Tuesday, November 24, 2015

RUMOR: Fins Headed back to London in 2016

There is a rumor circulating this morning among NFL circles that the Miami Dolphins will once again be headed back to London in 2016 to play a game. This time though the Dolphin's won't be giving up a home game. The rumor is the Miami @ Cincinnati game next year in 2016 will take place over the pond.

DolphinsTalk.com hasn't been able to confirm this rumor at this time. More on this developing story as we get more information.

UPDATE:: Rumor is not true and Miami won't be going to London. The NFL announced their 2016 London Schedule and Miami is not a part of it.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Impressive, But Can They Keep It Going?

The Fins showed some grit last week. Down by 13 early, I like many others,  thought another blowout was on the way. But the young guns came to play. Rookie free agent  linebacker Zach Vigil’s blocked punt ignited the Dolphins, and they were able to squeak out the win. Surprised? Shouldn’t be, the Eagles have a lot of similarities to the Fins. It is the type of team that Miami should beat if they are on their game. But it was still impressive especially when you factor it was their 3rd straight road game.  The wheels could have easily come off the wagon, down by double digits, giving up another embarrassing safety, but they battled back and truly showed me something. It is the type of win that I doubt  Joe Philbin would have been able to coax out of this team but Dan Campbell can.
Before last week’s game I alluded to seeing what the young guys have. We certainly got to see it. Along with Vigils’s big special teams play, RB Jay Ajai galloped for 48 yards on only 6 attempts. Corner back Bobby McCain played 95 out of 96 snaps on defense and DE Chris McCain got a big sack on Sam Bradford that knocked Bradford from the game.  The young guys came to play. Now can they continue it against Dallas?
Today starts the string of “quality” QB’s the Fins are going to face, albeit that Tony Romo is coming off short term IR.  With the Dolphins line backing core banged up and showing zero ability to cover the tight ends when healthy, Romo will certainly be looking for Jason Witten & Gavin Escobar.   Will the Dolphins be able to stuff  running back Darren McFadden and the highly praised Cowboys offensive line?  Miami should be able to score points on offense, keeping the running game in check and controlling the Dallas Tight End’s should be the key to the game. Romo scares me, but I think the Fins win the game 27-17.
A caveat to last week – Do I think Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is still the true front runner for the Miami Dolphins Head Coaching job? Yes and No. Yes I still think he is the front runner, but I do think if Dan Campbell finishes with a winning record it will be hard to replace him.  It will be impossible to replace him if somehow the Fins make the playoffs.  So right now,  while Miami is still in playoff contention Campbell still needs to be looked at as the front runner.  

Miami Dolphins New Head Coach Rankings:

  1) Dan Campbell – He has to be the front runner with a winning record and the Fins still in Playoff contention

2)   Hue Jackson – Tannebaum #1 target.  There will be competition to get him, rumors have it that the Titans are already interested as well.

3)   Urban Meyer – Any Dolphins HC list needs to include a big name, just so the media can continually harp on the meme that Steve Ross will want a big name. But Meyer could make sense, plus it would be a huge bonus for Michigan to get Meyer from Ohio State.

4)   Dirk Koetter – Will not be a popular name amongst Dolfans, but has a relationship with Mike Tannebaum 

Everyone enjoy the game!  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rants Before Kickoff, Waiting For The Hue Jackson Watch To Begin

It has certainly been a roller coaster ride for Dolfans the last 5 weeks. The reality of a once promising season came crashing down but was given life support with the firing of Joe Philbin and the hiring of interim HC Dan Campbell.  Though history was against Campbell’s success, it seemed at first that enthusiasm and competition was enough to breath life back into the 2015 season. But then reality struck, sure Campbell may be enough to get the Fins to beat teams they should, (which was obviously missing against the Jags) however not enough to compete with the better teams. His inexperience in time management has been costly, and the play calling still questionable.  The Miami Dolphins are still the same organization they have been for the last 12+ seasons.  Bad. It’s not easy for me to write this.  I have always put my faith in the organization and supported their moves believing in the process. I’ve been a homer. It hasn’t worked. After watching the whipping by the Bills last week I had to admit several obviously sad things to myself, and Campbell not being the answer is certainly one of them. But that’s not the only one.

The talent level is not there.  The team is not close. (Whew! It feels better to say it out loud.)  General Manager Dennis Hickey has made some good picks, but has still left many areas void of talent.  I am not ready to jump off the DeVante Parker bandwagon, but with Landry, Mathews, and Stills already on the roster, was WR the best pick in round #1? A trade back while obtaining other assets, especially since the Fins were missing there 3rd round pick from the Stills trade would have made more sense. Was Jordan Philips the best selection in round #2 since we had already signed Ndamukong Suh and Earl Mitchell the last 2 off seasons and had plenty of promising youngsters on the roster? Maybe a middle linebacker would have been nice. To go into the season with Louis Delmas as part of any safety solution was ludicrous. Glaring needs at guard and cornerback were essentially ignored or at best were afterthoughts.  But there’s more.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is not the answer.  Miami Dolphin fans so wanted him to be. We believed the hype. We convinced ourselves of the improvement because the numbers got better, but the results have not.  He still wilts under pressure. He has a horrible record against AFC East opponents and a losing record overall.  Dolfans need to ask themselves, do they feel confident in Tannehill steering a 4th quarter comeback drive when you need it the most? The answer is no. The Fins should look to cut bait on him and his contract as soon as they can.

So what are Miami Dolphins fans to do for the 2nd half of the season? Hopefully look forward to seeing some of the young guys play and see what we have to build around. Running back Jay Ajayi looks like he might be getting more carries. Philips might be getting more snaps. I like that linebacker Mike Hull was signed off the practice squad, realizing it is a mostly short term/special teams move because Spencer Paysinger did not travel with the team. Though I would not mind seeing him play some middle linebacker. Bobby McCain might be getting more playing time at cornerback. Chris McCain is finally active, lets see what he has. What else?  The Hue Jackson watch begins. I strongly believe Jackson is the front-runner for the job. I believe that is whom Mike Tannebaum wants and whom he will target.  I would not be shocked if the deal gets done while the Bengals are on their bye week during wildcard week.  More on my Hue Jackson belief later, until then get what you can from every game.


Week 10 preview: Miami Dolphins @ Philadelphia Eagles

Miami Dolphins @ Philadelphia Eagles
Kickoff 1:00pm
Announcers: Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon

After another disappointing AFC East game, the Dolphins try to rebound on the road again.. This time against the Eagles.

Many Dolphins fans, including myself, believed the season was turned around after the bye week. However, that was quickly turned around on back to back divisional losses, for the second time this season. The same issues keep popping up. Poor OL play, lack of establishing the run and lack of stopping opposing teams from running. This weeks match up poses another problem. While Bradford isn't a world beater, the Eagles offense has been clicking. With Murray starting to come around and Ryan Matthews adding an additional punch, it's hard to see Miami winning this game. However, any given week can have one team beating another. Here are the keys to victory for Miami:

1. Run, run and run- the Dolphins find themselves in a hole early most of the season which doesn't allow the ground game to get established. The wrinkles that Miami ran last week against Buffalo need to continue, to keep the Eagles guessing where the ball is going. Adding Ajayi into the line up gives Miami a bruising back with the ability to break a big play. Expect Miami to get both Miller and Ajayi early with runs and passes out of the back field

2. Stop the run- this theme is week in and week out. This game will hinge on Suh and co to force Bradford into third and long. Bradford (10 TD, 10 INT) has been inconsistent. The Eagles recent success is due to a ground and pound offense, picking up big chunks which has been allowing for better play action passes. Miami needs to force Bradford into mistakes to give them a chance, but it starts up front.

3. Air it out- Tannehill has found success in recent weeks in getting the ball down field. With the Eagles secondary giving up big plays, Tannehill and the Receivers need to open up holes for the running game. Landry, Stills and Matthews need to get YAC to keep the Eagles reeling.

4. Protect the QB- the above only works if the OL can give Tannehill time. Sacks have been major drive killers. If they can give Tannehill time to go through progressions, the offense will click as it did versus Houston and Tennessee. The Eagles have a monster in Trent Cole and he will be a headache up front if he gets established early and often in the Phins backfield.

Prediction: while this is a game with similar schemes offensively, the Eagles have been running it better. Until Miami can prove to establish the run and stop it, we, as fans, may be in for another long week

Eagles 24 Dolphins 20


Monday, November 9, 2015

Coaching wish list and possible candidates

The honeymoon is all but over after multiple mistakes by Dan Campbell in Sunday's defeat to the Buffalo Bills. With Campbell's lack of experience, Tannenbaum and co will start doing their search shortly to see who may be available. Here is a list of potential candidates:

1. Urban Meyer (OSU)- his name has been popping up for years and his proven track record and coaching abilities may help this team grow. Albeit a long shot, don't be surprised if a phone call is made to Ohio State requesting to speak with him.

2. Sean Payton (Saints)- there is no secret the turmoil over who is running the show down in New Orleans. With Brees having 30 million against the cap and lack of defense, Payton has an out. The news dropped in recent weeks that he is open to different jobs if he chooses to leave. Miami may be on his short list.

3. Chuck Pagano (Colts)- another coach with turmoil and on a lane duck one year deal, Pagano has ignited the Colts resurgence over the last four years. He didn't receive an extension and he doesn't get along with the front office from what's been reported. He may be available at seasons end.

4. Les Miles (LSU)- yes, history states hiring a coach away from LSU hasn't been ideal, but this guy can coach. He brings passion and enthusiasm to the side lines. As long as he leaves Cam Cameron in LSU, he may be a great hire but may be a long shot as well.

5. Jim Schwartz- here is a very likely candidate to be brought in. His defenses have always been outstanding and he was Suh's coach in Detroit. He would need to bring in a very good OC since his downfall has always been having great defenses and little to no offense in his tenures.

The usual suspects (Gruden and Cowher) will come up when the season ends but don't hinge any bets on either leaving their current jobs. Unless a blank check is handed to either of them, don't get your hopes up. The more realistic possibilities are in the list above, granted a few I listed may be long shots as well. An experienced head coach is needed. The coordinator route since 2007 is over. I put this on Stephen Ross to bring in the best guy for the job, that has coaching experience and a proven track record for results.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Week 9 preview- Dolphins vs Bills

Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills (-2.5)
1:00PM Kickoff at Ralph Wilson Stadium
Announcers: Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots

After a difficult road loss to the Patriots and suffering major injuries to Cameron Wake (done for season) and Ja'Wuan James (4-6 weeks), Miami goes to the not so friendly confines in Buffalo where they have, historically, struggled.  This game poses a serious tests to this teams fortitude as this is a do or die game for the season.  The Dolphins, currently 9th in the wild card standings, 1 game behind Pittsburgh and the New York Jets.  Why this game is important is on tie breakers going the rest of the way.  With tough games coming up against the Eagles and Cowboys, this game is vital to get a victory. 

How will they get there?

- RUN THE FOOTBALL.  They abandoned what got them two consecutive victories, in convincing fashion mind you, real early against the Patriots.  Their identity was lost and the game was lost as well.  They need to get Miller going early and often, and if Jay Ajayi can get some touches since he has been officially activated, he can get those tough yardage carries to help get first downs. 

-Protect Tannehill.  The Bills have been a nuisance to Ryan Tannehill throughout his career and needs to get off to a good start with quick passes and timing routes to get the Bills off balance.  The Patriots, Jaguars, Giants and Bengals have all been successful against their secondary by keeping the QB clean.  This is a top priority and can help.

- Keep Tyrod Taylor in the pocket.   He has shown tendencies to get happy feet once pressure hits.  It is up to Suh, Vernon and McCain to get continuous pressure on him but also not allow him to break containment to scramble.  He is deadly with his legs and can hurt Miami if they can get Buffalo in tough third down situations.  Misi may be spying most of the game.

-Stop the Run.  This has been a strength recently but needs to be at its best.  McCoy is a game changer and can really shred a poor tackling team with his cuts.  Miami needs to stay disciplined and square him up to bring him down.

This game is huge for both teams.  It is really going to come down to which defense can get after the QB.  If history continues, it will be the Bills who take advantage of Miami mistakes, which was prominent in their 41-13 thrashing of the Dolphins in week 3.  I unfortunately believe the Bills will win this game, based on Miami's poor history of playing in this stadium.

Bills 21 Miami 17