Tuesday, December 31, 2013

This Team Needs None Other Than George S. Patton

How could this team play that last game with no sense of urgency?

If we lost 27-24 on a 57 yard field goal in overtime, I don't believe the fan base would have the amount of outrage it has now.

The fans are pissed off!!!

And who could blame them?

We bought in during free agency and the draft.

We were exhilarated after a 3-0 start.

We were dumbfounded with Bullygate.

We were patient with the organization.

We found new hope and life after 3 wins in early December.

We bought back in hook, line and sinker.

We said "Ok, we still got the Jets at home" after getting crushed in Buffalo.

We looked at all the scenarios available to get that invitation to the dance.

Throughout it all, we were there for this team. We still loved and supported them.

Why? Because we believed they would at the very least show up and fight for us if not for themselves.

How foolish were we? How naïve could we be?

And now? We want heads to roll!

All, one, two, three or four heads tumbling down the stairs like the beginning of the movie "Two on a Guillotine".

We will not be satisfied until we exact some revenge from those that lead us over this cliff now known as the 2013 Season.

We have no clue what the actual problem is. We don't care!!!

If the players didn't care, then why should we!!!

What we do know is that this team needs a good kick in the ass!!

And who is going to give it to them? The fans??

They would if they could.

You guys on the Dolphins better realize that you just completely let us down!

Completely!!!

If I could, I would bring General Patton back from the dead to kick your asses and pull your heads out of them!

No excuses, just results!

You get paid pretty damn good! You eat pretty damn good!

We pay you for that!!!

Not Ross, we do with tickets and hats and tee shirts and jackets and jerseys and DIRECTV.

And that Jet game is how you paid us back.

Thanks.

Either Ross or Ireland or Philbin or whomever shows up for actual work better start kicking some asses around there because we have had enough!

Oh, Happy New Year!!

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com

Seriously?

Armando Salguero posted to his blog that Mr. Ross was fully prepared to keep gm and coach. And that he was taken by surprise when they lost the last two and missed the playoffs. And now he has to think about what to do.

I would think that as an owner, you have to always be in tune with what's going on. He chalked the bills loss to a "bad game"... And then was shocked when they lost to the jets. And he had no plans for the potential that the people he hired wouldn't or couldn't get it done. So he has to think about it.

Stand pat?  Rebuild?  Somewhere in between?

It seems simple to me: fire them both, hire someone you trust to "run" the football side, and let him hire a gm, and both of them hire a coach. You can and should be involved.

I don't think keeping them both accomplishes anything productive, and may ultimately turn off more fans. Firing Ireland and keeping Philbin possibly makes hiring a gm difficult. Firing only Philbin means a new coach and his system may not work with the personnel. And...do you trust Ireland to hire the guy?  Or do you hire him and "force him" on Ireland?

And I still wonder what he knows about bully gate?

The time it may take for something to happen coupled with owner being perceived (to put it delicately) as out of touch could simply serve to make the situation worse.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The future of the team

Mr. Ross has a lot to think about. The fans (myself included) are calling for a change. And I'm sure he has his own criteria for what to review. Maybe the committees he formed are giving him advice. Maybe Carl Peterson or someone else he trusts is giving advice. We just don't know.

But what we do know is that Ireland has been in charge of the football operation and the personnel. And how well he's done is debatable. Maybe the roster is okay and it's all coaching. Maybe it's somewhere in between.

The question is: does Mr. Ross trust him?  We know he did. But now?

I heard the coach and several players say things like "we're talented and believe we're better than an 8-8 team". And that's all fine and well, but you are what you record says you are. And that's average. Certainly the coaching staff is at least partially responsible. But how much does Mr. Ross hold them accountable?

The right thing for manny fans is to fire them both and move on. But will he?  Won't he? 5 coaches and 1 GM got fired today, bringing the total to 6 vacancies in the nfl. But nothing out of Miami. Does that mean anything?

And then there's still bully gate. A report that implicates gm or coach would certainly make it easy to make a decision.  Clearing them might have a similar effect. Except that Ted Wells was asked by the commissioner to delay his findings until after the Super Bowl, so it's not a distraction.

You have to wonder if Mr. Ross has already seen the report. If he has, will that be a consideration?  And if he hasn't, what if he does decide to keep both, and the report implicates one or both? Then what?

So who knows what he'll do.  It's his team and he can do whatever he wants. Even go out and interview gms and coaches while he still has both on the payroll.  ;)

But it seems like this may take a while...

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lack Of Heart Shows All To Well

Two weeks ago, a team controls their own destiny.

Two weeks ago, their head coach is being vetted for Coach Of The Year.

Two weeks ago was a long, long time ago.

Two weeks ago, this team won an emotional battle over their perrenial division champion.

Two weeks ago, they were on a roll.

Two weeks ago was a long, long time ago.

With two opportunities to get themselves into position to attain their goals, they wilt like wax flowers in the summer sun.

With two opportunities to move so far ahead of where many thought they would be at the beginning of their quest, they decided not to even show up and attempted to mail it in instead.

The effort and lack of execution these last two games is completely unacceptable.

When I watched today's game on TV and saw the players on the sideline, other than Tannehill picking his nose, nobody looked to be digging deep inside themselves or pushing eachother to perform better.

They looked disinterested at times. They didn't look like a group of guys knowing that this is it!!!

After an incomplete pass in the 3rd Quarter, when the game was certainly still winnable, our D backs just walked back to their positions.  3 guys, 2 feet away from each other and no high fives, no pats on the helmut or butt.

No life.

Where was the emotion?

Where was the burning desire to succeed?

Where was the fight?

Where are we headed?

Two weeks ago, we were headed in the right direction.

But two weeks ago seems like a lifetime ago now.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com

Just one more thing

My thanks to Dave for letting me post my opinions. I know my last post wasn't so popular, but I certainly can't be alone - since it appeared 400 or so fans showed up for a win-and-you're-in game against the hated jets.

Here's to hoping that the owner makes whatever corrections he can to return this team to greatness!  I'm telling you, a loss was probably better than a win for the long-term health.

And now, we wait for the report from Ted Wells on bully-gate.

Its half-time and we are being BEAT by the JETS

I am sick to my stomach.  The Ravens are losing bad - we have a real chance to get into the playoffs.   AND, our receivers cant catch...  Our Defense can't stop Geno Smith (Really?)

I am going to the bath room to vomit. 

I vomit my unwavering confidence that this was a good team. 

I vomit my faith in the coaching staff.  

I vomit this team's desire to win against all odds!


Friday, December 27, 2013

Jet Week! Now It Gets Personal.

You would think that with a playoff spot on the line the stakes are high enough.

Not this week. Not when its combined with another "Jet Week".

Now the stakes got steep and piled high.

Then let's factor in that I live in Central Jersey, surrounded by Jet fans.

Every last one of them pushing the limits of obnoxious antics. Seeing how far they can go or need to go just to piss you off.

I had a funny, no uneasy is more like it, feeling that this last game of the year was going to come down to us having to beat those dreaded members of "Gang Green" to get into the playoffs.

And sure enough here we are.

The last game setting up a must win at all costs situation.

Most fans live for these weeks. Some even thrive in them.

I could, that is, as long as it wasn't you know who.

You see, up here in Jersey dealing with idiot Jet fans is one thing. Having intelligient conversations with knowledgeable Jet fans is another.

But having to deal with my best friend that I have had for my entire life is a completely different animal all together.

Chooch, that's his nickname, is a Rams fan, mainly.

I say mainly because he also roots for whomever we are playing and especially the Jets.

Oh boy, we have quite a history together.

Starting in the late 70's, when his college roommate's uncle worked the turn styles at Shea and let us in for $5 to coming down to visit me when I lived in West Palm during the 80's.

In that span we have been to 13 Miami Dolphin games together.

Guess what our record is when he attends?

Its not good. Its actually atrocious.

With Chooch in the seats we are 1-12. I kid you not.

That includes games at Shea, the Meadowlands, Foxboro, the Orange Bowl and Joe Robbie. 1-12.

Luckily, Chooch is not  going to the game on Sunday. But unfortunately for me, he isn't headed for the moon either.

No, Chooch will be waiting. No, not waiting, more like lurking.

Like a cheetah waiting to pounce on his prey.

If we lose this game, I will get the call:

"What happened? I didn't see the game. So tell me, what happened?" Then a pregnant pause followed by a very loud venimous "J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!! That's what happened!"

This game is not only important for getting into the playoffs, this game can make my entire off season a living hell!!!

God, if you are listening, please I beg you, for my own sanity, let us win this game.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com


Thursday, December 26, 2013

The dissenting view

I am one of those people. You know, the ones who (gasp!) would rather the dolphins don't make the playoffs. Sound like sacrilege?  Read on.

First off, the whole tie breaking process is utter nonsense!  WTF is all of this silliness about teams winning and losing that don't directly impact them?

This is a fairly flawed team in a mediocre AFC. My fear is that the team is more like the so-so team that struggled to win some of the games this year, and possibly last weeks game showed their true mettle. Making the playoffs may simply validate Jeff Ireland's confidence in himself, and that his decisions were all good.  And that could very well mean the team mostly stands pat and does nothing of consequence this offseason. And that, in turn, means that the same flawed team returns next season...

As for Ireland, the fact that the team's o-line has played better without Long and Martin (two fellows who were highly drafted), and without Incognito (a free agent he signed) and seemed not to have a huge drop off when Pouncey (another top pick) missed a couple of games. I could go on. But I'll stop there. He has no idea what he's doing. And should be held accountable for the teams flaws rather than getting another chance to build on *this*...

Then on to the flaws. They struggled against almost everyone this season. I'd like to call out a couple of what you call quality wins:

  • Cincinnati had Baltimore the following week, and looked lackluster for most of the game. Yes Miami won. But the situation leading up to the safety was pure luck
  • Miami was fortunate to face Indianapolis in the 2nd week; Luck hadn't quite come in to form and he had 4 bad passes at the end
  • Against the pats a few weeks ago, the story goes that the who dat that made the pick didn't have a clue what the defensive call was. So he just stood there, looking lost. Brady threw the ball likely not expecting someone in the nfl to be that lost.  And the ball comes more or less to him. Talk about a lucky break. 
And then there was Pittsburgh. The steelers had an unlucky break, as Brown stepped out after he got past the last defender. 

Yes luck plays a part in the nfl. But you can't count on it as a strategy. Take away Pittsburgh and any of the games above and Miami has to win this week, just to get back to 7-9. You simply can't expect the same kind of luck to happen again next year....

I'm just sayin'.  So as much as it hurts - for the greater good I say go jets!!!!



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

It Was Exactly 42 Years Ago To Date That I Became A Dolfan

Merry Christmas Dolfans of the world,

  My name is Carl Leone, I am 55 years old, I live in central New Jersey and have been a Miami Dolfan since Christmas Day 1971. I was 13 years old and hadn't picked out a team yet. Growing up in New Jersey prior to the NFL Ticket on DIRECTV, I could watch the Giants and/or Jets regularly and then the playoffs. That was about it and in those days the Giants stunk and the Jets were fairly decent with Namath.

   So in 1971, my Mother's family came down for Christmas dinner from Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania. Coal mining country. They were all Eagles fans, my brother was and still is a die hard Raider fan, and my Dad hailed the Redskins.

   After opening gifts, we put on the divisional playoff game, Dolphins at Chiefs. The plan was to watch the game and eat dinner afterwards. Best laid plans of mice and men. Everyone else hopped on the Chiefs bandwagon. Having won the Super Bowl 2 years earlier, they were loaded with talent: Len Dawson, Ed Podolak (who had a monster game), Otis Taylor, Jan Stenerud (only kicker in HOF), Curley Culp, Buck Buchanon, Willie Lanier and Emmit Thomas. We had made the playoffs for the first time the previous year, losing to Oakland, but we were road underdogs as you can imagine.  A total of 12 Hall of Famers suited up in this game.

   So just to be antagonistic, I cheered for the Dolphins. That's exactly how and when I became a Dolfan. Christmas Day 1971!!! Just to be argumentative!

   Well the game went into double overtime. Everyone keep saying "We will eat when they score. They are gonna kick a field goal. They have good field position. They are gonna make this one."  For over one extra hour that's all that was shouted back to the kitchen when my Mom would announce "The turkey is ready. Lets eat."  Finally, Garo Yepremian split the uprights! But the damage was done. All across America, over cooked turkey was served.  I, however, sat down with the biggest dried out turkey eating grin on my face and the love affair began.

   The following week we shut out the Colts at home and went to our first Super Bowl. Wow, 2 weeks and I am in the Super Bowl. Not bad for a rookie fan.

   The next year was magical. I would invade my high school library to read the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, anything that would cover the Dolphins in any way shape or form. Week after week, we won. Gym class was exciting, walking the halls was exhilarating, everyone was becoming aware of my devotion to the Miami Dolphins. I was elected class wit upon graduation, so I was pretty popular and funny. Everyone enjoyed my company. And now they all knew alright, Leone is a Dolfan! Except we weren't called that back then.

   We go undefeated and win the Super Bowl, 17-0! The next year we go 15-2 and win the Super Bowl again! In two years and three weeks, we won 2 Super Bowl Championships out of three Super Bowl appearances! Talk about timing is everything. In my first 107 weeks as a Dolfan, our record was 40-3!

   The next year, 1974, with Czonka, Kiick and Warfield announcing they were leaving for the greener pastures of the defunct World Football League, we fell into the Sea of Hands at Oakland and the streak of 3 consecutive Super Bowls ended. For the next 30 years we have only 2 losing seasons. That's absolutely incredible to think about but we went 34 years with only 2 losing seasons. And I was along for this glorious ride.

   I feel blessed to be a Dolfan. I did live in West Palm Beach during the 1980's and attended 90% of our home games including the 1984 AFC Championship. From the Orange Bowl to Joe Robbie to Pro Players to Sun Life, been there, won that.

   We used to be the winningest franchise in all 4 major pro sports. We did have the highest regular season record amoungst them all. The last 9 years have been difficult to say the least. Only 2 winning seasons. But I have the pride of knowing what we were and what we will be again. I have the faith that the glory will be regained, the luster returned and the respect that came with wearing the Aqua and Orange rejuvinated. We aren't that far away.

  To all my fellow Dolfans, keep the faith. Don't forget the day you became a Dolfan and lets make 2013-2014-2015 a time to remember and savor for a lifetime!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971 
carldleone@aol.com            

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

To all Dolfans,

May the peace that the Lord's birth brought to the world over two thousand years ago be present in your homes tonight and for another two thousand years!

May your hearts be filled with abundant joy!

May the Love of God and His Holy Spirit descend upon you and your family and friends!

May you travel safely and find your way to those you love!

Thank you to Dave Kennedy for allowing me the opportunity to share my thoughts on our beloved Miami Dolphins! This has been one of the great blessings of my life!

Finally, thank you for being a loyal reader and for allowing me into your lives!

Merry Christmas!

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com

Monday, December 23, 2013

Andy Reid has a tendency of resting starters

In a comment gofins4sb asked if Andy Reid usually sat out his players in meaningless games, I thought it was a good point and decided to make a post about it so more people can see. When he was in Philly he sat his starters out for the 2001, 2004, 2006, and 2010 season (He went 3-1 in the playoff games those seasons after resting starters). When asked if he will sit out his starters this year Reid said this: 
"I haven't made up my mind on how we're going to play it, I've done it a couple different ways, so we'll see how we do that. I'll evaluate all the different situations. I have sat people before, quite a few times actually and benefited from that so we'll look at everything and make sure I have that part evaluated. The obvious benefit is that you rest your guys, you get back feeling fresher than what you were in the end of the season." 
This of course benefits the Dolphins if the Ravens and Dolphins both win and they need the Chargers to beat the Chiefs to get in. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dolphins Have 5 Ways To Make The Playoffs

The first rule of thumb is that if we lose to the Jets at 1 PM then we are out of the playoffs.

Beyond that happening, let's start with Baltimore since they have the tie breaker over us.

If Baltimore beats home standing Cincinnati at 1 PM which will be tough because Cincinnati can still improve their seeding with NE who doesn't play until 4:25 PM..

1) Both Miami and San Diego must win to create three way tie and we win 6 seed due to better conference record. San Diego hosts KC at  4:25 and KC is locked into the 5 seed.

If Baltimore loses to Cincinnati:

2) Win and we are in

3) Tie with Jets coupled with a San Diego loss or tie to KC

If Baltimore ties Cincinnati:

4) Win and we are in

5) And Dolphins Tie Jets then San Diego must tie KC

We do win any 3 way tie breaker with Baltimore and San Diego only, which would be due to better conference record.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com


Dolphins do not get flexed

This makes for an interesting story line, the Dolphins and Ravens play at 1 while the Chargers play at 4. This means that if the Dolphins and Ravens win then the Chargers would be eliminated and have nothing to play for and depending on the result impacts the who gets in. In this scenario a Chargers win means the Dolphins get in and a loss means the Ravens are in. However I believe the Chargers will still play hard do to the fact that they have practiced hard all week and want to end on a good note.

I for one will be doing a lot of scoreboard watching, looking at the Ravens and Bengals game. And if the Dolphins and Ravens both win I will be a big Chargers fan. Even though we lost I still like our chances because the Ravens could easily lose to the Bengals and the Chargers have already beaten the Chiefs and the Chiefs could be resting their starters. Plus we blew out the Jets in New York 3 weeks ago so why not again next week. This is one crazy ride.

That hurt! Go NE and Go SD!

ouch... playoff hunt could be over for us in 3 hours...

I am sick to my stomach.  

Mike Sherman should be fired today.   That was pathetic play calling. 


Friday, December 20, 2013

Two Worries With Buffalo

There are two concerns that have been running around my head the last few days.

They both have nothing to do with Xs and Os.

They have nothing to do with playoff seedings or weather reports or injury updates.

No, something else bothers me a bit.

I hate playing "teams" that basically have nothing to lose.

That's right, the Bills as a team, are gonna have a losing record. That's a lock as they are currently 5-9. The best they can do is 7-9.

So what's to stop them from going for it when they are facing a 4th and 1 from their own 35 yard line?

Nothing!

We can stuff them for 2 downs and then we keep them behind the yard to gain stake as they pick up 8 yards on a 3rd and 9.

Our defense starts to celebrate and high five expecting them to punt leaving us with good field position for our next drive.

But they don't care about failure any more. They throw their cares to the wind, get the crowd fired up and pound out a yard to keep the ball.

I hate that shit!

Now comes my bigger worry.

As a "team" they have nothing to lose. But as "players" they have everything to lose.

That's right. Everyone of these Bills have only 2 more games before the draft and free agency.

Only 2 more opportunities to let their GM and coaches see that their position isn't a problem.

Those 5-9 Bills are gonna be fighting a life and death struggle to keep their jobs.

They may be 5-9 but their motivation is gonna be 14-0!

This is what worries me about this game.

Not whether we are better, because we are a much better team.

But our team better be ready for a war because these Bills are gonna give them one and with unconventional weaponry too.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Poll Question: Should we Boycott WQAM?

    I have loved WQAM my entire adult life.   I love following Florida Sports listening to their comments, positions, and general opinions related to all things sports.

    But lately, especially on the Crowder & Guzio Show, the banter has been more about dressing in off-the-rack suits, taking your gun out to protect the neighborhood, and/or telling contractors of neighbors to get back to work.  When I asked them in a text to pickup the sports talk, I was criticized and read the Sunday Buffalo weather.   I sent another text to express my displeasure and WQAM sent me a text to (and I quote) "shut ur mouth."

So, my question is this:  1.  SHOULD WE BOYCOTT WQAM?   OR, 2.  SHOULD WE AT LEAST BOYCOTT THE 'CROWDER AND GUZIO' SHOW?

    Don't get me wrong.  I love the altruistic, donation of time and energy by Crowder and crew...  That is not sports, but it is worthy of some radio time.  And, I also get that this is entertainment.  So, yuk it up some...

    BUT, when my beloved Miami Dolphins are on a Playoff run (and haven't been for 5 years) or the Heat comes from behind and wins an exciting NBA game last night against the second best team in the East (the Pacers) - why do we have to listen to scolding of workers in the neighborhood for 11 straight minutes?  Jeeze, there is only about 22 minutes of radio time each half hour.  I feel cheated.  I can't get those minutes back. :)

1.  If you think we should boycott WQAM, text 56121 - "Boycott WQAM"

2.  If you think we should boycott Crowder and Guzio, text 56121 - "Boycott C & G"

3.  If you don't think we should boycott at all, text 56121 - "Don't Boycott"







Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Miami does not give up 3 turnovers against Buffalo

     There is absolutely no way the Dolphins turn the ball over 3 times to the Bills in this edition of Miami v  @Buffalo (like they did last time in week 7).   I also believe the Phins Offense is FAR BETTER than the last time these too teams met.  

     Yes, the Bills have a formidable defensive front four.    In fact, the entire defense is very good.  However, Miami is primed to take this thing all the way to the playoffs.  Their Defense is solid and the Dolphins Offense is beginning to look impressive (especially at the ends of the halves)....  I expect Miami to score at least 27 points.

I predict Miami will win 31-17.

Truth is:  This is the most complete Miami Dolphins football team this late in a season I have seen since the mid-1990s -maybe more complete actually.

 
    


From the 2 seed to missing the playoffs

    From the 2 seed to missing the playoffs...   The range of possibilities is amazing with only two games left to play.  Rarely is there this many possibilities this late in the season.

      1.  Win Out, Patriots lose out, and Indy, Bengals, and/or Ravens all finish at 10-6 (or the 2 division winners finish 10-6 anyway) - Miami then wins the division and is the number two seed.

      2.  Lose 2 and miss the playoffs (7% chance the Dolphins could still back in at 8-8 - but who wants that?).


   If the Bengals or Ravens lose this week, Miami can lose a game and still get in relatively easily...

    The only way this should play-out is getting into the playoffs winning 5 straight... It would serve us well - and it would serve notice to the NFL that Miami has finally arrived.  The Dolphins are a very young team with a (soon to be franchise) QB getting better and better.

   Buffalo is a very bad match-up for the Phins.  Their strength is that Defensive Line.  It can be argued that the Bills D-Line is better than the Ravens' or the Bengals'.    So, like Keith Sims says, Miami's coaching staff must keep that defense from teeing-off on Tannehill.   On the other hand, the Dolphins should have no problem beating the Jets.  South Florida's team is far superior.

Monday, December 16, 2013

NFL Network To Replay Dolphins vs Patriots Game On Tuesday

If you missed the game or would like an opportunity to make a copy which includes sound bites from the coaches and players, then thanks to the NFL Network, on Tuesday, you'll have that chance.

Set your DVRs or recorders if you have to work on Tuesday afternoon. The game will be replayed in a condensed 1 1/2 hours on the NFL Network starting at 3:30 EST.

These replays are very well produced and make wonderful keepsakes for years to come.

Pins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com

Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill Has Come Of Age

Yesterday's victory will be remembered as the mile post that Ryan Tannehill finally became an NFL quarterback to be considered amongst the league's elite.

He engineered 2 critical TD drives, with the help of some big catches, at the end of both halves.

That's what elite QBs do. Despite what may have happened previously in the game, they find a way to make plays and put points on the board when everything is on the line.

Ryan Tannehill did just that and now deserves this recognition!

 In the first half, trailing 10-0, with 1:23 left and facing a 3rd and 10 from our own 18 yard line, Tannehill found Rishard Matthews for 24 yards and a first down at our 42 yard line. This play was huge, not only to extend the drive, but we all know what Tom Brady can do with 1:10 left and 3 time outs in his pocket.

Five plays later, facing a 3rd and 2 from the NE 39 with only 40 seconds left, Tannehill fired a strike in stride to Mike Wallace on a skinny post, resulting in a TD and giving the Dolphins some much needed momentum going into the second half.

Tannehill took us 82 yards on only 4 completions in 8 plays in only 59 seconds, without needing a time out.

Wow!

That brings us to the most important drive of his career to date.

After NE scores a go ahead TD with 4:07 left, we get a gift from NE kicker Stephen Gostkowski as he boots the ensuing kick off out of bounds setting us up on our own 40 yard line.

The Dolphins need to gain about 35 yards to get Dolphin kicker Caleb Sturgis a realistic shot at a game tying field goal.

After an incompletion on 1st down, Tannehill gets sacked for a 6 yard loss. With the clock ticking, he finds Brian Hartline for 11 yards at our 45 yard line.

Facing a 4th and 5, with 3:20 left, Coach Philbin decides to go for the 1st down rather than punt the ball back to NE despite having 3 time outs in our pocket. I couldn't have agreed more with this strategy.

 And it pays off! Tannehill, facing a NE blitz, fires the ball outside to Charles Clay on a screen and Clay maneuvers his way through a few Patriots for a much needed first down at the NE 49.

What a great call by our Offensive Coordinator, Mike Sherman!

With 2:10 left, 1st and 10, Tannehill hits Matthews for 3 yards and we hit the Two Minute Warning.

Tannehill next finds Hartline for 8 yards and a first down at the NE 38 yardline. The clock continues to tick.

Now comes the catch of the game.

Needing another 13 yards to get Sturgis a 42 yard field goal attempt with 1:30 left, Tannehill looks for Matthews against press coverage down the left sideline. Tannehill puts the ball perfectly were only Matthews can grab it and Matthews makes a gem of a catch keeping both his feet inbounds.

Gain of 24 yards and a big first down for Miami at the NE 14 yard line!

We are now well within field goal range and I like Philbjn's decision here. With 1:25 left, he could have run the ball 3 times forcing NE to burn TOs and then kick a game tying field goal.

But Philbin trusts his QB. And it pays off again.

After an incompletion, with 1:21 left, Tannehill comes to the line and recognizes the coverage. He knows he will get Marcus Thigpen one on one with a linebacker and that is a mismatch to heaven.

Sure enough, 8 seconds later, Thigpen beats  his man and makes an adjustment to the ball for the game winning TD.

On this drive Tannehill was 7 for 9, hitting 4 different receivers for 60 yards. Philbin showed complete trust in his quarterback and tremendous patience as well by not burning any time outs.

In both drives, Tannehill completed 11 of 17 passes for 142 yards and 2 TDs without running the ball once.

Despite 4 sacks, Tannehill finished the game 25 for 37 to 10 different receivers for 312 yards and 3 TDs with no interceptions. And get this, his career best 120.6 qb rating!

2 huge drives for TDs, with complete trust from his head coach to lead his team to a comeback victory in a game against a first ballot Hall of Fame QB and keeping your team in the playoff picture.

If that doesn't sound elite, then what does?

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dolphins control their own destiny

What a day to be a Miami Dolphins fan. Huge win and now with that Bengals lost we are in control as to whether we make the playoffs. 2 wins and we are in. It is that simple. This is due to the fact we beat the Bengals and they play the Ravens in week 17, so the loser would essentially be eliminated. And that is if the Ravens win the next two versus the Patriots and Lions. It is looking good for our chances to make the playoffs, this is exciting. Plus we are still mathematically able to be the number 2 seed. Crazy season.

Offense and Defense found a way to win

What a game! The Dolphins found a way to beat the New England Patriots and has put them in position to make the playoffs by beating the toughest opponent on their remaining schedule. The offense with 4 minutes left found a way to score a TD off a Tannehill pass and then with a minute and 30 left the defense held in the redzone on 4th down with an INT in the end zone. We have beaten the bully of the 2000s and hopefully this is a sign of things to come.  All that is left is the Bills and Jets.

This has sparked hope throughout the organization and the city and this feels a lot like the 08 season. Lets enjoy this win and watch the monday night game rooting for the Lions. This has been a fun ride.

Patriots are vulnerable

Isn't this the game Miami spent all that money in free agency for? A game at home in December with the playoffs in sight, all that stands is three games with divisional opponents. The first one, those annoying Patriots. Here is the catch though they will be without Gronk and without their two rookies Dobson and Thompkins. All we need is 4 quarters of great football, being able to control the line of scrimmage against the 31st ranked rushing defense and pull out a win. And then hope the patriots get those two receivers back so they can beat the Ravens. This is probably the worst patriots team I have seen in years excluding the year they lost Brady, but somehow they still win. I don't get it, but hey they have lost 3 games this year so why no make it a forth?

All I want is to see another playoff game. The 2008 season was nice and I want to see another one like it. And much like the 08 season, the Jets are the last team we face on the schedule, which can propel us into the playoffs. A loss tomorrow isn't the end of the world because if we beat the bills and jets I still think we can make it in, but it sure would be nice to finish the year off with some momentum,

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Have You Had Enough Of Brady Already?

I sure have.

I am sick and tired of this guy having his way with us and the rest of the AFC East.

As my Mom used to say "Enough is enough!"

I have had my full.

It's absolutely time for our Miami Dolphins to put a fork in Tom Brady.

There are only two things I want to see starting Sunday at 1 PM:

1) Our offense in control of the ball and keeping Brady off the field

AND

2) Our defense continuously putting Brady down on the field.

Just as in the movie "Animal House", but instead of Niedermeir, it'll be "Brady, dead!"

Those would make me a very happy camper!

I don't believe I am asking for the impossible here.

Just the natural progression of a young talented team finally catching up with another team whose days are coming to an end.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com

Prediction: Miami beats New England

      Have you ever felt that a particular trend has run its course, or that some equilibrium will soon be brought back into the mix?  That is how Miami Fans feel about this game, this series and the future strengths of these programs.  The Miami Dolphins are a deeper and a more talented team from top to bottom - except in two very critical areas: 1. Quarterback.  2. Game time coaching and play calling.

     Let's think about this.     Except for the QB position, name one player on the Patriot's squad you would rather have more than is already on the Dolphins team.   Looking up and down the New England roster it is hard to find better talent than the Dolphins have:  With Gronkowski, Mayo, Wilfork, Kelly, and Vollmer all on season ending injured reserve, how can anyone believe that the Patriot's roster is better than Miami's.   IT IS NOT!

     At the beginning of the season, it was widely reasoned that coaching would be the only reason the Miami Dolphins would not make the playoffs.   There is nothing that has happened thus far this season  that should change that thinking.  For Miami to win this game Sunday, December 15th, 2013 against New England, the Dolphins must out-coach the Patriots.  Miami's staff has had the better part of two years to work out the wrinkles.   They must step-up.  The players can execute.  Mike Sherman must call an excellent game and make the adjustments as New England makes theirs.  Kevin Coyle must send plays in faster and get his team in the right sets to successfully defend against Brady and company.  The thinking here is that the Dolphins brain trust have been building to this moment in time and this moment in the season in which they can catapult themselves into the national discussion of legitimate playoff teams.

     Miami will win this game.  The final score will be close to Miami 35 - New England 24.  The final Patriot's score will simply be a junk time score with no impact on the game.






Friday, December 13, 2013

Our Game With Patriots Just Got Bigger

And a hell of a lot tougher!

With Denver's loss to San Diego last night, the Patriots are now in the driver's seat for home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Prior to last night's game in Denver, the Patriots were sitting in the 2 hole with an opportunity to clinch their 11th AFC East Championship in the last 13 years by beating our Dolphins in Miami on Sunday.

Now both New England and Denver each have 3 losses, but the Patriots beat the Broncos 34-31 three weeks ago, so Brady and company hold the head to head tie breaker.

Sunday's game in Miami, is an opportunity for our Dolphins to not only stay in the hunt for the 6 seed in the playoffs but, more importantly, prove that they are more than just a pesky chihuahua nipping at the ankles of formidable intruder.

The Patriots are a proven commodity.  One that knows how to win games in many different fashions with many different faces.

Our Dolphins have plenty of talent but haven't proven much beyond they can win 4 out of 8 games which have been decided by 4 points or less. Those 8 games are the most by any team in the NFL so far this season.

That stat alone tells me 2 things:
1) The Dolphins are just 4 plays away from being 11-2
AND
2) The Dolphins are just 4 plays away from being 3-10

That pretty much tells us how this roller coaster of a season has gone. With last week's game at Pittsburgh completely encapsulating all that has occurred. Quick starts followed by bumpy roads, ups and downs on the scoreboard in a difficult climate with very strange moments culminating with a bazaar finish.

That is pretty much how 2013 has played out so far.

What Sunday's game will tell us is just how tough that pesky pup is.

It's not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog!

If our Dolphins are to take a dramatic leap forward then they are going to have to beat New England when the Patriot's stakes just got a lot higher for themselves.

And doing that would prove that Miami truly does have a dog in the hunt.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Miami is Destined to Play in this Super Bowl

Did you know that the Miami Dolphins have played in 3 of the 4 coldest Super Bowls?

1.  The Coldest was in January of 1972 where Dallas Beat Miami in Super Bowl VI 24-3; the game time temperature was 39 degrees.

2.  Three years later was the second coldest at 46 degrees.  Pittsburgh beat Minnesota in Super Bowl IX, 16-6.  

3.  The Perfect Season culminated in the playing of the third coldest Super Bowl at 50 degrees.  The Dolphins went 17-0 that season and beat the Washington Redskins 14-7 (Rice Stadium, Houston Texas) in January of 1973, Super Bowl VII. (The 1972-73 Perfect Season). 

4.  The 4th Coldest Super Bowl (XIX) at 53 degrees was in Stanford Stadium in which Miami lost to the San Francisco 49ers, 38-16.   This was the one and only Dan Marino Super Bowl in 1985.


This years' Super Bowl is more than likely going to be the coldest yet.  It is destiny that Miami be there.


Let's not forget that officiating cost us that NE game.

If that BS officiating occurs again this game... As fans we must put together a CD of bad calls going against the Dolphins in favor of the Patriots (over the last 5 to 10 years) and send it into the league office.   Then, we must continue to send it in every day for the next 8 months.  I will burn thousands of copies for other fans to send 5 x 4 x 8 = 160 straight Post Office days to the League office complaining about the poor officiating against the Dolphins.   Then, they might get the idea that we believe that there is a North East bias toward Miami and we are sick of it.

If that game had not been stolen from us, I believe we would control our own destiny to win the division.

WE MUST WIN OUT.   I don't want to hear anything about us backing into the playoffs.  If we win 10 games and miss the playoffs, I will be happy nonetheless.   Winning 10 games is a very good season in the NFL.  However, I sincerely believe that 10 wins will give us the 6th and final wild card spot.  And, if we win 6 of the last 7 games going into the playoffs, we can beat anyone once there.

Let's go get the Patriots.  

Cody Wallace should be suspended or fined

Cody Wallace the offensive lineman who got way to personal with Randy Starks should be suspended or at least fined for what he did. I thought the NFL would be reviewing the play and issuing the fine already but it has been a few days since it has happened and I am wondering whether the NFL will do anything. Starks said this is the first time this has ever happened to him and it was probably a good thing he did not know who did it because he would have been thrown out of the game for what he would have done. Below is the GIF if you have not seen it already. 

http://www.brobible.com/
With the whole talk about "bullying in the workplace" isn't sexual assault worse than bullying? Where is this investigation? 

What Is NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino Smoking?

Last night on NFL Network, VP of NFL Officials Dean Blandino stated he didn't believe that Ben Roethlisberger's lateral during the last play of the game would have been ruled a forward lateral because there wouldn't have been enough indisputable visual evidence to support that ruling.

Is he kidding me? I saw it as a forward lateral the first time I saw it on replay.

Now he cannot argue that there were not enough visual yardlines in the area to support "indisputable" as the hash marks were clearly visible and can be used as a guide.

Common sense and trust in your own eyesight should prevail here.

I am sure, if it came down to it, Referee John Parry would have utilized his common sense and trusted his eyesight.

As for Mr. Blandino, he has got to be dropping some Visine or Clear Eyes, because there is no way to tell that he is stoned.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Stat Line Tannehill vs Brady

With 13 games under their belts, let's take a look at how Ryan Tannehill stacks up against Tom Brady this year and in the last 4 weeks.

   
           
             Comp    ATT    PCT     YDS    YDS/A   Long   TD   INT   Sack   QBRating   YDS/G

Brady    318       523     60.8    3685   7.05        81       21    9       36        88.3           283

Tanne   300       484      62      3315    6.85       67       20    14     48         84              255


Last 4 Games

Brady    136       183     74.3    1427    7.79      50        8      3        10        98.77         356

Tanne   100       155     64.5    1109    7.15      57        7      4        11        90.02         277


On the season, Tannehill has a higher completion percentage but that's about it.  Brady has only thrown for 1 more TD than Tannehill and has thrown for 370 more yards or a little more than 28 yards per game.

Tannehill has thrown 50% more interceptions on the season but in the last 4 weeks they have been neck and neck with 3 for Brady and 4 for Tannehill.

Our Oline has improved in comparison to Brady's with regards to protecting the QBs. In the last 4 games, Miami has given up only 1 more sack than NE.  Prior to the last 4 games Miami had given up close to 50% more sacks than NE. That's a tremendous improvement.

 Where Tannehill has shown steady improvement is in his QB rating. As the Dolphins have progressively made more of a commitment to run the ball in the last 4 games, Tannehill's QB Rating has improved from 84 to 86.4 to 94.2 to last week' s 95.5, which happens to be his second highest rating of the season since his 107.4 vs the Colts in week 2. By comparison, Brady's last 4 QB Ratings come in at 91.2, 107.4, 104.8 and last week's 91.7.

Can Tannehill go out and out duel Brady in a gun fight?  He might be able to do just that. But at this point in the season, as we are running the ball more effectively, I expect Miami's offense to be balanced this Sunday and if so, I expect Tannehill to play well enough for us to win this game.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Carldleone@aol.com
12/25/1971

Monday, December 09, 2013

2 Thoughts from Pittsburgh Game

1.   I think everyone needs to realize that the last play of the game would have been called back anyway as all scoring plays within the last 2 minutes are reviewed.  I have reviewed the tape 50 times, and I am certain Rothlisberger threw a forward pass when he tossed it to Brown.    Rothlisberger threw it from the 32 and 1/2 yard line and it was received at the 33 1/2 yard line.   So, the score was never going to stand anyway.

2.  After the Pittsburgh game (week 14), Tannehill is ranked in the top 10 at QB.    Okay, let me say that again.  Right now, Ryan Tannehill is ranked 10th out of all of the Quarterbacks in the NFL.   Wow! 

Of course, after the Monday night's game against Chicago, I fully expect that Tony Romo to overtake Tanny in passing yards.   But hey, if Ryan Tannehill finishes in the top 12 this year in yards with all that has happened this year...  it will be so sweet. something to build on...

BTW - Ryan has 20 TDs with three games to play.  25 TD passes is not out of the question.

I sincerely believe that Ryan's effectiveness has improved these last 4 games because the threat of running the ball has creeped into the minds of the defenders.  Tannehill is a threat as a runner and the league knows it now.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Dolphins Prove To Be MetLife Ready

This past week, I had plenty on my mind. The Dolphins had to be pushed from the top of my list of priorities.

They had become an afterthought even to me.

 I knew we had a big game to play at Pittsburgh. I knew it was basically a playoff game.

How can any die hard Dolfan not be fired up about that? How could the level of anticipation be so low?

There must have had to have been distractions. There absolutely had to be something, though who could imagine what, that would be more important than focusing on your favorite team about to play a huge game on Survivor Sunday.

Team? That really doesn't define my relationship with the Dolphins.

Try Lover. Now that's closer to the truth!

Admittedly, there was a very pleasant distraction occupying my mind and plans for the week.

For the second year in a row, my crew of high school football officials, for which I am the crew chief, had been assigned to officiate a New Jersey State Championship football game on December 7th at MetLife Stadium.

So if I had a few more items on my check list this week and didn't have the necessary time to write about our big game at Pittsburgh, I am sure you can understand.

Every day this past week I was monitoring the weather. How cold was it gonna be at MetLife on Saturday?

This concern was real for me. One who has the burden of living in New Jersey with Florida blood running through his veins.

Here and there, I would peak at Pittsburgh's weather forecast as well.

When the temperatures for both locations were being projected to be in the 25-30° range, I began to suffer from premeditated chills.

How was I and my lover going to possibly survive these frigid conditions?

Luckily for me, I could and did layer up with all the high tech warming attire available in my closet.

But since this game was a State Championship, I knew well in advance that no matter how cold it got, my beloved headgater, the one I adorn whenever we drop below 45°, wasn't gonna make the trip to MetLife Stadium.

I don't have to worry as much about flexibility and physical performance as do my beloved Dolphins.

As professional football players, they hardly change their wardrobe needs no matter what the weather.

Helmut? Check. Pants and jersey? Check. Gloves and spikes? Check.

Whether it be 90° or 25°. Same old song and dance.

So as a team stationed in the palmy south for the winter, most of the TV analysts and sports writers predicted that the Dolphins were gonna have their season's playoff dreams end in a snowstorm in 25° Pittsburgh.

How wrong they were. How surprised they became.

The Dolphins went into horrible conditions on the COLD road, (might I say VERY COLD road?) ( Damn right I can! ) VERY COLD road as 3 point underdogs and gutted out a huge win by, can you believe this, SCORING 34 POINTS!!!

Who saw that coming? 34 legit points on a horrible field in frigid temperatures from a team who hasn't even scored more than 24 points in a game this year.

Saturday, I was on the field at MetLife Stadium. Still frigid conditions but their turf field is absolutely gorgeous. The same MetLife Stadium that will be hosting this years Super Bowl.

So what's the point Carl?

Our beloved Dolphins have just proven to themselves, their fans and the rest of the universe that they can go into frigid, horrible conditions on the road and not have to hope that their defense carries them to victory.

Their offense can go into Buffalo in late December and win. And if God willing, go into Denver, New England, Cincinnati or Kansas City in January and win.

And if all the stars align, the improbable could become reality.

A very very cold reality.

One I personally didn't think possible until after I officiated on MetLife's perfect turf field on Saturday and then watched our Dolphins win in frigid conditions in Pittsburgh today.

Come February 2nd, New Jersey will offer the same 25°.

And if the Dolphins can find their way to the big show, today they have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will be MetLife Ready!

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com

Miami will make the playoffs.

     With Rob Gronkowski out for the season - Advantage Miami;  I believe Miami will beat New England next week.   Also, I believe Baltimore will lose 2 games with Detroit, New England and Cincinnati still on their schedule.  Also, it is not unreasonable that Cincinnati will lose 2 of its last 3...  with Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and Baltimore still left.   Miami has one tough game left -  New England.   Win that one and we are going to the second season, where anything is possible (of course we will still need to beat Buffalo and NYJ).

     No one picked Miami to beat Pittsburgh (except me and few others).  It was overwhelmingly believed that we did not have what it took to beat the Steelers in those conditions... and Miami was a forward lateral from Rothlisberger and 1/2 inch step out of bounds from Brown away from proving those guys right.   However, we did prevail.  

     Now that Cleveland blew that sure victory...  We should root for New England to just beat Baltimore in two weeks...

     The next game we play will not be decided by 6 points or less.   I expect Miami to win by at least 15 points.  You heard me (read me), at least a 15 point victory this week over the New England Patriots.   We are pissed and we know we have a team that can beat anyone, if we are playing well.    I sincerely expect to win out.    I know we have to do that one game at a time.   And, we will.

     Even though I believe that 9-7 will be good enough for Miami to get in, the Phins will finish 10-6: with a 6 game win streak heading into the playoffs.


We May Be Better Than Pitt

On paper, across the board, we do have a better team than Pittsburgh.

Too bad we are not playing them on paper.

Nope! Gonna be on a cold damp Heinz Field instead.

With that in mind, here is how I see this playing out:

Look for both teams to try to run North-South in between the tackles. Trying to get outside and then cut it up will be very difficult. Miami doesn't have to rush for 130 yards to win this game. 85 yards on 22 carries will suffice. Being balanced and staying in front of the chains will be enough.

Short passing game will prevail. With windy cold conditions and some snow look for Tannehill to stay hot with the quick slants and crossing routes.

The sloppy footing will make it difficult on both defenses to pressure the QBs. Pitt will look to zone blitz with defensive linemen falling back into the passing lanes. If Tannehill stays out of trouble without any picks he can pass for 250 yards and 2 TDs which will be enough to win this game.

Defensively, stopping Pitt running game from getting to the second level is the key. If we tackle well, Big Ben will need 7-8 yards for first downs. Our secondary is playing well and has been very opportunistic. Pitt has cut back on their turnover issues. If we contain Big Ben, keep him in the pocket and drop 7 into coverage, we can slow them down.

This game will be determined by field position. Both teams know this is virtually a playoff game and will look to throw it away and punt rather than attempt to force an issue.

Whoever wins this battle and tackles best wins the game.

I like Pittsburgh's kick return units much better than our kick coverage units and they can swing momentum and field position.

My heart says Miami big but my gut says the better team finds a way to pull this out by a hair by playing better in the red zone on both sides of the ball, which is all that is needed: Miami 20-Pitt 19

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com


Saturday, December 07, 2013

Memories of the usfl



MrBitchinDave just uploaded a video
                                             
Memories of the usfl

Another Martin article

I'm hot on this topic today. Many of the royal "us" may have all put it aside or assumed it will all just work out. Its never that easy.

And this article - written a few weeks ago - reminds us why http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9939308/richie-incognito-jonathan-martin-miami-dolphins-bullying-scandal

Economics of the Martin situation

Thought this was interesting...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/prishe/2013/11/04/the-economics-of-the-jonathan-martin-scandal/

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Miami v Steelers (Talent Even) 3 Concerns

Before I really looked at the Steelers, I felt we were the far superior team.  And, I do still feel we have a better, healthier team. 

However, these are my 3 areas of concern.

1.  The Field / Weather:   Heinz field is in notoriously poor condition.  Some have said the surface itself is the worst of the 32 teams.   If you add in 32 degrees F weather with a snowy rainy mix, you have conditions that favor the home team.  Tannehill admits he has never even thrown a ball in snowy conditions.  Throw in a 10-16 mile and hour wind and you have a passing game and kicking game that will have issues all day long.

2.  The Dolphins I dare say have a better Offensive line (for this one game anyway), but Pittsburgh has the better QB, especially at home.  Ben Roethlisberger has more TDs, higher completion %, roughly the same number of turnovers, and is by far harder to take down under pressure.  Tannehill runs faster.  Arm strength is about the same...    I think in this game:  QB play gives Pittsburgh a huge advantage.

3.  The Fans:  I have been to Pittsburgh.  The fans are much better than in Miami.  They are loud obnoxious, and when their team is 5-7, they still come out to root for their team.  They will be there until the last snap.  Part of that has to do with, and unlike Miami, their is not much else to do in Pittsburgh (no offense).


All that said, the defenses are almost even (Miami is slightly better statistically according to the Bruschi index).  Now, let me say this out loud.  Miami's passing defense is in the top ten.  Wow that felt good.  Dolphin's top 5 receivers have slightly more yards than Steelers' top 5.   The running games are about the same.  Miami might be healthier.   The hunger factor may be slightly in favor of Pittsburgh....

Overall, this one is a tough call.   I first thought we were the clear favorite from a talent standpoint, but given the 3 factors above, I am very nervous.  Miami will need to dominate from the starting whistle, and fight through the elements and the environment.   It is a tall order.  BUT, if our team really wants the post season, we must have this one.  It is a tiebreaker game...

Miami 24 - Pittsburgh 13




Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Greatest QBs

On a previous post, mattbatt mentioned in a comment a podcast I did about the greatest QBs....he couldn't find a link to it, and to be fair....neither could I!

I posted all of the podcasts to a site, but they are not appearing currently.  :(

In any case, to make the point here (in short form), the basic premise was this: every single one of the greatest QBs of all time started during their rookie season, and took the reigns before the mid-point of the season.

Now there are a couple of exceptions, such as Phillip Rivers, who did not start immediately ... but in every case like this, it was because they were sitting behind another of the greatest QBs, and didn't get a chance until the guy in front of him retired or left the team.

Oh and there is the Brett Favre exception, where he was in Atlanta for his rookie year. That's an exception that doesn't otherwise fit into the rule.

At the time, I was referring to Chad Henne, because he didn't start in his rookie year.  And that meant it was unlikely he would have great success.

Now on the flip side, starting early does not guarantee success.  It only works in the one direction - certainly there have been a slew of QBs who started early who flamed out.  But unless they start, you never know.

Applying this to Tannehill, does it mean that he will be a success?  No.  But, because he has been starting since he arrived, its possible that he might be.  

Monday, December 02, 2013

We Have 3 Issues Moving Forward

Jets Week is behind us and now its December and time for the cream to rise to the top.

As I see it, with four games left, we have 3 issues staring us in the face and if they don't correct these, we will wind up with only having the lowly Jets left on our schedule.

I don't believe we can win out unless these get corrected.

#1 Sturgis' inconsistency
When your offense drives 68 yards and sets you up for a 41 yard field goal off of a turf field with hardly a breeze and you miss it, we got problems.

Sturgis is 4 for 4 up to 29 yards. But from 30-39 and 40-49 he is 16 for 20. He is also 3 for 6 from 50 yards and beyond.

Let's focus on the 30-49 range which is where you need to be well over 90% to keep a job in the NFL. He is 8 for 10 in both 30-39 and 40-49. Currently, Sturgis is at 80%. That means he has missed 1 out of every 5 attempts.

And as we all know, how those 4 misses can come back to haunt you. Now, I am not talking about 54 yarders to tie a game. I am talking about routine 41 yarders to get you on the board and in the lead.

You know, the ones all good kickers drill right down the middle. Sturgis's kicks seem to sneak in just inside the upright.

Despite his ability to drill Kick Offs deep into the endzone, if we want to make the playoffs and actually win one playoff game, we may have to start trying out some kickers.

Pittsburgh's Heinz Field is not an easy place to kick in. The wind coming in from the open end can play havoc with any kicker, however, if Sturgis blows another kick there less than 45 yards, I am sorry, but it is time to cut our losses and get another kicker in for a try out.

We just cannot afford to run this risk any longer.

#2 Cannot Gain A Yard Running The Ball When We Need To
I don't know the exact numbers right now, but we are absolutely pitiful trying to get a stinking yard for either a first down or a touchdown by running the ball.

We are not carrying a pure fullback on our roster which may be the problem. I know about how running the ball is all attitude but sometimes instead of using an H-back in motion, how about putting another guard at fullback and let him plow into the line ahead of the tailback.

I believe we will need to address this issue with the draft unless a tough running S.O.B. becomes available. In the meantime, lets go with a "Fridge" type of formation instead of our styrofoam cooler type of formation we currently use to complete failure.

#3 Tannehill
I know I am striking a nerve here with a lot of Dolfans but I am starting to wonder now about his future.

Does he has the size and arm strength you want in a QB? Absolutely!

Plus he can run like the wind too.

So what's the problem? First of all we are in week 14 about to play our 13th game and he still hasn't hit Wallace or Hartline deep and IN STRIDE once. Not once!

He either over throws them or under throws them. They either have to layout or make a circus catch to any ball thrown beyond 25 yards. And that's if they can even do that.

I cannot believe, for the life of me, that he hasn't dropped one ball in on them 40+ yards down the field that all they had to do was look up and catch it and then run like the wind.

One more issue with Tannehill, and this is more mental than anything, is hitting receivers when it matters most. He has driven us down field enough times especially before the half but he has also missed enough throws like the 2 glaring ones Sunday against the Jets.

Both on 4th downs, money plays. Hartline is open down the sideline and Tannehill under throws him. Clay is open in the endzone and he overthrows Clay. 14 points right there.

Against Baltimore or Buffalo, I forget which one, very late in the game, he had Hartline wide open on the left sideline for the game winner and over threw him.

I am starting to think that he may tighten up with these "Oh my gosh he's open" throws. In other words, he may be a choker.

Oh he is very good on the 8-12 yard slants, come backs, square out, sit downs, etc.

But with the deeper posts, flags and fly patterns he should be showing a lot more consistency.  Well, consistency assumes you are at least doing it once.

He has hung receivers out to dry, ask Gibson. But mostly, just badly missing long targets and money plays.

Hell, Wallace was standing there wide open on his TD and Tannehill almost over threw him.

Now I know this is hard to hear after he just threw for 330 yards and 2 TDs.  But we aren't gonna be playing teams with as bad a secondary as the Jets put out there on Sunday.

Cromartie was hobbled and Milliner just stinks. Ed Reed is well passed his prime.

I don't think we should start Matt Moore over Tannehill this season but if he doesn't start making these throws then we may need to start looking at drafting another QB and let Tannehill play wide receiver.

I like the kid. I do. He is a great face for the franchise. But we do need better production on deep throws and starting this sunday.

Please Ryan, drop ONE in the bucket.

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com

We need 4 more AFC wins to make the playoffs - that was 1

I wrote a few weeks ago that a 9-7 record with four more AFC wins would be enough to make it to the playoffs.  After our dominant performance against the Jets, we should be fine if we win 3 out of the next 4 games.

The only team who holds the tiebreaker against us at the moment is Baltimore with a head-to-head victory. (remember the missed field goal at the end of that game - so close).

If we were in a 3 way tie with say Baltimore & Tennessee (where Baltimore loses only 1 more AFC Game), The Dolphins would get the nod by virtue of a better Conference Record over both of those teams.  The Phins only have 3 conference losses.   If they win out, they would be in - unless Baltimore wins out (Highly Unlikely!).  Baltimore's remaining schedule is Min, @Det, NE, @Cin.   And, say Baltimore runs the table and wins out.   Cinci's remaining schedule is Ind, @Pit, Min, Bal., which means 1 built in loss.  Two more and the Dolphins would hold the tiebreaker against them should Miami win 3 of 4.  If Cinci only loses 2 games, Miami would still have the tie breaker if they won out.


Even Kansas City is gettable with 3 straight losses.   They have 4 tough games @WSH, @OAK, IND, @SD.  Their confidence is shaken, and at 9-3, they could easily lose 3 of 4 or even 4 of 4, which mean Miami could overtake them as well.

I give Miami a 75% chance of making the playoffs if they can go into cold Pittsburgh next week and win.  I am certain the odds-makers have Pittsburgh a hefty favorite.  But hey, we just beat the "favorite" Jets this week pretty convincingly, and it could have easily been 37-3.  AND, Pittsburgh's defense is not what it used to be.   I really love our chances.


Don't read too much into it

Over the weekend we heard incognito came to an agreement with the fins on his status and pay.

And that has led to speculation that maybe things work out in some way.

But I'm saying this is the owner trying to do some damage control. He pays the guy and avoids some of the potential legal hassles.

The suspension without pay for 4 games was knee jerk stuff and appears to have been done by Ireland. This just reverses course on that decision.

Make no mistake: this only means that Ross is trying to keep this from getting any worse for him.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

How Dominant Was Our Defense Against The Jets

Check out these numbers:

5:48 Jets first half time of possession

21:08 Jets total time of possession

13 total Jets drives

1:37 avg time of Jets drives

4 Jets drives of less than 49 seconds

5 Jets drives between 1:11 and 1:39

3 Jets drives between 2:07 and 2:32

1 Jets drive for 5:12

6 three plays and punt by Jets

1 three plays for 11 yards ends with Ellerbe interception

1 four plays for only 9 yds

2 five plays end with punt and fumble recovered by Wheeler

1 nine plays ends with Grimes interception

1 eleven plays ends with FG

2-12 Jets 3rd down conversions

0-2 Jets 4th down conversions

Congrats Defense!!

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Is this wrong?

For some reason - probably because he was the embodiment of the dolphins descent into mediocrity - I still hold a bit of a grudge.

And when I see this face, well...

Expect A War With This Edition Of Dolphins vs Jets

We have all heard it before, "Throw the records out the window when these two teams play!"

Sunday marks the 94th meeting between the Jets and Dolphins with the Jets holding a 4 game lead in this series at 48-44-1.

The series has had some historic games including:

 1982 AFC Championship "Mud Bowl" game at the Orange Bowl, when after raining throughout the week leading into the game, the Jets accused Don Shula of removing the tarp from the field and actually watering down the field even more in an effort to slow down the Jets' potent rushing attack. A.J.Duhe intercepted Jets QB Richard Todd 3 times including one for a TD in a 14-0 Miami win.

Dan Marino's fake spike TD pass to Mark Ingram in 1994 at the Meadowlands. The 3rd quarter ended with the Jets holding a 24-6 lead in the game while trailing the division leading Dolphins by one game in the standings. But Dan Marino brought the Dolphins back with three 4th quarter TDs culminating with his famous fake spike pass to Ingram with only 30 seconds left.

All has not gone Miami's way as the Jets beat Miami in OT in the last game of the 1991 season for a winner take all Wild Card spot in the playoffs.

And of course, The Monday Night Miracle, when in 2000 both teams entered the game at 5-1 and were looking for control of the AFC East. Miami held a 30-7 lead going into the 4th quarter. The Jets came back to tie the game at 30 with 3:35 left but 2 plays later Jay Fiedler hit Leslie Shepherd with a bomb to retake the lead. Vinnie Testaverde lead the Jets down the field and with 32 seconds left from the Miami 3 yard line, he found an open tackle eligible Jumbo Elliot, who bobbled the ball as he fell on it for a game tying TD. In OT, Fiedler threw his 3rd interception of the game and set the Jets up for the game winning field goal.

There have been low scoring affairs and wide open high scoring games like the 1986 game in which Dan Marino and Ken O'Brien combined for an NFL single game record with combined passing yardage of 884 yards and 10 TDs in a wild 51-45 Jet OT win that included Wesley Walkers TD pass reception with no time left on the clock to force OT.

Sunday's game sets up to be another war as both teams' weaknesses play into the other teams' strengths. Miami is struggling running the ball and the Jets front 7 is very stout. Tannehill threw for over 300 yards last week not counting the sacks and the Jets pass defense is anemic at best. The Dolphins lead the league in getting sacked with 44 and the Jets are near the top getting 38 from their defense.

The Jets are averaging 127 yards per game rushing the ball and Miami is giving up that much. The Jets passing attack is nonexistant while Miami's Defensive backs are playing very well and they can get after the QB too. The Jets are also at -16 in turnover margin.

So what does this all mean? If the Jets can run the ball and wear down Miami's defense, the Dolphins could be looking at a very long afternoon. On the other hand, if Miami can keep Tannehill upright, he will be able to exploit the Jets secondary.

The cold weather could factor in if Miami's offense is sidelined for great lengths of time however the wind will not be a factor.

Its hard to figure how this game can go. If Miami's offensive and defensive lines play well, Miami should win handily. If they both don't then the Jets should win handily. Somewhere in between is probably where we are headed.

This you can know for sure, this will be a very hard hitting game. Both teams need this game bad and consider it a playoff game as the winner will go to 6-6 and remain tied in the wild card hunt while the loser will fall to 5-7 and trail not only in the win column but also in the tie breakers.

If this game comes down to a field goal, who do you trust more? The Jets Nick Folk or the Dolphins Caleb Sturgis?

If field position is the determining factor, then Miami's league leading punter Brandon Fields could be the game's MVP again as he was in the 2008 season finale when both teams played for the Division Championship.

My prediction: Miami 17-13

Godspeed to the DolfansNYC who are taking up 2 full sections at the game with their #MetLifeTakeover. May they have safe journey and a lot to cheer about.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com

It's about frickin time

That the guy who told us he wasn't gonna be the Alabama coach lost a high profile game. And in classic fashion no less.

Now how long until he skips town again?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Incognito will continue to be suspended

Incognito is still a whiles away from wearing a Dolphins jersey on the field. His suspension will continue with pay. Incognito would have needed to be reinstated or released by Sunday but has reached an agreement with the Dolphins to continue the suspension. It could be worse for Incognito who just needs to play this all out while he receives a paycheck for each game, and a good amount for that matter. I am still shocked by all this and it is crazy how this all has unfolded. I am just waiting for more details.

NFL Network Re-Airing '93 Leon Lett Thanksgiving Day Game

If you want to watch a classic football game again or if for some reason you missed it in 1993, now is your chance to view a replay of the 1993 Thanksgiving Day game between the host Dallas Cowboys and our visiting Miami Dolphins.

With Don Shula on the sidelines, the Miami Dolphins fought their way through a rare T-Day sleet and frozen snow storm in Dallas to steal a victory from the hands of sure defeat.

The NFL Network is re-airing this game in its entirety on Saturday November 30th at 11 AM, so set your DVRs and/or your DVD recorders in order to get a second opportunity to watch Pete Stoyanovich's second opportuntiy at winning this game with a last second Field Goal.

Phins Up!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com

If you want to watch just the sequence of events surrounding the blocked FG and Leon Lett's blunder, click on the youtube link below

http://youtu.be/TrU8z4w8T-4

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How To Piss Off A Jets Fan

Living in New Jersey and wearing Dolphins logos almost everyday, I run into Jets fans all the time. If they treat me nice, I reciprocate.

 But if they smart ass me in any way, then I incorporate my 3 Step System.

Now the key to doing this is to be very low key in the beginning. Don't get all ralled up and start a shouting match otherwise you won't be able to achieve your goal of leaving them completely pissed off.

Step One:
Casually say "Too bad you never won an NFL Championship."
The Jet fan will retort with "What are you talking about? We won Super Bowl III, it was the biggest upset ever!"

You say " That it was, BUT you were the AFL Champions playing the Colts, who were the NFL Champions."

Then scratch your head and say "Huh, so you were the champion of a league that doesn't even exist anymore."

They usually respond with "Shut the f__k up!"

Step Two:
Very simple. With a shit eating grin on your face, give the Marino Spike Signal.

Step Three:
Immediately after the Jet fan recognizes the signal, you state with all sincerity "Oh by the way, thank you so much for Chad Pennington. We couldn't have won our 13th Division Championship without him. 13! Isn't that something, just like Marino, who you passed on. So how did that Favre thing work out? Well you guys know what you're doin, hell, you won, what, 2 Division Championships in how many years?"

Then you walk away laughing while giving the Jet fan a peace sign as the Jet fan screams "F__k you!"

Remember, the key is to be sincere when needed and low key in the beginning. They won't see it coming. And isn't that the best way to get their goat?

Phins Up!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com


Check Out Dolfans NYC Theme Song Video For 2013 #MetLifeTakeover

This is really cool...
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!
Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dolfans NYC Prepared For Battle With 2013 #MetLifeTakeover

Whether you are going to MetLife Stadium or planning on watching the game on TV, be prepared to hear some loud cheers and chants coming from the Miami faithful.

A whole army of them is planning a major invasion!  At Battalion Strength! 

Afterall, this is war.  Not for the timid.  Its "JETS WEEK"!!!

I had a unique opportunity to interview, Igor, one of the founders of Dolfans NYC and one of the leaders of these brave souls headed into battle in enemy terriorty. 

But first, I was blind folded and sworn to secrecy about their where abouts hidden behind enemy lines. With "JETS WEEK",  Dolfans NYC will take prisoners but not chances.

Here is his interview which will self destruct in 20 minutes, so hurry...

Me: I assume you'll take some of the responsibility for leading the troops in vocal support of our beloved Dolphins. What are your favs?   

Igor: As far as cheers go I always do the "And That's Another Miami Dolphins..." first down chant.
"J-E-T-S SUCK, SUCK, SUCK" is the big one for this game.
And then boring stuff like Lets Go Dolphins and DE-FENSE.
Plus the fight song of course! I bought an inflatable banjo just for that!

Me: How did you became a Dolfan?

Igor: I grew up in DC and rooted for all the DC teams except the Redskins because my dad is from Dallas. There was no way I could be a Cowboy fan growing up in DC and for some reason when I was 7,  I decided I was a Dolphins fan and it stuck for life. Michelle has it a lot easier as she's a Miami native and her dad is a huge Phins fan. 


Me: How did the #MetLifeTakeover get started as well as your involvement with Dolfans NYC?

Igor: When I first moved to NYC I didn't know any Dolphins fans and there weren't any Dolphins sports bars. A couple years in, I met the 2 Michelles, these two girls who had a Dolphins blog. One year they spent a whole season traveling to every Dolphins away game and reporting on them for MiamiDolphins.com. The next year they wanted to keep the videos going so they would go on little road trips and I went with them a few times. We ended up going to Woody's Fish Bowl in Hartford, CT and Miami Mikes in New Jersey. They were such amazing Dolphins bars and we knew we wanted to start something like that.

(THEY STARTED THE RESISTANCE)
Igor: We had a small group of fans that watched at Third & Long in NYC and that was the year we made the playoffs. We had a pretty big group going so the next year we started a website and a Facebook group. I do a lot of web marketing for my day job and Michelle has a lot of connections in the Dolphins world so it really blew up quickly. We got the word out. The next year one of the Michelle's moved but "Short" Michelle, her husband Alex and I kept the club going. This year we moved to Slattery's Midtown Pub after Third & Long closed and it's been amazing. Huge turn outs every week. 

(THEY ARE NOW SQUAD SERGEANTS)
 Igor: I was always afraid to go to the Jets game alone because of how vocal I am. I always get into it with opposing fans. But the year that we went to the playoffs we had a big enough group that we found 8 people that wanted to go with us. We watched Chad Pennington beat Bret Farve and take us to the playoffs. I almost got kicked out when a Jets fan tried to fight me but luckily we never came to blows.

(THEY ARE NOW PLATOON LIEUTENANTS)
Igor: The next year we had 35 people and the year after that we had about 80 but we weren't really sitting together.

(THEY ARE NOW COMPANY CAPTAINS)
Igor: Last year we really blew it up and bought 199 tickets all in one section and it was amazing, but this year we really went crazy. (I actually heard them cheering on TV last year)


Me: What are your plans for this year's #MetLifeTakeover?

(THEY ARE NOW BATTALION LT. COLONELS)
Igor: This year we have "760" Dolphins fans all sitting together. We took over two sections (323 & 322) and are throwing a huge tailgate in parking lot "L". Everyone is welcome to join us but BYOF/B. We had put a limit on the tailgate because of how many people we had and we couldn't afford to cater more than 300 people. We also bought 750 rally towels so our sections should be very visible and making a LOT of noise!

Me: Have you had any surprise visitors to past tailgates or even to Slattery's Midtown Pub?

Igor: Nat Moore came to the bar when we were at Third & Long and then he showed up to our tailgate later in the year with Stephen Ross, Mike Dee and Fergie. I have a feeling we might get some guests this year too based on some hints from people in the Dolphins organization, but no word officially. 

Me: Does Dolfans NYC support a charity I can plug for you?

Igor: Dolfans NYC raises a ton of money for charity but we spread it around. Since the #MetLifeTakeover last year we have donated almost $10,000 to charity. Every October we make donations to cancer charities and sponsor DCC riders, we donate several thousand dollars to the Miami Dolphins Foundation every year and last year we raised about $4000 for hurricane Sandy relief efforts after the hurricane effected so many of our members. 

Me: What do you think of this years team?

Igor: I would prefer not to talk about that stuff. I want to keep this positive. 

Me: How can other Dolfans get involved with your efforts?

Igor: Our website is dolfansnyc.com and we have a very active Facebook group ( Dolfans NYC ). I tweet & Instagram at @DolfansNYC and of course anyone is welcome at Slattery's! (8 East 36th Street, Manhattan, NYC)

Me: Have you had any strange happenings at a #MetLifeTakeover?

(SNIPER)
A Jets fan threw a burger at Mr. Ross that hit him in the head. He brushed it off and kept posing for photos with fans. Despite what you might think of some of his decisions he is a great guy and a HUGE Dolphins fan. 
(No medic needed)

Me: I am sure your next goal is to make the rank of Colonel and lead a whole Regiment of 1500 strong into next year's #MetLifeTakeover.

Igor: One battle at a time, Carl.

Me: Thanks Igor and let me know if there's anything else.

Igor: Can you also link Slattery's to slatterysmidtownpub.com  The Official Miami Dolphins NYC Sports Bar!!
We want to make sure that our fellow Dolfans can easily find a safe and friendly environment to come to and enjoy themselves in NYC.

Me: I guess there are black ops everywhere, even with NFL football fans.

Igor: There certainly is.  Now before we can let you go, we need to hear the fight song. And sing it with feeling!!


I sang for the life of me.  And then I was free, free at last.

Free to join in the battle on Sunday!

Phins Up! 

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971