Saturday, January 06, 2007

Lost in the news

Just before the Saban story broke, there was another story of some amusement in Miami. Tony Blair was in Miami visiting his friend, Barry Gibb, former lead of the BeeGees. It probably would have gone unnoticed, except that the aircraft on which Blair was on slid off the end of the runway.

No one was hurt, but hang on: Nick is flown to Alabama on a private jet. And he's a lying football coach. Blair flew on a commercial aircraft (albeit in first class). And he's the prime minister of England (and may or may not be a liar, depending on who you talk to).


Buh bye

I created a new flash file to remind of us all the fun we had with Nick.  LOL.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I nearly forgot about this one

Nick should have tried a different approach when dealing with this situation.  Back in 1985, RB Herschel Walker  announced to the media that he was *not* leaving the University of Georgia early, and that he'd be back for his junior year.
A week or so later, a story broke that he had signed a contract with the New Jersey Generals of the USFL. 
He was asked about it by the same media and he said "I would have told you, but the words got caught in my throat."
It was a beautiful moment that was repeated timed and again, most notably by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live.  And it all somehow worked out, because at least he was personable.

Mr. JT

Jason Taylor was named defensive MVP on Thursday.  No surprise there.  His contributions this year, were nothing short of spectacular. 
He wound up with 22 of the 50 votes, while Champ Bailey had 16 of the votes.
Jason Taylor runs toward the end zone
Love this picture from the Sentinel.  That's H Wayne throwing rose petals his feet.
Next comes his decision on retirement.  We hear he is leaning heavily toward retriement to pursue a career in acting, just like his friend and neighbor, Dwayne Johnson (a/k/a "The Rock").  Incidentally, I am not making this up!

Did Nick get everything he wanted?

We here at Dave's suggested Nick ask for everything, namely:
* To have Bear Bryant's name erased.  He didn't get that, but the football museum on campus (how dumb does that sound?) was preparing a special section in his honor.
* To refer to the school as "Nick Saban's Univesity of Alabama."  He didn't quite get that, but one woman did proclaim that he was more popular than the governor of Alabama, so that's a close second.
* To change the school colors to his favorite.  We hear that one of his faves is red, but that could be a lie.
* To have classes taught about him.  C'mon, its only a matter of time with an ego that big
* To ride around campus on an elephant.  Okay, he didn't get that.  But, look closely at his tie: it has elephants on it!
Dolphins index photo

Thursday, January 04, 2007

rookie notes

31 of the 32 NFL teams started their top draft pick in at least one game this year.  Any guesses as to who the lone team who didn't start their top rookie *at all* this season?
In fact, none of Miami's rookies started a single game this year.  That's unheard of!
Another Nick failure.

More nonsense

During his ramblings, Nick made a comment that he and the personnel group weren't "on the same page" and he was dissmissive about it.  He figured he would need more control and need to work harder to make up the gap.
So, in other words, he wasn't getting along with Randy Mueller, and they butted heads over some players / personnel decisions, and Nick's only recourse was to get rid of Mueller and take more control.
I'm tellin' ya, the guy's ego is as big as Texas.

He *is* somebody

ESPN made a whole new tab for "Saban" which is really something.  I don't think they've ever done that before, not even for TO when he was the hot topic of the day.

Saban's press conference

I did not watch Saban's press conference earlier today.  But, I have read through some of the transcripts, and have heard it being talked about by some of our local sports yak hosts.  He continued to lie and distort the truth.

Here's the bottom line: he's gone.  Good riddance.
I no longer care about him, but that shall not stop me from piling on over the next little while...


Not at all surprisingly, LT won the NFL MVP.  Congrats to him.  He took 44 of the 50 votes.
Second place?  Why that would be Drew Brees with a very distant 4 votes.  Hey, Nick, there's another one you whiffed on.  Was he really as hurt as you say?  Or was this another one of your lies?
...and speaking of QBs, maybe what Gus the kicking mule said was right and Saban did want to bench him for the final game, so he wouldn't make his bonus.  Who knows?  Saban denied it, but we know he's a liar.

Don Shula weighs in

I loved hearing from Don Shula yesterday...
I don't know if I'm surprised.  This thing just happened. You have to live with it.
My reaction is that Saban in two years was 15-17. I don't think that will be any great loss. The bottom line is he didn't do the job that he was hired to do here.
The important thing is that the Dolphins get back on track winning like they did in the years I was there. I have a lot of great memories and pride in the organization.

This just keeps getting better

Now, the stories are starting to flow.  Nick was an arse while he was here, apparently.  And no one wanted to talk about him while he was in control of the team for fear that (if they were a coach) they'd get fired, (if they were a player) they'd get cut or put into the doghouse, or (if they were a reporter or observer) they'd lose access to the team.
So, you hear about a "fight" between Daunte and Nick that led to his demotion.  You hear about a really pissy attitude with Tony Egues (equipment manager)...
The story goes that the first time they met, Egues went to Saban's office to ask what kind of shirt Saban would like to wear on gameday.  Saban told Egues to get out of the office and not bother him with such issues.  So, Egues hung a bunch of different kinds of shirts in Saban's locker.  Saban came in to dress for the game, and started throwing the shirts on the floor saying 'I don't like long sleeves'  'I don't like pullovers'  and the like...Egues (who is a truly down-to-earth and hard working guy) was just trying to help...everyone who was there could hear this mini-tirade.
You hear about how he treated those around him.  Its just not pretty.  And of course you hear how he told people that he would never go to Alabama because they're a bunch of rednecks.  This guy is a freaking fraking pathological liar.
Then, this morning, there was a quote from his wife who said she was happy to be out of South Florida, and that they would have been out sooner, except Wayne didn't want to let them go.  Nice way.  Good riddance.
And I also hear that the private jet which is registered to the University of Alabama has been down here on multiple ocassions over the last several months.  Its not recruiting time, so draw your own conclusion.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

H Wayne's comments

Two things struck me about H's comments:

He opened his remarks by saying "As you know by now, Nick Saban will not be returning as the coach of the Miami Dolphins. So, it is what it is."

After he finished, he offered up all of the coaches to answer questions. That's something that Nick simply would not allow.

He took the weasel way out

Nick decided to tell his assistant coaches that he was leaving by conference call. He called the Dolphins facility and said "see ya, suckers" over the speakerphone, and then (reportedly) headed to the airport to catch a private jet to Tuscaloosa.

So, he didn't show any cajones by going in front of the people who worked for him to tell them he was leaving.

And it did not escape me that H Wayne said he went to Nick's house to ask for his decision. That is, Nick also weaseled out of going to see the man he worked for.

And how about those who ultimately paid his salary? That is, the fans. He simply slinked out of town without so much as a word. That's the wuss way out.

I was his supporter, and believed that he had the team headed in the right direction. I, of course, have had a change of heart. I don't wish him ill or anything, but the man clearly was misleading everyone, had no integrity, and simply was wrong in his approach.

I have to add that his integrity should be his hallmark at the collegiate level. He'll be standing in high school kid's living rooms, and trying to explain himself and why they should come to Alabama. His rivals in the SEC will plant seeds in the minds of these same kids; things like "you know, he lies to his players, and tells you what you want to hear. And there's no guarantee he'll be around when the season starts. Remember what he did in LSU and then with the Dolphins?"

SuperBowl volunteers

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Buh bye

I have to wonder if Nick read his own book.  I have no problem with him leaving the Dolphins.  I know I've left more than one job in my life because it didn't work out.  What I have a problem with is the way he handled himself.  He kept saying "no" and then took the job and bolted out of town right away. 
Did he address the media and step down?  No.  H Wayne came in and said "we're looking for a new coach."  Was he honest with anyone?  No.  Was it about money?  No. 
He did nothing for us at all while he was here.  We still have no QB, and our defense has gotten older.  Thanks for nothing, Nick. 

Sports Illustrated Prediction

Once again, here's what SI said in the preseason.
But down in Miami, Belichick Two, Nick Saban, who once coordinated Bill's defenses in Cleveland, is building a solid machine. I'm not going to play the IF game, because when you get into that you make all predictions meaningless, but let's just say that a certain 260-pound QB has to stay healthy. I say he will. I say the Dolphins close out the season with wins over the Jets at home and then a roadie over the Colts, who have clinched early, as they always do. And Miami, at 11-5, gets the division title via formula.

The big upset in the divisionals will be Miami over the Steelers in Pittsburgh. The Steelers will rush Daunte Culpepper hard, he'll beat the rush with his legs, sprinting away from it, buying time, finding his receivers. Zach Thomas will intercept Ben Roethlisberger to end Pittsburgh's hopes.

Dolphins upset Colts in AFC Championship in Indy. I might be reaching here. Last year severe inside blitz pressure undid Indy in the postseason. The Colts will be expecting more of the same. They'll be double-crossed. Miami will drop back and play coverages and force Peyton to throw underneath. Meanwhile, their huge O-line will wear down the smaller Indy defenders. The game will not be high-scoring.

You want more? Well, for the first time in history, a team will be playing a Super Bowl game on its home field. Will this push the Dolphins over the top? It will not. Pressure during the week will be intense. Saban, of the Belichick School of "I Hate Distractions," will be visibly disturbed. Pigeons and pelicans will be barred from Dolphins practices. Cooler heads will prevail, in this case the Panthers, who will win 24-20, because that's the score I read in the magazine.

Do I have this right?

Back in 95, Shula was literally run out of town because "the game had passed him by" and we wanted a champeen.  We wanted to win now.  Forget that he was winning 66% of the games.  Forget that we were always winning the division, and made the playoffs perenially.  We weren't winning championships, dat gumit.
Enter JJ, who was 95% hype, and 5% hair.  He got his buddy, Dave, a job.  Jim Bates filled in for a short time.  Then came "the savior" in Nick Saban.  Double oh Saban as he was called at the time.
JJ made the playoffs in 3 of his 4 years, going 2-3
Dave made the playoffs in 2 of his 5 years, going 1-2
Neither Jim nor Nick made the playoffs.
So, in the end, a decade + later, we're in worse shape than we were with the Don.
How sad.


Miami will soon be looking for their 7th coach.  Let's review the previous 6, and try and place them in terms of their success here in Miami:
1. Don Shula (257-133-2 .660)
2. Dave Wannstedt (42-30 .583)
3. Jimmy Johnson (36-28 .562)
4. Nick Saban (15-17 .468)
5. Jim Bates (3-4 .429)
6. George Wilson (15-39 .278)
(Win, Loss, Tie, win percentage)

Dick, I mean, Nick Saban

We heard from a "source" yesterday that Nick had accepted the Alabama offer and told his coaches he was leaving....but then someone else told us that he was staying.  The "scoop" is that he had indeed accepted the offer, but then it came to talking with H Wayne, and he just couldn't do it.  They have mutual respect, and H gave Nick everything he wanted.
So, they agreed to "sleep on it" and Nick will be making an announcement at 10am this morning.  Rest assured that he is, in fact, leaving.
Good luck, and don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out, jerkie!
And that reminds me: How do you know if Nick Saban is lying?  His lips are moving!!
Aside to Nick: do you have any idea what you're getting yourself into up there?  A few years from now, you'll be run out of town just like every other coach since Bear Bryant.  The pressure will be enormous, and boosters will be breathing down your neck.
Aside to Alabama students: that $40 million doesn't just magically appear.  The university has to take the money from somewhere...look for cuts here and there, or maybe programs disappearing....all to get a coach that'll be run out of town.
Aside to sports fans everywhere: this is just sad.  Alabama wants him and will stop at nothing to get the guy; and they do.  No coach is ever a sure thing again.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A look back

I said the Phins would go 11-5.  Clearly, I was impaired in some way.   The QB play was pathetic overall.  Receivers forgot how to catch.  The o-line was adequate.  Defensively, Miami did some very good things.  But, the dbs allowed too many big plays and didn't come up with enough turnovers.  Too bad they wasted some great plays from JT and Zach.
Top offensive performer.   Hmmm.  I'm going to give it to Vernon Carey.  He consistently played well, and did what you'd expect from a guy drafted that high.  No one else really did enough this year to warrant consideration.
Top defensive performer (not named JT): Zach led the league in tackles, and had 21 against the Bills.  He also served as the grand marshall in a parade.  Can't beat that.
MVP: who else but JT deserves this?  He had a very good 1st half of the season, and a spectacular 2nd half.  He had 2 interceptions returned for TDs, two fumble recoveries, and 13 1/2 sacks.  But, alas, he proved he's not good at everything, losing in the first round of his ping-pong tournament.
Biggest disappointment: in game decisions.  If Nick can figure out a few small nuances - or hire someone to help him - the games might turn out a little differently.  He needs to decide when to throw the challenge flag, when to go for 2, and when to go for it on 4th down.
Biggest offseason need: A new offensive coordinator.  Get Mularkey outta here.
Best game: Miami clobbered Chicago and it was sweet.  I loved that game.  But, then, they beat the snot out of New England 21-0 a few weeks ago, which you've got to love that.  As much as I love beating a division foe (and this was the only one this year), I have to say the Chicago game was better.
Worst game: There were so many stinkers this season.  Sure, the games against the Bills or Jets recently were horrible.  But, I revert back to what I said at midseason:
But, I'd have to say the loss to the Texans was my pick for the worst. They coulda shoulda woulda won that game. Except that they had a few lame plays, and wound up down by 11 with very little time left. And then game management became suspect. Nick went for a fieldgoal when he was inside the 5, and then had to go for 2 to *tie* the game late. Mularkey had Ronnie Brown throw a left handed pass. Ugly.

The roster

Time to break down the Dolphins final roster.
McKinney, Seth   C May come back and be a good guard
Hadnot, Rex    C  A good center with a lot of promise
Jacox, Kendyl    C/G  Solid sesaon
Goodman, Andre'    CB An okay db, probably will be back
Jackson, Eddie     CB Likely to be back
Daniels, Travis    CB  If he gets healthy, he is the best cb they have
Allen, Will    CB  Didn't live up to his salary
Mitchell, Shirdonya    CB  Likely to be back
Lehan, Michael    CB  Likely to be back
Carter, Kevin    DE  Getting older, but still contributing
Bowens, David    DE  Decent reserve.
Roth, Matt    DE  Decent reserve.
Taylor, Jason    DE  Will he retire?  
Traylor, Keith    DT Getting older, but still contributing
Wilkinson, Dan   DT Getting older, but still contributing (still unlikely to be back)
Wright, Rodrique     DT Injured as a collegiate player in '05, placed on IR long before the season
Wright, Manuel    DT Cried his way off the team.  He won't be back.
Evans, Frederick    DT  Didn't get an opportunity, but probably will in training camp
Page, Chase    DT  Didn't get an opportunity, but probably will in training camp
Zgonina, Jeff    DT  Getting older, but still contributing
Holliday, Vonnie    DT  Getting older, but still contributing
Vickerson, Kevin    DT  Didn't get an opportunity, but probably will in training camp
Barnes, Darian    FB  Solid sesaon
James, Jeno     G Underperformed.  But, still is a valuable player
Fonoti, Toniu    G  Came to the team late in the season, but had a good year.
Stevenson, Dan    G  Didn't get an opportunity, but probably will in training camp
Anderson, Bennie    G  Started the preseason well, but got injured
Mare, Olindo    K  We figure his future is in doubt; at the very least competition will be brought in for him
McCune, Robert    LB  Likely to be back
Crowder, Channing    LB  Solid sesaon
Maxwell, Jim    LB  Likely to be back
Thomas, Zach    LB  The only thing I wonder about is how much longer he can play at this level?
Pope, Derrick    LB  Likely to be back
Adams, Keith    LB  Likely to be back
Spragan, Donnie    LB  Likely to be back
Denney, John    LS  Came up with a few big plays, and is a good long snapper
Jones, Donnie    P  Solid sesaon
Culpepper, Daunte     QB I have no idea if he can recover from the knee injury, or whether he will play again.  I think he will be on the roster, but the coaches will come up other options
Harrington, Joey    QB  Likely is a goner
Matthews, Shane    QB  Will retire again
Lemon, Cleo    QB  They have to resign this guy.  He has talent
Eckel, Kyle    RB Still sorting out his Navy deal
Williams, Ricky    RB Will he come back here next season or not?
Brown, Ronnie    RB  Will be back again
Minor, Travis    RB  How does this guy keep making the team?
Morris, Sammy    RB  Decent reserve.
Cobbs, Patrick    RB  Didn't get an opportunity, but probably will in training camp
Hill, Renaldo    S  Likely to be back
Tillman, Travares    S  Injured way too much.  Probably will have to take a pay cut
Bell, Yeremiah    S  Solid sesaon
LeJeune, Norman    S  Likely to be back
Hunt, Jack    S  Likely to be back
Allen, Jason    S/CB  Still haven't figured out this guy.  I assume he'll be on the active roster in 07
Toledo, Joe    T Never saw any action as he was injured in preseason as a rookie
Shelton, L.J.    T  Too expensive to keep as a guard
Carey, Vernon    T  The most consistent O-lineman
McIntosh, Damion    T  A free agent, with a high number.  Released last offseason, and may be again
Alabi, Anthony    T  Played okay in his limited role
McMichael, Randy    TE  A good TE, but didn't contribute as much as one might hope
Peelle, Justin    TE  A good second tight end, and will likely make the team again
Massaquoi, Tim    TE  Who knows?  Didn't see much of him
Davis, Chris   WR Signed as an injured player
Kimble, Eric   WR Signed as an injured player
Vick, Marcus    WR  Should hang around again
Hagan, Derek    WR  An up and down rookie season.  Dropped a few, caught a few.  A lot of potential
Welker, Wes    WR  Still at the top of his game
Chambers, Chris    WR  He's not a #1 receiver.  Do they keep him, and bring in someone else to be the #1?  Or do they free up some cap space and move on?
Booker, Marty    WR  A decent #2 receiver.