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.


  1. The Knight who says Ni!September 17, 2009 at 9:02 AM

    Good stuff, Tin.

    I agree about not blitzing Manning too often. I would do it in spots but he like Marino, kills the blitz. We need coverage and sure tackling. Keep the yards after the catch to a minimum. We should be able to control their running game.

    I totally agree about Dallas Clark. He's a TE sized slot receiver. He rarely plays TE the traditional way.

    The best way for our offense to keep their pass rushers from pinning their ears back and rushing the passer is to pound them into the ground with the running game. Ronnie should have no less than 10 carries in the 1st half and Ricky should have at least 5. We have to utilize play-action passing.

  2. Tins,

    Great stuff.  I agree with a lot of the points you made.  However stopping Peyton even without Gonzalez is not going to be easy.  Dallas Clark is not really a TE but he's still an excellent receiver & he creates mismatches since he's rarely covered by a CB.  In addition with the injury to Gonzalez (maybe it's Pierre Garcon who gets the nod???), Reggie Wayne is going to be like O.J. McDuffie was to Marino.  Peyton will go to him even MORE often & Wayne will still continue to make play after play.  As you said, Reggie is just an outstanding WR so he's going to make plays & hurt our secondary.  It's the got to be the old "bend but don't break" defense that has to limit the Colts to mostly FG's. 

    I don't want to see Pennington throw the ball more than 15-20 times.   He's not Manning or Marino & even if he was the Colts have the advantage of being able to pressure the QB with Freeney, Mathis, & Brock.   This is the perfect time for us to establish a legitmate running game.  The Colts are an undersized defense & if our O-line can't get it done against the Colts then sadly we might have the wrong guys up front.  

    With all that said I just have this sickening feeling that Henning will come out throwing the ball again & staying away from the run.   If that happens look for multiple sacks & INT's.  IMO--The only way we win is with lots of carries from R&R.  And if we run the Wildcat please let it be with Ronnie.  Another ominous sign be Pat White as the Number 2 QB....Been there, done that.  Time to move on.

  3. Tins,

    BTW--Hope it's still hot & humid on Monday night in Miami.  Probably a disadvantage not to have the sun scorching a dome team to death.

  4. They don't play in a dome anymore, they play in a piggy bank....

  5. My mistake.  Speaking of "bank" it would be nice to see Grove earning some of that contract we just paid him.   Very upsetting to see the Raiders O-line looked like they made quantum leaps under Tom Cable.  Wasn't Sparano a former O-line Coach???  LOL!!!

  6. Colts to sign former Eagles WR Baskett
    <!-- p class="post-info-author">By Steve Wyche</p -->
    <p>Posted: September 17th, 2009 | Steve Wyche | Tags: <span style="color: #364c88;">Anthony Gonzalez</span>, <span style="color: #364c88;">Hank Baskett</span>, <span style="color: #364c88;">Indianapolis Colts</span>
    <div class="entry">
    <div class="snap_preview">

    Wide receiver Hank Baskett, who was released by Philadelphia Tuesday, has agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts, according to his agent. He is expected to sign the contract this morning and practice with Indianapolis today.
    Baskett was waived by the Eagles to make room for the activation of QB Michael Vick off the exempt list. Indianapolis, meanwhile, needs help at wide receiver after starter Anthony Gonzalez <span style="color: #364c88;">suffered a strained posterior cruciate ligament</span> in his knee in a season-opening victory over Jacksonville.
    Gonzalez could be back by the second week in October, according to a source close to the player.

  7. Yeah I saw that. Don't think he would start this week. They may get him in
    for a handful of plays, whatever he can learn before Monday. Based on what
    I saw last week, I expect Austin Collie will start. Manning has a man-crush
    on him, and he played a ton vs the Jags.

  8. Bingo !!!  The key to this game is Smiley, Grove and Thomas.  They have proven nothing as of yet.  Money talks and bull shit walks.  They get paid to make holes for the running game so DO IT.

    If the Dolphins are in passing situations on 3rd downs as they were last week the yards per average in the running game means nothing other than the running game is not getting the job done.  No matter what the stats show.

    On a sad note Monte Clark died today in Detroit he was the offensive line coach for the Dolphins in the Superbowl and undefeated era in the early 70s.  Plus the Dolphins were the team of the 70s not the Steelers.  That's BS.  May he rest in peace and always fo down as a Miami Dolphin.

  9. So the Colts are staring either a waiter named Pierre or a guy whose name sounds like a type of dog that a celebutard named Paris would have.

    "What kind of dog is that?" said the well dressed man to Paris. 

    "Oh, he's an Austin Collie & he's just a big sweetie pie aren't you???"  said the poor little rich girl.

    Sorry for's been a REALLY long day/week.  Well, hopefully he'll just play like one.  I can't handle another loss like last week.  I know they tell the players to forget it after 24 hours but as a fan I still feel it like a bad hangover.   I just want a win on Monday.

  10. Fang,

    When Chuck Finley who was the former GM of the Oakland A's said that he thought all players should have one year contracts people thought he was crazy.  Well maybe he was but he was "right on" with that idea.  This bullsh#t of guaranteed money is a joke especially to high draft picks who never played a down.  As for baseball & basketball with their entire contracts being guaranteed well that's lunacy.  You ever notice how many athletes tend to play better going into a contract year???  

    I like how Parcells & Co. told Matt Roth this year it was a play for pay season.  They also did it with Crowder, Bell, & Carey last year.   I don't mind seeing players like Crowder or Bell or Camarillo or Cobbs, etc. who play their guts out get paid but Carey???  And then they go & throw even more money at Grove???   At least if we signed Birk the guy has established himself as a very solid, consistent, & intelligent football player.  You know, all that good stuff that Sparano preaches.  Show me something Grove! 

  11. The Knight who says Ni!September 17, 2009 at 2:10 PM

    "Oh, he's an Austin Collie & he's just a big sweetie pie aren't you???"  said the poor little rich girl."

    WHP, I found that funny.

  12. Imagine being a former Dolphins O-line coach from those great SB teams having to watch that performance on Sunday???  Poor Monte.  I hope he missed that game.  I wish I did.  That was one pathetic display to sit through. 

  13. So did I!!!

  14. Is Garcon's first name really Pierre? Wow talk about a stereotype.

  15. Wow I'm beginning to like you .� The problem I have is as you said basically.� Every year is a new year for a player, whether they have been with the team for years or this is their first.� You start with clean slate with me.� I don't care about the past or what your name is as long as you can show me what you got brother, and keep your nose clean in the off season.
    The people here can tell you I have trashed JT up to the start of the season,. I didn't want him back because he represents losing to me.� Yet he has looked pretty good hasn't he ?� As for Grove, Smiley, and Thomas, show me what you have or get out of town.�� They get payed well to play a game, something most of us can only dream about.�� So I don't care about them, because we are not married.
    I would never say that to herdfan though she likes my Brownies.� � That's kind of an inside joke with us on Tins site.

  16. We just never controlled that game.� The defense played their backside off, but the offense and ST did nothing to help.� As for the special teams play that wasn't really that bad.� I think that is as good as they can play covering punts and kickoffs.� As good as our punter and Kicker is they do not get enough hang time to get the coverage down field to make plays.� So it is what it is, at this time.� I don't think we will see any contract extensions for either of them.

  17. Tins,

    Isn't it Pierre???  Both of those WR's names are ridiculous.  I was partial to to the name Wes Welker plus I loved him when he was Dolphin.  Can't say I minded too much when he dropped a bunch of passes from Brady last week. 

  18. Yeah but he caught 12 and moss caught 12.....ridiculous

  19. Tins,

    Is that right???  Did he really catch 12 passes???  Wow!  Welker definitely dropped a few passes that I saw.  Moss looked unstoppable.

  20. BTW--If anyone is interested Edgar put up a very revealing blog about Henning's thoughts on using Pat White.  I'm started to believe that the guy might have lost his mind.  If he thinks White is really going to be a good NFL QB then maybe we ought to put him out to pasture.  I think Ronnie might have had a better chance of completing that pass to Ginn. 

    If White went undrafted or was a late pick (I was thinking 5th round if not for the rage of the Wildcat), there's no doubt in mind that based on everything I read on him leading up to the start of the season as a true NFL QB he would've been cut right???   I mean everyone keeps saying that we drafted White to be a QB & not for running the Wildcat which he clearly can't do anyway so how can a future QB in this league possibly miss an open WR by that much???  I don't think it's possible.   Yeah I know he's a rookie but come on...Seriously???  I hope I'm wrong but I just don't see it.

  21. *"...I'm starting..."

  22. LOL @ the name thing.  I have to admit I am a traditionalist when it comes to names and I think some of the popular names for guys these days sound really gay.  Like Austin, Brandon, Shannon and yes, even Chad!!!  Yep, I said it!  My apologies if I have offended any of you out there who either have these monikers in real life or have named your offspring in this manner. 

  23. WHP
    Keep your chin up on Pat White
    White is just getting his feet wet
    At least his first pass  was not intercepted
    Also for worse or better for a reason I do not agree with They unwittingly  changed Pat whites throwing mechanics and had him remove his NFL gloves
    This with the added speed of the NFL game, will take some time for this undersized running QB to adapt
    Dolphins need to put him in spread offense 4 or 5 wide and stop jerking him around

    Keepin the Faith

    Miami 31   Indianapolis  27

    ***** The DYNASTY BE FINS! *****

  24. yep they both caught 12

  25. Herd,

    Since my name was not on your list I'm not the slightest bit offended.  LOL!!! 

  26. WHP:
    You never know who is going to be offended by something.  Now I see I have offended someone over on Omar's blog and I haven't even posted anything!  LMAO  How does that happen? :-D

  27. IMO, this game is very winable......Manning always struggles against a 3-4 defense and I expect our D to continue to make him uncofortable back there. The Key to this game will be our Offense. We have to play much better on that side of the ball. i disagree with the benching of Fasano at this stage of the season. He had one bad game as did the offensive line, special teams and coaching staff. Lets see how he responds. Its time to start jelling as a team. If he continues to turn the ball over we are in trouble because we dont have anyone who can play that position at his level. I think he will bounce back with a much better game. I also think the OL will play better. Were I am concerned is the special teams. We need to get better field position to give our offense some help. I think our D will rise to the occasion and keep the colts under 17 points. I think our offense can put up 24 points with some help (turnovers) good field score colts 17 Phins 20

  28. wait, what happened to the other four points?

  29. they missed the bus and didn't get to play.

  30. anyone watch the pats-jets game? I have to say the Jets actually looked decent...more so than the Pats that is for sure. Pats defensive rush was dismal and the Jets defense was tough! Sanchez looked decent, although as mentioned before pass rush was almost non existent. Although he did looked poised for a rookie. I am curious how he will react when he is under pressure.  I am not a fan of Buddy (ooopppss showing my age here) Rex Ryan, but damn if he did not turn that defense around. I love that he did not do the prevent and brought the sink at the end. Could have got burned if Brady connected, but Tommy boy was not on and he definetly looked rattled.  Lets get our kinks worked out and play hard and win against our division!!!!!!

  31. I think the Pats are in trouble.  Brady looks as though he doesn't want to take a hit on the knee.  Can't stand in there like he used to.  Plus their defense the pats is not the same for sure.  They are going to fall apart all at once and it's begining to happen now, things can't go on for ever.

    As for the Jets they looked like this last year at the start also, then blew up in the end.  Time will tell if they are for real as it will with us.  No more talk time to get it done starting this week.