Sunday, September 21, 2014

Things I Liked, Things I Didn't, Things To Look For Against the Chiefs

Either the Bills are much better then I thought or the Fins aren't as good. Either way, last week was disappointing and brutal. It would be real easy to just say there was nothing that I liked last week, but I found a few (very few) nuggets.
Things I Liked:
  • Ja'Wuan James played well. Last week I wrote that his matchup vs. Bill DE Mario Williams would tell us a lot about the kid. It did. He looks like a keeper. (Like the Fins don't need to worry about the RT for the next decade keeper! Might be best o lineman taken in 2014 draft.) The sack Williams did record was because Tannehill was trying to escape from pressure up the middle and ran into Williams. 
  • Mike Wallace's touchdown reception. Wallace is who he is. Yes, he drops some balls but he also makes some good grabs. And that one handed grab was great! 
  • Jelani Jenkins first start wasn't bad. Led the team with 14 tackles.
  • I know it was garbage time at the end and the Bills were more than happy to give up little dump off passes, but I liked what I saw with Orleans Darkwa catching some passes on the Fins final drive. (If nothing else it was a running back actually catching the ball! Cough cough, Lamar Miller)
As you know, there were few things to like. However, there was not only plenty to dislike, but some things I saw that will be pivotal to the Fins season and the future of some players and coaches.
Things I Disliked:
  • The lack of intensity. When players come out and say they did not or could not match the Bills intensity, that's a problem. A big problem. A head coaching problem! 2 years in a row!?!  No excuse. This would be a major factor in Coach Joe Philbin's review if I were Mr. Ross. 
  • Special Teams. You are not going to get a punt blocked, muff a punt, and give up a kickoff return for a touchdown and win to many games. Horrible. 
  • I get the rationale of running the clock out before half time. You don't want to risk giving up a turnover, digging yourself a deeper hole before the half. I get it, I don't agree with it.  Philbin showed a horrible lack of confidence in his offense.  Would he have done that to Mike Sherman?
  • Lamar Miller needs to catch passes. I am sorry to say that he has not developed into the back that I thought he could be when drafted. 
  • Where is the up tempo offense that we heard so much about in the preseason? 
  • Tom McCarthy needs to stick to announcing Philadelphia Phillies games.
  • I am beginning to question if Ryan Tannehill is the Miami Dolphins answer at quarterback.
This week's game is huge for both teams. It is a big trap game for the Dolphins. The Chiefs are battered by injuries, on the road, and don't want to be 0-3. Like I said, huge trap for the Fins.
Things To Look For Against the Chiefs:
  • Chiefs defense is down a lot of starters. The Dolphins offense should be able to move the ball and score points. 
  • Edleman hurt the Dolphins in week 1, Watkins killed them in week 2. The Fins need to control the drags over the middle. Watch out for TE Travis Kelce and slot receiver Junior Hemingway.
  • The Chiefs offensive line has struggled.  Left tackle Eric Fisher has not lived up to his draft status (though he did play well last week) and starting Right tackle Donald Stephenson is still suspended, the Dolphins defensive front need to control the line of scrimmage.
  • It will help if Jaamal Charles is not 100%, but the Fins can't sleep on Knile Davis. He has talent.
I felt uneasy going into last weeks game, but picked the Fins because I believe they have sneaky talent and  I am a homer. This week scares me, not as much as last week, but still scares me. I think the Chiefs are going to bring their "A" game. They are desperate for a win. If Miami's coaching staff does not have the team ready, it could be ugly. That being said, I think the Fins rebound at home. The joint should be rocking. The offense starts to get on track. Big day for Tannehill, Hartline and Clay. Prediction: Dolphins 27 Chiefs 21. Enjoy the game!

Carl C. Crowley

Kansas Chiefs Offense charted out vs Denver Week 2

Hi to all who are taking time out of their day to read this blog, which I always love to check out for Dolphins related content. I am extremely honored to be asked to post to the blog, and am going to try and bring fresh content on a weekly basis. For my debut post, I decided to check out the Chiefs offense in focus for one game, to see how they dispatch their personnel, to see what trends and tendencies one might find by studying their offense. What follows is what I charted out for the past game vs Denver, and after, I will try to make sense of it while also giving my opinion on certain things the Dolphins defense must pay attention to and be ready for to have success on Sunday afternoon.

The Chiefs ran a total of 80 plays, and credit goes to Andy Reid for having an equal 40 play split from both the shotgun and with Alex Smith under center. They used a variety of formations and personnel groupings, When the offense was under center, the run/pass ratio equaled out to 21 runs, 18 passes, and 1 play in which Alex Smith lost control of the ball while carrying out end around action, and it was tough to tell if he intended to hand the ball off or not. When the offense was in shotgun, however, the run/pass ratio was far less balanced, with 9 runs, compared to 31 runs.

1st down under center saw the Chiefs run 22 plays from under center, with 15 runs and 7 passes. When in shotgun on first down, the Chiefs ran 13 plays, 5 of which were run, while 8 of these play calls were passes. 2nd down under center saw the Chiefs run 14 plays from under center, with 6 runs, 7 passes, and the aforementioned Alex Smith mishandling of the ball. 2nd down plays from the shotgun was where you began to see the Chiefs become pass heavy, with only 2 runs compared to 11 pass plays. 3rd down with the Chiefs under center saw all 4 plays be passes, while the shotgun had a ratio of only 2 runs compared to 12 pass plays.

My gut feeling looking at these numbers led me to the following conclusions: Andy Reid had two things that he was really trying to accomplish, protect his offensive line and keep his offense out of obvious passing situations, while controlling the ball and keeping it out of Peyton Manning's hands at the same time. I think our defensive line is every bit as good as Denver's, and given the state of the Chiefs offensive line, I expect a similar approach from Reid and Co. in this football game.

As for a personnel grouping breakdown, this is what I found:

Under Center, 1st Down

11 personnel-2 plays (2 pass)
12 personnel-6 plays (4 run, 2 pass)
20 personnel-3 plays (2 run, 1 pass)
21 personnel-9 plays (8 runs, 1 pass)
22 personnel-2 plays (2 runs)

Under Center, 2nd Down

11 personnel-4 plays (2 runs, 1 pass, Alex Smith mishandle)
12 personnel-8 plays (3 runs, 5 pass)
13 personnel-1 play (1 pass)
21 personnel-1 play (1 run)

Under Center, 3rd Down

11 personnel-2 plays (2 pass)
13 personnel-1 play (1 pass)
22 personnel-1 play (1 pass)

Shotgun, 1st Down

10 personnel-1 play (1 pass)
11 personnel-6 plays (3 runs, 3 pass)
12 personnel-1 play (1 run)
13 personnel-1 play (1 pass)
21 personnel-2 plays (1 run, 1 pass)
22 personnel-2 plays (2 pass)

Shotgun, 2nd Down

11 personnel-10 plays (2 runs, 8 pass)
12 personnel-3 plays (3 pass)

Shotgun, 3rd Down

11 personnel-9 plays (2 runs, 7 pass)
12 personnel-5 plays (5 pass)

Things I noticed:

When the Chiefs want to run the football, they have no hesitation letting it be known by putting Anthony Sherman on the field, They sprinkled in some play action, but it was few and far between.

They used end around action on multiple occasions, never handing the ball off, but to run to the vacated space, or to widen the defense opening up extra space for runs up the middle.

The Chiefs use a lot of motion, with the main emphasis being one of two things, either as coverage identifiers, or to get into a stack/bunch look to allow for free releases for their targets in the passing game.

The routes being utilized were very much so in the short to intermediate area, the deep developing routes involved keeping a TE in to help block and allow for the WR's to get down the field.

All 3 times the Chiefs got Demetrius Harris on the field, they kept Fasano in to block and had both Harris/Kelce release down the field. Kelce is much like he was in college, a big body who gives Smith a reliable target. However, outside of obvious passing situations, Fasano was the TE who stayed on the field when they only went with one.

Alex Smith is very dangerous with his legs, multiple times he hurt the Broncos defense when they played man and had defenders backs to the defense. His ability to manipulate the pocket is one of his very underrated traits, it is critical that our defensive line maintain their rush lanes. Say what you want about Smith, he is very good at helping the offense secure first downs, he doesn't make unforced errors.

The Chiefs showed the zone read on a few occasions, with packaged concepts included. One of the things that Andy Reid allows for Alex Smith is built-in slants and bubble screens, on 3 plays Smith aborted his handoff to turn and throw to these built-in concepts. Reid also liked to isolate Travis Kelce on the backside of multiple plays, and was unafraid to move him all over the formation trying to find the right matchup.

My Final Thoughts

This is a game where the LB's are going to be the key to this game, as well as tackling on the perimeter, and in the open field. Reid is a master in the screen game, and though it didn't show up a lot in the Broncos game, it is a great tool to help an over matched offensive line. Our defensive line will have to exhibit a great deal of patience, as I don't expect to see a whole lot of long developing routes, and they use a lot of bunch/stack looks in which Alex Smith literally wastes no time getting the ball to the correct man with accuracy.

While Donnie Avery and AJ Jenkins have some speed, I don't believe they will get behind the defense. Stopping both Travis Kelce and Dwayne Bowe and getting them to the ground with as little yards after catch as possible will be key. Red Zone defense will be even more critical in this game than most, as Alex Smith and Andy Reid will most likely be able to scheme their way to move the football between the twenties.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

My Saturday with Omar

Those of you who follow me on Twitter  you probably saw a heated conversation between myself and Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Saturday morning around 10 am or so. While it can be tough to carry on such a conversation tweeting on your cell phone and being restricted to 140 characters let me give you a quick re-cap of the conversation and explain in longer form why this conversation got a bit heated and both myself and Omar dug in deep on our stances.

It started off simply with Omar Kelly claiming that the Brandon Marshall "FOOTBALL LIFE" episode on the NFL Network this past week was eye opening and recommended people to set their DVR's to watch it. To translate Omar felt it was a "must watch."  I saw that tweet and responded with it was a "fluff piece" which in my opinion it clearly was after viewing it the other night. Knowing the details of Brandon Marshall's past after watching this episode of "FOOTBALL LIFE" dedicated to Brandon I can say without any shadow of a doubt the NFL Network glossed over, skipped over, and flat out ignored a lot of details that occurred in Brandon Marshall's life that let's just say paint him in a bad light. To me it was a total fluff piece and while an interesting watch in some regards it was hardly must-see.

Well I guess King Omar Kelly disagreed and in King Omar's world there is no such thing as "agreeing to disagree"because Omar just opens up with a full front on attack. Claiming I know nothing about BPD how he is an expert and I have no credentials to talk on the matter and he just went on and on. Yes, not only is Omar an expert on football, and expert on BPD, he is also a mind-reader who is telling me over twitter what I do and don't know about BPD. And is telling me I have "limited knowledge."I'm saying to myself this joker is flat out making stuff up because he doesn't know what I do or don't know about BPD. I then pointed out to Omar while yes I know he had someone very close to him in his life who suffered from BPD I also had someone close to me who suffered with it as well and I am versed on the matter. I also pointed out that he nor I are doctors or experts on the subject but can both have an opinion on the matter.

Well not in Omar's world because he went on about how I am judging Brandon and blah blah blah blah, and who am I to judge anyone...blah blah blah blah blah. And that I think I have all the answers. Which I never said, in fact I said I am not a doctor or an expert just giving my opinion on my first hand experience on the matter. What Omar doesn't realize is that he is also judging Marshall by giving him the benefit of the doubt and being quick to forgive Brandon for all of his transgressions in the past. And accepting at face value Brandon is a "changed person." And newsflash Omar: You don't have all the answers either! You blindly defending Marshall and accepting at face value he is a changed man is just as bad as someone ripping Marshall claiming he isn't a changed man. I mean Omar doesn't think about the victims of Marshall's past, he just doesn't want anyone to judge Brandon Marshall. Like he has a man-crush on him or something.

So it became silly and at times childish back and forth between me and Omar saying you are no expert and I responded with you are no expert. Which then resorted to Omar pointing out my typos, cause ya know "tweeting" on a cell phone in a moving car I guess I am supposed to not have any errors, And because I mis-Tweeted or it was auto-corrected BPD to BDP....that means everything I said is negated and I no longer am allowed to have an opinion that he shall consider. Yes, the beat reporter of an NFL team actually sunk to this level. He began pointing out typo's when he couldn't come back and support his stance. I am sure Shirley Povich was rolling over in his grave at that very moment.

Then I pointed out that ESPN E:60 recently did a piece on Brandon Marshall in a similar way to the NFL Network piece and Brandon went public being very upset with ESPN and their story on him. Brandon lashed out in the media at ESPN. I pointed out to Omar that he did that because ESPN gave  full and accurate details of all of Brandon's off the field trouble and didn't sugar coat or cover up anything. Didn't gloss over or ignore any of the details and told a true story. I said ESPN didn't do a "fluff piece" like the NFL Network did. Well Omar took that as me taking a shot at him as a journalist. His response was something to the effect of journalism is my field and you know nothing about that to make that statement. That's right because I don't write for a newspaper every day I am not allowed to have an opinion on if a TV piece is a fluff piece or not. In Omar's world nobody who isn't a journalist is allowed to have that opinion on that matter. Mind you Omar just so ya know 11 years ago the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Alex Marvez came to me for a quote to be a part of a story they were doing. Are my credentials good now? CLICK HERE

Oh but this gets better. Omar then says I shouldn't question him as a journalist (which by the way I wasn't) because he has had two, yes two universities ask him to help build their course work for their journalism department. Now, I read that and say, ok name the schools. And of course Omar comes back with something to the effect of stay out of my business. Newsflash for Omar, anyone can make a wild claim on the internet but unless you back it up and are able to support it, then its bullshit in the eyes of myself and many. And many readers were very quick to point that out to Omar that if you aren't going to name the schools then nobody can take you at face value. And it was pointed out to Omar by many that you just spent 30-45 minutes grilling me about my credentials to even talk about let alone have an opinion on BPD and Brandon Marshall and want me to open up my life to the world but when asked to name the  two universities that offered you a position you refuse to answer?  Pot meet Mr. Kettle! 

Here is the long and short of this...

1) You don't need to be Dan Rather, Anderson Cooper, or Brian Williams to call a report a "fluff piece" if it is a "fluff piece." Any non-reporter is allowed to have that opinion when they see a story on TV or in the newspaper that ignores facts and doesn't tell the whole story.

2) The reason Brandon Marshall was mad at ESPN for the story they did on him a week or so ago was because it was a honest account and it brought out all of the old skeletons he has in his closet. They talked about the fork stabbing, the murder, the multiple arrests for DUI/DWI, the multiple arrests for domestic violence. Brandon Marshall has a police record the size of the San Diego telephone book and ESPN didn't skip one incident.  The reason Brandon wasn't mad at the NFL Network was because it was a "fluff piece" and covered up all of his skeletons and didn't mention 1/3rd of them and the ones they did mention they just glossed over and gave it like 10 seconds of air-time if that. Don't believe me, watch both the pieces.

3) I think in Omar's wold he believes he is the only person who has been effected by BPD. And nobody else can talk on the matter. Jason Cole of Yahoo opened up that his father has BPD and he had opinions on it. I had a close friend who suffered from it and saw the ups and downs they went through. I also had someone tweet me saying BPD is the easiest mental illness to fake since there is no real way to prove it and their relative is in the field that covers BPD. Which leads me to the point I made from the beginning, that Omar isn't a doctor on the matter and no more of an expert than myself, Jason Cole, or anyone else who has had a family member or friend who suffered from it. Has he read more books on BPD than myself or others, I don't know maybe. And if so, still doesn't make you an expert. I can read books on how to fly a plane, that doesn't make me a pilot. We all have known someone with the disorder and I am sure all of our experiences have been similar in many ways but different in other ways. That's why when Omar is so quick to discount anyone with an opinion on the matter it is he Omar who turns into a hypocrite. The man who claims he doesn't "judge people" does just that "judge people."

4) Omar a little memo to ya; learn to "agree to disagree" and just let it go. You kept this twitter conversation this morning going on and on and on when all it was is two people disagreeing on a subject. Your opinion isn't gospel. Because you are a reporter doesn't give you the right to just disregard others opinions on news/TV reports and BPD.  And Omar if you must have a complex with the whole "who is and who isn't a journalist" thing because you kept bringing it up. I never claimed to be a journalist. But non-journalists are allowed to have an opinion too. Don't twist an ankle getting off your high horse because your opinion doesn't carry more weight than anyone else's when it comes to things like BPD. And if social media is so bad that non-journalists are allowed to spew stuff, why in the hell are you arguing with fans on Twitter? I mean if every non-journalist on twitter is a moron and beneath you in your eyes (as you are so quick to point out) why even bother conversing with us? I don't see Michael Wilbon or John Feinstein spending 30-45 min arguing and name-calling with people on Twitter...just sayin!

5) IF two universities did offer you jobs to help build their journalism program, that's great. Not sure I believe it since you won't back up the claim and name the schools, but if true I am happy for ya. But I guarantee it wasn't the Newhouse School or any big-time respected journalism school because how you acted today on Twitter was totally unprofessional for a journalist on every level.

This isn't a total knock on Omar Kelly. He is a good  beat reporter who does provide accurate news to the fans about the Dolphins. He works hard and it is interesting to read his work. I am not knocking the guy's work in any way shape or form.  Adam Beasley is also good as is Andrew Abramson they all do good work. Chris Perkins....not so much (I joke I joke, we love Perkins.) But the bigger point is Omar, don't have a thin skin. Don't be a Twitter-Troll and be able to walk away from a debate understanding your opinion isn't the gospel and it's OK to agree to disagree!

In Closing I love ya Omar and enjoy reading your work and it was a spirited debate Saturday morning. And in the spirit of the Ice Buckett challenge if you are this 5 years of education and 2 decades of training (not sure how that math works but I will go with it since it was his words) and experience in 3 fields of journalism,  I challenge you to maybe not be a Twitter Troll to us lowly bloggers and losers who make our livings not being a journalist covering a football team. Maybe stay above the fray and just look down your nose on us and not give us the time of day. Because I hate to tell you Omar you came off looking badly this morning and not like a respected journalist. So if you are going to interact and argue and act like a fourth grader pointing out typo's with us "fans" or "bloggers" expect to be associated with us and not your real peers.

Enjoy the game Sunday!

Fins Painting the Endzone for Tomorrows game

New look to the Dolphins endzone for tomorrows game

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dion Jordan Fails 2nd Drug Test

You read the headline correct. Dolphins DE Dion Jordan has failed a 2nd drug test and isn't eligible to return until after Week 6. The NFL rule is kind of tricky but essentially once Jordan failed his 2nd test his current 4 game suspension was lifted and stopped after 2 games. He is now beginning a new 4 game suspension. All in all, he will miss 6 games in total.

The bigger story here is that Dion Jordan is a total bust of a Top 3 first round draft pick and the Dolphins have to probably move on without him. In fact if I were Dolphins principal owner Stephen Ross I would cut Dion Jordan tonight. I mean let's be honest, can anyone trust this clown at this point? How can you fail 2, yes 2 drug tests between March and September? You have to be an utter fool or a drug addict. Either way who wants that kind of person around your team and locker-room.

It's time for Stephen Ross to cut Dion Jordan and move on from this disaster. Not surprising Jeff Ireland's last big 1st round draft pick turned out to be a big waste and a total flop.

UPDATE: Breaking down the cap numbers, because of the cap hit Miami can't trade or cut him now or in the offseason. It blows up their cap and actually puts them over the cap. There is talk once the suspension is over after Week 6 the Fins will IR him the rest of the year and not play him. Let's see if Philbin, Hickey and the coaches have the balls to do it with their jobs on the line though. But that idea has been reported by some media who were talking to their "sources" last night inside the Dolphins.

Next year, stuck with him again. Best thing for the Fins is if he flunks a 3rd test and gets a year suspension and just goes away. Otherwise you gotta put up with this clown who can't be trusted and he ties up a roster spot.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Big Boss Ross" got it right

The last time I remember a scandal this big, rocking the NFL world was...Oh yeah, last year's bullying scandal with the Miami Dolphins. 

And as much as the fan-base and local media like to mock owner Stephen Ross for his poor football decisions like the orange carpet, making celebrities part owners, chasing Jim Harbaugh across the country and then extending Sparano after chasing Jim Harbaugh across the country, Stephen Ross got it right when it came to suspending Richie Incognito. 

Jon Martin left the team on Wednesday October 30th. The Dolphins won a Thursday night, Halloween overtime thriller against the Cincinnati Bengals and on Sunday November 3rd, Richie Incognito was suspended indefinitely by the team - not the NFL. 

A week later the owner of the Miami Dolphins, Stephen Ross, stood in front of the local and national media and took direct questions. Granted, Coach Philbin did address the situation during an after practice press conference but the fact of the matter is Stephen Ross stepped up and was accountable for his franchise. He even explained that his silence, "in terms of talking to the press", was because he was "waiting for all the facts to come in." 

"When this all happened, when it broke, when I heard the news, I also reached out to the NFL because I knew an investigation had to take place. I called (NFL Commissioner) Roger (Goodell) and told him because I thought if we did an investigation, we wouldn't have the credibility, because people would think we're just looking for an answer. So having an independent investigation, I thought, was very important."

We are talking about one of Miami's only Pro Bowl players on the roster at the time. A pretty good offensive lineman on a team that has been having offensive line issues since Richmond Webb and Keith Sims were on the team. And Stephen Ross acted swiftly and decisively. There is no doubt the offensive line play suffered without having Incognito on the team. The Dolphins gave up a total of 58 sacks last year, which I believe was a franchise record. 

Players on the 49ers, Ravens, and Panthers have serious allegations against them. Much more serious than any rookie hazing or bullying accusations. Yet we have not heard from the ownership of any of these three organizations. 

As far as the Vikings go, owner Zygi Wilf issued a statement on the Adrian Peterson situation today in front of the media and immediately after was "exit stage left". Instead he left his brother and GM Rick Spielman to face the firing squad. Mark Wilf looked like a deer caught in headlights. 

Stephen Ross definitely had to bump his head a few times while learning to be an NFL owner, but when his team was in crisis he was out in front of the problem and did the right thing from the beginning.