Saturday, September 01, 2007

Prediction?

After watching 3 of the team's 4 preseason games (and hilights of the 4th), I'm going to peg the team's final win tally at 6.

Can you live with 6-10, Dolfans?

I am reminded of Mr. T in one of the Rocky movies being asked for his prediction in the upcoming fight. He responded "Prediction? Paiiiin."



[we love youtube]

Preseason awards '07

Thurman Thomas award given each year to the player who manages to lose his helmet during a game (and since Thurman played here one year, it seems only fair): Once again, there were no moments where a player lost his helmet. So, we'll turn this one a little, and say that Regan Mauai's dash through drywall without a helmet was kind of dumb.

The battle of the bulge given each year to the player who tips the scales, and who in older days would have required a cattle scale to weigh in : Keith "Tractor" Traylor had the inside track again this year....but LJ Shelton came to work over his playing weight, and basically ate himself out of a job, so the nod goes to Sheldon.

Dude with the best name. There are a lot of good names on this team. You have KGB's brother for one. But, AGB doesn't flow off the tongue. Our winner this year didn't make it to the team until last week. His name is Jorge Cordova, and we love him because it evokes memories of Ricardo Montalban 1970s commercials for the Cordoba.

[editor's note: if you don't recall the commercial, watch it on Youtube]




Offseason cheerleader moment award A new award, this is given to the cheerleader who had a "memorable" offseason. In the past, we've had cheerleaders lose their tops at tryouts, and former cheerleaders telling us amusing stories about how they prevented that. But, we're going in a different direction this year. Bibiana was the hottest NFL cheerleader. And she came to tryouts this year overweight. Director Heather made a comment that she didn't know how Bibiana was going to lose the weight. And yet, she did.


The Yatil Green memorial award, as demonstrated by Will Poole given each year to the player who injures himself very early in training camp : Joe Toledo injured a knee early in the preseason last year, and was placed on injured reserve. He came back from the injury, and then just before training camp, he gashed open a toe while exiting a hot tub. He was placed on injured reserve again. Nice going.


The Ricky Williams award Given to the guy who simply quits on the team Its obscure, sure, but Miami signed a rookie free agent named Marino Dukes (OT). A few weeks into training camp, he walked into Cameron's office and said "this isn't for me," and left.

Flattering!

Dave was flattered to be asked to participate in the NFL's Home Team Challenge...

Friday, August 31, 2007

Cover jinx?

If there is such a thing as an SI cover jinx, Dolphins fans should take note.  Here's the Aug 27th SI Cover:
 
Aug. 27, 2007 - Nick Saban leads a great revival at 'Bama.
 
 
 

Olindo Mare

There was a little humor in the game.
 
Earlier in the week, Cam Cameron had made a comment that he signed Jay Feeley because he was good at kicking in bad weather, where it was less of a certainty with Mare.  So, he decided to go with somebody "not from South Florida."  Feeley, for the record, is from Tampa.
 
Mare said there were no hard feelings.
 
But wait.  That's not the funny part.
 
Mare also said he was looking forward to kicking at home in a dome, and not on the infield dirt.  And the Saints play in a dome something like 13 times this year.
 
Mare was asked if he'd like to get a little revenge and kick the game winning field goal.  He said that wouldn't be as satisfying as if they won 49-0 to beat the Dolphins. 
 
Mare had three field goal tries in the game.  He hit the upright with kick number one.  Doink.  He was wide on the next.  Klong.  And he was short on the last.  Honk.
 
Yep, so he had one point on a PAT, and otherwise couldn't hit the side of a barn.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZ......

If you missed last night's game, be glad.  It was your basic snoozefest.  It gave new meaning to the term "preseason exhibition."  It looked vey much like a high school game between two very small schools with undersized players. 
 
And I can't believe the NFL charged full price for this nonsense. 
 
Miami lost 7-0, and the points were scored in the first quarter.  Most everyone who played was on the proverbial bubble, and this game either made or broke their chances of making the team.  There were a few exceptions, like Lorenzo Booker (who needed the playing time) and John Beck (who is still learning the NFL offense), but otherwise most of the names were not recognizable.
 
The only thing I noticed was that Cam put John Beck back in the game for the last few drives, presumably to see if he could pull out a late TD to make it interesting....but Beck looked like a mere mortal out there, and not the Superman he had looked like for the last few weeks.  He threw a couple of picks, and got taken down from behind on some rollouts.  In short, he invoked the spirit of Daunte Culpepper out there. 
 
It was a waste of a game.  But, it helped with insomnia.  And I suppose that part of the reason for that is that Mike Mularkey was given the opportunity to call the offensive plays.  Remember his great playcalls from last year?  Oh yeah, there weren't any.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The shape of things to come

Sometime in the next week, I'll be starting my next "running item."
 
Not unlike last year, I'll be looking at how the QB wheel of fortune works out.  Here's the deal:
* Miami gave up a 2nd round draft choice for Daunte Culpepper, and then released him.  Now, he's going to start for Oakland, because Jamarcus Russell remains unsigned.
* Miami gave up a 5th round pick for Joey Harrington, and then released him.  Now, he's going to start for Atlanta, because the other guy has been suspended indefinitely.
* Miami passed on getting Brady Quinn, and he's the frontrunner to start in Cleveland
* Miami took John Beck, who will not be starting this year, unless/until he has an opportunity
* Trent Green is now Miami's starter.  Is he better? 
 
We'll see!
 
And coming in a few weeks, we'll be kicking off the Cheerleader of the Year competition.  I want to have a little more time to allow for voting on the various ladies.
 
Cheers!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The broadcast

I had Tivo'd the Dolphins game on Saturday, and watched it last night. There was a problem with the audio through the first and part of the second quarter: there were no announcers talking. So, all you heard was crowd noise and the PA announcer. It was really odd, and amusing when they'd show an announcer with his lips moving, but saying nothing (hey, how's that different?)

Monday, August 27, 2007

State Champs!

Miami beat Jacksonville.
Jacksonville beat Tampa.
Tampa beat Miami.

As a result, the state champion is indeterminate this year. We therefore conducted a wholly unscientific survey of 10 Dolphins fans, and asked who they thought should be state champs.

The results were:
Dolphins: 6
Bucs: 1
Jaguars: 0
Don Shula: 2
I really like the color blue: 1

So, we pronounce the Dolphins this year's state champs. Congratulations!

Saturday's game

Now that I'm not a season ticket holder, I have to think about actually getting tickets for a game.  And this was one week where I wanted to attend the preseason contest.  And as the fortunes would have it, the Dolphins had partnered with the Broward County Library for a Summer Reading program.  And the prize for completing the program was tickets to a preseason game.  My kids were excited about the prospect and did their reading, thus earning certificates that could be exchanged for tickets.
 
...only the program needs a little work.  I came to find out that the Dolphins had donated something like 11,000 tickets for the frst preseason game, but had a much small number (I heard about 3,000) for the second game.  And that meant that if you didn't complete the program in time for the first game on 8/11, you had a small chance of getting tickets.
 
This prompted me to get in touch with the director of community relations with Dolphins.  I wanted to give some feedback about the program in the hopes that its better in the future.  The realty is that while the Dolphins had a nice concept, it broke down to some degree, and not all the kids were going to be able to to the game.  And, at the end of the day, the library was telling the kids the Dolphins didn't provide enough tickets.  And I have to believe that disappointed kids (and parents) agreed.
 
In the end, we wound up getting our tickets, and my kids were happy.
 
So, we go out, and get sticker shock for the price to park: $30 is exorbitant, and bit like price gouging, because you have no alternatives.  Fine... and when sit up there I notice that the section we were in has a lot of empty seats, and reltively few kids.  And I noted that the groups of adults seated around me (whose tickets I could see) had the same tickets that the library had offered.  How could that be, I wondered?
 
...and finally I wanted to make a comment about the couple of individuals who were sitting behind us.  They were yay-who Bucs fans that fell into the general category of fat, loud, and obnoxious.  And they were smoking these stinky cigars and flaunting the "no smoking rule" as they sat up there and annoyed us.
 
We had a nice time, and I would like to thank the Phins for offering it.  I just wish it had been run better.

Dolphins all-access

Here is the upcoming guest schedule this week for our All-Access Internet Radio Show. The show airs live at 2:00 pm. This week’s LIVE guests are:

 

* Manny Fernandez (Monday, August 27, 2007)

* Randy Mueller (Wednesday, August 29, 2007)

* Andy Cohen (Friday, August 31, 2007)

 

This is a live call-in radio show.  They give out the call in number "on air"... Go to MiamiDolphins.com to learn more.  You can call up and ask your questions.  And please do tell them you heard about it from Dave's Bitchin' Look at the Miami Dolphins!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A look back

The year was 2000...


MIAMI (Ticker) -- Election controversy may be all the rage in Florida, but no one can question which NFL team has the state's best defense.


Forcing five turnovers in a game played under a steady rain, including four interceptions of Jay Fiedler, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers posted a 16-13 victory over the Miami Dolphins in the first regular-season battle between the interconference Florida rivals since 1997.


"The wet ball had a lot to do with it, but a couple were just bad throws," Fiedler said. "I put (the loss) on my shoulders because we gave them 13 points on mistakes."


The Bucs defense, which entered as the second stingiest in the NFC with 204 points allowed, scored or set up 13 of the 16 points and yielded just one touchdown.


"They (the defense) stepped up and got the job done, creating turnovers and field position," Bucs coach Tony Dungy said. "Anytime you have five takeaways, you've played very well."


Middle linebacker Jamie Duncan, the successor to former captain Hardy Nickerson, was the Bucs star with a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown and a fumble recovery in Miami territory that led to Martin Gramatica's game-winning 46-yard field goal with 8:12 left in the fourth quarter.


Miami entered as the league's second-ranked defense with 166 points allowed but forced just one turnover on an interception by safety Brian Walker. They had four sacks but had problems containing Warrick Dunn out of the backfield despite the rainy conditions.


"We were out there playing today to see who has the better defense," Bucs safety John Lynch said. "We had a challenge today and to our credit, we stepped up."


The win was the sixth in seven games for the Buccaneers (9-5), who moved into sole possession of second place in the NFC Central and firmly in control of their playoff destiny.


The Dolphins (10-4) fell behind Tennessee (11-3) and Oakland (11-3) for the top record in the AFC, but remain one game ahead of the New York Jets (9-5) in the East. Miami can clinch a playoff berth if Indianapolis loses to Buffalo on Monday night.


"You can't turn over the ball five times," Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt said. "We just made too many mistakes and did not give ourselves a chance to win. It's as simple as that."


Linebacker Shelton Quarles intercepted a deflected pass and returned it five yards to the Miami 32, setting up a 38-yard field goal by Gramatica on the final play of the first half.


Cornerback Donnie Abraham and safety Damien Robinson had fourth-quarter interceptions for Tampa Bay.


Miami reached the Bucs' 19 in the final minute and appeared to be in prime field goal position for Olindo Mare, but Fielder was penalized 11 yards for intentional grounding as he tried to evade a strong pass rush by tackle Warren Sapp.


On the next play, Fiedler attempted to complete a pass to Oronde Gadsden between two defenders, but Robinson made a leaping interception at the Tampa Bay 8 with 14 seconds left to preserve the win for the Bucs.


"I saw the play was coming my way and I said to myself, 'This guy will not come down with the ball,'" Robinson said. "I wasn't sure if I was going to get it, but I knew I had to keep him from catching it, and I did. Luckily, I was able to get the ball in the process."


Dunn had just 59 yards on 28 carries but caught six passes for 84 yards, including a 45-yard reception that set up a tying 30-yard field goal by Gramatica with 10:36 left in the fourth quarter.


Tampa Bay's Shaun King completed 11-of-15 passes for 147 yards with an interception. Keyshawn Johnson had four receptions for 41 yards.


Miami's Lamar Smith rushed for 79 yards on 23 carries, giving him 1,016 yards this season.


Fiedler was 13-of-28 for 175 yards with four interceptions. He had gone 93 consecutive attempts without an interception before Duncan's touchdown early in the second quarter and had just nine all season.


The Buccaneers lead the series between the Florida rivals, 5-2.


Miami struck first when Mare kicked a 35-yard field goal with 3:11 left in the first quarter. Fiedler completed 4-of-6 passes on the drive for 70 yards, including three to Gadsden for 56 yards.


Duncan, a third-year player in his first season as a starter, shifted the momentum to Tampa Bay early in the second quarter.


Rolling right, Fiedler flipped a short pass for Smith, but Duncan cut in front of the running back and picked off his second pass of the season.


Defensive end Chidi Ahanotu blocked Fiedler and Smith was unable to run down Duncan, who raced 31 yards untouched into the end zone with 14:01 left in the second quarter.


"I read it kind of late, but I did see the back come out, then I think the quarterback through the ball a little behind him," Duncan said. "I stepped in front of him and just made sure I caught the ball first."


Fiedler suffered a shoulder injury with 2:55 left in the half after he was sacked by defensive tackle James Cannida. He was replaced by Damon Huard.


But Fiedler returned for Miami's next possession and had his first pass deflected by linebacker Derrick Brooks into the hands of teammate Quarles, who returned it five yards to the Miami 32 with 13 seconds left in the half.


After a 12-yard pass from King to Dunn, Gramatica kicked a 38-yard field goal on the final play of the half.


"I was dropping back in zone coverage and Derrick made a great play by tipping the ball, and I was in the right place," Quarles said. "I thought to myself, 'I cannot drop this ball.' Luckily, I didn't."


Despite the injury, Fiedler returned in the second half and led Miami to 10 third-quarter points.


"I talked to him and he said he was fine," Wannstedt said of the decision to stay with Fiedler. "He said a combination of the wet ball, the rain and his shoulder didn't help him as far as having a lot of zip on the ball."


Fiedler engineered a nine-play, 48-yard drive, hitting Tony Martin with a 16-yard pass, to set up a 23-yard field goal by Mare 6:35 into the third quarter.


Miami took the lead on a one-yard run by Smith with 3:18 left in the quarter. Fiedler hit Gadsden with a 19-yard pass and Smith broke off a 19-yard run to highlight the drive.


Tampa Bay responded with a 13-play, 77-yard drive that featured a 45-yard pass to Dunn on 2nd-and-33. Gramatica capped it with a 30-yard field goal 4:24 into the fourth quarter.


On the Bucs' ensuing possession, Fiedler fumbled a snap from center and Duncan recovered the wet ball at the Miami 30. After three running plays netted three yards, Gramatica kicked a 46-yard field goal with 8:12 remaining.

This item appeared on SI.com
Copyright © 2001
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An AOL Time Warner Company.
All Rights Reserved.

Football 106

This week, we're going to talk about the trick play that Cam Cameron ran (there's a joke in that phrase somewhere...)

He ran what is known as "the statue of liberty" play wherein they fake a pass in order to run. Its highly unusual to see this play run, and on the NFL level, I don't think its been run since the early 1980s. Cam ran it for a few reasons. The biggest was that he is tipping is hand a bit to the NFL: nothing is off limits; the playbook is wide open so opponents be ready.

He said he basically took the play from the Boise State BCS game this past season. For BSU, it was the winning two-point play that beat Oklahoma. So, for that reason, we're going to break it down based on *that* play, rather than the one the Dolphins ran.

[with much respect to the FOX network, and the "Best Damn Bowl Classic," I present these screen captures for your education. They will be removed in about a week.]

[image removed]
The players line up in a three wide receiver (trips) formation to the right. I have noted the routes that the receivers will be running. Everyone along the offensive line goes into pass protection.

[image removed]The quarterback drops back to throw, and looks right. You can see him setting up. Note how the defense is reacting to the fact that it appears to be a pass play. They're rushing the QB and covering the receivers. The running back (circled) is standing to the right, and it appears that he will be heading out for a pass to the right, or possibly pass blocking.

[image removed]Okay, so now the QB quickly moves the ball to his left hand, and moves his right hand forward as though he's passing. His left hand (with the ball) is now reaching out behind him. You might also notice that the defense has left part of the field (the left side of the offense) wide open. And the pass protection scheme has "slid" to the right to be sure the defense does this. There's one offensive lineman who has disengaged from any blocking and is turning toward the left side of the field. This is an important part of the play setup; he's needed as a lead blocker.

[image removed]The running back turns, and takes the ball from the QBs hand (in the circle). And the offensive lineman moves out to be his lead blocker.

[image removed]The running back now has a clear path to the endzone. His lead blocker has "sealed" the end of the line by getting the outermost defender out of the way; he's the guy just above the logo on the bottom left.

[image removed]And voila, the running back scores untouched. It worked for them, and it worked for the Dolphins in much the same fashion.

[image removed]Here's a closeup of the QB making the fake throw. You can see the ball in his left hand, as his empty hand makes a throwing motion.
[image removed]And here's a closeup of the handoff. The QB's left hand is extended behind him, and the running back takes the ball to run.

Mistakes

In the game last night, Miami made a lot of silly blunders. On at least 5 ocassions, they lined up with 10 men on the field. One was on the field goal try at the end of the half, while on at least three others, they were noticed and Miami burned a timeout to correct the situation.

But losing timeouts isn't so good. On Tampa's last TD, the receiver was clearly out of bounds when he made the catch (and possibly stepped out before he caught it, because the official had thrown his hat down, I couldn't be sure). The officials conferred and called it a TD. There was no force out, so Miami *could have* challenged. But, they were out of timeouts.

Oops.

Roster spots

The more I see him play, the more I'm thinking Ronnie Brown may not be the starter on opening day. I'm sure he'll get a lot of playing time, but I figure Chatman has beat him out for the starting job.

Derek Hagan looks to be in a bit of a bind, as well. He was playing late in the 4th quarter, and dropped a couple of passes that by all rights he should have caught. After all, he played in NFL last year, was coached on his route running and ball handling, and was playing against guys who will be on the waiver wire on Tuesday. And yet, throws that were slightly off target were mishandled. The phins will probably keep 5 receivers, and you know Chambers, Booker, and Ginn will be the top 3. PK Sam is making his bid for the 4th slot, and who knows if Hagan can or will beat out the other guys?

Trent Green had a so-so outing. Don't tell me that it was all Ronnie Brown's fault that the interception was returned for a TD. It wasn't a great throw toward a covered receiver. Lemon had a better outing, but not great, either. John Beck is a stud. I really like what I see in him. He is a franchise type QB, and should be starting at some point late this season.

Brandon Fields is a remarkable punter. His distance and placement are phenomenal. There's a good punter Miami picked up.

Bobby Knight

The always loveable Bob Bobby Knight was supposed to attend the game as a guest of Cam Cameron. Seems Knight gave Cameron a basketball scholorship when his football scholarship was over, allowing Cameron to attend grad school on the university's dime.

Knight made arrangements, and then threw a chair or something and decided to go see a little league world series game instead.

Gotta love the guy.

What's in a name?

I could help but notice a couple of things as I watched the game last night.

The Dolphins have Steve Fifita, which is pronounced like "fifty-a"...but he's wearing number 60. What's up with that?

There's also a guy named Harry Tuff. He had some big tackles, because, well, he's a tough guy. But we hear that he sleeps with a teddy bear.