Saturday, July 30, 2011

And let the hate mail begin

Every so often, I get asked, essentially, WTF? when it comes to my posts and my opinion.

And every so often, I choose to talk about it, and that's usually when I can safely predict that I'll get hate mail: you're not a real fan, you're an idiot, you're a 10 year old, you're in your mother's basement, bizarrophins (love that one, thanks!), and my personal favorite "quite obviously insane."

So here's the deal: I am a dolphins fan. I have been for all of my life. I followed them religiously until the early 2000s, and was so in tune with the team that I could sit and predict what plays they would call given any situation on both offense and defense. Later, I actually wrote a program to do that: I charted plays and refined my system over the course of a couple of seasons. I knew them as well as they knew themselves.

I live in South Florida, so I sometimes would run into players around town. I got to know a few at least a little. I've met a few more recently. And over time, I met a few coaches and people in the NFL. They will sometimes throw me a bone on the condition I don't give away my source. So I do usually have facts on my side.

Now as for my opinion. Well, my site has been around for over 17 years. The first, I dunno, 12 were a fun look at the team. I was upbeat and positive, and the word "bitchin" was totally a tongue-in-cheek joke. I didn't generally bitch about the team.

But over the last 5ish years, things have taken a turn for the bizarre. I know most of the other guys who run websites choose to remain positive, and upbeat, and are genuinely hoping for the best.

But I gave up on that. I was tired of always stating "hey its okay, they did x and it will work out because...." This team has lost its way, and I decided to call them out for what I feel are the wrong moves. How can I say its okay when Dave gets a contract extension for essentially underperforming, when Nicky lies, when Cam "fails forward fast" and when Parcells undermines the success of the team? And the owner makes the team the laughing stock just after the season ends?

And now, here we are with a team in a new era that still is looking for answers. With the roster changes, we're at over 95% roster turnover since Parcells, Ireland, and Sparano took over. Are they better now? Who knows? But simply changing some of the parts doesn't inspire confidence in me.

I've been saying since before Dan Marino retired that they need a QB. But coach after coach has ignored the position. And while this regime made an attempt with Henne, I still say he is NOT the answer and this team is still going nowhere.

And I will continue to say so. Controversial? Of course. But I'm nothing if not contrite. If I'm wrong, I will eat crow.

So there you go.

Let me see if I understand...

The dolphins finished 7-9 and 30th in offense. RB play was good. Receiver play was okay. TE was a gap. O-line was up and down. QB play was bad.

So they replaced the coordinator with a guy who was on team worse than the fins. They drafted for lineman and running back and picked up a guy in Bush who has been up and down but is oft injured but definitely has talent.

They left the receivers and tight ends alone. The TE situation is puzzling but you can only fill so many holes I suppose.

And then QB. They didn't find an upgrade. Rather they got a guy who only had a few wins and twice as many picks as TDs.

In summary, they didn't address their true needs and instead replaced parts that were working, and bought a box of band-aids.

I was kind of hoping for a bit of a wow factor here as training camp started. Instead it was mire if a yawn...

Channing Crowder

As you may have realized, I was a fan of Channing's. Why? Because he spoke his mind, was smart, and because he was a good player on the field.

I know that many would argue he wasn't that great and think he was out of position on pass coverages. I respectfully disagree and think schematically he was used in a way that allowed Dansby and the safeties to make more plays.

But no matter. The dolphins purged his salary yesterday, and I think the defense will suffer as a result.

And that means the fins have purged everyone who had their own radio show last season. Coincidence? Hmmmmm.

Friday, July 29, 2011

How do you like them apples?

I went on record as saying that the Dolphins wouldn't get someone Chad Henne would have to look over his shoulder at, much less trade for one.  The Dolphins tried to prove me wrong, and made at least an effort to get a guy in Kyle Orton.  But when that didn't work out, they signed Matt Moore.  To which most of you are saying "who?"

Of course, Stephen Ross threw his coach and GM under the bus and said that they really, oughta, maybe, like win now, you know (or else?) and added that he has "full confidence" in Henne.  He went on to say that he sees Henne as a leader because he organized practices and such.  Now I have to laugh because he certainly couldn't have contact with players until earlier this week, so how does he *know* this?  Heck I'm more likely to know, and my understanding is that it wasn't Henne who brought them together, but rather Jake Long.  

And then there's the simple fact that the NFL has changed.  Passing has become more important than running.  You have to be able to get the ball down the field. Defenses have gotten faster and bigger, so its hard to run - you must use a short passing game, with the occasional long pass to keep defenses off balance.  But apparently our coaches didn't get that memo.  And as a friend of mine - who happens to be a Pats fan - said to me this morning "I guess with Bush the Dolphins are going to be in the Wildcat all the time now?"  

Sigh.  It might be a long year.  But Andrew Luck may be in our future.


0? Really?


Can it be true? Is Reggie Bush really gonna wear #0? That would be cool, 'cause it would represent the number of Heismann Trophies he has in his possession, and how many national championships USC has to its credit in his tenure there.

QB??

Currently on the Dolphins depth chart, the QB position looks like this:
Chad Henne
Tom Brandstater
Pat Devlin (R)

And with all the big names off the market, it looks like what I said is likely to be true: Henne is your starter, and the Fins will not bring in anyone to compete with him.**  Now its down to finding a decent backup.  There are about 30 QBs currently available in free agency.  Most make you yawn when you see the names, so get ready to see a name like Jake Delhomme as the backup.  

Now as for the **, I am going to give some credit to Ireland for reportedly trying to get an upgrade in Orton.  Given the circumstances, and how Orton came in and opened training camp with the Broncos, I have to wonder if there was less to this story than reporters made it out to be.  Perhaps Miami inquired.  Perhaps they got permission to talk contract parameters with his agent.  But I suspect there wasn't much more to it than that.  Rumors are a funny thing. and "blowback" (where one person reports on something, and everyone picks it up and reports on it as the truth) happens a lot in these situations. 


I don't get that

The Patriots are usually a team that values team over "me," a team that will go out on a limb for a guy once in a while - but its a limited risk.  And for whatever reason, it works out.

And this week they signed Chad Ochocinco, which kind of fits.  He can run his mouth, but can play.  I imagine Bellicheat will get him to behave like Moss did. 

But they also signed Albert Haynesworth, which is puzzling on many levels.  The patsies ostensibly run a 3-4 (though they are not tied to that and will mix formations and players up at times).  They have Vince Willfork who is a beast in the middle. And Hayneworth doesn't play NT in any case - he complained loudly about that last season.  And so far he has been completely about "me" - in fact last offseason, he told Mike Shannahan that he would do whatever the team needed - and apparently that was just so he could come in and get a bonus.  Then he proceeded to take that money and underperform, some would say intentionally.

And lest we forget, he's the guy who famously stomped on someone's neck, as you may recall.  

Here's to hoping that it all blows up on dear Bill, and the Patriots finally get a dose of reality.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Interesting

The Dolphins did, in fact, execute a trade to get Reggie "I once had a Heismann Trophy, but now I don't" Bush.  We don't know what they gave up, but I'd have to say that was pretty gutsy and somewhat bold.  The guy is a playmaker.  And he'll make some exciting things happen.

And...they have not traded for Kyle Orton.  And depending on who you talk to, it either ends with a "yet" or "because it wasn't meant to be"...He's in Denver practicing with his team.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Orton sweepstakes

I know the fan base is in a frenzy over Kyle Orton.  He's the next coming of....I dunno....Gus Frerrote?  And that's just my point.  

While he had a big year in Denver two years ago when he and Brandon Marshall teamed up, he hasn't been "all that" otherwise.  He came to the Bears, and had trouble beating out Rex Grossman, and then holding onto the job.  He was demoted to third string - twice.  An aging Brian Griese was ahead of him.  A Chris Leak (who is now out of the NFL) was ahead of him.  He had some good games and Lovie Smith hoped to keep him around, but the GM traded him AND a #1 pick for Jay Cutler.  

His career stats read like this: he is 32-30 as a starter.  He has a 79.6 QB rating, and has thrown for 12,774 yards with 71 TDs and 48 interceptions. 

Those are not the world's greatest numbers.  Adequate?  Yes.  Good?  Not so much.  I'd love nothing more than to see him succeed here (assuming he comes), but I'm not sure if that's a huge upgrade over Henne.   But we, as fans, want the team to make great strides so we look at that and HOPE it works out.

I'm just not convinced, and hope the team doesn't give up too much to get him...but I will say I'm wrong and it looks like the fins will trade for a QB, who is likely an upgrade over Henne.

Picture in the herald

There's something weird about the attached picture. What is it, you ask?

It's the simple fact that reporters lined up across the street from the team facility to get shots/info about the return to work and Dee came out to talk with them.

Now, I understand it could easily have been a media circus at any NFL facility. And his act of coming out to see the media was a nice gesture.

But it underscores how "removed" the media is from the dolphins. They used to simply be allowed into the media room on one side of the building. Now they have an area that's not in the training facility.

So the only way to get news is to line up on the public right of way across the street. And have the CEO come to you with prepared comments.

"and we hope fans will come out in droves and purchase tickets!!'"

Monday, July 25, 2011

Puzzle?

The picture shown here appeared part on NFL.com's website, talking about free agency.

I saw it and immediately thought "the Dolphins?  a puzzle?  No, more like an enigma!"

[editor's note: what Dave is trying to express is that underperform regularly]

But the good part is that right now - everyone is undefeated and anyone can win it all!

Back To Football! - a note from Steve...

Dear Dolphins Fans,


Welcome back to football! We are ecstatic that we can now turn our attention to the 2011 season that lies ahead. 

 

I want to assure you – as both a fan and as the owner of the Dolphins – that we share the same goal.  We want nothing less than to bring a Super Bowl Championship back to South Florida.  That's always been my commitment. I feel even stronger about it now.  You deserve nothing less.

 

Our coaches and players are eager to kick off the 2011 campaign in a big way.  Thanks to the hard work of Jeff Ireland and our football staff, we were able to infuse our squad with a potent combination of speed, power and athleticism during the 2011 NFL Draft. With Coach Sparano's relentless dedication leading the way, we will build a smart, tough and disciplined team. We will continue to be active and aggressive in our ongoing effort to assemble a strong, championship caliber team.

 

Thank you for all you do for the Miami Dolphins. I am proud and honored to be a part of this storied franchise and appreciate your loyal support of our team. I look forward to seeing you at Sun Life Stadium in 2011.

 

Go Dolphins!

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Steve Ross


[note: please insert your own jokes, I'm just passing this along to you]

Allrighty then

Looks like their is an agreement and football operations will resume as soon as tomorrow.

It will be a chaotic few days with free agency and training camps going on at mostly the same time. GMs still don't know the agreement and certainly agents will be confused early on.

The dolphins will report on Thursday officially, though they can arrive Wednesday and get down to discussing recertification if the NFL PA.

The jets btw have already given everyone who received a pay reduction a check to cover the difference and are now back to full salary. I'll be curious to see if/when the dolphins follow suit.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Paul Soliai issue

I read Armando's article about Paul Soliai, and thought it was worth commenting on it: I told you when they put the franchise tag on Soliai it was a mistake.  They didn't have to do it, with a lockout looming, and there being restrictions after the league year end.  It was unlikely he would sign elsewhere in a short span of time - and with a limited resume it would have seemed a longshot for him to get a top-dollar deal with any team, anyway.

But tag him they did.  And now he's "owed" 10% of the team's salary cap - so those other 52ish (not sure if they expanded the roster) players get the rest.  Or they could sign him to a long-term deal, but he'll have to be well compensated, having been tagged.

And frankly neither they, I, nor you know if he's worthy of that kind of money.  Maybe he will, but who knows?

So, we heard recently that the Dolphins may be $20 million or so under the cap.  Take away this $12 and they only have another $8 to spend.  Ya ain't getting any big-names with that, since the rules are spelled out about how the money can be used (whereas before you could play a shell game).

Given that, it seems to me this is just another in a long line of mis-steps with the furious enigma (Ireland).