Saturday, September 15, 2007


Miami was looking for a safety to replace Yermiah Bell. They contacted the agents for Donovan Darius and Lamont Thompson and both were asked to come in for workouts.

What Miami didn't know was that they were both in Oakland, and they wound up taking the same flight to Miami. They knew each other and conversation started and they both realized they were trying out for the same job.

That must have been interesting.

Alas, they both got the job, and Akbar Gajabiamillar was released.

Miami had it own problem because it became known that Miami signed them both, but they hadn't contacted Akbar to tell him he had been cut. A small public relations problem to be sure.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It figures

During the offseason, I made some comments about Bill Belichick and how he bends the rules to achieve success.  
Now, we learn that the NFL was aware of him bending the rules as well.  Take a look at a few of the rule changes on the field, specifically about some of the gray areas, and you can probably pin them on something old Bill did.  And then, of course, you have this incident with him videotaping the Jets defensive signals. 
The commish had sent a memo to all 32 teams outlining some things the organizations are NOT allowed to do.  This was one of them.  Bill decided he was above that, and decided to try it anyway.  He reportedly apologized to Goodell, but the commish will take some disciplinary action against the Patriots.  I can only hope he suspends the coaching staff for a few weeks.  Or the season.
You see, its like I said in summary on my piece: Bill is very much like his little friend, Nick.  They try and twist everything to work in their favor.  Nick has shown he isn't above lying, so I have to assume Bill isn't either. 
I'm not saying that either of them overtly cheats, but they'll do anything to get some advantage.  Including, outright breaking the rules.
The NFL is noticing.  And we're glad.

Misplaced compassion

I feel for Kevin Everett.  I really do.  But let's get real.  The guy got injured because he didn't apply what he learned; he lowered his head when he made a tackle.  He got injured playing a sport he chose to play.  And, he was getting paid well to play that sport.  And there is an inherent risk in playing this sport, even if the incidence of injury is small.
Why is the media making such a big deal out of it, and not focusing on things that *actually* matter?
C'mon and get real.  There are more important issues than whether he might walk again or not.
[he steps down off his soap box]

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I suck

So, uh, yeah, I didn't fare so well in the Home Team Challenge this week:
  Name 1 Total  
  Greg Pompos 136 136  
  T.D. 130 130  
  A.J. Duhe 125 125  
  Brian Miller 114 114  
  Barry Buetel 103 103  
  Joe Rose 97 97  
  Jennifer 96 96  
  Jimmy Cefalo 95 95  
  New Found Glory 95 95  
  Troy Drayton 94 94  
  Dwight Stephenson 93 93  
  Tom Tatera 92 92  
  Bob Ball 90 90  
  Nat Moore 88 88  
  2Michelles 86 86  
  Adam Kuperstein 82 82  
  Andy Kent 68 68  
  Roly Martin 61 61  
  Dave Kennedy 54 54  
And then, to make matters worse, I started Steve McNair over Tony Romo in my Fantasy League!  D'oh!  Lets see, 5 TDs vs 3 fumbles and a pick.  Nice.  Needless to say, I lost.
At least my Eliminator team - the Seahawks - won their game!

Joey Porter

No doubt about it, Joey looked rusty out there. And then, in overtime, he was taken out of the game. He was pissed. Cam wouldn't comment.

So, we did some exhaustive research and learned that his son is playing tackle football here locally. Naturally, he plays linebacker. But, there's an unwritten rule that newcomers to the team don't start, and only play sparingly throughout the season. This has pissed Joey off, and apparently, he's taken it up with the coaches, to no avail.

We made the connection and found an unwritten rule that newcomers to the Dolphins are not allowed to play in overtime. So, there's your explanation!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Odd sequence

Miami coulda shoulda woulda won this game if they did some things right on their next to last offensive series.

Miami took over at their own 20 after a punt through the end zone. There was 5:30 left in the game.
Miami started marching down the field. Over the next 2 minutes, Miami ran 4 offensive plays to the Washington 28. Its first and 10, and the Redskins get called for pass interference at the 8 yard line.

There's 3:15 showing. Miami has a first and goal, momentum, and has just gotten a penalty in their favor.

But, the team fell apart:
  • First down, Hadnot gets called for holding, moving it back to the 18.
  • New first down, at the 18, Green rolls out slightly, his receiver is knocked down (watch the replay, he's taken out by a linebacker). Green throws it anyway, but he's maybe 10 yard back from the line, and he's just on the edge of the pocket. A flag comes out for intentional grounding, meaning the down counts, and there's a 10 yard penalty. It was questionable at best because the receiver was knocked down, BUT, I also noted that there were two linemen illegaly downfield. So, best case, there should have been offsetting penalties.
  • Now its 2nd and goal from the 28. A handoff to Brown nets 5.
  • On third and goal from the 23, its another handoff; this time its clear that they're setting up for what could be the game tying field goal.
  • At the 2 minute warning, Miami kicks that field goal.
  • Ted Ginn, Jr.

    Sure was glad to see Jr. light it up out there! Wow, what a performance. We hear that Cam got a special roster exemption so that Jr's whole family could be a part of the team! Granny blocking for him was a real treat...

    On that note, let's see how your Jr. stacks up against Devin Hester:

    2006 Hester stats for week 1:
    Receiving 0-0
    Punt returns: 5-104 (20.8 avg) and 1 TD
    Kick Returns: 0-0

    2007 Hester stats for week 1:
    Receiving: 0-0
    Punt Returns: 0-0
    Kick Returns: 1-29 (29 avg)

    2007 Jr. stats for week 1:
    Receiving: 1-7
    Punt Returns: 4-20 (5 avg)
    Kick Returns: 3-70 (23.3 avg)

    Advantage: 2006 Hester.



    Ticket Sales / Attendance: There were 103667 people in attendance at the game in and it is estimated that another 81.7 million more excited football fans tuned in from their homes or other football parties around the world while tuning into NBC. The ratings the game for the game on this network were 48.6.

    Team Pre-Season Stats: Looking for their first Super Bowl in 10 years, Don Shula and the Miami Dolphins were prepared to make a serious playoff run this year. QB David Woodley would be back at the helm to lead the offence and the defence would be anchored by OL Ed Newman.

    The Washington Redskins missed the playoffs last year after finishing with an 8-8 record and they wanted to turn it around this season. Joe Gibbs would be back for his 2nd season as head coach and Joe Theismann would once again be back as their starting quarterback.

    Team Roster: Key players on the Redskins roster included QB Joe Theismann, RB John Riggins, WR Charlie Brown, WR Art Monk, OL Jeff Bostic, DL Dave Butz, and OL Russ Grimm.

    The notable players for the Dolphins included QB David Woodley, RB Andra Franklin, WR Mark Duper, WR Jimmy Cefalo, DL Bob Baumhower, OL Ed Newman and DL Doug Betters.

    Game Highlights: Miami opened the scoring mid way through the first quarter as QB David Woodley through a 76 yard pass to WR Jimmy Cefalo for a touchdown. Miami continued to increase its lead in the first half as they added 20 yard field goal and Fulton Walker returned a kick off 98 yards with under 2 minutes remaining in the first half. The return was just after a 4 yard touchdown pass from Joe Theismann to receiver Alvin Garrett. Miami went into halftime with a 17-10 lead

    Washington continued to use a balanced offence in the 2nd half as they scored a 20 yard field goal in the third quarter and added two touchdowns in the 4th quarter. The Redskins held the Dolphins to 34 total yards in the 2nd half as they came back from a first half deficit to win the game 27-17 and capture the championship.

    Game MVP: The MVP of the 17th Super Bowl was Washington Running Back John Riggins. Riggins carried the ball 38 times for a Superbowl record 166 yards and a 43 yard carry in the 4th quarter helped to turn the game around. The Redskins were on the 43 yard line of Miami and were fourth-and-one and Riggins broke through the line to carry the ball to the end zone. This 43 yard carry gave Washington their first lead of the game and one they would never relinquish.

    Half Time Show: The halftime show was entitled "KaleidoSUPERScope" and featured the Los Angeles Super Drill Team.

    Commercials: The average cost for a 30 second commercial during the 17th Superbowl was $400000. Ford had several commercials during the game for their vehicles Ranger and Thunderbird.

    And from

    Fullback John Riggins ran for a Super Bowl-record 166 yards on 38 carries to spark Washington to a 27-17 victory over AFC champion Miami. It was Riggins's fourth straight 100-yard rushing game during the playoffs, also a record.

    The win marked Washington's first NFL title since 1942, and was only the second time in Super Bowl history NFL/NFC teams scored consecutive victories (Green Bay did it in Super Bowls I and II and San Francisco won Super Bowl XVI).

    The Redskins, under second-year head coach Joe Gibbs, used a balanced offense that accounted for 400 total yards (a Super Bowl-record 276 yards rushing and 124 passing), second in Super Bowl history to 429 yards by Oakland in Super Bowl XI.

    The Dolphins built a 17-10 halftime lead on a 76-yard touchdown pass from quarterback David Woodley to wide receiver Jimmy Cefalo 6:49 into the first period, a 20-yard field goal by Uwe von Schamann with 6:00 left in the half, and a Super Bowl-record 98-yard kickoff return by Fulton Walker with 1:38 remaining.

    Washington had tied the score at 10-10 with 1:51 left on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Joe Theismann to wide receiver Alvin Garrett. Mark Moseley started the Redskins' scoring with a 31-yard field goal late in the first period, and added a 20-yard kick midway through the third period to cut the Dolphins' lead to 17-13.

    Riggins, who was voted the game's most valuable player, gave Washington its first lead of the game with 10:01 left when he ran 43 yards off left tackle for a touchdown in a fourth-and-1 situation.

    Wide receiver Charlie Brown caught a 6-yard scoring pass from Theismann with 1:55 left to complete the scoring.

    The Dolphins managed only 176 yards (142 in first half).

    Theismann completed 15 of 23 passes for 143 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. For Miami, Woodley was 4 of 14 for 97 yards, with one touchdown, and one interception. Don Strock was 0 for 3 in relief.

    Clock mis-management

    At the two minute warning before the half, Miami faced 2nd and 9 at the Washington 12. They held two timeouts.

    Two plays later, it was first and goal at the two, but Miami had only 42 seconds left. So, those two plays took about a minute and a quarter.

    Miami ran on 1st down, and took a long time to get to the line for the second down play. That meant they were down to 10 seconds when they snapped the ball to run it again. Since Chatman was stuffed on the play, Miami had a chance to call a timeout with 4 seconds left.

    Sure, they scored on the 3rd down. But, what was Cam thinking? That he could keep the timeout for next week? Why not use it, and have better clock management skills.

    Hidden play of the game

    The score was still 0-0. It was still early in the game. Miami faced a second and 15 at the Washington 44. Its a passing play, and Trent Green drops back. He is quickly engulfed by the right end for a sack.

    The replay made clear what happened. Vernon Carey stood up and took a step back and then extended his arms to try and stop the rush. Crash immediately said what I was thinking: "use better footwork, Carey." And Big Papa jumped on it, too, and commented how players don't use their feet well. He was trying to use leverage and arm strength, rather than using good footwork to get into a great position.

    To his credit, he didn't allow another sack. But, his technique was flawed, and it probably was in his head for the rest of the day. Green had little time to throw, and mostly went underneath. I have to believe that part of that was by design, to keep the rush under better control.

    I think this was a great example of a play that effectively ended hat might have been a nice drive by the Phins.

    Pretty cool

    The Phinatic and Big Papa Pump held a watch party at Bru's room in Pompano, so naturally, Bitchin' Dave had to come by. Ken from Phinzmania was there, as was the Dolfanatic. Crash Jensen was there...We had hoped for some additional former players, but none of 'em showed.

    Still, it was fun. We all got to see this monstrously boring game together. At one point, there was a rainstorm and the DirecTv signal went out. There was a lot of hooting and hollering, and Big Papa got pretty funny about the whole thing. He is a passionate fan, and he does love his Dolphins! (there's a story about his passion when he started arguing with Ken about players that Ken was dissing!)

    My thanks to Doug for suggesting the get together. I enjoyed it.

    As an aside, I was sitting near Crash, and as the former player, he had some insights into some of the playcalls. I have some knowledge of the game, but lest we forget he was a quarterback, and could pick out certain elements on both sides of the ball that he saw before the play developed. That was pretty wild.

    Well, they *were* undefeated...

    ...until 12:59 and 59 seconds. But, then, they had to go out and actually play the game and the results weren't quite as good.

    * Miami scored a paltry 13 points.
    * They had three plays over 20 yards: a catch by Chambers for 23 yards, a catch and run for 28 by Chambers, and a catch and run by Chatman for 22.
    * Miami might just lead the league in dropped passes
    * When it counted, Miami's defense let them down
    * Miami couldn't overcome a bad effort by Jason Campbell, where he threw two picks
    * There were issues with clock management and movement before the snap (ie, discipline)

    By the way, here's what I wrote after the Phins opening loss last season at Pittsburgh, with a few edits:

    I was looking forward to the season finally getting started. And the Phins had a date to dance with the [champ] a competitive team on opening [night] weekend, no less! Wow, talk about what could be a great start to a season.

    And, instead, I was underwhelmed. The Dolphins underperformed for about a quarter, and then played a decent half between the 2nd and 3rd quarters, matching the [Steelers] Redskins performance, and NEARLY taking the lead.

    ...and then came the 4th quarter. Early on, Miami allowed a [long] TD (see my post about that topic!), followed by [an interception, and then an interception for a TD.] some other stuff.

    I admit, it wasn't all *that* bad. It was simply an implosion in a quarter of a big game. Kind of like the way they played against the Browns last season, but shorter (the Browns game was the entire game) and on a bigger stage.

    I can only hope that they learn from this and move on.

    Football 107

    This week, I'd like to take a look at a play that happened at the college level. It was the second TD in the Hurrricanes-Sooners game. This play by itself did not win or lose the game. But, it was interesting from a coaching standpoint, and was a part of the overall success of Oklahoma.

    With respect to ABC, here goes:
    [image removed]Oklahoma lined up the shotgun, with one back in the backfield. They had two tight ends (one at either end of the line), one receiver on the right, and their best receiver lined up far left.

    Oklahoma had run been running on the downs prior to this one, but had set up in this formation before. And Miami had countered it with a different defense than they're showing here.

    Lets break down Miami's defense. The defensive line was going to pass rush. All three linebackers are showing a blitz. The corners are covering man-man on the outside. That leaves the safety just behind the umpire - who came up to cover the tight end on the right side of the field, and the safety in the yellow circle. He's key to the play because his coverage responsibility was the deep zone shown with the purple x.

    [image removed]At the snap, you can see how this play develops, and the coverage breaks down. The one safery does his job and goes to the tight end on the right side of the screen. The linebackers all blitz to create pressure on the quarterback. The corner on the best receiver (left) has his man covered. But, look at the safety next to the arrow. He's caught in "no man's land"...he hasn't dropped back into his zone. And, he's not looking at either of the receivers on that side of the field. He is "looking into the backfield."

    And to make matters worse, he's moving toward the line of scrimmage. Basically, he was "chaeting" so that he'd be closer to the line, if Oklahoma ran the football. And on several of the downs where they showed a similar formation, they did run, so they set him up on the play.

    [image removed]A moment later, he reacts to the tight end coming into the area. But, Miami already has another problem. The QB looks left, and the receiver puts a quick move on the corner. But the safety, having cheated up toward the line, and now trying to catch the tight end, is way out of position. He's one yard deeper than the receiver, but seven yards away from him.
    [image removed]The receiver has great position on the corner and makes a catch that the corner can't possibly defend. The safety is trying to come over on the play. But, he is at the wrong angle, and no amount of speed can make up the play. He's about a yard *in front of* the receiver, and still 5 yards away. The receiver merely has to turn his body and run, and no one will catch him.

    [image removed]The final picture shows how the corner and safety collide a few moments later as the saftey comes over to try and make a tackle. The receiver scored a few seconds later.

    I saw two big breakdowns on the play. The first was that Miami chose to send seven guys after the quarterback. I don't ever see this as a workable strategy. That left man-man coverage on each of the defensive backs, and might have left the back open if he had gone out for a pass.

    The second was that the safety was playing out of position. It appeared as though he was supposed to be in a deep zone, but he was nowhere. His feet were stuck in the mud, and he didn't cover anyone, and reacted too late to the play.

    The play was representative, because from that point on, Oklahoma ran formations and threw things at the beleagured Hurricanes that they couldn't handle. They were in a loud stadium, and had been burned by this play and others like it. I believe they were unsure of themselves and wound up losing big as a result.

    Its interesting how one play can lead to bigger woes on the field.

    Class dismissed.