Saturday, August 30, 2014

A thought about Texas A&M

Ryan Tannehill was at Texas A&M for two years, and was tabbed as a good enough QB to be considered a first round prospect.

Johnny Manziel followed him, and won the Heisman his freshman year and followed that with a good enough season to be considered a first round prospect.

And now Kenny Hill comes to A&M, and sets a new single-game passing record in his first game and there's the talk about whether he's the best QB in A&M history, whether he's a contender for the Heisman, etc, etc....

Considering that up in the big leagues, Tannehill is okay, and there's some debate (I'm part of it) about how good he is; and Manziel couldn't (or hasn't) cracked the starting lineup, you have to consider the possibility that the Texas A&M coach - and his system - must be pretty darn good to be producing QBs like this.

Sure the players are good, but it seems the system makes them at least appear great. 

Maybe Kevin Sumlin is a guy that NFL teams should be looking at as a prospect. 

Just a thought.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Predictions on the season (vote)

2013 didn't quite meet with expectations. Will 2014? How do you think the Dolphins will do?
feedback surveys

My personal thought is 7-9. I think there are still legitimate doubts about Tannehill, there are 5 new starters on the o-line, the linebackers are a weakness, and the kicker hasn't done much kicking this offseason. And many of their opponents have gotten better. And the question I have is - if they do go 7-9, or even 8-8, does that mean Ross decides to go in another direction?

Take the poll, and feel free to post your thoughts in the comments.

Just Having Some Fun!...

Hello! So I just read an article with game by game predictions and thought that it would be cool to do my own version on here, so here is goes!!

Week 1: New England-23, Miami 24 I believe we squeak out just 1 more TD than NE and win this one mostly because Belichick has no film on us yet!! Element of surprise folks!!!

Week 2: Buffalo-13, Miami-27 I still don't believe EJ Manuel is the answer down there and our line can now compete with their front 7

Week 3: Kansas City-24, Miami-21 We lose this one since we don't have anyone to cover Jamaal Charles out of the backfield

Week 4: Oakland-10, Miami 31 No need for explanation here, we should start the season out at 3-1

Week 5: BYE WEEK

Week 6: Green Bay-20, Miami 17 Aaron Rodgers is just too much to handle for our defensive backs as a unit right now

Week 7: Chicago-31, Miami-30 This is a horrible matchup for Miami & our offense should be much improved but not to the point where is outscores Da Bears!!!

Week 8: Jacksonville-13, Miami 24 We are currently the best NFL football team in Florida, this game will prove it!

Week 9: San Diego-31, Miami-35 High scoring game here & I believe Philip Rivers makes the costly turnover

Week 10: Detroit-27, Miami-30 We may not be able to stop 2 top recievers but we should be able to stop 1!!

Week 11: Buffalo-17, Miami 24 We sweep the Bills this year

Week 12: Denver-31, Miami 20 It's the best offense in the league we are facing here!!!

Week 13: NY Jets-17, Miami 10 I don't like Rex Ryan but he is a hell of a defensive minded coach

Week 14: Baltimore-20, Miami 24 Their offense isn't all that scary

Week 15: New England-24, Miami 13 I'm good with splitting with Brady/Belichick every season

Week 16: Minnesota-14, Miami 24 Same as the Detroit game, we SHOULD be able to stop Adrian Peterson since thats all they have!!

Week 17: NY Jets-10, Miami-20 Rex can't beat us twice in one season with just a good defense!!

I have Miami going 10-6 this year. It could swing to 9-7 or 11-5 depending on a game winning/losing field goal! Big year coming from Tannehill: 4500 passing yards, 30 combined passing/rushing TD's & 12 or less INT's!!

Phins up!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Logan Mankins Trade & How It Could Impact The Phins...

So in case you have not heard yet, Logan Mankins, arguably the Patriots best offensive lineman, has been traded to Tampa Bay for TE Timothy Wright and an "undisclosed draft pick". OK, so here are my thoughts: My first reaction was "GREAT! Now we will feast on Brady for sure!!" Then after thinking it over it may or may not be a good thing for the Phins. The thing to look at here is who will replace Mankins? Alex Boone from the 49ers? Maybe another trade coming for NE? If so, who or what will the Pats have to give up? Could Incognito replace Mankins? Sounds silly with everything that has gone on in his life but the bottom line is that the dude is one hell of a guard and if anyone can keep him walking a straight line, its Bill Belicheck. Something to keep an eye on for sure... Another important thing to consider is why would NE trade for a TE? Is Gronk's health worse off than everyone thinks? Do they not think he will make it through a full season yet again? Or on the opposite end of that, are the Patriots looking to have that 1,2 punch again like they did with Gronk & Hernandez? I personally believe that Belicheck will turn Timothy Wright into an absolute beast like he did with Gronk & Hernandez. There is a lot to think about here if you are a Dolphins fan. I do not think Timothy Wright will have a huge impact on the season opener. He needs to learn the playbook first & foremost and I do not think he can accomplish that feat by the time the season starts. The idea of having to cover 2 dynamic tight ends again scares the crap out of me being a Dolphins fan. If anyone knows anything else about the trade or even has any other scenarios to consider, I would like to hear them in the comments! Is this trade good or bad for the Dolphins???...

The preseason

The idea of the 5 week, 4 game preseason is kind of an antiquated notion.  I know the NFL has little (or no) interest in starting the regular season before labor day, so that leaves us with our current format.

So for one week, its practice (or the Hall of Fame "game" if you happen to be playing in it), then you're evaluating players and getting into the flow of a game in week 2.  Week 3 is somewhat meaningful, and then that 4th week is the "significant" and "all important" 3rd preseason game.  The last week is....a waste, though probably not to the players who the 48th-53rd best on the team - that's where they can make the squad.

So, frequently, I make a suggestion that the format needs to change.  Given the desire to (a) not start too early,  (b) to have some kind of NFL activity happening in July, and (c) not to extend the season to 18 games, I wanted to circle around with a suggestion...

Here goes.  The 5 weeks of camp isn't necessarily bad.  But what I would suggest is one week of camp, followed by a week of joint practices with another team, and an "exhibition game" at the end of the week against them.  The following week should be another week of joint practices followed by another "exhibition game" against this team.

The last two weeks should evolve.  Its practices at your facility.  Its player evaluations.  Allow the roster to stand at a greater number for both weeks.  And then you have two truly "preseason football games" against opponents. 


Rather than making it all about evaluation, give a reason for fans to pay to see them, and give the players something to play for.  Make these games count for something (not unlike the baseball allstar game counts for home field in the world series).  The standings or results could be used a tiebreaker.  Or seeding.  Or something that might matter as the season winds down.

So a coach has to decide how much he wants to push his starters, and the second-tier players might respond with great efforts that are worth watching.

And that way the games on this Thursday night - that players just want to walk away healthy from - have a little significance.

You could also tweak the rules for injured reserve so that if a player did get injured they'd have an opportunity to come back during the season.

Of course coaches might rest everyone, and just hope for the best.  But wouldn't it be something to see Brady's backup really get to play *for* something?

The fans get better games.  The NFL gets a longer schedule (sort of), without monkeying with the current format that much.

That's my two cents.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Rizzi Has Got To Go.

I am sorry but I have seen enough special teams mistakes from last year that I was certain that we would have had a new special teams coordinator as soon as last season ended.

How Darren Rizzi avoided the butchers block is beyond me.

Saturday's gaffes included a blocked punt, Jarvis Landry  attempting to run a kick off back from 9 yards deep in the endzone and our kick off coverage unit gave up 147 yards on 5 returns. That's 29.4 yards per attempt.

We need new leadership in our special teams. We need a new approach. We need a better teacher.

We need a new coach!

Will Philbin come to the same conclusion?

 Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Start Matt Moore!

I watched a replay of the Dolphins game, and hands down Matt Moore outplayed Ryan Tannehill.  Its not even up for debate.

Tannehill couldn't hit the broadside of a barn, and never connected with Mike Wallace.  And when he left the game the team had scored 11 points.

Meanwhile Moore came in was effective, efficient, hit Wallace several times, and scored two TDs.

If Philbin wants to hit 25 a game, then Moore is the guy!  Start him already!  

Come on Marino, you know QBs, tell Philbin that Moore should be the guy..

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tannehill Needs To Get Out Of His Own Head...

Ryan Tannehill played the worst games of the preseason so far. He made a horrible decision to throw into triple coverage only to be intercepted and he overthrew a wide open Mike Wallace by at least 10 yards.

Tannehill said the triple coverage throw was a "bad decision" and when asked about his overthrow of Wallace, he went on about "...It was my fault...I need to trust Mike to get back to his landmark...Just like how we talked about it in practice..." WHAT?!? LAND MARK?! I love the progress that Ryan has made this offseason but he is overthinking this whole deep ball thing with Wallace.

If you saw the throw, then you would see that the ball was thrown flat, no air underneath it, no hang time to give Wallace time to run under it but somehow it still went 10 yards above his head. It was almost like Ryan was trying to throw a seam route which is meant to be a bullet, A deep go route is not the same kind of throw!

Please for the sake of Dolphins fans everywhere, Ryan, put some air under the ball! Mike Tomlin stopped practice in disbelief when Big Ben over threw Wallace back in his Steeler days because it's not supposed to happen too often!

Stop worrying about "land marks" and just throw the damn ball! Mike will find the ball for you, it's not that difficult!

I love the look of the offense and all the potential this team has. This offense can murder opposing defenses if we can connect on the deep ball!

Ryan just needs to get our of his own head....

Miami vs Dallas Post Game Thoughts

Well the most entertaining preseason game is in the books as the Dolphins beat the Cowboys.  I have been watching basically every game and following every off season for the Dolphins over the last 25 years. When I look at the starting talent, overall team depth, and team chemistry, I feel like this is the best team we have easily had in the last decade.  Unfortunately, that does not guarantee this team is a playoff team but I will be very surprised if this team is not in the top 1/3 of teams in the league and as a fan I feel optimistic for the first time in a quite a long time.  This preseason game did answer some more question as the first round of cuts are looming.  Here are some of my thoughts fresh after the game.

1.)    I think Brady Quinn will be cut this week. – Matt Moore has shown why he is paid a lot. He is probably better than 4 or 5 starting QBs in the league.  I don’t see Miami keeping 3 QBs on the roster and if you are going to consider Seth Lobato for the practice squad this upcoming preseason game is the time to see if you are going to put him there. Playing Brady Quinn in the last game would accomplish very little since it is almost certain he won’t be on the final 53.

2.)    Daniel Thomas has officially been beaten out by Damien Williams. There is not a chance in hell Williams will make it through wavier to the practice squad. He has shown the ability to slam in the hole and get some YAC and also has shown the ability to break it outside. He is cheap and they have him for years to develop. Thomas is in the final year of his contract, and has not been healthy. I suspect Miami will see if there are any teams interested in trading for Thomas.  Otherwise he will be kept around in case there is an injury in the final preseason game and then released when the team goes to 53.

3.)    Miami will keep 6 Wr’s at least for the first four weeks of the season. With Pouncey, Jones, and Jordon all out for the first month of the season the Dolphins will have some open spots and I think they will keep a 6th WR. I think the 6th will be Damian Williams.  I could also see them considering a WR trade at some point if there is an injury at a different position.

4.)    Don’t get all hyped on the running game just yet. Dallas’s defense is really bad. ( I feel bad for cowboys fans, from what I saw they are in for a long year)  Miami is going to be facing two very tough D-Lines in week one and two.  With that being said Knowshon is the starter. He is our best hope to have enough of a running game to keep teams honest.

5.)    Oliver Vernon will make the pro bowl this year. Mark it down

6.)    I am making a plea to Dennis Hickey and Joe Philbin please please be looking at any and all options to acquire a decent back-up offensive tackle.  Maybe they have a target with roster cuts?

7.)    I think the Dolphins will keep two kickers for a while into the season. Maybe consider giving Nate Kaeding a call?

8.)    I could hear the fans on TV in the 4th quarter! This team is exciting to cheer for.  They feel like a team, not just a group of guys.

Granted I am a homer but watching all three preseason games in depth, I think the Dolphins would have beaten all three teams they have played so far in the regular season.   But I also don’t see Atlanta, Tampa Bay, or Dallas as playoff contenders in 2014 so I am not sure that means all that much. Let me know what you think at this point in the offseason.

Friday, August 22, 2014

We Are Almost There!

You can almost taste it.

Football season.

Its right around the corner. Only two weeks away.

I love week 3 of preseason. The teams are pretty much getting their acts together.

The last dress rehearsal for the starters. Everyone hoping to create some positives and get out healthy.

This past week I was vacationing in Dallas with my cousin, who attended her business convention. Since her company pays for our room and most food, I only had to pay for my flight and some sightseeing.

 As luck would have it, her convention was held at the Gaylord Texan which is the official hotel of the Cowboys. The night before their home games, the Cowboys stay there. And during the preseason, their free agents and those without permanent housing, call it home until they officially make the team.

The first Cowboy I ran into was one of their coaches early Sunday morning. Now I am not going to mention any names here. He is an offensive coach who would wait in the lobby at 6 AM each morning to grab some players to take to practice.

At first, he just grunted when I recognized him. But more and more, through out the week, as I would wonder down to the Starbucks each morning to grab a coffee and the papers, he would open up.

By the third day, after noticing all the Dolphins T-shirts, he told me he knew quite a few of our players. Odrick, Wallace, Wake, etc.

I told him "Wake is a beast". He responded "Derek. You know his real first name is Derek."

You can assume a Pennsylvania connection.

That night I saw him at dinner with some players at the Hotel sports bar with a 50 foot HD TV screen and good food.

He pointed at one of the players he was dining with and said "He hates the Dolphins." I responded "Good. Then you'll over react and screw up by letting your emotions get the best of you."

They laughed. I wished them good luck and good health.

Throughout the week, they were in the gym working out but mostly grabbing dinner in the sports bar.

You could see the stress they were under and I had to remind them that very few people get to experience what they are going through at training camp and they should be very proud of themselves for getting this far, no matter what happens.

They all were very cordial and polite but there was this underlying uncertainty of their future
that they just couldn't hide. I told them all I would be watching for them on TV.

Come Thursday morning, I caught the coach and some players in the lobby around 6:30. I told them "You still have 24 hours to back out. Friday you fly to our neck of the woods."

Coach said "I was afraid I'd miss you this morning."

I told him "Nope, but we will both be leaving town soon."

I wished them luck and then said "Oh by the way, I won't be able to watch the game live on TV but when I see you on NFL Network's replay of the game, I hope you'll be screaming at one of your players for blowing"

Then he said "Now I wished I'd missed you."

Today, I reffed 2 High School scrimmages in New Jersey. Tomorrow, another.

Yep. Football is back and soon enough, it will be for real.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What if Mike Wallace is Right?

The NFL has become the most balanced and competitive major team sport in America. That is why it has grown so much in popularity.  It really is not much of a debate.  A team like the Yankee’s in baseball will out spend smaller revenue teams to acquire better players. In college football teams like Alabama are going to get much better recruits and players compared to many of the smaller colleges they play against.  My goal is not to put down other sports or leagues, I am just making the point that ALL the teams that compete in those leagues do not have the competitive balance that the NFL has. In the NFL every game is of enormous importance. For that matter every play in the NFL carries a significant amount of weight.

Anyone following the NFL Preseason has been taking note of huge number of flags resulting from the increased emphasis on pass interference. Mike Wallace was so bold to express his opinion that it was not being called fair.  After watching several of the games and what is going on I can’t say he is wrong. I don’t think that there is this big conspiracy that the refs are out to get Miami. However, I think the NFL has created a very delicate situation.  There is SO much that goes into a NFL season. The players, the coaches, even the fans are vested deeply into trying to win.  It all culminates into dramatic hard fought games to see who reaches that dream all teams are working for.  These games have become so close that the outcome of a few plays can heavily influence who wins. Now I ask you after vesting all that time and emotion into the games, does anyone really want to see the outcome of them determined by 2 or 3 calls from a referee? It is almost sickening to me to think of the Dolphins in a hard fought game into the 4th quarter and then a team getting a couple very questionable interference calls on the last drive to beat them. I also would feel like it would be an empty win if we were on the side of the benefit for the calls. I have always said it is simple, if the penalty is not obvious leave your flag in your pocket and let the players decide the outcome of the game. The NFL is pushing the refs to do just the opposite of that now.  It just seems for lack of better word ..just wrong.

All I can think of is who is pushing for this? The players don’t like it, the coaches don’t like it. The fans (i.e. the customers) don’t like it.  The NFL is as popular as it is has ever been. I understand they think that more scoring might mean even more people will watch. Maybe more people that play fantasy football will watch more games? However, is it really worth it? I won’t even get started on how making changes like this makes all-time statistical records worthless. How would Dan Marino and the marks brothers have done if the d-backs would have played in this environment against them? The games now are going to be more heavily influenced by the calls the refs make, bias or not bias. Those calls will now be a heavy factor in who wins games. Is that what we really want to be watching? It makes me think what if Mike Wallace is right and the refs really are not calling the game fair….what will that mean for the NFL if that is true? My message to the NFL executives pushing this rule change (a rule change that will lead to refs having unprecedented power to influence games) is this. “Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered”   If these rule changes concern you, please forward this message to everyone you know that cares.  After all we are the customers.

It has been a while....

Hi everyone!  It has been 7 months since I last wrote here.  I owe a guy a Steak Dinner at Shula's.  So, whoever that is - contact me soon.  I want to pay up.

I got a job in January as a CPA to some touring stars; I am their Tax Manager.  Almost all of our clients are household names.  It is exciting work.  But, no excuse.  I dropped the ball and disappeared.

Last year really hurt me.  It was crushing!  I can still taste the bile in my throat.   We had the talent, but just as I said would be the ONLY reason for a non-playoff year - COACHING FAILED US!

The only silver lining was that Sherman was fired.  He was a disco dancer in a break-dance competition.

My true Diehard Phins Fans Friends feel as strongly this year as I did last year.  I compared last year's first 2 preseason games to this year's first 2 preseason games.  It is like night and day.    Last year our second teams did better, but I first teams struggled.  This year we look a bit more dynamic.  We have nearly 80% completion with Tannehill & Moore.   I like it.  Except for a few big plays in pre-season last year we still looked like we were playing in mud.

I argued with a few of you posters a few times last year that the only way to get more from this team was to change the pace - speed up, change cadence, spread-out, etc...   I believe Bill Lazor brings that with him from Philly.  Think about this.  Nick Foles, the Eagles QB, went from a 79 to a 119 rated QB in the one year with the new system, 27 TDs v. 2 INTs.   That with an offensive line that was every bit as suspect as ours.  If we improve even marginally, and score 24 points per game, we  have nearly a 90% chance of making the playoffs.  If we score over 400 points for the season, the % increases.

You have to admit, things feel different this year.  Can you believe that it will be our defense that may hold us back?  Our defense has the personnel.  It just needs to execute.  Tackle tackle tackle.  JEEZE!

Okay, here we go again:  this year's schedule is more difficult, and I still say we will have a double digit win season and make the playoffs.  Miami will go 11-5.  They will shock the world and beat the Patriots on opening day.

Yours forever in Phins Fanhood we play.

The MadPhinsFan