Friday, July 27, 2007

Ginn, Jr.

It seems that Cam's assessment that training camp opens at noon on Friday bought Jr *just enough* time to not be considered a holdout by the team.  But, in our estimation, he his a holdout, and can not play this year. 
 
So, how about that?  $13 million in guaranteed money for a kick returner?  Un-freakin-believable.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Reporting date

According to Cam, Ginn, Jr, won't be considered a holdout until practice "officially" begins on Friday.  Nice clarification that gives them a little wiggle room.  But, I'm standing by my assumption that Jr. can't play this year because he wasn't in camp when it opened.

I can only laugh

Dolphins' quaterback Trent Green practices during the first day of training camp for rookies at the team's training facility in Davie.
yesterday, Cam Cameron told the media that the QB competition is wide open, and its anyone's job.  The media reacted with shock.  For the last 12 hours, they've blustered on about how the Phins traded for their starter in Trent Green, and they never assumed anything different.
 
But that's not true right here on this website.  As I've said many times in the past, Trent Green was brought in to tutor young John Beck.  He would be given a shot to win the job, but its really Cleo Lemon's job to lose.  On opening day, I'd be shocked if Lemon wasn't the starter and Green was #2.  I do believe there is some competition, of course, but Lemon has youth, health, and recent experience under Cameron.  Plus, he's been here throughout the offseason, and Cameron never really wanted to see him traded from San Diego.
 
Beck will see some playing time, and undoubtedly, will wind up as the starter by the end of the year.
 
One thing to keep in mind is that Green's contract is based around playing time.  If he plays a lot, he gets paid a lot.  I don't expect he'll see most of the money.  I could be wrong, but that's been my story all along, and I'm sticking with it.
 
...and just what is that coach doing next to Trent?  [From the Sentinel]

The Samoa Dolphins

The Dolphins not only lead the league in arrests this offseason with 4. 
 
Nope, they also lead the league in Samoans in training camp, with 5, plus a Tongan.
 
The Samoans are:
Paul Soliai
Samson Satele
Reagan Mauia
Tala Esera
and the recently signed Brian Soi
 
Steve Fifita is the Tongan
 
Last year, I had suggested the league should outsource to India.  Apparently, they took a slightly different path to outsourcing.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Football 102

Today's lesson focuses on defense.  Defenders have the luxury of being able to move before the snap, thus being able to change mathcups, or otherwise try and confuse the offense. And defenses are not limited by how many players must be at the line of scrimmage, or how many linebackers or defensive backs are on the field.
 
Typically, defensive coordinators like to think in terms of "conventional wisdom" and lineup in a 3-4 or a 4-3 (with 4 defensive backs) as their base defense.  But, sometimes innovation comes along.  Oklahoma used to run a 4-4 defense back in the day to try and get more guys up at the line against their power-rushing opponents.  And our old buddy Bill in New England has deployed a varying number of linebackers and defensive linemen in various circumstances.
 
When you hear them talking about "nickel" or "dime" packages, that refers to passing defenses.  When its a nickel, that means there are 5 (nickel, cute, huh?) defensive backs, and a linebacker comes out.  Often, the package means a pass-rushing specialist comes in along the defensive line.  When its a dime, it just means there's a 6th defensive back.  Funny that its called dime, because it doesn't have a clear history...Again, a linebacker comes out for this unit.
 
There are run defenses as well.  Typically, you'll have bigger players lined up along the line to try and occupy space.  And the safeties or corners may be replaced by a linebacker or bigger gentleman.
 
=====================================
So, that's the general lineup, but how do they play defense?  Well, that depends on what they think the offense will do, and what history tells us about various situations.  For example, 3rd and short will almost always signal a running play, while 3rd and long will signal a passing play. 
 
Depending on the scheme the coordinator runs, he'll have his players lineup in certain positions and play a particular role. 
 
In a "conventional" 3-4, the lineman are noted as right defensive end, nose guard, and left defensive end.  The noseguard is lined up over center, and almost invariably his job is to occupy the center, though sometimes, he'll take an unusual angle and take up a guard as well.  His job is to disrupt the blocking if its a run play, or to collapse the passing "pocket" if its a pass.  The ends are used to take up the blockers on running plays or to try and get to the quarterback on passing plays.   But, its more intricate than that.  Sometimes, each of the linemen will move a little to take on a different person, or to create havoc in some way.  Or, they may be called upon to simply "fill a gap" which basically means that they take a position on the field, regardless of who is in front of him or what the offense is doing.
 
The linebackers in this scheme are right outside, right inside, left inside, and left outside.  The inside linebackers come up and try to stop a running play.  If the defensive linemen are doing their jobs, then the linebackers are free to make tackles (you hope!).  The outside guys are there to either take on an offensive lineman, play in run support, or to cover the running backs or tight ends who come out for a pass.  What this boils down to is that the outside guys have an assignment at the snap: watch the play and get a read.  If the offensive line moves backward, its a pass, and you have to cover a receiver; if they move forward, its a run, and you have to pick up a blocker, or fill a gap.  It gets complicated, and there is some instinct and some thinking happening.
 
In a conventional 4-3, the defensive line is a right end, right tackle, left tackle, left end.  The objective is the same, but now you have 4 guys against 5 offensive linemen, which changes the philosophy slightly.  Generally, this type of defense is better at stopping the run. 
 
Meanwhile, the linebackers become right outside, middle, and left outside.  Again, the roles are similar, but its now up to the middle linebacker to make the bulk of your tackles and to read the offense and attack the play.
 
By the way, the linebackers have other names as well.  They may be called "Sam" (with the S coming from Strong; the guy who lines up on the same side as the tight end), "Will" (with the W coming from Weak; the side away from the tight end), and "Mike" (M for middle). 
 
In the secondary, the corners should be covering the wide receivers in pass coverage, but should support and make tackles on running plays.   The strong safety is named because he's typically lined up on the same side as the tight end on offense.  That's the offense's strong side, so he's the strong side safety.  His job is first run support, and secondarily to cover the tight end in pass coverage.  The free safety is the guy who generally has no specific responsbility; he's free.  Typically, he'll support the deeper part of the field in pass coverage.
 
 
=====================================
I think that gives the general idea of who's who on defense.  The coordinator can make this more "interesting" by electing to run "stunts" (having the defensive linemen switch places to confuse the offense, after the snap), or "blitzing" (from the German word for lightning, having someone unexpected rush the quarterback or to create havock on a run).
 
Or, just to make things more complicated, he can run a "Zone" defense where players are responsible for a zone on the field, rather than having players cover an individual.  It changes everyone's assignment, because now the players must adjust to having someone not otherwise involved in a way that's expected.
 
We'll discuss the zone among our advanced topics in a future lesson.
 
That's our lesson for today....class dismissed.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Hang on a second...

The Dolphins *just* announced the signing of Beck to a contract.  It means he was technically late, but he apparently didn't miss a meeting or a practice, so I can only assume that H Wayne will let him play, anyway.
 
Now Jr, that's a whole other story.  He has now moved into the category of "holdout."  Gee, I sure hope when he comes in, his foot's not still bothering him.  But, I guess he'll have the whole season to rehab, right?

So much for our first and second round picks

I guess you can count out Tedd Ginn, Jr and John Beck as players who will help the Dolphins this year.  They didn't sign in time to make it to the rookie camp reporting time, so according to H Wayne's public statements about the draft picks, I guess they can't play this year.

Too bad, isn't it?  I was looking forward to Ginn returning punts, and Beck sitting on the bench and maybe getting a little playing time this season.  I mean, they were both going to contribute mightily to the playoff push this year, right?

The truth hurts...

Ben Curtis wears Dolphins digsSome golfer guy (I don't know golf, okay? Just football!) has a deal with the NFL (why?  I have no idea!)....
 
For a match this weekend, he wore Dolphins colors, and, well, lost.
 
He said afterward: "Unfortunately today, I wore the Dolphins and it had to be the worst day.  It was just quite funny."
 
Well, at least he does understand the plight of the Dolphins...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A little flattery

I was interviewed last week by Edgar Thompson of the Palm Beach Post. We talked for about an hour, and a short part of that interview appears in this article:
In quest of past glory

It isn't quite what I hoped for, but a little publicity never hurt...