Saturday, November 01, 2008

And Dave endorses...

As election day nears, I wanted to tell you that I am endorsing Obama for president.  I will spare you the lengthy explanation of why, and instead point you to the Economist's endorsement because it is well thought out and covers the key points.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

History, baby!

Do not forget: on Tuesday, November 4th, you have a chance to make your voice heard and vote for the person to lead this country over the next 4 years.
Its your constitutional right.  Don't miss the opportunity.

And a little more

Here's another article on the same topic:
(it being from the AP, I can not reproduce it or quote from it, because those selfish pinheads want to make sure they get paid for attribution.  You'll have to visit the link yourself...)

congress weighs in

Think things are going to be easy for the commish for the remainder of this year?  He still hasn't entirely followed his promise crack down on player behavior, he has a couple of owners who are acting in their own - and not the leagues - best interest, and these new deals with "personal seat licenses" shift the balance of power to teams that have and sell them.   Plus, you still have the pending labor issue.
And now, there's this:
Leahy tackles NFL's policy on TV games

October 30, 2008

MONTPELIER – A group of U.S. Senators, led by Patrick Leahy of Vermont, are petitioning the National Football League to allow the free broadcast of more games in larger areas.

"I have talked to the commissioner about this," Leahy said. "When we have the Patriots based in our home area we at least ought to be able to see their games over the air. People drive from all over Vermont to go to a Patriot's game."

Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee which has butted heads with the league over the issue before, would like Vermont to be considered part of the New England Patriots home area for television broadcasts.

Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the Republican who has worked closely with the Vermont Democrat on many issues and was the head of the committee when the GOP had a majority in the Senate, would like the Pittsburgh Steelers games to be broadcast more widely. The other members of the Senate who signed on with Leahy and Specter's letter – including Vermont's Independent Bernard Sanders – have similar wishes in their states.

The question is how large an area is defined as a team's home – and therefore able to receive network broadcasts of the games – and what is considered outside that area and therefore only able to watch the contests through cable television.

It is not the first time Leahy and Specter have gotten involved in the issue. Last year the two senators successfully pushed the NFL to broadcast more games, and the league did broadcast the final regular season game between New England Patriots and New York Giants more widely. That game ended up with the largest audience ever watching a regular season broadcast NFL game, Leahy said. "More than 34 million people reportedly watched the game – the largest audience for a regular season game in more than a decade, and more than three times the largest audience an NFL Network game has ever received," the senators wrote in a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The league did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday.

"They were able to do it before," Leahy said. "I don't see any reason they can't do it again."

The federal anti-trust laws give the Judiciary Committee jurisdiction over the matter. But he hopes it does not come to that, Leahy said.

"I don't want to come in with a sledgehammer. I would like them to just do what is right," Leahy said.

It might seem like a small thing – whether Vermonters who don't get cable television can watch football – in a week in which Leahy has co-authored a letter with Specter on the qualifications the next U.S. Attorney General should have.

But residents stop him in the grocery store and in airports to talk about how they should be able to watch the Patriots, Leahy said.

"The most important thing is that I am a Vermonter and I represent Vermonters," he said.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

correction on the out of bounds play

Regarding the play I described earlier where Jason Allen touched the ball as it went out of bounds, we looked up the rule.

The rule does specifically state that if a kicking team player goes out of bounds and is the first to touch a live ball inside the 5 yard line, the result will be a touchback.

So, Dick Jauron must have realized he could have the ball at the 20 instead of the 2 if the replay showed that Allen touched the ball.

In that case, it was likely worth a challenge.

More nominees

Coach Sparano  is a nominee for Motorola's Coach of the Week for Week 8. He led the Miami Dolphins to a 25-16 win over division rival Buffalo Bills.  Dolphins QB Chad Pennington posted 314 yards in the air and one touchdown, completing 22 of 30 attempts.  Miami's LB Joey Porter's fourth-quarter sack of Bills QB Trent Edwards in the end zone resulted in a safety. Miami's defense caused four turnovers including one 30-yard interception by CB Will Allen. Voting is now open, and will remain open until this Friday at 12:00 p.m. (ET).


Porter is a nominee for the GMC Sierra Defensive Player of the Week for Week 8. He contributed four tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the Dolphins' 25-16 win over the Buffalo Bills. Porter's fourth-quarter sack of Bills QB Trent Edwards in the end zone resulted in a safety.  Voting is now open, and will remain open until this Friday at 12:00 p.m. (ET).

And of course...

Pennington is a nominee for the FedEx Air Player of the Week for Week 8. He passed for 314 yards and one touchdown completing 22 of 30 in the Dolphins' 25-16 win over the AFC East rival Buffalo Bills. Voting is now open, and will remain open until this Friday at 11:00 a.m. (ET).

Chad Pennington Nominated for FedEx NFL Air Player of the Week




Fans To Vote For Winners On

FedEx To Deliver Funding For Safe Kids Organizations On Behalf of Winning Players In

Their Teams' Markets



Quarterbacks DREW BREES of the New Orleans Saints, CHAD PENNINGTON of the Miami Dolphins and MATT SCHAUB of the Houston Texans are the finalists for the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week honors for games played on October 26 - 27, while running backs CLINTON PORTIS of the Washington Redskins, BRIAN WESTBROOK of the Philadelphia Eagles and DE ANGELO WILLIAMS of the Carolina Panthers are the finalists for the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week honors, the NFL announced today.


Fans can vote for one player in each category on from 9 a.m. EST on Tuesday through 11 a.m. EST on Friday to determine the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Week.  The winners will be announced Friday afternoon on 


Fans will be voting for more than their favorite player. As part of the Air & Ground program for the first time, FedEx is teaming up with Safe Kids USA – a national non-profit organization that works to prevent accidental injury among children – to deliver safer kids by making weekly $1,000 donations in the winning players' names.  The funding directly benefits local Safe Kids coalitions in that team's city, to fund pedestrian safety improvements throughout the year. This year, FedEx celebrates its fifth year of the program and will surpass the $1 million mark in funding to create safer communities for children.


New this season, fans can tune into the "FedEx Air & Ground Lowdown" posted only on starting Wednesday mornings.  The show examines the nominees in the Air & Ground categories through exclusive video highlights and expert analysis.  NFL Network's MARSHALL FAULK and TERRELL DAVIS host the weekly five-minute show. 


A closer look at the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week finalists:

  • New Orleans' DREW BREES completed 30 of 41 passes for 339 yards and three touchdowns in the Saints' 37 – 32 win over the San Diego Chargers in London.


  • Miami's CHAD PENNINGTON passed for 314 yards and one touchdown completing 22 of 30 passes in the Dolphins' 25 – 16 win over their AFC East rival Buffalo Bills.


  • Houston's MATT SCHAUB completed 24 of 28 passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns in the Texans' 35 – 6 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.


A closer look at the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week finalists:

·         Washington's CLINTON PORTIS rushed for 126 yards over 24 carries in the Redskins' 25 – 17 win over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.


·         Philadelphia's BRIAN WESTBROOK contributed two touchdowns and 167 yards rushing on 22 carries in the Eagles' 27 – 14 win over the Atlanta Falcons.


·         Carolina's DE ANGELO WILLIAMS finished with 108 yards on 17 attempts and one touchdown in the Panthers' 27 – 23 win over the Arizona Cardinals.


FedEx, the premier global provider of transportation, e-commerce and supply-chain management services, is the Official Delivery Service Sponsor of the NFL, Super Bowl and Pro Bowl. Through the weekly FedEx Air & Ground Awards, FedEx recognizes those NFL players who represent the same speed, precision and teamwork that their customers have come to expect from the full range of FedEx air, ground, freight and international shipping services, delivering safer kids in the process. With thousands of trucks out on the roads each day, FedEx is committed to improving pedestrian safety for children, by funding education programs and environmental improvements, from signage and crosswalks to pedestrian walkways near schools and playgrounds.


#  #  #




Another play

On one of Miami's TDs, the line pulled two players from the right to come across and block on the left.  The pitch went to Ricky who ran left, looked for the hole, and dove for the endzone.

Again, it was another beuatiful playcall that caused the Bills to be offbalance, and allowed for Ricky to get a nice gain...

A beuatiful screen pass

Dan Henning drew up a great screen that worked very effectively.  The key to the screen is to "sell" make the defense believe that its a run or a long pass, when you dump it off to the running back.

Take a look at the setup for this play.  Pennington takes the ball, and does a spin, so his back is to the receiver (Ricky), while Ricky runs up the field as though he's going to block, or maybe to receive a pass in the flat.
Pennington makes a playfake to Ricky which holds the linebackers for a moment, then does his spin, the line releases their blocks to let the defense get close to Pennington.
He simply lobs the ball over their heads to Ricky who runs for a 43 yard gain.
The design was excellent.  The execution was perfect.  The only thing wrong was the Ricky got tripped up as he ran free toward the endzone...

Medical staff

I heard someone commenting on the Fins medical staff, wondering about how good they are, considering that they passed on Brees (and took Culpepper), took several other injured players, dealt with the OJ McDuffie toe injury, etc....
And now it turns out that Zach Thomas' issue was not career-threatening migranes or concussions, but sinusitis.  It was corrected in the offseason with a simple procedure, and he's playing up to his usual level of intensity...

That cliche

When Sparano told Joey to take the ball away, he did.   I loved how the replay showed Joey literally ripping it from Edwards' arms...

The safety

I wanted to give you a sense of what was happening on the play.  Joey Porter lined up as a defensive end, and literally blew past the left tackle and the left guard to get to Edwards.  It was astonishing, because it was a 3 man rush against effectively 6 players, and Porter and Langford (at least that's who I think was playing left end) got in there.
Porter was free of any blockers and put a full body tackle on Edwards, knocking the ball free.

Ted Ginn's success

A couple of weeks back, I was commenting that Devin Hester was having some success as a wideout.  His routes were simple: they had him on go routes, a few stop and goes, and post patterns.  These are the simple routes that we run in sandlot football.
And I complained that Ginn should be used similarly, because his speed has the same advantage as Hester's.
And lo and behold, this week, they had Ginn running very simple routes.  Two of his three big catches were on go routes, and the other was on a simple post.  He just ran and looked for the ball.
Here's to hoping this simplification continues, and he has lots of success with it!


Miami ran the Wildcat on 7 offensive plays
Ted Ginn had 177 yards receiving heading into Sunday's contest

Rule note

 On the play noted above where Miami punted from their own 38, Jason Allen ran to the sidelines, and was right at the sidelines, and the ball hit him.  The officials ruled the ball was downed at the 2, and was Buffalo's ball.
The Bills challenged the ruling on the field, and that was totally understandable.  Looking at the replay, it appeared that Allen had stepped just out before the ball hit him. 
But, on the replay, it was clear that the ball had bounced at an angle, and went out of bounds (using 3 dimensional rules) at about the spot where it touched Allen's leg.  In other words, it hit him after it was legally out, and he was inconsequential to the result.
If it had been touched by Allen, what would have been the outcome?  We contend that it would have been an illegal touch, and the ball would have gone over to the Bills at the spot of the touch, and there would have been a 10 yard penalty.  So, they would have lined up at the 12 instead of the 2.  Would that have been worth the challenge?
Does anyone else have any insights into what the Bills thought they could gain?  It would not have been a do-over, that I can tell you for sure...

The all important 4th quarter.

Miami led 17-16 as the 4th quarter started. 
Buffalo had the ball, and here's how their possessions ended:
Fumble (recovered by the Fins)
Fumble (recovered by the Fins)
And a touched punt, that was recovered by Jason Allen at :05
Meanwhile, here's what Miami did in that same quarter: 
Field Goal
Punt - from the Bills 38 (an odd place to punt, but it went out at the 2)
Field Goal (this was a couple of plays after the safety)
And the Punt that resulted in the turnover.
So, Miami took advantage of miscues and used the clock to their advantage.  To wit:
* When Miami got the safety, there was a forced fumble, and it could have been a TD instead.  Somewhat surprisngly, the safety was a better outcome.  If it had been a TD, Buffalo would have been down by two scores with a fair amount of time left, and the ball.  Instead, Miami was able to extend their lead, and use up more time in driving for a field goal to go up by two scores. 
* And on that last fumble recovery by Miami, they showed some moxy by actually electing to kneel on the ball 3 times with more than 1:30 showing on the clock.  The score was 25-17, and if they had gone 3 and out, Buffalo would have still had a good chance to score at least one.  Instead, Miami forced Buffalo to use up their timeouts, and the clock wound down to :17 seconds showing. 

Monday, October 27, 2008

a couple of firsts

This was the first time Miami has scored an opening TD since December 3 of 06.  The score came on a pass from Joey Harrington to Marty Booker, and was in a loss to the Jags in Miami near the end of Nick's tenure.
That's 26 games in case you were keeping score at home.
Also, this wss the first time Miami beat the Bills since 2005, which is 4 games...

Jason Allen

Mr. Allen also had a decent game.  He came in for a series when Will Allen got injured, and played in the nickel and dime packages, and acquitted himself nicely.
Plus he had a couple of balls that he downed inside the 5 on punts.  A good days work, I'd say.


Mr. Porter had himself another big day.  He had 2 sacks and a forced fumble.
He now has an astounding 10.5 sacks in 7 games, which is a pace that could challenge the all-time record for sacks.
...and it was like a scene in a cliched movie - its late in the game, and coach says "we need to get the ball back, Joey."  And Porter goes in and gets a strip to get the ball back.


There's an article circulating about H Wayne wanting to sell the Dolphins now rather than later.  In it, he's quoted as saying:

"He [Obama] wants to double the capital gains tax, or almost double it.  I'd rather give it to charity than to him. If you do it this year or you do it next year, the difference is humongous because of the taxes."

Okay, how many innacuracies can you find in this quote?  I see four.  (a) the plan raises the capital gains from 36% to 39%, a sizable amount which could be about $15 million out of H's pocket, but that's off of $500 million! (2) it still takes an action on the part of the legislature to take effect, meaning it wouldn't happen before summer next year at the earliest, (iii) it doesn't go to the politicians, and finally there's no way he'd give it to charity.

I felt a need to clear that up.  Thanks


I admit I haven't watched the entire game yet, but my general sense is that they ran the Wildcat at least a dozen times in this game.

This time, the downfield threat certainly helped, but there were a couple of new wrinkles...

Miami used the unbalanced line to the left side of the formation for the first time, and had Mathis or Ndukwe pull as the guard. (In the past, its always been to the right, with Smiley pulling)

They used the standard formation, and had Ronnie counter - so while the motion all went to the right, Ronnie took the snap and cut left. This allowed them to box up all the defenders who expected a run to the right.

Ricky took the direct snap and had several decent gains on the day.

It was certainly enough to keep the Bills off-balance.

Ted Ginn *IS* a Miami Dolphin

Back from the brink of irrelevance, Ted Ginn, jr, had an outstanding day, recording 7 catches for 150 yards. This after having amassed 133 yards in his first 6 outings.

It provided a new dimension to the team; one that was sorely lacking. I was glad to see them finally put the ball down the field!!

Maybe its me?

I sat down and actually watched live - from end to end - 4 Dolphins games this season. In those contests, the Dolphins went 0-4, with 2 of the losses making me question my commitment to the team.

For 3 games, I Tivo'd the game, and did other things. One was because I had made the commitment to not watch it, one was because I had some parties to go to during the day, and the third (which was yesterday), I was driving back from Orlando. And naturally, they won all 3 of those contests.

Maybe from now on, I need to plan to listen on the radio and watch it later?

I'm just saying...