Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Special Message from the Jason Taylor Foundation

JT Collage

Jason just announced that this upcoming Sunday's Miami Dolphins home game vs. the New York Jets on January 1 at 1:00 P.M. will be the final game of his career. After fifteen amazing seasons, Jason would like to thank each of you for your continued support throughout his entire career, on the field and in the community. Jason greatly appreciates your unwavering dedication and compassion for his football and community endeavors in South Florida and across the nation. Jason, and his wife Katina, look forward to continuing their efforts toward improving the lives of South Florida's youth with the Jason Taylor Foundation. We hope to see you this Sunday at Sun Life Stadium wearing your #99 jersey, cheering proudly for Jason on this special day.


-The Jason Taylor Foundation Staff

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Coaching change

Here's something to chew on: Since Shula "retired" at the end of the 1995 season, Miami has gone through 7 head coaches, and will introduce #8 in short order.

That essentially means that coaching tenure here has been about 2 years, on average, since Shula left.  Obviously having 2 "interim" coaches brings the total way down, but consider that JJ lasted 4 years, Dave 4ish years, and Tony 4ish years.  You need to have more stability than that...

The culture of winning

I'm by no means an expert in the psychology of sport.  But I've done some research into the topic, and heard a few speakers on the topic.

The patterns are that you don't want to lose too often, and you want to make sure that some of your decisions are sound and building on a promise.

At times - in life and in sport - one bad decision begets another, until there's a pattern and a spiral of sorts.

With the Dolphins, you can go back to the decision to "go for broke" late in Shula's career.  The net result was a not-so-great team.  That was followed by hiring JJ, and forcing out the Don.  And that was followed by JJ's passion not being there, but him staying around for one more year - if he could hire Dave as his successor.  Dave was a heck of a nice guy, but couldn't lead the team and quit on them. 

Players loved Bates, but he was let go, and Nicky was brought in - his heart wasn't in it either.  He was all about ego and money, and he had to be convinced to come here.  Then, he leaves the team and there are no serious repercussions.  The next coach (Cam) is part of an exhaustive search.  But the guy brings in some odd things - a little negative energy when he tells players its okay to fail among them.

He gets fired, and next up is the Parcells regime.  Clearly that was a dumb decision from day one, and his people didn't do much to correct the culture either.  And then Parcells left, and there were no repercussions, either.  And there was a bundling of looking for another coach, followed by there being no motivation, and finally the firing of Tony. 

And in a week or two, there will be changes.  Will they be big?  Will they be small?  Who knows?

What I can tell you is that its time for Mr. Ross to stop being Cap'n Izzy Firepants.  He needs to step up and change the culture.  I'll tell you what - if I were the owner I'd try and exorcise the demons of the past.  Go ahead and clean house, and bring together football and business.  Let the fans and media know they're welcome.  Let them video, live blog, tweet, whatever they want.  Let them feel like its not a closed door.  Get rid of all the team-sponsored broadcasts that are unlistenable and unwatchable.  Let the media and fans do it instead - talk about "fair and balanced"

Then, hire someone to coach this team and purge the players who have a connection to the not-too-distant past.  But invite them to be a part of the alumni group. 

Change the logo, maybe update the team colors.  Work a deal with the expiring Sun-Life to embrace the past - maybe call it Miami Dolphins Sun-Life Stadium. 

Its time, in a word, to try and embrace the culture of winning, rather than a culture of "meh"

I am not a fan of the probowl

I see the need to give players their due.  If they're good, they should be adulated, and rewarded.  But the probowl is a bit of a popularity contest that is (a) weighted toward players that have cache, (b) weighted toward players who are on winning teams, and (c) only based on part of the season.

Balloting goes on for about 8 weeks, but misses the last 2 weeks of the season.  Front-runners are always shown, so its easy to manipulate whose in and out if a group of fans vote a certain way...and what tends to happen is that some players get in based on reputation, rather than on actual production.

Now I'm not disappointed that Long and Marshall made the probowl.  Good for them.  But think about it for a moment.  When the season still mattered, Marshall was absent from the offense.  Until recently, Marshall had 3 TDs, and had dropped twice that many; he was the guy you could NOT count on when it mattered.  But he had some good stats overall, and was on a pace to break 1,000 yards (which he has).

Jake Long is a shell of his former self.  Yes, he's playing injured, and yes, he's still one of the best tackles in the league.  But he missed most of 4 games, and parts of two others due to injury.  And he was having trouble with many rushers, and allowed a higher-than-he-had-in-the-past number of sacks. 

That's just my two cents.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Drew Brees and the passing record

A couple of quick takes on Brees breaking Marino's single-season passing record:

(1) Congrats to Drew Brees for being the guy. He's a very good QB, humble, and a nice guy. If anyone takes it, better him than say Tom Brady

(2) Its remarkable that the record stood for this long (since 1984), but it goes to show just how good Marino was.  Especially considering how all the rule changes have had an impact on the game to help more recent QBs.   He was way ahead of his time.  I went to a number of games in that '84 season, and it was incomprehensible how good his passing was.

(3) can you imagine the "what if?" .... little Nicky was trying to decide between Culpepper and Brees.  Brees *really wanted* to come to Miami.  He told friends, family, and reporters (off the record) he thought it was a done deal.  Then Nick decided the shoulder was too much of a risk, asked for another "doctor's" (for all we know it was a guy with a PhD or a witch doctor or something) opinion.  Then, he took Culpepper and told a stunned Brees "no thanks"....what a wanker!   So can you imagine if Brees broke the record here?

-- Of course, on point 3, the Dolphins couldn't possibly do something smart.  They haven't since about 2000.  And even if they had, it would have turned out badly.  We would have an inept OC or something, and everyone would have said "why didn't we sign Culpepper?"

Monday, December 26, 2011

Looking Back At The Pats Game

After looking back and reflecting on the Dolphins game Saturday, I'm not as upset as I was before. Yeah the Dolphins lost the game but I think it will help us out in the long run.

First of all it pretty much guarantees us a top 10 pick and a chance at one of the top 3 QBs in the draft. I like Moore but I think he would probably play the role of caretaker next year and as soon as he throws a pick Dolphins fans will cry for the rookie to start.

Also I like that we were competitive and showed that we could play stout Defense, which will ultimately attract one of the top available coaches. So the loss to the Pats wasn't all bad and will help us in the offseason, plus I would rather us beat the jets and knock them out of the playoffs.

Trade Jake Long?

There's been some chatter about potentially trading Long while he still has value.  Of course, he can't be traded until after he heals, but its an intriguing prospect.  And it goes along with my thinking that the Dolphins would be relatively smart to trade up to get whatever QB they will covet - and allow the prospective team to pick ANY player (or two!) off the roster in trade - even Long.

Now as for trading Long, I actually find this amusing.  Why?  Because I can go back in history to 2008; Miami is sitting with the #1 overall pick.  There was a lot of talk about which offensive or defensive lineman Miami might go with - and very little regard for taking a QB.  Miami takes Long #1, and Matt Ryan goes 3rd.

Protect the blind side.  You'll be set for years to come.  The guy is a stud.  A lock.  He's going to be great.  And sure enough, he made the probowl all three of his first seasons.  But he wasn't protecting anyone, and we're already seeing the body breaking down.  He had that shoulder injury that probably should have curtailed last or this season.  He's had knee problems, and now back problems, and he tore his biceps.

And now at the end of year 4, we're talking about trading him.  If all you got out of the #1 overall pick was 4 years (even if 3 of them were great), would you consider that to be a wasted pick?

And one last thing: with only one game remaining this season, why did the fins even bother to put him on IR?  They've gone into games over the last few years with a roster spot open - why did they make a big deal of this?

A thought about coaching and organization

I find it interesting that most of the coaches that Wayne interviewed - both after Dave left and after Nick left - have had some success in the NFL. Its by no means a sure thing that Mike Tomlin, Ron Rivera, or any of those guys would have matched that level of success here.  But it still makes you wonder a bit.

As for the organization, I remind you (again!) that Parcells was the candidate that Atlanta wanted as well, but he came here.  And Atlanta went another direction.  And...which team is in better shape today?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

10 most absurd Dolphins moments

I thought I would provide you with what I think are the 10 most absurd
Dolphins moments over the last 15 years:

10. Parcells not talking to the media while he ran this football team
9. Trading too much to get Ricky Williams, then Ricky quitting on
Dave, then coming back for Nick.
8. The 62-7 loss to the Jags in the playoffs
7. "We got a shot. We got a chance to be something special."-- Jimmy
6. Cam's infamous quotes: "I want them to fail forward, fast" and
"We drafted the Ginn family"
5. Wanny getting flustered at a press conference and saying "What do
you want me to do?"
4. Dan Marinos 2ish weeks as the VP of football operations
3. The interplay between Jimmy and Danny. Jimmy took away audibles,
and wanted to trade Danny; but Danny was getting special treatment,
like flying on Wayne's private jet to away games.
2. Anything Nick did in his two years (whether it was berating
someone, telling people what they wanted to hear, or trying to throw a
challenge flag), but for its sheer audacity "I'm not going to Alabama"
-- and then informing his staff he was already gone, by text message.
1. The sham that was last January. Ross openly courted Jim Harbaugh
while Sparano was still employed

Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone.