Friday, June 05, 2015

Games People Play

Well we just got hit with our first unforeseen injury of the preseason as Caleb Sturgis is out with a quad injury from playing kick ball.

I can't imagine he hurt it actually kicking the ball.  I bet he did it on the base paths trying to avoid getting beaned and put out.

You know, one of those quick stops between bases.  When you have big muscles, they can tear or pull very easily with just the proper amount of stress.  The old fighting the momentum of moving forward while stopping on your tippee toes.

I am curious to hear how this happened.  Please, just a few words Coach.

Had they played tiddlywinks instead, I am sure we could have come away unscathed.  Unless someone got a hang nail or sprained their thumb pushing down on the table.

I understand why teams do these activities.  They want to break the tension of training camp and have some good old fashioned fun while building team unity.

I don't blame the staff for playing kick ball.  Its just a little embarrassing to lose a guy for most of the preseason while playing a kid's game.

Thank God it wasn't Ryan Tannehill or Brent Grimes or Ndamukong Suh or Cameron Wake or any other very important player.  That would have been killer.

As far as I am concerned, Sturgis was expendable.  Shake any tree and ten kickers fall out.

Thank God they weren't playing football on the cafeteria table with a triangle folded piece of paper as a football and on a long field goal through his opponents finger goal posts someone took an eye out.  That would have been super embarrassing.

Or if Jordan Cameron got beaned in the head playing punch ball while running to first base and wound up with a concussion.  Those little red utility balls were weapons of mass destruction.

My old gym teacher would pitch and when he caught your feeble grounder back to the box he would yell "Don't stop running!".  And when you were just a half step from first base you would hear the swish of the ball immediately before it ripped into that fleshy part of your thigh causing immediate and lasting pain.   

We have all heard plenty of tales of guys blowing knees and ankles out in pick up basketball games.  Or even players falling down their own stairs in the comfort of their own homes and losing valuable time.

And when I hear about any other team losing a guy for the season in their first OTA, I pray we don't experience the same.  I actually do pray this.

Injuries are part of football and they are much more accepted when they do occur actually playing football. 

Is there any activity that doesn't come with some sort of risk?  I don't think so.  I am about to increase my odds of getting carpal tunnel syndrome just typing this post out.

Lets just hope, against all odds, that Sturgis' injury is the extent of our concerns this preseason.  Lets hope that the tide of misfortune has turned out to sea in Miami.  Never to return.

And before you pick up that wiffle ball and try to strike out your neighbor's kid in the back yard, remember to warm up.  After all, even us Dolfans can find it quite embarrassing explaining to our doctors "I set the kid up with a low rising fast ball but I heard a pop when I tried to drop the curve ball onto the lawn chair strike zone."

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Garo RIP

A fellow fan sent me this...the necktie mention was interesting so I dug around. Found this article which is a nice tribute...and it's true. How random and interesting.

Nice article about the passing of Garo dude.

Loved the card too and it prompted me to look out my own!  On the back of one it says he made neckties during the off season. Not sure if these were facts or random jokes at the time.

Thought I'd share anyway. :)

Alan

Garo Yepremian


Sadly, we learned about the passing of another player from the undefeated team. The Cypriot who had the funny accent, and who once said "I keek a touchdown" and who famously tried to throw the ball in the super bowl (and who Csonka famously said he would kill if they lost), passed away at 70.

May the football gods welcome you with feasting and song.

for the record, this is my favorite football card ever...the car, the field, the number 47...what's not to love?

Friday, May 15, 2015

A cynical view

...or "its all about the money"

During the offseason, we saw a couple of things happen.  The first involved the Dolphins.  The owner made a decision to renovate the stadium with "his money" (in quotes because its his - until he gets it back from the local government). The genius in his plan was to change the seating in the stadium, in quantity, configuration, and price point.  Gone are many of the cheaper seats, installed are more of the premium seats, and moved are many ticket holders so that the price point could go up in some areas.

Why is this genius?  Because premium seats aren't revenue-shared.  He sells some number more of those tickets, and gets to keep 100%; while reducing slightly the amount he contributed to revenue sharing (that is, not selling a ticket that is shared meant there was no income at all, so a 10% reduction in the revenue shared seats where some went unsold, means the income remains about the same from them).

Furthering the ingenuity of it all, he spread the construction out over two years.  I talked with a friend last night who was saying he was going to buy season tickets this season because he looked forward to sitting in the shade.  Except, of course, that's coming next offseason.  And that's when it hit me that he gets another possible boost in sales next year with the canopy.

Plus he had the added bonus of signing the biggest name free agent to get people talking about the team.  Make no mistake - he has had his staff doing the rounds on radio, TV, through ad sales, and even telemarekting to try and let people know how he's opening the wallet and spending to get better. Except that there's a salary cap and a salary floor.  So its a range he has to spend in; he was in the upper 3rd before - now he's closer to the top....he spent a little more, but there were a lot of cap casualties.  And Tannehill and Suh make up a large portion of the difference.  So take from that what you will.

Second, it involves the NFL.  There was a lot of talk about the NFL itself being a not-for-profit organization and not paying its share of taxes. The teams, of course, are for profit.  And with the exception of the packers, the revenue is a pretty closely guarded secret.  New rules in the not for profit arena would have made it so that they had to disclose what the owners were making - and rather than give up that obscene number, they decided to become for profit....simply to protect the secrecy of how much they make!  For reference, about a decade ago, Forbes got ahold of some of the information about Wayne Huziengas valuation, and estimated that his profit - after all expenses were paid - was around $200 million per season.  On a team that was mediocre.  Certainly the number has changed, but it gives you a sense of why they want to hold on to the secret.  They couldn't cry poor and say they're losing money with a straight face if you knew they were making that much.

Third, the NFL did away with the blackout rule after the FCC told them it was no longer relevant.  The NFL enacted the rule in response to possible assertions that they were violating unit-trust and because it made sense to try and sell more tickets. When the TV deal didn't compare with ticket sales, the rule made sense.  In recent TV deals, the money from TV far exceeded the ticket sales.  But there was still this pesky prospect of anti-trust, so teams would often agree to buy unused tickets (moving money from one pocket to another) to get around the rule.  The FCC changing the rule made it an easy decision - now the local team is always on, and the almighty advertising dollar can be had...people with HD screens were going to watch "a game" and if it meant that it wasn't your local team, that could mean they buy less product.  Another smart money play by the league.

And finally, its about this whole deflated football thing.  As a fan of the Dolphins in the years after the perfect season, I know the haters exist.  Saw it first hand.  You get good and everyone hates on you.  Happened to the cowboys, the steelers, and others,  There's something different about the patriots, though.  Sure, you can be a hater just because.  But with teams of the past, they reveled in their glory but were still somewhat humble.  Their coaches were likable.  The star players were approachable, and seemed nice enough off the field.  Its not the case with them: they're smug and arrogant and they maintain an aura of "we're better than you"....and its peculiar.  Its also peculiar that its gone on this long.

There were stories I've reported on in the past about how their methods went beyond the things they were accused of; about how the spygate thing wasn't at all what it seemed.  And here we sit looking at deflated footballs, and as I listen to people blather on about it, it becomes cleat that there's something more going on.  That deflated footballs are window dressing for something else.  I don't know what that "else" is, but in the sense of it being all about the money, the singular thing the NFL has to do is protect the shield.  The brand.  They have to do anything they can to make it seem like the integrity of the game is intact.  Imagine for a moment that its as simple as deflated footballs giving them an advantage of some small nature - like 1 fewer fumble per game.  That could have a statistically significant advantage over the course of a season - or several.  It might win you a game over the course of 10 (I didn't look up the stat, its just a guess) Now imagine if it was something more - something that gave 2 wins over 10 games.  And that something was not within the rules (or was just at them)....wouldn't that make bettors afraid that the game was fixed?  And might people stop watching or believing in the product?

Think about it.

And don't forget that the NFL hired the enormously expensive Ted Wells to investigate.  Same guy who did the bullying scandal.  They wouldn't hire him if they didn't want a version of the truth, but perhaps with a few key things glossed over; that's seems to be how it works.

Now one last thought on the deflate thing.  I heard about a group that was trying to collect money to cover the $1 million fine.  They started an online campaign to cover it, because they want to help.  A. What sort of people are apologists of that sort?  Its a sports team that you may like, and they were winning, but....really? B. $1 million, that's like 20 years worth of salary for the average person, and something the team - and Brady - can afford to lose and then C.  who in the heck would they give it to if they collected it?  Certainly the recipient would see red flags everywhere and would direct them to donate it to charity, so its all for naught anyway.

And that's my cynical view of the offseason.

Monday, May 11, 2015

4 Games For The Golden Boy...

Are you as disappointed as I am?

This 4 game suspension for Brady is a joke. In my honest opinion, it should have been for the entire season.

He got caught cheating and refused to provide his phone or emails or anything to clear is so called "innocent" name. Why do you think he didn't?!

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, has a beak like a duck then it DEFINITELY IS NOT A CHICKEN!

Look at it this way, goal posts are 18.5 feet apart, if a kicker kicks 5 field goals right down the middle in a game but it turns out the goal post was 19 feet apart did they gain a competitive advantage? Probably not, BUT THEY STILL CHEATED! Does it make it OK? Apparently so...

The deflated balls did not matter much in the Colts game, but what about the Baltimore playoff game the week before? That was a close one. Would the Patsies even have been in the super bowl this passed year?

A 4 game suspension is a joke. I also think it's ironic that he is coming back to play the Colts, which just so happens to be the team who busted his deflated balls. Can you say ratings anyone???!

Then of course you have the 1 million dollar fine to Robert Kraft. Why even fine him that? He probably donates more than that to charity to write off in taxes. I would have much rather seen another significant draft pick taken rather than that lousy fine. 

All this being said, what did we all honestly expect though? Brady is the golden boy of the NFL. Greg Hardy was put on some sort of disciplinary action by the NFL and missed an entire season before he was even proven guilty or innocent. Brady was proven of guilt as well as trying to cover it up but he gets 4 games and still gets to practice and participate in team activities. What a joke. 

Sean Payton got suspended by the NFL for bounty gate and he had no clue of what was going on, but Belicheat gets off Scott free? Mr. Goodell is on record stating that ..."ignorance is not an excuse", That's great Mr. Goodell, keep up the biased, ahem, I mean "good" work...

I say we have a rookie tell the ball boy rub butter on all the opposing teams footballs, claim innocence, let the rookie take a suspension, have Mr. Ross pay some pocket change to the NFL and call it a day after we win the super bowl! 

Saturday, May 02, 2015

So Close Yet So Far Yet So Huge

Let me borrow Ryan Tannehill's favorite phrase in order to describe our second round pick in tonight's NFL Draft: "Its huge".

And if you think I am kidding, try to describe a 6-6, 330 lb DT with any other words.

As I followed the second round of the draft, I was hoping, almost praying, that either Mississippi State's Bednardrick McKinney or UCLA's Eric Kendricks, both LBs, would fall into our laps at pick #47.

Both would fill a need. Both would also be good value picks. Both would be upgrades to our defense and its ability to stuff the run.

But at pick #43, the Texans traded up with the Browns and selected McKinney.

"Shit!"

Ok. Still hope for Kendricks. Now I am praying.

Then at pick #45, the devilish Vikings broke my spiritual meditation and selected Kendricks.

"Why Lord? Did I do something wrong? Am I not deserving?"

Wait! Denzel Perryman, out of Miami, is still on the board.

 Ok. He can fit the bill. There is still hope.

Nope. Trade back.

WTF!

Now I gotta sweat out 5 more picks.

WTF!

Then they announce we get Philly's two 5th round picks.

WTF!

We just traded our 2nd round and 6th round picks for two 5th round picks?

Did they let Ireland back in the war room?

WTF!

Nope. They correctly state we also get pick #52. And that was after a good two minutes, even on the ticker.

Finally, we are on the clock and behold Dwight Stephenson:  "With the 52nd pick, the Miami Dolphins select Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma".

You have got to be kidding me.

And when Perryman goes with the next pick....WTF!

But after I calm down and thought it through: We needed a LB to help stuff the run. With Phillips and Ndamukong Suh at DT, we may not even need a ILB.

HMMMM...

Good call Hickey!

It won't matter who is at ILB. They just got better.

 And so did we.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Thursday, April 30, 2015

With the 14th pick the Miami Dolphins select...

John Bazemore/ Associated Press
Todd Gurley. About a month ago I didn't see the Dolphins selecting Gurley, there were still questions about his health and it was uncertain when exactly he would be healthy after tearing his ACL. Now however there are reports that could be good to go for the season opener. Before I saw the Dolphins selecting a receiver, but with Jennings signing we can afford to wait and just pick the best player available. This is why I believe Gurley will be the pick later tonight. There are numerous people who believe that if he did not get injured last season he would have been a top 5 pick and some say he is the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson.

Running back isn't a big need for us but if the Dolphin's medical staff believe he will be healthy and back to his normal self, I think you have to make the pick. Gurley play style is more of a physical back who can wear defenses down. With Miller sharing part of the load, it should give us a good one-two combo. It should help Tannehill relieve some of the pressure and keep defenses guessing. I believe the game is changing a little bit now where running backs are becoming more valuable as teams are trying to stop the increased passing.

Now the arguments against this pick is that running backs do not last long in this league and by their late 20s they start to decline, however Gurley is still only 20 years old. Many also believe that a quality running back can be found in later rounds, which is something I don't disagree with. That along with Gurley's risk with his injury make me second guess this pick. However Gurley has really high potential and could be a top 5 running back in the league in a few years. If not Gurley, I would think the Dolphins stay with offense with either a receiver or a not so sexy pick such as an offensive guard. However this is just speculation, there is only a few more hours until we know the truth.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Dion Jordan Suspended....Whatever

File this under the "so, what else is new?" column.

I thought he was suspended anyway!

Was he even on the field last year? Was he expected to be this year?

Well, at the very least, he can get together with his buddy Jeff Ireland a lot more now.

A couple things bother me about this situation.

#1...Who did or didn't do the due diligence to vet this guy when he was drafted?

#2...What is it that makes these suddenly rich kids to decide to just blow their careers completely up?

I don't get either one. I am sorry.

He had plenty of talent but he either didn't get it or his coaches didn't get him to get it.

Something got lost in the translation.

Yeah, we could have drafted different players who would have been much more productive.

Every team can say that.

Well, thank God he wasn't a super productive kid that, given his talent, this situation would have just driven us all nuts.

No. Unfortunately for both us and Jordan, he never lived up to his billing.

And as such...whatever.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

7 Round Mock Draft For Miami Dolphins 2015 Picks ( 9th and Final Edition: Leone Is On The Clock )

When I began this mock draft series back on January 4th, my first pick was La'el Collins the OT from LSU and that started quite a stir.

Many Dolfans didn't believe picking another O Lineman, let alone someone who would need to shift positions and play Guard would be a prudent pick.  Most Dolfans responded that they wanted Danny Shelton, DT out of Washington.

Of course, that was before we signed Ndamukong Suh. Who could blame them?

Its funny how things change. Throughout the last 4 months the word on the street was, and still is, that the Dolphins are looking for WR help early if one of the top 3 ( Alabama's Amari Cooper, West Virginia's Kevin White or Louisville's DeVante Parker ) were to fall to pick 14. 

Or possibly help in the secondary if one of the top CBs ( Michigan State's Trae Waynes or Washington's Marcus Peters ) were available to be picked. Also lauded was Landon Collins, the SS out of Alabama.

Even the RB out of Georgia, Todd Gurley, has been mentioned as our top pick in this draft.

But things do change. Free agents get signed and prospects get busted for pot. Needs get fulfilled and then they change.

Now, just 2 days before the real 2015 NFL Draft, the Dolphins still have 2 big needs not quite addressed. DT and WR were filled by Free Agent signings of DT Suh and WR Greg Jennings plus we traded for WR Kenny Stills.

Could we add depth at those 2 positions? Sure, but the absolute urgency with our 1st Round Pick is no longer there.

That leaves the OL and LB positions with an urgent need and CB as a better get somebody decent need.

With this final mock draft, I am still utilizing a Computer App to select for the 31 other teams. There are opportunities to trade up or down. 

Round 1, Pick 14: The top WRs were gone. Waynes was gone. Gurley was gone. Guess what? Shelton was still there and Detroit wanted him bad enough to offer their 1st (#23) and 2nd Round (#54) picks to get him. I thought about who might be there at 23 and loved the idea of having 3 picks in the first 54, so I took the trade. Detroit did pick Shelton.

Round 1, Pick 23 from Detroit: We have come full circle. I caught hell in January. But this week many draft pundits have suddenly started to predict we would be selecting this player at 14. But I get him at 23. Hell, we are due for some good vibes and good luck. Welcome La'el Collins, OT from LSU. Say goodbye to OL issues as he can play LG in a heartbeat and if Brandon Albert isn't ready to start the season then Collins can start at LT.  Collins, at 6-4, 306 lbs, started 13 games at Guard as a sophomore and then 26 games at LT his last 2 seasons. He is a mauler in the running and quick enough to pull in our Zone Blocking scheme. Collins is the 18th ranked player and eliminates our greatest need the past 2 years, the OL.
   
Round 2, Pick 15: With the 47th pick, I was very pleased to find the 41st Ranked player who adds tremendous depth to our receiving corps in WR Jalen Strong out of Arizona State.  At 6-2, 217 lbs, Strong was a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist. He runs the 40 in 4.44 and has a verticle leap of 42 inches.  He best assest is his  combination of height, weight and arm length making him a tremendous Red Zone target. He doesn't possess top notch speed and takes some long strides to get going which is why he is still available in the 2nd round. He is still a work in progress with his route running but we don't need him to start right away. Strong is compared to Dwayne Bowe.

Round 2, Pick 22 from Detroit: Since adding DT Suh to the roster, Cam Wake and Olivier Vernon have been salivating with the opportunity to rush the passer. But what about our run defense? Yes Suh helps stuff the run. But I liked this next guy to add some pop to the LB corp. So with the 54th pick I selected the 51st Ranked player in the LB from Mississippi State, Bednardrick McKinney.
At 6-4, 246 lbs, McKinney is a beast of a tackler. He is tall and proportionately built to play inside and has the speed to move outside as well. McKinney led his team in tackles the past 2 years and was selected First Team All-SEC and Second Team All-American in 2014. In the NFL he will have an above average career but will be a steady beast in a very tough defense for the next four years.

Round 4, Pick 15: Time to help out the secondary and find a decent corner to play in our Zone scheme and possibly man up. There are plenty of mid-round CBs in this draft but one stood out to me because of his size. So I selected CB Alex Carter out of Stanford due to his 6-0, 196 lbs frame.  Carter runs the 40 in 4.5 seconds and can play man but excels in Zone coverages. He is a very willing tackler and can play Safety if he adds some bulk. He is the 102nd Ranked player which I used the 111th pick on. Carter's father played at Notre Dame and was the 17th selection by the Redskins in the 1993 draft.

Round 5, Pick 13: If you have been following my Mock Drafts, you know who I am grabbing here. I just like this kid and maybe because he played college ball just down the road from me. With the 141st pick I, once again, selected the 134th Ranked player in Tyler Kroft, the TE from Rutgers.  At 6-5, 246 lbs, Kroft has the quickness to get off the line and get up the seam and the ability to pay inline and block. Even though we added Free Agent TE Jordan Cameron to replace Charles Clay, he is susceptible to concussions so we will need some added depth here with another seam threat and Kroft brings that attribute to his game with his 4.75 time in the 40.

Round 5, Pick 14: Lets face it, we couldn't by One Yard if we wanted to since we lost Losake Polite. How many times have we been stuffed trying to get one measly yard and gain another 1st down let alone a Touch Down. Here comes the calvary in Florida RB Matt Jones. At 6-2, 234 lbs Jones is a pile mover and that's all we need him to do. Will he be an every down back? No. But he will become our short yardage specialist and can pass block too. Jones is a muscled bull dozer that will have us yelling "First Down" right after we hear "That's another Miami Dolphins'". He is the 154th Ranked player that I used the 142nd pick on because I didn't want to risk losing him by waiting for the 6th round.

Round 6, Pick 15: Finally, my last pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. All good things must come to an end so join me in welcoming the 177th Ranked player with the 175th pick, SS Anthony Jefferson from UCLA. At 6-1, 198 lbs, Jefferson started his Collegiate career at corner before moving over to safety to take advantage of his downhill tackling ability. In 25 starts the last 2 seasons he registered 161 tackles and 17 passes defensed with 3 INTs. Can he start in the NFL? Probably not. Can he play Special Teams and push some guys already on the roster. Yes he can.

That concludes my mock drafts this year. I hope you enjoyed reading them. Hopefully, we will all be excited come Saturday night when the real NFL Draft concludes.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971