Saturday, October 03, 2009

Interesting

I'm sometimes a glutton for punishment:  I went back and watched a few select plays from last week's game.
 
And I was surprised when I noticed that on the 1st quarter fumble (the one that resulted in the touchback), there was a little more happening than I originally thought.  Chad was under center.  Ronnie was behind to the left, Ricky behind to the right, in a split-back formation.  
 
At the snap, the line blocked down and left, and as we know Chad tried to get the ball into Ronnie as he headed to the left.  But.  At the snap, Ricky ran right, and just after the handoff, Chad immediately flipped his hand to the right as though pitching to Ricky.
 
Now it wasn't perfectly executed.  The line missed some assignments, the handoff (as we know) was bad, and Ricky stopped mid-step and didn't "sell it."  The defense didn't even react to Ricky...
 
And what I realized was that the play call itself was good, and Dan Henning was probably setting up for something later (that didn't happen because of the fumble, Chad's injury, or a host of other reasons).  I give him props for the concept, and if Ronnie had been stuffed on that down, who knows?  They may have run the flip to Ricky on the next play.

Wrong!

The sports yakkers and several other local writers think that Ted Ginn *should* start this weekend, because with Henne they can actually explore how to get him open down the field and use his speed - something that they weren't able to do with Pennington's "weaker" arm.
 
And Sparano has not committed to anything at this point, but his recent comments suggest he's going to do just that.
 
First off, allow me to remind you that Pennington's arm wasn't good for throwing longer passes - say over 20-25 yards.  But he was good at throwing short to intermediate routes, and tried on many occasions to do just that to Ginn, but he didn't come up with the catch.
 
Henne can indeed throw it longer by around 10-15 yards, but that doesn't mean that Ginn will have any advantage.  Sure, he might get further up the field, but that doesn't necessarily give him a chance to catch it.  Plus, because Henne is new, it seems unlikely they'll have him let it fly down the field.
 
We'll see, but I think the better option is to bench him.
 
BTW - this is not all Ginn's fault.  I'm not pinning 0-3 on him.  But, in looking for options, this is certainly one thing they could do to improve the team.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Why Thigpen?

I've had a bunch of people ask me why the fins traded for Tyler Thigpen instead of signing a guy like Jeff Garcia.

The answer is deceptively simple: Miami is building a future. Henne is being given the reigns and he's got a couple of young guys behind him. The upside is greater.

If a guy like Garcia was here, Henne would always being looking over his shoulder. And the fans would clamor for him as soon as there was a problem.

Now Henne can grow. For the future.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gotta love it

The Sentinel pointed out that the following QBs have started for Miami since Marino retired:
 
YEAR(S)
QUARTERBACK
G/GS
ATT
CMP
PCT
YARDS
TD
INT
2000
Damon Huard
16/1
63
39
61.9
318
1
3
2000-04
Jay Fiedler
62/59
1,603
936
58.4
11,040
66
63
2001-05
Sage Rosenfels
13/2
109
54
49.5
776
6
6
2001-02
Ray Lucas
17/6
163
94
57.7
1,090
4
6
2003
Brian Griese
5/5
130
74
56.9
813
5
6
2004
A.J. Feeley
11/8
356
191
53.7
1,893
11
15
2005
Gus Frerotte
16/15
494
257
52.0
2,996
18
13
2006
Daunte Culpepper
4/4
134
81
60.4
929
2
3
2006
Joey Harrington
11/11
388
223
57.5
2,236
12
15
2006-07
Cleo Lemon
8/13
377
211
55.9
2,185
8
7
2007
Trent Green
5/5
141
85
60.3
987
5
7
2007
John Beck
5/4
107
60
56.1
559
1
3
2008-09
Chad Pennington
19/19
550
372
67.6
4,066
20
9
 
What I find amazing is that this is 13 QBs over a 9 year span.  And one of them started the better part of 4 years.
 
I guess its safe to say there's no stability there.
 
Oh....and also...in an earlier post, I pointed out that Miami has drafted 3 QBs in 4 years with a 2nd round pick.  But I neglected to mention that in 2 previous years, they traded for a QB with a second round pick, and neither of them worked out.
 
That's a fair number of 2nd round picks used for a position with no return!  But as Joe Thomas said when he drafted Stofa then Griese - he was going to keep taking a QB until he got it right!

What's next?

I said that Miami would likely sign a veteran QB, and several people questioned "Well, who?"
 
We got our answer.  Miami made a trade with Kansas City for Tyler Thigpen, for a 2010 draft pick. 
 
As the Sentinel pointed out, this is the third trade the Dolphins have made with the Chiefs this year. On draft day, the Dolphins traded a seventh-round pick for a seventh-round pick in 2010.

During training camp, the Dolphins sent reserve offensive linemen Andy Alleman and Ikechuku Ndukwe to the Chiefs for an undisclosed 2010 draft pick.

That means before Tuesday's trade the Chiefs, which are run by General Manager Scott Pioli, Parcells' son-in-law, owed the Dolphins two of their 2010 draft picks.
 
Now they Chiefs owe the Dolphins one.

On Pennington

A reader named Doug pointed out that Pennington is a smart guy.   But my immediate reaction was that this is an honorary degree, and should not be misconstrued as him having "achieved" something...
 
Then, I went and looked up Pennington's college career and learned (thanks to Wikipedia):
In addition to his success on the football field, Pennington excelled academically, graduating with a degree in journalism, a 3.83 grade point average and becoming a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship. He wrote frequently for Marshall's newspaper The Parthenon and was a broadcaster for the school's radio station, although he used a pseudonym on air so as not to be distracting
 
So, in fact, he is a smart guy, and him not achieving the degree is really irrelevant.

Man was I confused

This weekend the Jets and Titans both wore their throwback uniforms.  So the game was actually Titans-Oilers. 
 
The Oilers were from Houston, but don't the Texans play in Houston?
 
I was wondering if the Ravens can wear throwbacks to the Baltimore Colts unis, and if they did and played the Indy Colts, how that would go.
 
Or...what if the KC Chiefs wore their Dallas Texan throwbacks.  They were blue and white with a star on the helmet.  I'd like to see them wear it when playing the cowboys!

Joey Haynos on Fins Radio

Joey will be calling in to On the Finside this evening to chat with Brian and JL.  You really should check it out!!

The doctor is out

Back in May, our (previously starting) QB delivered the commencement address at his alma mater, Marshall University.
 
At the time, he was bestowed with a doctorate of humane letters, so he can now be called Dr. Pennington.
 
For reference, Wikipedia defines the degree thusly:
The degree of Doctor of Humane Letters (Latin: Litterarum humanarum doctor; D.H.L.; or L.H.D.) is always conferred as an honorary degree, usually to those who have distinguished themselves in areas other than science (these normally receive the Doctor of Science), government (these often receive a Doctor of Laws degree), literature (these often receive a Doctor of Letters degree) or religion (these often receive a Doctor of Divinity D.D. degree in locations where American English is spoken, or a Doctor of Ministry D.Min. degree in locations where British English is spoken; knowledge of the location is important, because the alternate degree is an earned degree in both locations).
 
On a related topic, I read an article by Ethan Skolnick where he contends that Pennington deserves a place in franchise history, based on his play and leadership last season.  I will generally agree that he was a leader and did help; but he was here for a total of 20 games, and that hardly deserves a spot on the ring of honor.   But this honorary degree gave me an idea: Maybe he can have an honorary spot on the ring, much like his honorary degree?

Henne

Okay it looks like Henne is the new starter. I'm okay with that. I was calling for him to start the season.

Now to be fair, I was sorry to hear about Pennigtons injury; I don't want to see guys get hurt. But it us what it is and now is Hennes time. Let's see what he has.

Now to the reporters and pundits who are lamenting the fact that we now have to go with an inwxperienced qb: get over it. Ask Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, and others about that. This is the way top-notch abs are grown.

Good news

Sparano said he'd sit down with his coaches today and make some personnel asjustments.

Let me give you a few suggestions: sit JT or move him to a different role. Sit Gibril Wilson. Cut Ted Ginn.

Pennington is done

He has a tear in the rotator cuff and will miss the rest of the year.

Looks like it's Henne's turn.

Miami will undoubtedly sign a veteran backup.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pennington is done

He has a tear in the rotator cuff and will miss the rest of the year.

Looks like it's Henne's turn.

Miami will undoubtedly sign a veteran backup.

Ponder this

Miami has two main problems.  First, they are one dimensional on offense, and are wholly unable to pass the ball.  While they can chew up large chunks rushing between the 20s, they can't get in the endzone because the defenses bunch up and its tough to punch it in when there are 11 guys in close.
 
And two: Miami has no pass rush.  Joey and JT were supposed to be this great threat.  Porter has 2 sacks, and Taylor has one, which is good.  But they're not causing the QB to get rid of the ball quickly.  The dbs can hold the receivers for a while, but at some point, there is just too much time.
 
You may have noticed yesterday that Sean Smith allowed a 47 yard pickup by the receiver he was covering.  In his case, he was going for the pick, but the ball was SO perfectly thrown he missed it, and Jackson came down with it.  That's the kind of fluky bad luck Miami is having this season.

A followup to my Ted Ginn comment

Dave's bud Brad Crawford said:
 
I kinda like that idea, but this kid is supposed to be able to play better now. Not in 4 weeks and I see no need in committing to him any longer with a private tutor. I say we trade him to another team for an older, experienced veteran and maybe a draft pick - sure to be a taker somewhere (Cam Cameron in Baltimore, maybe?) - and move on.
 
I agree, but I was trying to find some middle ground since Sparano seems to have a thing for Ginn. 
 
And of course you know if we traded him, he'd be an all-pro wherever he goes, and would wind up beating the Dolphins.

Ted Ginn

Here's my proposed solution for Mr. Ginn:
 
Inactivate him for the next 4 weeks.
Hire a coach whose job it will be to work 1-1 with Ginn every single day, all day.
Allow him to join in practices from time to time, to measure his progress
 
At the end of 4 weeks, put him back on the active roster and see if there's any improvement.  If not, cut him.  If so, then you have something.

Field awareness

I was listening to Dan Marino this morning on Joe Rose's show.  He was talking about the concept of field awareness.  As a player - particularly as a QB - you need to have a good sense of the field and everything that's happening around you.
 
My take:
On Henne's pick 6, he didn't show much in the way of awareness.  The team had run the same play several times - slant to Bess on the left - and Henne made a choice to look at other receivers before turning to Bess.  But the db (Weddle) was simply watching Henne's eyes and "jumped the route" that Bess was running.  Henne should have been aware of his own tendency, or, more to the point, been aware of what the db was doing.
 
And then there's the play where he crossed the line of scrimmage.   In the pictures above, you can see where the line of scrimmage is, where Henne pump fakes (behind the line), and where he throws it (what, 4 yards downfield?).  There's the dbs reaction - he clearly was aware of where *he* was on the field.  And there's Henne getting some coaching from his position coach - here's to hoping it helps.

Hey...


Look over Andrea's shoulder.  "Don Shula's...."  what, exactly?  Coming to congratulate the Cardinals on being in better shape than Miami these days?

Pennington

Although he will have an MRI today, the early report is that he will miss a month or so with a shoulder injury.

I personally think its safe to say his days of starting in Miami are over.

doesn't this say a lot?

The Chargers team was missing all world LaDainian Tomlinson, Pro Bowl linebacker Shawne Merriman, two starting offensive linemen and its starting nose tackle.

....and they still managed to score enough to win; and held Miami's offense in check.

I was thinking

Miami's only real threat on offense is the Wildcat. And Pat White is a QB who is suited to play that style of offense.

I think Miami should adopt the single wing as its base set, and White should start games going forward.

At least we might be a threat to score some points!

0-3

At least Miami has company at 0-3, with the Houston Oilers, err, Tennessee Titans equaling their vexing record.

Too bad the woeful lions have a better record.

Next week, maybe we can look ahead to the draft, and see who Miami might take with their top 10 pick.

throwbacks

This year is the anniversary of the old AFL, with the original teams wearing their throwback uniforms.

Miami was not an original team, so they're not wearing the old uniform.

But they've found a new way to pay tribute to the first year of the Dolphins: by matching their record, and showing a similar ineptitude while playing.

Way to go guys! Thanks for paying tribute to the '66 Dolphins!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

interesting...

Omar Kelley called out 7 things the Dolphins needed to do to win. #2 read:
It's time for the Dolphins' problem players to redeem themselves. ILB Channing Crowder must stop shooting the wrong gap. FS Gibril Wilson must stop tackling air and actually cover the middle of the field effectively. TE Anthony Fasano must convert a few third downs, and regain his status as the team's top red zone threat. WR Ted Ginn Jr. needs to show some decent run-after-catch moves for once. Every Dolphins who was a problem in the first two games needs to follow the offensive line's lead and regain their respect.

* Crowder still hadn't some trouble, though he did play better.
* Wilson still is tackling air
* Fasano was MIA today
* Ted Ginn. Is he even still on the team?

QB of the future

Miami has used second round picks on QBs 3 of the last 4 years, after many years of not drafting a QB at all.

John Beck didn't work out well.

The jury is out on Chad Henne and Pat White. But as I noted a couple of weeks ago, the top 25 QBs of all-time (and the best of QBs of this era) all started at least one game in their first year in the league, with the notable exceptions of Norm Van Brocklln and Phillip Rivers; both of them sat behind an all-pro while they waited.

And as I noted also, that likely means that Henne will never be one of the great QBs of all-time. So what should the Dolphins do? Draft another QB? Play Henne and see where it goes? Give Pat White a go? All of the above?

At 0-3, certainly its time that they try something other than Pennington; and that's especially true if Pennington's injury is severe.

I personally feel that they should go with Henne for a couple of weeks, rotating in White when possible. And then they should try White for a while in a couple of weeks.

I didn't quite get that

Joey Porter was jawing at some Chargers lineman before the game. Some animated smack talk.

That's fine, if he can back it up.

But J Peasy didn't even finish the game. His 2 tackles were pretty low, though he did have the sack with the forced fumble, so I can't rag on him too bad.

Now comes the fun part for Stephen Ross

Ticket sales were up after 11-5, but it was still tough to sell out Monday's Colts game. Now at 0-3, and facing the Bills, ticket sales will be slow, I'm sure.

Celebrities or not, fan experience or not, Ross is likely to have a tough time selling all the seats.

With the exception of the Jets and Patriots (where there are bound to be more of *their* fans), the prospect of blackouts loom.

And after watching the first 3 "performances" that may not be all bad.

count me back off the bandwagon

Maybe that makes me a jumper, but, I was on the Sparano bandwagon and was defending him heading into this game.

But at 0-3, and with little upside right now, knowing that they stood pat with Ginn and others, I'm done with him.

Yards after catch

Last week, Ginn had 1 YAC. This week, he had 0.

The Chads threw to him 6 times by my count. And he had 0 catches, thus he had 0 yards receiving, and 0 YAC.

Great work by Ted Ginn.

The perfect drive

Miami took possession on its own 4 to start their first drive. I said to my son "Ted Ginn is going to catch a pass for 95 yards." His reply was "but they need 96 for the score."

It was a joke, I explained, because Ginn would fall down at the one, and Miami would fail to score.

Oddly, play #1 was a fly pattern to Ginn. He was behind the defender by 5 yards. The pass was a little long, and Ginn adjusted badly. He never had a chaance.

Still, Miami drove down the field in a nice 9 minute drive that left them at 1st and goal at the one. And on that fateful second down, Pennington mishandled the ball as he tried to give it to Brown; it was recovered by Smiley, but it was too late: touchback.

And I sat there staring in amazement. I was basically right, except for Ginn actually catching the pass.

I was wrong

I called for Henne to start.  Pennington got injured and he had plenty of playing time.  I suggested that it couldn't be much of a dropoff.  It was.
 
Henne looked mostly lost.  He underthrew.  He overthrew.  He was knocked down many times.  His pick 6 was a bad decision, made worse because he was baited by a defender.  And of course he crossed the line of scrimmage on one pass.
 
Sure there may be an upside to him, and at 0-3, maybe its time to find out.
 
But the companion problem is there is a complete lack of offensive talent on this team.  They pretty much suck, other than when they use the wildcat.....that said, maybe Pat White should be given a chance to play.  At least he's capable of running that set.  And if that's all we've got, then lets see what he's got.

wanker

You can catch my wankers - the schedule guy and Sparano - on this page http://phinwanker.blogspot.com/2009_09_01_archive.html

This team couldn't beat my grandmother

Earlier this week, the Phins got up a scrimmage against my grandmother and 10 of her friends up at the Villages in Delray Beach.  It was a tough, hard fought game, but Miami once again couldn't score, and Norman Johnson channeled his best Peyton Manning for a couple of scores.
 
Joey Porter got a little testy with granny along the way, but the Phins went down 17-8 in the game.
 
I had hoped this would serve as a lesson for the Dolphins.  I guess it didn't.