Saturday, October 01, 2011

Random thoughts

  • The Dolphins are struggling to sell tickets, and the owner claims he's "losing money" ... I am highly skeptical about that statement, because I have shown in the past that there is a revenue stream each and every year based on profit sharing - otherwise why would you own a team? Now, I might believe that he's still paying off the stadium construction debt (from H Waynes improvements), so there could be more burden. Or its also possible he's making less than before, so that's "losing" right?

  • I heard Brandon Marshall this week say things like "I need to focus." Really? After 8 weeks of doing your job (since the lockout ended), you need to actually focus on doing your job? No wonder this team has issues.

  • The dolphins obviously have a plethora of needs, so this week they signed....a running back. Where they are fairly deep. Woohoo! World Championship here we come! BTW, Daniel Thomas won't play this weekend (he's listed as "questionable" but didn't fly to San Diego, gee I wonder if he'll play).

  • Vontae Davis is out - again (he, too, didn't make the trip). I suspect the Chargers will put whoever their best receiver that's active (they have a lot of injuries) on Nolan Carroll and he'll have 200 yards receiving.

  • One of the local sports yak hosts was talking about LA as a destination for an NFL franchise (the consortium has gotten funding to build a new stadium, and they expect to be up and running in time for the 2013 season). He was wondering what it will be like for fans in a city whose team moves there (the NFL won't expand - they'll move). He reminded us that San Diego, Minnesota, and Jacksonville top the list of candidate teams. Then, he went on to talk about the Fins. Now the two thoughts weren't connected, but for a couple of moments I pondered the scenario that the Dolphins might be interested. See my first comment about losing money - what owner wouldn't at least consider the prospect of moving into the second-largest market? And it happens to have a corner on glitz and glamour - which is what Mr. Ross seems to be all about. Hey, I'm just saying. Just to be clear, its all speculation on my part

  • People have asked me what *I* think will happen this year with the Fins. I think Sparano will stay around for the entire season. But, I think - barring a miracle - he will be released at season end. Jeff Ireland will stay, because he's ingratiated himself with Mr. Ross. He even took the position of flying out to California during the courting of Harbaugh, in support of his boss and in conflict with his friend. He hasn't spent money this season, apparently following a mandate from Ross. And while the (lack of) talent falls on him, its part of the direction. He's doing what he's told, in a way.

  • On the topic of talent. Except maybe for QB, there are lots of guys who have what it takes to play at the NFL level. Granted, there are some who are superior to others, but there's enough talent to make up 32 decent teams. It comes down to whether you have the right mix of "better" players, have some cohesion, and whether you have a great QB.

  • Over the years, I said it was like 80% players, 10% luck, and 10% coaching that lead to success. But of that 80%, maybe 50% is the QB play. So if you don't have that, you've got NOTHING. The packers won it all last year with backups and who-dats because they had superior QB play.

  • The Dolphins might not be aligned with their coach anymore, and besides, his strategy of kicking field goals and playing defense hasn't really worked that well, so you've potentially lost that 10%, and for whatever reason luck has been a 'bad' for them. And that leaves the players. Without a QB, that's a lost cause. So, the odds are stacked against this team.
  • Wednesday, September 28, 2011

    What's up with that?

    The dolphins announced some "layoffs" today. And they did NOT include anyone named Ireland or Sparano.

    They did include people involved with marlins ticket sales or stadium operations for baseball.

    Apparently, they also included a guy who I like and respect who worked in the dolphins media department. Why him? I have no idea but it bugs me in a way.

    I mean, Stephen Ross is still paying off the smelly tuna's salary (for a job he never actually did) and then lets go of at least one decent, hard working guy who was a loyal member of the team.

    Seems kind of wrong to me.

    Fins radio

    Even though I no longer do a show on finsradio, I keep tabs on the goings on that are going on.

    There are some good, entertaining shows.

    And on the finside is changing days. This week they have a beat writer for the post. That ought to be fun.

    Finsradio's On The Fin Side Moves To Wednesdays!

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    Changing tides

    I read some quotes from a couple of players this week along the lines of "we still believe in Sparano." And then there was a quote from JT that said the team needs to practice harder and one from Bush who said something like the team needs to do more offensively (coupled with a veiled need for more practice).

    And those got me to thinking about how players really perceive Sparano. An insider tipped me off to the fact that more than a few players are totally aware of the offseason shenanigans around their coach, and thought he was a 1 year coach. Essentially meaning that it was a win ... Or else scenario.

    And so at 0-3 I asked if that meant players were ready to give up on Sparano. Silence followed by a company line about being professional speaks volumes.

    I would not be surprised to see the tides turn soon. It's an easy leap to just giving up on the coach.

    Oh and by the way Ross made a comment this week that Sparano wasn't "keeping up his end of the bargain" whatever the heck that means. Think players don't pay attention to the lack of confidence by the owner?

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    Losing cheap

    During the preseason, the Tuesday Morning QB on ESPN's page 2 talked about "losing cheap" versus "winning expensive"....

    A little context here. In other sports, baseball in particular, one team can go out an spend wildly on free agents and have a very bloated payroll. While another team might go out and spend maybe 25% of that. The high payroll team will likely be in contention, and will sell out many games. The low payroll team will not be anywhere near contention and will have a lot of empty seats.

    But who makes more money? Surprisingly, they both make a profit due to revenue sharing. And while the high payroll team makes a higher number, the lower payroll team will also garner a nice profit. As a percentage of what they expend, the lower payroll team often does better.

    Now football is different due to the salary cap. But in this year's - and next year's - cap, there some wiggle room. While the NFL as a whole has to spend 90% of the cap space, there are some teams with payrolls that exceed the cap, meaning that they are 100%+, so another team can be 90%-. And even that overall aggregate 90% is a little misleading. There are still some back salaries to pay out, sometimes to players no longer around. And that means there are some teams that went more youth, no high priced free agents, and have a lot of cap space.

    Miami is one such team. And they reportedly have at least $8 million in cap space. So maybe they go 4-12. But with revenue sharing, they will make money anyway. Maybe not as much as the Cowboys or Redskins, but Mr. Ross will post a profit.

    And so in a way they are "losing cheap" because he decided to take less of a profit, and spend less. Thus, as a percentage of what he spends, he's doing okay.

    Sources inside tell us that he instructed Ireland to not spend on free agency, to let it ride and grow the team with a youth movement.

    Who knows what he has in mind...but like many of you, I am losing faith in the Dolphins ownership to to the right thing and try and win games - rather than strictly treating it as a business...

    Tell us, Chad

    I know its been all over, but I love this quote from Schmoe Montana:

    I know one thing about these guys, they're not going to stop quitting

    Sunday, September 25, 2011


    There were a fair number of good games on Sunday - evenly matched teams playing games that featured some quick scores and that were fun to watch. And then there was the Dolphins "game"....sure it was a close affair, but ending 17-16 with the pitiful play by both teams actively trying to give the game away? If you happen to live outside of Miami or Cleveland and don't have DirecTV, be thankful.

    Given the offensive performance, Miami would have been blown out by a good team. In a word, they stunk, and couldn't beat my grandmother. And on defense, the ONLY reason it stayed close was because Colt [edit: McCoy] had a really tough first half - don't kid yourself and think Miami was good on defense. They weren't.

    Okay, so I had Tivo'd the game and started watching about two hours in. I did the old "fast forwarding through the cover-your-eyes-awful parts" and made it to the third quarter, before I had to leave for a couple of hours. And so I stopped watching and came back to it later. And it was such an odd feeling because I was totally apathetic. I felt no emotion, and though I was curious about who won, I didn't feel any angst in not seeing it.

    Funny thing: Dan Lebatard had an article in today's paper about how a loss would propel most fans into the realm of tuning it out - I was already there.

    Anyway, as far the game itself, the Phins allowed, I dunno, 7 sacks in the game, and I think they failed to get to Brennan (or at least that's how it felt). Colombo looked bad. Carey and his replacement Jerry looked bad. Pouncey whiffed a few times. And Jake Long? Wow, he is a shell of himself. They should give him more time to rehab - he is not doing much out there....

    Nolan Carroll started for the injured Vontae Davis. And once again, Sparano should have cut him during the game. His performance was a-trow-shus. It was freakin' unbelievable. Jason Taylor was only noticeable when he went offsides, and Cameron Wake was invisible. Does Miami even have linebackers on the roster?

    And of course, they had trouble scoring in the redzone. There were too many penalties.

    The last series for Miami on defense summed up the kind of day they were having (allowed a TD on it). And the last series on offense pretty much summed up the season: Miami got the ball near midfield due to a celebration penalty and a horse-collar tackle. They needed maybe 10 yards to be in Carpenter's range.

    And so they went incomplete deep pass, incomplete deep pass, short pass, interception. The playcalls left me perplexed, except that maybe they were trying to give Henne a chance to win it - y'know put the ball in his hands and win it all in one play. But it just shows what I have been saying for a while now - he is NOT going to win you a game himself!

    I felt bad in a way. Not because they lost, but because late I was, well, I was actually rooting against the Dolphins. Not that I wanted them to lose, just that I felt like my point during this entire offseason was missed by readers, and it validates what I have been saying all along. This team did not get any better, in fact I would argue they got worse.

    Oh and by the way, here's something I have been thinking about: as you look around the league, many QBs have been looking good. Scoring has been up. There's a lot of passing yardage being racked up. And over time, I think you'll see defenses catch up (its not uncommon for offenses to be ahead in the preseason, and this year with the lockout, it makes sense it would happen during the first few weeks of the season). And as it relates to the Fins, Chad Henne looked decent early on, but, its clear that he's not as good as his stats would have you believe.

    So the dolphins are 0-3, and at this point, I would say this season is a total waste. Why? Because it seems clear to me that there will be a house cleaning this offseason. And so the flirting Cap'n Izzy did in nearly firing the Booting Bull (Sparano) and then keeping him just delayed the inevitable.

    A bad season - with no upside - appears to be the storyline. If he had replaced Sparano, at least we'd be building under a new coach. Instead, we're just left to wonder who the next coach will be, whether Ireland will survive, and if the Dolphins will take Luck with the first overall pick.

    Its just so.....stupid.