Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dolphins @ Bills

The Dolphins waived DB Evan Oglesby and signed DL Ryan Baker from their practice squad. Oglesby was just signed on Tuesday, but the Dolphins needed to call up a defensive lineman with Lionel Dotson out.  Justin Smiley will play as a reserve - Nate Garner starts at LG, Joe Berger starts at C.

Dolphins Inactives:  RB Kory Sheets, WR Patrick Turner, C Jake Grove, third QB Tyler Thigpen, LB Erik Walden, DE Lionel Dotson, DE Ikaika Alama-Francis, and OT Lydon Murtha.
Bills Inactives:  WR James Hardy, CB Ashton Youboty, third QB Brian Brohm, DE Chris Ellis, OT Demetrius Bell, DT John McCargo, WR Steve Johnson, and CB Terrence McGee


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Practice Squad Update 11/25/09

 Nate Ness has be re-added to the practice squad, which now looks like this:

1.  Tristan Davis, RB.
2.  Julius Pruitt, WR.
3.  JD Folsom, LB.
4.  Mark Lewis, C/G.
5.. Will Billingsley, CB.
6.  Ryan Baker, DE.
7.  John Nalbone, TE.
8.  Nate Ness, S

Tin Bits - Wednesday, 11/25/09

  • Matt Roth was waived yesterday and Cleveland holds the top claim spot and they run a 3-4 and Mangini is familiar with Roth.  Seems like an open-shut case that Roth will be a Brown by Thanksgiving. UPDATE: The Browns have claimed Matt Roth off of waivers.
  • The Dolphins held practice today and DE Kendall Langford was absent during the media portion but showed up right after then.  DE Lionel Dotson has an unknown injury and rode the stationary bike during practice. 
  • The Dolphins had the following O-line at practice today:  Long, Garner, Berger, Thomas, Carey.  Jake Grove rode the exercise bike.  Justin Smiley was present but was limited during drills.
  • The Dolphins have signed a new Offensive Lineman.  Wearing number 61, it's Mark Lewis, the rookie out of Oregon who was with the Dolphins in the offseason/preseason as a Center/Guard.  He was released during final cuts and eventually signed to Seattle's practice squad but was released shortly after.  Correction:  Mark Lewis was signed to the practice squad, and practice squadder, Andrew Hartline, was promoted to the 53.
  • Things aren't easy for a displaced Dolphins fan when it comes to watching the games.  The Dolphins got shunned by the NFL, as they were 'flexed' out of the Sunday Night matchup versus the Patriots in week 13.  I'm sure they will get good coverage on CBS, but living in an area that has two NFL teams, I usually have no chance of being in that coverage area. Things are not looking good for this week as only South Florida and the Buffalo area seem to be getting the game.  Even Tampa is scheduled to get Jacksonville.
  • Ricky Williams has been named the AFC Offensive Player of The Week for his week 11 performance vs Carolina.  The last time he won the award was in the 2002 season. Keep in mind that the Dolphins played two games 4 days apart and Ricky put up a combined 42 carries for 221 yards (5.3 avg), 4 catches for 25 yards, and 3 TDs in that 4 day span.  If you took those numbers and averaged them out, then multiplied them by 16 games, it comes out to 1781 yards rushing, 200 yards receiving, and 24 touchdowns.  Let's hope Ricky shows consistency for the rest of the year..

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Roth Math Comes Up Zero (updated)

This just in from Pro Football Talk:

"Roth's odyssey ends on the waiver wire

Dolphins linebacker Matt Roth's odd journey this season with the Dolphins has concluded in a surprising place: the waiver wire.

Adam Schefter reports the Dolphins waived Roth Tuesday and signed former Lions defensive end Ikaika Alama-Francis.  The Dolphins also picked up defensive back Evan Oglesby.

Roth, a former second-round pick, was a starter for Miami's playoff team last season and generally considered a key part of their defense.  But a mysterious injury and some friction with the organization about a possible new contract soured Roth's '09 campaign before it started.

Expect plenty of teams to put in a waiver claim for Roth, especially team that run a 3-4 defense.  The 1-9 Browns make for a sensible destination."

And from Adam Shefter:

"Waiver claim order for today on former Dolphins LB Matt Roth is Browns, Bucs, Rams, Lions. So if Browns want Roth, Browns have Roth."

So it doesn't look like the AFC East will be Roth's next destination.

New Dolphin - Evan Oglesby, CB

The Dolphins have signed a new cornerback, and it's undrafted journeyman, Evan Oglesby, who played for the Ravens, then the Cowboys who tried to trade him last year but had to cut him to make room for safety Keith Davis (remember him?).  He then was re-signed by the Ravens again in March 2009 only to be cut in final pre-season cuts.  He worked out for the Arizona Cardinals less than a month ago.

He is 27 years old, 5'10", 190lbs, runs a 4.53 forty, and played for The University of North Alabama.

Oglesby will wear number 41.

Safety, Nate Ness, was released from the 53 man roster.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tin Bits - Monday 11/23/09

  • RB Kory Sheets has been practicing in the Wildcat formation, probably as the slasher role that Ricky Williams used to play.
  • It's official - Jason Ferguson is done for the season and will be placed on injured reserve making him the second team captain and sixth player overall to be lost for the season.  Paul Soliai, Randy Starks, and Tony McDaniel will rotate at NT.
  • Jake Grove's injury is not VERY serious and he has not been ruled out of playing versus Buffalo.  I wouldn't be surprised if he takes one week off to be healthy for New England.
  • I've never been so disappointed in the Jets losing a game as I was on Sunday.  They never even showed up mentally, and let the Patriots manhandle them, thus allowing them to build a 2 game advantage in the AFC East.  It's particularly upsetting because of the timing of it.  I was expecting the Jets to break out of their slump (which would have little negative effect on the Dolphins since we've already played them twice), and give the Pats a run for their money.  It would've been very nice being one game down with Week 12 matching us up against the Bills and the Pats having to travel to New Orleans which would've brought about the possibility of a tie atop the division heading into the head-to-head rematch on December 6th.  Talk about DRAMA.  The NFL would've loved that, as would ESPN, who are airing the game.  Still, we could still tie them up at some point.  And after all, we all knew already that the Jets stink, and always will.
  • Bills OG Seth McKinney suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee during Sunday's game.  McKinney was starting at left guard in place of Andy LeVitre, who kicked out to left tackle in place of Demetrius Bell (knee). With right guard Eric Wood lost for the season (broken leg), the Bills are scrambling for answers once again. They have just five healthy linemen for next week unless Bell makes it back.
  • Despite being absolute crap at gambling, football pools, and fantasy matchups, I've actually managed to absolutely cream my opponents for most of the NCAA season, and have made it to the Championship which takes place this week.  I lost the first two games of the season then reeled off 9 wins out of the next 10 games.  If I can do it, the Dolphins can do it.  Besides New England and Pittsburgh, the Dolphins should be able to win with mistake free football.  Injuries are racking up for us, but they are for just about every other team as well so it's hard to compare teams at this point.  We'll have to see how it plays out, but let's face it, 4 weeks ago most of us were ready to write off this season and now here we are in the thick of it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

RE-CAP: Miami @ Carolina

Well we've FINALLY gotten to a .500 season, completing a double-win-week with a 24-17 victory over Carolina.  

Once again we had the game wrapped up and a play-calling decision offered the game up on a platter to the opposition.  That's two games in a row that Miami tried to lose but failed.  The first one was in the Tampa Bay game, deciding to throw late in the game, which resulted in an interception and put Tampa back in the game.  

The second occurred last night.  With a 7 point lead and 44 seconds to go from their own 28 yard line, they faced a 4th and 3.  Anyone with a brain would kick the field goal there.  A ten point lead would be almost insurmountable with about 39 seconds left on the clock (even less considering there would be an ensuing kickoff).  If you missed the kick, it would still make Carolina have to go 70+ yards in less than 40 seconds with ZERO timeouts.  But instead the Dolphins elected to go for it, and failed to get a first down, and since the clock stops on a turnover, the Panthers were handed the ball back with 39 seconds left on the clock.  They proceeded to move the ball quickly down the field but ultimately came up short.

You could see Sparano getting visibly flustered as his players went down one by one to injury in the second half.  First Jason Ferguson hurt his knee (and you know it's serious as in season-ending by the way he reacted with frustration on the sidelines), then Jake Grove looked to have suffered a possible concussion but the reports were that it was an ankle injury (to me it looked more like he was spinning than limping), then his replacement Joe Berger got one of those high ankle sprains. that tends to nag someone for weeks.  It didn't get any better as Nate Garner, who started in place of Justin Smiley, had to play Left Guard, Right Tackle (Vernon Carey was shaken up and sat out two plays in the first half), and ultimately Center, also suffered a knee injury.  Joe Berger would return to finish the game at Center.  On two occasions I saw Justin Smiley wincing in pain in between plays as he rotated/stretched his right shoulder.

Bottom line is that the offensive line is banged the f*** up.  Still, I thought they did an incredible job last night.  It was probably the best pass-blocking the Dolphins have had all season, and the running game was respectable as well.  

The wind caused some havoc in the passing game, and Carolina somehow managed to go 3 and a half quarters without a penalty (despite a player grabbing Chad Henne by the facemask and pulling him to the ground in the first half - there was no flag) - otherwise the game could have been much more skewed in Miami's favor.  There were several passes by both teams that seemed to be lifted up or knocked down by the wind, and Carolina's last field goal was the ugliest looking successful kick you can imagine - like a drunken knuckleball.

Still, a fine performance by Ricky Williams and Company brought us out of having a losing record and puts us in the beneficial position of having ten days off and the Buffalo Bills on the other side of the mini-Bye.  It also put Chad Henne's starting record at 5-2.  That's a 71.4% win rate which is actually slightly better than Matt Ryan's and Joe Flacco's winning rate last year.

Your thoughts on the game?  

P.S. Yes, I do have a massive hangover.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dolphins @ Panthers

Dolphins Inactives:   TE Anthony Fasano, OLB Erik Walden, third QB Tyler Thigpen, OT Andrew Gardner, OT Lydon Murtha, S Nate Ness, RB Kory Sheets, and NT Paul Soliai.

Panthers Inactives:  RB Mike Goodson, WR Kenneth Moore, S Charles Godfrey, FB Brad Hoover, OG Duke Robinson, DE Charles Johnson, DE Hilee Taylor, and QB A.J. Feeley


Roster Updates

The Dolphins signed Nate Ness of their practice squad to take the space vacated by Ronnie Brown yesterday.  This is probably a temporary move (the Dolphins left a space available on the P.S.) as a safe guard due to injuries being nurse by Tyrone Culver and Gibril Wilson.  Still expect Chris Clemons to start or at least handle the lionshare of reps opposite Yeremiah Bell.

I have updated the roster in the sidebar.

The Dolphins practice squad as of 11/19/09:

1.  Tristan Davis, RB.
2.  Julius Pruitt, WR.
3.  JD Folsom, LB.
4.  Andrew Hartline, T.
5.. Will Billingsley, CB.
6.  Ryan Baker, DE.
7.  John Nalbone, TE.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Worst Fear

It's now been confirmed that the Dolphins have placed Ronnie Brown on season-ending injured reserve. There goes the Wildcat.  They have not disclosed the injury details.

Looks like hanging on to Lex Hilliard and signing Kory Sheets was good foresight. This is the second time in 3 years Ronnie was having a great season and had it ended by injury. In 2007 he tore his ACL in game 7 after averaging 142 yards of offense per game. He returned in 2008 to average just 73 yards of offense per game. He averaged 83 yards per game during 2009 but his most significant stat was having 8 touchdowns in 9 games which had him on pace for 14, which would have been his best year so far in his career.

As it stands, Ronnie would become a free agent next year if a new CBA agreement is reached before the end of this NFL fiscal year. If that happens, this injury likely means a significant loss of future contract revenue for Brown.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mmm....Cat Meat - or - The Dolphins Get Their Carolina BBQ On!

For General information on this match-up, I suggest heading back to the pre-season articles. The Pregame is here and the Re-cap is here.

Here's some of what's current.  We know that Joey Porter will be back.  We know that Sparano says he wants to rotate the LBs, and with Charlie Anderson's performance on Sunday, that task likely got tougher.  We know that Ronnie Brown will be out with a 'foot' injury.  I'm no doctor, but I do like to speculate and hereby speculate that Ronnie has ligament damage in his foot, possibly the Interosseus Talocalcaneal Ligament or the Dorsal Talonavicular Ligament or both.  Obviously this isn't the sort of injury that you hear about often, but it's not often you see a player's foot do what Ronnie's did on Sunday.

There's the possibility that Carolina will be without their top running back also, in DeAngelo Williams.  In fact, the Dolphins and Panthers are so similar offensively, that it wouldn't surprise me to see both teams deal with these missing players in the same way, which is to promote their 3rd RB into heavy rotation, still maintaining their 'Two-Headed Monster' systems.

Ultimately, I believe this will come down to whichever team's defense plays the best.  Whoever forces the most 3 and outs, turnovers, and puts the most pressure on the opposing quarterback should win out.  Delhomme is known for making mistakes when he's under duress. 

It will be fun to see Vontae Davis match up physically with Steve Smith.  I'm actually more interested in seeing how that unfolds than anything else in this game.

I'm not too worried about Ronnie being out for this game, because Ricky has shown bursts of his old self lately, and I'm also excited to see Lex Hilliard in his first real game action.  The Dolphins and the Panthers are in a virtual tie for 3rd best running game in the league, so this game could give on of these teams a bump in the rankings.

The one thing I'd really like to see in this game is for Miami to go over the top of the defense.  Their secondary is terrible and needs to be exploited.  I know some of the stats suggest otherwise, but the Panthers are giving up a 63 percent completion rate to their opponents, which ranks them 25th in the league.  By comparison, Miami is 8th.  Both teams are tied with 11 receiving touchdowns given up by their defenses.  Hopefully, Miami jumps above Carolina on Thursday in that ranking as well.

But ultimately, the running game is where the stats suggest we should go.  Currently the Dolphins are ranked #7 vs the run while Carolina is ranked #25.  Even if our running attacks are virtually equal, our defense trumps theirs, and the running game keeps time of possession and control of the ball in our hands.

That all suggests a 'safe' playbook, but these two teams share a lot of their playbooks, and I would expect both teams to try some trickery against each other.  Perhaps a first play Ted Ginn reverse?

Let me know what you expect and what you would like to see on Thursday night.

Tin Bits - Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

  • Dwayne Bowe, wide receiver for the Chiefs and constantly dropped name in Miami Dolfan circles, has been suspended for four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing drugs.

  • The Buffalo Bills have fired their Head Coach, Dick Jauron.  It is unknown who will take over, but it really doesn't matter because that person will likely get fired at the end of the season anyway.  It was rumoured earlier in the season that a certain former Seattle and Green Bay head coach was  interested in the job.  This just in, is now reporting that defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is likely to be named interim coach.

  • For some reason, the media reported yesterday that Joey Porter wouldn't play this week, despite the fact that he practiced.  Coach Sparano says he definitely WILL play, but is unsure if he'll start.
  • Sparano also said the Dolphins have never tried to use Pat White as a WR in practices.
  • Ronnie Brown and Anthony Fasano are the only non-practicers today, which means we're staying healthy for the home-stretch.  The Panthers can't say the same.  They lost their starting Left Tackle, and running phenom, DeAngelo Williams did not participate in practice, so it's questionable if he'll play.  If not, Johnathan Stewart will be the workhorse.  It was also reported by the media yesterday that Stewart did not practice and was doutbful for the game, but Stewart has never practiced on a Monday due to personal reasons, so ignore the South Florida media on that topic.  I will post my preview of the Panthers game later today.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dolphins Show They CAN Come From Behind

MIAMI        25

It's no surprise to Dolphin fans that this team likes to keep its games close and either eke away with a win or give up a late score to lose.  Well, the Dolphins did both on Sunday, allowing the Bucs to stick around, then score with 1:19 left in the 4th quarter to take a 1 point lead.  

The Dolphins had a two touchdown lead to start the second half, though one of those touchdowns was the result of one of the worst officiating calls I've ever seen.  But I've seen a few of those kinds of calls go against us, this season alone (remember New Orleans?), so while I thought it was a shameful example of piss poor officiating, the fact that the game came down to the wire and resulted in a Miami win, makes it seem like the football gods were looking down on the Dolphins yesterday.

It wasn't pretty, as Ted Ginn came out with zero catches and just an 18 yard kickoff return average, Brian Hartline had two drops, Ronnie Brown rolled his ankle and had to leave the game and Davone Bess was a liability on punt returns, and started off with two drops of his own.

But Bess was clutch on the final drive, catching two passes for 41 yards after the Dolphins poor kick return had them starting the drive at their own 16 yard line.  Bess did what he does best, finding soft spots in coverage and Henne rocketed the ball to Bess where he stood.  The drive also included a defensive pass interference when Geno Hayes grabbed Joey Haynos by the jersey, and was capped by Ricky Williams barreling forward for 27 yards on the ground to set up a chip shot for Dan Carpenter.

The Bucs had one last chance which ended when Yeremiah Bell body-slammed rookie WR Sammie Stroughter into the grass.  

Final Analysis - 

In my opinion, Anthony Fasano being injured was a gift from heaven, allowing the Dolphins to sign TE Kory Sperry to the active roster, and two days later he was scoring a touchdown in his first NFL game (Fasano has scored 1 TD in 8 games this season).  He's a big body, a little on the chunky side, but so was David Martin.  In my opinion, Joey Haynos and Sperry should be given more reps to develop and Fasano should not be re-signed at the end of the year.

Charlie Anderson had a great game, totally surprising me, but I still question the Dolphins coaching staff for starting him over Cam Wake.  Why can they not see the pressure on film that Wake gets on opposing QBs?  Even in limited reps this week, he was the most effective pass rusher.  This regime is really starting to irk me, between questionable playcalling, and the inability to see blatantly obvious things, like the fact that Vernon Carey stinks, and that Wake has been the only steady pressure creator this year and needs to be on the field more.  

Most notable thing for me during the game was to see that Dan Henning was not in the booth or even wearing a headset on Sunday.  That means he wasn't calling plays, or the communications system was broken.  Considering this is the NFL and they could've just delayed kickoff and gotten it fixed, I have to assume that he was being punished for either poor playcalling or the comments he made to the media last week.  I didn't see David Lee on the sidelines like he normally is, so I assume he was calling the plays from upstairs.  There could be a little shake up going on.  I would expect if Sparano has taken the play-calling away from Henning, and it continues that way, that Henning won't be here next year.  I think it's safe to say that David Lee is choice number 1 to be his successor.


ps - The Dolphins have a short week, playing Carolina on Thursday.  The game will be on NFL Network at 8:20pm (PST).  Carolina looked pretty good in shutting down Atlanta yesterday, but Atlanta has been struggling lately.  This game is a chance for the Dolphins to make a run towards the playoffs, as a win here would bring us out of a losing record, with a long week to prepare for Buffalo.  Meanwhile, on Sunday I suggest we all take some heroin and root for the Jets to beat New England. (just kidding about the heroin - do NOT do that!)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Buccaneers Vs Dolphins

Dolphins Inactives:   TE Anthony Fasano, OG Justin Smiley, OLB Erik Walden, third QB Tyler Thigpen, OT Andrew Gardner, OLB Joey Porter, RB Kory Sheets, and NT Paul Soliai.

Fasano has a hip injury. Smiley will be replaced by Nate Garner. Channing Crowder and Jason Ferguson are both back to spark the Miami run defense.
The Dolphins released ILB JD Folsom and signed TE Kory Sperry off the practice squad and he will play immediately.    AND, WR Patrick Turner is finally active!

Buccaneers Inactives:   QB Byron Leftwich, WR Yamon Figurs, CB Mike Mickens, FB Chris Pressley, OG Shawn Murphy, OL James Lee, WR Antonio Bryant and DE Greg White. 


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Damn! This Team Bucs! - or - The Dolphins Pick Up Win Number 4

I'm not really going to go into depth on how to beat the Buccaneers, because I think the key to beating them is just to show up for the game.

So let's forget about game-plans for a moment and talk personnel.  I said earlier in the week that, other than WR, I was fairly content with the current roster going forward this season and into 2010.  Well there have been some developments roster-wise this week so I'd discuss them here.

First, during surgery on his torn ACL, Will Allen was found to have all sorts of ligament damage other than the diagnosed injury.  This was not Allen's first knee injury either (someone will have to remind me what and when, but I remember him having another serious knee injury 2 or 3 years ago).  It's been reported that he could be out for another 12 months, meaning he could miss half of the 2010 season.

Chad Pennington jerseys have been put on clearance ($39.99), indicating that the Dolphins have reached an injury settlement with him, and that he won't be invited back next year.

Coach Sparano said this week that he wants to get Patrick Turner on the field.  So look for someone to sit out this week (possibly an outside linebacker?) in order to make space to bring 5 WRs to the game.  There's no way they'd go without Ginn and Camarillo, and Hartline has been developing, while Bess is unlikely to be benched despite his poor performance.  So unless the Coach goes against conventional wisdom, getting Turner to the game means sitting someone else at another position.  I'm actually deeply tempted to put Turner on my fantasy football team this week, for all we know he could come out and score two touchdowns in his debut, but that would only serve to piss of those of us who wanted him activated weeks ago!

Here's what I'd like to see on Sunday:  
  1. Cameron Wake getting to start.  Even if Joey Porter is 100% healthy (which he isn't), the time for Wake to get his shot is now.  Porter hasn't performed, and Wake has in limited reps.  Even when JT got most of his sacks, it was partly due to Wake being on the other side.  
  2. Josh Freeman will start again and if the Dolphins don't come out and absolutely punish him, he will become a media darling/town savior come Monday morning in Tampa Bay.  I'd rather have the Dolphins get that media attention and love from the fans.  Tampa's O-line is not good.  8 sacks, 2 INTs, and a forced fumble is what I'm looking for, no, EXPECTING, from our defense.
  3. The Bucs look decent running the ball with Cadillac Williams.  But their o-line is a bit beat-up, and their starting FB is on IR.  This is a chance for the Dolphins to get back to their early season run-stuffing dominance.  Keep in mind that Freeman is a running QB, so it's hard to say how many total yards they could rack up but I'd like the Dolphins to keep their running backs under 80 yards for the game.
  4. Rotation Rotation Rotation.  Jason Ferguson is back, but now Soliai is out.  Porter is out. Justin Smiley is out.  Lydon Murtha has been practicing at Guard, but is limited due to illness.  Fasano is limited as well.  Not much we can do about the O-line, but the other positions could be handled better by the coaching staff.  If Porter was injured, why was he made to play 80 snaps in the game?  With Roth and Wake healthy and able, and with Charlie Anderson and Erik Walden (out for Bucs game) in the wings, there's no reason to force a 34 year old to play that many snaps, especially when they're not exactly putting up pro-bowl numbers.  I'd like to see more of Merling and Tony McDaniel on the D-line.  They have both looked good on limited reps - McDaniel especially.  As for Fasano, we don't need to be running 30 routes a game with him.  Haynos is much better at route running, IMO, anyway, and with Turner being activated, he could run some of those middle of the field routes.  Even a 6 yard toss to Turner down the middle could turn into a 10 yard gain once he turns up field and drives forward.
  5. Number 5 is for you guys.  Tell me what you're hoping to see this week vs the Buccaneers.

Oops, forgot to mention, the only places getting the game locally are the State of Florida, and the State of West Virginia.  Why West Virginia?  Because they love Pat White THAT much!

Speaking of the Big East, the University of South Florida Bulls are on national TV yet again tonight taking on Rutgers on ESPN.  All I want for Christmas is for George Selvie to sack Mike Teel twice. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Practice Squad Update 11/11/09

The Dolphins have signed Tristan Davis to their practice squad.  Davis was a speedy running back out of Auburn who has a lengthy injury history.  He was on the Lions practice squad earlier this year.  At 5'9", 212 lbs, and with a sub 4.40 time, this looks like an indication the Dolphins are looking for a punt returner.  They certainly have enough running backs on the roster.

Space was made by activating ILB, JD Folsom, after William Kershaw was cut.

The Dolphins practice squad as of 11/11/09:

  1. Tristan Davis, RB.
  2. Julius Pruitt, WR. 
  3. Kory Sperry, TE.
  4. Andrew Hartline, T.
  5. Nate Ness, FS.
  6. Will Billingsley, CB.
  7. Ryan Baker, DE.
  8. John Nalbone, TE.

Mid-Week Markdowns

Everything must GO!  All sales FINAL!

After the loss to the Patriots, I can't help but understand that faction of Dolfans that want to cut/release/trade/fire everyone on the team.  I get it, losses sting, and when you get stung, you want to swat the wasp.  That makes sense.  It even makes sense to gauge the risk of the wasp stinging you before it happens, and deciding whether or not to swat it before any sting actually occurs.  

So when facing a losing record, and a team that under-performs (I won't listen to any arguments that we 'hung in there' with an elite team - the truth is the DOLPHINS lost that game, the Patriots didn't overpower us in any elite fashion.  The dropped passes and bad personnel choices by the coaching staff is what handed the game to the Patriots) it makes sense to want to dump the excess cargo that won't bring any value on the other side.  But that's what those crappy teams out there do (Kansas City - Larry Johnson/Tyler Thigpen - for example).  Most teams are content to get their team together during the offseason and only make these kinds of team-changing transactions due to major injury or the possibility of a big time player being available (NYJ- Braylon Edwards, for example).

So keep in mind, as we head into the Tampa Bay game, that nothing major is going to change with this team roster until the end of the season, so there's no point in dwelling on it too much. 

I think there's no doubt that we need wide receiver to be a focus of the 2010 off-season, along with a few tweaks here and there.  Overall I think the roster is solid.  I take the stand that the coaching staff is more responsible for the Dolphins 3-5 record than the players are.  The players are out there playing hard.  Anyone can see that.  There have been mistakes on the field, but they are decreasing week by week (turnovers have gone down considerably).  The dropped passes are as much a coaching issue as a receiver issue.   After Ted Ginn dropped some big play balls, he was benched.  But nothing ever happened to Anthony 'Olive Oil' Fasano, (Olive Oil because he has slippery hands, and when the ball is thrown to him I stand up and go "Oh....Oh...." in anticipation of a drop or fumble) and Davone Bess is still starting both at WR and at punt returner, both of which he's failing miserably at. 

The failure of the coaches to reprimand these players, or give more snaps to Hartline, Camarillo, and Turner (who has been inactive all season despite the receiving corps actually LOSING games for us) is what they call 'beating a dead horse'.  The inability of the passing game to get going is not Henne's fault.  He played very well vs the Patriots.  Henne was 19 of 34 (56%) for 217 yards (11.4 ypa).  I counted 12 dropped passes by 7 different receivers.  Not all the passes would have made for easy catches but they were all catchable.  Had they been caught, Henne would've had 31 completions for an estimated 354 yards and would likely have been the FedEx Air Player of the Week also known as the Peyton Manning Trophy.

Our receivers and coaches are hurting Henne right now.  How much longer before he loses confidence in his team?  Last year the Dolphins preached again and again about accountability and no one being safe.  This year they seem to have dropped that mantra almost altogether.  They need to learn by the example they set themselves last year.

I will continue to cover this team with the hopes that they somehow squeeze into the playoffs but at the moment it looks like they cannot lose another game for the rest of the season in order to do so.  

Keep in mind, that I am fully ready for the 2010 draft and free agency.  I have several wide receivers on my radar from the draft, as well as the key free agency player the Dolphins should pursue, San Diego WR, Vincent Jackson.  I know what you're thinking, but if we can blow $28 million on Gibril Wilson, we can pay out to Mr. Jackson. 


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Technical Memo Number 392, dated 11/10/09

Just so everyone knows, I'm not dead, or anything like that.  The Brass is at my workplace today - entire staff has performance reviews today. 

I will post a new blog late tonight so it will be waiting for most in the morning nice and early.  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dolphins @ Patriots

Dolphins Inactives:   Quentin Moses, Tyler Thigpen, Kory Sheets, Andrew Gardner, Patrick Turner, Lydon Murtha, Jason Ferguson and Channing Crowder.  The Dolphins release ILB William Kershaw and Signed rookie 7th round draft pick JD Folsom off the practice squad and he is immediately active.   DE Lionel Dotson is active for the first time this year.

Patriots Inactives:   RB Sammy Morris, RB Fred Taylor, WR Julian Edelman, CB Jonathan Wilhite, LB Eric Alexander, OT Matt Light, OG Rich Ohrnberger, and DE Jarvis Green


Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Brady Bunch Revival -or- How The Dolphins Defeated The Patriots (The Prequel) UPDATED 11/6/09

Well it's hard to figure out the 2009 New England Patriots.  Sure they have Brady back, and he keeps saying every week about how he's in the best shape of his life and how he doesn't feel sore after games, etc.  They put up a 59-0 blowout in the snow versus the lowly Tennessee Titans.  They should've lost to a lousy Buffalo team in week 1.  They ran away from the Bucs in London 35 -7, but I watched that game and they didn't seem to be playing any better than Tampa Bay was.  Truth is a series of turnovers and lack of experience really hurt the Bucs in that game.  They were able to run all over the Pats defense, who got almost no pass rush at all.  But Tampa Bay made mistakes, and lots of them, and the Pats took advantage.

Here's the strengths I've identified with the Patriots:
  • Brady is a great QB, but they don't rely on his arm.  The truth is no team runs the screen as much as New England, and any QB can handle that.  But it's the threat of Brady's rifle that backs defenses up and makes them overcompensate with the blitz.  The absolute key player on the field offensively is Wes Welker because he is the prime screen target, and he'll turn a 3 yard dump-off into 12 yards a first down almost every time.
  • The secondary.  I know it seems every week we're going up against a badass secondary but this is the NFL, get used to it.  Now, word is that Johnathan Wilhite, one of their four 'starting' cornerbacks, may have swine flu.  They rotate Wilhite, Leigh Bodden, Shawn Springs, and Darius Butler (all 4 have started this year) heavily, so they are usually well rested.  Of course the main attraction in their defensive backfield is safety Brandon Meriweather, the 3rd year Miami product.
  • Finally, the Pats have the entire NFL Network, ESPN, and CBS networks backing them up at all times.
The weaknesses?  Well I wouldn't say there's any weaknesses.  I would say there's a few 'average' things about this team.  Granted, in order for us to beat them in their house on Sunday, we'll have to suppress their strengths to make them look average, and stomp their average aspects to the point of weakness.  We did it last year in Gillette Stadium.  

Here's how we'll repeat:
  • Everytime we play the Patriots, we spend way too much time trying to figure out how we're going to stop Randy Moss.  And most of the time, we get killed by guys who aren't named Randy Moss.  Moss is dangerous and of course we want to keep him under wraps as much as possible.  But I wouldn't gameplan specifically for him, instead focusing on how we're going to close off the middle of the field and protect against the screen. We'll have to hold back on the 5 and 6 man pass rush to do so, but we'll want pressure on Brady as well.  So we'll have to do a good job of disguising the rush.  With our outside linebacker corp, this shouldn't be that hard a task, but we seem to have not figured it all out yet.  How about the occasional inside blitz with Reggie Torbor (let's face it, Crowder and Ayodele are not pass rushers, but Torbor has shown ability to slip past the blocks up front and get into the backfield.
  • Offensively we need to put up a lot of points.  Typically these games take somewhere between 35 and 50 points to win.  I don't think we can hit 50, but we should be able to hit 35, assuming we don't turn the ball over, and we score TOUCHDOWNS, not field goals, on 5 possessions, approximately 50% of a game's drives.  Driving the length of the field should also eat up most of the clock, preventing Brady from getting too many opportunities.
  • Special teams.  A perfect way to tip the game in our favor would be to own the field position battle.  A few more long returns from Ted Ginn could start things moving for us.  Hopefully he will return a punt or two as well.  After Bess fumbled a punt last week, I would expect him to be in the doghouse, opening the way for Ginn.
  • And finally, as much as I hate to admit it, there must be something in Dan Dierdorf's words that help the Patriots out.  If we can get him to say two or three positive things about the Dolphins, who knows?  It couldn't hurt.

  • Channing Crowder and Jason Ferguson are both listed as DOUBTFUL on today's injury report.  Perhaps Soliai gets his first start of the season, or perhaps they move Starks into the middle and let Merling start at RDE.  Torbor will start in Crowder's absence.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Practice Squad Update 11/04/09

The Dolphins brought John Nalbone back to be on the practice squad on Tuesday.  WR James Robinson was deleted to make space.

The Dolphins practice squad as of 11/4/09:
  1. JD Folsom, ILB.
  2. Julius Pruitt, WR. 
  3. Kory Sperry, TE.
  4. Andrew Hartline, T.
  5. Nate Ness, FS.
  6. Will Billingsley, CB.
  7. Ryan Baker, DE.
  8. John Nalbone, TE.


    Monday, November 2, 2009

    A Win Is A Win

    The Dolphins somehow managed to defeat the Jets for the second time this year, by the score of 30 to 25, despite a rather weak performance all-around.  Well, I can't say all-around, because the special teams won this one, no doubt about it.  Ted Ginn returned 6 kickoffs for a total of 299 yards and 2 touchdowns.  The touchdowns came on consecutive kickoffs following scores by the Jets.

    So, there's no denying that Ginn saved the day, because Miami was completely dominated by the Jets in every category yesterday, and there's no doubt the Jets will be trying to remind everyone about it, saying that the Dolphins 'got lucky'.  So what if we did.  A win is a win.

    That's all I'm going to say about this game.  I'm not going to go into how Sparano failed to dress Patrick Turner, failed to play Cameron Wake, and failed to keep Matt Roth in the game for more than a handful of plays, when he made plays on all of that handful.  I'm not going to go into how Anthony Fasano, Davone Bess, and Greg Camarillo are no better than Ted Ginn, Jr as receiving options.  I'm also not going to go into our repeated use of Pat White in awkward moments during the game, and how no one actually believes he's going to throw the ball anyway.  I'm not going to go into how our offensive line did not play well, especially on the inside.  First time I noticed Donald Thomas getting man-handled in a game.  Justin Smiley was no better.  And I'm not going to go into why the Dolphins can't seem to adjust to the blitz (3-step drop and throw, anyone?  heard of it?) and continue to take unnecessary sacks.  I'm not going to look at the stats but it wouldn't surprise me if we lost 100 yards on sacks yesterday, mostly due to our inability to just throw the ball away.  A 3rd and 10 is a lot easier than a 3rd and 25, people!

    I'm not going to go into any of that stuff because the newspapers will rip apart the stats and miss out on the big picture, that it's hard to win in the NFL, especially on the road in hostile territory, and despite all the flatness and uninspired play of our offense, and the falling apart of our defense in the second half, we still managed to improve to 3-4, with the Patriots coming up next week.  The Jets and the Bills have a Bye.  A win over the Pats would bring us to 4-4, in a tie with the Jets for 2nd place in the division, with only a half game separating us from first.  More importantly for right now, we are 3-0 in the division.  The Jets are 1-3.  The Bills, 1-2.  The Pats, 1-1.  

    Speaking of the Pats, are you ready for some Brady?

    Sunday, November 1, 2009

    Dolphins VS. Jets

    Dolphins Inactives:   Quentin Moses, Tyler Thigpen, Kory Sheets, Andrew Gardner, Lionel Dotson, Patrick Turner, Lydon Murtha, and Channing Crowder.  THAT'S RIGHT FOLKS, MATT ROTH WILL BE DRESSED FOR THE GAME!  ALSO, BRIAN HARTLINE IS STARTING AHEAD OF TED GINN, JR!

    Jets Inactives:   WR Brad Smith, CB Lito Sheppard, CB Ahmad Carroll, DB Marquice Cole, OG Matt Slauson, LB Marques Murrell, and QB Kevin O'Connell