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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Can Miami Still Make The Playoffs?

Yes, the Dolphins can still make the playoffs. Basically they MUST end up in a three way tie with Pittsburgh and Baltimore or a four way tie with Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Buffalo at 9-7. One win by Pittsburgh or Baltimore and Miami is out. Miami cannot win a 5, 6,7 or 8 way tie with Kansas City, San Diego, Houston or Cleveland involved. (Yes, it is possible for there to be eight 9-7 teams)
Houston MUST beat Baltimore at home this week and lose at home to Jacksonville next week.
Remaining Schedules:
Baltimore is at Houston and home for Cleveland
Pittsburgh is home for Kansas City and Cincinnati
Buffalo is at Oakland and at New England
Kansas City is at Pittsburgh and home for San Diego
San Diego is at San Fran and at Kansas City
Of course, the Dolphins must win their final two games
Source: ESPN's NFL Playoff Machine


Monday, December 15, 2014

Post game outlook from Dolphins @ Patriots

The Dolphins once again lost dropping them to (7-7) on the season with two games remaining and little to no chance at making the playoffs. The Dolphins scored at the end of the first half to get within one point of the Patriots, but then laid a goose egg in the second half and showed that they are truly not ready for the bright lights. Lets explore my keys to the game and see where things went wrong. My first key was to get to Brady and the Dolphins did not do that. They didn't sack Brady once all game and only tallied 5 qb hits while the Patriots defense got 4 sacks and 10 qb hits. Next was to run the ball effectively like they did in the first meting, but they did not do that either rushing for a total of 76 yards and no touchdowns. My third key was to contain Rob Gronkowski and in the first half they did an excellent job shutting him down, but in the second half was a different story where he caught all three of his passes for a total of 96 yards with a long of 35 yards and a touchdown. Next was to avoid turnovers and Ryan Tannehill did not do that  throwing two interceptions to give Tom Brady ball back and also for the Patriots first score they blocked a field goal and returned it 62 yards the other way. For my final key was to score points and the Dolphins did not do that either  by only scoring  points for the second straight week. The Dolphins did not execute any of my keys which in the end resulted in a loss.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pat's Crush Phins In 2nd Half

For those of you who still think that Joe Philbin has what it takes to be an NFL head coach and should stick around for another year, this game against New England is a perfect example of why I feel he should be gone. The Dolphins clearly outplayed New England in the first half despite being down by 1 point. A couple of mistakes led to the Pat's 2 TD's. A great catch in the endzone by Mike Wallace in the final seconds of the first half brought the Phins to within 1 point and Miami had all the momentum heading into the second half.

That second half was an absolute disaster. New England came out firing and put up 27 unanswered points. The Dolphins barely put up a fight. No answer to stop Brady, no answer to stop Gronkowski. Nothing. The Dolphins were flatter than a pancake. This was on the coaches. They had nothing to counter what New England was doing.

According to CBS Sports, Miami is not OFFICIALLY eliminated, but a bunch of good teams would have to lose their final two games for Miami to slip in.

I hear progress in being made, but what I see is Miami losing two straight games with the playoffs in their grasp for the second year in a row. That is not progress, no matter what they do in the final two games. If you want to be a playoff team, you need to beat playoff contenders and Miami has failed to do that these past two weeks. I don't think Phibin deserves to keep his job by beating up on two patsies at home with nothing on line.

Enough Already!

I awoke this morning looking forward to my Sunday routine. Up early, watch last weeks Dolphins game again, and write an article for the best Miami Dolphins Fan blog in the world - Dolphinstalk.com. As a checked last nights headlines, I saw what has become part of a Dolfans annual routine - an article saying Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin is on the hot seat. This is not news. Philbin came into the season on the "hot seat" according to the mouth breathers both in local Miami sports media and the "experts" in the national media. Many of them were surprised that Philbin survived last years media driven 'bully scandal".  I began to research possible coaching candidates after disappopointing losses to the Bills and Chiefs, but after impressive wins against the Bears and Chargers, and competitive losses to division leaders Packers and Broncos, I felt the Fins were turning the corner. Not just becoming a playoff contender, but building a consistent winning franchise. A team that has the chance to go to the big dance year in and year out, one that the fans can be proud of. It takes time, it takes vision, it takes consistency.

So let's skip ahead. It's Monday December 29th. Black Monday for NFL coaches. The Dolphins just had their first winning season since 2008, narrowly missing the playoffs. It's only the 3rd winning season out of the past decade. Joe Philbin's Dolphins record is 24-24. He took over a 6-10 team and has improved every season since (albeit to slow for many Dolphin fans). His young team was hit harder then most by injuries and they limped to the finish line. His young quarterback has improved every year as well, even though he had to learn a brand new offense for the 2014 season. Is the best thing now to blow it up and start all over again? And if you really think that, why?

As Dolfans haven't we seen this before? Let's go after the hot name. Jimmy Johnson, Nick Saban,  Jeff Fisher, Jim Harbaugh (twice?) Has the hot name ever been successful? Some can argue that Johnson was at least successful in that he got the Fins to the playoffs, but never lived up to expectations. Saban not only was unsuccessful as a coach, but  he set the franchise back an unmeasurable amount by choosing Culpepper over Brees.  Jeff Fisher helped the media meme that the Dolphins were an undesirable franchise, but what has he accomplished in St. Louis? Fisher has a worse record than Philbin's (Fisher is 20-25-1), and has had untold numbers of high draft picks, and yet he is never on the hot seat? And now Harbaugh. Harbaugh has never had a coaching job outside the state of California. I don't think that is a coincidence. It has also been said that Harbaugh has a shelf life - it takes about 3-4 years for him to piss off whoever he works for. So, that means if by chance Harbaugh would take the job, you would be doing this all over again after the 2017 or 2018 season. Is that any way to build a consistent team?

I'm not giving Joe Philbin a pass. He still would have to go 9-7 for this season. (I am predicting a loss to the Patriots today.) Honestly, I am not sure how I would feel if they went 8-8.  With continued progress, I would rather see Ryan Tannehill get another year in this offense. I want to see what Dennis Hickey does in year 2. I want to see if the Miami can become a consistent franchise. Enough already!

Carl C. Crowley
@carlccrowley

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Keys to the Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots

The Miami Dolphins (7-6) travel to New England to face the Patriots (10-3). The Dolphins will be looking to sweep the Patriots as they already beat the Patriots in week 1. This is by far the most important game of the year for the Dolphins with a win they are still in the hunt for a playoff spot, but with a loss they will be on the outside looking in. Here are my keys to the game for the Dolphins.


  1. Get to Brady: In the first meeting the Dolphins did a good job of this by totaling 4 sacks. The Dolphins need to do this again and make Brady uncomfortable by hitting him to get them behind the chains.
  2. Run the ball: I know we had Knowshon Moreno in the first meeting, but we need to run the ball effectively. Lamar Miller needs more carries and I hate how we abandon the run early in games when really we need to run more to help out Tannehill.
  3. Contain Rob Gronkowski: We can't allow Gronk to have a big day against us like he has had in the past. We need to double team him cause putting one man on him whoever it is, is just not enough.
  4. Avoid turnovers: If you want to win any game in this league you have to avoid turnovers especially against the Patriots we cant give the ball back to Brady for another opportunity to put points on the board. 
  5. Score Points: The last two weeks we have put up 16 and 13 points respectively that is not good enough. If we want to win this game we need to score more points than that. Brady will put up points, so we will need to match that.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Postgame outlook from the Dolphins vs Ravens

The Dolphins took yet another heartbreaking loss to the Ravens putting them at (7-6) on the season and now on the outside looking in on the playoffs in the AFC. The Dolphins needed to win this game to show they were a playoff quality team, but on Sunday they were too inconsistent and couldn't put the ball in the end zone. Lets review my keys for the game and see where the Dolphins went wrong. My first key was to get off to a good start in which they actually did scoring field goal and scoring a touchdown to Brian Hartline taking a 10 point lead going into the 2nd quarter. My next key was to score touchdowns rather than kick field goals and the Dolphins didn't do that settling for two field goals and only one touchdown vs the ravens defense. My third key to the game was to force turnovers the Dolphins did get an interception early in the 2nd quarter, but didn't do anything with it as the Dolphins were forced to punt after getting the turnover. We needed more than just one turnover to win this game. My next key was to contain Justin Forsett and which the Dolphins did a better job containing the opposing running back as he rushed for under 100 yards, but the Dolphins allowed him to bust a  big run of 44 yards that resulted in a touchdown later in the drive and allowed Bernard Pierce to break one for 24 yards to the goal line that also resulted in a touchdown the play after. The Dolphins needed to do a better job and not allow these big runs as they changed the whole game. My next key was to confer on third downs which the Dolphins didn't do only converting 4/12 for 33%. The Dolphins couldn't continue drives when it mattered the most and instead punted, we needed more opportunities to score and didn't execute. My last key to the game was to protect Tannehill because last year we allowed 6 sacks to the Ravens, but that didn't happen as the Ravens registered 6 more sacks this year, 3.5 sacks came from Elvis Dummervill. He controlled our offensive line and forced so much pressure. Allowing this many sacks killed us badly. All these sacks forced our drives to come to an end and I think this is the main reason why we lost this game. We couldn't protect Tannehill and continue drives especially in the second half where we only managed to score a field goal. This is a disappointing loss and hopefully we can come back next week and get back on track or else our playoff hopes might just be over.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Things I Liked, Things I Didn't, Things To Look For Against The Ravens

Sorry it has been a couple of weeks. Work and life sometimes get in the way. But I'm back for the home stretch. After Monday's game, I had to make sure the Dolphins actually won with all the negative chatter. Funny when the Patriots beat the Jets by 2 in Foxboro earlier this season, I don't remember that type of negativity towards the Pats, it must be my memory.
Things I Liked:
  • Dion Sims. Sure it is easy to point to his big catches. He had 4 catches for 58 yards against the Jets, but the bigger deal was his blocking. On 2 different occasions he had the key block that kept Ryan Tannehill upright. Both pass plays went for over 20 yards. Sims's play starts to ask the question could Charles Clay be Wally Pipped. 
  • Jelani Jenkins may be the steal of last years draft. He continues to get pressure on the QB, and comes up and makes plays in the backfield when needed. His penetration in the 2nd quarter for a 2 yard loss stopped a Jets drive and held them to a field goal. 
  • Nice to see Dion Jordan impacting games in some way! 
  • Lamar Miller's tackle on the interception return may have been season saving. 
  • Yes the defense has been pushed around lately, but they came up with the big play when you needed it on Monday and that had been lacking. Cameron Wake viciously sacked Geno Smith, knocking the Jets out of field goal range. Koa Misi comes up with a big sack, pushing the Jets back and led to a missed field goal. Reshad Jones gets the interception to seal the victory.
  • Dennis Hickey. Something needs to be said about the Dolphins first 2 draft picks this season. Ja'Wuan James moving from right to left tackle is no easy task, especially when you consider he played the right side for  the last 4 years at Tennessee.  Besides an ineligible man down field penalty, I didn't hear his name mentioned against the Jets and that's a good thing for an O lineman. And Jarvis Landry leading the Fins in receptions. He comes up with the catch that you need. On 3rd and 8 he runs the slant and knows that he is going to take the hit, but gets the 1st down. I don't know of a team in the league that is getting as much from it's top 2 picks.
Things I Didn't like:
  • Dolphins defensive line.  During the game I saw  D linemen getting manhandled, it wasn't just one of them, it was all of them. And it wasn't anything fancy. It was helmet on helmet, and they were losing their personal battles.
  • The offensive line didn't look much better at times. Neither Daryn Colledge or  Shelley Smith seem to be the answer at left guard. Colledge has been horrible.  Samson Satele looked like he was on ice skates, getting pushed back 9 yards on a Tannehill sack. Pouncey was pushed into Tannehill on another sack.
  • Tannehill is lucky he didn't have more picks. I counted 3 more that came close. 
  • The reverse hurt the Fins, giving up big chunks of yardage. Expect to see it again. 
  • Missed tackles. 
  • If Mike Wallace wants to be considered 'the man" then you need to come up with that catch and use both hands. 
From here on in, every week is like a playoff game. The Ravens come in as 7-5, but are they as good as their record seems? They have feasted on the NFC South; going 4-0 against that win challenged division. Joe Philbin is back at .500 all time. So is Ryan Tannehill,  both 21-21, could this week be  their big signature win? The victory that tells the NFL, the doubters and the Miami Dolphins fans that this team has turned the corner?

Things To Look For Against The Ravens:
  • Dallas Thomas vs. Elvis Dumervil. This match up makes me cringe. Dumervil has 12.5 sacks, but Thomas has been rapidly improving at right tackle. 
  • JuWaun James vs. Terrell Suggs. We will know a lot more about the rookie after today.
  • Look for Tannehill to help his young tackles with hard counts, and if those ends are crashing look for Thill to keep it on the read option. 
  • Losing Haloti Ngata is a big blow for the Ravens. The Ravens are only giving up 86.3 yards a game, but can the Fins run on them more effectively in Ngata's absence. 
  • Ravens are 31st against the pass, but get back CB Asa Jackson from injury. 
  • Steve Smith and Torrey Smith vs. Dolphins banged up secondary. Scary. 
  • Justin Forsett must be licking his chops after watching the last 2 weeks tape of the Dolphins run defense. Baltimore will see if Miami can stop them on the ground.
This is a tough game for the Fins. But the Ravens are coming off a difficult home loss, and suffered a huge blow with the team discovering on Tuesday of Ngata's suspension. I think the Dolphins defensive line plays pissed and the Ravens red zone woes continue. It's time for Mike Wallace to get back in the end zone! Prediction Dolphins 31 Ravens 23. Everyone enjoy the game!


Carl C. Crowley
@carlccrowley