Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Help Sparano And Porter Win NFL Awards


Tony Sparano Nominated For Motorola NFL Coach Of The Year

 

Dol-Fans show your support and help Dolphins Head Coach Tony Sparano win the Motorola Coach of the Year award. Sparano is one of six nominees selected whose game planning played the greatest role in his team's success this season.

 

In his first year as the Dolphins' Head Coach, Sparano led Miami to a single-season turnaround matched just once in NFL history. Sparano successfully orchestrated an improvement from 2007's 1-15 record to the AFC East title, a playoff berth and an 11-5 record. The Dolphins' resurgence is the best record posted by any team coming off of a 1-15 record. Sparano's Dolphins bounced-back from a 2-4 start to win nine of their last 10 games. Sparano and his staff introduced the "Wildcat" offense, which led to 580 yards and eight touchdowns. The Dolphins' set an NFL record (tied by the Giants) committing only 13 turnovers in a 16-game season and led the NFL in takeaway-giveaway ratio (plus-17). Sparano continued the development of veteran QB Chad Pennington and LB Joey Porter. Pennington finished the season second in the NFL with a quarterback rating of 97.4. Porter's 17.5 sacks set a new Dolphin single season sack record for linebackers. Sparano was nominated for four Motorola NFL Coach of the Week awards, winning once.

 

Voting is now open, and will remain open until Wednesday, January 21 at 6:00 p.m. (ET).

 

http://www.nfl.com/partner?partnerType=coaches

 

Joey Porter Nominated For GMC Sierra Defensive Player Of The Year

 

Dol-Fans show your support and help Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter win the GMC Sierra Defensive Player of the Year award. Porter is one of five finalists that were selected for their outstanding performances throughout the 2008 NFL season.

 

Porter led the Dolphins with 17.5 sacks for a total of 96 yards in losses in 2008, the highest single season sack total by a Dolphins linebacker and first in the AFC and second in the NFL. He contributed 47 tackles and four forced fumbles to the defensive effort and notched four multiple sack games this season bringing his career total to 17 multiple sack games. In the Dolphins' 38-13 win in Week 3 over the New England Patriots, Porter sacked QB Matt Cassel four times. Porter has a total of 81 career sacks, the most among linebackers since becoming a full-time starter in 2000 and the fourth-most overall over those nine years (2000-2008). Porter was nominated three times for the GMC Sierra Defensive Player of the Week award, winning once.

 

Voting is now open, and will remain open until Thursday, January 29 at 3:00 p.m. (ET).

 

http://www.nfl.com/partner?partnerType=players-defense


Carl Peterson

I was thinking:
 
He's a close friend of Stephen Ross.
 
At the game, he word a Dolphins pin and said "we" a lot.
 
You have a successful football operation in place, and Ross would be foolish to undermine that, and bring on Peterson after he ran KC into the ground over the last few years.  The fans would universally despise the man - and you have to figure that Ross is smart enough to know that.
 
But....what if Peterson were being brought on as a minority (probably very minority) owner of the team.  Someone Ross can trust to be there as a sort of consultant and friend, but then he would have very little to do with the franchise itself.  As a small owner, it always be Ross' call.  But yet he could tell him what he thinks from a football insider perspective....and never interfere with Parcells or the actual operation of the team.
 
I would have no problem with that.

Reporters

I heard Jeff Darlington talking today about who are the most important players that are impending free-agents that the Dolphins need to re-sign.  He said: Yerremiah Bell, Will Allen, Vernon Carey, and then Crowder.
 
He said Crowder would be allowed to test the market, and that Carey was important.  I think he's got it wrong.  And remember that he doesn't have much more in the way of inner workings than we do.
 
Carey will probably be tendered as a restricted free agent.  Crowder will probably get a deal done.  Bell and Allen also will probably get deals.  And if not, any of them could get the restricted FA tag as well to get the Dolphins something in return if they were to leave...

Odd

A report surfaced that Steven Ross is among the developers seeking a bailout from the government (http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/markets/industries/real-estate/developers-look-bailout-government-journal/), and we heard that Ross was looking for additional investors to finalize the deal with H Wayne.
 
What does all of this mean?
 
We think its a single word: trouble.
 
The deal has already been delayed a week, and Ross asking for a handout of rhis *company* while he *personally* purchases $500 million in a private asset is not going to go over well with our representatives.
 
I suspect you will see more delays....

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

what's next?

Parcells sat down with H yesterday and gave him a "state of the team" which apparently Wayne approved.  Parcells has a plan for the current players, free agency (and reportedly some kind of budget for players coming and going), and the draft and he was told to go ahead in spite of the impending sale.
 
Which leads us around to said sale.   Mr. Ross is looking for a couple of other investors to cover some of the costs (I think I have $20, if that would help!), and they hope to finish sometime next week.
 
Mr. Ross has already spoken with Carl Peterson (former GM in KC, and a long time friend; he was the GM with the USFL team that Ross once owned) about a job, and he's talked with a guy who used to be in the US Tennis Association as a CEO about a job.  But what jobs?  And what does that mean for Parcells and other longtime Dolphins employees?  Like, for instance, Bryan Weidemeier who's been with the team for 26 years.
 
So, he wants Parcells to stay, but wants to surround himself with people he trusts.  No surprise there.
 
If I were to guess - and believe me, this is just a total guess - Ross will establish a new hierarchy for the team.  He will be the owner, and have ultimate say in the team, but he will entrust someone to run the overall Miami Dolphins enterprises - which includes the football team, the stadium, and all the other things he might dream up. That is, his eyes and ears for day to day stuff.  Then, he'll have someone running the non-football stuff.  And I suspect Weidemeir and Parcells will stay in place to run the football side of the business.  They would report to the person overall running the enterprise.
 
While Ross wants to be involved, I think he's smart enough to know that he only has so much time to devote to it, and there are people better suited to day-to-day operations.  Who gets what is anyone's guess.
 
Keep in mind that Ross has some ideas for how to make Dolphins games more of "an event," for how to bring out the fans, for how to get people really hyped up about the franchise.  Last week, for example, in his entourage was Dwayne Wade and Jon BonJovi.  Its more than a game, but the game itself still matters, and he wants to leave the football part alone.
 
....I would also add that I think everything we as website owners do has a direct bearing on his thoughts.  Maybe we helped lay some groundwork.  Maybe he continues the fine tradition of getting us involved.  Maybe he goes a whole other direction.  Either way, its nice to know that my small contribution has helped in some small way to provide direction to growing the franchise and the fan base.
 

Monday, January 05, 2009

funny thought

Wouldn't it be amusing if the Jets wanted Chad Pennington back, and offered a trade to get him?

schedule

Home
Patriots (11-5)
Jets (9-7)
Bills (7-9)
Texans (8-8)
Colts (12-4)
Bucs (9-7)
Saints (8-8)
Steelers (12-4)
Away
Patriots (11-5)
Jets (9-7)
Bills (7-9)
Titans (13-3)
Jaguars (5-11)
Falcons (11-5)
Panthers (12-4)
San Diego (8-8)

schedule myth

It used to be that each team would have a schedule that was entirely based on where you finished.  So, if you happened to win your division, you would have a tougher schedule because you would face more teams that won their divisions.  And if you finished last you had a relatively easy schedule because you would play teams that finished last.  There *was* a first and a last place schedule.
 
But, about 6 (?) years ago, they changed all that.  Now the schedule works out thusly for everyone:
You play everyone in your division home and away (6 games)
You play another division in your conference - this rotates year over year (4 games)
You play another division in the other conference - this rotates year over year (4 games)
And then you play the two teams in the other 2 divisions who finished in the same place as you (last 2 games)
 
In Miami's case, they play the AFC South, the NFC South, as well as division winners Pittsburgh and San Diego. 
 
Yes, its a tougher schedule than this year, but not because they won their division.  Its really just by happenstance because they're playing some tough teams in the AFC and NFC South....

Good quote

One Ravens player said "The one thing [the Dolphins] have better than us is cheerleaders. The one thing."

Season MVP

MVP: I'm going to go counter to the popular opinion and nominate Channing Crowder.  He led the team in tackles and helped set the tone for the defense.  And he was missed in the game against the Chiefs; that sealed it for me.

Top offensive player: Ronnie Brown never said die, and ran the wildcat really well.  I give him a lot of credit.

Top defensive player:  Joey Porter was a difference maker in a lot of games this year, and he ended with 17.5 sacks, which was great.

Magician's award for making $6 million disappear: that goes to Ernest Willford, who at this point probably wouldn't recognize the field if he saw it. He was been inactive for most of the season.
 
Best game: As I said at mid-season, the win at New England was sweet.  Watching Bellicheat humbled by a high school play was a lot of fun.

Worst game: Miami went 9-1 down the stretch, with the only loss to New England in what turned out to be an ugly deal.  Still, I'll stick with week 2, Arizona, Miami gave up and was outplayed.

Top rookie: Kendall Langford was leading the pack midway, but Dan Carpenter had a stretch where he didn't miss, and he hit every PAT during the season.

Biggest disappointment: That we didn't beat the Jets or Houston when we had the chance.
 
Greatest moment: Beating the Jets in the last week, thus eliminating them AND the Patriots.

Funniest moment: Oh I think the Joey Porter - shutout receiver in Denver war of the words is pretty amusing.

Season wanker: You know, most players came around to Sparano's way of thinking - or they were released.  Even Willford was humble about his year.  I can't think of anyone deserving this year.  Really.  Instead we'll just remind you that Matt Light was a punk, and should have been suspended, the commish was a whimp, and Ed Hochuli blew some calls.

My prediction on the year: I said they'd win 6.  I was very wrong.  But happy.
 
So, what of Chad Pennington?  I'm going to throw him a bone and give him a special award for motivating his teammates and doing everything he could to fire them up.  We respect and appreciate the effort he gave every week.

Coach of the year

Sparano missed being coach of the year by exactly one vote - 23.5 of the votes went to Mike Smith in Atlanta, and 22.5 went to Sparano.   Weird that some guy voted them each a half, isn't it?
 
Since they were similar teams, in similar siutations, finishing with identical records and they both lost this weekend, I guess I can live with the result.
 
Miami's situation was more tumultuous, and I'm sure some people saw the "triumverate" rather than Sparano as being responsible for the success this season.

Something I've learned

Only one team wins the SuperBowl each year
 
Only 12 teams make the playoffs (37.5% of the teams)
 
For years and years under Shula the Dolphins made the playoffs but would get eliminated before the SuperBowl.  Then, after Shula it was hit or miss for a few years, then miss for the last 5.
 
I've come realize that it was all good under Shula.  You're among the best teams....so you're not the one team that wins it all.  When you play hard and never quit, its satisfying to acheive something good.  And keep driving to get better and hopefully get to the big one and win it...

Defensive effort

I'd have to say that Miami's defense played relatively well yesterday.   One TD was scored after a great run, when the game was basically over.  One TD was scored on the pick 6.  So, essentially, Miami held the Ravens to 13 points.  One TD after a turnover that left the Ravens with a short field, and two field goals.
 
That's not a bad effort at all.
 
They mostly stuffed the run allowing just over 100 yards - except for the long run resulting in the TD [which added another 48 yards to the total], and they held Flacco to 9 completions in 23 attempts for 135 yards.
 
The odd thing is that the Dolphins faced essentially the same defense they faced 7 years ago in their last playoff appearance.  So, in this case, experience overwhelmed youthful exuberance.  And that was the difference in the game.

Game changer

Even though the game was basically over, there was no quit in Miami.  They never stopped trying and never gave up.  They scored to make it 20-9, and were driving....until this ugliness happened.  Pennington did his best to make the handoff while being tackled.  Ginn took his eye off the ball and let it get away.
 
And that was pretty much it...

Also missed

The block on Pennington was a block in the back.  At the very least, there should have been a penalty from the 5, setting up the Ravens first and 10 at about the 15.
 
Gee, but Hochuli missed that, too.
 
....and that reminds me: many, many times in the game, Flacco had all day to sit back there, read the play, read the entire Sunday Times, and still get a pass away.  And yet not once was there a holding call on the Ravens.  Really?  They held there blocks for 5-6 seconds, and not one of them did anything illegal?  And yet on several of them they called illegal contact downfield on Miami.  Some of them were questionable, but if that happened, why wasn't there ever holding?

My question

Where was Pennington throwing this ball?

On that Reed pick 6

I watched the replay several times, but I never saw the "speedster" Ted Ginn, jr. chasing down the play.  Why not?  What was he thinking.
 
On the other hand, London came from the other side, got blocked, and still came back to meet Reed at the goal line.  And it went almost unnoticed that he made a great effort to punch the ball out of Reed's hands.  In these shots, you can see he starts to swing his arm *just* as Reed reached the goal line.  He did knock the ball out, but it was maybe a half second too late.
 
Not surprisingly, the officials didn't seem to notice.  And I'm not sure that Sparano did either.  If he had, it might (maybe) have been worth challenging it.  The outcome - if he had knocked it out before the ball broke the plane - would have been a touchback and Miami's ball.

The caption that goes with this pic is....

"Ted Ginn is a Miami Dolphin"

Harbinger of things to come....

Darrius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish fame sang the national anthem.   What he didn't sing was "I'm such a baby, yeah, the Dolphins make me cry...." but just having him there was a form of Karma....
 
In addition, the honorary captains for the game were Kooch, Larry Little, and Dwight Stepehnson.   Kind of apropos that the offensive line played terribly given that.  Karma, yet again.
 
As for the o-line, it was a disappointing performance.  They had a lot of trouble blocking the Ravens, and yet on a few of the sacks and hits on Pennington, many of them were just standing around as the play ended.  You may have noticed that I was touting their performance a couple of weeks ago.  This week, not so much.  And that meant that the tight ends and backs were often left in to block leaving no one in the passing patterns.  So, that was at least part of the problem...
 
I look forward to the return of Donald Thomas and Justin Smiley. Jake Long is fine.  Vernon Carey will probably be given the chance to go in free agency; I can't see Miami giving him $10 mil the way he was getting pushed around.  Allernan and Ndukwe, who knows?  And Satele probably has played his last game at center; maybe he'll get a shot at guard.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

A couple of videos

The Miami Dolphins put together a "thank you" video for the fans...http://www.miamidolphins.com/thanks.asp

And if you weren't at the game and didn't see this new intro they put together for the team, check out this video: http://www.miamidolphins.com/intro.asp

 

Parcells

H made a statement shortly after the game that he plans to complete the sale to Mr. Ross in the next week, and Parcells will be staying with the Fins.
 
I suppose Bill likes the work hours, the fact that he doesn't have to travel to away games, and that he can take time away from the office to golf when he feels like it.
 
Come to think of it, where can I get a job like that?

Pennington?

My friend, Alan, pointed out that todays contest ended much like the 2000 election: in Florida, there were a lot of hanging Chads.
 
Or at least hanging balls that Chad threw out there...

amusing

As I stopped by NFL.com, I saw that they had already moved Baltimore on to play Tennessee....but they left off San Diego playing in Pittsburgh...

And the season comes to a close...

A couple of parting thoughts as I watch the last few moments of this game:
 
* What was Ed Hochuli doing ref-ing a playoff game?  Remember that he had that totally blown call against the Chargers arly in the season, and he totally blew a game in Miami a few weeks later.  Phil Simms said he graded out the best of all officials.  What does that say about the rest of them?  They must have *REALLY* sucked.
 
* F-you Cam "cam" Cameron.  A total of three wins in Miami over the course of the last 2 seasons, all of them Raven-related.  2 of them against Miami.  And that in 10 tries.
 
* When it got to 20-3, I said it was over, and shortly thereafter fell asleep for a while.  I woke up about the time that Bess returned the punt that set up a score, and it looked like - maybe - Miami could stage a sort of comeback.  But of course they found a way to screw that up.
 
* For what its worth, Ted Ginn sucks, and I feel that he should *not* be playing in Miami next season.  When he tripped over a blade of grass on Reed's pick 6, that spelled the end of his tenure here as far as I'm concerned.
 
* Whether he was the team MVP or not, I think its time to move Pennington to the bench as the season concludes.  4 interceptions in a game is inexcusable, regardless of the opponent.   There are many possibilities as far as why this happened (not the least of which was that he was confused by the defense), but I was sitting on my couch pulling for Henne to enter the game when he threw the third one.
 
* When they were still sort of in it, and Pennington/Ginn had the bobble that resulted in a 20-yard loss, making it 3rd and 26 from around the 40, I didn't like the playcall on 3rd, or the decision to punt on 4th.  As it turned out, with the penalty, the punt netted 10 yards.  What was the point of that?
 
* I was amused at how quickly the stadium emptied out when the game was "over" but really wan't.  Didn't I say something about front-running phonies this week?
 
* All of that said, the loss hurts, but I'm still satisfied with this season.  11-5, the division crown, and a playoff game at home.  It wasn't all bad...