Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Can we skip the last week of the season?

I hope everyone had a wonderful and busy week, too busy to watch Sunday's embarrassing collapse by the Dolphins vs the Detroit Lions.  The Lions scored 17 points in the last 5 minutes to secure a 34-27 victory.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bye Week

Due to the holidays, Tins Fins is taking a Bye Week.  I have no chance of watching the Dolphins/Detroit game until Monday or Tuesday anyway, and I'm sure others are in the same boat as me.  Thus there will be no live chat either on Sunday.  

This game couldn't be any less important to us anyway.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Live Chat: Dolphins vs. Bills

Dolphins inactives: WR Marlon Moore, TE Mickey Shuler, TE Jeron Mastrud, T Matt Kopa, G Eric Ghiaciuc, DL Chris Baker, DL Ryan Baker, and CB Nate Ness.
Bills inactives:  Third QB Levi Brown, FB Jehuu Caulcrick, TE Mike Caussin, OT Erik Pears, OT Colin Brown, C Geoff Hangartner, NT Kellen Heard, and DE John McCargo.

Friday, December 17, 2010

GAME PREVIEW: Bills vs Dolphins (Week 15)

The Dolphins need to win all of their remaining games and have 2 or 3 teams lose a couple games here and there to squeeze into the playoffs.  The odds are against them.  I think most fans are more concerned about next year at this point.  And they should be.  The Dolphins simply aren't ready to make the push into the playoffs and beyond.  They aren't healthy enough - bottom line.  They haven't the depth.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Live Chat: Dolphins vs. Jets

Dolphins inactives: TE Mickey Shuler, T Matt Kopa, T Vernon Carey, C/G Eric Ghiaciuc, NT Ryan Baker, DL Chris Baker, LB Ikaika Alama-Francis and CB Nate Ness.
Jets inactives:  T Vladimir Ducasse, DL Marcus Dixon, LB Jamaal Westerman, CB Marquice Cole, S James Ihedigbo, third QB Kellen Clemens, TE Jeff Cumberland and TE Matt Mulligan

Saturday, December 11, 2010

GAME PREVIEW: Jets vs Dolphins (2nd meeting of 2010)

Usually when these two teams meet, there's a certain 'up in the air' feeling about it...like anything could happen.

If any Dolfans out there feel confident heading into this week's matchup, however, they clearly have a large monthly pharmacy bill.
The Dolphins, already weakened at TE, CB, DL, OL, and QB, now face the Jets top pass defense minus Brian Hartline and with Brandon Marshall not at 100%.  They also have a giant hole at RT with Vernon Carey about to miss his first NFL game in 5 years.  Add this to the inability of the offense to function last week, and I don't see the Dolphins pulling off an upset here unless Miami scores two or more defensive touchdowns.

The good news, I will be spending Sunday's game at home on the Live Chat after a pitiful experience last week - at least if we lose this week in shambolic fashion I can go to my room and cry.

My prediction:  MIA 10  NYJ 17

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hangover time...again.

Well that was unpleasant, wasn't it?

The Dolphins last second loss to Cleveland in a 13-10 sleepwalk of a game brought them back down to 6-6, and back down to earth after a glittery win last week.

If it isn't obvious to everyone in Dolphins Land now that the offense of the Dolphins, from the play-calling to the O-line to the talent, is one of the worst in the league, then the blind is surely leading the blind.

The Defense did just about everything they could to give Miami every chance to win the game, and time and time again, they failed miserably.  Davone Bess, Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown cannot do it all on their own, and the Dolphins won't even give them the requisite reps just in case they can do it on their own.  

When the game is on the line, who should we target...the steady Bess?  The TD scoring Fasano?  The Ground and Pound (and ball protecting) Ricky and Ronnie?  Nah, lets target Roberto Wallace and Marlon Moore over and over again. (For the record, Anthony Armstrong had 6 catches for 97 yards and a TD yesterday for the Redskins, remember him?)

As I said two weeks ago, the front office has raped this team of talent on the offensive side of the ball, as they did the year before on defense.  Think back. They got rid of Andre Goodman, Renaldo Hill, Vonnie Holiday and eventually Matt Roth.  This year it was the year of the Offense, removing a very strong O-line core in Jake Grove, Justin Smiley, and Donald Thomas and possibly placing Nate Garner on IR immaturely.  They got rid of Ted Ginn Jr, Greg Camarillo, and Joey Haynos.  In fact, the team's personnel turnover was pretty huge for the 3rd year of this regime, and it's not looking to be that much less next year.

I'm beginning to argue with myself for the current regime to end.  I know that means starting over, but I think starting over may be better than to continue going down the wrong path altogether.  Sooner better than later.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Live Chat: Dolphins vs. Browns

Dolphins inactives: WR Brandon Marshall, TE Mickey Shuler, T Matt Kopa, C Eric Ghiaciuc, NT Ryan Baker, DL Chris Baker, LB Channing Crowder and CB Al Harris.
Browns inactives:  QB Colt McCoy, WR Jordan Norwood, WR Carlton Mitchell, WR Demetrius Williams, TE Alex Smith, DE Jayme Mitchell, DE Brian Sanford and LB Scott Fujita.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Post Game: Dolphins vs Raiders

Well it's been a long time since the Dolphins won a game this convincingly and it's been a long time since they did what I personally wanted them to do.  Sunday's 33-17 victory puts them back over .500 yet no closer to the playoffs.  They still need the Jets or Patriots to collapse and lose a lot of games in order to have a chance.

However, After my post last week on what the Dolphins should do for the rest of the season, it was startingly refreshing to see them take my advice, first giving the team back to Chad Henne who had his best game of the season, playing the youth of Nolan Carroll, Marlon Moore, Johnathan Amaya and Chris Baker and other talents like Patrick Cobbs and Tim Dobbins, players who offer something different as well as much needed rest to the starters.  And of course they finally returned to the running game, putting up a massive 190 yards on the ground, their best output of the season.  In fact, statistically in every category that counts it was their best game of the season.  Question is, is it a sign of what's to come, or just one of those anomaly games where a team just clicks while the opposition just folds?

To me, I don't think it's all on the opposition - yes the Raiders are struggling to win games, yet they battled it out quite hard at times in this game and made a lot of plays.  But ultimately when the Dolphins had their chances to make plays, they did.

I would like to give out a game ball as well as a leftover Turkey bag of gizzards for this game in honor of Thanksgiving weekend now gone past.

Game Ball - Davone Bess, 6 catches, 111 yards (almost had more but his drop can be forgiven as he got laid out on the play) and a shocking 47 yard punt return from a player who hasn't returned a punt more than 10 yards in 2 years!  He showed that he can step up and be the #1 WR when the #1 WR is out of the game.  The question is, why doesn't he put up these numbers when Marshall is being double teamed?

Gizzards - Vontae Davis.  5 tackles to lead the team, and at least 3 missed tackles.  Davis started the season like a pro-bowler and has in the past 5 games looked like something that got scraped off of the bottom of a horse-trainer's shoe.  I don't think I've ever seen such a sharp decline in performance in all my years of watching football.  Between Jake Long giving up sack after sack, Jared Odrick being on IR and Davis' recent woes, the SpIreland first rounders are not paying off. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Live Chat: Dolphins vs. Raiders

Dolphins inactives: WR Brandon Marshall, C Eric Ghiaciuc, OT Matt Kopa, TE Mickey Shuler, QB Patrick Ramsey, SS Reshad Jones, DL Ikaika Alama-Francis, DL Ryan Baker.
Raiders inactives:  QB Kyle Boller, WR Chaz Schilens, RB Michael Bennett, CB Chris X. Johnson, LB Jarvis Moss, CB Jeremy Ware, OG Daniel Loper, WR Nick Miller .

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dolphins vs. The Rest of the Season

Usually the only part of a Raiders game I'd be interested in watching are the occasional shots of the cheerleaders coming back from break, or if it's Halloween week, shots of the crowd.  But this week they're playing the Dolphins, and since both teams are struggling at 5-5 and both teams are engaging in a Quarterback carousel, and both teams are struggling in part because of over-rated coaching and the letting go of talented players during the off-season, well then, since they have all of that in common, the Dolphins have a fair shot at winning this game (despite the Raiders being favorites) and one thing I'm really interested in is the Dolphins winning a game.  I'm sure we all are.

Now, I'm aware that after the last shambolic outing by the Dolphins, a lot of fans are already starting to get interested in the 2011 Draft.  Fair enough.  But before we talk about drafting Johnathan Baldwin, Mark Ingram or Patrick Peterson, we need to finish the season - we still have six games left.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bears Vs Dolphins Wrap Up

Um, yeah.....let's just pretend that didn't happen...16-0.  Only the second home shut-out in 40 years.  A complete embarrassment.

Cory Proctor will be placed on IR with an ACL tear.  The good news for dinged up players like Chad Henne, Jake Long, Vernon Carey, Joe Berger, Brandon Marshall, etc is that the Dolphins now get three extra days to recover.  

The good news for the fans is that the coaching staff has three extra days in the cross hairs and may actually get their asses in gear...not likely...the lack of preparation and professionalism just seems to become more evident week by week.

At 5-5, the Dolphins are likely out of the play-off picture barring a complete turn-around and a collapse by several teams.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Live Chat: Dolphins vs. Bears

Dolphins inactives: FS Chris Clemons, QB Chad Henne, C Joe Berger, WR Roberto Wallace, TE Jeron Mastrud, OT Matt Kopa, DE Clifton Geathers, and CB Nate Ness
Bears inactives: LB Pisa Tinoisamoa, QB Caleb Hanie, DL Corey Wootton, DL Barry Turner, OL Edwin Williams, RB Kahlil Bell, DB Josh Moore, and TE Desmond Clark .

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Perfect Tenn....minus four

Two days ago I mentioned I couldn't imagine what would play out at Sun Life Stadium after the Dolphins decided to pull Chad Henne in lieu of Chad Pennington and replace youth with age in other areas as well.  Truth is, I don't think anyone could have imagined what went down, first a loss of not one but two quarterbacks, the loss of our two best players, Jake Long and Cameron Wake, and finally, a convincing 29-17 home win against a really good team in Tennessee.  It was, from all angles, a shocking Sunday.

More shocking things happened, like the Cleveland Browns blowing not one, not two, but three late opportunities to knock off the NY Jets.  How about Pittsburgh's normally steel curtain defense giving up 39 points in a loss to New England.  Hell, even Buffalo won.  

Despite Miami's impressive win, they made up no ground in the division and for now are still not in contention for the playoffs.  With a Thursday night game looming, the loss of Long, Wake, and Henne are potentially devastating.  Wake's only backup is Quentin Moses.  Long would be replaced by Vernon Carey, who we all saw got banged up himself and was laying flat on the ground in the Titans game.  Behind Long and Carey is Lydon Murtha, and newly picked up Matt Kopa.  More than likely, Pat McQuistan or John Jerry would slide over to play Tackle before one of those two got the start.

As for the quarterbacks, there have been preliminary reports that both Pennington and Henne are out for the season, though I would suspect Henne is more of a 3 to 4 week injury.  The Dolphins have reportedly contacted JaMarcus Russell, Daunte Culpepper and Chris Simms.  I know, all three names result in a triumphant groan from football fans, but rest assured, no matter who we sign, Tyler Thigpen is the starter and will remain so until the dust settles.  It is much more likely the Dolphins would bring in QBs they've already worked with.

Next up?  The Chicago Bears on Thursday.  Both teams played yesterday so there is no advantage of rest for either team.  More on that tomorrow but for now, check out this article by Omar Kelly where Cortland Finnegan calls out the Dolphins uninventive coaching staff

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Live Chat: Titans vs. Dolphins

Dolphins inactives: Third QB Tyler Thigpen, WR Roberto Wallace, TE Mickey Shuler, OT Matt Kopa, OT Lydon Murtha, DE Clifton Geathers, CB Nate Ness, and S Tyrone Culver.
Titans inactives: Third QB Rusty Smith, WR Kenny Britt, WR Lavelle Hawkins, T Troy Kropog, OL Ryan Durand, DE Marques Douglas, CB Ryan Mouton and S Robert Johnson.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Hey everyone, due to unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to preview the Tennessee game.  I apologize for this, but to be honest, I can't really envision what sort of team is going to take the field on Sunday for Miami. 

As usual there will be a live chat, and I will update the roster before game time.  See you then.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Dolphins continue to get it wrong

Rarely does an organization think it's fans or shareholders know better how to run the organization than the bigwigs in charge do.  That's a given, it's ego-driven, and it's understandable.

But rarely does a team or organization set forth a set of values and business plan then have difficulty understanding their own goals.

The Dolphins have waived CB Jason Allen, after he beat out competition for the starting job to begin the season, and have replaced him with a 36 year old injured Al Harris, a free agent formerly of Green Bay.   The media indicated that the Harris signing put Sean Smith and Jason Allen on notice after the right corner position has struggled all season.  The truth is, the left corner position, aka Vontae Davis, is the one that has been struggling of late.  Davis has given up more big plays lately than just about anyone on the team, including several touchdowns.

Still, the question is, on a team desperate for depth and youth, cutting ties with someone who was perceived to be good enough to start, or borderline starter at least, in favor of someone who's 36 and coming off of major knee surgery and entering the team half-way through the season - well to me that seems like a move only a complete idiot could make.  What is the plan here?  To open 2011 with Will Allen, Benny Sapp and Al Harris at CB?  With Yeremiah Bell getting older?  

It's extremely frustrating to me, as a defender of Jason Allen, that he would get waived in week 9 after being pulled out of the starting lineup in week 6.  He could have been traded at that point - he could've still been traded after the season.  He also gets cut after not even playing on Defense last week.  Is that the message here?  Since we didn't give you any opportunities, you didn't prove yourself, so you're fired?

For the record, Allen had 33 tackles, 3 INTs, and 8 PDs in 7 games this season.


Meanwhile, the Dolphins also waived OT Patrick Brown and signed OT Matt Kopa off the 49ers practice squad in the 'who cares' move of the week.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ravens Turn Into Pigeons, Poop All Over Miami

For the third consecutive head to head matchup, the Baltimore Ravens ran away with a convincing victory in the second half after allowing Miami to stick around in the first.  In those three games, the Ravens have forced approximately 12 turnovers, most of them in the 2nd half.

The Dolphins had a chance though, as Baltimore conducted two of the worst red zone drives I've ever had the pleasure to witness in NFL history.  The game could've been far out of reach much earlier on, but these two drives accompanied by a couple of other stalled drives that resulted in FGs kept the game close.

The end result, however, was not so close - a 26 to 10 drubbing and an end to Miami's unbeaten road record in 2010.

The loss couldn't have come at a worst time with the AFC East crumbling.  The Bills lost again but the loss by the Patriots and the should've been loss by the Jets (honestly, all Detroit had to do was run down the clock....idiots) would've put Miami back in position to fight for the division.  As it stands they are very much on the outside looking in, even for a Wildcard spot.

As the game went on, and it became obvious once again that coaching/play-calling is the main reason this team is failing, another obvious observation is that Miami is missing serious depth, and due to injuries, has had to hang on to players that really don't belong on the field.  They've also been forced into leaving tired starters out there for 90% of the game because they don't trust the backups.  Case in point - Channing Crowder had a decent game, but he came up hobbled during the 3rd quarter, was replaced by Tim Dobbins, who had a sack, then Crowder was put back in and played the entire rest of the game without a break, despite noticeably limping around.  The Dolphins secondary struggled throughout the game, yet Jason Allen did not even get a chance to play, relegated to special teams, while Benny Sapp continues to be unimpressive.

The Dolphins had 6 active running backs, yet ran the ball just 11 times (not counting Chad Henne's scrambles) in the entire game.  Ronnie Brown embarrassed the legendary Ray Lewis a handful of times in the game, yet was just not used enough. 

Why this coaching staff does not understand the concept of playing to your strengths while exploiting your opponents weaknesses, well, I cannot say.  Neither can any of you.  Although I'm sure we all have similar opinions on it....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Live Chat: Dolphins vs. Ravens

Dolphins inactives: QB Tyler Thigpen, TE Mickey Shuler, WR Marlon Moore, OL Patrick Brown, OT Lydon Murtha, DE Clifton Geathers, S Reshad Jones, and S Nate Ness.
Ravenss inactives: TE Dennis Pitta, OT Scott Kooistra, DT Arthur Jones, DT Brandon McKinney, DT Lamar Divens, LB Dannell Ellerbe, S Ken Hamlin, and S Tom Zbikowski.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tapping At The Chamber Door

Two things could come out of this weekend's match-up versus the Ravens if the Dolphins can pull off a win.  For one, they will have beat the odds and beaten a dramatically better team than they are (Baltimore's 5 wins are considerably handsomer than Miami's 4).  Secondly they will put themselves back into contention for the playoffs.  It's not easy being third in the division under the Patriots and Jets, but if the Dolphins can get into the top 6 in the AFC, then wins over their division foes would put them in a very good spot to make the playoffs (if they can't win against NE or NYJ, they don't deserve to make the playoffs anyway).  And let's face it, even if they don't make it to the Super Bowl, a team returning with young, playoff-tested players is more likely to make the push in 2011.

Now, in the past we'd have had to pray for a miracle to beat the Ravens (it took a miracle last time we beat them, in 2007).  But the Ravens of today are not an elite team, they're just a pretty good team.  Their defense is no longer a top 5 defense, their offense is about the same as it's ever been, which is to say, average, and they don't seem all that concerned about the future if their depth chart is any indication.

But still, the Dolphins are plenty banged up, the odds of going 5-0 on the road are against them, and the Ravens are still a better coached team than Miami.  They have added offensive firepower since the last couple of times they thrashed the Dolphins.  However, the Miami Dolphins have yet to have a perfect game - this could be it....

My Prediction:  MIA 31  BAL 21

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tigger Bounced

The Dolphins continued their undefeated road streak (now 4-0 in 2010) with a 22 - 14 victory over the Bengals.

The game started scarily enough with the Bengals looking like they were going to destroy the Dolphins Defense all day long.  They ran the ball well and Terrell Owens and Ocho Cinco were beating everyone in the secondary.
The Dolphins offense was stop and start, the running game wasn't working and Brandon Marshall couldn't get open.

Then the Dolphins slowly started to take over the game starting towards the end of the second quarter.  They were able to both move the ball on the ground and completely shut down the Bengals offense in the second half.  Despite not having a huge lead, at no point was this a nail-biter at the end.  The Dolphins D played a fantastic 2nd half and even Sean Smith got his first NFL interception to close the game.

This wasn't the most exciting game - perhaps some of us were a bit jaded going into it - but it has to be considered a stepping stone.  The Dolphins need to be more explosive to compete with Baltimore next week, but at least they showed they can adjust and tighten up after a shaky start.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Live Chat: Dolphins vs. Bengals

Dolphins inactives: TE Mickey Shuler, QB Tyler Thigpen, WR Marlon Moore, S Reshad Jones, CB Nolan Carroll, DE Clifton Geathers, OT Patrick Brown, and OT Lydon Murtha.
Bengals inactives LCB Johnathan Joseph, S Roy Williams, S Chinedum Ndukwe, C Reggie Stephens, DE Jonathan Fanene, OT Anthony Collins, WR Jerome Simpson, and QB Dan LeFevour.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

On The Road Again

Sorry for the lack of a blog post this week in regards to the upcoming game versus the Bengals. Truth is I came down with a nasty throat infection this week and it came along with a free fever to boot. The good news...I've lost 12 lbs in 5 days! The bad news...I can't talk to tell my wife to stop asking me a million questions! How am I supposed to answer you if I can't talk?  I think both my 4 year old son and she have more than made up for my silence this week.

Anyway, even if I were in better health, it would be hard for me to get excited about the Bengals game.  Bottom line is this game between two underachieving teams is not likely to make it onto most of our small screens as it isn't an important game in the eyes of the NFL.

The big games in the AFC East this week, Green Bay vs the Jets, and Minnesota vs New England, are just as important to Miami as the Cincinnati game.  More than likely if the division rivals sweep this week, Miami's season could be over before the half way point.

However, I fully expect Miami's pass rush to destroy Cincinnati's O-line and for Cameron Wake to get another 3 sacks en route to a comfortable Miami victory.

My prediction:  MIA 27  CIN 13

Monday, October 25, 2010

From A Fang's Perspective

Fang was at the game and had this to say - I will have a new blog up tomorrow so thought I'd share this in the meantime:

I went to the game yesterday and there is nothing like seeing it live.  TV does a great job but you see so much more at a game.  You guys know that I'm critical of the team and I'm not going to change that.  I've tried and I don't seem to able to do it.  What I can tell you are my views.

First the players, in pregame warm ups it is easy to see they love Sparano and he feels the same way about them.  Because I know that, I feel he is doing every thing in his power to win these games.  Yes, he is still making mistakes.  But I have a feeling he is beginning to get at least some of them corrected.  Can anyone tell me why he used the last time out when he did ?  That one escapes me.

No wildcat again, I know that makes many happy.  For me, I don't care, if it works use it, if not save it for another time or never who cares.  Contrary to what many think Miami can't run the ball.  To slow to get outside so they don't even try.  The only thing they could get going was a passing game, even though the WR were seldom open, Henne made some very good throws.  Marshall was owned by whom ever was covering him, the catches he made were great throws from Henne.  Whether you're a hater of Henne or not he is progressing so you better get used to him being the starter.

The offensive lines pass blocking was very very good to say the least.  Henne had all day to throw, but the Steelers coverage was very good.

The defensive front 7 wow what can I say, it has been many years since I have seen them play that well.  Misi and Wake are the real deal.  They ARE what those other guys that are gone now wanted to be.  The front 7 stoned them and the pass rush was so good I can't explain it.  Poor Ben couldn't find the bathroom quick enough when he dropped back to pass, although this time there was no pretty girl waiting for him.

Jason Allen, and Sean Smith suck.  They couldn't cover a frozen pea with a blanket.

The play that lost game at the end was recovered by the Dolphins.  That play happened right in front of us.  For those who think the play stopped when the ball crossed the goal line !!  I can assure everyone reading this the Steelers didn't think that and there was a no whistle blown either.  So when the ball came free they all knew including Big Ben it was free ball.  The referee that was in the end zone never signaled a TD and he was trying to figure out who recovered the fumble.  There was NO DOUBT it was Miami's ball.  From where we sat we could see the 2 dolphin players latch onto the ball, and one of them came out with it, I don't know who.  The Referee that was standing on the end-zone line, DID signal a TD because he couldn't see the fumble.  Our seats could not have been better to see this whole play develop. 

I heard that Rothlessworth say he didn't try to recover the fumble because he thought it was a TD.  BS, he didn't have a chance at that ball.  2 Dolphin players already had it before he figured out where the ball was.  You can make your own conclusions but he is a liar.

I will say this if the Dolphins continue to play as they did in the Steelers game they can beat anyone on there schedule.  They are that good, there is no reason they can't win every game out from here on.

Tin feel free to post parts or all of this if you like.  Miami is coming along Tin they are getting there.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Live Chat: Steelers vs Dolphins

Dolphins inactives: WR Marlon Moore, FB Deon Anderson, DE Robert Rose, G John Jerry, OT Patrick Brown, OLB Quentin Moses, TE Jeron Mastrud, Tyler Thigpen 3rd QB.

Steelers inactives WR Antonio Brown, RB Jonathan Dwyer, CB Crezdon Butler, OT Tony Hills, OG Trai Essex, LB Thaddeus Gibson, DE Brett Keisel, and QB Charlie Batch.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Steelers are Black and Yellow, The Dolphins are Black and Blue

The Dolphins won a close one last week and hope to carry their winning ways over to their home game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.  While they are 3-0 on the road, the Stadium once named Joe Robbie has been a bit too fuzzy and soft this season, and it showed in the Dolphins' two losses there thus far.  Sun Life Stadium,or whatever it's called this week, has never been an optimal football stadium, but when the team needed to put more blood, sweat, tears, grease and steel into it, they instead put a bunch of second rate pop singers cum part owners, electrical gadgets and a sushi bar (where, ironically, you can order mahi mahi, aka Dolphin Fish).

I'm not saying modern comforts aren't important business moves to reward paying customers - they are.  However, there's really only one thing that sells tickets and that is winning games.  Anytime any sports team goes on a win streak, their ticket sales skyrocket.  Now the Dolphins have never had any problem selling tickets because they have a storied history and are generally competitive.  However, when they're not winning, half the fans who bought the tickets don't bother to show up.  Luxury boxes sit empty as corporate owners can't give the seats away.

The trend of the Dolphins lackluster play is not a new one, they were 4-4 at home last year including  losses the last two games of the season hosting Houston and this week's opponents, the Steelers.  That means the Fins are on a 4 game losing streak at home after eking out victories of 1 point and 2 points versus the Patriots and Titans respectively.  Before that was the ugly loss to the Saints. 

The Dolphins do not want to lose a fifth in a row at home.  They do not want to drop to 3-3 overall.  They need a win to stay in the hunt for the division.  They need a win to improve their confidence at home.  Basically they need a win because the only other option is to keep losing, which is not an option.  And they want that win to come versus the Steelers who have owned Miami to the tune of four consecutive games.

The only way to do it is to play smash mouth football and limit mistakes.  The Steelers are not the kind of team that is going to run around you.  They are just going to keep hitting you until the ball rolls their way.  The Dolphins need to man up.  I suggest on the first drive that Brandon Marshall hit Troy Polamalu in the face.

My Prediction:   MIA 17  PITT 16

Monday, October 18, 2010

Took A Bit Longer Than Expected...

Well not only did my computer crash at the start of the Dolphins game yesterday, and take several hours to repair, but the Dolphins took longer than expected to beat the Green Bay Packers, with a 23-20 overtime win.  That scoreline was pretty close to my prediction of a Dolphins loss of 23-20 in OT.  And in fact, after winning the OT coin toss and electing to receive the ball, the Dolphins almost did lose the game after a three and out to start the extra time.

But the Dolphins defense stood up and got the ball back and the Dolphins are back to having a winning record.  Unfortunately, the Jets and Patriots also won, keeping Miami in 3rd place in the AFC East.

However, there was enough going on in the game to keep the learned fan busy regardless of the division relevance.  For one, the Dolphins still made some bizarre mistakes:  Bobby Carpenter missed another block on a punt formation, leading to a deflection on the kick (if he isn't cut already, he should be); with 4 seconds left in regulation, and the ball near midfield, the Dolphins coaches called for a knee.  Surely a Hail Mary would've been the obvious option with very little risk involved;  and despite a better turnout by Nolan Carroll, he missed some obvious running lanes and could've had a couple of huge runbacks on kickoffs.  Chad Henne made about 4 really poor reads and about 6 poor throws.  And there were three costly holding penalties -one on a FG, and two drive stoppers.  And one more issue I had with the game was newly crowned Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi acting like a 12 year old on the sidelines.  He spent almost every ST play up in the face of Head Coach Tony Sparano, and seemed to be shouting, "Hey Dad, What Happened Dad?  Dad look at me!  Hello, Dad, er, I mean Tony, Me Me Me ME ME!!"

However, there were some very positive aspects of the game, besides the W of course.  For one, this was the first Dolphins game of the season where they came out from the get go and looked to have an actual game plan.  Granted that game plan included a lot more passing than I would've liked, but the passing game definitely opened up the run later on.  Of course, they did at times call some ridiculous ill-timed plays, but they seemed to be ahead of the Packers Defense for most of the game.  Secondly, the O-line may have had an easy task what with half the Packers defense on the bench, but they didn't allow a single QB sack or knockdown (I'm not sure they even had any QB Hurries).  Jake Long was unstoppable and there were no injuries to any O-linemen.  At times, both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams looked shifty and bruising (though I still pray one day Ronnie will get more carries - if you're going to let Henne throw the ball 40 times, why not let Ronnie run it 25 times?).

Ultimately the game was not perfect but it was a huge boost in confidence after the drubbing by New England two weeks earlier.

I hate to end on a sour note but there were some issues on Dolphins Defense, and they need to be mentioned:
Vontae Davis had a horrible game, and Sean Smith seems incapable of catching the ball after he dropped an interception - he played 'Hot Potato' with the ball.  He wasn't very good for the rest of the game either.  Benny Sapp made a couple of good plays but was also very shaky overall.  And why Yeremiah Bell is playing deep while Chris Clemons plays the 'rover' role is beyond me.  Jason Allen got picked on at times but for the most part made tackles, intercepted the ball, knocked down another - he seemed to be the only one in the secondary really trying for the first half.  In fact, if it wasn't for the impressive pass rush up front, I think Aaron Rodgers could've had a career day against our secondary.  While or tight end, Anthony Fasano got wide open on his touchdown play, there were Packers receivers that open all game.  Twenty yards here, thirty yards there, another twenty, fifteen, twenty five, etc., the Dolphins continue to get beat deep and seem to be doing nothing about it from a formative standpoint.  I'm convinced that the secondary is wearing cleats that are too long, as they seem to keep getting their feet stuck in the turf on cutbacks and hook routes.  I'm also convinced that the Dolphins will have to go all defense in the 2011 draft again, since we'll need 2 DBs, 2 LBs and a DT or two.

This team is not there yet, but after the previous game, this is one to celebrate.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Live Chat: Dolphins vs. Packers

Dolphins inactives: Third QB Tyler Thigpen, WR Marlon Moore, TE Jeron Mastrud, T Patrick Brown, G John Jerry, DE Jared Odrick, DE Robert Rose and LB Austin Spitler.

Packers inactives RT Mark Tauscher, TE Jermichael Finley, OL Marshall Newhouse, G Nick McDonald, DE Ryan Pickett, DE Mike Neal, LB Brandon Chillar, and OLB Clay Matthews.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Back to the Game

Alright, feel better now?  If nothing else, applying myself to other interests over the past week has left me not only out of the loop about the Dolphins, it's also left me refreshed and ready for the rest of the season.  Well, week 6 anyway.

The Dolphins play their fifth game versus the Green Bay Packers, one of the best teams in the league.  However, the Packers haven't had a Bye Week yet, and they are suffering from injury woes, including the NFL's leading sacker, Clay Matthews, and one of the top TEs in the league, Jermichael Finley.  Aaron Rodgers, the QB who ousted some other famous QB from Green Bay, went down last week with a concussion.  Since he learned from the Primitive One, he has decided to 'shake it off' and play this week.  I don't expect the Miami Defense to play with Kitten Gloves on, so he may get rattled early and hopefully not last through the game.

The Packers' secondary is also banged up pretty badly, though Miami's got injury issues of its own.  Benny Sapp, of 'throw the ball to my guy, I'm not covering him' fame, missed practices late in the week and is likely out of Sunday's game. The good news is the Green Bay doesn't run a lot of 3 and 4 WR sets so we won't need to take 5 CBs to the game.  The better news is that Miami could get back the services of as many as 3 missing starters, namely, LB Channing Crowder, DE Jared Odrick, and OG John Jerry.  The Dolphins also get back recently suspended DE Tony McDaniel and RB Ronnie Brown's hamstring issues should be 2 weeks better off.

The biggest development however, is how the Dolphins coaching staff responds to their dismal performance in week 4.  Can they finally come to the game with a fully prepared and fully functional special teams unit?  Will they let David Lee go upstairs and call the offensive plays?  Will Sparano quit looking so confused on the sidelines and start being proactive?

Just as importantly, will Chad Henne be able to come into the game cool and collected, and play sixty minutes of mistake-free football?

I'll be honest, I'm not confident at all heading into this game - I need to see lights blinking and hear gears clicking again, something I didn't get from the last game, before I give the Dolphins the edge again.  However, I do think the game will be close, and it will likely depend on the turnover and special teams game - something the Dolphins should be wary of, because the Packers have a pretty good kick returner, and the Fins have a pretty shoddy coverage team.

My Prediction:   MIA  20  GB 23 (OT)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In Limbo

Hey everyone.  I have made an editorial decision not to write about the last game.  I think we should all forget about it.  It was as bad as the 62-7 game back you know when.  I don't think the team is as bad as it looked - obviously some things need to be worked on - but the game started out really well and then bad things begat more bad things.  Full on Domino effect.

The team will recover and just needs to execute and needs to overcome mistakes rather than add to them.

I have family in town and my time is short so I will wait until the weekend to do a full update.

In the meantime, please, if you haven't already, take a moment to enjoy the bye week with your families and friends.  And then jump right back into it, because the 2010 NFL season is far from over (we're only 25% of the way through).

Friday, October 1, 2010

GAME PREVIEW: Patriots vs Dolphins (Monday Night Football)

Well if last week was the game against our most hated rivals from an emotional standpoint, this week's game is against the rivals with a more historically-based hatred. Especially in the last 15 years or so. I like to refer to the Pats as the 'Bastards who just keep winning".  They've rarely had the best overall team on the field, but they've always had the QB and offensive line and all else falls into place.  But despite Tom Brady's big new contract extension, the truth is he's been slowly falling apart physically and the only thing keeping him relatively healthy right now is lack of time of possession.  The Pats defense cannot get off the field, and their offense strikes quickly.  I honestly don't think Brady would hold up if he had to be in the game for 35+ minutes.

And thus, the question of how to do just that must be on the minds of the Dolphins.  Back in the day when Judas Taylor used to harass Brady regularly, an oft-omitted part of the story was that the Pat's QB was on the field a lot and we got several pass-rushes per drive on him that helped increase the defensive stats.

Now of course, we don't want our defense on the field for ages getting tired out just so Brady has to play more minutes.  We definitely don't want extended drives by the Patsies resulting in scores either.

But there is ONE way that we can force the Pats into having to play their aging and aching and increasingly skinny (is it just me or does he look in worse shape than his draft photo?  Does this guy EVER lift weights?) quarterback putting him in harm's way, thus increasing sack counts and potential turnovers.

Have you guessed what it is yet?

It's something the Dolphins don't usually do, especially under the SpIreland regime.  It is...SCORE FAST and SCORE ALOT.  The last time the Dolphins did this was in 2008, when they unleashed the Wildcat - those scoring drives were all less than 3 minutes long -  and in the second game of the same year where we matched the Pats scoring TD for TD until the referees started remembering which team pays their salaries and gave Randy Moss a gift or two.

Right, so if the Dolphins can come out in 2 minute mode and march down the field quickly and score, then Brady will have to be held by the defense.  Then on drive number 2 we come out in no huddle again.  Then the Defense has to work it's magic again.  As long as we prevent that o-line and Brady from getting too much rest, we should knock the Pats down a peg or two.  I think our defense can sustain longer than the Pats offense.  And I think Brandon Marshall, Davone Bess, Brian Hartline, and Anthony Fasano can put up 35 to 40 catches in this game alone (granted of a shorter ypc percentage, but completions nonetheless, which means movement of the ball).

The quick passes will loosen up the defense for deep balls and power runs up the middle - at no point should the Dolphins force runs to the outside or screens.  For one they're not good at it and it's the one play I see the Pats being able to defend precisely.

All we need now is the execution, and for the Bills to show up versus the Jets and surprise everyone.

My Prediction:
MIA 38  NE 35


Hey everyone.  While I'm working on my next blog post, I'd like to give everyone a heads up that Hulu.com has just started sharing classic NFL Network video clips and you can click here to see all the Miami Dolphins ones starting with the '71 - '72 season.

Also, for football fans in general, I just watched an excellent documentary called 'A Fan For All Seasons' by Aaron Lubarksy.  It follows a handful of Minnesota Vikings fans through a heartbreaking season, and combines humanity, humor, drama, and football-obsession beautifully.  It even has a Miami Dolphins connection.  The sentiment it echoes is the same sentiment shown every week by Dolfans here and in forums all over the world.  Being a football fan isn't easy, and it's hardly a sane thing to do.  But it sure can be fun.

Check out the website for more info:  www.AFANFORALLSEASONS.com

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Day After: Homecoming Deflated

The Bad news - The Dolphins lost to the Jets.

The Good news - The Dolphins have a winning record after 3 weeks and can still head into the BYE week in 1st place in the AFC East.

The also good news - the game wasn't quite as physical as I expected and it seems the Dolphins came out of it without any serious injury meaning they will be almost fully healed in week 4's matchup versus the Patriots.  The return of Channing Crowder is expected, shoring up probably the weakest spot on the field right now, the spot next to Karlos Dansby which sticks out like a sore thumb since Dansby has been the strongest spot on the field all season so far.

The surprising news - The Dolphins coaching staff STILL can't see what is working on the field, ie, running the ball traditionally up the middle, and use it to the effectiveness of other NFL teams such as Minnesota, Houston, etc.  I honestly feel bad for Ronnie Brown sometimes.  If he had been drafted by someone else his career could've been quite different.  Instead his prime years are being wasted.  

The more surprising news - The Dolphins CAN throw the ball, and its WRs can catch the ball, and get YAC.  They definitely threw too much, and should've ran the ball another 10 plays at least, but when they had to throw they looked above average and were able to move the ball.

The still Bad news:  We lost to the Jets.

The consolatory news:  Most of you haven't read this far and have gone off to burn something, so the healing process has already begun.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

LIVE: Jets vs Dolphins - Week 3

Dolphins inactives: WR Marlon Moore, QB Tyler Thigpen, ILB Channing Crowder, OLB Ikaika Alama-Francis, OG John Jerry, DE Jared Odrick, OT Patrick Brown, and TE Mickey Shuler.

Jets inactives: CB Darelle Revis, RB Joe McKnight, LB Kenwin Cummings, OT Wayne Hunter,  TE Jeff Cumberland, DE Marcus Dixon, LB Calvin Pace, and QB Kellen Clemens.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

GAME PREVIEW: Jets vs Dolphins

Here we are, a day before the 2010 Home Opener for the Dolphins, and it doesn't get much bigger than this one so early in the season.  

Firstly, it's the Jets.  We hate them - END OF STORY.
Secondly, it will mark the first time Jason Taylor plays against the Dolphins.  We hate him - END OF STORY.

Finally, a win puts the Dolphins in the pole position to take the AFC East.  Another strong showing by the Dolphins Defense should rattle the growing confidence of Mark Sanchez, the Jet's cocky wunder-child.  Word is local betting odds include the chances of Sanchez eating a Cuban Pork Sandwich on the sidelines during the 2nd quarter.

Obviously it would be nice for the Dolphins to win both games before the Bye week, but a more realistic split would still put them in good shape for the week off, and a chance to come back healthy (with Channing Crowder) and more in sync (consider the kick return game and Tight end rotation as things that need to be worked out) against Green Bay on October 17th.  This would also be the right time to unveil a few surprises against that mean Packer defense.

But back to the Jets.  There's not a lot to say here.  Most Dolphin fans know just about all there is to know about the Jets.  They're scumbags, and it's contagious.  Now Beard...I mean Braylon Edwards will sit out at least the first series after getting a DUI this week.  New York Islander, Darelle Revis, will miss the entire game with an injury that looked fake at the time (he did after all get burned on the play, then grabbed his leg after the play was well over) but must have been real for him to skip a game...I mean, he's not one to skip any football or team duties, is he?

For the Dolphins, we'll get a look at a new Tight End or two.  I don't think it worth mentioning their names as they may be cut before the game is over.  I really think the Dolphins screwed up at the position the day they cut Kory Sperry, then again they cut Joey Haynos, then again when they cut David Martin.  Now they've cut John Nalbone.  At the end of the year, Anthony Fasano will be a free agent.  Tight end in the first round in 2011?  The new guys are worth keeping an eye on in this game.

I really can't see the Dolphins continuing to struggle offensively.  This is the 3rd game, and it's about time things start to click.  One thing we've always been able to do versus the Jets is run the ball and with Kris Jenkins out, the Dolphins should run the ball 50 times up the middle.  If you have Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams in your fantasy league, start them.  I also expect Brandon Marshall to just about rape and pillage the Jets secondary, especially Antonio Cromartie, who couldn't tackle a crossword puzzle.

Both defenses should show lots of blitzes and QB pressure.  Miami will give up passes underneath while the Jets will be vulnerable deep.  The difference will be the running game, penalties, and turnovers.  

My Prediction:   MIA 28  Jets 17

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Day After: Minnesota

The Dolphins are two and O,
The Dolphins are two and O,
Hi-ho, the merry oh,
The Dolphins are two and O!

Yes, it's true.  The Miami Dolphins are atop the AFC East and are currently the only undefeated division team.  2-0 overall, 1-0 in the division.  Again I reiterate that yes while it is very early and these early records are often not indicative of how the season will pan out, the Dolphins have not been 2-0 for a long time, so let's take a week to enjoy it for what it is.

As some of you noted yesterday, Jason Allen showed why I've been touting him to get on the field for the last 3 years.  But it seems the media will continue their unfounded vendetta against him as in this piece from Rotoworld:  "Dolphins CB Jason Allen recorded seven tackles and picked off two Brett Favre passes in the Dolphins Week 2 victory at Minnesota.
Allen was assigned to cover Bernard Berrian, and held the wideout to 2 catches for 24 yards. Although he won the right cornerback job out of training camp, the former Volunteer doesn't possess the overall talent to have many more games like this."

Sure, they will say the same thing after Chad Henne's first 300 yard game this season, because they are negative and are incapable of disagreeing with each other, taking anything a beat reporter or editor says as fact/truth.  

The reality is that the only facts in the NFL are in the box scores and the only truth is in the win/loss column.

The facts are that the Dolphins did enough to win, creating four turnovers, 3 sacks, a defensive touchdown, and 3 goal line stands (I consider that a 'Hat Trick' for the defense). 

The truth is the Dolphins are 2-0 and in control of their own destiny right now.  A win against the Jets next week would put them in the driver's seat to win the division with a 3-0 (2-0 div) record.  The week after they play the Patriots, who barring a miracle from Buffalo, will be 2-1 (1-1 div).  The worst that can happen if we lose to them would be a tie for 1st place heading into the bye week.

So for now let's feel good about the facts and this truth.  Jason Allen has played very well in the last two games, as has Vontae Davis.  These two look much better early in the season than any Dolphins CB combo looked all of last season.  That is something to be praised, not cast aside as a fluke.  The two starting cornerbacks get my game ball for yesterday's performance.  There's no reason to expect them to get worse as time goes on.  There is no logic in that, just spite.  

If only they would let Dolphin fans cover the team instead of Jets and Patriots fans...