Saturday, September 05, 2009

Why "staying in your lanes" matters

I was listening to one of the Dolphins shows on Friday afternoon, and Nat Moore was talking about the punt return for a TD in Thursday's game.
He thought John Denney stepped out of "his lane" to try and make the play, and instead allowed the TD.
I thought this was worthy of a little explanation. 
You see, the idea is that each of the players along the line of scrimmage on the punting team has a responsibility.  The "flyers" on the outside (ususally wideouts or defensive backs) need to get down the field and either make a quick tackle, or at least keep the returners to the inside.  Everyone else has a lane (kind of like a swim lane) that they are supposed to cover.  The idea is to surround the punt returner, and not allow him room to run; then the flyers can pinch in and everyone can close on the tackle.
Its a nice theory, but every once in a while, something breaks down.  In this case, John Denney (circled) moved over to the next area in an effort to make a tackle and "the big play"...only the returner made a juke step to his left then dashed back right to the area vacated by Denney, and there was no one between him and the goal.  Now to be fair, the punter also was out of position, but you can't expect the punter to make the tackle (its a nice bonus when he does, but don't count on it!)
So, had Denney stayed where he was, he would have caused the runner to hesitate, which would have probably ended the return quickly.
In the return game (probably more than anywhere else on the field), its teamwork that matters, and everything rides on each person doing their jobs.  Yes, having one guy who is the leader and makes more tackles and gets everyone fired up.
But, you still have to play together...

Friday, September 04, 2009

That bad?

SI for kids has the dolphins finishing 4th in the AFC east. They explain the dolphins didn't make enough moves in the offseason to help themselves.

Where's the respect forctge team that went 11-5 and eom the division?

Oh that's right - it was a fluke and besides Brady is back.

He is Mr. Polite.

In a word: wow

Sean Smith shows whey he belongs in the NFL with this over-the-shoulder one-handed toe-dragging pick in the end zone.

The game

Once again, the Phins kept it pretty simple against a team they face later this season. And it was game #4 after all.

But I saw some things I liked. Ted Ginn was actually involved in the offense. Chad Henne looked ready to step in. Ricky Williams stepped up large against his one-time team.

I saw some unusual offensive strategies - like the flip handoff that went counter to the line blocking, and the flip handoff when the line was pass blocking. I'm sure the Falcons are looking at those plays and the other in the preseason and shaking their heads. There's just enough motion and moving *away* from tendencies to catch everyone's attention.

...and by the way, JT looked he was ready to pickup from where left off in 07. Here he is getting his hands up in Joey Harrington's face; and he later picked up a half sack on the same play.


Once again, Ricky sat down - by himself - with Bill Parcells and negotiated a one-year contract extension.
He got what he wanted, and felt good about it.  And to paraphrase his mom last year when he did the same thing "that's Ricky.  He's smart and he knows what he's doing."  And as we reported last year, Ricky has negotiated contracts for himself in the past - most notably when he played minor league baseball.
And to celebrate, he decided to go out and get married.  This weekend, he's taking himself off of the eligible list, and settling down.
While I had poked fun at him in the past, I have been seeing a different person over the last few years, and I resepect what he's doing, and am somewhat sorry that I bought into "the hype" that came with him when he retired and came back.
Anyway, he has more of his life in order and has mapped out a strategy - he plans to retire at the end of next season; or at the end of his new contract.
And then move on and do....whatever it is he wants to.
Good for him.  For the second time in his career he'll go out on his own terms.  Only this time, he laid out the terms rather than appearing to quit on everyone. posted this on his blog:
I always wanted to play football, from the age of 10 that was my dream. I always loved the game of American football. I'm sad that I never followed my football dreams. Lately I've been thinking, is it too late to do it now? No way! I want to try out for the Miami Dolphins. I'm very fast, beyond fast. I've raced Jamal Anderson and I smoked his a**. I am extremely fast and I'm proud of it. I take pride in my cheetah speed. So I want to put this talent to use.


Seems that Davis tweaked his knee while making a tackle on a punt return in the 2nd quarter.  He planted and another player came over the top and Vontae landed awkwardly.  He "will be fine" the team says.
But he sat out the rest of the game and had ice on his leg for the rest of the night.
...that and a broken hand by Chris Williams are the only injuries sustained *during* the preseason.  Matt Roth and the receiver (who re-injured his ACL) were both early in training camp.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Smoke and mirrors?

I'm not quite sure how they pulled it off, but the Dolphins finished 4-0 in the preseason.
You might ask "when's the last time that happened?"
The answer: 1998.
And in the regular season they went 10-6, for whatever that's worth.

Ain't that the truth?

Jim Mandich earlier this week was talking about the preseason, and how for some reason this year just seems like a waste.  There's nothing exciting about it - its dullsville.
I couldn't agree more.  I just can't get into this preseason.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A groupie I don't mind having

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Several local commentators have been carrying on about how the def backs haven't shown much in preseason and worry about how they'll fare against top receivers in the league.

IMHO the DBs have been doing a decent job for the first few seconds on plays then it breaks down. Why? It's part scheme and it's partly because there is no pass rush on most plays.

If you look closely it's not all on the backs; the line isn't getting it done up front and is giving the qb time to throw.


Sparano took the team to see the gi Joe movie because "it's got action and explosions and a good looking girl in it."

For his part Sean smith was thankful for getting away but tweeted it was one of the 5 worst movies ever and was glad he didn't pay for it.

Cote was trying to stir it up this morning at the herald saying Miami should trade for Brandon Marshall. I say go even up and send them Ted ginn and his family!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The punt block

I was watching the first few series from Thursday's game again to see how the starters performed, or more precisely, what went wrong for them.
On offense, they couldn't find a counter to the pass rush (lots of positional blitzing) thrown out there by the Bucs.  And on defence, the pass rush was non-existent, possibly because they rushed the same players again and again - that exposed the defensive backs as they couldn't maintain coverage for that length...
Anyway, on re-watching the punt block, I noticed that Davone Bess was behind Anderson waving frantically and shouting something - I assume he was aware of the fact that the punt crossed the line of scrimmage and was telling everyone to back away from it.  So, kudos for him for having complete awareness of the situation.