Sunday, May 31, 2009

Akin Ayodele goes to Africa to re-create his South Beach Existence

I'm going to take a lot of flak for this one, but I'm known for offending people by speaking my mind.

It's bad enough the Dolphins get no media coverage outside of South Florida, but when we do, it's always one of our linebackers on a beach. While Joey Porter's Pro-Bowl interview was informative and football-related, the video below which aired on NFL Network, shows Akin Ayodele traveling back to the 'Motherland', and then showing little interest or informative insight into it. It was a complete waste of NFLN money. Ayodele either interviews some obnoxious teenagers, or pisses his pants when he sees a cave on the beach (what does he think is in there - the jabberwocky?) all while wearing giant studio headphones (no doubt immersing himself in the culture by drowning out the voices and languages of all those African people).

video

It just saddens me, as a Dolfan, that this is the best I can hope for when it comes to media coverage. When was the last time we got on the NFLN Team Cam? Or had a Dolphin in-studio? Why do I have to watch Chris Cooley every week but can't get Justin Smiley once a year? Is it because he has to be dragging the producer to a luxurious hotel in Cape Town or Honolulu to get a camera to follow him? And as a side note to that producer, thank for showing a full minute of some inattentive obnoxious teenage girl text-messaging and popping gum, and only 5 seconds of African scenery. Next time, go into the cave in Blair Witch-esque camera style and don't come back out!

Friday, May 29, 2009

CONTEST # 2 - UPDATE

NOTE: Due to unforeseen circumstances, and certain rumblings, I've had to move up the deadline to enter to Tuesday afternoon. So all you stragglers, need to step your game up. The new deadline is June 2nd, 1pm Pacific/4pm Eastern.

I thought I'd be able to contain myself until training camp, but the truth of the matter is, I had too much fun with the last one and can't wait that long. I will do one closer to training camp/pre-season, but I thought it would be nice to have a little mini-contest during the slow times.

PRIZES:

Since this is a 'mini-contest' the prizes aren't as big as the first contest, but they will still be deliverable by e-mail and they will still be NFLshop girt certificates (here's the chance for previous winners to increase their spending limit):

1st place - $30
2nd place - $15
3rd place - $10

RULES:


All entries MUST be e-mailed to me at tinshaker@gmail.com no later than TUESDAY afternoon (June 2nd) at 1pm Pacific/4pm Eastern. Use the phrase "Contest #2" as the subject. You can either just type out your answers, or you can cut and paste, or send me an attached file if you want to use one of the forms that are attached below for your convenience.

Each question has a maximum point value in parentheses. Keep in mind, it does you no good to skip a question, because then you'd get zero points, whereas a guess might actually net you a fraction of the maximum. Based on the experience of the first contest, the winners all managed to get partial points on all the questions, rather than laying goose eggs on some and maxing out on others.

Tie-Breakers:

In the event that there is a tie, the first tie-breaker will be the tie-breaker question below (#11). This question does not have any points assigned to it. It is only used to break a tie. In the event that the even parties are STILL tied after using this method, then time of entry will be used, i.e. a contestant who e-mailed me their form on Sunday would beat out the one who e-mailed it theirs on Tuesday.
Good Luck!

CONTEST # 2 - "THE SPRING FLING"

1. Let's start with an easy one. Jake Long wears the number 77 for the Dolphins. He also wore this number at Michigan. But in OTAs in 2008, he started with a different number. What was it? (2 points)

2. Let's see if you've been following/reading with a keen eye. Ted Ginn, Jr was drafted in 2007 to bring 'family' values and special teams prowess to the Dolphins. How many special teams touchdowns has Tedd Ginn had called back by officials in his NFL career, and how many special teams TDs has he had stand? We are looking for two numbers here, so make sure you type them in the right order or label them. (4 points)

3. Who will be the next rookie signed by the Dolphins? (6 points)

4. The Dolphins have another OTA open to the media next week. This means another Tony Sparano press conference. Sparano is known for using 3 or 4 phrases several times in his 20 minute sessions. Multiple choice question: Which phrase will Sparano use the most? (4 points) Choose one:
a. "one way or another"
b. "at the end of the day"
c. "starting to feel"
d. "with that being said"


5. The Dolphins tied 2 NFL records in 2008. Name them. (4 points)

6. There are 3 current Miami Dolphins that were Wildcats in College. Name them. (6 points)

7. The dude below is a Miami Dolphin. Name him. (5 points)
8. "We're in the air, We're on the ground, we're always in control, and when you say Miami, you're talking Super Bowl, cause we're the Miami Dolphins, Miami Dolphins, Miami Dolphins number one!" This fight song came into being before the 1972 season. How many games did the Dolphins win in the first two years of its use? (2 points)

9. Bryan Clay is the reigning Olympic Champion in the Decathlon. Great job, Bryan! But there's a Miami Dolphin who can jump higher than him. In fact, he registered the second highest vertical jump ever recorded at a pro-football test (i.e combine/pro day). Name this player. (3 points)

10. Which member of the Miami Dolphins Staff has not used his real name in over 50 years? (6 points)

TIE-BREAKER QUESTION

11. Tin's Fins is nearing 5 months on the 'net. I like to think of myself as having created almost all of the pre-draft buzz about Connor Barwin in Miami Dolphins'land. I did such a good job that Houston drafted him. The most visits ever recorded in one day was when I posted video of Connor Barwin's pro day workout. I can say with near-complete confidence I was the only Dolphin blogger to do so, and as a result, the article was linked to by a couple of much more well-known blogs. For the tie-breaker, without going over, guess how many hits that one article received on that one day.


Sophomore Snapshot - JAKE LONG, LT


Talk about a winning combination...7-7-7!
Henne: "Hey, what do you say after this we go get drafted by the same team and play some NFL ball?" Long: "Oh man, isn't four years enough?" Michael Phelps wishes he had gone this route:

Playing at Michigan means that every fan of OTHER Big Ten football teams will waste every single breath of their lives trying to beat you down. In the end, you become the top pick in the draft and the highest paid offensive lineman ever, and they end up sweeping up meatloaf droppings at the local Hometown Buffet. (click on image below to see a bigger, readable image)

Being sworn in by the Dolphins' head sock judge (honestly, why are they in just socks?):
So what has Jake been up to since taking his shoes off with Channing Crowder?

Well apparently he's been working out. Based on the video I've seen of him during OTAs, he looks to have dropped any baby fat he had on him, and added some more muscle. This dude does NOT look like an NFL offensive lineman, he looks like Paul Bunyan's bigger, stronger brother. And Coach Sparano and Jake both agree that he comes into 2009 much stronger, more confident, and with higher expectations. And his cohorts are no slouches either. Justin Smiley, known as more of a beach ball physique, also has slimmed down and then bulked up. Even Vernon Carey looks slimmer and stronger. One thing is for certain, the days of the big fat slow guys playing on the line are over in Miami. This 2009 O-line is made up of tall, slim, power-blockers. I'm very excited to see the running game.

And for all those excited about the Wildcat, don't get too worked up, as Justin Smiley didn't get the memo (the trifecta seems very intent on saying they'll be running loads of Wildcat plays, even letting the media see many plays run out of it during the open OTAs, something they didn't do last year), and blurted out in an interview yesterday that the Dolphins game plan is NOT to run the Wildcat, but to be a power running team. Think about it, Long, Smiley, Grove, and Thomas (all the trifecta guys) are all known as run blockers. Chad Pennington is a game-manager who is known for taking snaps under center. And Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Lex Hilliard, and Anthony Kimble are big powerbacks. Do you honestly think we'll be running a lot of the Wildcat just because we drafted Pat White?

The 2009 Offensive line

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Quickie - Will Allen

Normally I wouldn't suspect too many people would be interested but since the new Will Allen contract extension drew so many comments over the last few days, I thought I'd share the confirmed information with you all.

The contract was indeed for 3 years and $16.2 Million. However, the signing bonus was only $1.5 Million, and the first two years of the contract salaries are guaranteed.

It breaks down as follows:

2009 $4 Million Salary, $500k Bonus = $ 4.5 M
2010 $5.2 M Salary, $500k Bonus = $ 5.7 M
2011 $5.5 M Salary, $500k Bonus = $ 6 M

By doing some simple math, you'll see that the guaranteed money is $10,700,000.

Also, 2011 could be a simple, relatively painless snip of Allen if he slows down due to age/injury.

After seeing the way the contract is structured, I feel a lot better about it, but I still don't see why they couldn't wait until after training camp to extend him. But that point is moot, he's here now and likely got similar money to what he would get on the open market in 2010. That said, I guarantee he'll have to be still starting in order to get that 2011 money.

Deja Vu, C'est La Vie!

Before all the readers see the pictures and run off, this article IS about football, and I don't mean 'Soccer'. But I have to relate the two after yesterday's UEFA Champions League Final took place in Rome between Barcelona and Manchester United (the team I support).

Manchester United came into this match on a roll, much like the 2008 Miami Dolphins rolled into the playoffs. Barcelona's defense and efficient ball movement proved too much for the United crew, much like Baltimore's stifling defense and efficient ball movement proved too much for Miami.


Miami starts with an 'M' and has three syllables. Manchester starts with an 'M' and has three syllables. Baltimore starts with a 'B' and Barcelona starts with a 'B'. I support Miami, and I support Manchester. And they both lost the biggest games of their respective seasons. And in both games, the stars/leaders were shut down.

Pennington threw 4 INTs and was visibly shaken. Christiano Ronaldo missed on several shots early and then was completely flustered, and starting acting out.


There were more reflections than I wish to list, but the deja vu was ever clear, and it reminded me of the grim reality of the 2008 season. That it ended suddenly, harshly, and without much fanfare. And I remember the day it ended. And I remember how I felt. No matter how realistic you are heading into it, it still burns on the way out. And, like many bloggers/commenters, I couldn't deal with those feelings at first. I was too angry, too disappointed. I didn't even go on the Sun-Sentinel blogs for a few days and when I finally did, I waited even longer to leave any comments.

But at least I wasn't in Rome, or anywhere across the pond, for that matter, when my beloved United lost badly, 2 to nil. After the match, one United fan didn't take that week off that I did for the Dolphins loss, and promptly killed four people. And in 2007, Manchester United fans, upset after one of their players was ejected from the match, got into it with the Italian coppers. See the image below (look away from the blood to see the stadium seat about to sock the other guy in the back of the head). So, Dolphin fans, I relate this question to you. What is the most disappointed you have ever felt as a fan (of anything, not necessarily the Dolphins)? And have you ever killed anyone, maimed anyone, or polished off a fifth of absinthe due to the resulting depression of that disappointment?

I can tell you that after the 2007 season (which, fortunately I was unable to watch most of), I took my family on an extended trip to the coast and did nothing but doze on the beaches and see the sights. I did not turn on a TV, make a phone call, or check my e-mail for two weeks. After the 2008 season, I did almost the same thing. Nobody died during these trips, but a lot of money was spent primarily to avoid any kind of stress at all. That's how I deal with these things. How about you?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Salary Cap Schmalary Cap - A Financial Bit o' Tin

  • Turns out Jason Taylor is not THAT cheap. Let's clarify the contract because there are a lot of conflicting reports in the mass media. Here is what JT actually costs.
$400k signing bonus (this is the 'guaranteed' money)
$700k salary (i.e. $43, 750 per game)
$500k incentives (these are always kept private, but I would guess they include staying healthy, participating in a certain percentage of plays or games, and number of sacks.)
This adds up to $1.6 Million total. But wait...that's not the ACTUAL total, is it...
Turns out Taylor is still owed approximately $1.7 Million by the Dolphins from his previous contract. Ah yes, that means Jason Taylor is scheduled to smack up the Salary Cap for $3.3 Million in 2009! Cheap for Jason Taylor, sure, but still a sizable blow to the Cap.

  • Will Allen was ACTUALLY scheduled to hit the cap for $4.9 Million this year making him the fifth-highest paid player on the team behind Joey Porter, Jake Long, Ronnie Brown and Vernon Carey. Then he was to be a free agent in 2010. Now with his re-signing, it's unclear how much he will hit the cap for but let's assume it will be more, since his guaranteed money went from $900k to $10 million over 3 years (this could be very erroneous reporting and may turn out to be significantly less).
  • Channing Crowder signed a 3 year deal that will hit the cap for $3.5 M in 2009. Strangely enough, they managed to sign him without any guaranteed money. He either has the worst agent in history, or he really loves that Miami fishing.
  • Lousaka Polite got a pretty good deal for a relatively unknown full-back. As long as he keeps his YPC average above 1 yard, he'll be getting about $1.8 Million this year.
  • Rookie Tight-End, John Nalbone, will have to compete with David Martin, Anthony Fasano, and Joey Haynos for a roster spot but for now he'll put a $483k dent in the cap.
While this is highly-speculative, and I'm no math expert, and even less of a salary cap nerd, I did do some math for this post and came up with an approximate projection of $8.9M of current cap room for the Dolphins.

This may seem like enough to sign the partnership of Smith, White, and Davis, with possible room for a low-ball contract for a rookie wide receiver, but one must factor in that Matt Roth, Anthony Fasano, Davone Bess, Ricky Williams, Jason Ferguson, Tyrone Culver, Dan Carpenter, John Denney, Ronnie Brown and even Chad Pennington will have their agents attacking the front office for extensions of their own, though I suspect they will tell both Brown and Pennington flat out that they won't talk contract until 2010.


So, you can see there really isn't a lot of cap room for the Dolphins to work with here. It's clear that we can't afford to trade for Anquan Boldin, or to extend Ronnie Brown's contract. This time last year we had only a handful of players who wanted an extension, and we also had more than double the cap room we have now (and this was AFTER Jake Long and Justin Smiley practically mugged the salary cap).

So unless Pat White plans to play for potato chips and Wilford will void his current contract in favor of a box of oreos, this could get ugly, and players could be let go simply to save money (see Jason Allen, Ronnie Brown, Randy 'Freightliner' Starks, etc.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This is a Smoke-Screen!

The Dolphins let Andre Goodman walk because his price was too high for his relatively limited upside. Then they signed a free agent corner who actually came in assuming he was the penciled in starter. Well, very few people agreed with Eric Green on that matter, and I was not one of them. I always assumed he would compete for a roster spot, rather than take over for Goodman.

Then the Trifecta put their heads together and got one, if not the best combination of corners in the draft, selecting Vontae Davis at #25, then picking up Sean Smith at #61 in the 2009 draft. These two guys are, in my not so humble opinion, likely to be starter-quality cornerbacks in the NFL. They're also likely to be 'play-makers' - Davis because of his bravery and egging-on persona, and Smith because of his physical attributes and speed.

So after 'getting younger' and preparing for the eventual passing of the torch from Will Allen to the young boys, the re-working of Allen's contract, extending him through 2011 AND giving him a sizable raise would seem to make no sense. At least that's how I felt when I first heard about it.


And before all of Will's family and friends get angry at me, let me just explain that I have always had faith in Allen's cover skills, and with the exception of a couple of really bad games last year after he got injured, he's been pretty soild for the Dolphins.

But here's where the move comes up not exactly smelling like roses. The Dolphins had approximately 9 million dollars of cap room before this. That was all the money they had to sign Davis, Smith, Pat White, and any other rookies that make the squad. Sure some space will be created by the cutting/trading/waiving of players through the pre-season and training camp, but it's generally poor business sense to pay for something BEFORE you have the money.

These sorts of deals generally happen in the early weeks of the regular season for just that reason.

And word is that Allen got a 3 year, 16.2 Million dollar contract with $10 Million guaranteed. over the first 2 years. He will turn 31 during training camp.
I assume the contract terms suggest that the 3rd year is a voidable one or is contingent primarily on a roster bonus. He will now almost double his salary cap hit. Also, to renegotiate his contract before they've signed the two first-day corners, also bad business sense, since it gives their agents something to work with.

Surely, Jeff Ireland is not this dense. Surely he does not lack hindsight to this level. Surely he has his private reasons why he would make such a deal at this point in the year. Surely, it is a smoke-screen!

Let's discuss in the comments.

Monday, May 25, 2009

He's going, going, Ginn!

Hey everyone, hope you're having or have had a good holiday weekend.

I have been AWOL from this site and have had a good weekend.

So now to prepare everyone for going back to work, here is a little downer:






Ginn has had 5 touchdowns called back in just two years, and all 5 of them were not his fault. This means (A) Ginn deseves more credit than he gets and (B) he really should be returning punts and kicks. He is a dynamic returner and he won't have all that speed and change of direction forever, so it seems a waste to me to not utilize it.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

FIRST SIGNING!!

It's official. The first 2009 draftee to sign a contract is Tight End, John Nalbone, 5th rounder out of Monmouth. The deal is reportedly 4 years, $1.923 Million total.

That's significantly more than my guess of
2 years, $800k, though the average per year was almost dead-on. This signing is significant because of the $193k signing bonus, and the length of the contract.

This likely spells doom for David Martin, who they will likely try to trade.

Thursday's Bits and Pieces

  • Thanks to all the readers/commenters who are obviously getting excited about the football again. The comments have been blowing up lately and really adding depth to the site.
  • I'll be the first to admit, I am not a gambler, and I have next to no knowledge of sports betting. I remember when I was living in London, I would walk by one of those betting shops and look in through the window wall in complete befuddlement. They have one on every block, a bit like Starbucks here in the U.S. But one thing I can surmise is that the current just released odds have the chances of Miami winning the Superbowl at 45 to 1. After just watching the Kentucky Derby, I know that Mine That Bird was 50 to 1 and made some people rich. So one can safely assume that the same would be true for anyone who bet on Miami if they actually pulled it off. If anyone has any understanding of how this works, let me know in the comments. I would assume the odds will change frequently during the year.
  • Did you see the gadgets that Stephen Ross is going to be providing to premium ticket holders this season? They're basically a smart-phone in a large clunky casing. I have to say, that, having attended many a sporting event in luxury boxes, that these will sit piled up in a corner, perhaps behind the chaffing dishes. Anyone who may be interested in using these, probably already has a device on their person. I understand this one will be all streamlined to Dolphins action, but if you're actually at the game, how fast do you think the updates will be? Faster than real-time? This one gets a big 'whatever' from me, but I won't be attending any games at Landshark (shudder) stadium anytime soon anyway.
  • I actually had my first taste of Landshark beer this past weekend, and to be honest it still didn't make me think 'Go Fins!' I was at the local Raley's and they had tons of that stuff yet the Corona was all sold out. To be honest, I prefer a good Stout, Porter or ESB, but even Corona would have been a better sponsor than Landshark, because at least Corona implies victory and high standards. Landshark the word makes me think of either 'loan-shark' or a serial stalker.
  • In the lead up to training camp, The Knight will hopefully continue to introduce us to the 2009 roster with his position breakdowns, and I will continue to profile players who are a lock to be on the roster. I think we've done all the New Dolphins I can at this time, since the only ones left might not even make the roster. So we'll move on to recap some of our second year players, starting with Jake Long. He is currently, in my mind, the player with the longest Dolphin career ahead of him, as well as being the highest paid one, so who better to start with. This profile will be massive, just like him so keep checking back for it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The 2009 Miami Dolphins Offensive Line - The Beginning

Another foray into the roster by The Knight Who Says Ni! Today we're looking at the Offensive Line. Please note this was written BEFORE the news of the Donald Thomas injury sparked widespread panic (is that band still together?) so I have added notes in ORANGE, whereas the Knight's words are in AQUA.

"The Phins OL"

Think about what we have at tackle on the offensive line. Jake Long at 6-7 315 with the build of a very large TE and Vernon Carey at 6-5 330+ of natural size. Both guys have proved to be durable, especially Carey at the NFL level over 5 years.

These two former 1st round picks are good friends, well paid and motivated. Jake Long (#1 in 08) has said I want to see us become one of, if not the best OL in the league. I'm sure Carey (#19 in 04) shares that goal. They both work hard and want to be the best. We're in good shape on the corners of our O-line.

That brings us to the interior OL. Jake Grove, Justin Smiley and Donald Thomas are the projected starters (with the injury, it would be unlikely that Thomas holds on the starting job. He will have to re-earn that). The question with them is durability. They were all hurt last year. They are all studs physically.

C Jake Grove 6-4 305 - tough and strong who plays with a mean streak - 05 2nd round pick.
LG Justin Smiley 6-3 310 - tough and strong who plays with a mean streak - 04 2nd round pick.
RG Donald Thomas 6-4 310 - physically gifted (known as 'heavy', as in hard to move) with little experience but good enough to win the starting job last year early on in training camp - 08 6th round pick. (Once he gets his strength back and is lifting weights he will push to start again, probably around week 5)
LT Jake Long 6-7 315 - an elite young lineman who is huge, tough and strong who plays with a mean streak - 08 1st round pick (1st overall).
RT Vernon Carey 6-5 335 - a natural big man who is competitive, durable and reliable - 04 1st round pick.
Our depth will work itself out. We still need a few guys to step up and stand out. My picks are Berger, Ndukwe and Alleman. They all have position flexibility and NFL experience.

OL Joe Berger 6-5 310 - a big, strong guy who can play every position but is probably better suited at guard or at RT - the perfect 6th man. (with Alleman's sore back, Berger took the snaps at Center. I believe he will end up competing with Alleman for the backup interior job)
OL Ikechuku Ndukwe 6-4 325 - like Berger he can play every position but is probably better suited at guard or at RT (backed up at LT for us last year) - former 6th man and maybe now a 7th man. (I asked the Knight about this, but don't recall if I got an answer. Perhaps he meant at 'this time' last year, as he obviously started at RG for most of the year)
C/G Andy Alleman 6-4 310 - versatile player who played well for the Phins last year - should lock down a roster spot.
The Phins will probably keep 9 O-linemen on their 53 man roster and 7 or 8 will dress for games. The 9th spot on the OL will probably be between tackles Nate Garner, rookie 6th rounder Andrew Gardner and Brandon Frye 6-4 305. Frye played guard for us last year. 08 4th round pick Shawn Murphy is on the outside looking in at the moment.

OT Nate Garner 6-7 320 - a big man with some upside - needs to step up his game this year.
OT Andrew Gardner 6-6 305 - good college career and consistent starter and leader at Georgia Tech - very durable during his career until a recent shoulder injury, but he played through a lot of it in 08 showing toughness and leadership.
G/T Brandon Frye 6-4 305 - must have shown something to stick around through the OG merry-go-round we went through last year - position flexibility helps him.
OG Shawn Murphy 6-4 315 - needs to really stand out and step up his play to make this team - could he be a sleeper in his 2nd season?
All of these potential 9th guys can be put on the practice squad. The guy who can play LT gets the nod in my opinion.

There are some other rookie free agents competing but I view them as long shots at the moment. I think we're pretty close to 8 guys already. There is probably only one 53 man spot open and maybe two practice squad spots. So that's what the bottom of the OL roster is fighting for unless one of them shocks everyone. I'm all for that. LOL

(We might as well give them a mention - SirVincent Rogers (no relation to Knight, apparently), JD Quinn, and Mark Lewis. Rogers is a tackle that has also played tight-end. Lewis and Quinn are interior guys)

We're in better shape now than we were last year, but we still need some work on overall talent. We have a new O-line coach in Dave DeGuglielmo (a Sparano guy), and Sparano is going to be involved as well because he's an O-line guy. I'm excited about the prospect of our OL this year.

Name a time when we had this much blue chip talent? Mid 80s through mid 90s? Not this physical though.

New Dolphin - Michael Vick, QB

Okay, not really, but when and if Vick gets reinstated to the NFL, would Miami be interested?

Dolphins GM, Jeff Ireland said in his pre-draft press conference that they would continue to turn over rocks as they always had, although, let's be honest, you don't need to turn over any rocks to find Vick.

Then the Dolphins drafted Pat White, who is perhaps Vick, the second-coming. So you'd think that would put the story to rest down in South Florida.

Instead it's about to blow up again. Thanks to the Wild-Cat, every pundit out there automatically projects any running QB to the Dolphins, and Vick was no exception. And that's why, when several teams are distancing themselves from Vick and saying they are not interested, the comment from Stephen Ross, Miami Dolphins Owner, that "he believes in giving people a second chance" and he would look into Michael Vick if the football people in the organization asked about him, will possibly open up a whole new can of worms.

Sure, Ross does not get involved in football operations, that's Bill Parcells' job. But it's reasonable to think if Vick could convince Parcells, the Tuna would likely jump on that opportunity, primarily because he'd be getting a dynamic football player for minimum wage. Rest assured none of this will happen this year, at least not this off-season, but in 2010, we may have yet another mix-up at quarterback.

By the way, for the sake of clarity, I will from now on be using the following pseudonyms when referencing the following people/things.
Brett Favre = The Wrangler
Joe Flacco = The 'F' Word
LandShark Stadium = The Aquarium
Michael Vick = The Dog Whisperer

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Believe It When I See It

Ok, if you just read the previous blog, take it with a grain of salt, because this video from yesterday's OTA session (miamidolphins.com) clearly shows Greg Camarillo practicing (he has a brace on his knee but seemed to have no problem running).

video

Now, this may be a huge error on the aquavision folks' part, as the media yesterday reported that Camarillo would NOT be participating in drills, but the video proves otherwise, and it also shows Ronnie Brown looking hobbled.


Other noticeables:

Matt Roth looks about 10lbs lighter than 2008 (though he's still huge).

Patrick Turner looks like he could truck right through your average tackler with his frame and muscle, but does he have the mind-set?

Also, first actual images of Tearrius George in a Dolphins uniform!

Vontae Davis still cannot catch a football.

Jason Allen still looks the most athletic in the secondary.

Joey Porter pregnant?

Cam Wake is an absolute monster! I'm definitely leaning towards a #91 jersey this year.

And finally, I know I'll take more flak for this, but every time I see Pat White throw the football I want to throw up a little. I'm not questioning his talent and upside, but you gotta admit this guy does not pass the 'look test' when it comes to NFL quarterback.

So what do you guys think of what you see on the video? And what do you think of the obvious cover-up that is Camarillo-Gate? Do you think it was an editing mistake, and the team held him out of the media session today, only practicing him during non-media days, meanwhile telling the media that he is being 'held out' of all OTAs (according to all 3 major newspapers)?

My Heart's All-A-Twitter!

OK, it's official, only Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel knows how to use the latest technology (well, Twitter, anyway, still not sure about his blog/IT expertise) to accentuate his coverage of the Miami Dolphins.

He's the only South Florida reporter tweeting/twittering/giving live updates of what he's seeing at the Dolphins OTA today that is open to the media. And while it's way too early to analyze what the coaches are doing, here are the most enlightening updates (I'm sure Omar will do a blog on this when he gets back in the office, including more details, and I will update with a link when he does). Here's the link.

Davone Bess, Philip Merling, Brandon Frye and Eric Green are running with the starters.

Ernest Wilford is running WR routes ahead of the rookies as well as doing some 'work' with the TEs.

Jason Taylor is working as 2nd string strong side linebacker.

Pat White was awful in passing drills, unable to get the ball to the receivers.

David Martin, Andy Alleman, Donald Thomas, and Brian Hartline are all not doing drills.
Hartline is an OSU guy who's still taking classes and there's some weird OSU rule that says current students can't take part in OTAs. Donald Thomas was stretching with the team but did not join them for drills. No word yet on Alleman and Martin.

At this point in the game, they're not going to line up any rookies with the first team even if there's a good chance they'll be starters, a la Vontae Davis (note: I said 'good chance', not 'probably'), so don't over-analyze the fact that JT is lined up at SOLB behind Roth or that Wilford is up ahead of Turner, Williams and Marion.

However there are a couple of intuitive ticks going off in my brain, as they might be in yours as well.

First, if Hartline is out for a significant number of these OTAs, his chances of making an impression will be greatly reduced and the opportunity for the other receivers on the bubble is greatly increased.

Secondly, Omar said that Wilford was lined up ahead of the rookies, and that's all he said, so it's logical to believe that he is lined up behind London. We know Ginn and Bess are working with the first team, and Camarillo is possibly jogging on the sidelines.

And finally, the fact that Brandon Frye is paying with the first team is shocking to say the least, but like I said it's too early to make much of these things. But all word leading up to this thing was that Donald Thomas was 100% and had been working out for months at Dolphins HQ and was the incumbent starter. UPDATE: THOMAS SUFFERED A TORN PECTORAL MUSCLE. Brandon Frye's only 2008 experience was modeling the official Dolphins' sideline gear (he was the tall guy in full aqua and no pads behind Sparano for almost every game if you caught them on TV). Also - where is Alleman? and is Ndukwe there? Last time I checked I still couldn't find any evidence that he was technically still on the team. He entered 2009 as a restricted free agent and it is unknown if he re-signed with the team (he's still listed on the roster).

Stay tuned for more details, speculation, and 'ticks' here at Tins Fins!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mmmm...Money!!

Thanks to finfanrob for the idea for this article. It is typical fashion for drafted rookies to wait til the last moment to sign their rookie contracts. This last moment is the first day of training camp.

They CAN sign anytime before that day if they choose but there are several reasons why they usually don't, and those reasons all come down to one person, their Agent. Agents work on a commission basis, so they make the bulk of their paychecks based on the contracts of first round draftees. They're simply not going to show the same effort when representing a Davone Bess in 2008 as they would representing Jake Long's rookie contract. Why would they?

So reason number one is this: Because they spend 75% of their 2008 time or more representing that one player, some of the mid-round draftees have to 'make an appointment' basically to get into their own contract talks. Remember, these agents also have other clients from previous drafts, undrafted clients, and often clients in different sports or businesses. A guy like Drew Rosenhaus who probably has a stable of agents working for him on small-time deals, is still going to want to be THE GUY when it comes to negotiating big contracts. Rosenhaus was seen at several pro days in April that didn't have any first day prospects. That means he's taking the time to watch over the little guys too. And when you factor in the sheer amount of players in the NFL, the kind of paperwork, physicals, insurance company BS and staff vacations, there's a lot of stuff to cram into a tight schedule.

It may seem like 4 months to us fans, but to the agents it's more like 'ok, I can deal with four clients a day, allowing 2 hours each, and I have 20 clients. That means each client only gets two hours a week of my time.' And that time has to match up with Jeff Ireland's time. If it doesn't, then you wait till next time.
And so, it's easy to see why it takes so long to sign a drafted rookie. It seems like a long time but when you add up the actual man hours, it comes out to about a day and a half over the course of four months.

And then there's the reality that alot of these agencies will get all the paperwork lined up for all their clients and sign off on them only on the final week leading up to Training Camp because it maximizes the exposure and heightens the drama of it all, thus bringing in more clients.
So I can't tell you WHEN each player will be signed, but I can take a bona fide shot at guessing what the contracts will be.

Vontae Davis 5 years, $13.5M
Pat White 4 years, $4.1M

Sean Smith 4 years, $2.7M

Patrick Turner 4 years, $2.9M

Brian Hartline 3 years, $2M

John Nalbone 2 years, $800k
Chris Clemons 2 years, $800k

Andrew Gardner 1 year, free use of the weight room, 5 meals a week.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Facing the Dolphins' Roth

"On a scale of 1-10, I would rate last season a 6. I was hurt and couldn’t do what I really wanted to do. I had a tear in my groin from the year before and it still bothered me, but I got it fixed about three months ago."

These are the words of incumbent strong-side linebacker, Matt Roth, who, along with several other Dolphins, had to adjust to playing new positions and played through nagging injuries.

"Last season was a lot of fun because we went from 1-15 to a playoff team with a lot of the same guys from the year before, which made it extra special. The guys came back and changed things up, everyone got on board and played hard, played tough. We kept getting close the year before but we would still lose. Last year we put it all together and got those close wins."

This off-season:

"I spent some time fishing and hanging around at the beach but I couldn’t do any swimming because I had the surgery. I also just got engaged, to Brooke, but we haven’t set the date yet."

Regular season?

"What can Dolphins fans expect from me this season? A lot of sacks. I’m not into making predictions, but it’s going to be a lot."

When you add up the sacks Roth predicts for himself, as well as the addition of Cam Wake, the re-joining of the team by Jason Taylor, and the returning AFC sack champion, Joey Porter, with the year's experience of Philip Merling and Kendall Langford, along with the added youth and determination of Tearrius George, 2009 looks to be a year where the Dolphins could have a very good front seven, perhaps one of the best in the league. There will be a small group of young guys playing behind and learning for Porter and Taylor, both of whom I'd guess have two more seasons left in the tank if they stay healthy, and we have yet to see who if any of the large group of OLBs get moved to the inside. We have yet to see how that pans out as well as the competition along the DL for Jason Ferguson's eventual successor.

But while I still have minor concerns regarding the nose tackle and inside linebacker positions, I definitely feel better about the defense as whole than I did even at this time last year. How about you guys? Can you remember back to May/June 2008 and do you feel considerably more confident now than you did then? (Try to forget about the team's record when thinking about this)

New Dolphin - Sean Smith, CB

Way back on February 4th, I wrote a profile on potential draft prospect, Sean Smith. Back then the only thing most people knew about him (if they knew him at all) was the 'legendary' interception that was on every year-end highlight show for the 2008 season.

Well, after moving players on, off, around above and underneath my draft board, Smith was one of the few names that stayed in place from day 1. At one point, the media frenzied over him and I suddenly thought we would lose our shot at picking him since his stock was skyrocketing. Then it just leveled off and settled back and we were able to get him with the #61 pick. Since February, I've watched some more tape on him, and let me tell you, despite his size (6'3", 210lbs) he can turn on a dime, swivel his hips, get his hands up and catch the ball. And if he's underneath the receiver, forget about it.

Smith IS the lockdown corner we've been looking for. It's just too dangerous to risk throwing it his way. And he does a fine Blair Witch impression below. (warning, do not watch this video if you suffer from motion sickness or epilepsy)

So what do we know about Sean Smith? We know he can play football. We know he has a sense of humour. We know either he or his friend (whoever edited and posted the video) can't spell. The one thing we don't know is how far up the depth chart he can climb. But we do know he's a Miami Dolphin.

Welcome home, Sean!

Some Tins Come In Bits and Pieces

  • According to Drew Rosenhaus, this is the year Yeremiah Bell will make the Pro-Bowl. While I expect Bell to play at a high level as he did last year, I think the insertion of Gibril Wilson, combined with more trust in Tyrone Culver, and the youngblood, Chris Clemons, I can't help but feel that Bell with get fewer snaps (I think that's the goal of the Trifecta, for every position, sharing the workload to help prevent injuries and to keep everyone fresher and faster) and thus reduce his stats which plays the biggest part in pro-bowl voters minds. Of course, if the shake-ups eventually lead to him getting 7 interceptions and 5 forced fumbles, then who cares how many tackles he ends up with, right?
  • Not Dolphins-related but considering he was one of my top 2 Miami 2010 Draft targets, and would've been one of my targets this year had he come out, I had to mention this. Boston College star linebacker, Mark Herzlich, has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Ewing's Sarcoma. So while this probably means a sudden and shocking end to his NFL career before it even started, the harder pill to swallow is that this cancer, which only affects 250 people annually in the US, can be fatal 20% to 30% of the time. I wish him all the best as he will have to undergo chemotherapy and thus will likely lose a significant aspect of his self, which is to say his athleticism.
  • Plaxico Burress is apparently in talks with at least two NFL teams according to his agent. I'd bet good money that one of those teams is actually the Giants trying to get some of their money back. The other team is likely the NY Jets.
  • Former Dolphin kicker, Jay Feely is obsessed with Mike Vick. They started out in the NFL as rookies together in Atlanta and their lockers were next to each other for four years. In those four years, despite considering Vick a good friend, they never hung out outside of football. And now he regrets not being there to mentor Vick into becoming a man. He also blames all of Vicks actions on his circle of friends. Last time I checked, the most important factor in 'becoming a man' was to take ownership/responsibility for your actions, not to blame them on something else. Another Feely-ism, his blog profile photo is of him holding up a big fish on a boat and he's wearing a NY Giants sweatshirt. Bet the Jets love that.
  • We talked about the new Madden 2010 game here but I kind of glossed over the new 'pro-tak' technology because I didn't really know what it was, but this video pretty much explains it in its simplest terms. There's even a couple of plays with Ronnie Brown in it.
  • And finally, back to Jason Taylor and what he'll be doing in June (I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried): click here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The 2009 Miami Dolphins Linebackers - The Beginning

The following rundown was compiled by part-time blog contributor and full-time Knight of the Realm, The Knight Who Says Ni! who e-mailed it to me before scurrying off to find a shrubbery (one that is nice and not too expensive). Before we get into it, keep in mind that the Dolphins began the 2008 season with only SEVEN linebackers on the active roster and ended the season with TEN, after adding two for special teams and an aging vet when Crowder got hurt. Two of those players, Kershaw and Walden, are still on the roster as of now.~Tinshaker

OLB Joey Porter 6-3 250 - A seasoned pass rush specialist at this point in his career. If we can get some pass rush from some of the other OLBs we can keep Joey fresh all game and all season long. If we can cut his plays from what seemed like 45-50 last year to 30-35 this year, we might have a fresher more productive Joey late in the year as opposed to last year when he seemed to wear down.

OLB Matt Roth 6-4 270 - Now that Roth knows he's a SOLB on this team, I'm sure he spent his off-season conditioning himself to play OLB, not DE. Roth was up to about 283 last year and maybe dropped some weight during the season. Roth is a big guy and I don't expect him to drop too much weight but I could see him at 265-270 this year. That's his edge, a big physical guy to match up on TEs, set the edge against the run and provide some pass rush. It was his first year as a 3-4 OLB so I think we can expect him to get better, not worse. He was pretty good last year.

OLB Jason Taylor 6-6 250 - We all know what JT is capable of. Yes he's getting a little long in the tooth but I still think he has something left. The best role for him at this point in his career is being a pass rush specialist. Instead of the 50+ downs a game he's played for most of his career, maybe now it's 25-30. He can help keep Porter fresh. His presence also allows Cameron Wake to develop for a year and not have the pressure to be the 'other' pass rusher right off the bat.

OLB Cameron Wake 6-3 255 - The 2-time CFL Defensive Player of the Year is now a Dolphin. He has the size, speed and athletic ability. Does he have the other intangibles that make a good OLB? We're going to find out. We're looking for him to provide some pass rush for us and be one of those guys who can rotate at OLB.

OLB Charlie Anderson 6-4 250 - Last year was his first season as a 3-4 OLB after playing in a 4-3 in Houston for 4 years, mainly playing special teams. He did show some signs as a pass rusher there as well. He should be further along this year but this year is make or break for him in my opinion. After 6 years in the league you are what you are. Now is his time and I think he knows it.

OLB Erik Walden 6-3 245 - He has the size, speed and aggressiveness to be a 3-4 OLB. Does he have the skill set to be a pass rusher in the NFL? If not will he convert to the inside or just remain a backup LB and special teams ace? That's what we're going to start to find out this year.

OLB Quentin Moses 6-5 260 - He was a highly touted pass rusher coming out of Georgia in 07 and fell to the 3rd round for Oakland. He was cut and claimed by Arizona, cut again and claimed by us all in that same year. He's still with us so the trifecta must see something in him. He looks the part with his large 6-5 260 frame but does he lack the other intangibles to make him a pass rushing beast? I think this is his last shot to make the Dolphins. If he doesn't improve we'll go in another direction with someone else. The signing of JT might be the beginning of the end for him.

ILB Channing Crowder 6-2 245 - We all know what we have in him. He's a smart, active, energetic, physical and fast LB who can do a little bit of everything but does not excel at one thing. He's probably best making tackles all over the field and he's adequate in coverage. He's not a big play impact guy but at only 26 years old and now in his 4th year with 3-4 experience and with one year under his belt as the 'Mike' LB calling the defense, I think we can expect more from him this year and I would bet you Channing agrees.

ILB Akin Ayodele 6-2 245 - A solid veteran who plays smart and physical despite not being a great athlete. He adds leadership and experience to a relatively young team. You needs guys like this. That said we need to challenge him this year.

ILB Reggie Torbor 6-2 245 - That challenge could come from this guy. Now that he has a year playing 3-4 ILB under his belt coming from a 4-3 defense with the Giants, he should be ahead of where he was last year. Hopefully he'll think less and just play. I liked the way he played for the Giants. He could do a little bit of everything and he's active. He didn't seem as comfortable with us last year.

LB Tearrius George 6-4 260 - He has excellent size, he was very productive in the CFL and now he has a chance to prove that he can play at the NFL level. Is he a WOLB a SOLB or an ILB? With the signing of JT I say it's backup SOLB and ILB.

LB Orion Martin 6-3 260 - He looks like the same type of prospect/project as George. Same size and plays similar if you watch some video on them. The trifecta must have seen something in him to sign him as undrafted rookie FA. Is he a WOLB a SOLB or an ILB? With the signing of JT I say it's ILB.

ILB William Kershaw 6-3 240 - Another undrafted LB from 06 who has bounced around a bunch of teams' rosters thus far. He has to step it up and show he can play ILB at the next level this year or I don't see him making the team. I don't think there will be enough roster spots to develop him. Maybe the practice squad if he's still eligible.

ILB J.D. Folsom 6-3 240 - Our last draft pick in the 7th round. The trifecta likes his size, intelligence, character and hustle. He will have to win a spot on special teams to make the team. He's a long shot but you never know.

That's 14 LBs and outside of Porter, JT, Crowder and Ayodele, most of these guys don't have a lot of 3-4 experience. So with a year or two of experience for some of them, I would think they would be ahead of where they were last year. When they don't have to think too much they can play faster and we can do more creative things with them.

There will be a lot of competition this year for probably 8 spots. I'd say there is only 1 spot open if you consider Porter, Roth, JT, Crowder, Ayodele, Wake and Torbor locks and I do. 7 LBs will be competing for one spot. That's good competition.
But who knows, another LB or two could step up and surprise us by knocking someone else off. That's what competition is all about. There are only 5 LBs on this team from past regimes in Porter, Roth (DE), JT, Crowder and Moses. It didn't take long for the Parcells LB mold to take place.