Dolphins with a strong first half win 20-12 over the NY Jets

The golden arm.

The golden boy from SoCal.

Sam Darnold, the star in the making threw for over 300 yards, one touchdown and drove the Jets to three scores and still lost.

Oh Darnold is the real deal and he’ll be real good a year or two from now.

Probably playoff good.

However, the Dolphins didn’t want to see his potential today, but were on a mission to squash it.

The Miami Dolphins defense, taking up where they left off last year, forced a fumble, had two interceptions, and featured a defense that flew to the football.

Lead by Kiko Alonso, no one was safe in the middle of the field and with that spark, guys just went out and made plays.

Rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick made it hell for Darnold to complete passes deep and snuffed out the short passes and screens.

After a TJ McDonald interception and opportunistic return inside the 20, the Dolphins scored from six yards out as Kenyan Drake found a hole and powered to the end zone.

As the Dolphins took the first lead of the game, the turnover game became infectious as Kiko Alonso forced a fumble and Raekwon McMillan pounced on it.

On the ensuing drive, at the Jets 29 yard line, Tannehill with some serious pressure on the outside found Albert Wilson on a drag route and managed to juke his way past a diving Buster Skrine down the sideline for the score.

Dolphins up 14-0.

Jets 0.

Continue reading “Dolphins with a strong first half win 20-12 over the NY Jets”

Lightning strikes twice: Dolphins win in a wild one 27-20 over Titans

Blame it on the rain and on the lightning.

Who would’ve known it would take 7 plus hours for the Dolphins to play football, on and off, and send off the Titans with a bitter taste in their mouths.

South Florida football fans, fresh off of a weekend that included a 77-0 drubbing of Savannah State by the Miami Hurricanes in the same stadium several hours before.

The Miami Dolphins opening series was lackluster and the Miami defense was going to have to pick up the slack.  Down 3-0 after a Ryan Succup field goal, the Dolphins defense took on the mantra of “bend but don’t break” kind of defense.

Sensing the Titans would go for it on 4th and goal, the Dolphins defense, like a band of brothers, summoned CB/S Minkah Fitzpatrick on the outside to make what essentially was a game saving tackle where a pass to Corey Davis could have been a touchdown and a 10-0 lead.

Instead Minkah Fitzpatrick showed why he was drafted in round one: his strength shedding a blocker on a pick play and then used his eyes to find Davis and bring him down to the ground well short of the goal line.

Surely, this play would not be seen as the play of the game until the Miami Dolphins marched for 98 yards down the field capping the drive with a 10 yard pass to Kenny Stills who beat his man and lunged for the pylon and the score.

The play capped a 98 yard drive, but more importantly put Ryan Tannehill on the board with his first touchdown after missing time due to two ACL injuries.

Tannehill clearly looked back and ready to roll in Adam Gase’s offense.

After starting the game dominant, Tannehill faltered a bit in the second half throwing a second interception and had trouble hitting his receivers short until the offensive play of the game:

75 yard bomb to none other than Kenny Stills.

Stills shed his man, stretched out his arms, and hauled in the biggest play of the game (offensively) with a huge touchdown catch and run.

Several fans in attendance said the ball traveled 50 yards through the air.

Tannehill said there wasn’t a defender within “4 yards” of him as he had a clean pocket and fired with precision for his second touchdown of the game.

Tannehill finished the game with 20 completions out of 28 pass attempts and coupled with help from his friends, Jakeem Grant (102 yard Kick Return TD), Reshad Jones (2 INTS), and help from yes, rookie kicker Jason Sanders.

For the Dolphins, forcing turnovers became a focus this offseason and the veterans-Reshad Jones and Kiko Alonso (post lightning delay number 2) showed that the players are still buying in to the Matt Burke defense.

Kudos to the Dolphins who won this game by playing better in every phase of the game: Offensive Line play superb (allowed one sack), defense (3 takeaways), offense (2 TDs), and special teams (2 FG and 1 KR TD).

Of note, after two lightning delays, the Miami Dolphins overcame adversity, came out of the tunnel with energy, and solidified their early spot in first place, tied with the Patriots.

15 games to go. A lot of football left to play.

On to the New York Jets.

Fins Up!!!

Photo credit: Palm Beach Post

Llego la hora de Tannehill.

Tras veinte juegos fuera del terreno regresa a los Dolphins de Miami su mariscal del campo (QB) Ryan Tannehill. En su ausencia los Dolphins fueron a la post temporada de la mano de Matt Moore. Además, lucieron pésimos de la mano de Jay Cutler en el 2017 y quedaron fuera de la post temporada. Durante el tiempo muerto el dirigente Adam Gase reclamó su espacio y envió en cambio a Jarvys Landry a los Browns de Cleveland. Pero no contento con esta movida dejó libre a su astro defensivo Ndamukong Suh y a su centro ofensivo estelar Mike Pouncey. Así las cosas de una temporada a la otra los Dolphins vieron partir a sus principales jugadores. Sin embargo, Gase se las arregló para traer al equipo una línea ofensiva que da confianza a Tannehill. Josh Sitton como guardia izquierdo, Daniel Kilgore en el centro, Jesse Davis como guardia derecho hacen sentir tranquilo a Tannehill detrás de la línea. Aún con la pérdida de Landry los recibidores abiertos (WR) de los Dolphins siguen siendo una unidad de las mejores de la liga compuesta por Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola, DeVante Parker, Albert Wilson y Jakeem Grant. Del grupo Amendola y Wilson llegan vía agencia libre para llenar la vacante de Landry. Parker no pudo lucir en la pre temporada y ha estado lastimado una vez más. Cuando Tannehill ha estado detrás de la línea Parker ha sido uno de sus blancos preferidos, pero para eso debe mantenerse saludable. En la carrera Tannehill tendrá el respaldo de un grupo respetable con Kenyan Drake, el veterano Frank Gore y un prometedor novato en Kalen Balage. Completan el grupo ofensivo las alas abiertas (TE) A.J. Derby, Gavin Escobar, quien entró nuevamente al roster esta semana tras anunciarse la lamentable lesión de MarQueis Gray quien había sido programado para ser abridor, junto a los novatos Mike Gesicki y Durham Smythe. Es una ofensiva que puede producir muchos puntos y hace perspirar mucha confianza a Tannehill.
La prensa ha sido dura con los Dolphins durante toda la pre temporada. Llegando a ponerlos como el peor equipo de la liga. Dicha visón ha cambiado en los últimos días. Fui de los primeros en decir que los Dolphins podrían incluso luchar por el titulo la división con sus eternos rivales los Patriotas de New England. Luego en ESPN Tony Dungy dijo que no veía a los Dolphins como el peor equipo de la liga y que los veía posicionarse en el medio del grupo durante el transcurso de la temporada. Más adelante Armando Salguero, quien es quizás el cronista deportivo más cercano a los Dolphins, escribió para el Miami Herald que veía a los Dolphins terminando muy cerca de los Patriotas, y con récord ganador de 9 y 7. Yo me mantengo en mi posición anterior, en esta ocasión vemos a un Adam Gase que respira confianza en el equipo que el mismo diseño. Un Gase astuto, que no le mostró nada a los contrarios del potencial ofensivo de los Dolphins durante la pre temporada. Lo que la prensa vio en los entrenamientos no se hacía en los juegos pre temporada, no se dejo ver nada. Eso hace el análisis y estudio mas difícil al contrario, incluso a la prensa.
Para el juego de apertura en casa pienso que veremos una ofensiva bien dinámica, donde el juego en la carrera será solido y dará la ayuda necesaria a Tannehill para abrir rutas por aire y crear puntos en la zona roja. Sin temor a equivocarme veremos el surgir de Mike Gesicki como un arma ofensiva. La fogosidad de Amendola será determinante en momentos claves. Es tiempo de jugar, ya no hay excusas. Gase sabe que tiene que volver a ser ganador. Los Dolphins tienen que devolver la confianza a sus dolfans. Esperando el momento preciso, y es ahora. Llego la hora de Tannehill.

Will anyone listen to coach Gase about his Dolphins?

The Miami Dolphins season is about to start and head coach Adam Gase is tired of saying how great his team is.

Gase finally feels, that after two seasons, he has the best team in the locker room, the field, and finally one that has guys that want to sleep less than he does by staying late and grinding.

While some NFL teams have made offseason moves and some splashy coaching hires, the Miami Dolphins added veterans that can start right away and mentor some of the younger talent that’s up and coming.

Gase went and got Frank Gore to mentor Kenyan Drake-not that Drake needs it, but I’m sure he will benefit from it as a starter and as he said early in the process-how to be a pro.

Danny Amendola was brought in to give Tannehill more options after the Dolphins traded Jarvis Landry.

Amendola brings a security check down all over the field. As long as he stays healthy, he’s dependable and he’ll mentor guys like Jakeem Grant-staying late and working at his craft.

In addition, Gase decided that the Dolphins would benefit from doing more with less by focusing on Davone Godchaux and Jordan Phillips as rotating defensive tackles while adding pieces to surround the middle-trading for Robert Quinn on the outside. Suh who?

However, the big question remains: Have the Dolphins improved?

If there is any indication of improvement-nothing is more evident than the play of Ryan Tannehill this preseason who has shown a comfort with all of his receivers.

No longer are people-fans and pundits alike worried about his health, but about how high is his ceiling.

With Adam Gase singing his praise and the front office not drafting a quarterback, but a jack of all trades defensive player in Minkah Fitzpatrick, it’s no secret this is Tannehill’s type of team and he is their leader.

I truly believe Tannehill will have to play well-above his 2016 season averages before the injury and be more consistent-making better reads and making better throws.

Tannehill, in a sense has to play better in weeks 1-4 to give the Dolphins a strong chance to be a contender down the stretch.

We need to see a complete body of work from Ryan Tannehill and Gase believing in him could demonstrate a strong playoff push come December.

While Gase hasn’t earned anything yet other than a 16-16 record, a playoff appearance in 2016 with two quarterbacks and a stellar running game, 2018 gives Gase a chance to finally cement his blue print off the field to become the standard on the field.

The bar is set high for Gase in his mind-the Dolphins identity hinges on early success.

A fight to the finish-the Dolphins are all about finding a way to finish and finishing strong.

Their identity should be more than apparent-always grinding, just like their coach even if there are those who don’t believe him just yet.

Photo Credit: Sun-Sentinel

RECAP: Dolphins defense falters as offense gathers steam in 27-20 loss to Panthers

The Miami Dolphins took another step yesterday in getting their starters more reps and a look-see at the other reserves who are either destined for stardom or ready for walking papers.

On Friday night in front of a crowd of mostly Panthers faithful, the Dolphins demonstrated that they are ready for the Titans at times and showed some flickers of hope.

First the good.

Ryan Tannehill captivated the rest of the NFL and Dolphins personnel with a nearly flawless performance. Even though Tannehill couldn’t finish his drives with a touchdown pass in the red zone, he showed poise in the pocket, completed his throws, and took a few hits-including one inside the five where a DT for the Panthers reached for that left knee and Tannehill collapsed after handing the ball off.

Tannehill in addition ran a nice version of the no-huddle offense every coach in Miami has tried to run since Joe Philbin.

So, baby steps from last week have morphed into bigger field goal scoring drives this week versus a stingy Panthers defense-finding cushions everywhere on the sideline and dissecting the defense with near precision.

Tannehill finished 14 of 17 with 100 yards passing with no touchdowns and no interceptions.

Tannehill found his receivers frequently despite being without Parker (injury) and Kenny Stills.

Tannehill connected with Jakeem Grant, Danny Amendola, and A.J. Derby (called back on a holding call).

In addition, Kenyan Drake was a beast running to the outside-rushing for 54 yards on 8 carries -nearly 7 yards per carry. By far, Drake appears ready to roll as the starter and Frank Gore should push for time as well-who didn’t play.

Bright spots on defense and there were few.

First-Jerome Baker played with the ones and amassed 4 total tackles while Robert Quinn-playing with Cam Wake on the opposite side of the line collected two big sacks.

Quinn will be needed to set the tone on the right side of the line and put pressure on the quarterback.

Xavien Howard demonstrated his vision-jumping into a passing lane and intercepting Cam Newton and nearly taking it for a touchdown being tripped up inside the 10.

As much as I want to continue to praise the Dolphins defense-I just can’t. I won’t.

The Dolphins defense allowed a 71 yard rush-right up the middle by Christian McCaffrey. It wasn’t even close and McCaffrey run was a thing of beauty, but only for ball-watchers, Panthers fans, and fantasy gurus.

On the run, the middle was sealed off and Raekwon McMillan showed his rust as he couldn’t shed the block and get to McCaffrey.

The run demonstrated how much DT is a weakness for Miami as well as the LB position.

Not to mention, Bobby McCain-who I love on this defense, couldn’t cover and was schooled by veteran Torrey Smith who was supposedly too old for the 49ers. Smith got McCain to bite on a few comeback routes.

McCain in everyone’s opinion is a much better corner in the slot and yet the Dolphins continue to test his closing speed-not as good.

For the Dolphins defense-everything has to work in unison. If they can’t rush the passer, their corners will get tested. If they can’t stop the run, the entire defense will give up a big-game changing rush like they did at Buffalo last season to LeSean McCoy.

There is a lot to be thankful for, however.

A healthy Ryan Tannehill is showing his ability to command this offense and there are some signs of life defensively despite the issues.

Let’s hope the Dolphins play like a contender next week versus Baltimore and the steps become an upward climb to the top.

Photo Credit: Charlotte Observer

It’s just the preseason: Dolphins fall to Buccaneers 26-24

It’s just the preseason and worrying about anything that happened tonight in Miami Gardens is just that-it’s nothing.

Fans of the Dolphins are a passionate bunch and live and die with every snap of the football and sometimes they have a snap judgement or two. With 50,000 tickets sold, where did the fans go? It looked like only 20,000 showed up.

Surely, the Dolphins almost persevered 24-23, but the Dolphins reserves-numbers 75-90 on the roster had other plans and allowed a late game deciding drive resulting in a go-ahead late field goal.

Big highlights from tonight:

Ryan Tannehill can move in and out of the pocket rolling right and throwing with the same zip we saw at the end of his 2016 season. Tannehill finished 4 of 6 and led the Dolphins on a drive stalled by penalties and dropped passes. As Travis Wingfield of Locked on Dolphins, pointed out on Twitter-we can see Tannehill “climb the pocket” and get out of harms way.

However, what we saw of Tannehill was promising and it seemed like he was in sync with Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola, and Kenyan Drake.

Things look promising and as the preseason gathers steam into the season, this game was a positive stepping stone to the future of the Dolphins offense, but Tannehill has to find a way to build on tonight and lead his offense-he needs to bang the table and demand the best from them.

Next, rookie safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is the real deal and his range is incredible as a safety. Tonight, he showed what he can do by making tackles and breaking up passes. If DC Matt Burke can get Reshad Jones and Minkah Fitzpatrick on the field at the same time, that would be huge for this defense and make teams run the ball instead of trying to throw deep. The Dolphins have linebackers that want to go to the ball and that could serve them well.

In terms of the backup QB job, Bryce Petty put himself in the conversation with some good touch and a touchdown drive where he found Isaiah Ford-Ford looked good, but he’s so far down the depth chart. Perhaps Gase and Co. put something together for him with the 1s in the next game. David Fales continued the steady climb to earning Gase’s trust with being the backup to Tannehill. Brock Osweiler on the other hand, he failed on so many levels going 10 of 21 and had several passes batted down at the line. Almost laughable.

However, defensively when Jordan Phillips and Davon Godchaux are battling for the DT starting job, you need to see a little more surrounding them. It seems like DE Jonathan Woodard showed something getting after the QB.

If I’m the coaches, I like the look of the corners overall. We saw Torry McTyer tonight and he’s been hyped to be the next starter opposite Xavien Howard, but we can’t be completely sure if he’s a 1 or a 2 until he gets to play against starters in the next few games.

Coaches overall need to lock down and lock in to getting tight end Mike Gesicki the ball. He’s the most athletic tight end in the NFL. Never mind Gronk and Kelcey, Gesicki is next to steal the limelight at the tight end position.

My hope is he gets more time with the 1s and not worry so much about his blocking issues. Have him run his routes and expand his capability a bit. He can handle getting more targets and the Dolphins need help in the red zone.

Coaches need to look at opening up a bit on defense and dial up the aggressiveness. Linebacker Jerome Baker flashed tonight and in my mind, he’s going to grab a job before week 5. Baker said things were slowing down for him which is a good thing. My main concern isn’t the vanilla look of the 4-3 defense-it’s mainly getting enough pressure on the QB. It can’t just be Wake every couple of plays-we need to see more from Harris and Quinn. Someone has to step up!

Here are 5 things we want to see next week:

1. More Tannehill and really get him going with 1s and 2s. He needs to play with the guys he’ll throw to on game day. With Tannehill back, coaches have to use every ounce of his ability to move the football and get touchdowns to open a drive. The offense has to work to get first downs and score touchdowns.

2. Improved defensive coverage. Matt Burke needs to dial up the attack and be the aggressor. The talent is there-it’s a matter of allocating it to the right guys. Find the right mix and this can be a dominant defense.

3. Give Jason Sanders more reps at kicker. Both he and Greg Joseph struggled on deep field goal tries, but it would be good to let Sanders kick on kickoffs. I’m not opposed to Dolphins letting this drag out and see if a kicker gets cut from another team and sign said kicker to push these guys.

4. Wide receiver Isaiah Ford. Get him in with the 1s. Get him the ball. See if he can get open and become the threat he was drafted to be.

5. Better o-line play. Tonight was ok with the 1s, but tough for the 2s. Dowell Loggains needs to help out with protections. O-Line needs to do their jobs. I didn’t like the pre-snap penalties across the board, but the holding penalties due to poor technique are awful and can’t happen in season.

All in all losing 26-24 and the Dolphins playing well in spots is nothing to worry about week one of the preseason.

Clean things up and the Dolphins have a good offense and a good defense-enough to compete with the big boys.

Photo credit: Phinsider.com

Interview with Luis Sung of PhinManiacs.com

We had a chance to interview Luis Sung (@LuisDSung) after a few days of Miami Dolphins Training Camp Observations in Davie, FL.

Here’s the interview:

First of all Luis, it’s truly awesome what you have been able to do with the site-PhinManiacs.com and seem to have your ear to the ground with your staff and your willingness to cover the team as a Miami Dolphins Fan site.  The focus on the Dolphins is complete with analysis, opinion, as well as something that I truly find important-sharing with the fans the GOOD that the Dolphins players and staff do in the community.

Again, it’s truly an honor to interview you after meeting you last year at Dolphins Training Camp in Davie, FL.
FF: What are you seeing from the rookies? Is there anything that is showing you they can contribute on game day?
LS: The rookies getting the most out of their time on the field are without a doubt, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Kalen Ballage and Durham Smythe, with possibly some Jason Sanders thrown in for good measure. Fitzpatrick has been solid thrown in with all three units and has been able to make a few plays here and there, while Smythe clearly has a handle on his blocking capabilities and can actually make a few catches here and there. Ballage is proving to be a hard-nosed runner who also has good hands out of the backfield, so I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see him get a decent amount of snaps this upcoming season.
FF: Who are the players (non-rookies) that are “flashing” and others are starting to take notice?
LS: Outside of the rookie class, Danny Amendola, Albert Wilson, Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake are all proving that they have plenty to offer this team. Amendola already has a good rapport with Ryan Tannehill, and the fact that they were able to connect on a touchdown pass in the seam on Day 3 shows that Tannehill will be looking for the veteran a lot this upcoming season. As for Albert Wilson, he’s been playing with the second team for the vast majority of training camp, and it’s plainly obvious that he’s too good for them. He’s crisp, he’s fast, he’s smooth, and making one-handed catches seems old hat to him. With Wilson, the WR depth is deeper than it’s been in a long time, and despite the main three WRs (Parker, Stills, Amendola) locked down, Wilson will definitely get a good amount of playing time. Then there’s Drake and Gore, who both have been displaying the traits that make each of them so special. Drake has been fast, elusive and dangerous with the football, while Gore has been running hard, like a man ten years younger than he is. Miami got a steal in signing him for sure.
FF: How does Frank Gore look? How do you believe that head coach Adam Gase will use him in his offensive scheme?
LS: With further emphasis on Gore, I would hope that Adam Gase realizes that – despite how good Gore has looked – he is still 35 years old, and he should not be expected to look that good all season long if he gets a huge workload. The best way to use him in my opinion would be to use him more on passing downs as a blocker, and in 3rd and short situations or simply to spell Drake from time to time, while still giving a good amount of snaps to Ballage, who also has earned a look.
FF: Backtracking for a minute on Jarvis Landry: Why do you think that he continues to badmouth the Dolphins’ Coach Gase, Tannehill, and the organization as a whole?
LS: I have been saying this for the past couple of days now and I stand by this. Landry feels slighted by the Dolphins because they didn’t treat him like he was Odell Beckham Jr., plain and simple. Landry has been getting comparisons to his old friend and teammate from college ever since they entered the NFL, and they would often put on pass catching displays to try and one-up each other whenever they were together. But it was obvious which of them was the better player, and that’s Beckham Jr. That gnaws at Landry, I believe. He wanted to get the routes OBJ got, he wanted to be on the highlight reel like OBJ was, he wants to be OBJ. And he isn’t. He doesn’t have his speed, he can’t make as much separation, he was given opportunities in Miami and it rarely worked. He was given the ball more than anyone in Miami and he still felt slighted, because he wasn’t on the highlight reel. You can’t get there if you’re a slot receiver, and that was what he didn’t want to be labeled as. He wanted to be paid like OBJ will be paid. We will see what happens in Cleveland, but it’s clear that Landry was not happy that Gase tried to make him follow his rules.
FF: Finally a Tannehill question: After seeing two days back to back, is there anything that you can compare with Tannehill as far as his presence (leadership and command of the huddle), his footwork, and his demeanor versus other training camps you’ve observed?
LS: (Ryan) Tannehill has a lot more confidence, he has learned to maneuver the pocket better, he isn’t hesitant to run despite his knee, and he is reading defenses better. Pretty much everything about Tannehill seems to have improved a bit, which will eventually add up when the regular season rolls around. He’s always been a slow bloomer, and I believe that at the age of 30, we’re going to soon see the best Tannehill we ever have.
FF: Bonus question: Who wins the kicker job in Miami? Is there a dark horse candidate not on the roster?
LS: Jason Sanders is going to win the job, no question. Sanders has been perfect thus far and Greg Joseph has missed half his kicks, the competition – in all honesty – is a farce. Miami drafted him to be the kicker, you don’t use a draft pick on a kicker if you think he’ll be beaten by an undrafted free agent.
Thank you to Luis Sung who was kind and thoughtful enough to do this interview. Remember you can follow Luis on Twitter for all of the Miami Dolphins training camp updates at @LuisDSung on Twitter and at his website PhinManiacs.com

Can Kenny Stills continue be a role model for justice and as a football player?

When Kenny Stills knelt during the anthem two seasons ago in Seattle, Dolphins fans were given pause.

The angry chants on social media of not supporting the flag were heard loud and clear as was the Tannehill dime on a post route that was mysteriously dropped.

Stills, at the time was new to the Dolphins and the dropped pass early in the game gave the fans a chance to bash him saying he should not have knelt during the anthem before the game and lost his focus.

However, Kenny Stills is more than a football player.

After winning the Nat Moore Award for service in 2017, Stills followed that up with a deep look at communities in the South and Eastern United States.

To some outside of the Dolphins head quarters, Stills has been a mentor, a listener, one who walks with the poor and the marginalized, one who marches for justice, and a beacon of hope.

The call to march with the poor and marginalized was never so apparent than this offseason when Kenny Stills went on his own type of road trip, a pilgrimage of sorts through the East and through the South where he traversed the bridge in Selma, met with Colin Kaepernick, and worked hand in hand to understand the role of police officers in Miami Gardens.

Kenny Stills is in the news again, but as an ambassador to all Dolphins fans who’s goodwill extends from his persona on Twitter to his heartfelt and passion for his community and all communities across the nation.

Continue reading “Can Kenny Stills continue be a role model for justice and as a football player?”

Dolphins get the pads on and get rockin’ on day 3 of training camp

The Miami Dolphins took to the field pre-downpour and in some hot and steamy conditions.  Would you expect anything less during Dolphins Training Camp?

Looming quite large and dark like clouds in South Florida were the quite sinister allegations by Jarvis Landry to Sports Illustrated.  As you might remember, Jarvis Landry was the malcontent that the Dolphins tried to trade midseason only to deal him to the Siberia of the NFL, the Cleveland Browns.

Without LeBron James in Cleveland perhaps Jarvis Landry is fitting in quite nicely and working on making a statement claiming to be more than a slot receiver and wishing to dress like the greats of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  Perhaps Landry is just posing for the cameras and Hard Knocks on HBO.

Seriously though, the Dolphins are doing quite nicely without Landry and training camp seems drama free and clearly all about the receivers who will make an impact in 2018.

Some of the highlights this week came in the form of plays here and there by the defense and some ESPN highlight type of catches, but that was with the jerseys and shorts.

Today. the shoulder pads were on and we got to see the offensive line do some work.  Except, right now, this offensive line is a work in progress headlined by Gase’s conference call after practice.  Continue reading “Dolphins get the pads on and get rockin’ on day 3 of training camp”

Does Brock Osweiler have a chance at the backup QB job in Miami?

Dolphins spring training is underway and I’m excited to follow my Twitter feed and let the bloggers on the ground keep us all updated.

It’s a close race, but I absolutely love how Luis Sung does work during training camp and can carry a full conversation while tweeting, accurately what just happened.

This training camp is no different and he constantly sees more and knows more than some Miami beat reporters from a particular entity to be held nameless.

As it stands, Brock Osweiler, who is in Miami because he knows Adam Gase and serves as a veteran presence, is in camp.

Today, every single throw looked late, he threw some picks, and frankly he’s convinced it’s part of a “process.”

Osweiler, to his credit covered for Peyton Manning in Denver during their Super Bowl run only to see his winning streak-come to an end as Peyton was tabbed to start in the playoffs and Super Bowl.

Said Osweiler today to Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post after camp:

“My deal isn’t getting so much into the results,” Osweiler said after Thursday’s practice. “I like to focus on the process. So was today perfect, no? But it’s all about getting a little bit better every single day. Focus on the process. And if you focus on that, rather than the results, come December or January you’re going to be where you want to be.”

Continue reading “Does Brock Osweiler have a chance at the backup QB job in Miami?”

It’s Ryan Tannehill against the world…again in 2018

On the eve of Miami Dolphins training camp, a poll of NFL executives on ESPN lists Ryan Tannehill as the 27th ranked quarterback (Insider account required). In fact, rather than a Tier 2 quarterback-ESPN’s poll lists Tannehill among the bottom half of NFL starting QBs posted below Tyrod Taylor (Browns), Blake Bortles (Jaguars) and overall, the poll revealed a 3.3 rating meaning he’s at the bottom of the league as a quarterback.

In May, USA Today ranked Tannehill as a 34th ranked QB! That’s not a ranking for a franchise QB!!!

What the heck is going on?

Did people suddenly forget that if not for a sudden ACL injury during the 2016 season, Tannehill would be leading the Dolphins to quite possibly a historic playoff run? Instead, Tannehill, who worked so hard to become a better QB, had to watch Matt Moore lead the team to the playoffs going 2-1 (S-1). Moore got the save versus Arizona.

What’s more, Ryan Tannehill according to Pro Football Focus in 2016: 80.8 overall grade and 16th overall. In fact, he had the “second -highest percentage of big-time throws” in 2016 (per Pro Football Focus).

For a first round pick (selected 8th in 2012), the ranking based on a collection of GMs and NFL personnel men’s opinions demonstrates the lack of success and popularity that Tannehill has had missing his entire 2017 season after surgery to repair his ACL.

Surely, around the NFL, there some writers who believe the Dolphins are no better than a 4 to 6 win team.

Continue reading “It’s Ryan Tannehill against the world…again in 2018”

Tony Sparano: A strong man in conviction, who Coached for his guys

When Tony Sparano was hired, the only thing I knew about him as a fan was the corny spoof on his name sounding like Tony Soprano on ESPN Countdown.

At the time he was a little known coach of America’s team-the Dallas Cowboys.

Not only was Sparano little known, he happened to be coaching with Bill Parcells after coaching at New Haven.

Sparano, however, while cutting his teeth with the Cowboys as an offensive line coach happened to be hand picked by a gentleman Dolphins fans would prefer to forget-Jeff Ireland-then an Assistant in the scouting department for the Cowboys.

Here was Tony Sparano and while Miami beat reporters wanted to know his backstory, fans wondered openly if he was just another “yes man” spun in the web of Bill Parcells, football czar of the Dolphins.

Enter week 3 of the 2008 season, Dolphins and Patriots and the birth of the Wildcat.

Despite some painful losses to start the season, the Sparano Dolphins were big and tough and Chad Pennington looked like the real QB the Dolphins were seeking.

However, it was former Dolphin coach Nick Saban who had drafted a running back out of Auburn named Ronnie Brown. Until this point, the role for Brown was always catching passes out of the backfield and going on some long runs, but this time, he led the offense as a QB in the WildCat-an offense predicated on a running back running the ball on a draw play-direct snap or throwing a pass.

Credit goes to quarterbacks coach David Lee for concocting the plan with Sparano on the team flight after a tough road loss.

Continue reading “Tony Sparano: A strong man in conviction, who Coached for his guys”

Dolphins new anthem policy could be met with controversy from players and from fans

The Miami Dolphins have yet to fully begin training camp, but no start of camp would be complete without some form of controversy in Miami.

Taking a quick hike around the AFC East-the Dolphins were the only team with a seemingly quiet offseason after a bevy of moves to get under the cap, one big trade (Robert Quinn), and a very large release of the big Ndamukong Suh-who will make his Hollywood premiere quite soon. The Bills, Jets, and Patriots all made headlines and most headlines were negative.

However, this afternoon, AP followed by ESPN sent shockwaves on Twitter about the Miami Dolphins plan to “fine and or suspend players” who choose to kneel for the anthem during the 2018 NFL season.

The flurry of responses for and against the fresh off the press policy was widespread amongst Dolphins fans and non-Dolphins fans.

The angry sentiment for boycotting the NFL in 2017 rose to a fever pitch and the divisiveness and or a lack of understanding of this issue has resurfaced after a two month break since commissioner Roger Goodell left the interpretation of the policy-stand or stay in the tunnel, to the owners. Continue reading “Dolphins new anthem policy could be met with controversy from players and from fans”

Dolphins Minkah Fitzpatrick’s strong roots and work ethic will launch him to a successful NFL career

The Old Bridge, New Jersey native has come along way from his humble beginnings fixing cars with his father in the dead of winter to earning his way to Alabama and now being thrust into the Miami Dolphins defense with a bevy of high expectations less the pomp and circumstance.

Since entering the doors at the Miami Dolphins practice facility in Davie, FL- his résumé has continued to evolve as an NFL player and as a student of the game.

The reviews of Dolphins’ jack of all trades and ultra talented first round pick-Minkah Fitzpatrick have been nothing but glowing and 100 percent positive.

The Dolphins however, have a big problem.

This is a rookie and he’s emerging as the leader of the defense and quite possibly the team.

There is no mentoring for Fitzpatrick, he’s already had his journey as a youngster at St. Peter’s Prep, a Jesuit School where he was formed by teachers and coaches, leaders who instilled him competence, conscience, and compassion.

Saint Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits once said: “Go forth and set the world on fire.”

Fitzpatrick will set the NFL on fire because of his strong work ethic formed by humility and having to overcome adversity being displaced by hurricane Sandy in his early teen years which only made him stronger and more prolific in the classroom and on the football field.

As a student athlete at Alabama the accolades became more pronounced as  the first Bednarik and Thorpe Winner as the best defensive back in College Football since Charles Woodson (Michigan) and Patrick Peterson (LSU), in his third and final season.*

He’s raising the bar as the leader the coaches want to see.

He’s not a free-lancer because he models his game after the best of the best-he refuses to take plays off.

Fitzpatrick is in the meeting room and in the huddle has already adapted to the NFL football lifestyle often staying at the facility with his eyes watching film and his mind internalizing the entire playbook.

Fitzpatrick is a leader and he’s assuming the role and becoming the face of the franchise.

The positive vibes are all around Davie as Dolphins Defensive Coordinator Matt Burke said in his press conference yesterday:

As advertised, he’s sharp, he’s thirsty for knowledge and for more and we try to overload him a little bit and he keeps taking it and spends a lot of extra time in the building…”

It’s becoming apparent that Adam Gase who isn’t known to comment on his rookies as frequently has echoed nothing but positive compliments.

Said Gase this week about Fitzpatrick:

“He seems to be all over the place. He has a great motor, a great work ethic. It’s great seeing him progress since that first day. You can tell he takes this very serious and this is what he does,” coach Adam Gase said. “Any time coach [Nick] Saban has the amount of praise that he had for him, that’s [special]. You don’t hear [Saban] say a lot of the things that he said about him.”

I bet you if we asked Minkah today, he could tell you what the Dolphins offensive tendancies, because that’s his job and by August-he’ll have enough knowledge on the Patriots, Jets, and the Bills.

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been equally impressed with Fitzpatrick saying:

“He plays aggressive. He plays what he sees and he plays fast, and that’s what you want to see out of a [defensive back].”

“You might make a mistake here or there but if you’re out there playing fast, you’re going to make some big plays and really change games for us.”

The Dolphins have a player that they would have never drafted in the past-he’s a player packaged in the Patriot Way blue print because he does “his job”, but he’s playing in Miami- which is a very good thing for the Dolphins.

When you hear of the draft night controversy that largely surrounded this pick for the Dolphins, you’ve heard of Owner Stephen Ross’ preference for another player-maybe Josh Rosen, a quarterback.

With Rosen long gone to Arizona after a trade with the Raiders, the Dolphins took the best player on the board even though they didn’t need a safety with TJ McDonald and Reshad Jones, but Jones can only play this game for so long.

Fitzpatrick comes with a pedigree that is stronger than most Dolphins players-playing for one of the winningest college football coaches-Nick Saban or Nick “Satan” in South Florida and the winningest program of recent time (although The Ohio State Fans would disagree).

What Fitzpatrick means to the Dolphins is this-a do over for all the crappy and ill-suited picks of the past.

I could get into how in the past Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald-suggested Brandon Graham and Earl Thomas-but Fitzpatrick makes up for that previous stupidity.

Fitzpatrick brings energy and a methodical approach to his craft.

Like the hard work instilled in Minkah by fixing cars with his father in New Jersey, that hard work and determination has translated onto the football field.

I’ll say this, and all say this once, but more so as the season unfolds- a star will shine in Miami-and his name is Minkah Fitzpatrick-strong to his roots and pure to the core on the field.

Photo Credit: Miami Herald

Stats and information provided by University of Alabama Athletics.

For the Dolphins the new mantra is team unity

Several years back, Jeff Ireland, then GM of the Miami Dolphins drafted players because they were good leaders and captains. His gamble never came to fruition during his tenure that is until Adam Gase arrived.

Fast forward to this offseason and specifically the draft, the Dolphins not only drafted leaders, but talented players.

Define talented? Minkah Fitzpatrick, talent, strength, and a strong football acumen made him the Dolphins 2018 pick at 11 in round one. Fitzpatrick will push TJ McDonald for the starting job. At Alabama he shined brightly in the big lights of the SEC and more importantly, head ball coach Nick Saban loved him.

Then there’s Tight End Mike Gesicki. Yes PSU’s Mike Gesicki who high points the ball when he catches it and is being compared to the likes of Rob Gronkowski. Obviously a red zone threat and Tannehill’s security blanket. Gesicki comes from Franklin’s system at Penn State and demonstrated a knack for big offensive touchdowns.

Could the Dolphins have leapfrogged Buffalo and selected a QB-Josh Rosen perhaps, yes. But then what?

Giving up draft picks that turned into potential fulfillment of roster needs would have been stupid at this juncture when a QB, although a nice luxury in the draft could have crippled the team for seasons if both the offense and defense were not addressed.

As an arm chair GM, I’ve noticed that teams can afford to gamble when they already have a good team and the Dolphins are merely a team in progress who aspire for bigger and better things like playoffs. Some Dolphins fans say “we can’t have nice things.” My answer to that-look at the Cleveland Browns. No matter who they draft, they are still missing a major component-winning.

This year’s offseason for the Dolphins was all about drafting the best players and leaders and filling holes left vacant after an offseason which saw the Dolphins get into the black in terms of cap space and straighten out their balance sheet.

Gone is the rather needy Landry.

Gone is Suh who could never build a consistent portfolio of games even though he was the highest rated player according to PFF.

Clearly, Head coach Adam Gase, GM Chris Grier, and finally VP Mike Tannenbaum had a plan in mind and they all made sure that one: the Dolphins locker room didn’t divide when dealing with a tough loss or two and players were traded or rumor to be traded and two-add depth to every position.

As of now, OTAs have passed and the Dolphins like the look of their team with both young players and veterans buying in to Adam Gase’s system-straight laced, fair, and learn the X’s and O’s before you step on the field.

Based on my observations from training camp: Gase provides a structured environment and every player on the field knows exactly where they should be and the practices are uptempo. It’s truly a thing of beauty. Coaches coach and most of all teach.

As of now, Adam Gase has put the rookies on notice each of his past three seasons with meetings the weekend before OTA’s and what is expected if you play in Miami as a pro-such as meeting all staff at Hard Rock Stadium, the Dolphin’s home stadium. It’s an orientation of sorts which takes a page from Fortune 500 companies who invest in their people.

Gase’s response on why he goes over this with the rookies: so come first days of OTAs they can “hit the ground running.”

When I see what Gase has established in three seasons in Miami it comes down to one word-trust.

Last year when there was clear dissension or division of the locker room, Gase’s ride or die moment with Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams to do the job of Pro Bowl running back Jay Ajayi, he proved us all wrong even though the experiment didn’t lead to many wins.

Last season when he called out certain players, not by name about spending more time in their playbooks-he was critical of what he wanted from his guys-leadership.

Last year, the Dolphins craved leadership.

You could point to a number of instances where Adam Gase could be seen yelling at Jarvis Landry and for good reason-Landry clearly showed that the games were all about him and when things didn’t go his way-we saw it versus Buffalo in week 17, temper tantrum and ejections.

Here’s what I can see based on the various reports from OTA’s: the defense has a new leader and his name is Raekwon McMillan. From telling players to where line up and giving the Dolphins enormous intel and trust his judgement to draft his pal Baker from OSU (might be the steal of the draft even though I love Kiko).

On offense: Ryan Tannehill sat an entire season due to a second torn ACL and then watched Jay Cutler make a mockery of his job and could barely keep it together as the season wound down and Gase has no choice but to evaluate David Fales.

Tannehill is the leader of the Dolphins and don’t be fooled. He has grown up from that deer in the headlights look and if he has a strong season, he’ll have an argument for big money anywhere he wants to play.

Leadership. It’s a role that can be daunting and fleeting in an NFL locker room.

Gase has his guys and for now, he has some good players that are buying in and ready to lead the next chapter of Dolphins football.

(Photo Credit: Palm Beach Post)

Dolphins free agency recap

With the 2018 NFL Draft upcoming in a week, we breakdown the Miami Dolphins free agency acquisitions by position.

Quarterback:

The Dolphins signed Brock Osweiler to an undisclosed contract. Osweiler who was traded to the Browns by the Texans last year on draft day, never suited up for the Browns during the season, but headed back to Denver with mixed results. While this signing drew the ire of several Dolfans, the move makes sense as head coach Adam Gase worked with Osweiler while as an assistant in Denver and frankly offers a chance for Osweiler to compete for the back up role. Unclear is how the Dolphins view Osweiler should they draft a quarterback. To me, Osweiler had his biggest season as he led the Broncos to the playoffs-spelling a broken down and essentially benched Peyton Manning for a time and earning a huge win-for home field advantage versus the New England Patriots in 2015. While Osweiler chased big money in Houston, he was later discarded for draft picks and ended up getting some playing time in Denver due to the uncertainty of the quarterback position. In addition David Fales was brought back to compete for a backup job. Fales has earned Adam Gase’s trust so it should be interesting who stays and who goes if the Dolphins draft a QB next week.

Running back: The Dolphins signed veteran running back Frank Gore. Gore returns to his roots in South Florida as he played football and attended Coral Gables High and played football at the University of Miami. What makes this move interesting is that Gase acquires a guy who still has some gas in the tank as a running back, but also can be a veteran leader for the running back room, something that hasn’t been present in the Gase era. While Gore brings an intensity on the field, as he has said, he will show Kenyan Drake how to be a “real pro” off the field. More importantly, the Dolphins feel that Gore has one good year left in him and getting that extra yard for the offense could be Gore’s strength in a nice one-two punch with Kenyan Drake.

Wide Receiver: The Dolphins brought in both Albert Wilson (Kansas City) and Danny Amendola (New England). After sending Jarvis Landry to the Browns via trade, the Dolphins have chosen to add two potential slot receivers with speed. First on Wilson-he spent most of his time in the shadows of Tyreke Hill, but Wilson burned the Dolphins secondary in their late season meeting and quite frankly brings an element that is critical for a slot receiver-speed. Wilson ran a 4.3 at the combine, but he could be a key cog in the Dolphins offensive attack and could make things rather exciting on game days. I believe Gase went for a true game-changing threat and was perhaps even more impressed at his ability to get open and run routes. As for Amendola being available, this was kind of a key bonus to Dolfans, but in reality the Dolphins now have a short yardage threat and a red zone weapon. Amendola has plenty left for the rest of the AFC and NFL opponents and is on the same page as Adam Gase and this offense. While the Dolphins paid a premium for his services to the tune of 6 million dollars, it shouldn’t hurt their cap standing in the the next few years. The Dolphins replaced one (Landry) with two proven and talented receivers-less the cost of Landry. Plus adding both Wilson and Amendola to the wide receiver corps of DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills, Jakeem Grant, and Leonte Carroo-the Dolphins have the depth needed for 16 games and beyond.

Tight end: While the Dolphins didn’t sign a new player at the position and they sent away Julius Thomas, they acquired AJ Derby late in the season. Derby has shown some toughness in goal line situations as well as in the passing game. However, this draft is full of tight ends, so I’d expect the Dolphins to address the position.

Center: The Dolphins didn’t sign a new Center as they traded a 7th round pick for Andrew Kilgore of the 49ers. Kilgore brings experience and since he was signed to a new deal back in February, the Dolphins have him locked up for a few years. Surely Mike Pouncey’s intensity will be missed, but not his lack of durability.

Guard: Josh Sitton was brought in to play left guard and be a mentor for Laremy Tunsil. The Dolphins I believe struck gold with this move because guard was a huge need as Isaac Asiata wasn’t clearly game-ready for the NFL and the Dolphins went with a hodge-podge of different players.

Tackle: While it wasn’t a free agent acquisition, the Dolphins stayed the course and brought back Ja’Juan James as their starting right tackle. As James was placed on IR at midseason, it was imperative that the Dolphins shored up the position and are ready to roll with James for the next few seasons. James if anything was one of the key acquisitions from the Hickey-Philbin era that has worked out.

Defensive End: The Robert Quinn acquisition in a trade was by far the biggest offseason splash. The Dolphins added a savvy and capable veteran who gives the Dolphins some length and flexibility and can in plain language-get after the quarter back. While Quinn had 9.5 sacks last season-he dipped in his number of sacks due to a position switch from end to linebacker in Wade Phillips 3-4 defense. The fact that Quinn is in the defensive line room takes the pressure off of veteran leader-Cam Wake and brings another threat that teams will have to scheme for. While the cost of a 4th round pick was steep, getting a player of Quinn’s caliber was nothing short of brilliant between Gase, Grier, and Tannenbaum.

Of course come draft day next week, the Dolphins could pivot slightly from the same mantra that seems to dog the fans intelligence-that Ryan Tannehill is the Dolphins starting quarterback.

We shall see what’s next for the Dolphins, but know this-they will address holes in their roster during this year’s draft and getting a QB might satisfy their most glaring need.

Photo credit: Palm Beach Post

Dolphins gut roster, but at what cost?

The 1972 Miami Dolphins featured a defense called the No-Name Defense and led those Dolphins to the only perfect season ever in NFL history.

I’m was born 6 years after to know any better about the 1972 Dolphins, but they once revitalized the city of Miami with their play, swagger, and success.

At a time when Miami needed to escape the hangover of racism and discrimination, the city found a way to get back together.

The Dolphins won the Super Bowl in two consecutive years, a feat only seen by one other team-the Green Bay Packers at the time.

What’s so remarkable about that Dolphins team, is that they became an even stronger team after the NFL expanded in 1966 to Miami. Much of the credit goes to Don Shula who had other potential championships in his grasp if not for some disappointing playoff appearances and a lack of defensive effort in down years.

However, here we are in 1985, sorry-the Dolphins lost the Super Bowl in the fog of Palo Alto in the shadows of Stanford Stadium.

Here we are in 2018, and the Miami Dolphins have found their zero percent interest credit cards and pushed their future payments out a few years with releasing pricey veterans no matter who they are or what they’ve done in the past.

Call this roster churning what it is- a bailout if you will. Steve Ross is allowing the Dolphins front office to just bailout the franchise and instead of bringing back younger more expensive talents-they’re spending and banking on older and more experienced players.

Gone is Jarvis Landry at the tender age of 25 and sent to of all places, the Cleveland Browns and their factory of sadness. Will loyal Dolphins fans jump ship and head for the greener pastures of Cleveland with Landry and join his Lake Erie Gang gang?

Next, Ndamukong Suh. I personally loved Suh and was happy the day he joined Miami. What I didn’t love is his legs were a target and in his first game versus the Redskins, he couldn’t get free from being cut blocked or double teamed and he was toast the entire game. 2015 was a terrible year and we really didn’t see vintage Suh until 2016 and then 2017.

The one time the Dolphins made the playoffs during his tenure, he disappeared into the mist of the three rivers air in Pittsburgh.

Again, I loved Suh, but I’m moving on.

So Julius Thomas was cut-I’m fine with this move. He underperformed and underdelivered.

Lawrence Timmons? Fine. He was never going to play better than his Pittsburgh days and going AWOL helped the Dolphins.

Here’s where these past few days got interesting-Mike Pouncey’s departure. I loved Pouncey’s heart and I loved his soul, but he could only go so far and he truly doesn’t have much left in the tank. The right thing to do was for the Dolphins to release him, but with honor and offer him that much- a space on the hallowed ring of honor. I’ll miss Pouncey because he busted his butt for the Dolphins and never quit.

However, what did the Dolphins add exactly in the past few days? Did they add depth? Sure.

Did they get faster? Yes.

Did they find a complementary back? No.

Did they find a linebacker in free agency? Not yet.

Did they add more pass rush to complement Robert Quinn? Yes/No.

Did the Dolphins make a splash so that Stephen Ross can sell tickets to his shareholders? Not exactly. Club LIV will not have the same energy that Landry brought to the offense nor some of that toughness Pouncey gave the offensive line.

Look, I get that Albert Wilson’s and his speed and quickness brought him to Miami. I understand how he will fill a hole in the slot for now.

Danny Amendola was somewhat surprising, but then again Bill Belichick never pays for talent past their prime-except for Brady and he’s underpaid per QB contract averages versus what he’s accomplished-5 Super Bowl wins and 8 appearances.

While I can respect the Robert Quinn deal, I can’t fathom paying him if he doesn’t perform next season and that will have been a wasted trade. Surely, the Dolphins should get more than 27 sacks in 2018.

Here’s what gets me, QB. The Dolphins clearly needed a QB to backup Tannehill, but they didn’t get one. Instead they signed David Fales and just left it at that since they have Brandon Doughty signed as well.

You would think the Dolphins would at least kick the tires on Bridgewater (Jets) or Cousins (Vikings) or even Siemian (Broncos).

At this point to rid themselves of 56 million dollars, that’s a nice little gain for the Dolphins, but they still don’t have a complete team and the draft is still about a month away.

Consider this for a second, the Dolphins could have had Landry for three million more. Three million that they didn’t have, but they could easily get after releasing key veterans, which they still did.

We all want to turn the page, but the bottom line with all of this- what’s the plan?

If getting tier 1 free agents didn’t work in the past, how will Adam Gase and Co. produce wins with tier 2 guys?

As the Dolphins front office mulls their options and continues to back track on some of their own declarations of players good to go for 2018, know this, no one on this roster is safe come 2019.

Can Dolphins’ Kiko Alonso return to his 2016 form?

The Miami Dolphins have plenty of issues and linebacker Kiko Alonso is probably one of them.  Sorry Jay-Z for butchering the lyrics to one of your most famous songs.

However, let’s look at how Kiko Alonso can be better and get back to the play maker he was in 2016, by far the best season of his career.

Last offseason, Alonso signed a contract that seemed lucrative and paid out the majority of his bonus, a 3 year extension that put him at 29 million with 18.5 million guaranteed.  Alonso’s contract, however is not a lucrative for the Dolphins to just outright cut him.

According to Spotrac.com,. Alonso’s deal signed last offseason (2017) goes from a $1,075,000 to a whopping and astronomical raise that many of us can’t fathom to nearly 8 million dollars at $7,875,000.  Alonso’s bonus pays out at $1,762,250 plus a 25,000 dollar workout bonus each season.

This much is known-Alonso is being paid quite well by the Dolphins, so much so they wanted him in uniform this past offseason and didn’t want to tag nor transition him or heaven forbid let him hit the market.

Looking a bit deeper into how his numbers equate with his production, Alonso this season finished the season, healthy and playing 16 games.  While his best season was in Buffalo (2013) as a rookie with 159 combined tackles, Alonso clearly has developed some consistency in combined tackles, amassing 115 in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Tackles alone don’t tell the entire story for Alonso has he was the worst rated linebackers per Ryan Smith of PFF, he said this concerning Alonso after the Buffalo game week 15:

“Linebacker Kiko Alonso had a top-five LB grade for the third time this season in Week 14, but struggled once again against his old team in Buffalo this week, finishing the game at 29.8 overall. He was targeted eight times, allowing seven receptions for 71 yards (all team-highs). He also struggled in the run game as well missing two tackles, bringing his season total to 13.”

What’s most telling about the statistical breakdown is the 71 yards given up via pass to the Bills, a statistic that should not sit well with Adam Gase and most of all Matt Burke, the Dolphins current defensive coordinator.

Looking at both 2016 versus 2017- Alonso’s grades per PFF were:

2017 final overall grade at 39.0, ranked 76th for all linebackers, 62.4 versus the run and 35.5 in coverage.

Alternatively, basing his contract on his 2016 numbers, Alonso earned a grade of 72.9 overall, much higher than his overall this season and the 48th ranked linebacker and better than Lawrence Timmons whom the Dolphins settled on during last offseason.

In fact, for comparison’s sake, the Dolphins had other options at linebacker in addition to Alonso and chose Lawrence Timmons who was charged with stopping the run and helping in pass coverage. The Dolphins brought Timmons in to be the guy in the middle and also drafted Raquon McMillan out of The Ohio State.

The Dolphins, per Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post, had a choice of various linebackers: Dont’a Hightower, Timmons (whom they signed), Zach Brown, Malcom Smith, Will Compton, Paul Worrilow, Gerald Hodges, Nick Bellore, and Keenan Robinson.  PFF grades alone, Dont’a Hightower was the highest ranked at #12, but the Dolphins probably had less of a chance to obtain his services via free-agency as he commanded far more money than what Timmons signed for.

Consequently, the Dolphins settled on Timmons and Kiko was tasked and therefore trapped and set as the cover linebacker as teams continuously targeted him in their passing game plans.  It’s no secret that Kiko could not “hide” the issues he had in coverage and therefore was exposed early and often in 2017.

Going forward, as the Dolphins look to take several cost-saving measures with their current salary cap, they should start at linebacker and jettison Timmons who went AWOL week one and didn’t perform as advertised on or off the field.  Surely Timmons had some games, but look for the Dolphins to surround Kiko Alonso with some talent so that he can do what he does best, run downhill and make bone-crushing hits.

As an aside, while Kiko Alonso had a down year as a Dolphins linebacker on the field, he’s fulfilled the call of helping out in Puerto Rico this offseason after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island last fall.  It’s inspirational to see Alonso put into action his passion for “su gente,” and if you happen to read this last paragraph, check out Kiko’s website: kikoalonso47.com and consider purchasing a GIVE shirt to give back and help Puerto Rico.  Alonso’s YouCaring site has raised over 165,000 for supplies to Puerto Rico (Dolphins.com).

Kiko Alonso’s visit to Puerto Rico has also been highlighted in this article by Alain Poupart of the Dolphins.com

-DolphinMick

KIKO ALONSO 2018

First FinsFreelance.com Dolphins 2 round Mock Draft

Hello fellow Dolfans!

The offseason is upon us and that means that the Miami Dolphins are at home or on vacation while they have missed the playoffs once again.

As the Miami Dolphins front office and head coach Adam Gase assess each and every position, they will discover that the Dolphins have several needs on both sides of the ball.

Here is my take on who the Dolphins should draft and why in the first two rounds:

Round 1, pick 11: The Dolphins take Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame.  Size, strength, and a need on the left side of the offensive line fit the Dolphins offensive style which should be more balanced and more run-friendly with Ryan Tannehill coming back at quarterback.  Nelson is 6’5″ and 330 lbs (Notre Dame Sports), Scouts have marveled about his strength.

Luke Easterling of Draftwire.usatoday.com says: “A massive mover with a rare combination of athleticism, physicality and awareness, Nelson is a 36-game starter who consistently dominates his competition.”   The Dolphins need to absolutely bring back that swagger as an offensive unit and I’m going to go old-school with this pick of building the offensive line through the draft.  I believe that Nelson would fulfill that need at left guard for one and fill that void that was left after the suspension and release of the Bills Richie Incognito.  For one, the Dolphins selection of Nelson would shore up the left side of the line and also the middle with Mike Pouncey needing help as a pass blocker.  Nelson is immovable and would support Laremy Tunsil on the left side.  I can see the Dolphins getting back to a down-hill running style with this selection.

Round 2: As the Dolphins continue their negotiations with wide receiver Jarvis Landry, it will be quite interesting in what direction they go.  In my humble opinion, the Dolphins go cornerback with their second pick.  I realize the Dolphin under head coach Adam Gase have drafted defense in round 2 and I don’t feel any different here.  The Dolphins could select Mike Hughes of UCF, Cornerback.  I like Hughes simply because of his “ball-skills” and his versatility as a returner.  The the Dolphins need another physical cornerback opposite Xavien Howard.  This is a position that the Dolphins need to get right if they are going to “sweep” the AFC East next season.

Said Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball.com: “Hughes has dangerous ball skills. He is very talented at slapping passes away and times his contact well while being a threat to pick off the pass. Hughes has good hands and is a dangerous threat to pick passes off. When he gets the ball in his hands, Hughes knows what to do with it as he is dangerous to rip off big returns. His speed and elusiveness in the open field is very impressive. ”

I’m a big fan of UCF’s incredible 13-0 run and it’s no secret that Scott Frost, the new head coach of Nebraska had his blue print on this relentless defense.  Both Frost and Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander put their stamp on this team and Frost, having coached and played both sides of the ball placed Hughes not only at corner on his defense, but as a returner, and none bigger than the return this past season versus USF to clinch a berth in the AAC titile game.  Hughes, a multiple sport talent in high school, grew up idolizing Deion Sanders.  Said Hughes, per ESPN of his big return versus USF:

“Once I saw the kick was short, I took it, I went with the return,” Hughes said. “Everyone knows what they’re going to do. And I know what I’m going to run, and I’ve got to give those guys up front credit. They did a great job of following through with the play. I saw a cutback lane, and I just took advantage of it.”

What’s not to like about Hughes? Check out his highlights at the tail end of the Maryland game for unbeaten UCF. 2:14 mark is a good one!

 

 

FinsUp!!!

Adam Gase and Mike Tannenbaum meet with the press, Wednesday January 3rd, 2018.

Dolphins loss to Buffalo 22-16 shows a lack of discipline and lack of big picture thinking

On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins played their final game of the 2017 regular season. Despite the confetti and champagne bottles that would be thrown and popped, some of the Dolphins decided to start their celebration of the New Year in dynamic fashion.

Late in the 4th quarter with the Dolphins down 22-3, Jarvis Landry caught his 9th touchdown and made his 112th reception (new Dolphins record) of the season.

What followed was a melee of sorts incited by some Buffalo Bills who didn’t appreciate Jarvis Landry breaking the plane of the goal line and Landry was left to defend himself- lost his cool after being head-locked by Matt Milano and then open hand punched Jordan Poyer of the Bills.

Call it what you will, an old-fashioned scrum turned violent and left a plethora of yellow flags sprinkled inside the 10 yard line after a much need Dolphins touchdown.

In the end, with his football in tote, Landry headed to the stadium tunnel (ejected from the game) and his teammates Kenyan Drake and Jake Brendel left to defend Landry after mixing it up with several Buffalo Bills.

In the end, the Dolphins had three players ejected-Landry, Drake (helmet toss), and Brendel.

The Dolphins lost 22-16 and the game culminated on an interception- much how the start of week 3 was versus the New York Jets where Cutler threw three interceptions, this time it was backup David Fales seeing time threw the last.

The end of the game marked the 10th loss of the season- a fitting end to the Miami Dolphins mandated 16 games in a row, who shared that distinction with Tampa, but in the end, it’s just an excuse.

After the game, veteran Center Mike Pouncey had a directive to his teammates ejected:

“I don’t really know what happened, man,” center Mike Pouncey said. “I was just pissed off that it even took place. We still had seven minutes left in the game and there is just no place for that, honestly. I mean, just a common sense thing. Like what are you doing? It’s a football game. We don’t need that out there. We just don’t.”

It’s clear that Mike Pouncey is playing for something bigger after he’s seen the success his brother have in Pittsburgh with the Steelers and while he understands it’s a heat of the moment kind of thing Pouncey said:

“We have to be smarter in those situations. We have to know we can’t get guys kicked out of the game at that point. Hopefully both those guys will learn from it.”

When asked about the season and what could have been Pouncey left us this nugget:

“I think we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Pouncey said. “Obviously it’s tough. Losing your starting quarterback during training camp. But that’s no excuse. We still went out there and won games. We won big games. We lost games that we thought we should have won. But at the end of the day we still have a lot of work to do. We have a big time offseason coming up. And I hope guys have their minds ready whenever we get this thing started back up in April (Joe Schad-Palm Beach Post).”

In reality, the Miami Dolphins finished 6-10 and after a year of distractions, there is much work to do.

There will be changes on this coaching staff.

Matt Burke didn’t get the job done with a group of veterans leading the way. Will Burke be given a year two?

Could the Dolphins change their scheme to a 3-4?

Adam Gase needs an experienced offensive coordinator to maybe serve as another set of eyes on game day.  Will Gase continue to call the offensive plays?

Will Ryan Tannehill be the leader and quarterback that Adam Gase was brought here to develop?

While owner Stephen Ross confidently said he was bringing back Chris Grier GM, Adam Gase head coach, and Mike Tannenbaum (Executive VP)- this much is clear and it’s the loudest comment we’ve ever seen from Mr. Ross:

“I hate “Fu*****” losing!”

And so do we.

Here’s to a great 2018 and Happy New Year!

Jarvis Landry Ejected

Jarvis Landry needs to be the Dolphins number one priority this off season

With the conclusion of the Dolphins season today, the ball is in their court so to speak, based on various reports out of Miami.

If you believe Josina Anderson’s report (ESPN) last week that the Dolphins and Landry’s agent have exchanged offers, then the Dolphins are far from close to bringing Landry back.

Last week, after a 3rd and 24 play in Kansas City, Landry game off the field and proceeded to yell out head coach Adam Gase. The two had an exchange of epic proportions and as the CBS cameras cut away, Landry could be seen out of the picture, but Gase yelling at him on the sideline.

One can gather that one, Landry hated the 3rd and 24 play call on a failed screen to Jakeem Grant on an errant throw by quarterback Jay Cutler and two, Landry wanted that pass downfield to get the Dolphins a closer 4th down opportunity with the game seemingly out of reach.

In fact, Landry you remember had a similar confrontation with Gase in an earlier game this season when Landry claimed to catch the ball and wanted a coaches challenge only to be rebuffed by Gase.

On one hand, Landry’s behavior can been seen as confrontational and somewhat defiant of how Gase might prefer him to act after a play. On the other hand, Landry’s intensity is a welcome sight because it shows he wants to win and cares about making the Dolphins winners.

When Landry was drafted, his 40 time (4.77 seconds) was in question even though he caught more passes than his pal Odell Beckham Jr. at LSU.

Said Mike Mayock at the time per NFL.com:

“When you put the tape on to watch Odell Beckham play, you can’t tell which one is Beckham. I like the opportunity he’s going to get in Miami.”

When Landry was knocked for his size (5’11”), he busted out as a rookie and favorite of Ryan Tannehill over Mike Wallace because Landry played the game all out and wasn’t afraid to catch a ball in traffic nor afraid to get after it on a block.

Evan Nawrocki’s assessment (NFL.com):

Weaknesses:

“Has a fairly lean frame — could stand to bulk up and get stronger in order to combat the jam. Lacks elite explosiveness and top-end speed — does not have an extra gear to take the top off. Average line release, acceleration and suddenness. Could struggle to separate vs. quick-twitch cornerbacks. Large percentage of catches are contested. Lacks ideal height and is not a great leaper. Started just 12 career games.”

Perhaps Landry is at his best when he’s mad. Perhaps Landry is better for a team that runs a balanced offense.

Perhaps Landry just makes the team better.

100 plus catches better and 8 touchdowns-with two quarterbacks, Cutler and Moore.

Will the Dolphins franchise tag, transition tag, re-sign him, or set him free?

There will never be another player like Landry who handle his craft with professionalism, an undying energy, and the will to win.

Will this be Juice’s last game in Miami as a Dolphin?

Despite the dialogue, has the Juice finally run out?

Out of Miami that is.

Five resolutions: What should the Dolphins do for a successful 2018?

We’ve seen the lists elsewhere from both Armando Salguero and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald: Adam Gase needs to make changes to get the Dolphins back to where they wish to be in 2018-making the playoffs and ready to roll.

When I look at the Dolphins roster, I look at a failure to be comfortable with change.

Surely, the Dolphins relied on the 2017 draft to add some defensive depth with DE Charles Harris, DT Vincent Taylor, DT Davon Godchaux, MLB Raquon McMillan, and CB Cordrea Tankersley.

In fact, all except for McMillan due to injury contributed in a major way this season.

The old adage about drafting players for your roster today rang true as almost all draft picks played this season except for McMillan (torn ACL in preseason week 1) and Asiata (“redshirt year”).

On the plus side, drafting defensive talent will allow Miami flexibility the next few years as their aging defensive stars are cut/waived/ or retire.

However, there is some age on this defense and a lot of it expensive parts from LB Kiko Alonso (lowest rated LB by PFF) to DE Andre Branch and maybe Ndamukong Suh. I’m of the opinion that Wake- nine sacks can still play at a high level.

Nevertheless, here are my five resolutions for the 2018 Dolphins:

1. Even though Ryan Tannehill is coming back stronger from his surgery (he’s out on the practice field as of today via a foto by Omar Kelly), draft a quarterback.  The Dolphins shouldn’t just settle on having Tannehill be the guy if a better option is out there to provide true competition for the future.  I fully expect the Dolphins to be a player in the first round of the draft especially if Baker Mayfield is available.  Mayfield has a special presence about him and might be the guy that Miami can either trade away to another team for more picks or draft him outright.  If Mayfield were to fall in round 1, Miami might be tempted.  Josh Allen is no exception.  He’s a fit for this offense and the Dolphins could benefit by having a project in their quarterback room. Going forward, quarterback should’ve been the focus of the Dolphins scouting department this season after having been through a summer of uncertainty after Tannehill went down and not feeling comfortable with Matt Moore. Quarterback should be a focus moving forward and I expect the Dolphins to draft a QB and find a capable backup as insurance. Is Tannehill the quarterback in 2018? I’d say yes, but stranger things have happened-but the Dolphins should handle this gradually and determine if the Dolphins have a healthy and season ready quarterback in Tannehill before it’s too late.

2. Sign Jarvis Landry to a new contract.  I’m sure that Landry is more than ready to negotiate.  Since he’s done nothing but play harder than anyone on the roster and actually be the saving grace of the offense. After Josina Anderson’s report (ESPN), the ball is clearly in the Dolphins court. It’s not quite 4th down yet, but it’s getting close. The Dolphins haven’t changed their stance-they could franchise or transition tag him. Depending on how much cap space they have, I’d say it’s safer to tag him. He’s been a consistent contributor and integral part of the Dolphins offense and most of all, he hasn’t dropped off despite working with Tannehill to Moore to Cutler.

3. Decide what to do about Ndamukong Suh. Is Suh prepared to take a pay cut on a restructured deal? For every time Suh jumps offsides, it sends his defense into a backpedal. Perhaps jumping offsides is correctable, but it seems that the defense looks to Suh for direction. Mistakes happen, but when they do on second down and long, those penalties hurt. If the Dolphins move to a 3-4 defense as was rumored the other day-I could see the Dolphins moving on from Suh and finding a Nose Tackle in the draft. Suh isn’t a nose tackle. Expect a change on the defense and the Dolphins may discard the wide 9 completely. With just 24 sacks this season, the defense has taken a step back.

4. Dolphins need to draft a running back: If Adam Gase’s vision for the Dolphins offense anything but complete, look for Gase to bang the table for a running back. Don’t get me wrong, we all like Kenyan Drake, but he needs a full season to prove himself rather in the limited opportunities he has had. Having a younger running back to spell Drake would be wise. Durability, catching a football, and speed would be critical for the Dolphins. Gase likes a big back, but a speed back to complement the downhill running style would be nice.

5. Provide DeVante Parker and get him a good training regimen: Parker is a Dolphin and will be a Dolphin next season. I’m going to simply ignore everything people are writing about him right now and realize that despite the injuries, he can still play and thrive in this offense. Parker to me is a better fit with Tannehill who in which we saw glimpses last season on deep throws and as a red zone threat. I fully expect Parker back next season and I’m sure Adam Gase will find ways to involve him more.

There you have it. I wish everyone a happy new year!

-DolphinMick

Un error llamado Jay Cutler.

Poco antes de comenzar la temporada los Dolphins de Miami tuvieron su peor baja, cuando en medio de los entrenamientos su mariscal de campo (QB) Ryan Tannehill sufrió una grave lesión de la rodilla. Tras varios días de especulación el dirigente, Adam Gase, reclamando su posición de confianza, pidió a la gerencia de los Dolphins traer del retiro a Jay Cutler, quien fuese su mariscal de campo (QB) en Bears de Chicago, ya que Cutler había tenido su mejor año bajo en mando de Gase. La prensa complaciente no estudió los números estadísticos de Cutler, éste, aún en su mejor momento bajo Gase no había sido un ganador y desde el camerino de los Bears se decía, que en vez de ser el líder, como se espera de un mariscal de campo (QB), Cutler era una distracción, un problema. Gase se impuso y trajo a Cutler. Quien no perdió tiempo y en las primeras practicas usó su única arma para impresionar e hizo varios lances a distancia, y como siempre toda la prensa deportiva de Miami hizo ver a Dan Marino en Cutler.

Vayamos a sus números con los Dolphins: pases intentados 389, pases completados 246, para 2374 yardas y un 63.2% de pases completados con un promedio de 6.1 yardas por pase; 18 anotaciones (Tds) 14 intercepciones, 5 pérdidas de balón (fumbles) y el ratio total para el mariscal de campo (QB) en solo 40.8. Nada impresionante, números que no hacen sobresalir a nadie. Sus peores desempeños han venido en dos juegos claves al final de la temporada y cuando más falta hacían para mantener vivas las esperanzas de un espacio en la pos temporada. Por ejemplo frente a Tampa Bay pasó para 3 intercepciones y una anotación (TD) en la derrota 20-30, y la semana pasada contra Búfalo lanzó para 3 intercepciones sin ninguna anotación y 4 perdidas de balón en la derrota 16-24. Lo que dice de Cutler que en juegos importantes no aguanta presión. Pero esas estadísticas no son nuevas para Cutler y han estado ahí durante toda su carrera. Ha sido un perdedor durante toda su carrera en la NFL, su única habilidad reconocida es tener un brazo poderoso. Es un jugador con poca o ninguna movilidad en el bolsillo (pocket) ofensivo, algo necesario para cualquier mariscal de campo (QB) en los Dolphins ya que su linea ofensiva es deficiente.

El ego de Adam Gase ha sido tan grande que ha preferido sacrificar una temporada, que aún no está perdida, antes de aceptar que Cutler fue un error de juicio de su parte. Y no es solo la posible o virtual eliminación de los Dolphins de la actual temporada, sino el costo que ha tenido en el tope salarial, ya que la firma de Cutler vino acompañada de un contrato por 10 millones de dólares. Actualmente hay mariscales de campo (QB) en la NFL con mucho mejores números que Cutler ganando mucho menos.

Todavía los Dolphins, matemáticamente hablando, no están eliminados. Lo lograrían de esta manera: deben ganar sus 2 juegos restantes, los Titans de Tennessee deben perder su restantes dos juegos, los Raiders de Oakland deben perder uno de sus dos juegos, los Chargers de Los Angeles deben perder un juego, y finalmente los Patriots de New England deben derrotar a los Bills en su último juego. De todos esos factores darse los Dolphins jugarían el juego del comodín (wild card) el día 6 o el 7 de enero de 2018 frente a quien finalice tercero, espacio que al momento ocupan los Jaguars de Jacksonville.

Las cosas quizás hubiesen sido de otra manera, pero la decisión de Adam Gase de traer a Cutler del retiro no solo ha costado 10 millones de dolares, sino ha costado una temporada. Los Dolphins solo podrán controlar sus últimos dos juegos, los cuales vienen obligados a ganar, para luego sentarse a esperar por los resultados de otros equipos. No se puede saber que hubiese pasado con otro mariscal de campo (QB) solo se podría especular. Lo que si sabemos es que esta temporada quedará marcada por un error llamado Jay Cutler.

Zapatero a su zapato.

La presente temporada de los Miami Dolphins ha dejado demostrado que en el football cada cual debe tener una responsabilidad. Para ser mas claro, llegó la hora de que los Dolphins tengan un verdadero Gerente General (GM), un verdadero coordinador ofensivo, un nuevo equipo de escuchas y un nuevo equipo de dirigentes para asistir a Adam Gase. La forma en que se conducen los trabajos en Miami es una irregular los movimientos de personal los dirige un amigo personal del dueño, dejando la posición de Gerente General como una meramente cosmética, prácticamente sin funciones. En otras palabras Mike Tannebaum debe dejar a Chris Grier o cualquier otro que venga hacer su trabajo en coordinación con el cuerpo de escuchas. Tienen que volver a la base del trabajo de ver y estudiar los novatos que entran al sorteo, para de ahí traer soluciones a los actuales problemas del equipo. Gase tiene que dejar que sea el coordinador ofensivo quien haga el trabajo de llamar las jugadas, solo intervenir en momentos claves, en los momentos en que el entienda que hay que salir del patrón ofensivo para crear puntos o avances en determinado momento. Se debe hacer cambios en los asistentes de Gase, son demasiados los problemas en la linea ofensiva, en la defensiva, como para pensar que el problema es solo de jugadores. El cuerpo de dirigentes debe compararse con un maestro, si sus estudiantes fracasan es porque no se transmitió el conocimiento correctamente. Pues algo así pasa en los Dolphins, demasiados problemas para solo responsabilizar a los jugadores por el pobre desempeño del equipo.

La mentalidad de Tannebaum ha afectado mucho dentro y fuera de la organización. El traer al equipo veteranos que ya están en el ocaso de su carrera en nada aporta al desempeño de los Dolphins. La inmensa mayoría de ellos ha perdido la pasión por el deporte y solo están por ganarse un buen sueldo, las victorias y las derrotas ya no importan para ellos. Hay que reestructurar la organización, para ir a buscar novatos al sorteo con hambre de producir, hay que dar oportunidad al nuevo talento a demostrar que saben jugar. No puedes tener un jugador en la banca que en tres temporadas ha jugado solo 5 o 6 secuencias y dejarlo libre porque no produjo. No se puede ir a un sorteo de jugadores a llenar un equipo de prácticas, si los seleccionas es por que viste potencial en ellos, porque viste talento para jugar y producir. Es por esta razón que llegó la hora de contratar un gerente general, con un verdadero cuerpo de escuchas que venga a conseguir novatos que representen el futuro de la organización.

Los veteranos que no han aportado estadísticamente para producir vitorias deben ser recortados. Hay que hacer espacio en el tope salarial y la mayoría de ellos solo están consumiendo ese tope salarial. Es claro que la soluciones no están dentro de la organización. Mucho menos en el vestidor. Llego la hora de verdaderamente reestructura a los Dolphins. Que cada cual asuma su rol y que cada zapatero vaya a su zapato. No hay espacio para improvisar.

Un huracán cambio todo.

Por los últimos tres años domingo tras domingo me levantaba muy temprano y tras varias horas de estudiar estadísticas me sentaba y escribía un articulo sobre mis Dolphins de Miami. Pero el día 20 de septiembre de 2017 el huracán María lo cambio todo. Esa madrugada llego a mi querida isla Puerto Rico con una fuerza destructora como jamas se había visto en el continente Americano. Toco tierra por el suroeste de la Isla con vientos sostenidos de mas de 165 mph (265 kph) y ráfagas de vientos en las montañas de mas de 210 mph (338 kph) su fuerza era tanta que los sismo grafos leían un sismo o terremoto de 3 grados en la escala Richter. Solo imagínense un huracán con la mayor fuerza de la historia acompañado de sismo constante por unas 16 horas que se mantuvo sobre la isla. Los daños fueron catastróficos, ya las cadenas nacionales lo han mostrado al mundo. Fue ahí donde cambio todo, el huracán trastoco toda mi vida.
A las 6:00 am del 21 de septiembre salí a la calle con mi hijo y un vecino. La mayoría de mis vecinos son personas de mas de 80 años, y necesitaban ayuda. La calle parecía un campo de batalla, pedazos de las residencias, el tendido eléctrico destruido, pedazos de arboles, destrucción por doquier. Junto a mi hijo Jaime, del cual me siento sumamente orgulloso, y el vecino comenzamos la labor de sacar vecinos de sus residencias, ya fuese por estar parcialmente inundadas y otras destruidas, limpiamos el camino para que lo autos lograsen el libre acceso y las familias pudieran salir de sus hogares. Ya a las 9 am eramos un grupo de mas de 10 personas, hombres y mujeres recogiendo y almacenando los restos de lo que habían sido las residencias de los menos afortunados. Así transcurrió el día, no había espacio para lamentos, la lucha por salir a flote comenzaba ese día. Mientras en mi pueblo sucedía eso, mi hijo mayor, Francisco, se había refugiado en casa de su prima en el sur de la isla, y ante la falta de comunicación cruzo la isla de norte a sur para saber como estábamos, experimento la destrucción total de la isla. Ya al anochecer estábamos todos juntos, no había servicio energía eléctrica, no había ningún tipo de comunicación, no había agua potable y la oscuridad se apodero de Puerto Rico. María destruyo el 90% de la infraestructura, las familias quedarían marcadas para siempre, separadas por la necesidad. Las compañías dejaron de funcionar, los bancos no abrían al publico, no había acceso al dinero, muchos perdían sus trabajos, incluidos mis dos hijos, el caos reino por mandato de María. A los 7 días del huracán el aeropuerto Internacional comenzó a funcionar y la isla se fue vaciando día tras día, la gente perdió la esperanza en el gobierno, decidieron dejar sus vidas atrás para comenzar en otro lugar. Mi familia no fue la excepción, mi hijo mayor dejo la isla el día 14 de octubre, tras la compañía donde trabajaba dejarlo sin empleo. Durante esos días como empleado gubernamental en la isla me reporte a trabajar y fui destinado a la Oficina de Manejo de Emergencias Local, experimente la destrucción de primera mano, el desespero de la gente, el dolor tras el paso de los días por la falta de agua, alimentos y dinero. Fue difícil llegar a las comunidades aisladas, llego la Cruz Roja a mi pueblo, las Fuerzas Especiales de Fort Braggs también llegaron, parecía una guerra, aterrizábamos helicópteros en los lugares mas necesitados con agua y alimentos.
Comenzaron mis frustraciones, el saber que mi hijo abandonaba la isla era la primera de muchas. Tenia que viajar una hora para poder hacer llamadas telefónicas y leer emails. La ayuda que familiares y amigos trataban de hacerme llegar se perdía o era robada en los aeropuertos y correos de los Estados Unidos, increíblemente empleados federales se estaban robando las ayudas. Muchas nunca llegaron y agravaban la necesidad. A nivel local el gobierno y la corrupción se apoderan de las ayudas dejando al pueblo sin ellas. Todavía, pasados mas de 60 días, el 50% de la isla esta sin servicio eléctrico, entre 10 y 15% sin servicio de agua y mas del 40% sigue incomunicado. Lo peor es que ni las autoridades locales, ni las federales se ponen de acuerdo en la reconstrucción de la isla. Mas de 400,000 viviendas afectadas o destruidas, mas de 400,000 familias destruidas…dos meses de luchas de un pueblo que no se quita, de un pueblo que no se rinde, de un Puerto Rico que se levanta solo luego de huracán que lo cambio todo.

How much is too much for Adam Gase in Miami to handle?

Yesterday morning at about 8:18AM per a police report, the latest black mark in the 2017 season appeared with an arrest, detainment, and release of Dolphins linebacker Rey Maualuga. It seems Maualuga was at a club in Miami and went all Ndamukong Suh over a 40 dollar tab, the difference is this took place off the field 24 hours before he should have been in a walkthrough in Davie. Maualuga has since been released by the Dolphins for his off the field incident.

At this point, Adam Gase has had to deal with injuries to key players including but not limited to Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins quarterback, Tony Lippett a third year corner who was just on the presupice of getting better and becoming a lock down corner for the Dolphins, and then rookie Raquon McMillan who painfully tore his ACL after being hit from behind on a special teams play in week 1 of the preseason.

Challenging Gase and his ideals echoing the Patriots true mantra-Do your own job, have been veteran linebacker Lawrence Timmons who went AWOL and per some reports early in the season, he was seen hanging out and working out in Pittsburgh with the Steelers practicing on the field.

Surely, seeing Jay Ajayi flourish last season with three 200 yard plus games and then seeing him have some good and bad games early in the season, but no rushing touchdowns and a supposed bad attitude and defiance of Gase’s policies (not taking work home to study), led to his shipment out of town in a trade for a 4th round pick to the hottest team in the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles.  Ajayi went untouched for a 53 yard TD on his first carry for the Eagles fitting the scheme and playcall beautifully.

At this point, if you ask Gase, which I have not had the pleasure of doing so because I don’t possess the credentials, but if what you read is true on Twitter and on print, the Dolphins best beat reporters have been wounded by glances and some major comeback statements that make Gase seem like he is the smartest guy in the room.

For one, Gase is the coach of the football team who cares about the well-being of each and every player on the team as well as his staff.  So much so, that he had to fire Chris Foerster for transgressions caught on video, this after the Dolphins were in the middle of a lengthy winning streak.

In fact, Gase is directly responsible for the Dolphins offense as he calls the plays and continually says he prefers to do so because it’s the “only thing he enjoys.” At least, it’s good to know that Gase doesn’t care for his defense-which needs some more tough love and quite possibly a solution to stopping the run and big plays downfield.

That a leader hasn’t emerged with all the talent on that defense and expensive talent it is, but maybe more valuable to Miami at this point in terms of scheme and formation.

How much does offsides champion Suh cost again?  How about that guy Andre Branch? Do the Dolphins have a pass rusher not named Cam Wake?

Speaking of Cam Wake, six sacks early in the season and now, fans want to say that he’s being held so he can’t get to the QB?  Last time I checked, that’s his job and his supposed longevity and age shouldn’t have anything to do with it.

Ask Khalil Mack of the Raiders if he cares if he gets held, because one way or another, he gets to the QB.

If Adam Gase is going to criticize his team, then he needs to be prepared to hold himself accountable.

Just because Gase made the playoffs last year, it doesn’t mean that he gets a free pass and the authority, in my opinion to get rid of anyone he wishes to on the roster.

What’s most damning is the reason the Dolphins didn’t win in the playoffs last year and got lucky that they made it in the first place, all one has to do is look at the Denver Broncos’ head coach-Vance Joseph and he’s now on the way out if he doesn’t win games and has been called out indirectly as John Elway called his team-“soft.”

Was Vance Joseph the true issue last season why the Dolphins failed to stop the run and couldn’t earn a higher margin of victory? It’s food for thought.

To me, it seems like Ross trusts Gase so much that he can be allowed to revamp and essentially churn the roster because he claims to know what he’s doing. Now it’s time to revamp the offense with a porous offensive line where the best player-Laremy Tunsil can’t handle a bull rush and is probably not destined to be a Left Tackle, but better at Left Guard.

Gase has resorted to playing and having balls forced to receivers like Kenny Stills who has disappointed and hasn’t fit the supposed deep throwing Jay Cutler, but rather DeVante Parker who doesn’t seem right nor healthy.

Let’s not forget, even the best coaches fell flat on their rear-ends after being fired, see Bill Belichick, Nick Saban, and Pete Carroll.

Is it time to fire and move on from Adam Gase? Only time will tell.

Gase wonderment

 

Dolphins issues started well before 45-21 versus Carolina

If you want to talk about optimism for the Dolphins season, talk to me.

I was optimistic about the Dolphins after week one and a seemingly controlled, or rather under control Jay Cutler led the way with a solid day and zero turnovers.

Then running back Jay Ajayi seemingly took up where he left off and rushed for over 100 yards versus a Chargers defense with all the main contributors healthy. The same unit that stopped Ajayi (a year prior), allowed him to thrive week 2.

The Dolphins at 1-0, looked prepared to break out.

However, when they played the Jets the following week, they looked flat. They managed to avoid being shut out and lost 20-6 if it weren’t for a Cutler to Parker touchdown with no time left.

The physical nature of the Jets had the Dolphins taking cover after taking so many hits. Not to mention, Cutler resorted to his old ways turning the ball over and the Dolphins defense showed vulnerability getting beat deep after Alterun Verner gave up a pre-halftime TD to Kenny Anderson.

Not even the 20-0 loss to the Saints could do them in. The Saints are now considered the best team and on the best run in the NFC at 7-2.

Then, by some stroke of genius, the Dolphins beat the Titans (5-3) and then won two games (Falcons on the road) then Jets at home after being down at the half 17 and 14 points respectively.

At 4-2, the Dolphins looked like they were trending upward, just in time for the rest of the NFL and the national scene to take notice with three upcoming nationally televised games.

Except, since the Philbin era, the Dolphins are god-awful on national televised games.

The Dolphins in fact are 1-8 since the Philbin era and per the Miami Herald have been outscored 246-122.

During the Marino era, the Dolphins were Monday Night football darlings and fans couldn’t seem to get enough of the worthy and competitive matchups-many games at home.

However, the Dolphins offense and defense are now complimenting each other, but not in a positive fashion.

We’re seeing the Dolphins self-destruct defensively just as the offense is beginning to make big plays.

Point the fingers if you will at Mike Tannenbaum and GM Chris Grier who continue to supply the roster with pricey vets-Timmons, Hayes, Branch, and Suh.

None of this continues to make sense when New England, the benchmark of most NFL franchises continues to succeed with the draft and young talent.

So with the optics of the defense looking rather unsuccessful on defense, know this, offensively the Dolphins miss Ryan Tannehill.

If counting the playoffs, the team is now not counting the late season game versus Arizona when he was injured appears to be 6-8 without him as the starting quarterback.

Sure, six wins sounds promising, but look at how unsteady the Dolphins have been and most of the wins under head coach Adam Gase have come with both Matt Moore and Jay Cutler, two quarterbacks with vastly different styles.

While there will be time to re-assess what went wrong for the Dolphins, they have time to re-group.

Next up is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and they are certainly playing to win even if their record doesn’t show it at 3-6.

Dolphins lose their footing in 27-24 loss to the Raiders

Miami Gardens, FL-The game started out with players slipping and sliding on the wet turf as the Dolphins and Raiders collectively couldn’t run or get a push.

The turf at Hard Rock stadium has been replaced 4 times this season (per Michelle Tafoya of NBC Sports) and after the Miami Hurricanes playing nearly every week at home, it’s not playable nor viable come game day.

Early in the game, the Miami Dolphins managed to surrender an early baseball score of a lead 6-3 after playing a poor first half.

Kudos for the Dolphins to answer the Raiders back with a nice drive of their own.

Shame on Miami kicker Cody Parkey for kicking the extra point sending it off the left upright.

Down 13-9 at the half, the pluses and minuses could be read on the reaction from Mike Tannenbaum as he filled out some type of sheet while the cameras panned over to him and Stephen Ross.

Tannenbaum, as you know has been here before with the Jets and if the nudge by Ross to stop writing and look up at the cameras means anything, we won’t know until a certain Miami reporter breaks news on Monday.

While the Dolphins offense has struggled for weeks bouncing between an offensive identity crisis, the defense couldn’t seem to catch a break with early shots fired by the Raiders signal caller Derek Carr who found a security blanket in Jared Cook.

Carr finished the game 21-28 with 2 TDs and 1 INT.

Cook was well over 100 yards in the first half and was just enough to spell the early rush attempts that went nowhere by Marshawn Lynch.

Cook provided enough body blows to the Dolphins secondary in order to have the Raiders take shots downfield finding Hilton deep for a touchdown after safety Reshad Jones mistimed the jump and the Dolphins quickly lost the lead 10-6.

After the Dolphins and Raiders traded field goals, the Dolphins found themselves down only 13-9 at the half.

The Dolphins are the best second half team in the NFL.

Correction, the Dolphins were the best second half team in the NFL and not even 15 more points were enough.

The calls for the Dolphins to snap out of it came late in the third quarter with a Cutler to Landry Touchdown pass making it 20-16.

Earlier in the game, Cody Parkey missed a makable extra point hitting the left upright.

Surely, trailing 20-16, the Dolphins would close out the game in dramatic fashion.

Enter the man formerly known as Beast Mode-Marshawn Lynch who shouldered the load for 57 yards on 14 carries and 2 Touchdowns.

Sadly, the Dolphins strength, their ability to stop the run showed their age and wears as they succumbed to the big and bruising Raiders offensive line. The Raiders line pushed the Dolphins defensive front backwards and owned the trenches deep into the game.

In the end, too little too late-the Dolphins caught a break with a nice touch pass from Cutler to DeVante Parker and then another Cutler pass, this time to Julius Thomas, his first touchdown pass.

Cutler on the season is 10 touchdowns to 5 interceptions and tonight his three touchdowns showed what the Dolphins can do in spite of this week’s trade of Jay Ajayi who found the end zone for the first time this season.

Cutler finished the night with 34-42 with 311 yards and 3 TDs.

Despite the negativity of the fan base, the Dolphins got back to work and went with their two headed monster-Kenyan Drake 69 yards on 9 carries and 47 yards receiving-1TD for Damian Williams despite 7 carries for 14 yards.

At this point, the Dolphins find themselves at 4-4. They are 4-4 heading into a long stretch of games where the impossible will have to happen versus the Bills (2 games) and Patriots (2 games).

The only thing left to say at this point is we’re on to Carolina next week on Monday Night Football-another road contest and another opportunity for Adam Gase to continue to motivate and grow this Dolphins team.

There are no moral victories, but the morale of this Dolphins team showed they can play all out until the end as they did tonight.

Is it time for the Dolphins to trade Jarvis Landry?

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about Jarvis Landry, but it’s time to.

Don’t get me wrong, Jarvis Landry makes the Dolphins watchable when complemented by an efficient and dominant offensive effort.

What makes Landry so attractive to fans is his ability to block, catch in traffic, and make moves like a human joystick on the football field.

“Juice” as he is called by his peers certainly brings a wow factor to each and every game.

For one, Jarvis Landry leads the Dolphins in receptions-50 (338 in four seasons), but has only three touchdowns to show for his effort to lead the team.

Landry although hasn’t had the fortune of being the red zone threat he once was, is seldom the option on deep passes, that title goes to Kenny Stills or even DeVante Parker, when he’s healthy.

From what we’ve seen about Landry is he has to get the ball in his hands early to stay focused and engaged in Adam Gase’s offense.

However, various reports out of Miami have been surfacing about Landry and his willingness to pull off of blocks, not execute plays, and finally there’s the video that recently surfaced with Miami reporters that showed Landry as ticked off as ever with the state of the team at 4-3 after losing 40-0 to the Baltimore Ravens (@MySportsUpdate).

While Landry spouted offseason predictions that the Dolphins would sweep the Patriots (6-2) and win the division, Landry was caught up in an altercation with his ex-girlfriend over a custody battle for his daughter.

Charges were never pressed and the case is now closed per the State of Florida due to a lack of evidence or perhaps a lack of cooperation by Landry’s ex-girlfriend who called it more of a “misunderstanding.”

What’s more, the NFL weighed in and decided not to pursue any punishment for violating the code of conduct.

Internally, grumblings are getting leaked by someone who serves as the mouthpiece of Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

In addition, this thought that Landry could be traded is being mentioned by Miami Dolphins beat writer Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

So here’s what we know, Landry is still a Miami Dolphins player until he isn’t.

While Landry has had more success with Ryan Tannehill, it can be argued that the offensive system by Adam Gase is built around him and the Dolphins running game.

Landry is a catalyst to the Dolphins energy as their “Juice” as Adam Gase calls it and he can be a leader and take over a football game with spectacular catches and getting the tough yards.

However, the question remains-is Landry worth the money this offseason?

Maybe that’s what the Dolphins are trying to gauge by leaking his certainly replaceable status, because according to Adam Gase’s comments two weeks ago-the “offense is garbage.”

En mi Opinión: Para Los Dolphins, ya es hora de seguir ganando

Este blog fue escrito para mi amigo Francisco González quien sigue con una situación mala en su patria de Puerto Rico.  Intentaré capturar sus sentimientos mismos de los cuales resultados de los Dolphins.  !Fuerza Puerto Rico!

Ya es hora, les digo.

Los Dolphins ya han ganado un par de partidos y sigue moviendo la flecha más para arriba.

Si los Dolphins fueran una compañía de venta en la bolsa de valores, lo compraría cuando tenían el record de 1-2 porque ahora están ganando y andan hechando ganancias de todos tipos.

Ahora los Dolphins, como han ganado contra los Falcons de Atlanta y los Titans de Tennessee, ya nos han enseñado que los partidos si no los resultados están en las manos de la defensa.

Primero, es conveniente decir que los Dolphins son un equipo que depende un una buena ofensa y buena defensa.  Pero, en realidad, Los Dolphins han ganado con los elementos, incluso la jugada de “special teams” y unas oportunidades inesperadas.

Por ejemplo, si no fuese por estas oportunidades-malas jugadas con el fútbol en Atlanta antes de batear la pelota o más que nada caída del fútbol de las manos de Matt Cassel y Reshad Jones ojeó la pelota en el aire y lo agarro por una anotación importante.

Pero les digo a todos los fanáticos de los Dolphins que depender en estas cosas o ocurrencias no son tan común sino no son sostenibles.

Los Dolphins primero tienen el poder y una cual manera que dice que el equipo se siente como si fuese el mundo contra de ellos mismos.

Eso quiere decir que Los Dolphins hasta los jugadores están dispuesto saber que van a ganar aunque el tanteo no está en favor de ellos.

Ahora, como los Dolphins están todavía fuera del lugar importante de los playoffs, el Entrenador Adam Gase está dirigiendo y guiando el equipo.

Gase ha mostrado la habilidad de cambiar su libreta de jugadas para aprovechar lo que le da o no le da el otro equipo.

Gase es el rey de la improvisación y especializa en los elementos de sorpresa para convencer al otro equipo que va a tirar en vez de correr.

Gase es como un mágico y muestra las cosas que sólo piensas que ves.

Vimos esto en la zona roja ayer donde Jarvis Landry corrió detrás de Jay Cutler y inmediatamente decidió cambiar su destino y recibió la pelota para una anotación clave.

Aunque veamos los cambios enfrente de nuestros ojos, es cierto que Gase será la fuerza necesaria para superar los mejores equipos del NFL.

Los Dolphins están a punto a llegar de ser ganadores y eso por ahora nos hace sonreír un poco y celebrar la vida por ser fanático de los de aqua y anaranjado.

Landry versus Falcons 2017

The resilient Dolphins outlast the Falcons 20-17 in second half comeback

What was said exactly at halftime, we will never know.  Down 17-0, the Dolphins put together a miracle comeback reminiscent of the days of Marino and equally impressive of last year’s 10-0 miracle comeback in Los Angeles versus the Rams in the 4th quarter.

Down 17 points at the half, the Dolphins hit rock bottom and had really two alternatives, win or lose risking everything.

Yesterday, the Dolphins chose to win at all costs with a me against the world mentality.

They chose to “strain” and fight until the very end capping their comeback with a game closing Reshad Jones-strip interception-assisted beautifully by rookie Cordrea Tankersley.

However, head coach Adam Gase relied on basically keeping everything simple-man on man offensively-hat on a hat that gave way to big gaps for running back Jay Ajayi to run through and onward to 130 yards rushing on 26 carries.

Ajayi basically carried the Dolphins in the first half when they had issues getting to the red zone.

Offensively, the Dolphins were not crisp in the first half and struggled mightily to catch the ball accounting for 6 drops-some by Landry, Stills, and even Ajayi.

After a dismal first half offensively, Jay Cutler quietly found a rhythm hitting Kenny Stills for gains and then found Damien Williams open on several occasions as he helped move the chains.

Let’s not forget about Jarvis Landry, no matter what, Gase orchestrated an offensive game plan where he was going to get the ball finishing with 8 receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown that got the Dolphins closer in the 4th quarter.  Landry, the focus of their offensive attack was targeted 14 times.

Finally, there was Jay Cutler.  Cutler has met the brunt of the Miami media.  Cutler was basically written off at the half by every single commentator on CBS Sports where each one wanted to see Matt Moore give the Dolphins a spark.

The Dolphins certainly are a stubborn bunch of players whom emulate their coach Adam Gase is stubborn, persistent, and takes on that us against the world mentality.

Down 17-0, many Dolphins fans wanted to write off the team and considered the game “unwatchable.”

One thing is for sure, the Dolphins, no matter the score are a resilient bunch.

In the end, the emotions always come out after a big play leading to a big win-as Reshad Jones said from the bench toward the crowd-“This is my State.”

Enough said Reshad.

On to the Jets at home in what could prove to be a knock down and drag out fight on the field for 60 minutes.

Landry versus Falcons 2017

Photo Credit: ESPN: Wide Receiver Jarvis Landry scores a touchdown to make the score 17-13 Falcons, Dolphins won 20-17 in second half comeback.

Dolphins defense is making a statement

The Dolphins are starting to find their way through the strange, but slow start of the 2017 season.

While the offense has yet to find its footing by not scoring touchdowns in the first half of games, the defense has managed to put some points on the board and be the difference maker during this four game stretch.

While it’s certain that the Dolphins linebackers are an improved unit, the safety production by Reshad Jones is not a surprise.

Ryan M. Smith of ProFootball Focus said first and foremost that linebacker Kiko Alonso was the highest graded linebacker this weekend at 91.7. Alonso finished Sunday’s game versus the Titans with six tackles and a sack. It seems Alonso is doing just fine as an outside linebacker.

In addition, Lawrence Timmons is coming into his own with another strong effort posting a grade of 85.9 with 6 tackles and a quarterback hurry. Since coming off of the suspension for going AWOL week 2, Timmons has been nothing short of great and a welcome addition to the linebacker unit.

At safety, Reshad Jones first and foremost sets the tone for the defense. When Jones plays well, the defense plays well. Yesterday was no exception with Jones performance: 6 tackles, a half a sack, and fumble recovery for a touchdown. That heads up play gave the Dolphins their first lead at halftime this season making it 10-3. PFF’s Ryan Smith graded Jones a 90.3, thus reaching elite status for the week.

At this point, the pieces are falling into place and with two very good efforts in the final two games-the Dolphins defense is beginning to rise.

Asked about Jones heads up game-changing play that appeared to be an incomplete pass to the Titans as they barely moved: “I did a great job of finishing the play. The ball’s on the ground; pick it up. You never know.”

Photo credit: Palm Beach Post

All quotes from the Miami Herald.

Stats and grades from ProFootball Focus Miami.

Dolphins hobble to late win over Titans 16-10

Game Recap: Miami Gardens, FL

Not your average home game (four weeks later), but just your average Miami Dolphins slow start to the regular season. Dating back to 2013, the Dolphins have started 3-1, 2-2, 1-3, and now 2-2.

As the Dolphins geared up for their home fans for the first time this season due to hurricane Irma, they were able to struggle offensively if not for a key red zone producing drive with a go-ahead score on a Jay Cutler to Jarvis Landry touchdown score with 4:56 to play in the 4th quarter. With Dolphins red zone threat DeVante Parker out with an ankle injury, Landry had to pick up the slack.

Cutler stood in the pocket on a three step drop and found Jarvis Landry (1TD, 5 catches, 44 yards) on a hitch route at the front of the goal line in traffic.

After the touchdown, kicker Cody Parkey missed a makable extra point and put the pressure on the Miami defense.

In fact, defensive coordinator Matt Burke put the onus on his defense to stop the run and shut down the Titans on the ground.

The Dolphins managed to shut down another team’s rushing attack, this time 69 yards with 58 yards run by DeMarco Murray.

Burke’s defense supported by line backer Kiko Alonso, Lawrence Timmons, and safety Reshad Jones had six tackles each.

However, it was Jones who set the tone early as Matt Cassel was crushed by a bone jarring hit by Alonso, as the ball fluttered into the air allowing Jones to pick up the fumble and scoop it and score.

Jones heads up play pushed the Dolphins to their first ever half time lead this season 10-3.

The Titans tied it later in the game at 10, but even the Titans were limited to sure tackling and coverage by the Dolphins corners limiting signal caller Matt Cassel to 141 yards and 21/32 passing, but a paltry 4.4 yards per pass.

Later this week, the Dolphins defense will look even better based on ProFootball Focus grading. I’d expect the Dolphins to be highly ranked as a front seven and with 6 sacks today, this Dolphins defense played their best game of the season. Look for names such as Reshad Jones, Kiko Alonso, and Lawrence Timmons to jump off the page.

Rookie contributions:

Getting a rookie contribution today by DE Charles Harris was phenomenal-one sack-to close out the game and a near sack on the final play of the game as Cassel looked overmatched and stepped up to throw. In addition, Harris provided that spark to the defense with two QB hurries. Little by little, Harris is starting to flash with his inside move, lean, and ability to shed the block, barreling his way to the QB. It seems his sessions learning from both Cam Wake and William Hayes is paying off.

Last week Rookie cornerback Cordrea Tankersley held the Saints Drew Brees to 32 yards after being targeted 7 Times.

Next up for Miami:

Next week, the Dolphins face Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons are having a good start at 3-1 and they’ve put their bad luck in the Super Bowl from last season behind them and a good run game and passing attack. Not to mention, a Dan Quinn led defense is finding key ways to beat teams for 60 minutes.

Jay Cutler v. Matt Moore:

The Miami Dolphins beat writers are like vultures circling and their prey appears to be the play of quarterback Jay Cutler and head coach Adam Gase. Cutler has been all over the place since week 3(game 2 of the season) with numerous delay of game penalties, poor execution, and 10 sacks taken. With today’s final offensive scoring drive Cutler looked better than last week by evading tackles and sacks-using his feet to buy time and find Jarvis Landry and Julius Jones. Still, Dolphins beat writers are right to criticize that Gase’s explosive offense could be better suited with a spark of enthusiasm off the bench.

Gase has responded to the media criticism by saying that “QB is far down the list” of problems with this team. Perhaps Gase might take a measured approach with Cutler.

At this point, the Dolphins sit 2-2 and in the middle of the pack in the AFC playoff race.

Surely, the Dolphins are on the outside looking in, but this Dolphins front seven and ability to stop the run might be the best we’ve seen in some time.

Photo credit: AP

Dolphins defensive efforts stopping the run is paying off slowly, but surely

The Miami Dolphins may have a 1-2 record where most fans believe this is a dismal start and the beginning of a rather difficult season to watch.

While the fans voice their complaints of the Dolphins 32nd ranked offense, the defense is starting to show how well they’ve made adjustments to stop the run.

If Pro Football Focus is any consolation for fans looking inside the numbers, Ryan M. Smith of PFF, indicated after the Dolphins week 2 performance that the defensive effort that both Ndamukong Suh and William Hayes had great games.

Suh’s effort placed him in the top of defensive tackles with a 89.7 grade or 4th amongst all Defensive Tackles.  What’s more, Suh earned a 90.2 grade in run defense.

However, if Suh has been stellar defensively, one has to look at the job that William Hayes has done since coming to Miami.

Hayes posted a grade of 82.6 which ranked him 6th amongst all defensive ends per PFF.  In addition, Smith mentions in his week 2 report that Hayes 3 quarterback hurries and a sack on just 25 snaps played.

In week 3, the Dolphins lost to the Jets 20-6, but both Suh and Hayes continue to shine.  Suh posted a 87.8 grade (89.3 versus the run) while Hayes didn’t get a mention.

In week 4 during the Saints 20-0 loss, Suh didn’t get nearly the mention as in week 2/3, but Charles Harris, defensive end had a nice day with 2 quarterback hurries and recorded a stop.

At this point, when the Dolphins are finding ways to stay in games, stopping the run versus the run-heavy teams such as this weeks opponent Tennessee, will be even more critical.

Let’s hope that the Dolphins defensive line continues to set the tone and play better each week as a unit.

-All stats shared by Ryan M. Smith of Pro Football Focus.

Ndamukong Suh 2017

Photo Credit-Miami Herald- Ndamukong Suh meets with media in September.

Is it time for Dolphins to strip play calling duties from Coach Gase?

Gone are the high fives and compliments about the Dolphins offense.

Also gone are the long clock eating drives that featured a Dolphins running game that no one had ever seen coming last season.

Yes, head coach Adam Gase had the biggest hangover for a coach who lost a game.

Not even a remedy could cure this illness as he navigated his combinations, line protections, and uptempo style that perhaps worked best with Peyton Manning.

As Gase popped in the film he had to see the poor body language and loss of one on one battles on the offensive line, at receiver, and finally Jay Cutler himself.

Most of all he had to see the Dolphins get beat up physically-something that didn’t happen late last season versus the Jets.

Cutler’s lack of effective calling out protections, sticking with the short pass game plan, and arm strength on a deep ball has fans wondering exactly what the heck is going on.

Facing the Saints tomorrow morning isn’t going to get much better.

Cutler is a marked man if the Dolphins offensive line cannot set the tone. That is Cutler could give way to Matt Moore if his helmet becomes part of the turf at Wembley-multiple times. What the heck is wrong with Laremy Tunsil? In two games it seems he’s better suited as a run blocker as his lateral blocking seems a bit slow to stop the pass rush.

The Saints who had a terrible first couple of weeks (losses to Minnesota and New England), played with energy and looked fired up last week as Drew Brees threw for 220 yards, 3TDs, and 22 completions of 29 passes in their contest versus the Packers.

Brees is certainly capable of putting together winning performances when the Saints can possess the ball and turn turnovers into points as they did in their win versus the Panthers.

For the Dolphins to win this game, they have to play better defensively. Getting burned on big plays on the outside is inexcusable. Do the Dolphins even have an answer at cornerback?

The Dolphins offensively must find a way to start quickly with touchdowns rather than field goals. As much as we like early points-the Dolphins generally win if they score TDs in the first quarter.

That offensive balance that Adam Gase is known for needs to take place or else maybe it

might be time to get another OC to call plays.

Maybe.

Game predictions:

Dolphins win in a close one: 28-23.

When it means more than football: The Miami Dolphins take pause, recognize injustice, and take action

The Dolphins poor play last Sunday pales in comparison to injustices facing this nation

There has been a lot to digest and a lot to consider when putting together a post like this. For one, as a Dolphins fan, I absolutely enjoy seeing touchdowns on offense and a 3rd down sack as much as any fan. However, When I tuck my three kids into bed at night I look at their wonderful brown eyes and brownish skin and I pray that they don’t face injustices in their lives, but it’s highly possible that they will, because our world can be a cruel place.

When looking at the injustices in this country one cannot help but admit that clearly our society seems bankrupt of love and compassion.

As a Miami Dolphins fan, last season, we as fans got a glimpse of protests of injustice week one in Seattle as well in other cities. From Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid’s initial silent protest-sitting and then kneeling during the anthem to clenched fists in the air by other NFL stars-not to mention Brandon Marshall’s opening night 2016 kneel in solidarity with Kaepernick and his cause; players started become outwardly active with conviction at the risk of endorsement deals and public appearances.

On that Sunday, As the Seahawks stood arm in arm and the Dolphins players stood except for a few brave individuals-Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas, Arian Foster, and Jelani Jenkins kneeled.

The Dolphins lost 10-6, but what some fans could remember instead of the final score were the social media and message boards and how it seemed the Dolphins players who knelt-had visibly disrespected and disgraced the Dolphins and veterans of the armed forces.

There were even Dolphins fans that vowed to boycott the Dolphins franchise and blamed owner Stephen Ross for allowing players on the football team to not only kneel, but disrespect the American flag.

Said Stephen Ross after that first week: “I don’t think there was any lack of respect,” Ross said in September. “Everyone in this team and whole organization respects the flag and what it stands for. These guys are making a conversation about something that’s very important topic in this country. I’m 100 percent in support of them.”

The hot topic that very week was that the owner decided to chime in and do something about injustice and shined a light on his current community initiative-RISE (Ross Initiative for Sports in Equality) which allowed Dolphins players an avenue to reach kids and set a positive example for them as they approached and navigated the negative aspects of their neighborhoods and community. The focus of the RISE initiative is to empower and “harness the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress.”

Instead of separating, these Dolphins players, employees, and staff became one and they learned to work together for the greater good in the communities near where they play in Miami. They joined other educators and coaches in and around the greater Miami area to be active and bring out about social change.

The Dolphins as well as other franchises have made last year’s silent protest about the community and the people they have been called to serve.

Just this past summer, I had a chance to witness the community efforts employed by the Dolphins and their community relations staff. In speaking with a few coaches and parents, the Dolphins on that day during training camp provided tickets to camp and free autographs not only to the group of Pop Warner football players from Kendall, but to all fans.

Football as an entity and has a sport has an amazing power to unite.

In spite of what we’ve seen as fans, we all need to listen and then decide for ourselves which world we want to live in and which one we want to provide for our children in his country.

This past week, under pressure from various fronts and factions, the President of the United States-Donald Trump called out these same players who have protested in the past and ordered them fired if they didn’t stand for the anthem. Not only did he order NFL owners to fire players who didn’t stand, he used derogatory language that called into question his ability to show empathy and compassion by calling players who protest -SOBs.

On Saturday, NFL teams were scrambling and in meetings instead of fine tuning their game plans. Some teams, like the Dolphins met as a franchise and worked to figure out how and when they would send a message of unity and solidarity for those affected by the president’s message and for young black men who have been unjustly harmed.

The result was a wonderful display by most NFL franchises-seeing these same franchises run by billionaire owners work in unison and solidarity to confront the hatred displayed by president Trump. Owners on most NFL teams chose to take their own stand and unite by standing arm and arm with their teams.

While Saturday seemed to churn the usual flow of injury reports and fantasy football predictions across social media, NFL team owners began issuing statements that sounded more like they understood that their players-all players were disrespected as well as the work and relationships forged in their cities and communities.

Then came Sunday. As a Dolphins fan, to see Stephen Ross, the man who has given anything and everything to the Dolphins fan base and community, was there arm and arm with players in solidarity and supporting their cause and their struggle.

Four Dolphins players chose to kneel and my hope is that their call to protest silently and reverently serves as a constant example of prayer and silence for all the African Americans who have lost their lives due to the police as well as they countless Americans that face racial injustice in the United States.

This is why they kneel.

Racial Injustice is real. It’s been real for several centuries.

It’s time to recognize that the best answer is love and compassion and the one word that comes to mind for all people is listening to each other.

Through listening we can understand.

Whether we are NFL fans or fans of the Dolphins, know this, football while important is not as important as the well-being of people in the communities where our favorite NFL teams play.

All players are committed to bettering their communities and last week was the first step in uniting the NFL and bringing about change while it will take time, players in the NFL are committed to uniting.

Through unity comes change.

As a Dolphins fan, I look at the message Stephen Ross said to Michael Thomas last season-“I saw Mr. Ross come in the locker room. I’m going up to him, trying to explain to him in a way, letting him know, like, ‘Look, we’re thinking about doing this, thinking about taking a knee,’ ” Thomas said. “And for him to stop me and say, ‘Look, Mike, whatever y’all choose to do today, I’ve got y’all’s back 100 percent’

That’s the owner you want backing you as a player. That’s what the Dolphins are all about.

No matter what happens on the field, the Dolphins clearly want to be leaders for others off of it and in their community.

Photo credit-NBC Miami

Information from Risetowin.org and quotations in Jordan Heck’s article of the Sporting News (“Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross Supported Players Choice to Kneel for Anthem:” April 4,2017) was used for this post.

Dolphins offense flourishes in preseason loss 38-31 to Eagles

After spending a week of joint practices in the land of cheese steaks, Tasty Cakes, and the Liberty Bell; the Miami Dolphins knocked off some pre-season rust and showcased their newly minted quarterback(fresh from retirement) Jay Cutler.

Behind the deep throw ability and uncanny (albeit nonchalance) of stepping up in the pocket, Cutler finished 5-8 for 105, 1 TD, and 1 lost fumble.

Needless to say Cutler wasn’t the only bright spot in the Miami offense as receiver DeVante Parker took a deep jump ball from Cutler at the Eagles 41 yard line and turned it into a combined 72 yard catch and run to the two yard line as he stumbled after getting caught from behind corner back Ronald Darby of the Eagles.

In addition, Jay Ajayi continued to pulverize defenses with his escapability and sheer power to rock defenders backwards and find holes opened by Laremy Tunsil and the Dolphins offensive line.  Ajayi finished the night with the biggest score output of 2 – two yard touchdowns and 9 carries for 53 yards.  Not a bad night for a preseason game and not a bad performance for one-quarter of play.

However, while the Miami defensive front had a field day tipping passes and making Carson Wentz check down and take sacks, the Miami corner backs got flat out roasted.

On a pass play early in the first quarter, quarterback Carson Wentz looked to speedy Torrey Smith as Smith broke through corner Byron Maxwell’s coverage (or lack thereof) and got past veteran safety Reshad Jones for an easy 50 yard touchdown.  The play seemed to be a miscommunication as it appeared Jones slowed waiting for Maxwell to stay with Smith underneath, but instead Maxwell peeled off leaving Reshad Jones a dead duck.

The play was almost reminiscent of the pass play the Giants’ Eli Manning threw toward the Dolphins’ Reshad Jones as Odell Beckham Jr. speed-bursted by Jones taking the ball 80 plus yards.

Overall, from what Dolphins fans witnessed, the offense proved to be potent when on and even though seemed to lack rhythm, showed that it is on the presupice of being downright unstoppable with Cutler’s Jeff George-like arm and DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills ability to get open rather quickly.

What’s more, Adam Gase finally has a quarterback he can rely on to chuck it deep, move around in the pocket, and put big points on the board.

In that up and coming category of the Dolphins depth chart Brandon Doughty connected with Jakeem Grant for 69 yards, but Matt Moore failed to show he’s worthy of the back up job and threw two interceptions and one of them a pick six.

Surely Jay Cutler’s preseason is now done as the Dolphins make preparations to play the Buccaneers in a couple of weeks, but from what we’ve seen from Cutler considering he was assumed to be done for good, shows us something more and that is that the continuity with head coach Adam Gase and locker room rapport is paying off.

Said Adam Gase after the game: “Seems like his pocket presence is coming back pretty quick and (you know) he made some nice throws (NFL Network).”

At this point in the season, the preseason only matters to those fighting for a spot and it’s going to be a tough few days for those guys wearing aqua and orange looking for a spot on the 53 and or practice squad.

Cutler and Gase

A Conversation with James Morris: How do the Dolphins rank in Fantasy Football this season?

This week I had the chance to chat with James Morris better known as @FantasyGuy23 on Twitter. James has spent several seasons informing readers of fan sites and NFL official team sites about the team’s Fantasy prospects on a weekly basis.  Currently James is writing for the Bengals and the other AFC Florida team- the Jacksonville Jaguars.  We thank James in advance for bearing with us and adding content to our new site.

We chat with James from everything from an injured Ryan Tannehill, Jay Ajayi, and finally that new and improved Dolphins defense.

Getting the fantasy perspective can lead to some solid perspective on the state of our team known as the Miami Dolphins…Our rather informal exchange went a little like this:

MS: Are the Dolphins now less attractive to fantasy owners?

JM: Ajayi is still worth being a low-end RB1… but if they sign Cutler, it helps his value, along with others…

MS: On that point-Where else do you see the Dolphins finding a quarterback solution?

JM: Keapernick… but with the history of Gase and Cutler, he is the most likely QB under center when week 1 hits. Unless they roll with Moore… but I don’t see that as a realistic option.

MS: On the running back and receiver front, where do you see the Dolphins players ranking as far as viable options this fantasy football season?

JM: Ajayi around the 10-12 range overall at RB, with guys like Lamar Miller and Isaiah Crowell.  WRs as of right now are Landry and Parker only, with Landry in the 30-ish range for WRs, and Parker dropping down to closer to 50. That all depends on the QB also.

MS: Where has the Dolphins defense improved and are they an option this year?

JM: Suh is good for about 7 sacks and maybe 40 tackles… while Wake could hit the double-digit mark with 10 sacks. Kiko Alsonso will throw in 85+ tackles and Timmons another 70-ish. Reshad Jones is the big dog in the secondary… 90 tackles with 2-3 INTs… but a guy like Maxwell isn’t a viable option for fantasy owners playing in IDP formats. Overall… the Dolphins are bunched together with a lot of other defenses as a streaming option. During the right weeks… they are worth playing. Other weeks… they should be on the waiver wire.

JM: The Dolphins have a SOS (strength of schedule) of .547, which is the 6th highest in the NFL. Their defense will be a tough one for fantasy owners to lean on outside of the Jets games. Oh… and on defense… their fantasy playoff SOS is .625… tied for the 2nd highest in the NFL with the Cowboys and Eagles. So… they are not even CLOSE to an option when you need it most.

MS: Depending on what happens at the QB position, how can the Dolphins best compete in the first seven weeks of the season? What do you envision their games looking like given that they were close with superb QB play from Tannehill?

JM: The Dolphins only hope is to ride Ajayi until the wheels fall off. If Ajayi goes down… their season becomes who they want with the #1 pick… it gets THAT ugly. If Matt Moore is under center Week 1… WRs and TE take a dive in value. Even if Cutler is the QB… we need to see just what kind of rust there is to knock off. Assuming he hits Week 1 in decent shape… Landry is a WR3 and you don’t play Parker as anything more than a bye-week filler. When Tannehill went down, Parker and Landry’s value went down with him. Maybe Gase can dink & dunk the ball down the field with Ajayi Damien Williams… and use Parker in a PPR kind of situation… but I look at the Dolphins as Ajayi, then everyone else.

We thank James for his candid look at the Miami Dolphins value in fantasy football.  You can catch James on Twitter @FantasyGuy23 and of course on the Bengals and Jaguars sites as well.

James Morrris

Fins Up!!!

Photo Credit: AP

Dolphins need to expedite their quarterback search because “Right Now” isn’t working

“Right Now” Matt Moore is the starter-the words of head coach Adam Gase yesterday after practice.

The Miami Dolphins have been built to win right now and losing Ryan Tannehill potentially for the season shouldn’t change the goal set forth by the team-to win Right Now.

To beat New England twice as the heart and soul Jarvis Landry of the Dolphins challenged the team with his prophetic words.

As it stands, all quarterback Ryan Tannehill can do to help the Dolphins right now is get healthy, whether that means surgery or rehab for the next few months.  You can bet that Tannehill will get right and be prepared to compete as he has since being drafted in 2012.

So, Right Now as the title of this post indicates is the 2017 season.

All Dolfans have been in refresh mode of Twitter and some carrots have been extended namely by ESPN’s Jeff Darlington since Thursday afternoon.

However, Jeff Darlington has intimated that the Dolphins are taking their time because they can-meaning that they wish to get this right.

Darlington’s latest tweet demonstrates that the Dolphins-all parties (Head coach, GM &VP, and Ryan Tannehill) are working to make the best decision on if Jay Cutler is the right fit for the team.

Consequently, the Dolphins are striving to get the best player to start for the Dolphins and Cutler fits that profile.

Expediting the process of searching for a quarterback that one-fits the Dolphins offensive scheme and the locker room, meanwhile it’s smart to due all the due-diligence necessary; could prove risky should another team wish to sign Colin Kaepernick.

Yes that’s right-Kaepernick who has been passed over by every NFL team after being cut by the 49ers, is still there and wishes to play for an NFL team-this season.

What is it about Kaepernick that is so polarizing for NFL teams that he hasn’t yet signed?  While it might be surprising, his record as a starter the past two seasons (3-16) isn’t favorable.  Next, he’s been both silently supportive of protest of the national anthem and somewhat controversial as far as his radical and supportive views of Fidel Castro-not a great solution to garnering support of the Miami Dolphins Cuban fans at the outset, but if the Dolphins win, who knows!

While Kaepernick might have more experience in the playoffs than Jay Cutler, but at this point unless the Dolphins cannot get a deal done with Cutler or he decides to stick with FOXSports, then perhaps there is a fallback option with Kaep.

However, this is where it gets interesting-Doug Farrar of Bleacher Report back in June wrote a dynamic piece on Kaepernick and made a case for being able to offer a lot to an NFL team.

Kaepernick was close to being signed by Seattle who ultimately opted for Austin Davis-a quarterback who has moved around the NFL and had less starts and success than Kaepernick.

As of this point, Jay Cutler is available and he and his people and or mutually reached out to the Dolphins and Head Coach Gase.

Coach Gase said after the scrimmage-“He’s interested” and there are certainly a lot of things to think about.  Gase in addition said that he was “surprised” that he was being contacted.

After the scrimmage, one thing is clear-Matt Moore is not the answer and the offense- the one that we are accustomed to showing consistency lacks the “juice” that Head Coach Gase refers to.  From the little bit of footage that I saw of the scrimmage, Moore started off poorly with a pick 6 to Xavien Howard (good to see him healthy) and then Moore drove down the team to a quick score finding Landry for a quick snap touchdown.

For the Dolphins, searching the market for a quarterback decides this season and perhaps the next if Ryan Tannehill isn’t fully recovered.

Get it right Dolphins, get it right.

Feel free to follow us on @FinsFreelance on Twitter.  On Monday we’ll be at Dolphins Training Camp!

Fins Up!!!

 

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter: Dolphins fear Tannehill needs surgery

So there you have it. We waited all day for news of an MRI and now the most telling news of all by Adam Schefter & Jeff Darlington of ESPN-“the Dolphins fear that Tannehill will need season-ending knee surgery. ”

It hurts to read that statement and immediately second guess what if Tannehill opted for the surgery in the first place.

Once it’s official from the team, the 2017 team on the field has a tough task in front of them.

However, if Matt Moore is the next man up, the Dolphins are in good hands with a revamped defense, a hungry receiving corps, and newcomers to fill in the gaps at the tight end position (Julius Thomas and Anthony Fasano).

As for Tannehill, we pray for him as he makes the best decision for him and his family. Nothing about Tannehill in Miami has come easy. He’s worked his tail off to be the best quarterback and leader he can be. At this point, surgery would put him stronger than ever and ready to lead the team in 2018.

This team is destined, even though it might not be in 2017-keep the faith and remember what’s done is done-here’s to the best season this team has worked hard for!


Photo credit: Yahoo! Sports

All signs point to Dolphins fans finally liking the new Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill.  The name of an up and coming quarterback for the Miami Dolphins who enters his fifth season.

While the 2016 season got off to a rocky start, the measurement of a complete season statistically was incomplete due to a late game knee- injury versus the Arizona Cardinals.

Dolphins fans, for the first time felt something pure and legitimate as Tannehill lay on the ground in pain clutching his knee and walking gingerly on the sideline, sitting down, and draping a towel over his teared up eyes.

Those were tears of anguish and a competitive fire that not many football players reveal on the sidelines.

As a fan, one could not help but feel something of despair as Matt Moore put on his helmet with the green dot on and had to get the offense going in a tight game.

However, now there was a real possibility that the Dolphins dream season could result in dashed playoff hopes.

Playoff talk began to disappear until the miraculous of all throws happened from Moore to Stills setting up the game-winning field goal.  In fact, with Moore at the helm, he looked unflappable and prepared as the Dolphins earned three wins during that meaningful march to the playoffs, one against the Cardinals and the other against Buffalo.

Back to Tannehill, he did more than watch in between rehabbing his knee and coached up the team and the offense.  Tannehill did something that he had never done in the NFL, watched from the sidelines learning from an even greater perspective.

Fast forward to the eve of camp in 2017.

Tannehill has clearly taken over the Dolphins with his strong voice, confidence, and presence.

When mentioned by his peers he’s viewed as a leader.

Tannehill is a football player.  Not that he wasn’t before, but he earned every ounce of football credibility on that very field in December, injured but not deterred.

For all the criticism he earned from the media to Miko Grimes (publicly), Tannehill stands above all that.

With his head coach and team in his corner, he gets to take the field, knee brace and all as a smarter and wiser player.

A man on a mission.

A football player playing a football game he stands to win, up for the challenge in 2017.

ryan-tannehill 2017

2017 Dolphins have reasons for newfound optimism

The New Miami.  What does it mean exactly?  What is the buy-in on “Zero-in?”

These are the new and improved mantras if you will, for the 2017 Miami Dolphins.  2016 featured “Strain” and was adorned by many players and even head coach Adam Gase.

The 2017 season needs to live up to this idea of “Zero-In” with two wins versus the Patriots-we have have Jarvis Landry to thank for that…Peter King as well.

Zeroing in and focusing is what some Miami reporters have dubbed flushing out the 2016 season which had remarkable results despite being swept by the New England Patriots and making the playoffs.

We’ve seen teams bury the dead (New Orleans Saints) so to speak and move onto the next season. We’ve seen teams recover (Houston Oilers 1996) from embarrassing playoff losses-A NEW ATTITUDE- and bounce back from playoff losses or psychologically at least.

It has been evident with free-agency and re-signings that the Dolphins have a new outlook and something to build on based on their 2016 season.

However, all of this positivity really goes absolutely nowhere without results-winning football games.

Do the Dolphins have a fanbase that will sell out future home games if they start 1-4 again?

Should Stephen Ross be worried if the Dolphins have to open in New England and might wear an 0-1 record due to poor play, jammed signals, and miscommunication at the line of scrimmage?

Can the Dolphins afford to have Ryan Tannehill have yet another slow start and expect big play down the stretch from his coaches?

We still haven’t seen Tannehill play well in December since he missed much of it due to his ACL injury, but that’s not his fault.  He endured an up and down season and played better when the pressure was off and he had a running back that could do damage in Jay Ajayi.  Tannehill played his best football arguably and if he had been healthy, perhaps the Dolphins could have finished 11-5 and clinched the division. Perhaps.

Surely there are more questions than answers, but in reality-the focus by the players is there.

The new Miami Dolphins who came in this week did yoga, mobility training, and several kettle bell exercises.  However they did it as a team (was Suh present?) and with a focus that hasn’t been there in several years.

The New Miami and Zeroing in means nothing more than there is a plan.  That plan is to win football games and do so with the talent that is on the roster and with a blue print that is purely head coach Adam Gase’s.

The New Miami-it’s a refreshing outlook that with some grueling hard work means winning football.

Adam Gase Interview Combine 2017

Previewing the offseason: Should the Dolphins select offense or defense in the 2017 draft?

The Dolphins faced adversity this season and largely due to massive injuries on both sides of the football.

Whether it was the late season injury to quarterback Ryan Tannehill or the early season injuries to both safety Reshad Jones and line backer Koa Misi, the Dolphins played well enough offensively to overcome their banged up defense who finished 29th in yards and 18th in points allowed.  Opponents rushed for 100 yards or more 14 out of 17 games making a case for shoring up the defensive line.

Heading into this offseason, it’s important to look at the factors that could lead the Dolphins to choose either offense or defense in round 1: front office philosophy with free agency and health of their current roster.

Plenty of teams not named the Dolphins such as the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys have consistently drafted well in round one and have at times drafted offensive linemen.

All positions on the offensive line continue to have a large importance in the eyes of NFL teams personnel men who have a strong feel for the game.

The Miami Dolphins certainly have been in this situation before, one where they have made the playoffs after drafting a big mauling tackle out of Michigan named Jake Long.  Long was supposedly not the “pillar” of the Dolphins defense that then GM Jeff Ireland hinted at.  Of course, many people (including myself) consider the draft of Long one of the biggest oversights in Dolphins history as his career lasted until 2012 and in 2013 he left for the Jeff Fisher led St. Louis Rams after several back and forth attempts with the Dolphins doctors and Rams doctors about the strength of his knees.

Consequently, the Dolphins biggest oversight was not drafting Matt Ryan whom they overlooked thinking they didn’t think Ryan was a “sure bet” with a coach who didn’t exactly specialize in quarterbacks in Tony Sparano, a little known offensive line coach to most Dolphins fans at the time.

For one, the Dolphins drafts in subsequent years went from razzle- dazzle to straight up puzzling.  Whether it was the selection by Ted Ginn Jr. versus the draft of Jared Odrick, the Dolphins have retooled and changed their draft selections bouncing from each side of the football.

Looking back on the Dolphins drafts, one cannot help but notice that the 2009 team no-longer has any Dolphins’ players on the current roster.  In 2010, they missed on Dez Bryant who was probably available and selected Jared Odrick after trading back to pick 28. The 2012 draft features only Ryan Tannehill from that draft still on the team.

However,  other flagship franchises such as the Packers and Cowboys in the NFL have done nothing but continually win the NFL draft.  Sure like most teams they have missed on some picks, they have continually drafted well.

Case and point, the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers have drafted considerably well and have even out maneuvered other teams in drafting some of the best talent up front on the offensive line, defensive line with skill positions sprinkled in between.

When talking skill positions 2008 was a great year for the Packers who took Jordy Nelson in round 2 out of Kansas State.

Packers in 2009 got a sleeper pick with T.J. Lang in round 4 after taking Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji- in round 1.

Packers built even more of their roster with Bryan Bulaga, a tackle out of Iowa in 2010.

In 2011 the Packers selected Randall Cobb in round 2 out of Kentucky as Cobb continues to flourish in the regular season and post season as a premier wide receiver and returner.

Conversely, the Dallas Cowboys strengthened the argument for the youth brigade up front and in the trenches.

First most pundits would be quick to point out that drafting tackles and guards round one is a bad idea.

However, the Dallas Cowboys said the heck with conventional wisdom and shored up their offensive line, probably the best in the NFL by drafting offensive linemen in round 1.

In 2011, the Cowboys went with tackle Tyron Smith.  Not done and realizing that the line needed to be rebuilt so they drafted Travis Frederick out of Wisconsin in 2013.  In 2014 they went and drafted Zach Martin, much to everyone’s chagrin out of Notre Dame.

That makes 3 offensive lineman, all in round 1 and already added to Doug Free who was already in Dallas.  Not to mention, being able to sign La’El Collins after he fell from the draft due to appearing in a police report days before the 2015 draft.

As the 2017 Dolphins attempt to do even better than the 2016 Dolphins and prove to their fans that winning is sustainable and not an aberration, do not be surprised if the Dolphins begin to rebuild and retool their offensive line due to age (Branden Albert) and durability (C-Mike Pouncey).  With Laremy Tunsil holding his own at guard, it’s possible they continue to keep him at the position and draft a tackle.

It remains to be seen, but with both Branden Albert and Mike Pouncey, it almost makes sense for the Dolphins build off of this similar philosophy and find a Center and Tackle in the draft.

While it might not be the popular move because fans like running backs and wide receivers and star-studded corners and linebackers, the position of the offensive line continues to prove itself as the mainstay in the NFL and in the trenches.

dolphins-offensive-line

(Photo Credit-Al Diaz-Miami Herald)

DISRESPECTED: 5 keys to a Dolphins in win Pittsburgh

First an article claiming the Dolphins were an easy win during week 6:

I’ll just park this right here.

A one percent chance to win their playoff game per ESPN.

It’s cold as in 10 degrees at game time in Pittsburgh.

While, the Steelers are savoring their matchup with the Chiefs in the Divisional Round, no mention of the Dolphins appeared in a graphic on ESPN where only 5 playoff teams were featured in the graphic.  Did the Dolphins miss the playoffs yet again? No.  The Dolphins have been disrespected as cast aside as pretenders rather than contenders.

dolphins-disrespected

There are two variables that the national NFL media points to in overlooking our 2016-17 Miami Dolphins: it’s cold and the Dolphins don’t have quarterback Ryan Tannehill as he has been ruled out with a grade 2 sprain in his MCL & ACL.  In fact, the National Media fails to remember the Dolphins went 2-1 plus a save with the play of Matt Moore who threw for 8 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and 1 sack.  Not to mention- a reception in the baby delivery room the day after being named the starter for the season.

As Dolfans, we are tired of the BS that floods the headlines and discounts and disrespects the job that this coaching staff has done to propel the Dolphins to 10-6.

This blogger is here to tell you that the Dolphins season won’t end on Sunday and here’s why:

Five Keys to a Dolphins win on Sunday:

  1. Jay Ajayi: With the temperature hovering around 10 degrees, the Dolphins running back can run in any condition.  We saw it on the damp turf in Buffalo and versus the Cardinals.  Better yet, Ajayi controlled the running game versus the Rams who while they didn’t make it easy, he still earned some decent yardage and changed the pace when the Dolphins needed some yards.

      2. Jelani Jenkins: Where has he been all this time?  After missing seven games, the Dolphins        linebacker has found his way back into his starting role and could loom large since he already faced the Steelers in week 6 and with outstanding results.  Jenkins vision helped spark some quick tackling of Le’Veon Bell and could be the difference in the game should the Dolphins defense play better to stop the run.

     3. Matt Moore: The Dolphins will have the signal caller make his 4th straight start after finishing the season 2-1 covering for Ryan Tannehill.  Moore has started to show some escapability in the pocket and there is a strong chance that head coach Adam Gase will allow him that flexibility to extend plays and look deep when need be.  With Matt Moore having four weeks of rapport with receivers, his comfort level should be quite high as his teammates have a lot of confidence in him to get the job done.

4. Kenny Stills: Stills has caught 9 touchdowns this season and it wasn’t on accident.  He oftentimes got behind the defense on a double move and his ability to run and get under a deep pass made things easier for the Dolphins quarterbacks- Tannehill and Matt Moore. Stills has been the reason week in and week out that has delivered in making game-changing plays.

5.  Head coach Adam Gase: Gase right now is playing with house money.  Even though he has carved out a vision and culture, the Dolphins after starting 1-4 had a 5% chance of making the playoffs (FiveThirtyEight).  Right now, Gase has his team in the playoffs and hungry for a big win on the road.  If all three phases of the game play well on Sunday then Gase has earned my inspirational vote for coach of the year.  Even if the Dolphins sputter in Pittsburgh, the way the Dolphins have carried themselves in wins and losses has been as a direct result of a culture change won that tends to win at all costs.  The next man up mentality that Adam Gase has brought to the Dolphins is one that can be sustainable for years to come.

So there you have it. The Miami Dolphins have come to Pittsburgh to play and play to win.

This is like Vegas, and the Dolphins are all-in on the poker table.  Chips are down.

All in for the next round.

ajayi-versus-patriots-2017

 

Dolphins’ Franks and his foot bests Buffalo 34-31

It was just 55 yards. That’s it. Just 165 ft.  With the temperature hovering in the upper 30s and winds swirling, the damp air could only hold the ball that’s oblong and would need to be belted by Dolphin’s kicker Andrew Franks.  The ball had to be kicked low. The trajectory and quick calculation for the engineering graduate had to be done quickly and decisively.  Wind speed. Pressure in the football. Height. Force. Mass. Acceleration.  Franks knew what we didn’t.

That’s all that stood from the Dolphins driving to to tie the game and it into overtime.

Critical kicks at critical times and the pressure was never more suffocating for the kicker who had just missed a 46 yarder to give the Dolphins a 10 point lead heading into the 4th quarter.

Tick, tick, tick.  The clock reaching 15 and Darren Rizzi’s kicking unit burst onto the field like clockwork, like they had done it before.  Just like practice.

Franks had never hit a 55 yarder in his two seasons the NFL. His season long this year was a 41- yard field goal and in 2015 he hit a 53 yarder.

Franks who has had a less than mediocre performance as a clutch kicker has had two wins this season one coming in the monsoon in Miami versus the Cardinals and none was more important than today.

Meanwhile, coach Rex Ryan of the Bills positioned himself near a sideline ref to call timeout, except he was too late. Late by the snap of the ball that was driving through the fury of winds and caught a jet stream as the ball crossed over to the right and over the cross bar.  One could make an argument that #30 of the Bills signaled timeout, but can players on the field call a timeout during a field goal?

These are the same cross bars that growing up, watching the Bills knock around the Dolphins in the 1990s, Bills fans would fall off of in joyous celebration after clinching the AFC East.

Kicking. It’s so fundamental that fans and pundits like to write it off or pretend that it’s easy.  Ask the Bills fans about Scott Norwood and his Super Bowl kick.

Not so today, both teams needed their kicking game at times.  Whether it was Carpenter going 1 of 3 or Franks making 2 of 3, none was bigger than the kick heard around the world.

It came down to overtime and as the Dolphins rode Jay Ajayi and his train to his last stop, he had one more big run left, a 57 yard scamper that took the Dolphins from their own 18 to the Bills 28. One run. One impact run that Ajayi can clip together on a highlight reel come contract time in a few years.

Ajayi finished with 206 yards on 32 carries sending his season total to 1,213 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns.

After two first downs, it was time for Franks to march onto the field and make one more kick.

The Bills head coach Rex Ryan could only watch.  Watch in wonderment of what could’ve been had his timeout been granted.

One more kick, with snap down, laces out, and the swift foot of Andrew Franks sending the ball into the Buffalo crowd and still floating like this team on cloud 9 after win number 10 and a chance…a chance at being playoff bound.

With this win, the Dolphins are one step closer to the playoffs.

Next week: the Patriots.

andrew-franks-gw-kick-2016-v-bills

Photo credit: AP photo

Wake and Suh’s selection to 2017 Pro Bowl, a reward for a job well done

Congratulations to the Miami Dolphins’ defensive linemen-Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh for this year’s Pro Bowl…wait for it…in Orlando.

By being selected to the Pro Bowl, both Wake and Suh are a testament of the Dolphins 9th ranked defense overall, a group that has come on strong catapulting the Dolphins to eight of nine wins in making a playoff push.

Both Wake and Suh have performed at a high level after the team started out 1-4.

Post the abysmal 1-4 start, the Dolphins D-linemen kick started what was already a shaky effort and injury or two away from going 6-10.

However behind a monster pass rush, both players have set the tone combining for a total of 15.5 sacks, with Suh amassing five and Wake earning his way to 10.5 sacks.

One cannot forget the players in a supporting role such as Andre Branch, with five sacks or Jason Jones with 2.5 sacks.

Why not toss Kiko Alonso in there who’s defensive efforts and heart can’t be measured by sacks, but rather by tackles (103), tackles for a loss (5), 2 interceptions (1 TD), and 1 forced fumble (4 recovered).

No, the Dolphins simply would not have won 8 of 9 without the contributions of their supporting cast.

This defense, which is young and inexperienced is a result of the blood, sweat, and tears shed in the offseason and in game adjustments that have led to their success as a whole.

The reward:- two lunch pail-toting players collecting honors and accolades for their efforts and for that, Cam Wake and Ndamukong Suh are Pro Bowlers once again.

See you in Disney World!!!

wake-and-suh

Honor roll: 5 unsung heroes leading the Dolphins in 2016

While most of the media in and around Miami has focused on the potential season end of Ryan Tannehill due to a knee sprain, I’ve chosen to do a quick write up on the players that have made this Dolphins season special.

Here are the five unsung heroes this season:

1. Kiko Alonso: Alonso brought a serious level swagger and toughness to the position of middle linebacker. This season, he has flourished in Vance Joseph’s 4-3 defense and has defined and cemented his role a go-to guy on the defense. The results have been incredible-four forced fumbles and two interceptions ( one a game winner versus the Chargers).

2. Cameron  Wake: While there should be balance between offense and defense on this list, Cam Wake has been and forever will be the reason the Dolphins win and lose. From a production standpoint, getting 9.5 sacks this season after being sidelined with a torn Achilles the season prior, he gets my vote as a team unsung hero. Not to mention, Wake has impactful and meaningful production when he’s getting push one on one and even when he’s held he is a disruptive force.  At the age of 34, he’s getting stronger each and every year.  Just ask his Range Rover.

3. Ryan Tannehill: For one, Tannehill has been a model of toughness at quarterback for the franchise. He has started 77 straight games and until yesterday was headed for a strong finish-quite possibly his best quarterback rating and completion percentage. When Adam Gase was hired as head coach of the Dolphins, his first objective was to “fix” Tannehill. He did more than that as Tannehill has become the constant that could be counted on to lead, seldom complain, and take the blame after a loss.   Barring a setback, we might see Ryan Tannehill have a major part in being the guy in the playoffs, but for now, he will continue to lead from the sidelines supporting backup Matt Moore.

4. Kenny Stills: After clearly having an issue in a Miami offense of last season, Stills has become the go-to guy deep. For one, Stills has six touchdowns despite the lack of targets this season. Stills has been active each and every week and has made catches with ease after dropping a potential big TD in Seattle week one. He qualifies as a difference maker and complements the play of Jarvis Landry quite well. Stills has touchdowns of 24, 74, 66, 39, 43, and 28 yards.  It’s no wonder why he has emerged as the Dolphins deep threat in the vertical passing attack featured this season by Coach Gase. (Hat Tip-Eric Elizondo).

5. Damien Williams: After seeing this specimen of talent that Williams is with my own eyes in San Diego, I’m convinced he’s clearly a notch above all other players at the position in the league. From his week one scamper at the tail end of the Seattle game to his back shoulder catch in San Diego or his 10 yard rush to take the lead versus the Bills, no one has done more than Williams who has been versatile and continues to produce despite lack of plays.

So there you have it. A list of players who have done the dirty work and have gotten the job done when called upon. Whether the Dolphins make the playoffs or not, they have a core group of players who have bought in, have contributed, and have set the tone week in and week out.

Honorable Mention: Devante Parker (WR), Walt Aikens (ST), and Andre Branch (DE).

kiko-alonso

Please Miami, don’t make the playoffs! 

This post in reality, isn’t meant to offend anyone. It isn’t meant to lessen nor render worthless the job that head coach Adam Gase has done nor the efficiency that the Dolphins front office has worked with to get the Dolphins winning.

Winning. It’s an important component to getting into the playoffs and being rewarded for your accomplishments as a football team.

Right now, after a less than surprising lackluster effort in Baltimore as a team losing 38-6, the Dolphins were knocked down a few notches and their record stands at 7-5. As of now, the Dolphins are not winners, but rather Akin to a gambler coming off of a hot streak in a game Texas hold’em and not certain of their next move, bet, or going all in.

As it stands, the Dolphins in my opinion and at least on paper have room to grow. This Dolphins team has forged a new identity making it competitive week in and week out and has a renewed sense of pride, passion for film-watching, and receptiveness for listening to coaches.

Yes, this Dolphins team has surpassed all expectations of us as fans and have taken the fan base to score board watching each and every play of your Pittsburgh’s or Denver’s of the NFL.

However, a loss yesterday has put the Dolphins in prime position to fight for four more weeks. Four more weeks of wanting, wishing, and hoping.

Four more weeks of at least dying while trying to make the playoffs.

What then?

What happens after the Dolphins make it?

Do they realize Tannehill can be great and not make a change at QB?

Do they realize that the defensive line is awesome and that the status quo will bare the same result next season?

Do they realize that the Dolphins corners are coming into their own and will be a great unit in 2017?

Look at what happened in 2008. The Dolphins succumbed to the status quo with Chad Pennington and had no plan nor development of backup Chad Henne who was thrust into the starter’s role without being prepared. The Wild Cat failed and both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams couldn’t get them out of the huge 0-4 start in 2009 even though they somehow managed to go 6-4 after getting on a roll.

In addition, then GM Jeff Ireland spent most of the Dolphins cap to sign a new offensive line and then neglected QB and wide receiver. He’d spend the rest of his career in Miami working to address both positions and then some.

Not to mention, receiver Ted Ginn showed his worth by a lack of growth as a pass catcher-he’s fun to watch now, but the Dolphins weren’t waiting around and traded him to SF in 2010 after getting Brandon Marshall.

The list goes on and on and the same movie plays year after year.

So please for heaven’s sake Miami, do not and at least for this season, think about making the playoffs unless you’re willing to change for the better and become the team you’ve always wanted to be.

Miami Dolphins get goal line stand, win over 49ers 31-24

The Dolphins found themselves at the end of the game clinging to a 7 point lead with 10 seconds to go and a 1st and goal for the 49ers leading 31-24.

As Dolphins fans on Twitter were screaming at the TV and posting their worst fears, Byron Maxwell climbed over Torrey Smith to knock the ball away. 10 seconds now down to 2 seconds  and 2nd and goal.

With 2 seconds to go and quarterback Colin Kaepernick having led the 49ers back with three touchdowns, called his own number as Ndamukong Suh and Kiko Alonso converged-one after another for the game winning tackle at the 2 yard line.

That’s it. Game over and both Ryan Tannehill and Kiko Alonso greeted each other at midfield with euphoric looks on their faces and jubilation as they leaped in the air and collided falling down and laughing as Fox Sports cameras pulled away from the field.

The difference in the game was the Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill played a clean game behind a no-name offensive line missing three starters Branden Albert, Laremy Tunsil, and Mike Pouncey. His numbers speak for themselves: 3 TDs, 285 yards and a quarterback rating 130.6 off of 20-30 throwing.

Tannehill from the second quarter onward fired three touchdown passes (16-43-15 yards) and well over 280 yards passing. It was by far, at least statistically his best game. He played an even better game playing behind a patchwork of an offensive line which did not become the storyline.

The storyline today is that the Dolphins truly did just enough to win.

They tackled just enough.

They covered just enough.

They placed just enough effort in reading and spying scrambling Colin Kaepernick who is far from the twilight of his career as evidenced by his performance 29-46, 296 yards, 3TDs, and 1 INT.

Don’t forget the impact of the offensive output as Kaepernick as a runner accounted for 113 yards on the ground. Overall, the 49ers looked like the offensive juggernaut that head coach Chip Kelly wished they’d be this season.

Instead, the 49ers fell short in their efforts and lost in the final seconds as they could have scored and went for the win with a two point conversion.  The 49ers are now 1-10 and battling the Browns for the top pick of the draft.

Yes, the Dolphins did just enough to win and coach of the year candidate Adam Gase knows this, but he indicated in his post game comments that he had “respect” for the 49ers as a whole which is why they played the way they did.

What’s interesting is the 49ers defensive approach, placing 8-9 players in the box and playing to stop Jay Ajayi and make quarterback Ryan Tannehill beat them.

According to Gase in his post game comments this showed “disrespect” to the quarterback, Tannehill, who has been incredibly strong offensively despite a make-shift offensive line.

It’s too early to consider at this point that the Dolphins are playoff bound, but they certainly are close and need a lot of help with both Wild Card spots occupied by Denver and Kansas City as of right now.

At 7-4, this Dolphins team had to overcome adversity and prove the naysayers wrong after their poor start at 1-4.

Since then, after reeling off six wins in a row would have seemed improbable if not impossible, but now the question remains:

How many more wins can the Dolphins get with five games left against some tougher competition?

Up next week: a playoff type of game in Baltimore.  A game Mike Wallace has had circled on his calendar for some time.

Maybe next week, the Dolphins put it all together and win seven in a row.

As Dolphins fans hold their collective breaths, head coach Adam Gase presses a button all to familiar with the season: reset.

kaepernick-stuffed-2016

Podría ser una tarde difícil.

Los Dolphins de Miami van esta tarde de visita a Nueva York, para enfrentar a unos envalentonados Jets. Ambos equipos ganaron sus juegos de forma extraña el pasado domingo. Los Dolphins tuvieron que jugar el partido más largo de la historia de la NFL, durante más de 7 horas, en un clima donde el sol, la lluvia y los relámpagos se combinaron para obligar a detener la acción en dos ocasiones por más de dos horas en ambas suspensiones. Aún así obtuvieron una importante victoria 27-20 sobre los Titans de Tennessee. Los Jets no fueron la excepción, cuando sobrevivieron a un error de su nuevo mariscal de campo (QB) Sam Darnold, quien pasó para una intercepción de 6 puntos en su primera posesión de juego en la NFL pero se repuso para guiar a su equipo de forma brillante, logrando derrotar a los Lions de Detroit 48-17. Ayudado por una defensa que logró cinco intercepciones, jugando su mejor juego en mucho tiempo.
Los Dolphins lucieron sólidos, pero las suspensiones del juego por las inclemencias del tiempo les sacaban de paso y no permitían tomar la ventaja definitiva, aunque dominaban estadísticamente a los Titans. En su regreso luego de más de una temporada fuera del terreno su mariscal de campo (QB) Ryan Tannehill tuvo un juego balanceado y en 28 intentos logró 20 pases completados, con dos anotaciones, un total de 238 yardas, y un ratio de 89.9% con dos intercepciones (una de ellas inmerecida causada por un balón mojado). Por su parte Darnold completó 16 pases en 21 intentos, con 2 anotaciones, un total de 198 yardas y un ratio de 116.8% con una intercepción. Ambos mariscales de campo (QB) tuvieron juegos muy parecidos.

Continue reading “Podría ser una tarde difícil.”