Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Philbin Era Will Continue

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross announced today that head coach Joe Philbin will return as the Dolphins head coach in 2015. I'm sure that fans in New York, Buffalo and Boston were excited to hear the good news.

Dolphins Eliminated

Pittsburgh defeated Kansas City this afternoon ending any hopes the Dolphins had of making the post season.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Upcoming Miami Dolphins Free Agents

Looks like the Dolphins have some decisions to make.

(chart courtesy of


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 - 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

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

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Keys to the game for the Miami Dolphins vs Baltimore Ravens

The Miami Dolphins (7-5) return home for a pivotal match up against the Baltimore Ravens (7-5). This game has a lot at stakes for both teams who are trying to get in the playoffs in the AFC. Whoever wins this game will have a edge in the standings and tiebreakers which could come into effect with the AFC being so tight. I believe this is a must win for the Dolphins and they need to show they are a playoff team. Here are my keys to the game.

  1. Get off to a good start: The Dolphins need to start fast in this game and can't afford to be down early in this one. The Dolphins have had a hard time starting the game fast recently, but if they want to win they need to get off to a good start in this one.
  2. Score touchdowns rather than kick field goals: The Dolphins only scored one touchdown last week vs the Jets, but that wont be good enough this week. The Dolphins need to score touchdowns rather than kick field goals all day. We cant afford to get into the redzone and settle for field goals. If we are going to win this game we have to score touchdowns. 
  3. Force turnovers: One way we can take control of this game is by forcing turnovers. We need to pressure Joe Flacco and make him uncomfortable. Whether it be forced fumbles or interceptions we need them to make mistakes and capitalize on them.
  4. Contain Justin Forsett: Our defense has had a hard time stopping the run in the last two games. If we want to win this game we need to contain Justin Forsett who has had a good year replacing Ray Rice. We cant allow him to go off like CJ Anderson or Chris Johnson.did in recent weeks.
  5. Convert on 3rd down: Currently the Dolphins are converting on 41% of third downs. They need to do a better job of this and keep drives alive.
  6. Protect Tannehill: Last year when the Dolphins played the Ravens the Ravens sacked Tannehill 6 times. This can't happen this time around if the Dolphins want to win. The Dolphins will catch a break with Haloti Ngata being suspended earlier today, The offensive line needs to to play well and know where Terrell Suggs is at all times as he accounted for 3 of the 6 sacks last year.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Post game outlook from Dolphins vs Jets

It wasn't pretty, but the Miami Dolphins were able to pick up a 16-13 victory over division rival New York Jets and improve to (7-5) on the season and as of now hold the 6th and final playoff spot in the AFC. The Dolphins defense struggled against the run all night allowing 277 yards on the ground, but the offense didn't look that much better as they couldn't get in a rhythm and flow whether it be dropped passes, missed throws, missed kicks and the interception. The Dolphins came out the half and made adjustments by stopping the running game and after Lamar Miller scored on the ground  the defense did its job and sealed the game with a interception from Reshad Jones. On to my Keys to the game the first key was to put pressure on on Geno Smith and they did that on the last drive when they had to which made him make that mistake, but the rest of the night there wasn't no pressure because the Jets game plan was to run the ball over and over. On to my second key which was to protect Tannehill. The Jets have a good defensive line and for the most part the dolphins did a good job protecting Tannehill and only allowing two sacks. My Next key was to feed Lamar Miller the ball. Lamar only got 13 carries, but he made them count racking up 56 yards and the winning touchdown, but still I would have liked them to give him the ball more and give him more opportunities to make a play. My next key to the game was to know where Percy Harvin is at all times. They did a good job for the most part in containing him and not allowing him to make a big play as the Jets  chose to run the ball 49 times Harvin only got six of those carries to go along with one reception. My final key to the game was to tackle the football and bring downs guys and not allow yards after contact. I was disappointed with the tackling in the first half  as they allowed Chris Johnson, Chris Ivory, and Greg Salas to break tackles and get yards after contact. In the second half they did a much better job of tackling and bringing guys down fast.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Dolphins Claim Don Jones

The Patriots cut former Dolphins safety Don Jones on Thanksgiving Day (yes Thanksgiving Day) and the Dolphins saw this as an opportunity. The Dolphins secondary which has been just hit with injuries and is so thin at this point put in a waiver claim and brought Don Jones back. To make room they cut DB Lowell Rose.

Jones is a special teams ace and is a little better of a player in the secondary than Rose is at this point. So this is an upgrade on two levels.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Keys to the game for the Miami Dolphins vs New York Jets

The Miami Dolphins (6-5) travel to Metlife Stadium to face AFC East division rival New York Jets (2-9. This game is very important for the Dolphins as they must in my opinion win 4 of the next 5 games to get a playoff birth in the AFC. While the Jets who are already out of contention look to play spoiler in this one as they turn back to Geno Smith at quarterback.

My Keys to the game for the Dolphins

  1. Pressure Geno Smith: The front 7 needs to put pressure on Geno and make him feel uncomfortable whether it be sacks or or just pressure that forces him to make mistakes like throwing interceptions which he as already thrown 10 on the season.
  2. Protect Tannehill: The offensive line did a good job last week allowing only one sack and will need to do again this week. The Dolphins will catch a break this week as it looks like Muhammad Wilkerson will not play due to a toe injury, but still the offensive line will need to play well and give Tannehill time to make plays.
  3. Give the ball to Lamar Miller: It feels like sometimes the Dolphins get away from handing the ball off to Lamar Miller whether it be the play calling or rotation at running back. I think they need to put the ball in Miller's hands more and let him make plays like he can especially at the end of the game.
  4. Know where Percy Harvin is at all times: Percy Harvin is the Jets most explosive offensive weapon and the defense needs to know where he is at all times, The Jets will move him all around whether it be in the backfield, slot or on the outside. The Dolphins can't let him get behind them in coverage.
  5. Tackle the football: The Dolphins had a hard time last week tackling the football allowing CJ Anderson break tackles and get more yards after contact. The Dolphins worked on fundamentals this week and need to clean up tackling and making sure they get guys onto the ground.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


We at would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Post game outlook from the Dolphins vs Broncos

The Miami Dolphins once again took a heartbreaking loss against a good opponent this time falling to the Denver Broncos 39-36. With the loss the Dolphins now stand at 6-5 on the season with 5 games left. My keys to the game were to pressure Peyton Manning which didn't happen as the Dolphins defense only manged to get one sack on the day and that came early. Next was to stay positive on the turnover margin which for most of the afternoon the Dolphins did as they got a turnover on special teams and the only mistake of the day came in the 4th quarter when a Ryan Tannehill pass was tipped and intercepted. Another key was to run the ball effectively. The dolphins ran the ball 21 times for a total of 97 yards which wasn't good enough. I wish they would have ran more and run more clock doing so, but oh well. By owning time of possession that would have meant we controlled the ball more and kept the ball out of Manning's hands, but the Broncos offense had the ball for 9 minutes longer than the Dolphins with their running game. Next was to get off the field on 3rd down, but the Dolphins failed to do so allowing the Broncos to convert 9 of 13 third downs in the game and stay on the field and continue drives. I will save the best for last my last key to the game was to score touchdowns in the redzone rather than kick field goals and the Dolphins did a excellent job in that department on Sunday by going 5 for 5 in the redzone. The offense executed great when it came to scoring and just needed the defense to play better to get a big win.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Jamar Taylor OUT for the season

Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post is reporting Dolphins CB Jamar Taylor will miss the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury.

This is a huge injury to the Dolphins who have already lost Will Davis and Cortland Finnegan is banged up and not ready to return to the field yet.

UPDATE 11/24: After tests on Monday it was found there was no structural damage to Jamar Taylor's shoulder as initially thought. And it is possible Taylor could return later this season. The Dolphins have said they will not rush him back though.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dolphins to get new "Alternate Jersey" in 2015

Are the Orange Jersey's coming back?
Our friends over at the website Uni-Watch are saying the Dolphins are one of four teams who will get a new alternate jersey for next season. Rumor is that it will be orange but that has not yet been confirmed. CLICK HERE to read the article.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Keys to the game for the Miami Dolphins vs Denver Broncos

The 6-4 Miami Dolphins travel to the mile high city to play the 7-3 Denver Broncos in a pivotal match up that will affect the the AFC playoff race for both teams. This game is very important for the Miami Dolphins as they try to get back in the playoffs for the first since 2008. They can't afford too many more losses this season and if they can get a win over Denver who is coming off a loss to the Rams it will probably their biggest win of the season. Here are my Keys to the game to beat Denver.

  1. Pressure Peyton Manning: If our front 7 can put pressure on Peyton and either get sacks or make Peyton get the ball out in a hurry will be key. If we can make him get the ball out of his hands in a hurry he will make the same mistakes as he did last week and throw interceptions. 
  2. Stay positive on the turnover margin: We can't afford to give the ball back to manning and that offense. We can't give them extra possessions to put points on the board. Another thing is we need to force turnovers wether it be forced fumbles or interceptions we need at least two turnovers from our defense and not only do we need turnovers we need to capitalize on them and score touchdowns.
  3. Run the ball effectively: The Rams were able to run the ball for 131 yards we need to do the same with Lamar Miller and get positive yards doing so.
  4. Own time of possession: again by running the ball the Rams won time of possession by over ten minutes. If we can control this game it will help us a lot.
  5. Score touchdowns in the red zone: Knowing Denver's offense we cant afford to kick field goals when we get in the red zone we have to score touchdowns to keep up with the Broncos. 
  6. Get off the field on third down: Our defense needs to get off the field on thirds downs and force the Broncos to punt the ball and give our offense more opportunities. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Harbugh won't be coming to Miami in near future

Ian Rapoport also mentioned this morning on NFL Network that Stephen Ross doesn't want to fire Joe Philbin at this point and Philbin is safe in Miami.

Video: A FOOTBALL LIFE: The Perfect Backfield

In case you missed NFL Networks show A FOOTBALL LIFE on the 1972 Miami Dolphins backfield of Csonka, Kiick, and Morris here are is the show!

Part 1        Part 2        Part 3         Part 4       Part 5    

Davis to IR, Brown brought up to Main Roster

Will Davis #29
Dolphins CB and special teams stand-out Will Davis has been placed in IR ending his 2014 season with a torn ACL. The Dolphins called up CB Jalil Brown from the practice squad to take his place.

The Dolphins have already lost Safety Michael Thomas in the secondary and now Davis, so if Cortland Finnegan can't go vs Denver in two weeks the Dolphins will be hurting in the defensive backfield with very little depth. And Peyton Manning licking his chops to attack a very thin Dolphins secondary.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Post game outlook from Dolphins vs Bills

The Miami Dolphins picked up a huge victory last night on Thursday night football to improve to 6-4 and keep stride in the AFC playoff race. There wasn't much offensive explosion in the first half of the game as it was a defensive battle and the Dolphins trailed 6-3 heading into halftime. The Dolphins who are a good 3rd quarter team came out and scored the first touchdown of the game courtesy of a Ryan Tannehill 7 yard touchdown pass to Brandon Gibson. Once the offense got the lead the Dolphins defense took over the game only allowing 3 more points and getting multiple sacks including a safety in the 3rd quarter. Heading into the 4th quarter the Dolphins lead 12-9 and would add to that by scoring another touchdown this time a 8 yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to Jarvis Landry. The Dolphins would get another field goal to close out the game as the defense got two fourth down stops and secure a 22-9 victory. My keys to the game were to protect Tannehill, protect the ball, special teams, start fast, and convert on the third down.  The Dolphins did not start fast nor did they protect Tannehill like I would have liked them to by only scoring 3 points in the first half and allowing 5 sacks not all of which were the offensive lines fault as Tannehill ate the ball on some to not force a mistake. For the most part they took care of the ball despite two fumbles by Tannehill and Landry, but the defense bailed them out. The Dolphins special teams did a good job not allowing any big returns and the offense did a good job on third down converting 4/9 which is 44%

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Prediction for Bills @ Dolphins (Thursday night football)

Bills @ Dolphins: This is a very important game for both teams if they want to get back into the playoffs this year and more importantly for the Dolphins as they lost to the Bills in week 2 and can't afford another loss to the Bills. I suspect it to be a good competitive game. Both teams are coming off a loss and The Dolphins are the team to break the skid at home. Ryan Tannehill will continue to play well as he will throw two touchdowns, but Kyle Orton will match that and special teams will be the difference as it has been in the past the Biills have capitalized in that phase of the football game by having both a punt and kick off for a td in recent meetings, but this time it will be the Dolphins turn as Jarvis Landry will return a punt to the house and secure a win. Dolphins win 27-24

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Problems in the red zone

The Dolphins have not been good in the red zone this year. Last year they finished 11th in the league in red zone percentage. This year they lead the league in red zone opportunities and are ranked an abysmal 30th in red zone percentage (TDs) after nine games. Forty six percent in the red zone is not going to cut it.

At his press conference on Monday Bill Lazor said this about the red zone, "The safeties are closer and the passing windows are smaller. Your margin for error is less.

"We must be detailed and do it exactly right. "

When quarterback Ryan Tannehill was asked about the offense's inefficiency in the red zone he simply said, "We haven't executed. We've had opportunities all types of ways to score. We just haven't been able to make it happen."

A lot of people were questioning the coaching decisions by Philbin regarding the timeouts. Like I said on Twitter to my esteemed colleague, the Dolphins lost to the Lions because the players could not execute; especially in the red zone.
Buffalo's defense is not the greatest at stopping their opponent in the red zone this year (they rank 23rd). But with the offensive line shuffle the Dolphins had to do to account for losing their big money left tackle Brandon Albert, the offense is going to have to score touchdowns, not field goals, every red zone opportunity they get Thursday night.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tannehill Hurt; Moore prepared to Start

Multiple reports are out tonight that Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill was limited in practice today with an ankle and right shoulder injury. Matt Moore took most 1st team reps in practice today and is prepared to possibly start Thursday night per reports.

Fins to wear all Aqua on Thursday Night

Dolphins President Tom Garfinkel sent out a tweet today telling fans to wear Aqua on Thursday night. Then he tweeted this picture as a hint/giveaway the team will be in all Aqua for the Bills game.

Next man up; Lazor on deep ball

Last Sunday the Dolphins suffered a huge loss with Brandon Albert going down for the season. There is no argument. Brandon Albert is Miami's best player.

So here we are. Thursday night football on a short week doing the offensive line shuffle against a division opponent with the same record and that has beaten Miami 4 out of the last 5 contests. This game is going to tell us a lot about our beloved 2014 Miami Dolphins. The loser of this game can pretty mush kiss their playoff hopes good bye.

Every NFL team has to deal with injuries. It's part of the game. The great teams overcome. It's going to take the entire team to overcome the loss of Brandon Albert; not just the offensive line. Offense Coordinator Bill Lazor addressed this Monday at his press conference. Next man up!

"When one guy goes down different areas have to pick it up. Receivers. Tight ends. A little bit more on you. Let's get open faster. We all have to share the burden of taking up for Albert being down; including me."

Ju'Wuan James moved over to left tackle when Albert went down and the blocking seemed to improve against that obscenely aggressive Detroit front. The Bills defensive line is just as nasty but neither me or Lazor are overly concerned about James' transition to the left side. Next man up!

"I thought at some point in his career Ju'Wuan would be a left tackle because of his ability to move."

The Dolphins gave veteran G Shelley a two year 5.5 million dollar deal. Looks like he gets the call with Colledge still out. Time to earn that money son. Next man up!

Dallas Thomas moved to right tackle where he's seen reps in practice and Lazor said he likes Billy Turner's explosiveness and power. Next man up!

Make no mistake. This game is all about who is going to control the line of scrimmage.

When asked about the dreaded deep ball frustration Lazor had this to say:

"We've addressed the mechanics. We've addressed people getting on the same page as far as landmarks where we're trying to throw the football. We've repped it in practice...I choose to operate with the belief that the next one will prove everybody that we can do it."

Lions Game

Grimes had good coverage on the Calvin Johnson touchdown. Safety Louis Delmas got frozen on the fake and did not provide over the top help. 

If Tannehill leads Hoskins a little more it's a first down and the drive keeps going. Instead the ball was behind and he gets picked. Great hustle by Tannehill to save the touchdown.

Only real questionable coaching call was that reverse in the first quarter. I guess they were trying to neutralize the rush but the Lions were ready for it. Credit the Lions defense. They played a hell of a game,

Damien Williams is a player.

Earl Mitchell continues to impress. He blocked the field goal and I think if he recovers it instead of Jordan he scores.

This loss falls on the players for lack of execution. Specifically the offense. The Dolphins are 5-16 when trailing at the half. With the loss against Detroit Joe Philbin and Ryan Tannehill are now 20-21. Under .500 again.


Monday, November 10, 2014

A message from Dolphins Super Fan Papa Pump

Papa Pump has a message for all you Dolphin fans. Stand up! @LosDez

Road to the playoffs for the Dolphins

Currently 11 teams in the AFC have a record above .500 right now and are looking to get into the playoffs, but only 6 spots are available. With 7 games remaining the Dolphins are currently 5-4 and have 4 games vs AFC teams that could potentially be in the playoffs. The Dolphins have lost pivotal game against Bills, and Chiefs, but have won games vs the Patriots and Chargers. In my opinion the Dolphins will have to finish 10-6 to get a playoff birth meaning they must win 5 of the 7 remaining games. Those games feature the Bills on Thursday night, @ Denver, Jets 2x, Ravens, and Vikings. The Dolphins Must beat Division rivals Bills on Thursday night, so the Bills wont have the tie breaker. The Dolphins will also need to to sweep the Jets, beat the Ravens and Vikings at home to get to 10 wins on the season unless they upset either the Broncos or Patriots. It wont be easy, but the Dolphins have the talent to do so they just have to put it all together.

Keys to the game for the Dolphins vs Bills

In a AFC East match up that has a lot of implications in the AFC playoff race. Both teams are currently 5-4, but the Bills own the tie breaker over the Dolphins because of the Bills weak 2 win. This game will play a huge part in the playoff race and the Dolphins can't afford another loss to their division rival. Here are my keys to the games for the Dolphins.

  1. Protect Ryan Tannehil:. In the past the Dolphins offensive line has struggled against the front four of the Bills. In 5 games in his career Tannehill is 1-4 against the bills being sacked a total of 18 times. Now that Branden Albert is out for the season Ju'wan James will anchor the left tackle spot and it will be very important as it is for every game that this offensive line protects and gives Tanehill enough time to throw the ball.
  2. Protect the ball: In the 5 games Ryan Tannehill has played in vs the bills he has threw 5 interceptions and fumbled twice. You cant give the Bills extra opportunities to put points on the board.
  3. Special teams: In the past vs the Bills the Dolphins have gave up both a punt and kick off return for a touchdown, so it will be key for the Dolphins special teams to make tackles and not allow big returns. 
  4. Start Fast: The Dolphins need to start fast and get the offense rolling. They can't afford to get behind at home from the beginning. 
  5. Convert on third down: The Dolphins need to convert on third down to keep drives going. Currently the Dolphins rank 19th in the NFL converting on third down 40.5% of the time. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

What To Look For Next Week (Thursday Night) vs. Bills

The Dolphins are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Lions this Sunday, which included a roller coaster of good and bad plays. One of the positives that the Fins' can take from this game is the play of Brent Grimes lately, who had a big interception the play following a Tannehill miscue. This came at a critical time in the game, considering the Dolphins could have potentially gone down 17-0 in the 2nd Quarter. In my eyes, the Dolphins need to focus on 3 things going into Thursday night's showdown with Buffalo.

1. Offensive Line vs. Bills Defensive Line: 
The Dolphins need to control the rush coming from one of the top defensive lines in the NFL. Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes can cause great havoc on the Fins' offensive line, and force Tannehill into awful throws, like we have seen in the past. All I can tell you, is that without Branden Albert, the Dolphins better adjust, and do it quick. This will be a LONG night if they cannot stop that Defensive front.

2. Shutting Down Sammy Watkins:
The stud from Clemson. All the chatter about Watkins has come because of his recent play. He has eaten up the Bills schedule, gaining 607 yards in 9 games. He also has managed to bring in 5 Touchdowns. This kid can give the secondary a hard time.

3. Pressuring Orton:
Like the Dolphins are trying to stop from this happening to them, the Dolphins have to get Cam Wake off the edge, and on top of Orton on the turf. In order to take some pressure off of the struggling offense, the defense, like it has been, must earn some stops. If they are able to do that, I am willing to give the Fins the upper hand in this one.

Prediction: Another blowout on Thursday Night Football
Dolphins 31, Bills 14

Postgame outlook vs the Detroit Lions

The first half looked ugly for the Dolphins only scoring 3 points and Ryan Tannehill throwing a interception, but the defense played strong especially Brent Grimes who made the interception of the year and only allowed 10  points. Only down by seven at halftime. It didn't look promising coming out of the locker room as the Dolphins got the ball first, but Daniel Thomas fumbled the ball and gave Detroit the ball back, but once again the defense did it's thing and made a stop. A few drives later Matt Prater attempted a 42 yard field goal for the lions, but it was blocked by Earl Mitchell and returned to the 3 yard line by Dion Jordan which set up a Ryan Tannehill touchdown pass to Mike Wallace. The 4th Quarter started with the Dolphins up 13-10. Both Teams would exchange field goals with the score being 16-13 Dolphins before the Lions got the ball with 3:13 left to go. Detroit would drive down the field and finished it off with a 11 yard touchdown pass to Theo Riddick and a heartbreaking loss for the Dolphins to put them at 5-4 on the season. Now they get to fly back to Miami and need to put this loss behind them fast as they have a short week and play division rival Buffalo Bills on Thursday night football in a key game if they want  to stay in the playoff race. 

My keys to the game were for Ryan Tannehill not to turn the ball over and for the most part he did a good job expect for that interception to James Ihedigbo in the first half, but did a good job chasing him down saving a touchdown. Next was to run the ball effectively which was not accomplished as they only ran for 50 yards and a fumble. The defense did create pressure on Stafford accounting for 3 sacks 2 by Cameron Wake, but on the last Detroit drive they failed to get pressure on him and gave him time to throw the ball comfortably. The last key to the game was to keep acclimating Jarvis Landry into the offense and they did that as he was tied in most receptions and  and led the Dolphins in yards with 7 catches for 53 yards. 

Branden Albert Out for the Season

Reports out of Detroit are Dolphins left tackle Branden Albert broke his fibula and tibia and is out for the rest of the season

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Keys to the game for the Dolphins vs the Detroit Lions

This week the 5-3 Miami Dolphins travel to Detroit to face the 6-2 Lions in a pivotal match up for both teams and here are my keys to victory for the Dolphins.

  1. Get the running game going with Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas to shorten the game and keep Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense off the field. The Dolphins currently rank 5th in the NFL in rushing averaging 137 yards per game and need to continue running the ball the effectively not only to shorten the game, but to get the play action going. Lamar Miller is officially questionable for tomorrow's game, but I suspect he will play. He has had a big year with 518 yards and 5 touchdowns so far. Not only is Lamar running the ball well, but quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been using his athleticism and running the ball more in the read option as he has runs of over 20 yards in 3 straight games.
  2. Continue to not turn over the ball. In this 3 game winning streak for the Dolphins Ryan Tannehill has only turned over the ball once and that was against Jacksonville. If Tannehill can protect the ball against this Lions defense which ranks number one in total defense the Dolphins should be fine.
  3. Create pressure on Stafford. The Dolphins defense has been playing great football in this 3 game win streak by creating pressure on opposing quarterbacks and forcing turnovers. If the front four of this Dolphins defense can get to Matt Stafford and create pressure by getting sacks or making him get the ball out of his hand in hurry it will allow the secondary to do its thing and get turnovers which they have been so good at lately. 
  4. Keep incorporating the rookie Jarvis Landry in the offense. He has been a spark to this offense the last couple of weeks playing in slot. It would only benefit him and this offense if he given more snaps.

Mid-Season Awards

Best Rookie: Jarvis Landry
The Fins have played 8 games so its time to pass out some Mid-Season awards.

MVP: Ryan Tannehill: He has improved each and every year in Miami and when he is playing at a high level this team can beat anyone in the NFL. This year he finally has a capable offensive line, an offensive coordinator who has a clue (well most of the time), a running game, and an above average group of WR's to throw to and Ryan is showing the world he is a legit QB in this league. So far in the first half the games vs San Diego, Chicago, and Oakland have been flawless. In other games like vs New England and Green Bay he has been very very good.

Best Offseason Acquisition: John Benton: To say the Dolphins offensive line has been a disaster the past two seasons is an understatement. I know some will say well adding Brandon Albert, drafting JaWuan James is what really fixed the o-line but in reality its been all Benton. James is a rookie and wet behind the ears and have you heard his name called much at all for a holding through 8 weeks? Nope! Samson Satele was washed up and kicked to the curb but now he is playing at a very high level. The Dolphins lead, yes they lead the NFL at 3.3 yards before the running back see's contact on running plays. Dallas Thomas while he still isn't anything special is at least a viable player who when pressed into action won't hurt the offense. How and why Houston let this assistant coach go is beyond me as he very well might be the best offensive line coach in the entire NFL right now.

Best Rookie: Jarvis Landry: JaWuan James is a close second since he has started every game at right tackle but Landry has given Miami a special teams threat and made numerous big plays on offense. Landry has been a beast as a kickoff returner, he has improved as a punt returner, and at wide receiver he isn't afraid to go over the middle, make the tough catch in traffic and take a hit, and he is one of the better blocking WR's in the running game in the entire league let alone on the Dolphins. He is a player who does all of the little things that don't necessarily show up on the stat sheet to help a team win. And as the season is going on he is getting more involved in the passing game and making more plays there. Sky is the limit with this kid.

Best Free Agent Signing: Branden Albert: The turnaround of the offensive line began with the signing of Albert to anchor the left tackle position. He has been everything as advertised and more. He is the leader of the unit, he is an elite LT in this league, and he shows up and does his job each and every week. I want to give an honorable mention to Louis Delmas here as well. He has helped turned the Dolphins secondary into an above average unit and has played lights out this year, but Albert was the best free agent signing this year.

Most Improved Player: Jelani Jenkins: A mid-round pick 2 years ago who did little last year but play special teams Jenkins has turned into Miami's best linebacker so far this year. He can cover tight ends and RB's in the passing game and he has speed to cover a lot of the field. The reason Miami is the #1 defense covering tight ends this year, Jenkins!

Most Underrated Player: Jared Oddrick: At this point he may be the Fins best defensive tackle on the roster. He has been un-blockable at times through 8 games and while technically not a "starter" he has been dominating when he is on the field.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Upon further review: Chargers vs. Dolphins

Here are some of my observations after watching the last Sunday's game again.

Tannehill looks like he's starting to figure it out. I couldn't care less whether or not he can connect with Wallace on the deep ball or not. Sure it would be nice but if he keeps having games like he did against the Chargers who cares? A couple of plays stand out to me. 

First, in the 2nd quarter it was 3rd and long after a false start penalty. Tannehill fires a heat-seeking missile to Wallace between three defenders for a 38 yard gain and a first down. It was a big time throw. Second was the touchdown to Matthews. The pocket collapsed around him, he rolled out and waited for his receiver to get open. He showed patience and play making ability with that throw. When I saw that I immediately thought, "Ok. He's getting it." Tannehill is in control of his offense. On one play, as the offense approached the line, Tannehill can be heard saying, "Let's go B.A. get down!" He was telling is franchise left tackle Brandon Albert to get set to keep the tempo up. I like that. 

Earl Mitchell has been a great addition to this team. On the play before recording his first sack of the season he was about ten yards down field ready to make the tackle on receiver Malcom Floyd. He hustles. 

I don't think Landry could have gotten any closer to the boundary than he did. What a great play by the rookie.

Rookie RB Damien Williams was looking like Ricky Williams with all those carries in the 4th quarter. 

The last time the Chargers were shut out was against the Chiefs 0-34 in 1999.

Chargers now have two losses within the their division and now a conference loss against the Dolphins.


VIDEO: Every Tannehill Dropback vs San Diego

Dolphins give up Home game with Jets in 2015

It was announced on Thursday that the Miami Dolphins will give up a 2015 Home game with the NY Jets and the game will be moved to a neutral field in London. The Dolphins are the first NFL team to give up a home game to a division rival.

Two things to remember with this....

1) Dolphins Principal Owner Stephen Ross is playing nice with the NFL as he wants to host a Super Bowl. Ross is trying to score brownie points with the league by giving the league what it wants hoping down the road they return the favor and they give Miami a Super Bowl once the stadium renovations are complete.

2) The Jets-Dolphins game in South Florida was never much of a Dolphins home game anyway with all the Jets fans who fill the stadium. By moving the game to London (where the Fins are popular) the Dolphins might have more of a home field advantage in reality.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dolphins going back to London in 2015

Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald is reporting that the Dolphins are in fact going back to London in 2015 for a game. It is being hinted that the Dolphins are doing so in an effort to score brownie points with the league as it will help them land a Super Bowl down the road.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Michael Thomas to IR

The Dolphins have placed safety Michael Thomas on Injured Reserve with a chest injury ending his season. To replace him the Dolphins have signed Jordan Kovacs who has spent time with the Dolphins in training camp.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dolphins CRUSH Chargers

This was the start of a tough four game stretch for the Dolphins and they couldn't have started off any better. In one of their most complete games in a long time, the Dolphins crushed the Chargers 37-0. It was so bad for the Chargers that Phillip Rivers was on the bench at the end of the third quarter.

San Diego had one good drive, their opening drive. They drove to Miami's 22 where they had a fourth and one. They went for it and Rashad Jones dropped Branden Oliver for a one yard loss and that was pretty much it for the Chargers on this day. The Dolphins forced Rivers into four turnovers, sacked him three times and were in his face all game long. Brent Grimes had two picks, Rashad Jones had the other and Olivier Vernon forced Rivers fumble.

On offense the Dolphins were almost unstoppable. The only negative in the first half was a missed 45 yard field goal by Celeb Sturgis and time ran out in the first half. Ryan Tannehill had one of his finest days, going 24 of 34 for 288 yards and three TD passes. He also tacked on 47 yards on the ground.

This was a good win against a good team and a QB some consider one of the elite QB's in the NFL. If the Dolphins can continue to play at this level, the playoff drought could come to an end.

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

I can't remember a time when a Dolphins win was treated so much like a loss - and that's a good thing! Good teams find ways to win games even when they are outplayed, bad teams find excuses on why they lose. I told you last week that the Jaguars game was the typical game the Dolphins lose - but they found a way to win. That's an important step for this team.
Things I Liked:
  • Michael Thomas continues to flash when you watch games. Heads up return on the blocked field goal.
  • The team may have come out flat (again), but Olivier Vernon certainly did not. Blocked field goal, dragging down ball carriers in the backfield and applying pressure to the QB all day. ( A downfield penalty negated his sack.) 
  • I told you last week in "Things To Look For" that the Fins would get 2 picks, but not 2 pick's for TD's. Congrats to Louis Delmas and Brent Grimes!  
  • Chris McCain's tipping a pass and then turning around and tackling the ball carrier for a loss was a thing of beauty. When he plays, you see glimpses of things he can do and it's exciting. 
Not a lot to like about last week's game, and all on the defensive side of the ball. Plenty not to like.
Things I Didn't Like:
  • Coming out flat again.
  • Misdirection plays burned the Fins defense badly. Jelani Jenkins got faked out horribly on the  first fake double reverse.  Jason Trusnik was chasing air on some plays. 
  • Daryn Colledge looked like a swinging gate out there.
  • You can't come back from a 6 game suspension and jump off sides on kick block team, nullifying a missed field goal. Doesn't help your reputation as a bust Dion Jordan.
  • Jamar Taylor is a huge disappointment. Opposing quarterbacks are feasting on him. 
  • Questionable play call on Ryan Tannehill interception. It was a good defensive play to tip the ball, but why call a pass there or audible out of it when you see the defense.
  • Tannehill missed a wide open Charles Clay in the endzone, had to settle for a field goal.
This is a huge game for the Dolphins. Beating the Chargers will put the rest of the NFL on notice that they are for real and a playoff contender. Further, a victory today would make Joe Philbin's Head coaching record  20-20. Why is that important? Coaches with .500+ coaching records usually keep their jobs in the NFL.
Things To Look For Against The Chargers:
  •  TE Dion Sims has already been ruled out. This will have a huge effect on the game. He is the Fins best blocking tight end and has been playing well this season. It will give Gator Hoskins a bigger role, but the biggest beneficiaries might be  Jarvis Landry, Rishard Matthews and Brandon Gibson. Look for Miami to go more 3 and 4 wide receiver sets without Sims. 
  • Antonio Gates, Antonio Gates, Antonio Gates. Stopping him or at least keeping him in check will go a long way to a Fins victory. It will be interesting to see if Dion Jordan covers him like he did Rob Gronkowski last year.
  • The Chargers are coming off a Thursday Night loss giving them a little extra rest.
  • Philip Rivers is having an MVP like season and usually plays better when blitzed, the Fins need to get pressure with their front 4 if they want to win.
  • Lamar Miller and Ryan Tannehill should have success running the football today.
  • The team whose quarterback plays better and commits fewer mistakes wins this game.
This game is so tough to call. These teams are evenly matched. The Chargers were the "hot" NFL team just a few weeks ago, but they have lost 2 straight and squeaked by the Raiders before that. Rivers is having a great season, but he has 4 picks in his last 4 games, reverting back a little more to the Rivers we know and love. The majority of the 'experts" are picking the Chargers, and I want to as well, but I think this game defines whether or not the Fins are a pretender or a contender. I think the trip across country is too much for the Chargers, even with the extra rest. Prediction: Dolphins 31 Chargers 27. Enjoy the game!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

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

What a difference 1 game makes in the NFL. The Dolphins went from questionable timeouts and inept coaching to the talk of the NFL.  The Fins had a great game plan against the Bears and a couple things stood out.
Things I Liked: 
  • Ryan Tannehill. I don't know what was said at halftime of the Packers game, but since then Ryan has been on fire. Over the past 6 quarters Tannehill is 37/47 for 437 yards, 4 TD's and 0 interceptions. That's completing over 78%! He also has 7 rushes for 88 yards and a TD. Did something finally click? I don't know, but those are numbers, as Dolfans, we dreamed about when Tannehill was drafted.
  • Cameron Wake still a beast! 
  • Dion Sims constantly shows up on tape. Next to Jelani Jenkins he may be the most improved player from last year. He had key blocks on both Lamar Miller's touchdown run and the touchdown pass to Mike Wallace.  Plus he had the Fins longest reception on Sunday - 26 yards. If he continues to progress, the Fins could easily have one of the best TE tandems in the NFL. 
  • The haters wont say anything, but Mike Wallace is quietly performing  up to his contract. 5 TD receptions in 6 games.
  • The coaching staff deserves some kudos. I feared the Dolphins would come out flat (again) especially after a demoralizing loss, but they didn't. Joe Philbin going for it on 4th down. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor called a great game. The defense kept Jay Cutler on his heels and the big Chicago receivers were easily handled by the Fins secondary. 
The Dolphins played well, but they were far from perfect.
Things I Didn't Like:
  • Can't start the game going 3 and out. Especially can't start the game by giving up a sack on the first play.
  • Too many penalties. A Brian Hartline penalty killed a drive right before halftime. A Charles Clay penalty took points off the board. (Hartline was penalized on the same play as well.) 
  • Mike Pouncey is still getting used to playing right guard.
  • Bad challenge by Philbin. Lamar Miller was clearly down, it was a waste of a challenge and a timeout.
  • Still have no faith in Caleb Sturgis.
  • What's up with Brandon Fields?
  • It was a dominating victory, but it was too close at the end. The Dolphins should have put 40 points. 
I hate to say it, but this is the type of game that the fins usually lose.  They are playing a less talented team, on the road after a big win. A recipe for disaster.
Things to Look For Against The Jaguars:
  • Jaguars rookie QB Blake Bortles has already thrown 10 picks in 5 games. Look for at least 2 against the Fins.
  • The Jags lost starting linebacker Paul Poluszny last week. Look for the running game to work for both Lamar Miller and Ryan Tannehill. And look for some big pass plays to be set up by the run option and play action pass. 
  • I expect Brian Hartline to get in the endzone this week.
  • Jaguars offensive weapon Denard Robinson had a breakout game at running back last week. I am not as worried about him running as much as a safety valve out of the backfield for Bortles. The Dolphins need to be aware of him at all times when he is on the field.
  • The Jags defense is tough and the team is better than their record, look for them to come out fired up early.
Like I said, this is historically (recent history) the type of game the Fins lose. But Dolfans travel well, and Jacksonville may seem like a home game. I think the offense keeps clicking and the defense is the best that Blake Bortles has faced, Miami should win this one easily. Prediction: Dolphins 41 Jaguars 13. Everyone enjoy the game.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kudos to Dennis Hickey

I needed to see one thing during the Bears-Dolphins game this past week to help sum up one of the greater points I don't think is being discussed enough when talking about the 2014 Miami Dolphins. Brandon Marshall can't bring in the 4th down pass in the end zone, and ends up pushing Cortland Finnegan, and immediately, Chris McCain came to the defense of his teammate. My respect for McCain instantly went up in a major way. He didn't care that he was face to face with 6'4, 230 lb Brandon Marshall. His concern was that no one was about to push one of his teammates.

Louis Delmas. Cortland Finnegan. Jarvis Landry. Billy Turner. Chris McCain. Earl Mitchell. Jordan Tripp

Looking at these acquisitions, it is easy to see that they have one common trait among them, toughness. An attitude. Not 'fake guy' toughness like we saw with Richie Incognito either. Toughness that will rear its head when the situation calls for it. All of these guys had one reason or another why they were overlooked, why they were available. All thrive with having a chip on their shoulder. The impact they have cannot be overlooked. This team badly needed a culture change, a shift in identity. A move away from finesse guys like Michael Egnew, Chris Clemons, Jonathan Martin.

The Landry pick is one that Jeff Ireland wouldn't have made if he had 10 drafts to select him. Not fast enough. Ireland focused on "not being able to find guys with this speed on the street" as we heard referring to Les Brown. It is how we had Clyde Gates. Too much of a focus on timed speed, finding solace in numbers that could be measured on a stopwatch.

Hickey had an unenviable task of having to sink significant resources into re-building an entire offensive line, while still trying to generate a shift in the overall philosophy of this team. No more of the Jonathan Martin type personalities. Whether you feel that Joe Philbin deserves to return next year, I think that the fingerprints of success that Hickey has imprinted on this roster are easily seen, and I for one hope that given another offseason to continue to add players who fit this mold, that he can find more of these kinds of guys who help make the Miami Dolphins a team that opponents know will be a bear to play for 60 minutes on a weekly basis.

I think this chip on the shoulder is also the kind of thing that shows up this week vs Jacksonville, Past Dolphins teams would have played down to the competition. I think this team loves the fight, understands the grind, and has an eye towards the end goal, not only getting to the playoffs, but getting there and making some noise. I don't think that any of the aforementioned acquisitions will allow for this team to play down to its competition. I hope that the way I see it is the way that it continues to prove itself to be.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dolphins vs Bears PREVIEW

Crossroads game for the Dolphins this week. The Fins at 2-3 must travel to Chicago and a loss here and the Dolphins playoff hopes begin to slip away. It's going to take a 10-6 record to either win the AFC East or get a Wild Card spot, and having 4 losses by mid-October would be as close to a death nail as you can get. Especially with road games vs Denver and New England still on the schedule as well as a home game with San Diego. Oh, let's not also forget 3 more games with the Jets and Bills who seem to have Miami's number in recent years. Being at 2-4 is not good, so this weeks game is important.

WHEN MIAMI HAS THE BALL: The Bears have a very talented offense so how to you beat them; keep that offense on the sideline. Miami must take a ball control approach this week and run the football successfully. It will be Miller Time this week and the Fins should give Miller 20+ carries. And when not running Miller the Dolphins should use a short passing game to also stay in "ball control" mode. I know everyone is dying to see Wallace catch a deep long pass but this isn't the week to be forcing that play. It's about winning the time of possession battle, protecting the football, and keeping Cutler and company on the sideline.Also I think this is the week Charles Clay finally breaks out and makes a big play or two. He has done nothing all season and I think if Miami designs a play or two for him it could be successful. The key as always when it comes to the Dolphins is the offensive line. While you can point the finger at a lot of things for last weeks loss to the Packers it was the poor offensive line play that really lost the game. Don't believe me, go re-watch that game and you will see every o-linemen get beat on a consistent basis and the Fins final drive was an utter failure because of the o-line play alone. The offensive line must play better for Miami to stay competitive this week let alone have a shot at winning.

WHEN CHICAGO HAS THE BALL: This team is a match-up nightmare for Miami. Jeffrey, Marshall, and Bennett are big tall pass catchers and Miami's secondary is short and small. Finnegan is the only CB with any size and well, he has been poor this year. He might not even play this week due to injuries as well. So, when you are over-matched in the secondary how to you counter-act that....get pressure on the QB. Don't give him time and don't give the WR's time to get deep and get open. Kevin Coyle should be blitzing early and often this week. Blitz every play and don't stop blitzing. Matt Forte has been a beast at times this year for the Bears and the Dolphins will have their hands full with him.

PREDICTION: This game will swing the Dolphins season. They win and they are still alive in the AFC East and for an AFC Playoff birth. They lose and well it looks like another 7 or 8 win season and this will be Joe Philbin's last year in Miami and a new Head Coach and GM could be on the way. The blueprint for a Miami win is simple, I laid it out above. Executing it will be much more difficult. I think if Miami was playing almost any other team this week they would bounce back and most likely win. I just think the Bears are a match-up nightmare for the Dolphins at the end of the day. CHICAGO 31  MIAMI 21 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Moreno Done For The Year

Running back Knowshon Moreno was placed on injured reserve by the Dolphins today, ending his likely brief stay with the team. Moreno tore his ACL in Sunday's game against the Packers.

I just don't see it.

The Miami Dolphins coaching staff is taking some hits for this loss - and rightly so; Wheeler one-on-one with the tight end and the game on the line against A-Aron Rogers? No way.

So how important is coaching? Let's take Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals for example. When Bruce Arians took over the Arizona Cardinals in 2012 they were coming off an 5-11 season; they were last in total offense, 28th in passing and last in rushing.

In 2013, Arians first year, the Cardinals went 10-6 (missed playoffs) in the NFC West, arguably the toughest division in football. They finished 12th in total yards and 13th in passing. Granted they acquired Carson Palmer from the Raiders in the off season but Palmer's career 86.1 passer rating is pretty average (Tannehill currently at 79.5 career passer rating). Today the Cardinals are at the top of their division at 4-1. Oh by the way, Drew Stanton was at quarterback for 3 out of 5 of those games. Drew mutha-bleepin Stanton.

Conversely, Philbin took over the Dolphins in 2011 after the Sparano/Bowles era; the team was 22 in total offense, 23rd in passing and 11th in rushing. In Philbin's first year with the team they were 27th in total offense, 26th in passing and 17th in rushing. Last year the Dolphins finished 27th in total offense, 20th in passing and 26th in rushing. Philbin also inherited a historically and statistically better defense than the Arizona Cardinals.

Today the Dolphins are third place in the AFC East at 2-3 with 5 of their next 7 games on the road.

Progression or regression?

Joe Philbin is not an NFL head coach in my opinion. He may be a great person, organizer, coordinator or Larry Coker look alike but he is not a head coach. It doesn't take this long to get a franchise turned around. Not with this talent. This was the year. Year three. I just don't see it.


Monday, October 13, 2014

More Questionable Decisions by Philbin

Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers was another one of those games filled with head scratching decisions by head coach Joe Philbin. Without rehashing them all, I think the biggest blunder he made was his time out on the Packers winning drive on 4th and 10. Personally, I think that call cost Miami the game.

Why that call? Well, on 3rd and 9, the defense stripped Aaron Rodgers of the ball on a sack. The Packers recovered for a 1 yard loss. The defense was on it's game. The Packers were on their heels. It was 4th and 10, about 1:30 left, the clock was running and Green Bay had no time outs. They had no choice but to try to regroup and run a play on 4th and 10. But wait! Here comes an early Christmas present courtesy of Joe Philbin!

Now you've given one of the best QB's in the NFL a chance to regroup. A chance to take a breather and talk to his coaches about what they want to do. More time to set up the play. The defense was on fire but now you've cooled them down a bit. I've read others opinion on this and some don't think it was a bad time out, but I do. My opinion is the pressure is all on Green Bay. After a sack, fumble and loss of a yard, you MAKE them run a play. You LET the defense pin their ears back and get after him again. They didn't need a rest or a Kodak moment or whatever Philbin wants to call it.

You might not agree with my opinion of that situation and that's ok. I'm sure we can all agree there were many other questionable decisions by Philbin yesterday. One thing is becoming clearer and clearer and that is that Joe Philbin is not a very good NFL head coach.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

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

It seems like an eternity since Joe Philbin wouldn't name Ryan Tannehill as the starting QB. I don't know if it was Philbin lighting a fire under Tannehill or the benefit of playing the Oakland Raiders, but the team looked good. As always there were a couple things that stood out.
Things I Liked:
  • Great blocking by the offensive line. Not only did they keep Tannehill clean, but the opened up gaping holes for Lamar Miller. Saw lots of second level blocks on those big runs.
  • Tannehill really did have a great game. He answered the criticism the best way possible. 23/31 278 yards, 2 TD's, 1 int. 14 straight completions. A huge plus is that he gained 35 yards on 5 carries. That ability to run will pose problems for defenses and it is something the fans have been screaming about for years. 
  • Good to see Joe Philbin had faith in his offense to go for it on 4th and inches inside the 10. He could have easily settled for 3 points instead Lamar Miller scored his 1st touchdown of the day on the 4th down run.
  • No penalties in the first half.
  • Chunk plays. 
  • Finally some interceptions on defense! Congrats to Brent Grimes, Jimmy Wilson and Walt Aikens getting the pick party started.
  • Daniel Thomas making the most of his second chance.
Things I Didn't Like:
  • Team came out flat to start the game. This has been a problem all year. The Raiders came out and drove it down Miami's throat. By the way, the Raiders had not scored on their opening drive since November of last year. 
  • Will Davis is not getting better, he seems to be getting worse. He gave up some big gains to the Raiders, including getting beaten for a late score. 
  • It's tough to turn the ball over 3 times and still win, let alone win big. Lamar Miller can not fumble at the 1 yard line EVER! 
  • Dolphins play was still sloppy at times.  A Dion Sims penalty nullified a Daniel Thomas touchdown. Plus the Fins fumbled the ball 2 other times but were fortunate enough to recover
It was a good game for Miami. Their quarterback answered the bell, the defense played well, and special teams play was adequate (minus the Landry fumble). But it was the Raiders. And even though they were a trendy pick by many experts, it was still the Raiders. The sloppy play and missed opportunities will not work against the Packers.
Things To Look For Against The Packers:
  • Green Bay is a league worse against the run. They are giving up 163 yards a game. Running backs are averaging 4.6 yards a carry. Dolphins are 5th in the league in rushing. Averaging 142.3 yards a game. Miami backs are averaging 5 yards a carry. The Fins game plan should be to run, run and run some more. Keep that hot Packers offense off the field.
  • Speaking about HOT. It is going to be 87 degrees, but feel much warmer come game time. A punishing running game, plus that heat/humidity can work to Miami's advantage.
  • Look for the run to set up the pass, and the play action to work for some big gains. And for Tannehill to pull it in a run on some read options. 
  • The dolphins front 4 on defense need to get pressure on Aaron Rodgers or it could be a long day. With Derrick Shelby suspended, someone else is going to need to step up. Chris McCain? Terrence Fede? 
This is a tough one. The way the Packers have been playing, you would think they would be the easy choice. But I feel the Fins match up well against the Pack. They definitely cannot come out flat or it could be 21-0 in a hurry. I think the Fins surprise some people control Rodgers, control the clock and win going away. Prediction: Dolphins 34 Packers 23. Everyone enjoy the game. Go Dolphins!


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Derrick Shelby Arrested

Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel is reporting Dolphins DE Derrick Shelby was arrested Saturday night. Shelby was charged with tresspassing and resisting an officer. In the mug-shot Shelby's face was bloody and bruised.

Here is the booking information on Shelby's arrest  CLICK HERE

Update: Andy Slater of 940-AM radio in South Florida is reporting Shelby caused a disturbance at a club and refused to leave.That was the reason for his arrest.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Raiders suck. But the Dolphins are number 1 in the AFC East

After a tumultuous week from the quarterback controversy that never was, the Dolphins got a nice win on Sunday. But lets be honest. The Raiders suck. 

Tannehill put up good numbers, 23 for 31 with 278 yards and 2 TDs. But lets be honest. The Raiders suck. 

Philip Wheeler knows it. He spent a year in Oakland in 2012 and had this to say after the game, "To me, I don't feel like we need to be too happy about this." 

I'm not trying to diminish the win here but Oakland is a historically bad team with a rookie quarterback and as of yesterday no head coach. They are dead last in total offense and in rushing, and are third last in touchdowns. I mean just look at the way they let Derek Carr hobble off the field after he injured his knee. 

Dion Sims had a great catch in the endzone for a touchdown so we'll give him a pass (no pun intended) for his drops; I think he had one or two. Brandon Gibson keeps dropping the ball as well. 

Lamar Miller has stepped up and is playing great ball. He's number six in the NFL in total yards and is averaging 5.7 yards per carry. But he fumbles. He has two so far and both fumbles have been lost to the other team; one cost the team a touchdown last week.

Jarvis Landry is cutting his teeth on special teams back there but he needs to hold on to the ball and make better decisions when receiving a punt or a kick. The Raiders got some lucky bounces but it needs to be corrected. It could be the difference in the game. 

All that being said the Dolphins are in a three way tie for first place in the AFC East. After New England's shockingly bad performance on Monday night against the Chiefs, fans are thinking the Dolphins are the team to beat in the division. But I'm here to say that they need to show me that same performance against the Packers, Bears and more consistently overall. 

The opportunity to take control of the division is there. The Patriots have the Bengals, at Bills, Jets, Bears, and Broncos all before their bye (3 home games in a row).

 Dolphins get Pouncey, Jones and Misi after theirs.   


Sunday, September 28, 2014

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

Another winnable game, another brutal loss.  The week only was made worse by Coach Joe Philbin's inexplicable behavior.
Things I Liked:
  • Lamar Miller had his best rushing day as a pro. He carried the ball 15 times for 108 yards a GREAT 7.2 yard average. He also added 4 receptions for 24 yards (strange fact, in Miller's only other 100+ rushing game against Cincinnati last year he also had 4 receptions for 24 yards.) 
  • Earl Mitchell was a great free agent pickup. He was a beast all game, still giving his all with the Dolphins virtually out of it in the 4th quarter.
  • Jarvis Landry sure does make kick off returns exciting.
  • Both Randy Starks and Derrick Shelby bulldozing their men on Shelby's sack.
  • Jelani Jenkins has blitzing skills.
I could write for a month about the things I didn't like about the game. Hmm, where to begin?
Things I Didn't Like:
  • When I watch Dallas Thomas play, I am shocked that he was a 3rd round pick. Even more shocking is he's the 3rd best guard on the team. 
  • The dropped passes. Miami led the NFL in dropped passes before the game with 9, and I counted at least 5 more during the Chiefs game.  Brandon Gibson's drop in the 2nd quarter really cost the Fins. It would have at least made Caleb Sturgis's 48 yard field goal attempt (and miss) 11 yards shorter and much more make able.
  • Speaking of Sturgis, I have no faith in him. What a waste of a 5th round pick.
  • Missed tackles. Too many to count. Brent Grimes missed tackles all day. Louis Delmas wasn't much better.
  • Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle had no answer for  RB Joe McKnight catching passes out of the backfield. Killed Miami all day.
  • Bad special teams play. Yes Landry had some great kick-off returns, but his punt returns were not good. He seemed to be playing too shallow all day (bad coaching) and what ever happened to standing on the 10 yard line and if the ball goes over your head you let it go? 
  • Quarterback Ryan Tannehill's regression. Can the loss be pinned on him, no. Did he play poorly again, yes. His decision making was horrible. Whether it was not throwing a ball away,  not using his feet when a first down was reachable on a scramble, throwing a 3 yard pass when they needed 5 for a first down. It was horrible. Franchise quarterbacks make plays and make the players around him better. Tannehill just is not doing that. 
  • Questionable play calling. 3rd and 10 on the opening drive, you have the ball near mid field and you call a run? The game changer was the 4th quarter. With the Fins driving near mid field on 3rd and 1 and you call a pass? The score was 21-15. That's when you hand it to Miller, twice if need be. Instead Tannehill gets sacked. A 46 yard punt with a 47 yard return and the game was essentially over. 
I don't know what to really expect this week. I believe the players when they say "we are closer than you think."  They are one dropped ball, one bad play call, one missed tackle, one bad decision away from a winning record. But it's the NFL, and every team could say that. Are they going to come out flat? Do the Raiders have an advantage from being in London all week? I don't know.  One thing I am certain of after this week is Joe Philbin is not the answer. He shows no faith in his team and created a controversy that was not necessary. He is not a leader of men.  Quite frankly if  I were Stephen Ross and Miami losses this week, I would fire Philbin. Problem is, I don't know if anyone is remotely qualified to be the interim Head Coach on the current staff.
Things To Look For Against The Raiders:
  • Raiders have the 4th best pass defense, but are ranked 31st against the run. Bill Lazor should use all his running backs and pound the rock all day. 
  • Don't let the 4th best pass defense fool you though, Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 73% of his passes against the Raiders, Geno Smith 82%. Look for the run to set up the pass and the play action fake to be open for big plays.
  • Khalil Mack vs. Brandon Albert should be an interesting match up. 
  • Just like I was afraid of Sammy Watkins having a coming out game against the Fins (which he did) I fear the same with Mack and/or quarterback Derek Carr. 
This week is a must win for both teams. The Dolphins could quickly spiral out of control if they go into the bye at 1-3.  Raiders offensive line coach Tony Sparano might be the new Head Coach in Oakland if they go 0-4. Something's gotta give and I don't like having to play another team with their back against the wall. The Dolphins however have more talent. Prediction: Dolphins 19 Raiders 17. Everyone enjoy the game!