Friday, July 31, 2009

He Speaks!

The true sign that Training Camp is finally within reach, our fearless leader, Coach Sparano, has taken the time to discuss what lies ahead:


Video: MiamiDolphins.com/Aquavision

Signed Again!

Rookie cornerback, Sean Smith, has signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Nike. Terms are yet to be disclosed, but I'd bet he just doubled his annual income, at least. Updates to follow...

Rookie Signing - Vontae Davis!

The Dolphins have gotten 1st round draft pick, cornerback Vontae Davis under contract.

The contract is a reported 5 year deal worth $ 10.25 million. Total guaranteed is $7.345 million

It breaks down as follows:

2009:
$310,000 + $815,000 Roster Bonus
2010: $395,000 + $4,045,000 Option Bonus

2011: $676,250
2012: $957,500
2013: $786,250
2014: Free Agent

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tin Bits AFC East Special - Tom Brady Struck By Lighting!

  • The New England Patriots had their first training camp practices today, and as usual, Tom Brady was the star of the show. More than one million reporters showed up to Gillette Stadium, and started drooling over the Brady non-story, which in turn caused a lightning storm, which brought practices to a close. You see, unlike Miami, who just move inside under the bubble, when the weather gets bad, the Pats just piss off for the day! Meanwhile, Randy Moss did not attend practice along with several other players. The Pats are pretty banged up right now. And while they haven't said NO like the Dolphins, the Pats via Belichick suggested they were not looking to sign Michael Vick "right now". That means they will try to do it later.
  • The Buffalo Bills aren't exactly healthy either, but at least they are signing draft picks finally. Their top pick, Aaron Maybin remains unsigned but they locked up Eric Wood and Jairus Byrd yesterday. Despite signing his rookie contract, Byrd is not practicing because he underwent sports hernia surgery 2 weeks ago. Hmm, a rookie CB who can't practice or play through pre-season...what are the odds of him making the roster? Why even bother giving him a big contract?
  • The Jets are reporting to camp tomorrow and the big story is that Leon Washington is still not happy and may (probably will) hold out. Also the consensus is that Mark Sanchez will be the starter from Day One, but that's more because the other two QBs suck, than Sanchez making huge strides. In fact, the only positive thing I've heard about Sanchez is more to do with his personality than his ability to throw the ball. I think the days of the shoot-outs between the Dolphins and the Jets are over for now. Well, we might have to pass a lot against them as their front 7 is pretty good. But their offense should be very run/screen happy. By the way, I accidentally saw a replay of the 'hail mary' from week one last year and just when I thought I had scrubbed it out of my eyes, it's back again. I can't believe the Dolphins secondary just stood there and watched Stuckey make the catch. Renaldo Hill locked on to the ball for a good 2 and a half seconds and did NOTHING. The only DB who tried to make a play was Jason Allen but he was boxed out by another Jets player. Let's hope more of those plays go in OUR favor this year. A fan mentioned yesterday that had we held on that final play in Houston or had one play go our way in week one, we would've won 13 games last year. We literally were that close. 2 plays all season long cost us two games.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer Has Never Been So Tweet!

I've decided during training camp, I will be blogging a Twitter message of the day from around the NFL.

Today's comes from Scott Hanson, the NFL Network reporter:

"Cowboys practice underway... Romo came out 10 min late (sp teams up 1st) and got loudest ovation... with a few boos, too."

What were Jessica Simpson fans doing at training camp?

If you look closely enough...

...you can see finfanrob 'shopping' at Victoria's Secret in the background...

Video courtesy of Ontheflipsidetv.com, a site that follows the entertainment side of sports celebs, the Miami Dolphins cheerleader auditions:

Clearing The Air - the things that aren't bothering your subconscious

You may have forgotten about these issues because you're so excited for training camp battles to commence. You're ready to see how Pat White gains control of his passes, and you're ready to see Cam Wake hit the sh** out of someone. You're ready to hear Sparano's words of brutal honesty again, and you're ready to touch up the 'C.H.U.R.N.' tattoo you got on your left buttock this time last year. It's time to add a touch of aqua to it. But let's not forget that the following issues will have an impact, and for the most part it's a positive one, and we should go into camp on a wave of positivity.

All felony charges dropped against Randy Starks. First the court date was pushed back several months, and now, according to Edgar Thompson/PBP, the felony charges have been completely dropped. It wasn't that long ago, when hearing of the 'run-in' on South Beach, that speculation surfaced over whether Starks would get released by the team. Within a week or two we had moved on from that speculation and penciled Starks in as pushing Philip Merling for playing time/starts. Well, this latest news means that the story is over, and will no longer be a distraction to Starks, or to the team. Most importantly, it means that the newspapers will not be writing about it in the middle of the season, when the court date was to be.

Greg Camarillo, Donald Thomas, David Martin, Andy Alleman, Brennan Marion. With the exception of Camarillo and Marion in limited drills, we went through OTAs without these guys, and at some point during the auditions for the 53-man roster, they should all be back in the fold. If Marion survives the next 2 or 3 days, he could end up showing enough to get onto the practice squad, or he could blow everyone away enough to start pushing Armstrong and London for a roster spot. Camarillo's health doesn't just affect himself. If he isn't ready to go and is relegated to the PUP list, that leaves the door wide open for Armstrong/London/Marion, etc. After Jahndoh explained the severity of Thomas' injury to me yesterday, I think Thomas will be ready to start doing limited drills earlier than previously thought, and will be ready for Game 1. That doesn't mean he will start, but will be ready to play. Martin's health is HUGE. Ernest Wilford doesn't stand a chance if Martin recovers to full form. John Nalbone, Jared Bronson, and Joey Haynos all would benefit by having Martin out of the picture. With Martin back, the picture at TE becomes almost too clear - Fasano, Martin and Haynos - would seem like locks. A lot of people question why I have Haynos as a lock, it's because of his blocking, he's essentially an extra o-lineman.

The Dolphins said no to Vick. While the media is so in love with the Vick story, the reality is that most NFL fans don't really care. Let's not forget that Vick was never exactly Warren Moon or that there are several Vick-like players out there who are younger, faster, smarter, tougher, and have squeaky clean rap sheets. Pat White, anyone? Tim Tebow? Also Vick has been in prison for 2 years. Do you think he's been practicing against NFL-caliber talent while he was in there? Do you think hanging around with other crooks and low-lifes has made him a nicer person? Do you really think adding Vick to a team would produce instant sell-outs? In my opinion, FEWER people would show up to games, not more. By saying 'NO THANKS' to Vick, the Dolphins have taken this question off the table. Sure, some dickwad will still ask it at the next press conference (I will post a poll on this later, just for fun), but the first time will be the last time.

Boomer Grigsby. I know, I know, what does Grigsby have to do with the Dolphins? Well, it's more of what effect he doesn't have on the Dolphins. At least not anymore. You see, Grigsby is one of 5 players being featured on NFL.com's 'On the Fringe' series which follows players fighting for a roster spot on 5 different teams. Basically it's like 'Hard Knocks' but only following one player on the team. Grigsby has been featured in spots, dressed as either a gay cowboy or a Chippendale's dancer, talking about his efforts to make the Houston Texans. We all know that Miami cut both Reagan Mauia and Grigsby last year and replaced them with Casey Cramer and then Lousaka Polite. The difference is obvious, looking back on it. Mauia and Grigsby are lime-lighters. They both like to be on TV, and they both dress themselves as if they're going to be on Star Search at any minute. Cramer, on the other hand, was a pretty decent blocker and pass target out of the backfield, but very quiet, team-first kind of guy. Polite is also one of the more humble guys to come out of 2008. Don't get me wrong, the Trifecta will allow a Joey Porter some lee-way, but for the most part they want guys who are humble, and think as a team. Even Porter sounds like a homer these days. You would think he grew up a dolfan and is living his childhood dream right now, of playing for the Dolphins. So, Grigsby can fight all he wants for that Houston spot, and maybe at some point he'll realize his NFL chances will get better if he stops fighting and starts contributing.

Heading into training camp, take a look at all the 'locks' on the team. You'd have to be an obsessive fan (as most of us here are) to know this, but those guys are all committed to being a TEAM. When you listen to them talk in interviews, they sound so passionate about helping each other out, rather than being stars. You know Joey Porter, who had his career year in 2008, yet gave all the team's success-credit to other players, would rather take the team to the Super-Bowl, than himself to the Pro-Bowl.

And then you look at the guys who aren't locks, who are 'bubble' players, and there are only 2 or 3 guys that don't come across the same way. They know who they are. The guys who stand around thinking they want to be stars, and the Dolphins are just a step on the red carpet. These guys will not be here come September.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tin Bits for Tuesday, July 28th. (UPDATED 2pm Eastern)

  • Leading off with a link to an article sent from our friend to the North, canamdolphin. After the series of polls/lists that the beat writers have been throwing in our faces essentially dissing every aspect of our beloved team, we finally made one! Well, Chad Pennington did.
  • Couple of interesting things coming out of Dallas this week. First doesn't really relate to the Dolphins but is definitely interesting. Remember the USC kicker, David Buehler, who wowed the NFL combine attendees with his athleticism? He benched 25 reps and ran a 4.6 40 yard dash. Well he got drafted by the Cowboys, which raised eyebrows because they already have a Pro-Bowl kicker. Turns out, that Buehler was not brought in just to kick, but will, get this, play gunner on punt coverage. This also raises the red flag that anytime Buehler is in the game to kick a field goal, instead of the regular kicker, that the Cowboys are going to fake the kick. I saw him miss a couple of extra points last year, so I'd definitely think fake before kick.
  • More relevant to Miami fans right now is that Cowboys 3rd round pick, Robert Brewster, is the latest rookie to be placed on season ending injury reserve. What does that have to do with us? Well his injury was a torn pectoral muscle, a la Donald Thomas. It occurred during mini-camp in June. Now the difference here is that Brewster had surgery to repair the injury, whereas Thomas did not. Thomas also had (guessing here) about a month of extra recovery time. But why is it that Brewster opted for surgery and Thomas didn't? Things that make you go hmmm.....
  • Michael Crabtree is a damn good wide receiver. Poor guy, got drafted by the 49ers, a team with no quarterback (hey, maybe they'll go after Michael Vick!). But he could still make a huge impact in football in 2009. Due to Crabtree falling to the 10th pick, despite being considered by many a top 5, if not top 3, if not top overall, pick, you would assume he missed out on the big contract. Not necessarily so. His agent is pushing for the blockbuster deal (someone should remind him the the 49ers are broke) and if he gets it, it could cause havoc for the rest of the top of the 1st round picks. Crabtree could be the single reason why so few first rounders have signed. If he gets a big deal, all those picks around him are going to want more than they might have thought they were going to get.
  • And finally, I've somehow managed to tweak my lower back (I may have to either have a breast reduction, or give up my weekend hobby of the cable toss - I'll keep you posted) thus prematurely ending my dream of returning punts in the UFL in 2009.
  • Those silly Bills. I questioned their practice methods yesterday and today it turns up that their injury count has doubled. They had previously lost a linebacker and a running back to season ending injuries but today it turns out that DE Marcus Stroud has pulled a hamstring, and that WR James Hardy is practicing injured. He is on the 'active/physically unable to perform' list. The phrase itself makes my head hurt.

Michael Vick to the Dolphins! Again!

The saga continues as Michael Vick has been conditionally reinstated to the NFL by Commissioner Goodell. He will be allowed to partake in 2 pre-season games as well as practice with a team but at this point will not allowed to play in regular season games. This will be reviewed by Goodell after week 6.

The experts are once again screaming that Vick will end up in Miami. Besides the fact that this makes absolutely no sense at all (what are we going to do, cut Pat White?), there are three much more blatantly obvious places that Vick could end up - New England, Buffalo, and New York.

Let's not forget that Miami has 3 solid QBs already, and that we already have a hard enough task of getting down to 53 players and could not possibly carry a 4th QB. Then factor in that the other 3 AFC East teams would love a 'Wildcat-esque' player to practice against in prep for their 2 games vs Miami. They also don't exactly have three lovely options like Miami at QB as it is, so once his full reinstatement is allowed, Vick would help out as a likely 2nd string QB on one of these teams. I would think the Jets would love to have a run-first QB since those swirling winds up there tend to make any QB look bad throwing the ball. The Patriots are all about the preparation for their division rivals. And Buffalo, well Buffalo just sucks, and they love to take crooks up there.

And now for something completely the same...

Here we go again. The Vikings have now officially cut a player, putting them one under the 80 allowed for training camp. You know what this means. They intend on signing another player and needed to make the space. The Vikings report to camp on the 30th. So prepare yourself for the re-emergence of Brett Favre, aka 'The Primitive Weapon', in the next three days. Not that he ever went away, of course....

Training Camps open elsewhere



The Buffalo Bills opened the first training camp practices of the 2009 year, and fans were excited. One young fan yelled out to Terrell Owens that he had his name tattooed on his butt. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm into tattoos, myself, but I wonder about the ethics violation that may have been committed by the tattoo artist when this obviously deluded fan came into the parlor. That wasn't even the weirdest part of the practices this weekend. The weirdest part to me was that none of them were in pads, and only one of them even involved helmets. I'm no training camp expert, havingnever been to one, but even in Davie during OTAs/mini-camp, they wear helmets at all times on the field. On Hard Knocks, some coach is always screaming at a player for not having his chin strap secure. So I find it odd that Buffalo is running their training camp without pads and without helmets. It's basically flag football at that point isn't it? They already had one player go down to a probably season-ending injury on the first day. They also had to deal with two rookies holding out, and the fact that Terrell Owens is still homeless. Apparently no one will rent a house to him.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles also opened camp over the weekend, and their first round draft choice, WR Jeremy Maclin, did not even show up for check-in at the team's hotel or for today's practice.

Next up on the schedule is Baltimore, who opens camp today, with Ray Lewis chasing down John Beck by the weekend.

Miami's training camp will officially open on Saturday, with the first practice on Sunday the 2nd.

Meanwhile, the Palm Beach Post did a blog on the possibility of Vonnie Holliday returning to the Dolphins a couple of days after the Tins Fins poll concluded that the 70% of dolfans thought signing Holliday might be a good idea. With less than a week now till training camp, the article suggested that Vonnie would not be looked at until 'several weeks into camp'. In my mind, the longer they leave him out there on his own, the less likely they'd be to bring him in. I'm sure they would rather have him in camp, in their program.

So what do you guys think of the training camp issues so far and what are your fantasy projected issues for our division rivals in training camp? Mine is that Tom Brady gets bitten by Michael Vick's dog...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Training Camp Schedule Change!

This really only affects any of you who were hoping to make it to the first couple of days of camp, but 1 of the sessions has been cancelled and one moved from the afternoon to the morning.

Per Edgar Thompson, "The team will now work only once those two days, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 2 and 9 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 3."

The rest of the schedule will remain the same. Click here for the full schedule. All practices are open to the public unless they move inside due to weather.

Final Round-Up

Well I finally got to the bottom of the Sean Smith contract. According to David Canter, Smith's agent, the numbers were based on the 29th player taken in the 2008 draft, not the 61st overall. That's what led to the confusion. Half the reports were based on Martellus Bennett whilst the other half were based on Pat Lee, who was the 29th player chosen last year.

So here are the final numbers: 4 years, $2.71 million with a $945,000 signing bonus and a total guarantee of $1.363 million.

Also, our latest poll revealed that few fans have much confidence in Will Billingsley or Jared Bronson making it to training camp. I suspect these cuts will likely come in the next 3 days so we'll find out how accurate our predictions were:

Will Billingsley.........46%
Jared Bronson..........39%
SirVincent Rogers....36%
Mark Lewis..............30%
Ryan Baker..............30%
Brennan Marion......27%
Ernest Wilford.........23%
David Martin.............6%

I'm sold on that number 31 jersey.

A while back I asked new Dolphins cornerback, Sean Smith, if he was going to stick with the #31 because I was contemplating getting a Sean Smith jersey for the upcoming season. He told me he probably would be sticking with it. I also thought it would be a nice way to commemorate my 31st year on the planet. After seeing the way this kid carries himself and what he brings to the table, I'm pretty much sold on that # 31 jersey. Do you guys plan on getting new Dolphins apparel this year, and if so, what player's jersey are you most likely to get?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sean Smith can count, why can't the South Florida press? UPDATED

Despite my IT issues, I managed to break the story that Sean Smith had been signed this morning, though I couldn't tell anyone I broke it since I couldn't access any of my usual channels of info. I included the breakdown of the contract, and sent this information to the press. They didn't believe me, especially my math, and have now all reported misinformation.

David Canter, the agent for Sean Smith, mentioned via twitter (about 4 hours after me) that his client had been signed, and that the contract included a 12.5% increase in signing bonus as well as a 6.5% increase in guaranteed money from the previous # 61 pick, Martellus Bennett.

For the record, Bennett signed a 4 year deal worth $2.57 Million, with an $865k signing bonus.

A 12.5% increase of $865k is $973k as I reported this morning. So where the PBP gets $1.36M and the Sun-Sentinel gets the notion to round it off to $1.4M is beyond me. I can't check the Herald due to my IT issues. What do they have it valued at'?

And then there's Adam Caplan of the NFL Network:
"Smith will get a 12.5 percent increase over the same slot in the 2008 draft. That player, CB Patrick Lee selected by the Green Bay Packers, received a signing bonus of $840,000. Smith's is roughly $945,000 and he'll make the minimum base salaries of $1.75 million over the life of the deal."

Couldn't even get the player right.


UPDATE - The Miami Herald finally reported the signing, a day late, and by the infamous Barry Jackson again. He reports that it's a 4 year, $3.1 million contract with a $945k signing bonus. He actually quoted Smith's agent, but so did everyone else, despite the agent making the announcement via Twitter. My only issue with that is that I also follow Smith's agent on Twitter, and he never mentioned any dollar amounts in his announcement, just the percentage increases I mentioned above.

Tin's Fins Exclusive Interview - Justin Schulman, Agent

Justin Schulman is an agent with the firm Athlete's First. They represent four Miami Dolphins, and are known primarily as the agents of now super-rich NFL quarterbacks, Mark Sanchez, and Matt Cassel.

Cassel signed a six year, $63 Million contract a week ago, and Mark Sanchez signed a five year, $44.5 Million contract in June.

Athlete's first also represents Dolphins quarterbacks, Chad Henne and Pat White, as well as wide receiver Patrick Turner, tight end Anthony Fasano, and former Dolphin QB, John Beck (now with the Ravens).

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Schulman about his Dolphins clients:

Tin:
Anthony Fasano is entering a contract year, after having a breakout season in 2008. Much has been made of the trade that brought Fasano and linebacker, Akin Ayodele, to the Dolphins last yer for a 4th round draft pick. It is considered by many Dolphin fans as a blockbuster move by the Trifecta. Does the Agency have any involvement in trades, and if so, at what time do the teams involved contact you?

J.S.: "
The only time a team would involve the agency is if they figure the player is not in their plans and as a courtesy would give the player the right to seek a deal."

Tin:
So, if the player is given this courtesy, he could tell you who they'd like to be shopped to?"

J.S.: "
Exactly. But with Fasano it wasn't like that. Parcells knew what he wanted and went out and [initiated the deal]."

Tin: "
Your agency has the perceived conundrum of representing both Henne and White. Do you see any conflict of interest there or do you think due to the way White will be used that his contract would not be based on the standard 2nd/3rd QB contract on the team?"

J.S.: "
No, we don't see any conflicts, because an Agent has no say with who gets on the field, so we'd work as hard for each player. I know the Dolphins think extremely highly of Chad Henne, and they also like Pat White. With White's contract, all those things [how they use him, playing time, etc.] go into consideration."

Tin: "
What do you think of Pat White as a person?"

J.S.: (without hesitation) "
A 100% quality person. Pat is the nicest guy. He held a leadership role at West Virginia for 4 years and he held it really well. I have to tell you, those fans up there in his hometown think the world of him."

Tin: "
Getting back to Chad Henne, what is it about him that made you seek him out as a client?"

J.S.: "
Our firm is known for representing top quarterbacks, so we're always going to sign that [type of player]. I went to Michigan because Chad showed that he is one of those guys."

Tin: "
Were you disappointed in his draft position? Do you think the team should sit him for another year or do you think he's ready to start?"

J.S.: "
Obviously, you like to go as high as you can go, but we feel he fell into a good situation, and ultimately you want your players to find those good situations. Chad will be fine whenever he's called upon. Remember he started from day one as a freshman at Michigan and started four years. But Pennington has been a great QB and a great mentor to Henne and to Beck before him. If Henne sits he sits and will learn that much more."

Tin: "
You recently got Patrick Turner signed to a four year deal. What's his story? He seems like the antithesis of an NFL WR as far as his personality goes."

J.S.: "
Patrick is an incredibly hard worker. He's a mature, thoughtful person. The thing with Turner is unlike a lot of other wide receivers, he doesn't need to let you know every time he makes a catch."

Tin: "
Can you walk us through your negotiations with the team? We always hear from the media that talks have not started even at this late juncture. It's hard to believe that a team and a player's agent wouldn't have at least done a preliminary look at the contract before the last 2 weeks of the deadline. So is what the papers say true, that Pat White, for example, has not even started talks?"

J.S.: "
Every team is different, the Jets and the Bears are done and have been for awhile. Some teams like to wait and see. Some teams like to start from the bottom up and sign the late round picks one by one. From an agents side of things, we start preparing before the draft, checking numbers, etc. I can't discuss negotiations, but we have had discussions with the Dolphins regarding Pat White, setting groundwork, etc."

Tin: "
Thanks for your time, Justin. Before I let you go I have one final question. When you have your agent/player meetings, what kind of snack food do you have at those meetings, and what is your specific favorite snack food?"

J.S.: "
Well, with recruits we can't have any kind of snacks or food there, as its against the rules. My favorite is any kind of chocolate candy."

---------------------------------------

So, there you have it. Thanks again to Justin Schulman for taking the time to talk to me.

It should be noted that JS mentioned the B-word about 12 times during this interview. I reminded him that Beck was no longer a Dolphin, but he still kept bringing him up. I've edited all of that out, but he had this interesting quote which I think really applies to our current QBs as well: "John Beck was brought in to be the future face of the team, but then he lost his general manager and then his head coach." Well, I think he also lost his ability to play football, but Schulman does have a point. If, heavens forbid, the Trifecta were to move on from Miami, then our Knight in Shining Benchwarming Armor, Chad Henne, may not even get a shot. It's for this reason, I hope the Trifecta finds a way to showcase Henne in the next year or so.

The Pat White contract discussions are obviously under way but also obviously are still ongoing.

Inter-office Memo

I just wanted everyone to know that due to some wacked out IT issues going on at my workplace, I am unable to efficiently visit my own blog, as well as any other website for that matter. For the last two days I've been unable to Facebook!! Twitter takes so long to load up, that by the time I read the latest Twitter, it's no longer very Tweet.

At first I was worried that it was my site, but it works fine from home, and comments are coming through and visitation is steady and I haven't received a single complaint. Then I realized it wasn't just my site but every website I visit on a daily basis.

But this sucktitude is not stopping me from putting up material, although the big file/video ones will have to wait until the issue is fixed. So please, continue to enjoy the blog, and come back later when I post an exclusive interview.

Thank you,
Tinshaker.

Mr. Smith goes to Miami

The Dolphins have come to terms with, and signed rookie cornerback, Sean Smith. The contract is reportedly for 4 years and $ 3.116 million.

Here is the breakdown:

Signing bonus: $945,000
2009:
$310k
2010: $395k + $421,000 option bonus

2011: $480k

2012: $565k

Old Dolphins are hard to put down

While I wasn't surprised that Vonnie Holliday won the poll for which former Dolphins player/current free agent you guys would be most interested in signing, I didn't expect it to be such a landslide.

Vonnie Holliday: 70%
Sam Madison: 8%
Patrick Surtain: 20%
Jesse Chatman: 7%

I'm sure it has to do more with the fans' feeling a bit unsure about the current personnel on the defensive line than Holliday being more of a fan favorite than, say, Sam Madison. Although, despite the seemingly deep secondary, former Dolphin cornerback, Patrick Surtain, managed a respectable second place.

But I suspect a lot of the uncertainty about certain positions result from exposure to the negativity of the South Florida media. This month they've been pretty down on Philip Merling, and that must be affecting fans' confidence. And it's a fickle thing, because despite our 2009 obsession with finding a back-up/eventual replacement for Jason Ferguson at nose tackle, it wasn't that long ago that the media was trashing Ferguson as well for having an unrespectable year, at least stats wise. Now they are trashing Ronnie Brown's accomplishments and talents, despite him finally making a name for himself in 2008, becoming a household name and making the pro-bowl.

Don't expect this somber mood to dissipate, as once Training Camp begins, the annual Jason Allen dump-a-thon will resume, as well as the start of the First Annual Pat White Golf Cart Passing Jamboree. But despite the negativity, we will all still have fun discussing, watching, and supporting our favorite team. One thing you can rest assured on, my favorite team, and the ONLY team I support, is the Miami Dolphins. Go Fins!

I Need To Know, Part 4



Well here it looks like J-Lo has come to terms with her aqua and orange. Just a heads up, the reason the new part-owners got the numbers 16 and 24, is because Marc Anthony's birthday is September 16th, and Jennifer Lopez's is July 24th, as in tomorrow. I do wonder why they gave her such a wrinkled jersey though. It's like they made them then rolled them up into balls and threw them in the trunk of their limo for a couple of days leading up to the press conference.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Need To Know, Part 3

I think this just about says it all:

Oh, and it looks like Jennifer's butt has gone bye bye.

What Are You Waiting For?

We all know by now that Miami’s training camp practices start on the 2nd of August. There are several teams starting camp after we do, but we are the last AFC East team to get things rolling.

Team / First Practice

Buffalo / July 25th

N.E. / July 30th

N.Y. Jets / July 31st

Miami / Aug. 2nd

There’s a couple of things of interest here. First, we’ll get to see a full week of Buffalo’s failure before we turn our heads to Miami. Be prepared for an onslaught of T.O. on NFL Network and ESPN.

But the really interesting thing about these dates is linked to the signing of the rookie class.

Team / Signings

Buffalo / 2 of 8

N.E. / 8 of 12

N.Y. Jets / 3 of 3

Miami / 5 of 9

Yep, that’s right, Buffalo starts practicing in less than 4 days and they have only signed two of their draft picks, a 6th rounder and a 7th rounder, both cornerbacks. They both got 4 year deals. Meanwhile, they also drafted a cornerback in the 2nd round. Why they haven’t come to terms with their other late round picks at this juncture is beyond me, but it seems to me they’re too busy trying to book games in foreign countries or trying to find T.O. a house.

I Need To Know, Part 2



Well, it's official, Marc Anthony is the latest pop sensation in the Dolphins' Owner's box. Terms were not disclosed, but word is, Jennifer Lopez gets to perform the national anthem at every game, and Marc will be the backup punter.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Itchy Trigger Finger

There are just twelve days to go till the start of training camp and the Dolphins are still over the limit on players. They currently have 82 on the roster but need to get down below 80 by the opening of camp. If you look on the sidebar to the right, you'll notice I haven't updated the roster since June 15th. I haven't had to. But I'm going to have to soon, because the Dolphins are going to have to make those cuts. And soon.

So who do you think it will be? Check out the new poll in the sidebar to have a guess.

Ronnie Brown Contract Extension Causes Barry Jackson to Actually Name a Source.

According to the Herald's Barry Jackson, the Dolphins have had preliminary contract extension talks with Ronnie Brown. He actually quoted Ronnie's agent, Todd France. Of course this will lead to mass speculation, such as, are Barry Jackson and Todd France the same person?

In the meantime, rather than write about this myself, I'm going to link you to FinsFTW as he's got it all covered.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

For Your Special Consideration:

Ah, yes, the special teams. On every team, a player may be asked to play special teams at some point, but on the Dolphins it's more of a 'take it or leave it' guarantee. The following players were chosen as players to watch through training camp and the pre-season because I wanted to show a variety of reasons why they could end up making it onto the 53-man roster due to special teams play. There are a good 20 or more players that fit into this category, but to keep things from epic-proportions I've narrowed it down to eleven players and also have skipped over the field-goal unit. We all know that the linemen blocking for the kicker are going to be chosen for their line play, not their special teams presence.

So, in no particular order, here we go:


Jason Allen, CB.
Two reasons why I immediately wrote down Allen's name when I started my list. First, he was the top kick coverage guy on the team last year, leading the unit in tackles, downed punts, and almost always outran his blocker. He did everything that was asked of him on special teams. But everyone is asking him for more. They want him to be a starter on defense. And the fan comments I've read over the last two years suggest that they believe if he's not a starter, he's not good enough to be on the team. Well, his production as a reserve speaks for itself. His size and speed cannot be overlooked when looking for a 'gunner'.

Eric Walden, LB.
Miami's special teams coverage unit was not that 'special' through most of the year in 2008. We needed a spark to get things clicking. Enter Eric Walden. Whether it was the shuffling around of bodies, or Walden in particular, the bottom line is that things got better when he showed up. With the incredibly crowded linebacker corp creating competition between Matt Roth, Jason Taylor, Joey Porter, Cam Wake, Walden, Charlie Anderson, Tearrius George and Quentin Moses, the only realistic way that Walden makes the cut is if he is the special teams beast we might think he is.

William Kershaw, LB
. Ok, so Channing Crowder, Akin Ayodele, and Reggie Torbor are going to be on the 53. That leaves space for one more inside linebacker spot and it's going to be between Kershaw, JD Folsom and Orion Martin. Kershaw has experience in his favor, playing primarily special teams in a half dozen NFL games over the last 3 years. He would need to be so good on special teams that he would be hard to live without. Even then, it's likely he wouldn't be on the active game roster. I believe he has more upside than Folsom, but possibly less than Martin. With that said I see Martin as a prime candidate for the practice squad and Folsom being a bit out of his depth. I think Kershaw by now should know what he needs to do to win a roster spot.

Vontae Davis, CB.
Say what, Tin? Our number one pick needs special teams to make the roster? No, I'm not saying that. But I am saying that he will likely get more reps on special teams than on defense, at least to start with. Miami had a few gunners last year, J. Allen, Brandon London, Patrick Cobbs, Nate Jones, etc. Well, my guess is London won't make the team, and Cobbs and Jones both struggled at times last year at bringing down the returner. Enter Vontae Davis. If you know his style, he's really well set to be the guy who runs 50 yards downfield and pummels the guy trying to catch and run with the ball.

Nathan Jones, CB. Jones was one of several special-teams 'aces' that the Trifecta brought in last year with th intention of having a sure thing on S/T whilst giving them an opportunity to have a break-out year on offense or defense. Well, most of them didn't have any significant impact on those units (think Boomer Grigsby, Keith Davis, Torbor, Anderson, etc.) but of that group, Jones probably got the most opportunity. I would say he was average at best. He seemed to be in my group of guys to yell at during the season for missing tackles or playing too soft. I would suspect that if the Trifecta were going to sit in a room and look at game tape of all the DBs and then choose who gets to stay and who gets cut, Jones would be in trouble. But I suspect he practices well enough to make an impression. He got to start a game last year despite looking very shaky prior to that in games. He got a bit better towards the end of the year. But he didn't make any impact on special teams which was his golden ticket before the season. You know when they replace you with miniscule Patrick Cobbs or skyscraper Brandon London, that you may not be getting the job done.

Brian Hartline, WR.
Ok, this guy just signed a pretty decent contract, and I recently discovered he's rated a '92' on EA Sports' NCAA football. He has been called 'just another Camarillo' which is unfair, because had he been in the same offense for two years in a row, he could have been a second round pick whereas Camarillo was an undrafted free agent and only caught 46 passes in 4 years at Stanford. Hartline, meanwhile, caught 52 passes in his sophomore year at Ohio State alone. Also, Camarillo ain't playin no special teams these days. Hartline, however, is one of the few players I've ever seen both returning and covering punts in the same game as well as being a starting WR. The guy has won several special teams player-of-the-week awards in College. We'll have to see how he does against the 'big boys' but I suspect you will see Hartline on that Sunday S/T unit.

Cameron Wake, LB.
Well, we've discussed a few 'gunners' but every special teams unit needs some bigger bodies that also have the speed, the ability to escape blocks, and long reach to get to the returner. Wake obviously has those skills, and with the traffic jam at his position, I can't see a scenario where he wouldn't have to play on the S/T unit. That may seem like a step-down for the former CFL-standout, but lo and behold, the guy played on special teams in Canada at the same time he was the consecutive Defensive Player of the Year award winner. The number of kicks
he's blocked in his career is more than the number of people who've actually seen the elusive Krispy Kreme Bacon Chees Burger in the wild. [don't quote me on that]

John Nalbone, TE.
Nalbone is going to be in the fight for his life come August. He had the great misfortune of being drafted onto a team that already had 3 tight-ends, with a fourth converted from the WR position. If that wasn't bad enough, they then picked up an undrafted rookie as well, bringing the total to 6. I can't see the Dolphins keeping more than 3 tight-ends (open to debate), and at this point Fasano is a sure thing, and unless they have a trade partner set up, Martin should be safe. The question then comes up of who has the most upside, Haynos, Wilford, Nalbone or Bronson. I can safely say it's not Wilford or Bronson. Bronson can't catch, and Wilford can't run or separate from blocks which means he can't play special teams. So that leaves Nalbone and Haynos. Haynos is not a speed demon but he is massive and played a lot on kicking units as a blocker. Personally I'm a fan of Haynos and I can see lots of reasons to keep him, but the Nalbone pick suggests that their may be a chance for change at the position. Nalbone's only real shot at making an impression this early on is on special teams. Based on his opening day rookie-camp comments about preferring not to be a blocker, he'd need to change his mind-set. He's no Kellen Winslow. He's a low-round drafted rookie at the bottom of the depth chart.

Patrick Cobbs, RB. Cobbs is not going to slip out of that 3rd RB spot, and Coach Sparano has said he'd like to get Cobbs more involved. For the time being though, it looks like he'll have to continue to try to make his impact on special teams. We just have so many offensive options heading into 2009 that it will be hard to spread the ball around (a very good problem to have). Also with more snaps going to Ronnie Brown in 2009, Ricky Williams and Cobbs will get fewer touches out of the backfield. But Cobbs can return kicks and play coverage (like Hartline above), and this will get him on the field.

Charlie Anderson, LB.
I've been dreading doing this write-up because I knew I would have to put Anderson up here. Charlie Hold-erson, as he's referred to at my house on Sundays, was lucky last year. While he was committing costly penalty after costly penalty on special teams, I was unaware of how much we were paying him to void touchdowns and big returns. Between Anderson and Torbor, we might have the most expensive special teams unit heading into 2009. Surely then, we should have the best unit? The truth is that Anderson only has one shot to stay on the Dolphins, and that's his special teams play. He did manage to block a punt at the end of the season. But before that, he was wholly unspectacular apart from providing some pressure on 3rd down pass-rushes. It wasn't good enough.

Anthony Armstrong, WR.
The more I know about Armstrong and London, the implied last two men standing in the competition for the final WR spot, the more I like Armstrong over London. But that's personal bias. The fact is that London has more upside, and a lot of people have suggested that London is THE guy Sparano has referred to as THE potential #1 guy despite not giving a name. I see where that argument comes from, but I honestly believe that Sparano was actually just saying what he needed to say, and that he doesn't know yet who that guy is. But back to Armstrong. Obviously he's not the #1 guy, he's trying to be #5 or #6 at this point. The thing he will have to do to get there is return kicks. He's fast as ****, and needs to use it to blow everyone else out of the water. His best chance to do that is on kick returns.

So those are the eleven I'll be watching in training camp to see who is returning kicks, who is 'gunning' for the returner, etc. I believe that due to increased competition at several areas where special teamers are usually grabbed from, the final s/t unit could be made up of some significant talent. Who else do you see needing to break out on special teams to make the team?

Friday, July 17, 2009

"I Need To Know"

It's amazing how much speculation has been flying around about the ownership of the Dolphins lately. The mass-media is OBSESSED with anything NOT-football related these days and Stephen Ross and friends have gotten more press time than all the Dolphins' players combined. Eh, to each their own. I'm sure there are loads of fans out there who think of the Dolphins as an entertainment enterprise and a corporation, but to me it's just a football team.

And THAT is why I'm going to rain on everyone else's parade as far as this minority ownership mumbo jumbo goes.

Reports today that there will be something to report on Tuesday about Marc Anthony's 'involvement' with the Dolphins, have left me wondering, what is the story here? Upon reading this article, I discovered that it is not a new story that the two are involved, in that Anthony is scheduled to perform at a Jets/Dolphins game on October 12th. What the article fails to do is tie-in the fact that it's a Jets game, and the press conference scheduled for Tuesday is taking place in New York.

Now, I'm not an entertainer or a savvy businessman, but surely it would make more sense to announce joint ownership of the Dolphins in, wait for it, MIAMI. Why would they make such an announcement in New York? Why have a press conference at all, then? For all the Dolphin fans from Jersey? (Bless their hearts).

It's for this complete lack of logical explanation that I have come to the conclusion that Marc Anthony is NOT buying into the Dolphins. Not to mention that both Marc Anthony and his wife, Jennifer Lopez, are both New Yorkers, born and bred, and they still live there year-round. It seems more likely that they would buy into the Jets, if they are shopping for NFL ownership.

Sure the appearance of Stephen Ross at the press conference suggests that the speculation is true, but if we're all going to come to conclusions before Tuesday, then I offer this little tidbit of info: J-Lo is a confirmed Patriots fan. PS, yes this article was just an excuse for me to post the above photo.

When is this damn game coming out?

The following videos are handi-cam style sneaks at the upcoming Madden 2010 game. Imagine Cloverfield meets the Miami Dolphins:








Vontae Davis talks to The Sporting News

This interview doesn't have any blockbuster moments in it, just another run-of-the-mill 'Q & A', but there are two fantastically bad questions in it that definitely stand out:

"Q: What will you do with your first big NFL paycheck?
A: Mainly, it's about making sure I'm situated. I have to find a good place in Miami, because it's kind of expensive. After that, it's just making sure my sisters and grandmother are comfortable."

Great question since he's not even under contract yet.

"Q: So your family is heavily women outside of you, Vernon and your younger brother. What was it like growing up?
A: It helps you in different ways, mainly in how you communicate. Because of my sisters, I always had someone to talk to whenever I was having trouble. From my grandmother, I learned a lot about respect. She taught me how to treat other people and be respectful of them."

Heavily women outside of the three brothers? Vontae is one of seven children. 3 are boys, 4 are girls. I'd hardly call that a heavy skew to the estrogen-laden. Seriously though, I kid The Sporting News because they cannot figure out how to file football articles under football, and not under NASCAR or baseball, or their pretty interesting take on the Dolphins depth chart, but I'll take any Dolphin-related media I can get.

Oh, by the way, in case you're reading this and didn't know, "
Q: Chad Pennington is the Dolphins' starting quarterback."

;)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tin's Fins Bits - Thursday Edition

  • Where to start...why, in Kansas City, of course: Kent Babb of the Kansas City Star, in a piece about underrated Chiefs players, suggests "The Chiefs also need some players to step up and play better than outsiders might expect. Zach Thomas entered offseason practice as an underrated player, but after he galvanized the defense and established himself as a clear leader, he's not underrated anymore." Okay, Babb, WTF are you talking about?
  • Brandon London's fighting words posted this morning:
    "Can we play some Football already? No Patience when it comes to eating...Ayy Collier, they say they hungry! HUNGRY?!?! I was hungry in POP WARNER...IM BEYOND RAVENOUS(look it up)!!! (on a side note-ya'll haters made it easy for a lot of ppl to get up outta bed this morning and go GRIND so they can SHINE...How about a round of applause for the HATERS!!!!! CLAP CLAP CLAP...IM OUT)"
  • The NFL Network will air all 65 pre-season games this year. Three of the Dolphins games are being shown the day after they are played, but the first game is being shown that same night, albeit not live. Click here for the schedule. Thanks to Kent for bringing this to my attention.
  • The Just End The Season are going to find out pretty soon if special teams ace/running back, Leon Washington, is going to stage a holdout. Washington implied that was the route he was going to take earlier this week. Ironically, Washington was filming a TV commercial that highlights the lighter side of training camp at the time of the remark.
  • Tin's Fins has been in interview mode lately, with WR Anthony Armstrong's exclusive here, WR Davone Bess here, and OL Donald Thomas here. Tomorrow I have another exclusive lined up but I don't know when I will be able to post it, so we're going to take a step away from the interview mode and I will post my final pre-training camp analysis - the special teams.
  • The Washington Redskins used a 2010 3rd round draft pick in the supplemental draft today to select DE Jeremy Jarmon out of Kentucky.
  • Proof that the hype extends far wider than just the TV and print media, the Madden 2010 team power ratings have the AFC East ranked as so: Patriots (93), Jets (78), Dolphins (77), Buffalo (76). What does this mean? It means if you're a gamer, you're gonna have a hell of a hard time beating New England...unless you're using New England...
And finally...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Let's all go to Hawaii!

Hey, it must be nice for Sean Smith and Davone Bess who are both spending their time off in Hawaii this week. Smith was celebrating his birthday, and Bess is doing several media and charity appearances and visiting with friends. Is it possible that one or both of these guys could make it to the pro-bowl this year and have to stay in Miami, since the game was moved, so they're getting their Hawaii time in now?

Below is a video interview/live chat for the Honolulu Advertiser that went down yesterday in Hawaii with Davone Bess and fellow former Warrior, Ryan Mouton, who coincidentally may be covering Bess when the Dolphins play the Titans on December 20th. For the sake of brevity and fan interest, I've edited this hour long interview down to just questions related to Davone Bess. It clocks in at 17 minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Anthony Armstrong - Exclusive Interview

I recently had the opportunity to speak to Dolphins wide receiver, Anthony Armstrong. It is widely believed by fans and media boffins alike that Armstrong could break onto the 53-man roster this year, after spending all of 2008 on the practice squad. Before that he was a member of the Dallas Desperados in the Arena league.

Tin: You grew up in Texas, right? I think you mentioned you played peewee football. But you also ran track, right? What was your fastest time in the 100meters and your fastest time 40 yard dash? Do you think football players would run faster 40s if they were lined up against each other like in the 100? Have you ever raced Ted Ginn, Jr?

AA: I grew up in the Dallas area in Carrollton. I did play peewee football, and didn’t do track until high school. I think my fastest 100m was a 10.6 or 10.7, nothing special, especially since there are guys that run 10.3 and don’t make it to state. My fastest 40 that I have heard was in the mid 4.2 range. I'm sure folks would run faster if they had a direct competitor, but then that would take away a true reading of their speed. Me and Ted haven't raced. LOL I am an old guy so I like to keep my unnecessary sprints to a minimum!

Tin: In college, at West Texas A & M, it seems to me you put up decent enough numbers to get a tryout for the NFL. Did you get any opportunities then or was the Dolphins in 2008 your first attempt? How did it work - do you get a phone call or do you show up for an open tryout?

AA: Thanks, I think I did alright up there. I actually went to an area workout for the Cowboys when Bill Parcells was the head guy. I ended up getting invited to the Falcons rookie camp but didn't get to participate because I was coming off of an injury. So Miami is my first real shot. I did get a phone call from Brian Gaine a little over a year ago saying that they wanted to work me out down here. Luckily I impressed enough to merit a training camp invite. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate every opportunity given to me so there are no hard feelings with Atlanta or Dallas.

Tin: I heard a rumour that you returned an onside kick for a touchdown once. And you can field kickoffs off of the end zone net in the AFL. How did you end up playing this somewhat goofy brand of football? And do you think it hinders a player's chances when trying out for the NFL being used to so many different rules? I would think just the size of the field can cause awareness issues.

AA: You heard right, my first career AFL touchdown was a go-ahead/game-winning onside kick recovery/return for a touchdown. It was pretty cool because it was at home, my Mom was in the stands, and I had worked my way to being active after being on the practice squad. I learned how to catch off of the net, but didn’t have to do much of it because we had some more experienced guys. I actually got into arena football after I didn't stick in Atlanta, I decided to keep playing. A few phone calls later and I landed in Odessa, Texas playing in the Intense Football League. The only way I think it could hinder is because the old stigma of "level of competition". There are good players at all levels, and many have been successful in the NFL. Kurt Warner, Mike Furrey, Oronde Gadsen to name a few. I think Arena helped me because you have to react quickly to people flying around the ball coming your way. It has made me more comfortable in close quarters.

Tin: If you had a youtube highlight video, what song would you have as the background music?

AA: I would choose Hustlaz Muzik by Lil Wayne, or Swag Surfin by F.L.Y.

Tin: What do you do with yourself during the off-season?

AA: I do anything to keep myself busy. I did a paint by number, read a few books, got into the stock market a bit. Basically anything that interested me at the time.

Tin: Would you rather someone give you a bag of Oreo cookies or a spot on the roster? (inside/running joke on the website)

AA: Hmmm as long as they are Double Stuft Oreos, then give me those, I'll earn my spot on the roster.

Tin: You played in a league I'd never heard of, the Intense Football League. After playing football for all of your life, on all different levels of competition, what makes you think you're now ready for the NFL? Have you always been this good and just had bad luck or bad timing before?

AA: I would say that I'm ready because I am here. I still have a lot of room to grow, but if I couldn't play then I wouldn't have been able to stick on the roster for a year, be it on practice squad. I won't say anything was bad luck, God had a plan for me, and he wanted me to take the scenic route. I don't have a problem with it, it made me a better person and I appreciate everything that much more.

Tin: Last year it looked like you were THIS close to making it onto the 53 man roster, but guys like Davone Bess and Greg Camarillo stepped up their game, and the lack of playing time in the pre-season probably hurt your chances. This year there is so much better competition at WR, and yet you seem to be standing out (at least to the media) more so than you did last year. Have you really adjusted that well after a year on the practice squad?

AA: I feel more comfortable out there on the field, and just being around everyone helps. I was lucky enough to be on the practice squad the whole year and get that time to learn without the pressure of playing on Sundays.

Tin: What do you think of the recent Lambo_Weezy incident where a complete clown was impersonating Davone Bess? Do you twitter? What would you have done in Davone's place?

AA: I think that situation isn't cool at all. I don't know much about it. Hopefully it gets straightened out.

Tin: And finally, we know that Coach Sparano loves some players than can contribute in more than one job. Have you been preparing your special teams game and if so, what role do you see yourself bringing to the team?

AA: I try to do anything the team needs me to do to help us win. Plus, I will do it to my best ability.

Happy Birthday, Sean Smith!


Sean Smith turned 22 today. It would've been nice if the Dolphins announced his signing today as a birthday present, but I'm sure it won't be too long now.

Anyway, happy birthday, Sean. Enjoy Hawaii. Ah, to be 22, a future NFL star, in Hawaii, with two weeks off....ugh, what a bastard....

Just kidding, Sean!

Please Sign on the Dotted Hartline

Dolphins 4th round draft pick, Brian Hartline has signed his rookie contract.

Here is the breakdown:
4 years, $2.25 million with a $504,975k signing bonus.

2009: $310,000

2010: $395,000

2011: $480,000

2012: $565,000
2013: Free Agent

Got him right in the uh....

Put down your milk, folks. As I was preparing a blog that will feature an exclusive interview with Miami wide receiver, Anthony Armstrong, I found this video on YouTube of former Dallas Desperado team-mate of Armstrong, Duke Pettijohn scoring a touchdown. No big deal, until the rather unusual celebration that occurs. I felt compelled to post this for your viewing pleasure. The best part is the last line of the announcer...