Friday, October 19, 2007

Phinfever radio

I will be playing a pre-recorded (or recorded before a live studio audience, as it were) version of Bitchin' Dave and the Shed Dawg tonight at 8ET.
And be sure and stop by and listen to the show Big Papa did last night.  He had on Richmond Webb, Mercury Morris, and Tim Bowens.  Its good stuff...

H Wayne's comments

H Wayne announced he wants to do an internal review to see what went wrong with the team.
What went wrong?  Hmmmm.  I agree with some of the things I read.  No consistency at QB.  Poor drafts.  bad coaching.  Poor personnel management.
THee question for me is: what is he going to do with the information?  Suppose it comes back that the drafts under Wanny and Spielman were the problems, and that some of the coaching decisions in the Wannstedt era.  Will he fire those guys again?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Get a clue

Trent Green returned to practice and proclaimed himself ready to play!
He really doesn't get it...he's a stopgap, and playing him again nets nothing!!!
If he sniffs the field again, I'd be really surprised, and pretty angry with the coaching staff.

Hagan moves *up* the depth chart?

My immediate reaction was that over the weekend, I thought Hagan should have been cut.  And now he's been elevated.  0-16, here we come!

Lift your hand up and wave it from side to side

"We want to thank Chris for his contributions during his tenure with the Dolphins.  This trade will give some of our younger players at that position, such as Ted Ginn and Derek Hagan, more of an opportunity this year. Chris did everything we asked of him and represented this organization in a first-class manner. We wish him and his family the best of luck in San Diego."
So sayeth Randy Mueller today as Chambers was told "...and don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out."

Football 201

This entry is about technique. Braylon Edwards is becoming an elite receiver. Chris Chambers is a good receiver. I can demonstrate this to you on two plays.

On one drive, Miami found itself near the goal line. The call was to Chambers in the corner of the endzone. Look at his body position, and the way he's reaching for the ball. The coverage was good, so he simply stuck an arm out to try and get it.

Meanwhile, Braylon had two plays where he was well covered at the goal line, and both times he left his feet to negate the coverage and make the catch. In this one, in particular, he was remarkable. He left his feet at around the 5, and with his momentum, fell forward into the goal.

That's quite a difference in their technique isn't it? 4 times the Browns threw to Edwards near the goal, and he scored on three of them. Chambers had two opportunities, but came up scoreless.

Yes, you catch with your hands. But, you have to put yourself in good position to make plays.

Football 200

With respect to CBS, The NFL, and The Dolphins, here's a screen capture - in SD...the game wasn't shown in HD thank god! - from the game.

Its time for a more advanced look at the world of football. Miami had scored to close the gap to within 3. The Browns had moved the ball at the 35, and were showing this formation: its an "I" for the backfield, as the backs are lined up in a line, behind the QB. And there are two receivers and a tight end on the field.

But, what's unique is that the receivers are lined up both on the offense's right, and Kellen Winslow, the tight end, is lined up left, close to the line but standing.

He's in the yellow circle, and his route is shown by the yellow line.

Miami had its "base" defense on the field. There are four down lineman up at the line of scrimmage. There are three linebackers. Joey Porter in the purple circle, and Zach and Channing with the blue lines. The corners are playing up at the line covering the receivers. The safeties are not shown, but I've approximated their positions in blue to the right.

But, schematically, Miami blew this coverage. Miami had the corners in man to man coverage, and I *think* Joey was in man coverage as well. You'll understand why that's an assumption in a moment.

The safeties were playing zone in the area shown deeper on the field. Popularly, this is called a cover 2, because Miami was playing the pass. The safeties won't come up to try and stop the run.

Anderson snaps the ball and drops back. Winslow runs his route, and Joey follows him. The defensive line pass rushes, getting a push into the offensive line. Channing and Zach have two assignments: first, they are to watch the line and if it is a run, come up to make a play. Second, to cover a zone, so that the backs have limited opportunity to make a catch if they come out for a pass.

Although I don't show it, the tailback (the guy right behind the QB) went out for a pass to the left side of the field. He's now Zach's responsibility.

But, this is where I wasn't sure what the story was with Joey. He was covering Winslow very "softly" (ie, away from him) and appeared to stay somewhat close to the 40. It was as if he didn't know his responsibility there, and was thinking about the back as well. It could be he was told to play zone. It could be that he couldn't cover the faster Winslow. It could be that the safety was supposed to cover Winslow at a certain point. I can't say.

But what happened was that Winslow was open on the field and made a nice catch for a first down. The safety did make a nice play and knocked the ball loose. But since Joey (okay no one) wasn't around, a lineman made the recovery.

What was it I heard Cris Carter say the other day "sometimes its not the x's and o's but the Willies and Joes"...

Here was a case where the design was flawed because you had Joey covering someone man to man (or a zone with just one person in it), and at least two players didn't execute.

The Browns went on to score and never looked back.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Player issues

Looking back now, I actually find myself thinking it would probably have been better if JT had gone ahead and retired.  Or, failing that, that he got traded somewhere along with Zach.  While I like those guys, I think it would have been better to have built a younger defense around Channing Crowder.  And that whole Joey Porter deal probably should never have happened, either.
We dropped from 4th overall in defense to 28th this year, with most of the same players, the defensive MVP, and the same defensive coordinator.  How does that happen?
And speaking of players, Lorenzo Booker actually dressed for the game this week, but never saw the field.
Donovan Darius started at safety, but suffered from "flu-like symptoms" and sat for part of the game.   He was repalced by journeyman Cam Worrell.  Then, when Worrell went down tiwh an injury, some free agent guy they signed off the street, who was not an every down player in college and went undrafted, came in and replaced him....all the while Jason Allen (who has been practicing at safety) sat on the bench.
Derek Hagan had himself the kind of game that often will lead to a player being cut during the week.  My grandmother played better than him. close....

To start the second half, Ginn Jr got the ball and following the block of his aunt Sally, managed to go the distance for a 96 yard TD return. 
And its about time that he finally scored the much-anticipated kick return TD.  I mean it was great to see that #9 overall pick live up to the hype.  His uncle Joe was down there celebrating with him, and his cousin Sam was heading down there to pile onto the celebration!!!  It was just so exciting.
Except.  His grandmother made in illegal block, and the whole thing was nullified.  You should have seen how he talks to her.  Tsk, tsk. 
Ah well, when you return as many kicks as the Dolphins do, I guess it was bound to almost happen.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

1986 remembered

From the Dolphins website:

Jan 4, 1986
The Dolphins rally from a 21-3 deficit to defeat the Cleveland Browns 24-21 in an AFC divisional playoff game. Miami is led offensively by Tony Nathan's 10 receptions for 101 yards and rookie Ron Davenport's two touchdowns.

And here's the full article from the New York Times.


January 5, 1986, Sunday

Late City Final Edition, Section 5, Page 6, Column 3, 642 words

Had he ever heard noise like this in the Orange Bowl before? Bernie Kosar did not bite at the chance to turn a phrase. ''Yeah,'' he said softly. He knew, and so did the cluster of interviewers around him, that he had heard a huge noise like this the ...

That's one scary costume!

There's an ad running on the Dolphins site to buy halloween costumes at the Dolphins pro shop.

Yep. You too can scare away everyone by dressing up like a Dolphins player.

Phinfever Radio (it rocks)

As I've noted, I am hosting a show on the Phinfever Radio network.

We've lined up some great content for the fans...

Monday is the Pat Catello show
Tuesday is being negotiated
Wednesday is a show featuring a woman's viewpoint AND Curt from
Thursday is the Big Papa Pump and Phinatic show
Friday is the Bitchin Dave and Shed Dawg Mike show
Saturday is still open (but we're looking for a great show)
Sunday is game coverage from the guys and Phinfever.

Anyway, except for Sunday's game shows, they all air at around 8pm ET, and are live call-in shows.

We hope you stop over for a listen. There's lots of good stuff we hope you'll enjoy!

0-6. That's bad.

Miami's longest losing streak - ever - was 8 games. With the loss today, Miami's current losing streak is 9 games, dating back to '06.

And now with an 0-6 start, they tied the worst starts in 1967 and 2004.

Here's what I said on the ocassion in '04:

And as Zach pointed out, losing brings out all the critics. This week, jay Leno used Miami in his monologue: "[Friday Night Lights] is a terrific film. But if you want to see some real high school football this weekend, check out the Miami Dolphins."

The defense was worse this week than it had been in previous weeks. Are they slipping? Or is the fact that they're on the field so much hurting them? First, I'd say the re-insertion of TimBo into the starting lineup was detrimental to a point. He hasn't played in 10 weeks, and obviously wasn't as effective as he otherwise might have been. Then, I would say that the sheer number of turnovers and bad field positions has had impacted the ability to perform. And take this away from the game. Miami scored on its last possession in the 3rd quarter, and the defense took the field. Buffalo mounted a nearly 7 minute drive that ended in a TD. The offense went 3 and out, and the defense had to immediately retake the field. They had to be tired at that point. And besides, the Bills game planned merely to take away Jason Taylor. That did have an infleunce on the outcome, I believe. Other players need to step up, as Wale did last year.

Something I found funny: a decade ago, fans were screaming for JJ to come to town and replace the legend as head coach. 10-6 and often losing in the playoffs wasn't good enough. And they got their wish as the Don stepped aside. JJ had a run that was no better and no worse than Shula's, but his was marked by a lack of desire at the end. And then he brings his buddy Dave down to be the assistant head coach. He had to do some hard selling to H Wayne on that one, I'm told. When he did leave the game, he convinced H to make him the coach. Dave had a decent run for a couple of years with JJs players, but you can see how its been sliding since he took control. And now at 0-6, it makes you nostalgic for 10-6 and sitting home for the playoffs, doesn't it?

Does any of this sound familiar?

More on the Patriots

I still feel there's more coming in the Bellicheat "scandal" was all too tidy the way the NFL received and destroyed the materials from the Patriots. What else did they include? The gunman on the grassy knoll?

Anyway, in this age of salary caps and free agency, I am dubious about how the Patriots continue to put together winning teams. Yes, there's the team approach. And yes, they have arguably the best QB in the game today. But, teams rise and fade. And yet the Patriots haven't.

Couple that with Bellichicks failures in both Cleveland and New York, and you wonder how he suddenly got to be *that* good. There's only so much talent, and coaching can account for some things....just not this much.

And what of his proteges - Saban, Crennell, Weiss, and others who have much less success than he has. How is it possible?

The only conclusion I can come to is that he is, as a matter of fact, engaged in cheating on some level. Its the *only* explanation for this much success. Maybe Wade Phillips was right and it taints their superbowl wins - then again Bellicheat used that to his advantage crying foul and how the Patriots are soooo scrutinized and disrespected.

I hope that the truth comes out, and we learn what he has done. Its only fair for the sport. But, in the event I'm right, the NFL doesn't want *that* to happen. Its too scary to consider that one of their own was caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

The Patriots next weekend...

My two favorite teams currently are:
(1) The Dolphins
(2) whoever is playing the Patriots

Because the Patriots are so good - and the Dolphins are so bad - I can't bear to watch the game next weekend. In fact, I will *not* watch the game.

Like Dave Hyde a few years ago, I'm looking for something - anything - to do instead of watching the game.

I'm open to suggestions, if anyone wants to throw something my way.

...and it gets worse...

The second half saw Miami come out fast, and close the gap to within 3, with most of the 4th quarter left.

But, alas, they once again pull defeat from the jaws of victory. It was all downhill from there, with some horrendous performances by most of the Dolphins players.

Ay caramba!

And what's up with Braylon Edwards looking like the guy Miami probably should have taken instead of Ronnie Brown, anyway?

...and for the second time in 3 weeks, Joey Porter talks tough, but doesn't follow through. Maybe Winslow was right, and Porter just needs a hug!

Holy moses, this team is *bad*

I had to be somewhere at around 1:30 this afternoon. Its nearby, so I figured I'd watch the first few minutes of the Phins game before I left. Man, was I glad I did! The team played so poorly - having three penalties on the first drive, and allowing a TD after only 2 minutes had elapsed. I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it.

I listened through all the commercials on the radio, and heard Miami go quickly out on defense again.

I was done with my errand just before 2, and got back in the car to find that the score was now 17-3. Mandich, Rose, and Cefalo were lamenting the lack of fire by Miami. And it was evident as I listened.

I made it home in time to see the Browns score twice more, but I did get to see Miami get one TD in between.

But from everything I saw and heard, this team SUCKS.

If there's a bright side of the first, never mind, there wasn't one.

At least we saw David Martin make a TD catch. And Joey Porter actually made a couple of plays! You know things are going bad when I can talk about the two of them.

Gee, now I can't wait to see the second half.