Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Martin goes AWOL from team

Dolphins RT Jonathan Martin has gone AWOL from the team after being the victim of a prank orchestrated by his teammates. As per Jay Glazer, Martin was in the team cafeteria and none of the other players wanted to sit with him. Then he reportedly “flipped out, smashed a food tray on the ground, took off, and they haven’t seen him since.” Hes now at a treatment facility for an unknown condition. I dont have an opinion on this until I know for sure what exactly happened, but he's been under a lot of pressure and this appears to be a serious issue.

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's time to clean house....again.

Despite that we played in Gillette Stadium, a very difficult place to win games in, and that we faced one of the best quarterbacks in the game right now; A good football team would not have squandered a 17-3 halftime lead. A good coaching staff would not have allowed a missed field goal, no matter how critical it was, to change the momentum of the game as much as it did, and were talking about a complete 180. The whole cry for firing Jeff Ireland has grown a bit tiresome so I won't get too deep into that, even though he does indeed need to be fired. Joe Philbin and the rest of the staff continue to allow the same mistakes to cost us games over and over again. The 3-0 start is long gone and other teams picked up our weaknesses and the coaches continually fail to make adjustments to it. It's becoming more obvious what Ryan Tannehill's strengths are as a QB but it is rarely seen in games, granted because he's always being sacked thanks to this dreadful offensive line. It may be wrong to say this so soon, but I've seen this movie many times already. This season is over. Were not going to the playoffs and were not going to finish the season with a winning record. The only reason I could think of that could excuse Joe Philbin of keeping his job would be to fire his offensive coordinator Mike Sherman and Stephen Ross FINALLY pulls the plug on Jeff Ireland, who in my opinion has overstayed his welcome. And what Stephen Ross needs to understand is, there is good continuity and bad continuity. Ireland is unable to draft elite talent and continually overlooks critical positions. If you think I'm wrong, take a look at this offensive line.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Brandon Gibson OUT for the Season with Knee Injury

Albert Breer of NFL.com reporting Brandon Gibson is likely out for the year with his knee injury he suffered in the first half vs New England. Torn Patella tendon is the reason

Matthews will need to step up. Will be interesting to see if the Fins also look to add a WR as well. WR Brian Tymes was just taken off our practice squad last week, talk about bad timing!

Dolphins Vs. Patriots Inactive List

The Dolphins and the Patriots have released their inactive lists for today's game:

For Miami it is the usual suspects, loaded with 2013 draft picks:

Will Davis - cornerback*
Mike Gillislee - running back*
Jamar Taylor - cornerback*
Dallas Thomas - guard / tackle*
Danny Watkins - guard
Will Yeatman - tackle
Pat Devlin - quarterback

*indicates 2013 draft pick

For New England there are a couple names that may be a benefit to the Dolphins:

Chris Barker - guard
Steve Beauharnais - linebacker
Juke Bequette - defensive end
Josh Boyce - wide redeiver
Tommy Kelly - defensive tackle
Aquib Talib - cornerback
Leon Washington - running back.

The loss of Aquib Talib makes the Pats defensive secondary weaker. He has 4 interceptions on the season and also missed last weeks game against the Jets.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Gut Check Time

Week 8 in Foxborough is gut check time for the Miami Dolphins.

It’s time to see what this team is made of. After giving away a division game last week to the Buffalo Bills, this is a chance to make a statement in the division. Going on the road and getting a much needed win against the division leading New England Patriots will give this team something to build on. The Dolphins won’t see another division opponent until week 13 when they travel to New York to face the Jets. A Dolphin’s win and a Jet’s loss and they’re right back in second place in the AFC East.

It won’t be easy but it is probable. First off the Dolphins are healthier than the Patriots. The Dolphin’s D will be at full strength with LB D. Ellerbe back in the lineup. CB D. Patterson and DE C. Wake will be playing in their second game back from injury. Considering QB T. Brady has only thrown one touchdown in three games, hopefully the Dolphin’s defense can get back on track.

Of course the Pats will be without All Pro NT V. Wilfork and starting OLB J. Mayo. With these two key players out the Dolphins should run, run, run the ball. And then run it again! This would be a great week to build on last week’s 103 yard rushing performance by D. Thomas and L. Miller. The Pats are second to last in the NFL against the run. So that means the Dolphins should…run it again!

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


I warned you last week that the Bills game was the type of game the Dolphins usually lose.  Little did I know that the Fins would go out of their way to do it. There wasn’t much to like about the game, and yet the Dolphins still should have won.
Things I Liked:
·      Miami ran the ball much better. Daniel Thomas ran the ball well, and didn’t dance as much. Lamar Miller had a nice 30-yard burst up the middle. I just wish the Fins had remembered that with 3 minutes left on the clock.
·      Jared Odrick continues to impress playing defensive tackle.
·      Ryan Tannehill trying to throw a block on the end around to Mike Wallace.
·      Brandon Gibson had his best game as a Dolphin. He had a great leaping, “1 knee equals 2 feet catch” extending the drive before the half. Plus 2 touchdown grabs.
·      Sacks by Reshad Jones and Dimitri Patterson.
·      Ryan Tannehill’s effort avoiding a sack and getting off a Hail Mary at the end of the game.
I told you, there wasn’t much to like.
Things I didn’t Like:
·      Tannehill’s pick six. Why even throw the ball? Gibson probably would not have gotten the first.
·      Stupid penalty by Don Jones.  It was a 40-yard penalty that was unnecessary, anyone could have downed the ball. It nullified a 74-yard punt by Brandon Fields. On a short field, the Bills went on to score.
·      It is tough to win games when you are down 14-0 nine minutes into a game. The Dolphins came out flat. . .again. I am losing faith in this coaching staff.
·      Tannehill’s 2nd pick.  What was he looking at? Turnovers are obviously bad, in the redzone they are unacceptable.
·      Dolphins getting a turnover, deep in Bills territory and coming up empty after a Caleb Sturgis missed field goal.
·      Reshad Jones missing a tackle in the hole, Bills fullback goes for 18 yards.
·      Wallace still seemed to need to slow down for Tannehill’s deep ball.
·      Dolphins 3rd down defense still giving up big yards. 3rd and 15, the Bills got 21. 3rd  and 17, the defense gives up a 28-yard gain. 3rd and 7, Jimmy Wilson misses a tackle and gives up 8 yards. 3rd and 11, Bills pick up 18 on the play and tack on 15 more for a roughing the passer penalty on Jelani Jenkins. 3rd and 9, they give up 12.  These are momentum-changing plays.
·      The fumble. Why call a pass? I know it has been debated all week and the players and the coaches defended the play call, but it makes no sense. The Bills only had 4 possessions in the second half to that point. 3 punts and a field goal. Bills QB had been sacked 4 times, hurried 10 times and knocked down 10 times before their final drive. You had the ball at the 50. Worse case scenario you make a guy, who 2 weeks prior was on the practice squad, drive the length of the field to win. Bad play call.
Things To Look For Against The Patriots:
·      Rob Gronkowski. I don’t want to seem like a broken record, but stopping the Pats tight could be the key to the game. He had 8 catches for 114 yards last week in his season debut.
·      Keeping Tannehill upright. Pats defensive end Chandler Jones has 8 sacks on the season.
·      The Dolphins need to pound the rock and keep quarterback Tom Brady off the field. With Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo out for the season, the Dolphins need to see if they can run on the Pats defense.
·      Tannehill needs to protect the football if the Dolphins hope to pull off the upset.
The Dolphins have not won in Foxborough since 2008. I think the Dolphins have the talent to beat the Patriots, but like I said earlier, I am losing faith in the coaching staff. And if it is the Fins coaches vs. Bill Belichick and his coaching staff, I have to take Belichick. Prediction: Patriots 31 Dolphins 13.  Have a great weekend and hopefully enjoy the game.

Carl C. Crowley
@carlccrowley

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dolphins-Raiders to play in London

The official Miami Dolphins twitter account just posted that the Dolphins will travel to London next season to play the Oakland Raiders. The game was originally to be played in Oakland but will now be played in the UK. The scheduled date of the game has not been announced.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Conditional Late Round Pick for McKinnie

The Dolphins have sent a conditional late round pick to the Baltimore Ravens for OT Bryant McKinnie. It's likely that some kind of shake up is coming along the Dolphins offensive line. They could insert McKinnie at LT and move Jonathan Martin over to RT where he played as a rookie or they could just have him compete with Clabo for the RT job. Is this a desperation move by Miami? It could be. Ryan Tannehill can't take to much more of hits like this....
McKinnie has given up only one sack this season compared to Clabo's 8, then again he has been inactive the past 2 weeks.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/10/21/3702801/miami-dolphins-trade-for-veteran.html#storylink=cpy

BREAKING: Dolphins trade for Bryant McKinnie

No details of the trade as of yet but the Miami Dolphins have traded for OT Bryant McKinnie of the Ravens.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Buffalo vs Miami PREDICTION

The bye week is over and the Fins are back in action, I have seen alot of Dolphins fan in "panic mode" after 2 losses. But's keep things in perspective and remember the Fins didn't lose to some garbage teams here. There is no shame in losing AT the Saints and at home vs the defending champs in a close game. Miami is 3-2 and the easier part of the schedule is upon us. Starting this week with a beaten up Buffalo team.

I am not going to do an in-depth write up this week because I don't believe this game deserves one. Look at each teams rosters, Miami has far superior talent on both sides of the football. I also feel they have a big edge in the coaching staff department as the few times I have seen Buffalo this year I have not liked what I have seen out of rookie head coach Doug Marrone.

Cam Wake is back at 100% and will be playing and with no knee brace and one would like to think that with the bye week we will see some improvement with the Dolphins offensive line. The Bills are starting a 3rd string QB who is banged up. I think this game will be ugly and get ugly quick. Easy Miami win   Miami  41  Buffalo 10

Saturday, October 19, 2013

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


The Dolphins had an excellent bye week . They got some much needed time off to heal while gaining ground in the playoff race with the  Colts, Titans, Jets, Bills, Browns and Ravens all losing. Speaking of the Ravens, I got a chance to  look at the game again. It was brutal. There were lots more things to dislike then like, even with the game coming down to the final minute.
Things I Liked:
·      You know it is a tough day when your first positive note in a game is “Brandon Fields is a weapon.” By the way, Brandon Fields is a weapon.
·      Olivier Vernon easily had his best game all season. He continually applied pressure on Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and picked up a sack along the way. He also made some nice plays in the backfield and in the open field.
·      Paul Soliai’s lunging tackle of Ravens running back Ray Rice, causing a fumble.
·      Koa Misi had a very good game.
·      Ryan Tannehill made 2 big plays rolling to his left. The first one on 3rd and 10, to Brian Hartline, to pick up a big first down on the touchdown drive before half. The second on the big play to Brandon Gibson on 4th and 10 to give the Fins a chance to tie or win late in the 4th quarter.
·      Dion Jordan’s athleticism and enormous wingspan caused the interception returned for the touchdown.
Not a whole lot to like, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Things I Didn’t Like:
·      Careless clock management cost the Fins. Burning a timeout in the 1st quarter, on your first possession on 3rd and one is unacceptable. Not getting the first down made it even worse. Late in the game, on 3rd and 14, the offense was obviously confused, up against the play clock they burn another one. The next play the Dolphins give up a sack. That wasted timeout cost the Fins on their final drive when they needed a time out instead of spiking the ball.
·      Why have Lamar Miller carry the ball twice on short yardage (and not make it ) but have Daniel Thomas as the target for a screen pass on 3rd and 16 (and not make it)? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
·      Dolphins came out flat.
·      3rd and 5, the Fins give up 41 yards to Torrey Smith. On 3rd and 11, they give up 11.  3rd and 5, Flacco scrambles for 14. 3rd and 10, the Dolphins give up 22. See a pattern? Dolphins 3rd down defense let them down.
·      It’s difficult to pick out which offensive lineman played worse. Richie Incognito looked lost on several plays. Jonathan Martin was manhandled a couple times during the  game. Tyson Clabo continues to remind Dolfans of Marc Columbo.  John Jerry got pushed around.  Poor, poor, poor.
·      Tannehill needs better pocket awareness. Though the offensive line play was bad, there were a couple of times when he held the ball too long, and he could have taken off and scrambled for positive yards.
·      Tannehill and wide receiver Mike Wallace  still need lots of work on their timing. 
·      Too many drops the entire game, especially on the final drive when Miami needed someone to make a play.
I could list a couple more things I didn’t like, but why harp on the negative. That’s what bye weeks are for, to get the team moving in the right direction and forget the past.
Things To Look For Against The Bills:
·      Mario Williams. The offensive line is going to have its hands full all day with him.  They need to account him  on every pass play or it could be a very long day for Tannehill.
·      C.J. Spiller is the type of small,  fast back that has given the Fins defense fits. Darren Sproles anyone? Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle needs to come up with an answer for him.
·      The Bills are ranked 3rd in the NFL in rushing yards per game. Stopping the Bills running attack will be key if the Dolphins are going to win.
·      Look for the Dolphins to try and give Tannehill more time. That could be tight end Dion Sims staying in to block, a running back to chip block, or both.
·      The Bills are ranked 28th against the run. Look for the Fins to try and pound the rock. Could Miller get his first 100-yard game of the season? Maybe we see an end around with Mike Wallace or Marcus Thigpen.
·      Kevin Coyle has had 2 weeks to prep for a rookie QB in his 2nd start. I expect to see some exotic looks to try and confuse him and cause some turnovers.
This game makes me nervous. It is the type of game the Dolphins should win, but have lost in the past. The Fins have been outgained on offense in every game so far this year, I expect that trend to be reversed. The rest does Miami good. Prediction: Dolphins 24 Bills 10. Everyone have a great weekend and enjoy the game!

Carl C. Crowley
@carlccrowley

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dolphins looking to make a Trade

Nick Barlotta of FootballNation.com is reporting the Dolphins are trying to make a trade for 1 of 3 players. They are RB MJD of Jacksonville, OT Jordan Gross of Carolina, and OT Michael Roos of Tennessee. According to Barlotta the Fins would only trade for 1 of these players as they are only offering one draft pick.

I would qualify this as a "rumor" at best so take it with a grain of salt.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Things I Liked . . . Bye Week Edition


If I had told you the Dolphins would be 3-2 at their bye week before the season started, you would have been thrilled, admit it. The schedule the first five weeks seemed brutal, having to face Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Joe Flacco in that order. You would have taken it.  But after opening up 3-0, many fans are disappointed with the Fins 3-2 mark at the break.  The bye week comes at a great time for the team and gives me an opportunity to look at how the season is going so far.
Things I Liked:
·      Ryan Tannehill. I went into this season with a cautious optimism about Ryan Tannehill. I saw a lot of good things last season, and heard all the reviews this off-season, but, as a long-suffering dolfan waiting for our next franchise QB, I didn’t want to get too excited.  Tannehill’s play so far this season has indicated that my optimism is warranted.   He is averaging 276 yards a game, which ranks him 9th in the NFL. He has shown he can make all the throws, though his deep ball needs work.  He has proven that his  ability to run can be a weapon,  and obviously he can take a hit.  He needs to hold onto the ball, and he still stares down receivers way too much, but he has shown great improvement over last season and is developing into the franchise QB Dolphins brass imagined. He is the team MVP at the break and a main reason the Fins are 3-2.
·      Charles Clay. Tannehill might be team MVP, but  tight end Charles Clay is the biggest surprise. Like many dolfans, when Dustin Keller went down with a season ending knee injury, I wondered what the Fins would do. Trade? Waiver wire pick up? Neither, it was next man up and Clay has exceeded everyone’s expectations.. He has 3 touchdowns on the year. ( 2 TD receptions, 1 rushing TD.) He ranks 3rd on the team with 23 receptions and ranks 2nd in receiving yards with 297.  5 of Clay’s 23 receptions are over 20 yards, 2  are over 40 yards.  Those are big  chunk plays! With all the money that Miami spent on revamping their receiving core, it has been Clay who might be Tannehill’s most trusted target and big play receiver.
·      Paul Soliai. I know Pro Football Focus rates Randy Starks better than Soliai, but in my mind Soliai anchors the defensive line. He constantly needs to be double-teamed. Several times a game he is the driving force that collapses the pocket around opposing QB’s. I would not be surprised if Soliai signs an extension  and Starks does not.
·      Jared Odrick. Now that Odrick is playing in his correct position at defensive tackle, his play has looked like the 1st round pick the Dolphins had hoped for. He is another disruptive force in the backfield, can stay on the field for all downs, and his constant hustle and effort catches your eye.
·      Caleb Sturgis. I already feel much more confident in Sturgis then I did in Dan Carpenter last year. A lot was made of Miami using a 5th round pick on a kicker, but current hindsight makes it look like a smart move by Ireland and Company.
Strangely enough, even though I am pleased with the Dolphins winning record at the break, there have been plenty of things that I haven’t like so far this season.
Things I Didn’t Like:
·      The Offensive Line. The lines poor play has been talked about ad nausea the past couple weeks. Funny how losing magnifies your flaws.  The most upsetting part for me about their play on a whole is watching them get whipped one on one. Jonathan Martin has justified all of our preseason fears. I noted early on that Tyson Clabo looked eerily like Marc Columbo, sadly he has proven me right.  Guards Richie Incognito and John Jerry have not been any better, If they do not improve,  O Line coach Jim Turner should be shown the door.  DolphinsTalk.com blogger Darren Shore suggested trying Jerry at left tackle, a position he proved capable of playing in 2011 when Jake Long got hurt. You could then swap Martin back to right tackle or even try him at guard.  I don’t know what it is going to take, but something needs to get done and fast or the season could crumble apart quickly. 
·      The running game. I realize this goes hand in hand with O line play, but it is not all on them.  Lamar Miller is averaging a very respectful 4.2 yards per carry, but he isn’t getting enough touches. He needs more than 10 carries a game (his current average.) Daniel Thomas’s play has been poor, which is why I originally predicted he wouldn’t make the final 53-man roster.  Mike Sherman's play calling has not helped.  It may be a pass happy league, but teams that can run the football win games, especially in November, December and January.  A running game will make the passing game better and would help keep Tannehill upright.  And if it is 3rd and inches, go with the QB sneak!
·      3rd Down Defense. Week in and week out the Fins have a problem getting off the field on 3rd down. It seems that they have no problem shutting teams down on 1st and 2nd downs but collapse when 3rd comes along and give up big yardage.
·      Opposing Tight Ends. We were told this off-season the Dolphins revamped their line-backing core to get younger,  faster and improve in pass coverage. Yet so far, opposing tight ends have been having career days against Miami. To be fair, the Fins have faced some good tight ends, and it does not all fall on the linebackers, (Reshad Jones has been beaten as well, ) but this is unacceptable and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle needs to come up with something.
·      Dion Jordan. He has been effective, but in a very limited role. There is no apparent  reason the coaching staff is handling him with kid gloves.  I realize he was hurt, but you traded up to get him for a reason, it is about time we start to see him more.
·      2013 Draft class. I was expecting more of an impact. When your 5th round selection of a kicker has had the biggest impact, something is wrong. Like with Jordan, injuries to cornerbacks Will Davis and Jamar Taylor have played a part, but that is no excuse for the rest. The draft class has under performed. Third round pick offensive tackle Dallas Thomas has been inactive for EVERY game. It is even more upsetting when I see the Chicago Bears starting Jordan Mills at right tackle and he was selected 2 rounds after Thomas. The draft report on running back Mike Gillislee was he was a good pass blocking back, yet he has only been active for 1 game. Thomas and Gillislee are even more upsetting when considering Miami’s problems with protecting Tannehill. And when Taylor was in the game,  Dolfans wished he were inactive.
The big question coming out of the break will be what the Dolphins look like going forward. I don’t know what to expect. Hopefully, they will get healthy with a week off. A couple of things I hope to see moving forwards.
Things To Look For For the Rest of the season:
·      Tannehill using his feet more to get out of trouble. Some of the sacks can be blamed on Tannehill holding onto it too long. I would like to see him step up in the pocket and take off a little more. It will give opposing defenses one other thing to worry about.  While doing so, he needs to protect the football better.
·      More Dion Jordan. Olivier Vernon started slow, but has picked it up the last few weeks. Even so, Jordan is a playmaker and needs to be out on the field. If he can’t get out there for any reason other that injury, then there is a problem.
·      Hopefully Dimitri Patterson and Cam Wake are back healthy. That would  be a big improvement for our defense.
·      Look for more tight end Dion Sims on pass plays. He can help out with blocking and be a safety valve for Tannehill.
·      More carries for Miller. More offensive touches for Marcus Thigpen. Fewer touches for Daniel Thomas.
I am really excited to see what this team looks like after the bye. I expect them to come out blazing against the Buffalo Bills. The homer in me could see them going 13-3, running the table against everyone and splitting with the New England Patriots. The realist in me could see them splitting with the Pats and the New York Jets.  I also see tough games against the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Diego Charges (both at home), and losable games on the road, like the Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers ( I know the Steelers suck, but it could be a trap game with the Patriots the following week.) Prediction : I am going to split the difference and say the Fins finish at 11-5 and make the playoffs.  I hope everyone enjoys the bye week and has a great weekend!

Carl C. Crowley
@carlccrowley

      

Oldie but Goodie....Marino completes 40 yard behind the back pass


Monday, October 7, 2013

Offense needs a revamp

The bye week for the Miami Dolphins could not come at a better time. After an impressive 3-0 start, the Dolphins are suddenly on a downward spiral due to injuries and terrible offensive line play. If Ryan Tannehill continues to get sacked the amount of times he has been, he’s not going to need blocking he’s going to need a coffin. What I would like to see done, as far as experimenting, is move John Jerry to LT as he was a solid pass blocker there last season and perhaps start Nate Garner at RG just for something different, because the protection cannot get any worse than it has been. That final drive against the Ravens was simply horrid and the play calling was far too predictable. The game plan needs to be changed and Lamar Miller needs to be involved in a more creative manner. When Ryan Tannehill is on the move, his passes are much more accurate, so perhaps we can do some rollouts. The play calling has been too predictable and conservative and I think we’ve seen enough of that from the Tony Sparano era. The offensive line needs a quick fix and the plays need to be more creative and used more to the strengths of the players on the field.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Ravens vs Dolphins Prediction

Ok, so Miami took it on the chin last Monday vs the Saints. Time to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and get back to the winning ways. The Ravens have been only so-so this year but they have a good QB and will put up a fight. They have enough talent to beat Miami for sure.

WHEN BALTIMORE HAS THE BALL: It's all Joe Flacco this year. The Ravens running game has been poor and Ray Rice isn't 100%. It's about getting pressure to Flacco and forcing him to throw on the run or rush throws. WR's Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown are both injured and questionable for today's game. The WR unit is hurting and that might end up being a big advantage for the Dolphins. I expect Cam Wake to play some in this game on 3rd down. His snaps will be limited but the fact he is on the field at all should help Miami. Hopefully he can "go" this week even if its only 20 snaps or so.

WHEN MIAMI HAS THE BALL: The Dolphins must protect Ryan Tannehill,....period. End of debate. They  can't give up the number of sacks they are giving up each week any longer. Tannehill is getting killed. And this notion out there that some of the sacks are Tannehill's fault, please. Stop. It's silly. On some of these plays guys are coming in un-touched or Tannehill is running for his life 2 seconds after getting the snap. The vast majority of these sacks are on the blocking up front and let's not sugar coat things. For the love of god BLOCK SOMEBODY ALREADY! I expect the same in the passing game where Wallace is the decoy which opens things up for Hartline and Gibson to have big games. Lamar Miller improves each week. I expect another 60-70 yard performance out of him today. I think the Dolphins offense has played well for the most part this year (for the talent level they have) and I don't see much changing.

This game reminds me a lot of the Week 2 game vs Indy. Two equally matched teams in a game that will be a dog-fight and go down to the bitter end. MIAMI 23   BALTIMORE 20

Saturday, October 5, 2013

ASSESSING THE MIAMI DOLPHINS FIRST FOUR GAMES OF 2013 - QUARTER SEASON REVIEW





Now that the season has reached the quarter mark, it’s time to look forward to the next four games to see what the Dolphins need to do to keep pace in their quest to make playoffs for the first time since 2008.  Regardless of how bad the Saints made the Dolphins look on Monday Night Football after a 38 x 17 dismembering on national television, let’s keep it real.  NO ONE, not even the most optimistic Dolphins fan predicted that the team would be sitting with a 3-1 record going on to game five of the 2013 season against the Baltimore Ravens.  And by all accounts, the Monday Night game against the Saints was the most difficult one on the schedule, and a loss to a NFC opponent is not as significant as our record against AFC and divisional foes.

Let’s put into a fresh perspective what the Dolphins have done so far in 2013. Most NFL “experts” tend to forecast the difficulty of games based on the how a team performed in the previous season.  Assessing the difficulty of the schedule based on last year’s performances is unreasonable as most NFL teams can change dramatically from one year to year.  NFL reporters are not very reliable when it comes to evaluating current NFL trends and tendencies; they are always projecting outcomes based on past performances.

Game one of the 2013 NFL season had the Dolphins traveling to Cleveland to face a Browns team that not many people were convinced would be a very good one.  And after a hard fought victory, most pundits gave the Dolphins credit, BUT reminded us that Miami had “only” beaten the Cleveland Browns, losers of 11 out of the last 12 home openers.  But alias, look at the standings today and we’ll see that the Browns are the sole leaders of the AFC North division.  At the present time, the Dolphins have beaten a divisional leader at their home turf.  The Browns defense is a  top five unit, and this victory should not be underestimated – it’s exactly the kind of game the “old” Dolphins would lose in the not so distant past.

Game two saw the Dolphins again going on the road to play the Andrew Luck led Colts team.  Not only did Tannehill outplay  Luck, but the Dolphins defense came up with clutch big plays to seal the win. The Colts are a very good team, both offensively and defensively.  Just ask the 49ers that got throttled by Colts the following week in a 27-7 loss at Candlestick Park.  As of now the Colts’ record stands at 3-1, the only loss being to Miami.


Week three was the Dolphins home opener, and although being outplayed most of the game, they found a way to rally at the end and pull off a sensational win.  The Dolphins led for all of 32 seconds in that game – the only seconds that mattered.

The upcoming game against the Baltimore Ravens is a big one for many reasons. First, the Dolphins need to show that they are a mature team and that they can bounce back from a horrendous showing against the Saints.  Second, the Ravens could well be in direct competition for a playoff spot, and the head-to-head tie-breaker could be the difference between playing in the post-season and watching the playoffs at home.  Beat the Ravens and we’re 4-1 with tie-breakers against Baltimore and Indianapolis, two teams that will be fighting for post season spots at the end of the season.  Lose to the Ravens and the Dolphins fall to 3-2, and the confidence gained over the first quarter of the season will disappear as fast as a jack rabbit in front of a prairie fire.  Andy Cohen called this a “validation” game – I call  this  a “must” win game if the Dolphins want to ride the momentum created in the first four games and to continue to be in strong contention for a playoff spot

Here’s my prediction for the next four games:
Ravens @ Dolphins W
Dolphins @ Patriots L
Bengals @ Dolphins W
Dolphins @ Bucs W

·     Yes folks, I see the Dolphins at 6-2 at the halfway point.  It’s not only possible, but it’s probable if the Dolphins can limit turnovers and remain free of injuries to important players during this stretch.  Let’s see how it goes starting tomorrow at 1:00 PM, my prediction is Dolphins 23 x 20 Ravens!