Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dolphins Getting No Love

It's still early days, but they've just released the weekly tv distribution update for week 4, and the Dolphins/Bills matchup is not even scheduled to be shown in the entire state of Florida or New York for that matter.  This stems from there being a Jets game and a Jaguars game on at the same time so it's unlikely to change.  Other than the bottom 80% of Florida and the Western 70% of New York, the game will not be transmitted locally so if you don't have Sunday Ticket, join me here for our weekly viewing party.

New Practice Squadder

Weakside Linebacker, Ekennemchukwu "KC" Dennis Asiodu, out of Central Oklahoma (transfer from UNLV) is the latest addition to the practice squad. He is listed at 6'3", 240 lbs with a 4.67 40 time.. To make room for him, the Dolphins have released ILB Danny Lansanah.

Asiodu played two years as a defensive back, switching to LB in his Junior year. He was recently released from the St Louis Rams practice squad after signing with them as an undrafted free agent back in May.

With Joey Porter sitting out of practice with a hamstring injury, the Dolphins are likely going to need the extra body at that position to help with the reps.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Just a little project...

Hey everyone.  Thanks for continuing to read and comment on this site.  It's been loads of fun for me, and actually a bit of therapy for our 0-3 start to the 2009 season.  But before we get too far into it, I'm starting up what I will from now on be referring to as 'PROJECT-10'.

PROJECT-10 is a vehicle that will transport us through the lead up to the 2010 NFL draft, which is obviously, in 2010.  But before we get there, and before I write all those articles that actually gave birth to this site in 2009, I need to actually know the players I'm talking about.  And that is why I have already done my pre-preliminary draft chart for 2010.  Below is a basic table showing the players I am focusing on during this NCAA season in prep for next year's draft.

Now obviously you're all going to chime in with agreements, disagreements, and childish banter about boobies, but what I'd really like, is for everyone to name ONE player, of any projected round, that you would like added to the list.  I'm not necessarily going to add them all, but I will at the very least add the top 5 vote-getters (may have to do a deciding poll later on).

I don't care if its a member of your division II alma mater, or a really obvious top ten kind of player.  If I think the Dolphins would be interested in that player, he'll get on the board.  I won't be writing about this every week, but will be making my own notes behind the scenes, to be used in the 2010 off-season.

The Dolphins have acquired a new QB

Following my advice, the Dolphins have traded for veteran backup QB, Tyler Thigpen from the Chiefs for an undisclosed draft pick (my advice wasn't for Thigpen specifically, but to forgo free agent QBs in favor of trading for one).  For someone of Thigpen's history I would guess it's a 5th, but keep in mind we also had an extra 6th and an extra 7th so it might have been a combo of two picks.

Fix What Is Broken

Heading into the 2009 season, hopes were high that the Dolphins Defense would be significantly better than it was in 2008.  So far, it hasn't been.  And that doesn't sit well with myself and other fans, because we can see the problems.  And the Dolphins management is acting like there isn't a problem.  

Just like we could see that we needed to run the ball with force and determination, and the Dolphins management seemed unwilling to try it in week 1, was hugely successful with it in week 2, then abandoned it after only a quarter (a successful quarter in terms of time management) in week 3.  I think the issue here lies more on the ideas of the coordinators and the UPPER management than on Head Coach, Tony Sparano, but ultimately, he'll be the one to lose his job and take the blame if things don't turn around.  

So here are my 'inside tips' that only we fans seem to know.  Maybe the Dolphins coaching staff can find something helpful in the paragraphs below.
  • The core defensive line is doing a good job.  Ferguson, Starks, Merling, and Langford have looked stout and have been sure tacklers.  Maybe, just maybe, you should show the film of how they are moving in tight spaces and wrapping up ball-carriers, to your linebackers, corners and safeties, who can't seem to get in the right gaps, or tackle people when they are in position.  Instead of using Jason Taylor as an example, use someone who's actually getting the job done. 
  • Gibril Wilson is slow, aims to 'pop' receivers instead of wrapping them up, and does not play deep enough, possibly because he's scared he's too slow to recover.  But he's getting the ball thrown over his head.  The free safety is supposed to keep the ball in front of him.  The fact he keeps getting thrown over the top of his head, means Pasqualoni isn't correcting him.  If he is correcting him, Wilson isn't learning the lesson.  One of these two needs to be benched and I vote for whomever the guilty party is.  Considering the other facets of the defense that aren't working, I'm leaning more towards Pasqualoni at the moment.
  • Will Allen is not a slot corner.  He's very good on the outside, but he cannot track across the field.  I've seen it, you've seen it, the Dolphins have tons of game film showing this.  Yet they still continue to move him inside on nickel downs alternating him with Nate Jones., another guy who seems to get lost in the middle of the field. There is no reason why Jason Allen has not been given more than a baby's handful of reps.  As a converted Safety, he is much better at covering the middle and has the speed to hold up to the quick slant.  
  • So much was made of the overload of talent at outside line-backer.  It was sooo good that we collectively dismissed Matt Roth's injury as a distraction rather than a major cause for concern.  Once the roster was whittled down, we figured we would have a ton of fresh bodies circulating in and out, providing consistent pressure on opposing QBs.  But that's not how the Dolphins seem to want to do it.  They'd rather have Joey Porter and Jason Taylor do it all on their own.  Forget Wake.  Forget Moses.  Forget Walden.  And I really wish they would forget Charlie Anderson, who shouldn't have even made the roster.  Since we were already down Matt Roth, we should have kept someone like Tearrius George or Orion Martin to help beef up the strong side.  When the Dolphins realize that Cameron Wake and Quentin Moses can rush the QB as well, maybe JT won't get run all over like he has been.  At some point you have to be realistic and see that your superstar isn't playing at a high enough level, and probably can't handle the rep count.
  • The Rookies.  The Dolphins like to talk about not rushing a player through developmental stages, etc.  But they don't walk the walk.  Davone Bess, Jake Long, Donald Thomas, Philip Merling, Kendall Langford, amongst others were first year starters in 2008.  And look how that turned out.  In 2009, they only Sean Smith has gotten any significant playing time with 1st round pick Vontae Davis coming in distant second.  Turner, Hartline,  Gardner, Nalbone, Clemons, and Wake have barely touched the field or not dressed for games at all.  Well I have to say something to the NFL geniuses out there.  Rookies can and DO make impacts, often significant ones.  And the only way to make sure they don't get 'scared' is to put them in the game.  Has Will Allen looked good this season?  Has Gibril Wilson?  Has Anthony Fasano?  Has Greg Camarillo?  Has Vernon Carey?  Has Jason Taylor?  Let's be honest, none of these guys has looked like starters out there.  I'm not saying bench them and start the rookies, but surely the vets could do with a break on the rep count.  I noticed they used Nate Garner in the San Diego game, and he looked pretty damn good, better than he probably ever has.  Better, I dare say, than Vernon Carey.  But at the same time, on 3rd and goal from the 2 yard line, Nate Garner officially got more NFL pass route running in a game than Patrick Turner and John Nalbone combined.  This paragraph is about both the defense and the offense, but the core thought here is that the Dolphins management is so busy trying to fool people, keep things secret, and 'protect' their rookies, they've forgotten to line up our guys versus their guys, and play football.
So what I'm saying here, is that things do need to change, but I'm not confident that the changes made are going to be the logical ones.  Because we haven't seen a whole lot of logic so far.

Coming up on Thursday we get back to having some fun, as our first opportunity of the season to  actually bash an opponent (at least on paper) occurs.  It's the Buffalo Bills, people!  If we can't beat them, we should join the new Arena League.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chad Pennington - The End

Well it's over for Chad Pennington - as reported to me by reader/commenter, 13kvFINS, via e-mail while I was at lunch, Pennington has a torn capsule in his shoulder and will be placed on IR.  While this sounds like terrible news, and it is, we all knew he was going to be done by the way he reacted yesterday.  The normally 'glass half full' Pennington looked to be ensnared in a state of despair for the remainder of the game following the injury.

Now we also know from past experience that Tinshaker is going to find a way to find something positive in this development, and I'll start with the obvious and immediate effect of having Chad Henne finally get some game time (I told you so moment - I did mention that they should have been playing Henne instead of Pat White in those 'getting him used to the speed of the game' reps).  All things considered, I thought Henne looked calm and focused during the game, and while he wsn't always on the mark, there is no question as to which Miami QB has the strongest arm and that arm is finally going to be matched up with Ted Ginn.  Sure, they were unsuccessful as a pairing on Sunday, but they haven't had time to 'gel' and the fact that we play Buffalo next, with 3 of their 4 starting DBs not going to play, the stage is set for a coming out party for Henne and Ginn.  

No matter what happens this year, we couldn't afford to keep Henne out of the games any longer, and Pennington had a case of whatever illness Sparano has, both looking indecisive and out of sorts.  Sparano's overly-animated outburst during the San Diego missed field goal, was the most animated he's been since becoming the Head Coach of the Dolphins.  Chad Pennington's 2-minute drill this season looked just as ill-timed and inappropriate.

Now for the real positive stuff.   

The Dolphins do not have a reliable pass threat at the tight end position.  I would say Fasano has been a shadow of his former self, but that would be too kind.  What's darker and less tangible than a shadow?  The good news is that Henne obviously doesn't care about tight ends, preferring to gun the ball down the field to fast Wide Receivers.  He wants to get the ball to Ginn.  You see it every time they're on the field together.  Eventually they will get on the same page.  That useless tight end position now won't be a crutch, as it was for Pennington.  Now we'll be able to run the ball and throw the safeties out of the box with medium to deep route passing.  Also, in the Wildcat, it's possible to actually send Henne out as a pass target on the option pass.  He's done it before, seen it with my own eyes.

Because Pennington's injury was serious enough to end his season, it clears up a spot on the roster to sign a backup QB.  Had he been out for 3 to 6 weeks or what have you, someone would have to be axed.

So while there's no positive for Pennington, or fans of his (sorry herdfan), there are some silver linings for the Dolphins.

Tired of doing the WHY WE LOST bit, but here goes another one

The following are my observations of why we fell short of getting win number 1 of the season.  There is good news folks, as we face Buffalo at home next week.
  • Ronnie Brown had 51 yards rushing in the 1st quarter.  75 for the game.  We got away from running the ball even though both Ronnie and Ricky were once again moving the ball with ease.
  • Pennington not being focused once again.  I honestly believe things would have gotten worse had he NOT been hurt.  The fumbled handoff in football is the equivalent of someone putting on their pants in the morning and falling over.  The fact that he then did a silly standing still fake toss to the other back while the team was scrambling for the ball just proves his awareness is SH** this year.
  • This is the big one - the coaching.  That was one of the worst coached games I've seen in a long time.  This is such a big factor that I have to break it down into several examples:
  • Despite moving the ball with ease on the ground in week 2, and the ineffectiveness of Pat White in two games, they once again activated White in favor of Patrick Turner, who could have helped our issues with undersized receivers in the red zone, John Nalbone, who quite honetly, could not be worse than Fasano, who I'm issuing a petition for trading as of now, and Chris Clemons, a fast, sure tackler in the defensive backfield who I know, and you know, is better than Gibril Wilson in more ways than one.  These are positions of the team that have hurt us in the first two weeks (and now 3) and yet the Dolphins chose to keep things status quo.  They did make one change, which was to bring Cam Wake into the game, and he was getting good pressure early on, but they didn't give him much of a shot, as Jason Taylor and Joey Porter were out there for a huge percentage of the play-count (I'm going to guess 85%). 
  • Speaking of keeping things as they are, the Dolphins once again decided they were not good enough to play good old-fashioned football, opting on 3rd and goal to have giant blob, Nate Garner run a quick out (wasn't that quick) after reporting eligible.  Don't get me wrong, the play action froze the D for a second and Garner got open, but Chad pump faked it at him, then stared at him for ages as if he expected the reserve tackle to somehow out run the DB who now came in to cover him after Pennington failed to just get the ball out.   This was from the 2 yard line, where an inside handoff to Polite would have been far more effective.  Instead, Pennington threw the ball away.
  • Speaking of SPEAKING of keeping things the way they are and not making adjustments, once Pennington was injured and Henne came in, the Dolphins made absolutely no change in the gameplan, other than to run the Wildcat a couple of times for some reason, as if they were 'resting' Henne.  When Henne did get to throw vertically, he looked good, throwing the ball with zip, and low, away from the defenders.  The ball traveled with such velocity that Ted Ginn was heard to scream 'owwwchiiee!!' when it hit him square in the hands.  The throw to Ronnie Brown was impressive.  Yet the majority of the plays were little dinks and dunks, many of which were swatted down (this is an effect of not being used to game speed, and should be sorted through experience).  On the pick 6, it wasn't a play I would've called, but I do want to say that the defender made an incredible break on the ball, so I can see why Henne threw the ball.  Still, we shouldn't be throwing any ZERO yard outs EVER.  They do not work, and if they do they gain no more than 2 or 3 yards which we could get by running up the middle anyway.  The injury to Pennington meant that Pat White was instantly ineligible to play, and it makes you wonder if the Trifecta ever even thought of the impact an injury would have on that love triangle.  Now the Dolphins will have to sign another QB, which means Pennington may have to be put on IR, or someone else who actually contributes will have to be cut.  
  • My final note of analysis is that the San Diego cheerleaders were exceptionally hot.  Don't get me wrong, I think the Dolphins Cheerleaders do a great job, but I think our opponents cheerleaders so far have outranked us.  Atlanta's were pretty great but the San Diego ones were really 'electric'.
And that, is why we lost the game, again.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Set All Phasers To Stun - or - Did Someone Forget The Chargers? -- UPDATED 4:15pm EST

Every year I have to hear about how great the Chargers are and how they'll be vying for the Super Bowl, yadda yadda.  It seems to me that playing in the worst division in the league has helped to give a boost to the Chargers reputation, because they're one of those teams that have a hit and miss offense (though they hit more than miss) and a 'miss-the-hit' defense, which misses more than it hits.  We seem to play these guys every year for some reason, but we also tend to beat them, so I'm not complaining.  Still, they do have a solid collection of star players and a head coach who's been around the block.  And we're playing in their house, and the Dolphins don't like to go that far West.

So let's take a look at how the Dolphins can come out of San Diego with a win. First, the current injury status:

San Diego:  Shawne Merriman (groin), LaDanian Tomlinson (ankle), Luis Vasquez (knee), Antwan Applewhite (Hamstring), Travis Johnson (groin), Mike Scifres (groin), Eric Weddle (illness), Marcus McNeill (illness), Kris Dielman (illness), Nick Hardwick (ankle/IR).
Miami:  Vernon Carey (knee), Greg Camarillo (back/ribs), Brian Hartline (foot/ankle), Joey Porter (hamstring).

To keep it short and sweet, we should do almost exactly what we did on Monday Night.  The Chargers will not be able to stop our running game.   The Chargers run a 3-4, and they are not good at stopping the run, giving up 278 yards in two games.  They do have one of the best secondaries in the league and protect the intermediate routes well.  The most successful passing approach would be screens and the occasional deep throws.  But running the ball should be just as easy if not more so against the Chargers than it was against the Colts.  In fact, I would activate Ronnie Brown in your fantasy league if you've got him.  The most important thing we can do this weekend is to continue to run the ball, keep the opposing offense off the field, and to push it in for touchdowns.  If they kick a FG on 4th and short this week, I may have a stroke.

Now this is where it gets tricky.  Like I said above, and like the Dolphins did on Monday night, the best defense against the Chargers is to keep their offense off the field to begin with.  They are not a quick strike 'O' like the Colts, but they have just enough weapons and a very good QB that can work enough magic to keep OUR offense off the field, which would be a disaster.  

When they ARE on the field, our secondary will be tested.  The Chargers are 31st in the league in rushing yards with 65.  SIXTY-FIVE in two games!!  I don't even want to know who's 32nd.  It looks like once again LT is injured and won't play, so Darren Sproles will be the offensive focus here, and let's be honest, he's probably more dangerous than LT is at this point anyway.  He's not effective as runner, but knowing our team's penchant for missing tackles, he could prove slippery.  Still, he will be used again and again on screen plays, so once again this brings up the question of 'to blitz or not to blitz?'  The Chargers make their money on the screen, so blitzing could backfire  a ton.  The key here, I believe is to consider Sproles a WR, and play a nickel package with an extra safety or corner covering him at all times.  You could use this extra DB on a blitz after the Chargers get comfortable with him being there to cover Sproles.

As for the more traditional receivers, Vincent Jackson is a beast, and a player I wanted desperately to trade for last year, but it's possible the Dolphins think Patrick Turner is the next Vincent Jackson.  Hopefully they've been using him this way in practices, so we'll see how they plan on covering him.  Chris Chambers does not get a lot of looks but he is always a big play threat.  Antonio Gates, obviously, is the biggest worry for us, as we haven't done well covering tight-ends so far this season, although I reiterate that Dallas Clark is not a tight-end, in my book.  So we can't assume that because covering him with a LB was a disaster that we couldn't do the same versus Gates.  His size would be a big mismatch on a safety.  Again, putting in a nickel package for most of the game would help to crowd those short routes and force Philip Rivers to look elsewhere.  And not to sound like a homer, but this strategy would be a perfect time to utilize the skill-set of Jason Allen.  Size, speed, and nose for the ball will be needed, especially if we are to start getting turnovers, something we haven't done yet.

My final point goes back to the blitz packages and QB pressure in general.  Obviously, we didn't get enough in our first two games.  Jason Taylor does not look quick at all like he did in the pre-season.  Porter is trying to speed rush too much and getting beat but I have to give him kudos for looking good against the run.  I don't remember even seeing any reserve rushers last week.  The issue all comes down to these guys beating their blockers.  They're getting stopped at the line of scrimmage, fair and simple.  It might be time to give someone else some reps.  A bullrusher like Cam Wake would be a change-up from the more finesse rushes of Taylor and Porter.  Lining up Porter wide of the line got him his first sack last week...but then they never tried it again!  Sometimes this team's inability to stay with what works can be very frustrating.  This game would also be a great time to throw in a couple of CB blitzes, especially from that nickel position.  Lastly, the Dolphins will have some help this week, as the Chargers lost Center Nick Hardwick for 8 to 10 weeks and have a couple of banged up starters.  They only carry 7 OL on the roster, and now with Hardwick gone and 3 of the 4 other starters nursing injury or illness, they will not be at full strength when we face them.

PREDICTION:      MIA  27   SD  23 

FWIW, the folks at do weekly picks and this is what they had to say about the Dolphins/Chargers game.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Negative vs. The Positive (and some Unknown)

NEGATIVE             Gibril Wilson getting burned
UNKNOWN            Can Chris Clemons do a cold-start? 
POSITIVE            Our secondary was awful last year at the start and was turning it around by mid-season.  Wilson wasn't all bad in the game, he made some big hits and good tackles as well.  He just needs to play deeper and drive to the ball harder.

NEGATIVE              Channing Crowder looking sluggish.  
UNKNOWN             Is he injured? overweight? too busy staring at Serena?
POSITIVE              If he IS overweight, a couple of days in San Diego will drop some lbs between the alfalfa strawberry pumpkin seed salad special and the forest-fire-toastiness.

NEGATIVE                The Dolphins like to change up their game-plans and be tricky so it's unlikely they'll play the same smash-mouth run the ball style they did on Monday Night.
UNKNOWN            The Chargers may think that Miami will be spending all week on defensive fundamentals so it would be a good time to pull out their own version of the Wildcat to catch us off guard.
POSITIVE                  It won't gain anymore yards than LT and Sproles would gain on screen passes anyway.

NEGATIVE             The Dolphins are having a WR identity issue.  Fans and media are jumping on Ted Ginn.
UNKNOWN                  This is unknown by the fans and the media so I'll state it.  Ginn is on pace to catch 104 passes for 1,072 yards.  Fan favorite Greg Camarillo is on pace to catch 40 passes for 248 yards.  Anthony Fasano is on pace to catch 24 for 88 yards.  Maybe the fans should lay off Ginn and lay on the other receivers?

POSITIVE                    Ginn will not drop every touchdown pass thrown his way, but will continue to get open in intermediate routes, something we didn't see before this year.  And remember, there's always a chance we can still land Crabtree....

NEGATIVE                The Dolphins are 0-2 to start the season.
UNKNOWN                Pace numbers:  Ronnie Brown, 1432 yds rushing, 16 TDs.  Ricky Williams, 864 yds rushing + 176 receiving = 1,040 yards from scrimmage.
POSITIVE                Almost every successful NFL team has a trifecta, if you will, of players who reach that 1,000 yard plateau.  Between Ronnie, Ricky and Teddy (sounds like a 50's rock band), we have that in the making.  Patrick Cobbs will also cross a thousand thanks to kickoff returns, alone and Davone Bess may do the same combining receiving and punt return yardage.

NEGATIVE             Pat White has not completed a pass or run for a single yard in a half dozen snaps taken.

NEGATIVE               The Dolphins are ranked 27th in Points Scored and Passing Yardage, and 23rd in Passing Yardage Allowed.
UNKNOWN               Will these numbers get worse going up against San Diego, a team that both passes very well and defends against the pass very well...
POSITIVE                The Dolphins are 3rd...that's right, THIRD in the NFL in running the football.  Want to know who we're ranked ahead of?  EVERYONE, except for Dallas and Minnesota.  Minnesota has the best RB in the league and the most run-intensive gameplan, so no surprise there.  But it is a surprise to say that we outrank Baltimore, the Giants, Tennessee, Carolina, Atlanta, etc.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Losing At Landshark

OK, I know some of you don't want to re-live the pain and resentment you went through last night, so I won't go into too much detail here, but the question should be answered.  How does a team that completely dominates the game as far as time of possession (3 to 1) and controlling the line of scrimmage (239 yards rushing lose the game?

Well, here's what we did right:
  • Did not turn the ball over in the game.  1 fumble was recovered and the INT occurred with no time left on the clock on a hail mary. 3rd down efficiency was a respectable 15 for 21.
  • Good blocking up front and a near flawless gameplan of running the ball.  49 carries for 239 yards (4.9 avg).
  • Special Teams coverage.  The Colts averaged just 3.6 yards per kickoff return and 2 yards on punt returns.  Lex Hilliard showed up big time.  Needless to say they once again didn't report Jason Allen as making any tackles, even though he clearly did before Hilliard started heating up.
  • For most of the game, the Dolphins played the ultra-conservative defense I suggested they play to minimize getting burned on quick one-step drops by Manning. 
Unfortunately, that was it, and would've been enough to win the game.  But here is what we did wrong:
  • Did not stick to the defense that was working.  Almost predictably on 3rd down late in the game, the Dolphins started to blitz.  The well rested Manning and Co. thrived on the blitz, finding Garcon for a 48 yd WR screen for a TD,  as well as Reggie Wayne throughout the game for big gains.  I need to rewatch the game, but I would wager on most of Indy's big plays being on downs where we sent an extra pass rusher or two.  I know it wasn't exciting to see only four players rushing, but it was working for most of the game.  On the opening TD pass to Clark, Randy Starks got through the line and would've squashed Manning for the sack had he half a second longer.  Clark got open because the Dolphins didn't do what I said they needed to do which was to hit him in the mouth at the LOS.
  • We did not go for it on 4th and 1 from the Indy 27 yard line.  We kicked a FG to take a 3 point lead with 43 seconds left in the 1st half.  We then kicked off, and the Colts returned to their own 27, the same spot they would've gotten the ball had we not made the conversion (but we were 100% on 4th down conversions in the game, not counting the final play).  Had we ran another play, more time would've come off the clock, which could've prevented the Colts from running a final play of the half with 2 seconds on the clock, which turned out to be a field goal to tie the game heading into the locker room.  But had we converted, there definitely wouldn't have been any time for Indy to march down the field even if we had to settle for a FG 30 seconds later.  A touchdown would've changed the entire game, giving us a 7 point lead at the half.
  • Big plays.  We kept the Colts offense off the field, but it didn't matter much because we gave up 356 net yards.  Keep in mind, had we split the game time of possession, that could've translated into 700+ yards!  We were awful in coverage, with even the only highlight, a Sean Smith deflection that was batted up into the air for Gibril Wilson to drop.  That drop led to a Colts conversion and score.
  • Jason Taylor was AWOL.  He did not register a tackle, and since they weren't blitzing much, he didn't have any QB hurries/sacks either.  We are missing Matt Roth right now.  But that brings up another point....why didn't we play a smaller group against the Colts?  I realize we had to have Shawn Murphy pulling to run downfield and avoid all blocks at all costs, but wouldn't we have been better served with an extra safety (Clemons) or a more athletic linebacker (Wake)?
  • Missed opportunities.  Ted Ginn dropped two TDs, although the first one was a difficult one IMO.  Anthony Fasano dropped a TD and on his only catch of the game, failed to gain any yardage or get out of bounds with the clock winding down.  Wilson's dropped INT, and Nate Jones' lack of ability to turn and make a play on the ball when it was thrown directly to him, were our only chances at turnovers in the game, and we whiffed on both of them.  Had just one of these things been executed better, we would've won the game.
  • And finally, Chad Pennington.  I know I'll take some flak for this, but our QB has not been performing the way we need him to.  For the second straight week his passes looked like dead ducks, he refused to throw the ball away when no one was open, taking sacks instead, and allowed the ball to be stripped from a strong side rusher (i.e. someone he could see coming).  The final drive of the game was one of the worst examples of game management I've ever seen, and it was only due to Ginn's great route running (yes, he dropped the TDs, but otherwise had a great game) that we were able to move the ball. Also, on that play where we supposedly stepped out behind the 1st down marker, re-watch and see where the spot was and where he stepped out.  It was a VERY close call, yet the refs marked the ball a good yard and a half short.  Pennington is not playing the way he played last year, and hasn't throughout the pre-season til now.  He is not comfortable with the o-line, and is taking way too long to make decisions.  
And that, is why we lost the game.

Monday, September 21, 2009


The Miami Dolphins will open up Landshark Stadium for the first time for a Monday Night clash with the Indianapolis Colts.  It's been a while since the Dolphins played on a Monday Night - you'd have to look back to Christmas of 2006 - so this game is more about the Dolphins proving their relevance than the Stadium showing off its new found glory thanks to celebrity owners and a determination to make attending a game in person worth the high price.

While the media will focus on the renaming of the stadium, from Dolphins to Landshark, and the music blaring through the PA, the players know all that matters is the game.  And if they want to keep playing it, they need to win.  For the Dolphins to have a successful season, they have to hold home-field.  

And dress it up however you like, with yellow and blue banners representing the new sponsor, to remixed fight songs and half-time salsa dancing, we'll still see that horrid baseball infield threatening field goal kickers and offensive lineman's footing, not to mention just looking terrible.  Monday's game is the only one in 2009 bearing the infield, but it's also Miami's first Monday Night Football since 2006.

The good can stick your landshark beer bottle in the clay and it won't tip over.

The Night Speaks To Me...

I knew eventually I'd turn this blog into a vampire related football blog, and thanks to Monday Night Football, the undead can rise and join in.

I have to tell you, I'm in a horrible mood football-wise, thanks to the face of the South Florida Bulls (my alma mater), Matt Grothe, suffering a season ending ACL injury in Saturday night's romp of Charleston Southern (final score 59 - 0).  Keep in mind, our backup QB is amazing and will likely be a star in his own right, but Grothe had just surpassed Pat White in the record books the week before, and was on pace to have a huge senior year.  On the upside, this means the Dolphins likely won't have to use their 2010 2nd round draft pick in order to get him!

But on to tonight....I will be hosting the game again, and hope to have my spirits lifted with a win over the Colts.  Now I have to go to my morning meeting and listen to the 3 U of Washington fans here brag about beating USC.

The San Francisco 49ers have officially accused the NY Jets of tampering with unsigned 1st round draft pick, Michael Crabtree.  I think this is the second time the Jets have been accused of tampering this year alone, and after the slap on the wrist they received for the Favre-Report (weekdays at 6pm on Fox News), let's hope this time around the NFL takes some real action ( I was going to say if they are found guilty, but honestly, I wouldn't mind if they were falsely imprisoned).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Letter To Coach Sparano -or- The Colts Are Coming

Dear Coach Sparano,

2008 was fun wasn't it?  After the heartbreak of 2007, Dolfans everywhere were truly reinvigorated by the 2008 turnaround, the media attention, and our new family members, i.e. the 'Trifecta' and its staff, and the new players.  We reveled in the excitement of the Wildcat, and we rested assured that we would compete in every game and be in it at the end of things.  We knew we had a chance to win every game, and we did that down the stretch en route to a division championship.  Once in the playoffs, we realized we weren't quite there yet, and though disappointed by the loss, we were stronger then than we had been for a long time.

This is what leads me to bring this up now.  We Dolfans support the team and its management.  We know there are a lot of challenges still on the table, and we know it will not be as simple as last year.  Yet, we EXPECT that these challenges will be met.  The Dolphins have had time to prepare, have molded a sharp roster, and have learned from past experiences.  There are no excuses, only hurdles that must be overcome one at a time.  The best teams in the league do not go into games thinking it will be a cake walk and that they can control every aspect of the game.  They go in prepared to face the hurdles.  

The Dolphins were not prepared for Atlanta.  The four turnovers and negative yardage are  not excuses.  They are hurdles that we should've been prepared to overcome.  The following list below is the fundamental game plan that we SHOULD be prepared to enact from the opening kick-off.  I am prepared for the Monday Night home opener.  The fans will be there.  The Estefans will be there.  The Williams's will be there.  And finallly, J-Lo's ass will be there.  The question is, will the Dolphins show up?  

Yours Sincerely,
Elite Blogger Extroadinaire
Tin's Fins /


The Colts tend to sound scary, but nine games out of ten they start off very slowly, and usually have to rely on an aggressive passing attack in the 4th quarter to overcome their opponent.  This is how you stop them on defense.
  • Peyton Manning is a pre-snap genius.  The Colts utilize a system usually seen only in College Football.  They line up with plenty of time on the play-clock and THEN Manning calls the play, or audibles if you like.  90% of the time he calls an audible, it's going to be a running play.  Watch the tape.  It's not rocket science.  If you hear an audible, make adjustments to focus more on the tailback.
  • Manning keeps his accuracy percentage high by throwing a lot of screens and a lot of quick slants.  We know it's coming, but if he sees we know it's coming, he will audible out of it.  The key here is to drop the OLB back into coverage after showing blitz.  Think the famous Harrison INT in the Superbowl.  We can replicate this play by not showing our hand too early.  Getting the linebacker into this lane also means he'll be in position to stop the screen pass.
  • The Colts running game sucks big time.  Their O-line is average at pass-blocking, which could be why Manning calls so many quick routes, but they are terrible run-blockers.  We cannot allow the Colts to show us up here.  We have a solid run defense, but it will be a huge missed opportunity if we start missing tackles.  While Joseph Addai is the starter, keep a close eye on the rookie, Donald Brown.  He is very slippery, strong, and an excellent blocker out of the backfield.  Do not take the poor output of the Colts running game for granted.
  • We are not going to get to Manning by throwing the kitchen sink at him.  He gets the ball out too fast, and stripping the manpower of the secondary out is only going to hurt us.  We must not blitz a lot in this game.   We should try to trick Manning into THINKING we will blitz, then drop back into coverage.  Our best bet for pressure on him is up the middle on bull rushes, getting hands up into passing lanes.
  • Finally, we need to talk about Reggie Wayne.  This guy simply is one of probably the top 5 or 6 WRs in the league.  He is going to beat us if we don't stick to him like glue.  I would cover him with Vontae Davis, because he needs to be physically abused at the LOS, and then have the safety cheat over to his side.  This may provide more opportunity for the other receiver....I would expect rookie Austin Collie will start in Anthony Gonzalez's absence...but this rookie should be easier to handle than Wayne.  Dallas Clark should be flattened at the LOS.  He is one of, if not, the most overrated TE in the league, thanks to the fact that he actually lines up in the slot, not on the line, and thus should not be compared to 99% of the TEs in the league.
  • Moving on to what we need to do on offense, I have three words for you.  RUN THE BALL.  Indianapolis has great pass-rushers in Freeney and Mathis, but their run defense is atrocious.  Their secondary coverage is pretty good though, and trying to force things down field will not be the best idea.  Last week, Ronnie Brown, your best offensive player, only carried the ball four times in the first half, ten for the game.  Had we given Brown 20 carries, and Williams 15 carries, based on their rush average we would've gotten 170 yards just from those two, without adding the yards from the QB, Polite, Ginn, Cobbs, etc.  If the Dolphins fail to run the ball at least 30 times in this upcoming game, I will start calling for heads to roll.  22 combined carries in an entire game is SHAMEFUL.
  • Now keep in mind that the Colts know that their run defense is horrible.  They have activated a suspended player, Ed Johnson, a 6'2", 300lb DT to line up as a starter next to 6'3", 310lb Antonio Johnson.  Still, we cannot go into the game scared to run it down their throats.  We need to line up with Polite and Brown in the backfield and just hammer it over and over again until it breaks.  I don't care if we go 3 and out for the first 3 drives, if we don't show that we are serious about running the ball, then the play-action is for naught. 
  • Now, to make one more point about the offense, because I do actually think my first point above is enough to win the game (obviously we need a passing attack as well, but if we do the above, then that will open itself up).  My final point is that Chad Pennington needs to relax.  He looks like he is trying too hard, or worse, thinking too much.  He needs to settle in, be confident, make his little dink and dunk throws, but primarily he needs to do it a lot quicker than he has been.  Freeney and Mathis are going to try to take his head off, and he can't hold on to the ball for 7 seconds in the pocket like he did when he fumbled last week.  I can forgive the INT, because the other team is playing too, but putting the ball on the ground is another thing entirely.  
  • And speaking of that, Coach Sparano needs to hold Anthony Fasano accountable.  He should not be allowed to start this game.  And Ronnie Brown should be running the Wildcat, not Pat White.  If you're going to use White in the game, use him on a reverse where he pump fakes and then takes off on the ground.  Keep it simple.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tin's Fins Crumbles Into Bits and Pieces

  • The Dolphins worked on holding onto the ball during morning practice, as Coach Sparano yelled at them.  He is obviously holding them accountable for their substandard performance last Sunday.
  • The Dolphins also signed a new offensive lineman to their practice squad.  Andrew Hartline out of Central Michigan is 6'5", 286lbs and compiled 52 consecutive starts in his college career.
  • More evidence that the Richard Seymour trade was a bad move by New England.  Seymour was only with the Raiders in a 4-3 scheme for one practice before garnering six tackles and two sacks on Monday night.  His addition actually made the Raiders defense look GOOD.
  • Former Dolphin Candle in the Wind, Josh McCown, injured both his knee and his foot in Carolina's loss to the Eagles, and could end up on IR.  McCown has a history of being injured, especially when there's a chainsaw lying around.
  • I cannot comment anymore on the SS, apparently.  Anytime I try to, I get a typepad error page saying the page I'm trying to load cannot be found.  Between Mike B reporting Dolphin workouts via and quoting Sports Illustrated, I'm not really bothered...
  • The Jets have been fined for their injury report shenanigans in 2008, after not reporting that Favre was a giant pain.  I mean HAD a giant pain.  Personally, I didn't think it was a big deal at the time because Favre was bound to be aching from some issue or another anyway due to age and reckless abandon on the field.  The Jets got fined $75k and Eric Mangini was fined another $25k.  Obviously, a competitive advantage is worth more to NFL teams than $100k, so I really don't see anyone being any more forthcoming in their injury reports belichick than they already are.  The Dolphins are no saints when it comes to full-disclosure either, and there are other team out there that do the same.  The difference this time was that Favre immediately after the week 17 loss to the AFC East Champion Miami Dolphins, cried a river over how the injury was the reason they lost the game.  Had he kept his mouth shut about said injury, this investigation never would have happened.  And since he made these comments during a NFL press conference while under contract with the Jets, they should immediately fine him $100k for conduct detrimental to the team, and call it even..

Miami Has Best Defense in AFC East - Part 3

I saved the Jets for last as I knew it would be the hardest argument, but before we get into that, it's worth noting that since I wrote part 1 (Buffalo) and part 2 (New England), both teams have lost their middle linebackers to injury.  Jerod Mayo and Paul Posluszny both suffered injuries during the Pats vs. Bills matchup that could keep both out for 6 to 8 weeks.  The Bills also lost DE Chris Kelsay who sustained a knee injury.  Word is, Terrell Owens' ego also suffered a mild injury but is expected to play next week. 

Now, on to the Jets.  They hired former Baltimore Ravens Defensive Coordinator and all-around dumbass, Rex Ryan, to be their head coach, and so far they've been successful, winning game 1 versus Houston by the score of 24 to 7, and their defense totally stopped the Texans.  Or did they?

I needed to wait until after their first game to see if there was any meat on the bone of this defense.  We've all heard the bragging and all know what Ryan is famous for.  We knew they would blitz the s*** out of their opponent by giving tons of different looks but attempt to get good pressure without throwing the kitchen sink.  Baltimore was a team that under Ryan never blitzed 6 or 7 guys, and never sent the same guy twice.  This kept the field covered as well as keeping the opposing o-line and QB on their toes on every play.  The Jets continued this gameplan against Houston.  They would send 4 or 5 on every play but would move the D-line and LBs around constantly, on several occasions lining up four all the way to one side.

Now, in theory, this sounds like a great idea, and it is, as long as you can execute it.  And let's be honest, this kind of practice can wear down the defense as much if not more than the opponent.  So one thing needs to happen in order to keep this scheme working - The Offense.  

The offense needs to stay on the field as long as possible, and needs to give the Defense plenty of rest.  Baltimore did it by running the ball 3.5 yards at a time, slowing churning the first downs.  This worked two ways - keeping Ed Reed and Co. fresh, while also keeping the opposing offense cold.  The Jets managed to do this, running 42 times for 190 yards and racking up 462 yards overall.  Mark Sanchez had an over-rated, but solid day, completing 18 for 31 for 272 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.  He was not sacked once.  And the most telling stat of all, time of possession, fell in the Jets favor by 38:46 to 21:14.  

So what does this have to do with the defense?  Well, a lot, actually, because they were hardly on the field.  The Jets were even 2/2 on 4th down conversions, proving they were in no rush to take their offense off the field.  And ST were vastly in the Jets favor as well, kicking off 5 times, they accrued 4 touchbacks.  The punting NET average was 41.0 yards.  

But let's compare the Jets 'D' straight up against the 'D' of the Dolphins. 

Rushing attempts faced                          MIA  27      JETS 13
Yards allowed per rushing play                 MIA  2.5     JETS  2.9    
Yards allowed per minute on the field       MIA  9.1     JETS  8.6
Yards allowed per play                            MIA  4.47   JETS  3.98
Sacks                                                   MIA  2        JETS  2
Players with more than 3 tackles               MIA 6           JETS  2
Passes defensed                                    MIA 5          JETS 3

When you look at the numbers, the thing that jumps out at me is the time and total number of plays.  Miami has a much better 'testing sample' if you will.  It's hard to judge the Jets on such a small sample.  One thing that is noticeable is that they didn't get a lot of sacks or turnovers, and Vernon Gholston still looks lousy.  And Houston's O-line had a worse game than Miami's did.

So, at this point I'm going to leave the debate open.  I know, another trilogy that has no ending.  Well, there is an ending...we just haven't reached it yet.  If you look at the games we've struggled in, including the entire 2007 season, our defense was on the field much longer than the offense was.  Four turnovers may seem like an offensive statistic, but in truth, it's a team statistic.  It stops the offense from putting points on the board, and it makes the defense have to go right back in the game after they already had their turn, often times a minute or two after forcing a punt or giving up a score after a long drive.  

Despite Miami's turnover woes, their defense stacks up versus the Jets who had to play only a third of the game.  If Miami's offense can do what the Jets did in week 1, I have no doubt our defensive stats will be twice as impressive.

Monday, September 14, 2009

RE-CAP: Dolphins vs. Falcons - Sept. 13th, 2009

Well this was a heartbreaking loss simply because we played up to the level of the Falcons for most of the game.  During the live chat/viewing, we noticed how, heading into the final drive, Miami and Atlanta were even in just about every category:

16 to 17 on first downs.
259 to 259 on total yardage.
29 minutes to 27 minutes in time of possession.

There was the shaky performance by the offensive line and the foreseen inability to stop Tony Gonzalez and Atlanta's fast, hard hitting defense, and we were still breaking even with them.  There were some bad throws by Matt Ryan in the 1st quarter that could've put us under in a big way, but once he got on target, our defense had tightened up a bit.

This game like no other came down quite simply to the 4 turnovers given up by Miami, as opposed to the zero by Atlanta.  Take away a couple of those turnovers, and we would've outgained them, out first-downed them, and really taken the time of possession crown.  It was a game that should've gone our way, and if it wasn't for Fasano's slippery hands and Pennington's poor decision making on a couple of plays, then the results would've been quite different.  

Let's talk about the things that DID happen.  

For one, I thought our d-line did pretty well versus the Atlanta O-line, keeping Atlanta to under 70 yards rushing, some of that coming in garbage time.   Jason Taylor got his first sack after rejoining the Dolphins early on, and Jason Ferguson added the 2nd one for Miami.  So the two oldest guys on the team were the only ones to get to the QB.  Porter was good in run support (I noticed Atlanta ran to his side more than to Taylor's) but did not come close to Ryan all game long.  

Sean Smith got burned on that deep route by Roddy White where Ryan completely missed the throw.  He didn't get beat for the rest of the game.  W. Allen on the other hand, struggled as did both starting safeties for the Dolphins.  They just couldn't handle the speed of the receivers and the velocity of Ryan's throws.

Jason Allen was the only special teamer making any tackles in the game, though they credited both of his tackles to Brian Hartline for some reason at  I guess the 32 looked like an 82?  Our special teams was horrible.  Punt Return Average = 5.5 yds.  Kick Return Average = 18.4 yards.  Our average starting position after a kickoff was the 17 yard line.  Atlanta's was the 29 yard line.  

Oh well, not the way to start the season, but at least one thing good came out of it:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Miami Has Best Defense in AFC East - Part 2

This is the second part of my attempt to show that Miami's defense will make the biggest noise in the AFC East in 2009.  If you missed Part 1, click here.

Part 2 - New England Patriots
Ty Warren, Jarvis Green and Vince Wilfork. Not bad.  Wilfork is the guy you gameplan against, but Jarvis and Warren have plenty of experience between them.  Up until a week ago, Jarvis was the backup.  The Richard Seymour trade was likely palatable to Belichick because he believes that Green can fill Seymour's giant shoes.  But in 7 years of playing together, Green never supplanted Seymour, starting only when there was an injury.  I expect the NE line to be pretty good but not  as intimidating as they once were.  Seymour is 6'6", 310 lbs.  Green is 6'3" 290lbs.  Still good size, but not Richard Seymour size.
In the Depth Department, New England's not doing as well as they'd like.  2nd round draft pick, Ron Brace, has barely shown up so far.  He is listed 3rd on the depth chart behind Wilfork and Mike Wright, a 295lb injury-riddled, situational player who has played every position on the line.  He's like a Randy Starks, if Starks had spent most of his career in the hospital.  Meanwhile, their best young player, Myron Pryor, is undersized at 6'1" and is currently injured and not practicing.

As I mentioned in part one, the average size of Miami's defensive line is 6'4.3", 307 lbs. And they are a healthy bunch.  From my recollection, only Jason Ferguson missed any time due to injury in 2008.  And none of the seven have had any injuries during the off-season/pre-season.  

At linebacker, the Dolphins have something the Patriots don't have.  A pass-rusher.  Okay, they traded for Derrick Burgess.  How about two pass-rushers? Oh, before we go any further it's important to state that Burgess is not the starter.  They have Pierre Woods at WOLB.  IN 2008 he registered ONE sack in 12 games. On the other side is converted pass rusher Adalius Thomas who registered just 5 sacks in 2008 to lead the team.  Oh wait, that's not was Richard Seymour who led the team in 2008 with 8 sacks.  As a team they only registered 30 total. 10 of those came from the linebackers including 4 from another player they shipped off, Mike Vrabel. 

On the inside they have 2008 Rookie sensation Jerod Mayo, and 2008 undrafted rookie free agent Gary Guyton.  Everyone loves to talk up Jerod Mayo, but he is not a big playmaker, more the dependable tackler.

It's not often Miami's inside linebackers get the edge vs most of the teams in the NFL, but here we're clearly better, with Crowder, Ayodele and Torbor compared to Mayo, Guyton and the third guy, Eric Alexander, who played in only one game and only on kick coverage in 2008.  Even Torbor's an upgrade over this guy.

I don't envy the Pats' secondary one bit.  Both starters at cornerback, Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden, have never played a regular season game for the Pats.  Leigh Bodden was the guy I wanted to pick up instead of Eric Green during free agency.  He had 80 tackles last year as a cornerback.  That's how much opponents were just throwing the rock against Detroit in 2008.  Still, he was the best player on that defense.  But does he know how to WIN?  Springs ain't no spring chicken.  At 34 years of age, he makes our secondary look like babies.  Meanwhile, the Patriots went after Darius Butler early in the draft this year and he has come as close to being a draft bust as you can get without actually starting the season.  He is dead last on the depth chart and probably only made the roster because he was a high draft pick.  
Their safeties are young, not particularly exciting, and once again, another rookie, Pat Chung, has not been consistent thus far.  I read a handful of reports on the starters, Meriweather and Sanders and the consensus is 'average' with early reports that Meriweather was not starter material and that's why the Pats drafted Chung.

The more I watch tape of last year, the more impressed I am by Yeremiah Bell.  He made two game-winning pass breakups, and registered the most tackles on the team.   He seems to possess a great balance of stoicism and quick reaction time.  Gibril Wilson, at the very least, is bigger and tougher than Renaldo Hill, and sharper than Chris Crocker (no, not the Britney Spears guy).  Where we win hands down is the depth.  All three of our rookie DBs have looked good in their time leading up til now.  Our veterans seem re-energized and focused on proving 2008 was not a fluke.  And, this is a highly paid bunch.  With Wilson, Bell, Allen, and Davis making big dents in the salary cap and Smith, J. Allen and Culver making medium sized dents, this is a team that will be expected to perform at a certain level. 

As long as their heart and talent lives up to those expectations, there will be some pro-bowl material out there, which is more than I can say for the Patriots defense.  Not one of their defensive players would make my pre-season prediction list to make the pro-bowl.  I can easily name a handful from Miami that would.

Miami Has Best Defense in AFC East - Part 1

Let's face it. The Dolphins have the most likely IMPACT DEFENSE in the division. It's not an easy argument to sell to most outsiders, but let me give it a go. Feel free to agree/disagree/add to the argument.

Part One - The Buffalo Bills

There's no denying that Buffalo has a fine set of starting defensive linemen. Kelsay, Stroud, Williams and Schobel are among the best groups of starting 4-3 linemen in the NFL. But the Bills are the only team in the division still running a 4-3 scheme. And when you have four guys on the line on every play you need extra reserves. And Buffalo's reserves are NOT good. They are small, injury prone, lack experience and let's face it, any reserve DT in a 4-3 is going to be at best, the 3rd best player at the position. As several of you tend to point out, the best reserve is someone who could be starting for any team but your starter is just a bit better. Well, in these guys' cases, they're not a shave under the first guy, they're under the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and possibly 5th guy.

In comparison, the Dolphins had plenty of competition for their starting line-up, and several of the reserves have looked very strong in the pre-season. And they're a big bunch, averaging over 6'4" and 307lbs. But besides size, they're all very athletic.

Things get worse as you move into the second level. Now, Kawika Mitchell is a very good LB, if you ask me, but his sidekick, Paul Posluszny is very over-rated, in my opinion. I'm not saying he isn't a good linebacker, but his size is suspect and his numbers could be inflated by the lack of support around him. The Bills run defense gave 312 yards to the Patriots last year. The Patriots!! On the other side of Poz, is Keith Ellison, who is just another body, and a small one at that at 6'0", 229lbs.

The Dolphins are pretty stacked at LB thanks to the overload of pass rushers kept on to allow more of a rotation to increase the level of blitzing. Only one of Buffalo's linebackers are smaller than our 7th round drafted practice squadder JD Folsom.

Then things get ugly as you move into the secondary. McKelvin is serviceable and McGee is pretty good but once again, very undersized. Their is no depth at corner, but they kept 6 on the roster. Then there's the Safety position. No one on this team would be starting on another team. Donte Whitner in 3 years in the league has more arrests than interceptions and sacks combined. I don't want to say anything bad about Bryan Scott, the strong safety because he's a classy guy, which is rare in Buffalo, not to mention the entire NFL. But he's only started 16 games once in 6 years in the league and that was the only year he had over 68 tackles in. His size, 6'1" 219lbs makes him just as big as Buffalo's linebackers. Once again, their is no depth to speak of at this position.

Miami kept nine defensive backs in comparison to Buffalo's eleven. And increased competition has helped out this unit as well. I like the idea that even though Sean Smith will start on Sunday, Vontae Davis will forever be clipping at his heels. And Jason Allen and Nate Jones both have huge incentive to play the best football of their lives this year. The only concern with the secondary is that we still don't know if Gibril Wilson is THE guy. To be honest, with Tyrone Culver and Chris Clemons in reserve, I don't see the coaching staff hesitating to make a change if necessary.