Friday, October 30, 2009

On the Ginn photo

SI's photo upholds my argument that the dolphins were robbed.  But, as the Dolphins Ranter points out, they didn't have SI's SLR at their disposal for the replay.
But they did have the official on the right side of the screen who appears to be looking right at the play.  I know it happens fast, but just what was he looking at?
And the NFL was having trouble with the replay equipment, as we were told.  They apologized for the fact that they missed the Bess catch in the first quarter when it wasn't working.  But didn't address the larger issues that (a) they didn't cover as many angles as they often do, and (b) that they blew this call in the game.
I think the NFL should fine itself for blowing this.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

As I said

A few readers said my argument that the returner fumbled the ball was
weak. I further said the officials blew the call.


Larry Johnson called his coach a name via his twitter account, and again to reporters.  The issue took on a life of its own because he used what some think is a slur.  Is this really what society has become?  You use a word and you're decried as a bigot?
He got suspended by the Chiefs for two weeks, and we can only HOPE that its because he called out his coach and was disrespectful in that regard, and not because of the word he used.
What is even stupider is that the major media outlets won't repeat the word in print or verbally out of fear they'll offend someone.
So just what is this hideous word?  Fag.
For the record, in British slang a "fag" is a cigarette.  It can also mean to tire by strenuous activity : exhaust <fagged by the strenuous climb>, toil, to act as a servant to an older schoolboy, and that other definition.
Lets suppose for a minute - in the context that LJ wrote his post (that Todd Haley had never played football and didn't know as much as his father) - he actually was using the definition that he was acting as a servant to the father and hadn't mastered the game yet.
Would that make you feel differently about it?

Who starts?

Yesterday, Sparano announced that both starting receiver slots were up for grabs. And the local reporters said Ginn was not working with the 1st team

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How frustrating

You may recall the ubiquitous quote "Ted Ginn is a Miami Dolphin....Ted Ginn is going to be a guy you're going to enjoy watching for a long time..." has a deeper meaning.  Maybe Cameron and Mueller wrote a contract that includes additional incentives if the guy is benched, and has a no trade/no cut clause and is self-renewing.
How else can one explain what is happening with Ginn?  Mueller and Cameron went to H Wayne in 2007 and laid out a plan - they would pick Ginn with the 9th overall pick, and get the "QB of the future" in the second round.  Apparently, they were targeting either Trent Edwards or John Beck, and wound up taking Beck.
Ginn had suffered a leg injury in his bowl game that year, and was still hobbled by it at draft time.  But, more than that, Ginn had speed and a lot of question marks.  Here's a few draft site comments about him from '07:
* Ted Ginn Jr. has one quality NFL scouts can not get enough of and what NFL Franchises love to build around: Speed. Ginn Jr. is the fastest WR in the 2007 NFL Draft, and is a legit home run threat for any NFL team to utilize. I think in the NFL Ginn Jr. will come to realize quickly that he is not going to be the most talented player in every game, and that will make him strive to succeed, work hard, and improve his game to the point that he is viewed as a fine complete NFL wide receiver.
* Has decent hands and catches most of what comes his way. Played in a conservative offense which really held back his production statwise. A great punt/kick returner
* He is a threat to any team. If he's not double teamed, he will make the big play in any condition.
* Ginn Jr. has many elements of his game that still need work to fulfill his promise. He must become a more reliable receiver, and his hands must improve. He must also become more polished on his route running, he won't be able to rely on his pure speed in the National Football League. He also has a slight build, so he may have to consider bulking up to take the hits over the middle by battle tested NFL safeties.
* Really skinny frame is 180 lbs wet. Started off at corner so as a result is raw and still learning the WR posisiton. Relies too much on athletcisim as his route running leaves much to be desired. His speed alone will not make him successful at the WR position in the NFL he must become more polished.  
* Pretty raw as a precise route runner; not proven as an "over the middle, make the catch on 3rd and 8" receiver;
* How will he overcome his injury agianst the Gators? His jr. year didn't measure up to his sophmore year. He had more drops. Some say he's only a kick returner.
* Ted Ginn Jr. is going to need work and proper coaching to progress to the point that he can be a #1 WR in the NFL. That being said, he has one thing you can not teach, first class speed. Combine that with a good work ethic and Ginn Jr. is an excellent WR prospect whom should come off the board no later than the middle of round.
* Whereever Ginn goes he will help out immediately as a KR/PR, how he develops as a WR remains to be seen. Ginn would do best in an established offense like Arizona, Indianapolis, Cinncinati and play the slot where he will thrive. If he goes to Tennesee or San Francisco and is depended upon to be the Number 1 guy he might be a collasal bust.
* Watch out! He will be better than Reggie Bush. He is a star in the making, unless he gets hurt.
...and in all it may have been a reach for Miami.  They weren't an established offense - they were still looking for an identity and a QB.  But they still had Chris Chambers at the time, so at least Ginn was set to be the #2.  Until they traded Chambers a couple of weeks into the season.
We flash forward to this year.  Last season, there was the most stability at QB we've seen in years, and Ginn was average.  This year, he started off below average.  After injury, Henne came in and he is a real threat to throw deep.  And Ginn can't seem to hold onto anything that comes his way.  He still shies away from contact.  I've heard several former receivers comment that his route running isn't very good and he doesn't sell the routes or fakes, and his body position is bad.
And to top it all off, we're not even using him as a kick or punt returner. 
So what value does he have?  Sparano and Ireland shouldn't feel bound to him, he's not "their" guy.  He's just another player who is not performing.
This week, Sparano said Hartline will up his playing time.  But he didn't say anything about Ginn.  Will his playing time decrease?  Will he even dress for the game?

We can only hope.  I've seen enough of Ginn in 2 1/2 years to think that I don't want to see him on my favorite team any more.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tmq reviews the game

Gregg Easterbrook had the following to say about the phins-saints clash on espn:

If Miami's receiving corps had not dropped five perfectly thrown passes in the second half against New Orleans, the Wildcat would have triumphed over the conventional offense of the league's highest-scoring team (bearing in mind that a shotgun formation with three wide receivers now counts as "conventional"). Two of the drops were by super-highly-paid high draft pick wide receiver Ted Ginn, who, considering he is super-highly-paid to be an NFL wide receiver, really at some point should learn how to catch a football. On the Marine Mammals' only Wildcat throw, Anthony Fasano dropped a perfectly delivered deep pass from Ronnie Brown, which would have put the home team in Saints territory in the fourth quarter. Instead, Miami punted. The New Orleans offense performed well at Miami, but bear in mind that two of the visitor's five second-half touchdowns came on interception returns. Both were passes intercepted when Miami was in a conventional offense; one hit Ginn squarely on the hands for what should have been a long gain, and instead caromed into the air for an interception and six New Orleans points. Indeed, if the super-highly-paid Ginn would simply catch the passes that hit his hands, Miami might be 4-2, rather than 2-4.

Though everyone's talking about the New Orleans offense, the New Orleans defense not only scored twice, but shut down Miami at the end of the game -- something the New York Jets' defense failed to do. The tastefully named Gregg Williams, New Orleans' defensive coordinator, had been calling a lot of blitzes, some of which Miami converted into big plays. With New Orleans leading 40-34 with 2:11 remaining, and Miami facing third-and-long, Williams had his defense show big-blitz, then rush only three. Novice quarterback Chad Henne was so confused, he basically threw the ball away, though under no pressure. Then on fourth-and-13, Williams again didn't call a blitz -- Henne again seemed confused, and threw the pick-six that ended the contest. New Orleans' red-hot offense, combined with any kind of decent defense, is a formula for success.

Tactics note: With five seconds remaining in the first half, the officials signaled that Marques Colston of New Orleans had scored a touchdown. But a booth review was called, and it was clear the touchdown would be nullified and the ball spotted at the 1-yard line. New Orleans had no timeouts; the moment the overturn was announced, the clock would start. Boy Scouts coach Sean Payton had sent his kicking team onto the field and told it to be lined up, awaiting the decision. (That is, New Orleans effectively announced to the referee that it knew the touchdown should be overturned.) Could New Orleans have launched a field goal with just five seconds remaining after the ready-for-play signal? We'll never know, because Miami coach Tony Sparano then called a timeout! That meant the clock was stopped when the review decision was announced. And, while the replay official was reviewing the play, Saints quarterback Drew Brees lobbied Payton to let the offense go for the touchdown -- and convinced him. So New Orleans sent its offense back onto the field and scored a touchdown on the final snap of the half; essentially, Sparano gifted the visitors with an extra four points. When New Orleans had a clock problem, why did Miami call timeout?

This week's podcast...

This week, we'll hit the painful topic of the Saints game; and we're
talking CBA and other labor issues with "Big Blue Monkey" and
"Barnyard" from will be live anytime
after 7am ET on Wednesday...

Sanchez scarfs a hot dog

There is something so inherently funny about this story.  Lets see, it involves food and the Jets.  So what's not to love?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Odd play

Greg Camarillo seemed to have taken a stupid pill on one play late in the game.  The Dolphins were still down by 6, and its 1st and 10 from their own 44, 2:26 left to play.
Camarillo catches a short pass in the left flat, and looks to juke the defender.  He moves up the field a little, then tries to elude the defender again.  As I'm watching the play unfold, I'm wondering why he isn't simply trying to get to the first down marker.  He's already gained 7.  Get as much as you can and go down.
But no.  He then decides to head for the sidelines.  There's still time before the two minute warning.  Just get down if you need to, and regroup on the next play.  As he comes down inbounds, the ball squirts out of bounds.  I see a flag, and I'm thinking "that can't be good." 
They show the replay and it seems clear that Camarillo was trying to throw the ball out of bounds to stop the clock.  Which is weird, because there's still time left. 

And then it hits me.  The foul could be an unsportmanlike conduct penalty (since he was trying to keep the ball away from a defender and stop the clock). which would be unlikely but would cost them 15 yards; or it could be an illegal batting of the ball which would be a 10 yard penalty; or it could be an illegal forward pass which is 5 yards and a loss of down.
Had it been the first one, it would have been 2nd and 18 from around the 30.  The second would have been 2nd and 13 from around the 35.  The call was for the last one.which made it 2nd and 8 from the 46.  But what of the loss of down?  See, this penalty is designed to stop two forward passes on the same play, so lets say he received the ball from Henne and threw it forward to Ginn who got the first down(that makes me laugh, because Ginn would have probably given it to the defender).  In that case, it would have been 5 yards from the spot of the infraction, and it would still be second down; even if Camarillo had gotten enough for the first.
So in this instance, the loss of down didn't matter.  But that 5 yards hurt.  The 2nd down play was incomplete.  Then, there was a false start, followed by another incompletion.  And on 4th down was the interception that was returned for the TD (and underscored by the illegal shift before the pass was even thrown).
It was another "sequence of events" that was set in motion by one dumb play. 

Make the catch!

3rd quarter, Miami lines up Wildcat.  Ronnie runs around and looks like maybe he's gonna throw.  Then, he pulls it down, and sees Fasano wide up.  Ronnie throws it a little high, but Fasano jumps and gets his hands on the ball.  He comes down with it, but I suppose he "heard the footsteps" of the defender and drops the ball for the incompletion that otherwise would have been a 25 yard gain.
That was the extent of his day.  Meanwhile, Jeremy Shockey was catching passes and rumbling with defenders trying to bring him down.
Why doesn't Fasano do that?

Of course, there's more to the story

Miami got the ball to start the second half.  But the football gods chortled at their attempts to win this game.  Again,  sequence of events, and a ref's non-call got in the way.
(1) Henne throws deep to Ginn.  Ginn actually has it in his hands and looks like he might make the catch. 
(2) Except that he's hit and the ball pops out.
(3) It bounces into the air and Sharper grabs it.  Funny how both defenders are still in play but Ginn is on his butt on the sideline, isn't it?
(4) We get down to the goal line, and the ball appears to pop out (its in front of the ref)
(5) Now we see why - Ginn has made his way back and is making an effort to strip the ball
(6) As you can see, he does
(7) From another angle, we can see the ball is out at what appears to be the 1 - Fasano's foot is on the goal line
The refs did review it and the replay "confirmed" it was TD.

Except, as you now know, it was not.  The ball came free and went through the endzone.
It should have been a touchback and Miami's ball at the 20.  Think that would have shifted momentum back to Miami?  Instead its 24-17 Miami, and the momentum is all on the Saints. 
We're less than a minute into the second half.  And there were two Saints scores in a three minute span that defined the game.

The play of the day

Miami had the lead an all the momentum.  It was 24-3, and the Phins had thus far dominated.  There were under 2 minutes left.  Miami was driving.  And then calamity struck.  Above are 6 screen captures that I will take you through.
First, Bess fumbled the ball.  I found it "iffy" and thought he could have just as easily been ruled down and not have had that overturned.  But, nevertheless, the Saints got the ball.
Second, its 3rd and 5 from the 21.  12 seconds left.  New Orleans has no timeouts.  Where might the pass go?  Up the field!  The only choice in this situation was to score a TD.  Miami rushed 5, left in a LB to guard against the underneath stuff - but why?  A TD was all that New Orleans could get.
Third, its Colston's catch at the goal line on the play.  Two guys are hauling him down.  Now, he made the catch and turned.  But as you may be able to tell, the ball is coming loose, and it actually touches the ground a moment later.  So while the officials were correct in that it was not a TD, I would argue that it was not a catch at all because he didn't go all the way to the ground with the ball.  It should have been incomplete.  In any event, the officials stopped the clock to review it.
Fourth, its a confusing moment on the field.  The ref at this moment still hasn't made the call, and the Saints are lined up for what?  The PAT?  A FG?  My presumption is the PAT.   In any case, they have their field goal unit on the field.   Assuming the ruling is that Colston is down, its first and goal at the 1, 5 second remaining, and the clock will start to run as soon as the ref puts the ball on the field.  Its highly unlikely that the Saints would line up and get a play off AT ALL, and it would be impossible for them to get the offensive unit on the field.

The Dolphins coaches *should have* sent the defense out there.  If the Saints tried the field goal, you concede the 3 points - heck even with the special teams out there, a block was unlikely.  It was more likely that time would expire and the half would end without getting the play off.  AND, you had nearly two minutes from the time Colston made the catch until the ref made the call.  Why in the heck couldn't you decide that sooner?  Why does Miami have 7 players on the field?  The one thing you DO NOT want to do is give up a TD here.  Keep the goal line defense out there and don't let them score.  The momentum shift between them getting what they thought was a late TD and having to scramble to get a field goal off would be HUGE.
Fifth, right after the ref made the call, here's Sparano on the sidelines couldn't be....a timeout???!!!!  WTF?  Why would you give them another opportunity to score?  Now they can send out Brees.  The clock would have been running.  You are essentially giving them an opportunity to score.  Why?
And finally, in spite of the two minute delay AND the timeout, Miami was unprepared for the high school play of QB stretching out 1 yard for a score.  BTW, I'm not entirely certain Miami had 11 on the field in any event, though I didn't count.
Miami went into the locker room still up 24-10, but now reeling from a huge turn of events that was entirely avoidable.  Sparano's comments afterward were perplexing.  He didn't think they would score.  They wouldn't have - if you had let the clock run and sent the defense out.
And that was the play of the day....

How do you spell bust?

G-I-N-N (J-U-N-I-O-R)
2 catches in a big game, AND a big tip that led to a TD?
Dude, have a seat.

Disappointing, disheartening, demoralizing

Yesterdays loss was all of those things.

The phins have now lost all 4 games against "good" teams and had a chance to win any or all if 3 of them (they were not going to beat Atlanta).

But yesterday stung a lit because Miami played so well for the better part of the half before imploding.