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 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: