have you seen this man, lately?

No, it's not commenter randy!

It's Eddie Blake, former 2nd round draft choice of the Miami Dolphins. They drafted him as a DT and he was a bust, so they moved him to Offensive Line, where he was also a bust. He was released after two season of not getting on the field. After a couple of seasons bouncing around the arena league, he landed a gig in Canada. Click on his photo to see what he's up to today!

Poll # 1 Results - Majority of Pole Dancers Want A BJ

Which player should the Dolphins draft?

1. BJ Raji, DT (50%)
2. Brian "Jiggles" Cushing, LB (25%)
3. Duke Robinson, OG (14%)
4. William Moore, S (8%)
5. William Beatty, OT (2%)
6. Ron Brace, DT (0%)

I will post this same topic poll with modified players again before the combine and the draft.

Putting Hands in Your Mouth

It doesn't take much for a wide receiver to distance himself from his teammates and coaches. If you look at the divas and gravitational forces around the league, they're pretty much all wide receivers. There's the occasional linebacker in teal, but more than 90% of the ultra-absorbent tampons in the league are wide-receivers - think Ocho Cinco, T.O., Boldin, etc. Even Jerry Rice had and still does have a massive ego, though he was very smart about it during his playing days.

One of the guys I would not have lumped in with that list is TJ
Houshmandzadeh. He seemed to me like an orange and black version of Larry Fitsgerald, just a hard working competitive guy who let his play do the talking.

So it was surprising to read his comments this week about how the Bengals and the Cardinals are equal teams (actually he said the Bengals had a better running game) and blaming their misfortune on their QB being hurt. While it's true that this was a setback, their QB has always been hurt hasn't he? Don't they have a plan B?

Anyway, the jist of the article is that TJ is calling himself as good as Larry Fitzgerald. He also said,
"The way our defense has improved and you have to figure there is no way our offense is going to be that bad again," he said. "Well, if I'm not back it can be that bad again."

Saying, essentially, that your team would likely suck without you, is not a particularly good idea, especially when you have the biggest ego in the NFL sitting next to you in the locker room.

Anyway, the franchise tag for WRs is about $9.675 million. Will the Bengals pay this much for him? Conventional wisdom says no, but considering this team has nothing going for it except for a decent running back and this TJ guy, my thought is why wouldn't they pay him.

Considering he is probably going to be looking for somewhere around $7 million a year anyway, they might want to give him an extension ASAP.

Do you think Miami would give up a 4 year $30M contract for him? Not with a mouth like that...

Monday, January 26, 2009


I know the title is cheesy. I had actually typed out tidbits then changed it for a laugh then thought, 'ugh, that's so cheesy'.

Anyway, it's so bad that I've decided to make it stick by making it a regular weekly article here. In Tinbits, I'll share a few one-liners of interest to the Dolphins fans, as well as mention any upcoming planned articles, contests (yes there will be contests, first one is already in the works), polls, etc.

Omar's got his stock reports, Armando's got his...well nevermind, anyway this will be one of my weekly posts.

# Our first guest-authored article is in the works and should be a good firestarter for dol-fan discussion.

# Ever wonder what the Senior Bowl week was really like for the players? USF's Tyrone McKenzie discusses the ins and outs here.

# There were reports last Monday that line backer Rey Maualuga had surprisingly undefined upper body and chest. Surprisingly, there were no comments (at least not in the places I visited) about Brian Cushing. Cushing was the center of controversy when he suddenly developed man boobs despite being a buff linebacker. You know what that suggests. Gynecomastia. I know I'm still the only person on the planet who doesn't want a USC linebacker for Christmas in April, but this is reason number one and reason number two.

# Despite the scouts and the NFL Network's trashing of William Moore's abilities last week, including dissing him for making ONLY 89 tackles last year, the new top 32 includes Moore at number 29. He was not in the top 32 for the last month. So McShay and company after downgrading him during the week, released their power rankings showing him going UP the board. Granted, a couple of people ahead of him slipped down due to poor showings, but not 5 players. The bottom line, they still think he's the best Safety in the draft, even if they think he can't play Safety. What does that say about the other guys. Moore only played the first and part of the second quarter on Saturday before coming out with an ankle injury.

Cushing with his boy-boobs as a sophomore alongside Cushing as a senior. Do you guys remember the old Atlas Workout ads that used to be in the back of comic books next to the x-ray glasses? I never sent off for it but maybe it was a box of steroids...

Now we're starting to look like a REAL man...

As for this...I don't know....

I heard he just got nominated for an oscar...

Senior Hangover

This is the day I wake up, and feel exhausted, dizzy, weak, sore and dying of thirst. Also, full of regret for the week-long football binge. I want no more. I've had enough. My body can't handle it. My mind can't handle it. I wasn't the only one who got drunk and I'm not the only one hurting right now because of this excess. I bet even Mayock and McShay are turning over in their own stink wondering where the last week of their lives went. And how could they possibly survive a continuation of this lifestyle?

For me, it started with the end of the Dolphin's 2008 season. The playoff loss made me feel like I needed something to dull the pain. I partook in the College Bowls, but I needed something stronger. So I discovered a gateway in the form of the East West Shrine Game. Oh it was good. But I wanted more. You'd be surprised how easily available this stuff is. Less than two days after the Shrine game, the Senior Bowl practices began. And it was on. I drank it all in. Six days of unrivaled abandon culminating in the Saturday night game. I soaked it all up. And then the week was over. And I don't feel too good.

So this is the part where I say, 'Never Again'. I will never do this to myself again. I don't need a program or anything, I can just say it and mean it. I will not do this again.

Until the next time that is.

The NFL Combine is February 20th thru the 26th. There's a good chance I might end up completely shitfaced then. I suspect I won't be the only one. And I suspect the day after it all ends, I will communicate my disdain for football and give my strongest vow of 'never again!'

At least until April.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Senior Bowl Update

The actual Senior Bowl game is more for the fans than anybody. The scouts saw what they wanted to see during the first 3 days of practice where players were matched up in one-on-one drills and working on fundamentals and getting used to NFL style work-outs. The great thing about the practices is that you could really see what each guy was made of.

But you couldn't tell how well he could play football.

And that's why the game really showed up a few unexpected things. First of all, the offensive tackles who got so much praise, really couldn't pass protect (remember this is in a game where the defense wasn't allowed to blitz and had to play a 4-3 base.

Secondly, the QBs who were starting to get comfortable by Thursday in the pro-set really didn't have it put together. If they couldn't make the throws without any blitzer in their faces, then how much worse can they be when there is the added pressure?

The DBs have no hands. I think I counted 3 dropped interceptions in the game, the most spectacular of which was by INT phenom Alphonso Smith who had a pick 6 gift-wrapped to him and let it bounce off his hands.

The NFL Network conducts its business similarly to how CNN conducts its war reporting. They had the North team's head coach wired for sound, and in an almost deadpan way, he would explain what the next play was and who it was going to.

Was there any surprise then that the South team was able to stop the North team fairly efficiently? They obviously had the audio feed piped straight into the MLB (Maualuga) helmet!

Also, I would like to thank tivo for continuously failing to understand that a football game is a live event and as such should be recorded from start to finish rather than in a pre-determined 3 hour window thus constantly cutting off the final 5 to 10 minutes of said game.

Defensive stats - on the North side Marcus Freeman led all tacklers with 8, Tyrone McKenzie and Scott McKillop both had 7. McKenzie had a pass deflection and McKillop had a tackle for loss. The North forced zero turnovers and had zero sacks.

on the South side the top 7 tacklers were defensive backs with the top LB only getting 3 tackles (Maualuga). They also had 8 pass deflections and 4.5 sacks as a group which indicates that there were a lot of passing plays from the North who were down all game long.

Friday, January 23, 2009

American Idol 2009

So there's been talk that Rey Maualuga may not be as tough as we thought he was.

There's been buzz and clamor by Dolphins fans thinking Clay Matthews is our 1st round saviour in 2009.

But it seems to me these two USC standouts are engaged in a more serious battle than trying to improve their draft stock before April.

The battle, of sexiest hair alive (technically it's hair 'dead' but you catch my meaning).

So who do you think will be drafted higher on the hair league's draft?

Rey 'Double Conditioned' Maualuga

Clay 'All Natural' Matthews

Would you like to Senior-Size your Linebacker today?

Well the Senior Bowl practices have ended and as is the usual deal with these things, my impressions have changed almost 360 degrees from the week before.

Although as a whole I was more impressed by the small-school prospects in the East-West Shrine Game and practices, there were a couple of players this week who I never targeted that are now square in the cross-hairs.

First and foremost, the linebacker squad really went into a heady spin for me and came out looking much different than where I was at this time a week ago. I can't wait to see the game to see the linebackers and safeties going full speed and hitting people. But here are my end of practices impressions of who some of the top players were:

1. Linebacker Marcus Freeman was top notch at everything he was asked to do. He squared up on tackles, lowering his shoulders each time. During cover drills, he blanketed the receiver everytime, keeping one hand on him like a shutdown corner. He looked the part even at 6'1" 235lbs, he somehow looked bigger than that but moved much more fluidly than the competition.

2. Derrick Williams, WR. At 5'11", 197lbs, he's the spitting image of Ted Ginn, Jr, and doesn't fit into the Dolphins book, but he was the most impressive of all the WRs at the practices. Sharp routes, good hands, and decent speed. Brian Robiskie got a lot of press coverage but I was not impressed with his routes or hands, and though he is 6'2" 207 lbs, he looked wiry.

3. BJ Raji, DT. Don't know what to say other than he was just dominant and should be very impressive in the game. When all is said and done he will likely be a top ten pick.

4. Keenan Lewis, CB. This one is a head-shaker. He looked damn-impressive in practice with his 6'1" 198 lb frame being VERY physical at the line. Several times I noticed him walk right up to the WR, less than a yard away, then jump forward and shove the shite out of him after the snap. He would continue to be disruptive during the play. Essentially he completely took his guy out of the play. Sounds great right? Well, yeah in practice. In a game he's going to be called for pass interference, so it's a matter of if his field awareness is such as to lay off before the ball is in the air.

5. William Beatty, OT. This guy can start for us at RT right now. What else can I say?

6. Eric Wood, C. At 6'4", 305 lbs with 10 1/8" hands and a 33" reach, he has the body of a center, but what he showed during practices was an ability to stand up the DT. None of the other centers were able to do this on a consistent basis.

7. Kyle Moore, DE. The 'unknown' USC guy at the party, he possibly was the most impressive because he had the lowest expectations coming in. Since the media thinks of USC as New England-West, we can't escape all the hype. Moore had no hype coming in. The other USC guys were bland and uninspired with the possible exception of Matthews, and the occasional spark shown by Moala, who seemed to get worn down later on in practices. Moore looked like an NFL defensive end to me, possibly more than any other player there. At 6'5" 265lbs, he will most likely fit into a 4-3 DE role. His stock definitely improved.

Some stock down linebackers, just for food for thought:

Sintim and English looked essentially identical, and while both were good coming off the edge as DEs, they both looked absolutely horrible standing up. When asked to do cover drills they stuck out like sore thumbs. They are expected to be stand up LBs in the NFL, but right now they're both 'projects' at that position.

Maualuga is an enigma. During the college season, he looked like Ray Lewis junior, in constant attack mode with a great motor. In practices this week he looked like a couch potato got pulled out of the stands. Is it that he just let himself go during the off-time? Or is he that bad of a practicer? Pete Carrol, any comments?

Nic Harris should not have been converted. He really hurt his stock by moving up from the safety position. Don't these guys have agents? Why are they letting the Bengals coaching staff push them around?

And why are the Bengals and Jaguars the coaching staffs? How does that work?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Celine Dion To Be New Cowboys Free Safety...Changes Name To Roy Williams

So the Cowboys in yet another brilliant personnel move, will be trying out undrafted free agents in an American Idol style audition and TV show. The idea is that this season instead of watching Hard Knocks and watching players whine about the hard work they have to put in, we can watch Hard Knocks and...well it's pretty much the same thing, only with lesser talented players who may or may not have had to give up football because they were previously convicted of rape.

I would assume this show will be chock full of CFL and Arena League players, but only if they have interested, heartbreaking stories or have really nice boobs and bone structure.

So what do you think of this idea and why haven't the Dolphins come up with something like this?

Any Exposure Is Good Exposure

Thursday is the last full practice day at the Senior Bowl and I have the Tivo set at home with the North practice (I watched the South on Monday and Tuesday, North on Wednesday) and the recap waiting for my viewing.

But I doubt today's practice in shells will show anything new. It's amazing every year how little a player's college career can factor into their draft prospect in the end. Sure it actually gets them invited to these all-star bowls and combines, but quite often the day after the draft, you look at your new players and after extensive googling find out that some of them had less than stellar college careers. Quite a few of them may not have played more than one season of football to begin with.

And that's because the performances during the NFL-style practices and game this week and the combine/pro-day showings in some ways outweigh the impact of the college ball statistics.

When I started following BJ Raji, he was rated as a 3rd round pick. Today after 3 days of Senior Bowl practice, he is ranked as the sixth best prospect in the country. It should be noted that Michael Crabtree is ranked numero uno. But he hasn't been in front of the scouts yet. What will happen when he gets to the combine? If he falters, will he drop down? It's unlikely he would be the first pick in the draft (though the Lions are a wacky bunch), but is it possible that the guy with the best stats (Crabtree) gets overlooked for the guy with the best pro showing so far (Raji)?

Here's some other guys who have jumped up at least a round in the scouts' eyes:

Peria Jerry, DT - a month ago he was rated second to third round. Currently sits at #18.
William Beatty, OT - jumped from 2nd to 1st round prospect thanks to Senior Bowl practices.
Clay Matthews, LB - the 'lesser known' USC LB. He is poised to be a 2nd round pick at the moment.
Brian Robiskie, WR - leapfrogged about 6 other WRs into the second round.
Cecil Newton, C - after his showing in the East West Shrine Game, he went from being rated as the 11th best Center in the draft to the 7th and from being a UFA to a 6th rd projection.
Don Carey, CB - I had him on my board with the Dolphins 3rd &th round pick, but he is now ranked as 6th round but based on who's in front of him I wouldn't be surprised if he went 5th round.

'cause I'm Levitre on a jet plane...

After the rocketship to stardom former Oregon State Guard, Andy Levitre, took into Miami Dolphin's blogs this week, I took the time to watch him in the North team's practices yesterday.

He had the unfortunate task of starting his day against BJ Raji in 1 on 1 drills. Let's just say, it didn't go Levitre's way. Raji not only beat Levitre, Mack, and Unger in those drills, but in the team portion, he routinely got 4 or 5 yards into the backfield using bull rushes and made it look easy.

So what does Levitre have to say for himself?

"I went against a guy named Raji from Boston College who is a very good player and has a great bull rush. Raji was able get me on the first rep, however like my college coach would always tell us we need to go on to the next play and that's what my focus was. I came back with a sharp focus against him and stopped him in his tracks. That showed me that on every play I have to ready for anything."

Hmm, not what I saw. What about the part where he was blowing up the backfield?

The rest of the day consisted of team periods we were all together which I dominated every opponent. I had a great time getting on my blocks and finishing them not allowing them to come close to making a play."

Ok, Levitre, whatever you say. So how fast can we sign this guy?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

This just in - Omar Kelly caught ogling big small black man

When confronted on the previous comment he had made Wednesday about Boston College standout defensive tackle BJ Raji being "small", Sun Sentinel beat writer, Omar Kelly, responded by saying, "He's got a huge butt, and tree trunk for legs. But he's small."

He then continued, "But don't get me wrong. He's powerful. But he's a poor man's Sedrick Ellis."

So what did this miniscule descendent of reggae superstar, Bob Marley, mean when he said Raji was "small?" And was he checking out Sedrick Ellis' butt and thighs last year?

Non-attempts to reach the reporter resulted in no further information being available.

BJ Raji turned in an impressive, almost dominant performance in practice Wednesday, egged on by NFL Network's Mike Mayock's "call-out" of the previous day. Now that Kelly has called out Raji's size, it has been reported that Raji will report to practice tomorrow 3 inches taller than he was previously.

Stay tuned for updates...


Last night on NFL Network (or Pigskinemax as I prefer to call it), the had a show called Path to the Draft in which they discussed the Senior Bowl practices that day in a summary form. During this episode, there was a typical doofus blonde chick reporter who interviewed Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland. Now we all know he's more or less running the show now and that Parcells is basically just Ireland's consultant at this point. Well Ireland said two interesting things.

First he said that they don't have a particular position or player that they're targeting with the 25th pick.

Then he said, and I quote,
“I’m not going to get into who I’m interested in bringing back. The players that we’re negotiating with, they know where we stand on things. Their agents know where things stand."

Let's move well beyond speculation and implications. This means they are NOT interested in bringing all of their big name free agents back - safeties Yeremiah Bell and Renaldo Hill, linebacker Channing Crowder, right tackle Vernon Carey and cornerback Andre Goodman. There is the off chance that they might still start negotiations with all of them, depending on what's available in free agency, etc. But you'd have to consider that there is at least one player in that group that has already been told they're not interesting in re-signing them.

The rumours abound that Crowder's on the way out. And what about the lesser known guys, like Tyrone Culver, William Kershaw, etc. The practice squad were all signed to contracts. What about the supporting cast who were actually on the 53?

I would suspect that this time next week, once the Trifecta are back from Mobile, that the news will flood the levees that are holding back all this information.

Maybe some of the local reporters, instead of traveling to Mobile, should be nosing around Dolphins HQ trying to get the scoop.

Draft Breakdown by Position - DEFENSIVE Line

As I try to develop into a Nose tackle by having Wendy's for lunch, there's no denying that I won't be playing for the Dolphins this year, yet again. And since Jason Ferguson will be closer to 40 than 30 this year, we need to draft, trade, or shop for a nose tackle. It's unlikely that Paul Soliai will suddenly develop into a stud NT this offseason (stranger things have happened), and even Ferguson took a couple of years to get his act together, so it seems like Nose Tackle should be priority number one or two. On the flipside, it would seem that we were doing okay at the defensive end spots, but there will be some serious talent available on the first day there too and the Trifecta may draft for value.

Here are the studs:


1. BJ Raji (6), yes SIX!! Brand new ranking.
2. Peria Jerry (24)
3. Fili Moala (35)
4. Evander "Ziggy" Hood (56)
5. SenDerrick Marks (65)
6. Ron Brace (68)


1. Everette Brown (10)
2. Brian Orakpo (12)
3. Michael Johnson (29)
4. Tyson Jackson (31)
5. Paul Kruger (37)

One of the strange things going on in football today is that the NFL players keep getting bigger, while the College players keep getting smaller. Case in point, when you look at the top 10 or so defensive ends in the draft, it's highly probable that NONE of them will be drafted to play the end position in the NFL. They will possibly drop in the draft for this reason, because despite common belief that 'you can never have too many pass rushers', the reality is, you can only take so many linebackers to the game, and for teams that have proven LB core, but need a 3-4 DE or even a 4-3 DE, most of these guys may be passed over for bigger bodies. It's a bit unusual this year that most of the top DTs are big bodies that will play DT in the NFL.

Otherwise I would expect most college DTs to be 3-4 DE's in the NFL, and thus most 4-3 college DEs to turn into 3-4 OLBs.

Draft Breakdown by Position - Offensive Line

I will do this for each position, with the lesser needs being grouped together in one post and the greater needs having their own posts.

Today we'll start with the trenches, the offensive and defensive lines.

The following are the average rankings by position, along with the estimated draft pick they are projected at in parentheses.


1. Eugene Monroe (2)
2. Andre Smith (5)
3. Jason Smith (7)
4. Michael Oher (9)
5. William Beatty (25)
6. Eben Britton (32)


1. Duke Robinson (42)
2. Herman Johnson (51)
3. Kraig Urbik (69)
4. Andy Levitre (82)
5. Trevor Canfield (98)


1. Max Unger (33)
2. Alex Mack (52)
3. Johnathan Luigs (61)
4. Eric Wood (81)
5. Antoine Caldwell (96)

So which of these guys do you think is the best value, the highest need, the biggest bust potential, the biggest upside, etc?

Or is there someone else on your radar?

Sometimes the small school guys come out of nowhere, especially at these types of positions. Will one of my targets, Center Cecil Newton of Tennessee State overtake Caldwell who hasn't looked too sharp at Senior Bowl practices? And will Michael Oher's performance be enough to elevate him to the top of the Tackle hierarchy? Notice the 3 guys ahead of him chose not to play in the Senior Bowl.

[UPDATE: I watched the one on one 'pit' drills today and have to say that I thought Mack looked awful at Center, but pretty good at Guard. Same with Unger. The only one who stood out at Center today was Eric Woods. BJ Raji made everyone else look pathetic.]

My First Time

The first game I ever attended at Dolphins' stadium was a joyous experience. I was about 13. I was 'dropped off' by an uninterested parent (that's right, the bastard wouldn't even attend a game with me, choosing instead to meet me at a pre-determined spot 3 hours later). I went on a spinnie thing (gyro-something) that made me want to throw up. I had a beer (don't ask), which also made me want to throw up. Then, half drunk, I walked into the stadium, and promptly spent my entire life savings on a program and a foam finger.

I managed somehow to find my seat, despite having to walk six miles upwards to get there. I settled in, and viewed the magnificence that was the football pitch. it was a beautiful thing. They didn't have baseball there back then. They even used to and probably still do have all the monster truck rallies indoors at Miami Arena. This land was football exclusive land.

I watched some of my heroes come running out onto the field and saw the big screens and heard the fanfare. Then I noticed something horrible. Very VERY horrible.

I was SURROUNDED by THEM. Buffalo fans. They were everywhere. All ages, mostly middle aged or older but there were teens, 20-somethings, etc. And they ALL noticed me. Sitting all alone...wagging my Dolphin's Number One foam finger. In my other hand was an over-priced glossy program. I didn't even have a beer in my cup holder.

And so it was that for the next 3 hours, I was bullied, ridiculed, spat at, and had various objects thrown at my head. I even made teary-eye contact with the usher in my section, speaking with my eyes to please DO something. She looked at me like I deserved it.

The Dolphins lost 41-27 that day. I lost my dignity. But I did get to see Marino, Duper, Clayton, Higgs, Oliver, Cox, JB Brown, Stoyanovich and some guy named Klingbeil. I was even able to locate my father for the post-game drive home, listening to Rachmaninoff, chewing some old gum trying to cover up the smell of the beer I'd had 3 hours earlier. It was easy enough as it was obvious my father had downed a few himself at a nearby watering hole during the game.

I attended 3 or 4 more games in the coming years, a blowout in the rain of the Chargers, another loss to Buffalo, a Monday Night game (we used to play a LOT on Mondays). But this time I tended to go with at least one friend (still couldn't convince my Dad to go) and I skipped the programs and the foam fingers.

I'd still go on the gyro-scope though.

Do you remember YOUR first time?