Saturday, August 02, 2008

Gotta love the sense of humor

When asked what he would think of Brett Favre possibly coming to Miami, Josh McCown said (to paraphrase) 'that would be great because he'd want #4, and I'd stand to make a lot of money.'

Quincy and Terry

I am okay with the Phins brining in Terry Glenn. There's almost no downside to having her in camp. She's a veteran, and could provide some tutelage to the younger receivers. After all, Hagan is the most tenured of the holdover Dolphins and Willford is the guy with the most experience on the team. What's one guy among 80, especially when a contract could be structured to account for his ailing knee, and when you have the PUP list to stash him on while he continues his recovery. I'd be okay with that.

Quincy Carter is another story. I don't think much of him as a QB, and don't see the upside. He just takes reps away from the other QBs in camp. Parcells himself said he "couldn't trust" Carter as the QB in Dallas when he released him. Why would he now? Sure there might be a veteran who *could* come in, but I just don't think Carter is the right guy.

But on the amusing side, if he did come in and took #17, you could have him throwing to Willford and Ginn who are wearing #18 and #19.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

4-3 or 3-4?

Okay, the question you're probably asking is "so what really is the difference between a 3-4 and a 4-3 defense?" After hearing Offerdahl talk about it, and seeing news about the Dolphins running a 3-4 with a rushing LB, its a reasonable question.

Here's some help for you:

In a 3-4, the Nose tackle lines up over center, and his job is to occupy that center. The ends are further outside, and generally will occupy the tackles. That means that the inside linebackers are going to go up against the guards on most plays; on runs the guards are going to come out to take on those linebackers, and on passing plays they will seek to stop the rush from them. The FB will often block one of the outside guys, while the other will go against the tight end.

So, your inside linebackers tangle with the offensive linemen which will wear them down over time. Linebackers aren't the big guys that defensive linemen are.

Why use this scheme? It uses linebacker speed and mobility to an advantage. Often one of the 4 linebackers will rush the passer to create some issues for the offence - the key is to never let them know which one. In the type of defense Miami plans to run, the LB on the left of the defense will likely be the guy to rush most often, hence the need for a hybrid pass rusher to play the position.

The 4-3 move replaces an inside linebacker with a defensive tackle, and they line up - typically - against the guards. The ends move out a little further and take more of an outside rush against the offensive tackles. The middle linebacker will either square off against the center or fullback, but is less likely to rush. The outside linebackers face off against more or less the same players, but their role changes because they need to play pass coverage first. And all the linebackers typically rush the passer infrequently.

Why use this defense? You occupy the offensive line with many players - big bodies - so you can use your linebackers in coverage and to make tackles on runs. But, you have fewer options on who to rush (in general).

And its the coaches who make some adjustments during the game to make - or based on next opponenet - the most of both to control the game on defense.

Embracing the past

Coach Sparano spent the first evening team meeting of the '08 season reflecting on the past for the Dolphins.

He showed a hilight video of great moments in Dolphins history.

No word on whether that video ended in 1995, just after Shula retired. (I did say "great moments" after all, no coach since the Don has produced, ummm, any)

Turnover battle

Most teams have about 20% turnover year over year, or about 10 players who would be newcomers. Some of the better teams have less turnover, and some of the lesser teams have more.

The Dolphins from a couple of years ago (under the Wa-NICK-er) had somewhere closer to 35% turnover, which was rather a lot.

...but this year's team will exceed that. 47 of the 80 players are newcomers. Meaning that even if all 33 of the players who were around last year made the team there were be ~40% turnover.

And you know that not all 33 will make the team. Some are fringe players, some will be pushed by a newcomer. So, it could be as high as 50% turnover if 6 guys don't make it...

(btw, I don't have much info on the 69-70 transition, but I have to figure it was around 30%)

An intriguing comparison

The Dolphins were founded back in 66. They went through 4 years with a head coach who wasn't able to effectively motivate the team. They had a couple of good players on their roster who weren't considered standouts until later in their careers.

They were colorful to be sure, and had some great moments, but their records were mostly bad, and it looked like they could be a team that would never amount to much.

Then along came a new head coach. He saw the talent in some players, picked up some from his old team (and others he was familiar with), built a solid team through the draft, and gave them a new attitude.

A winning attitude. 2 years later, he had them believing and in the Superbowl. A year after that they went undefeated.

The current incarnation of the Dolphins had a rocky 4 year stretch. A coach quit on the team in mid-season, then another quit on the team after his sesond season. And in year 4 you had a coach who wasn't respected at all.

They had some good players and some bad. They had a few great moments, but mostly bad records. They never called it rebuilding, and instead wallowed in medicority.

Then along came a new "organization" (because back in 1970 you could just replace the coach and have success, these days you have to have a GM and a football operation to have success) which includes a vice president, a GM, and a coach.

They brought in players they were familiar with, and are starting a build through the draft. And apparently have a winning attitude.

All players on the roster were put on notice that *anyone* is expendable, and then to back it up, the braintrust let go and traded a couple of supposed leaders.

How good will this team be? Who knows. But the parallel is certainly striking.