Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thoughts On Philbin

I don't necessarily think anyone wants to Philbin to get fired. We all want to see him and the Dolphins succeed. 

It's not that the Dolphins lose. It's HOW they lose. 

I believe it comes down to coaching. I don't need to go through the 2 collapses against Detroit and Green Bay, we all know what happened. Let's talk about Denver. 

Philbin loves calling defensive time outs to "Kodak" the offense. So why didn't he do that when Denver scored in the red zone when Jelani Jenkins was covering Demaryius Thomas? Yes, I get it, Denver had him lined up as a TE which is why Jenkins picked him up, but why not call one of your famous time outs to combat that and maybe make Denver change the play or at least be better prepared?

So to recap, Miami calls time outs against teams that they have on the ropes without any way to stop the clock and does not call them against the team that is shredding their defense. 

I personally like the way the Phins look recently but Philbin must put his team in a position to win. He has not done that which is why we are on the outside looking in right now. 

If the Phins lose because of a great play by the opposing team, it would be a lot better than losing because they are getting out coached. 

Hopefully Philbin learns from all this and gives his team the best chance to win week in and week out.

Phins Up!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wishing you all...

A happy, healthy, and safe thanksgiving!

A take on the Super Bowl

Somehow, I missed this article. The Minneapolis star-tribune researched the demands made by the NFL of the city in return for the Super Bowl.

Their findings are summarized here:

Still think it's about sport? Helping the community? Think the stories about it "generating revenue" are supported by this?

Clearly, in exchange for the dangling carrot, the city must give up a lot. And it affects that story that it brings "revenue and jobs"

Of course asking for 10,000 volunteers further undermines this.

IMHO, they can keep the Super Bowl. It's okay by me if it never comes back to Miami. What a joke.

If you want to read all 153 pages(!!) of demands for yourself, they are available here:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Joe Philbin's Future Breakdown

As we head into the critical home stretch to the season I see a lot of discussion about deciding if joe Philbin will keep his job.  I would say up until this point of season my preference would be that he does stay. That has changed from earlier in the season when he was making some bad game management calls and I was leaning for it being time for him to go. From a total team picture, I like the team they have put together; I like Dennis Hickey, I like Bill Lazor, and I like Kevin Coyle.  Firing Philbin would more than likely shake all that up and I don’t feel like that would be a giant step in the right direction.  With that being said, the rest of season will have a large impact on things.  I thought I would mention some various outcomes and what I see happening.
Philbin Stays If..
-          Dolphins Make the Playoffs no matter the record.
-          Dolphins win 10 or more games

Philbin Will Most Likely Stay if…
-          Dolphins finish 9-7
-          Dolphins Finish 8-8 and Sweep the Jets with some serious injuries (i.e. wake, grimes, out etc.)

50/50 Philbin Stays (Ross may do some interviews like Harbaugh)
-          Dolphins Finish 8-8 Sweeping the Jets without many major injuries

Philbin Will Most Likely Be Gone if…
-           Dolphins finish 8-8 with last loss against the Jets causing them to miss the playoffs
-           Dolphins finish 7-9 or worse

The Level of Competition??

The level of competition.  It means a great deal, and yet for others it does not exist....yet, or maybe will never come?
What I'm talking about is the divisions.  4 each in the 2 Conferences, and a couple of them are pretty new.  In my opinion, that makes their schedule easier.  The Southern Divisions in each conference come to mind right away.  I'll take the AFC South since I am by nature an AFC fan. Once, or if the Dolphins are eliminated for the season I then become an AFC fan(although I have found it difficult to cheer for the Patriots or the Jets anytime). 
Indy, Houston, Tennessee, & Jacksonville.  I do not presently live in any of these cities so I could be way off base?  But I don't recall ANY game between these 4 teams being hyped up by the media, or talked about in a fashion like a Cincy vs. Cleveland game is?  Any of the games in the AFC North can be referred to as a rivalry game, making the outcome a difficult prediction for anyone.
What about the AFC East?  In Buffalo "Squish the Fish" is what I have been told is the language of the day when we road trip-it to western New York.  The Jets hate us, & the Patriots noses are so far up in the air that.......well, crap, they kind of deserve to feel that way about themselves.  The AFC West was great when I was younger, but the demise of the Raiders has definitely dampened the rivalry status.
NFC: Black & Blue Division....anyone? Bueller, Bueller, Bueller?  That would be the North. Probably(guessing) some of Pro Footballs oldest rivalries?  The NFC East is always spoken of in rivalry terms, but the media lives there, so some of it(NOT ALL, just some) is over done!  I would say the NFC South is in the same position as the AFC South.  You would think the same problem might exist with the NFC West?  However, they have been one of the most competitive divisions in recent years with rivalries building quickly.
My POINT:  If you look at the remaining teams fighting for playoff spots in the AFC, I know I instinctively look at the final schedule of each team.  I don't understand it, but listening to the commentators on talk about this, one of the gentlemen predicts it will stay as it is right now other than KC & SD may switch places, 6 to 5 or 5 to 6.
I look at all the schedules and those are the teams with the toughest games remaining, according to me.
All of this talking and what I really want to say I can't say that?  "It doesn't seem fare." OK, I said it.  Almost any team in the NFL would love to play the Jets 2 out of their final 5 games.  But you know Rex Ryan will have them so fired up to play the Dolphins, not once, but TWICE!!  Plus Baltimore & New England.
OK, I have a lot of ketchup, mustard, mayo, salt & peppa(Uh, baby-baby, Reeaall Gooood!), all that stuff left over!  So I think the Dolphins will be lucky to score 10 points next Monday in the Meadow Lands complex(or whatever it's called)!!!!  The Jets are gonna whoop ya'!!

Pre-Snap Count Thoughts

The Denver game was a great game to watch even though we came out on the losing side.  A lot of people took notice of the Dolphins and Ryan Tannehill in this game.  I think there is a good chance this leads to some more prime time opportunities for the Dolphins next year.  With that being said I was surprised at how well Denver was able to handle our defensive line. I really expected them to dominate and it was the opposite outcome. I don’t want to take anything away from Denver, they did a great job both run blocking and pass blocking. But as I watched this game there was something I did notice and I am hoping the Dolphins coaches did as well.  Watch the Pre-Snap handling by Peyton Manning.  He very often used an extended snap count yelling out all kinds of stuff and giving hard counts.  He was able to get Miami to jump off sides twice and more important he is looking to see where the team is blitzing from. To Miami’s credit they did a pretty good job of not getting caught at it. It felt like he maximized every snap he got. I have played defensive line in football. I can tell you, it can be both mentally and physically tiring to have to hold your position with your hands in the dirt for a prolonged time.  I really hope both Bill Lazor and Ryan Tannehill can learn from it.  Work on some long snap counts this week. Getting a couple jumps from the defensive line is a big advantage and getting some linebackers and d-backs to expose where they are moving on the play is a big advantage as well.  The Jets almost have to have their defensive line dominate to stay in the game. The don’t want to have to throw the ball a lot and score points.  Learn from the loss, practice getting to the line and working some extended snap counts to help neutralize the Jets defensive line. I think it could really help us get a bigger advantage this week and beyond.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Something doesn't add up (bills-jets edition)

I'm watching a little of this game and I noticed something: it looks like there're maybe 10,000 fans in the stadium (or put another way the attendance is better than at a dolphins game - har har).

Why is that weird you may ask? Because the NFL "gave away tickets to the game"... And why wouldn't people attend a game for free?

Apparently the answer is that it wasn't quite that simple.

The story behind the story is that any and all tickets were general admission. They informed fans holding tickets to the game in buffalo that they would be admitted to this game by showing their ticket.

Then on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, they opened the box office to distribute tickets between 10-3. Each of the days had an allotment of tickets. And each day they reached the allotment within the first 45 minutes that they were open.

We heard that on Friday, the number of tickets in the allotment was a mere 500.

And then on Saturday they abruptly announced that all 67,000 tickets had been distributed.

The companion story is that a small contingent of people walked up to the window on each day and took all of the tickets available, and then offered them for sale on the corner across from the ticket window, and on stubhub, for $125

So the actual number of free tickets distributed was well under 5,000 and then surely were bills fans who made the trip or sent their tickets to friends in the area.

Kudos to the NFL for trying. But it was poorly executed and attendance was not so good.

And you have to wonder if they did any sort of makeup/make good for the buffalo fans who couldn't make it to the game?

Can 10-6 Get Us Into The Playoffs?

After yesterday's tough loss to Denver, I am reminded of the immortal words of the Sapronos' characters "Fugget about it."

But not in regards to our playoff chances.

No. In regards to that game because there is plenty of season left.

Can we get in at 10-6?

Presently, we are ranked 10th in the AFC so can we leap frog the top dogs ahead of us?

Yes, with the right wins.

Lets say the Pats win the East, Colts win the South and that Denver/KC wins the West.

Now both the Denver/KC division winner and possible wild card winner have the tie breaker on us so we need the 6th seed to realistically get in.

That means we have to get by the 7-3-1 Bengals, at 7-4 the Steelers, Chargers and Browns plus the  6-4 Ravens.

The AFC North winner is probably not going to be determined from all 4 teams in the hunt until the last weekend of the season.

Lets face it, the AFC North played an easy schedule this year. They got to play the AFC and NFC South divisions, who currently out of 8 teams, only have the Colts with a winning record.

Those two divisions are a combined 28-58.

We, on the other hand in the AFC East, have to play the AFC West and NFC North divisions with a combined record of 47-41.

That's a big swing for half your schedule.

We still have @Jets, Baltimore, @Pats, Minnesota and Jets on our horizon.

Lets say we lose to the Pats and sweep the rest. Which is doable.

We would finish at 10-6 and have 4 AFC losses with the head to head tie breaker with San Diego and Baltimore.

But look at the remaining schedules for those in the hunt mentioned above plus the Bills and Texans (AFC LOSSES):

Broncos 8-3 (1): @Chiefs, Bills, @Chargers, @Bengals, Raiders

Chiefs 7-4 (3): Broncos, @Cardinals, Raiders, @Steelers, Chargers

Chargers 7-4 (3): @Ravens, Pats, Broncos, @49ers, @Chiefs

Steelers 7-4 (3): Saints, @Bengals, @Falcons, Chiefs, Bengals

Bengals 7-3-1 (3): @Bucs, Steelers, @Browns, Broncos, @Steelers

Browns 7-4 (4): @Bills, Colts, Bengals, @Panthers, @Ravens

Ravens 6-4  (4): @Saints Tonight, Chargers, @Miami, Jags, @Texans, Browns

Bills 5-5 (5): Jets Tonight, Browns, @Broncos, Packers, @Raiders, @Pats

Texans 5-6 (3): Titans, @Jags, @Colts, Ravens, Jags

See what I see?

Its the Texans who worry me! Not any of the teams ahead of us who have to play each other at least 3 times.

To beat out the Texans in this scenario of us going 10-6 with 4 AFC losses, we would need the Texans to lose one more game probably against the Colts who are only 2 games ahead of them right now.

If the Texans run the table, they could very easily be the 6th seed.

The Texans!

Didn't see that coming.  But when you look at the remaining schedules of everyone in the AFC hunt we don't look so bad in comparison.

We need to get healthy again and beat the damn Jets Monday night and then go from there.

We are still certainly in the hunt for the 6th seed and who knows, maybe beyond.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Tough loss

The dolphins played a good 3 quarters of football before Peyton Manning took control in the 4th.

It's not that Miami was bad, merely that they were outplayed. A friend of mine who is a broncos fan said he was impressed with the fins and thought maybe they were a year or two away from being an elite team.

Fair? I don't know. But what i do know is that the fins defense looked pretty good. And the offense put up some points. Tannehill has indeed been looking better.

But keep this simple fact in mind: scheme has had a lot to do with it. Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez - both middle-of-the-pack QBs - have found similar success with the same scheme. Doesn't mean tannehill is necessarily bad, but the system is certainly helping him.

But like all innovations on offense (cough wildcat cough) eventually defenses catch up. So can he - or any of the other guys - maintain it? We'll see.

As for this years prospects, 10 wins may not get a team to the playoffs, so the margin for error shrinks every week. Eventually you have to win one of these close games.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

OK! Then Lets Win The Final 5 Games!!!

I would love to bitch & moan about this game, but other than some poor tackling I really liked what I saw.
I read we have to win our last 5 games to be in the playoffs.  Not sure if it was just a guess or it is fact?  So I titled my Post what I did.  After watching us today it is the way I feel!  With one possible exception.  When the dust clears and we find out what we have left to play with, I don't know if shear guts & determination will suffice over a team like the Patriots?
And yes we lost another close one.  C'mon everyone, did we really think we were SB bound this year, or were we all realistically eyeing the playoffs?  I know I was.  And again, I don't give a flying%&$# how we do that!  Would it feel better if it was Denver 39, Miami 6?
I know!  It's not about that.  It's about being able to win the close games which often gives the team a state of mind like "we have been here before & know how to close it out", or several other clich├ęs!!  I mean it is basically 100% fact when you win the close ones, you have a team of WINNERS!  Why I've been in Detroit all weekend(wanted to get my free ticket for the Monday game) and you can just feel the buzz about the Lions(who are now out of the playoffs).  3 weeks in a row of pulling games out of their........nose?  Yeah, that's all I heard from Lion fans: "If we wouldn't have pulled those close games out we wouldn't be where we are now!  WWOOAHH!!"  "GO LIONS!!"
OK, I don't want to make fun of my fellow Dolphin fans. All I am trying to say is that it is a very long season.  If we still have some uninjured players, we still have a chance!  It doesn't matter how close or how much you lost or won a game by.  A win is a win, & a loss a loss. San Diego is now in front of us.  Is that because they lost their opening game 18-17; or beat Oakland twice by a combined 10 points; or loss to us 37-0???
It's a week to week GRIND of over 4 months of psychological ups & downs.  If this team is anything like they have shown in the last 3 months, some-not all-but some are already thinking about how they are going to beat the Jets!
UNTIL I read or hear on the News that the Dolphins have been eliminated from playoff contention, I'm on their wagon! 

It took a 135+ QB rating to win that game!!  Ryan was a 104.  What happened to that 'ol standby? When Ryan is 90 & above, or something I've heard several say, the Phins WIN!

Five weeks left, I've seen crazy caca happen, how about you?  Pressure does odd things to teams. We folded last year.  It isn't over yet!  Don't give up on this team!  They have something special!!
And yes I will eat this if we go into MetLife Stadium thinking about anything other then the NY Jets!!!

Phins Up!!!!!

Same Story, New Title

Another incomplete game by the Dolphins. 

The story goes like this:

Start bad, finish good and lose.

Start good, finish bad and lose.

Start good, finish good and win. 

Nick's prediction was wrong. My two predictions were wrong. And Carl's 7 predictions were all wrong. 

10 wins may not be enough to make the playoffs this year. Miami must win out. 

Good luck Miami! As a commenter on this blog stated before, if they can't win the close games then they will go nowhere, and they are 0-3 in "close" games this year.

Crappy loss but at least it was an entertaining game.

Maybe next week Miami.

Phins Up

Not over......

Tackle.  The guy carrying the ball!!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

2 Predictions...

There is a lot that has been going on this week concerning the Broncos/Dolphins game. Emmanuel Sanders and Julius Thomas haven't practiced pretty much all week but are most likely playing. Charles Clay is out which was a surprise. Daryn Colledge is coming back which is good news. All of this has been a whirlwind to try and figure out.

The big question is, which Dolphins Team shows up in Mile High? The team that played the Chargers? Or the team that played the Chiefs? 

If the team that played the Chargers shows up Miami wins. No doubt about it. Denver is not a good running team which means they will pass, and like Carl pointed out, Miami is #1 against the pass. Denver's line is a mess right now which also plays into our hands because we have a fierce pass rush. Also, as Carl pointed out, the winds will be strong, and in case you haven't noticed, Peyton's passes are looking pretty weak and wobbly as of late. Also, the wind helps us because we are a better running team. 27-20, Miami.

If the team that played the Chiefs shows up, Miami loses. Why you ask? We are playing Peyton Manning and no team can show up flat and expect to beat Peyton. If "this" Miami squad shows up, Denver wins by a score of 30-13. 

Which one will it be? 

Weather Will Factor In At Mile High

When you are going to Denver in November you always pack your gloves and scarf and winter jacket.  That's a no brainer.  You expect cold temps and are prepared for that.

Tomorrow's weather, though, has an added degree of difficulty. 

Wind. Gusting winds. Up to 21 miles per hour.

So it will seem even colder in the first half due to the wind chill factoring in.

When those shadows get longer as the sun drops and those lights come on at Mile High Stadium, the wind will die slightly but not enough to warm those souls on the turf.

So with cold and wind, what you should hope to do is run the ball to set up a short passing game.

Who benefits from that?

As much as the talking heads have mentioned that Denver, losers of 2 of their last 3, will be fired up and need to get back to running the ball, its just not in their DNA.

Denver has run the ball the 6th least of all 32 teams.  Only 243 times. 

For 3.7 yards per carry.

If you can remember, Jimmy Johnson used to call Dan Marino his Candy Jar.  He was so sweet that you had so much trouble trying to pass by and not stick your hand in there.

With Peyton Manning, Denver's John Fox has a sweet tooth.

Why drive when you can fly?

Miami on the other hand, is ranked in the middle of the pack in rushing but has had much greater success by pounding the ball 272 times for 4.7 yards per attempt.

Denver's defense has only faced 222 attempts and is giving up only 3.3 yards per carry.  Of course most teams are chucking the ball trying to keep pace with Manning and company.

Denver's opponents have thrown the ball 423 times.  And that's the most in the entire league.

Why drive when you have to fly?

Miami's defense is ranked 1st against the pass.  Yep, We're # 1! We're # 1!

That stat alone has meaning and it may just get us through this game and hopefully, at the very least, keep it close.

Denver's pass defense, despite all the attempts against it, is ranked 16th.

They, like us, are averaging 6.1 yards per attempt.

Ok. Where am I heading with this?

How many times have we read or heard or wrote or said "I am sick and tired of our dink and dunk passing game!" 

Well, with 21 mile per hour winds, you better believe we will be dink and dunking it all day.

Its what we do anyway.  It plays to our strengths.

Run the ball efficiently and control the game clock with short passes.

Despite all the talk of Denver needing this game and they have to rebound from losing to the Rams and they will be home and they have KC next week...yada, yada, yada...we can win this game.

Our defense is designed to travel well.  Our offense is starting to click.

And more importantly, our special teams are playing so much better now.

Philosophically, we will be in this game.

Physically, we will be in this game.

And emotionally, we need the damn game too!!! So, we will be in this game.

I expect a game with lots of short passes and whoever plays better in the red zone will win.

I think, Denver isn't as great as many think. 

I think, we are better than many think.

And I think the flight home will be a happy one for our Dolphins.

After all, we'll drive in the late Denver afternoon only to fly home in the evening.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Friday, November 21, 2014

All my Rowdy Friends have.....WHAT? Fill it in!

Calling All Cars!  Calling All Cars!

Carl, Lawrence, Chad, Richard, Ray Finkle, & Grandma, What's Up??  You haven't given up, have you?  Bronco got your tongue?  Got NOTHING? 

I have been told by "sources within the organization" that the Players actually read this site out of all the blogs out there.  Plus, "sources familiar with the relationship".......uuhhh, lets say a couple of those Kardashi ladies being the relationship; they want to know what is going on?  Why the silence? Forced me to break my promise!


I Still have Plenty of Condiments. Make Me Use Them!!

Earlier in the week I posted some comments concerning the turn around of the Miami Locker Room, & a prediction that included a fast Denver start(14-17 points by end of 1st quarter or before Dolphins manage to score), followed by a slow-methodical march by the Phins that would ultimately lead to a final drive score with the Dolphins, for once, ending up victorious.  Reason being their support & confidence with each other in their locker room!
I don't want to completely renege on my words, because I still do feel very strong about the locker room attitude and the ability to adjust & use momentum effectively in the final quarters.  Combination of coaching vision, awareness, & communicating a slight difference in the offensive & defensive schemes; adding to that the ability of the players to understand mentally & perform physically.
However, now that I know Denver will have their WR's. & TE playing; plus Miami will probably not have Charles Clay or Cortland Finnegan, well...I'm not sure we can overcome all the positive emotional factors Denver has.  Without Denver going 1-2 in the prior 3 weeks, & then scoring only 7 points against St. Louis, the media and Las Vegas wouldn't even be questioning this game!
So!!  Dolphins, here is another opportunity for me to use my condiments on these very words Sunday evening!  With my Mom's Thanksgiving Dinner only days away, I won't have any trouble eating paper after the game.  Please force me to do it!!  Embarrass me(more than I already do at least) by going back on my words!!