Saturday, August 17, 2013

Questions that will be answered tonight at Houston

Tonight, at Houston, we will be playing our 3rd preseason game against the defending AFC South Champs.

And they are loaded on offense.  With Adrian Foster, Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub, they pose quite a challenge to our defensive unit with what could easily be someone's starting fantasy football team.

Which brings up these questions, soon to be answered by 8:30 tonight:

1) I know we won't be able to completely shut them down with such a potent offense but can we force a 3 and out during one of their first quarter series?

2) This matchup will be a true test for our red zone defense.  Can we hold them to FG's?

3) Martin vs JJ Watt. Can our left tackle hold up on his own or will he need some help facing one of the best pass rushers in the league?

4) Will we be able to run the ball effectively? If we are to have a balanced offense, tonight we will need to see it.

5) Can we move the chains? When you play a team with a potent offense, your best defense can be a good offense that limits the opponents offensive opportunities.

These are the burning questions I hope we answer correctly.

What are yours?

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Friday, August 16, 2013

John Offerdahl in the Ring of Honor

For years, I have been lobbying for Johnny O to join the Ring of Honor. And, while my lobbying had next-to-nothing to do with it, John will finally be an inductee this season. He'll be going up on the roll on Oct. 31.

A few seasons ago, I had the good fortune of interviewing John, and he was generous with his time spending well over an hour with Shed Dawg Mike and I. For your listening pleasure, you can find a copy of the podcast here: Dave and Mike talk with John

Congrats to Johnny O.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

NFL Network To Replay Our Game At Houston On Sunday

For those of you Dolfans who happen to live outside the local television coverage, like myself, you'll be happy to know we can watch a replay of the game on Sunday at 1 PM on the NFL Network.

They replay all preseason games in their entirety throughout the week.  I usually have to DVR the replay of our Dolphins' games as they can be scheduled early in the morning or during work hours.  And by early in the morning, I mean at 3 AM.

But this week, we have the luxury of kicking back at a normal NFL game time of 1 PM.  So I shall treat this Sunday as my "preseason for Dolfaning".

I will break out the Dolphin flag and hang it on the porch just to get a reaction from my Jet fan neighbors here in Jersey.  I am sure to get a few choice comments from around the cul-de-sac such as "already?" or "I thought you had some issues before but this just confirms it".

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

The O-Line Verses Wade Phillips' modified 3-4 (or 5-2)

The test for our starting offensive line this week is immense.  Wade Philips has the personnel to flat-out beat most team's "good" offensive lines.   We are average so far this preseason... but getting better.   If we have a minor setback this week, Dolphin Nation should take it in stride.  

In my opinion, Seattle, San Fransisco, Houston and Miami have the 4 best Front 7s in the NFL.    And, our O-Line gets routinely beat by our Defense.  That 3-4/5-2 when running all of its crosses and floating DTs and LBs is as formidable as there is in football.  Sad to say, our O-Line is not playing at full strength.  However, I do expect to see a better result than in the Dallas game.  Jacksonville was not a stern test and we still had issues protecting Ryan Tannehill (some of which were his fault for holding the ball about a half second too long). 

If the Miami Dolphins' O-Lines  holds-up well against this Front 7, we are over the hump.   We will be a force this year. 

Our Defense is going to be special, so our offense simply needs to contribute about 18 points a game for us to have a double digit win season.  I believe they will.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ireland Did The Right Thing

Timing is everything.

 And by releasing Dan Carpenter now, Jeff Ireland not only proved to be a General Manager conscious of the bottom line, but more importantly, he proved to be a man of integrity.

He could have kept Carpenter in camp for another week or two as an expensive insurance policy just in case rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis implodes during the preseason.

But no, Ireland did the right thing.

Not only does this move show Sturgis that the Dolphins have all the confidence in the world in him, it also shows Carpenter how much respect they have for him by allowing him plenty of time to compete for a job with another team in the league.

Well done Jeff Ireland and fair sailing to you Dan Carpenter.

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Scrap the NCAA? Let's Terminate the Athlete Scholarship

Be patient with me here.  This is not technically a Miami Dolphins post - sorry!

I listened to Jorge Sedano today.   He had Alex Marvez (now with FOX Sports) as a guest.  They discussed the NCAA and the antiquated way in which they do business.   They want a different system.

Okay, let's look at this logically.  According to the geniuses their in the studio at WQAM, we should rewrite the entire college sports scholarship model to satisfy the needs of maybe 50 or so college players every year.  The Marvez/Sedano brain trust believe that college football players should be paid.  Or, they believe the NFL should start a minor league football program to end-around the college experience.

Really?   Do we pay the backup small forward of a small state girls basketball team who is on scholarship.   For every Johnny Football, there are probably 10,000 other college scholarship athletes who cannot sell their signatures for spending money.   We are supposed to scrap the entire college athlete concept for at most 50 football and basketball players?

Maybe we should scrap the college athletic scholarship program in favor of a "need-based" financial aid model as outlined by Ralph Nader back in 2011.    Will that do the trick?  I doubt it.

From my understanding (please, someone confirm this), there are over 51,000 scholarships paid out each year to college athletes.   It seems low to me...   Anyway, based on these numbers - 50 / 51,000 -  The NCAA should lay to waste the entire program for about 50 players, OR less than 1/10th of 1% of all college scholarship athletes?    That sounds reasonable Marvez, Sedano and company.

My suggestion to the NCAA is to add another program where ALL College Athletes (not just scholarship recipients) may take a small weekly draw, an allowance so to speak, that must be repaid starting 6 months after they leave college.  Of course, to be fair, it must be uniform and satisfy all of the nuances of title 9.

Your Thoughts?

Tom Brady Down - is he Out?

I just saw the video with Tom Brady going down with a left knee injury - today.   As a human being, I hope he is fine.   As a lifetime Dolphins Fan, I jumped up to hit replay.  I had to see it over and over.

Please don't hate me for thinking this; but if Brady is done or seriously hurt for the season, we just moved up in the Playoff outlook in the AFC.

Am I a ghoul?  What is your take?

I want to make the Playoffs - so we can play Houston and get 'off the schneid'

Is it just me?   I am so sick of our once proud franchise losing to the Houston Texans EVERY SINGLE TIME.   Our only victory was in preseason. 

So, I send this prayer out into the universe.   "Please let my Miami Dolphins get to the playoffs so they can play the Houston Texans and BEAT them for once!"    We are due! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dan Carpenter CUT

I wrote this last night - Dan Carpenter has been released.

It is practically a foregone conclusion that this is Dan's swansong, these last few preseason games.   I only ask why cut Carpenter when there are at least 4 or 5 teams with kicker problems?  Dan Carpenter's career numbers show he is 96% accurate inside 40 yards.  There are plenty of teams who would love that consistency.

We should try to trade carpenter for a veteran Offensive Tackle.  Dallas and Tampa Bay, to name two, need a quality Kicker.  We need one more solid backup offensive tackle for depth.  However, if we could get a 6th or 7th round pick (even though it is unlikely that a team would give up a pick), we could go that route.

Food for thought.  What do you think?

Omar Kelly trying to be an Optimist - LMAO

Omar Kelly took 246 words of an 852 word article, " Ten Reasons for Dolphins Fans to have Optimism," to finally get to a positive concept.  That means it took 29% of a written article to get to a positive concept. 

Omar, I am proud you tried.  But truth be told, I lost all respect for you years ago when you said Soliai was a liability on this team and should be cut ("I know lineman.  He will never make it in the NFL." [paraphrased]).  What do you think now Omar?  Should we cut Paul Soliai, big number 96? LOL

And yet, even in the midst of enumerating the positives and an optimistic outlook, you still write pessimistically.  In the very first of the ten, you talk about the offensive "weaponry."  You ended the first entry with "if everyone stays healthy."  Nice and Positive!  LOL

The next 3 entries were shockingly optimistic.   Good Job Omar!

Then we get to the Quarterback entry number 5.  Instead of saying we may have one of the deepest QB stables in the NFL, you say "if he [Tannehill] is not good enough" at least we have Matt Moore. LOL Positive - Optimistic!

6 through 8 were okay - pretty positive.  Then, we get to number 9:  Jeff Ireland.  Really?  That was an Optimistic Entry???

Omar, Omar, Omar!   4 to 5 of your Optimistic Points start from a root assumption of negativity.    I imagine you would tell your kids in a very positive way [the following is a dramatization for effect]:  "Okay Junior, your mom went to the toy store to buy you a shiny new bike.  You will love it.  It has 18 speeds, chrome and cool neon pinstripes.  Let's just hope mom doesn't have an accident on her way home."   LOL

That is how you write Omar.   You are so damaged, so negative - such a defeatist. 

This is preseason (training camp).  It is the start of a BRAND NEW DAY.   All of you sports writers should [at least] focus on the possibilities and the future success of our team.  Throw in a concern here or there, but stay positive.   If I were a casual fan, I would hate to read South Florida articles about the Dolphins.  They all read defeatist, negative.  They read as if we have no chance at a winning football team.  You guys hurt the local vendors.   You hurt ticket sales.  You hurt me!   Stop it!!!

Miami will win 10-11 games (minimum) this year.  Now that is a positive statement...  Learn and Assimilate! 

Dion Jordan will be fine!

Come on:  Why is there so much concern about Jordan?  Believe in the brain trust!  Our coaching staff knows what to do to get a nicked player back on the field.   I have no doubt that Jordan and Jerry (for that matter) will be back to full speed before the start of the season.   Who cares if Jordan plays every down?  I want 20 impactful plays a game.  I want pressure and sacks from the D-Line when he is in... The beauty this year is how far OV (Olivier Vernon) has come.   He is a solid pressure guy who can set the edge against the run as well.  So, what is the rush?  Why worry?  Why let the talking heads get you stirred-up and worried. 

Sit back and enjoy this.   We are in for one sweet season.  We will finally get back to the playoffs.  In Coach, we trust!

Monday, August 12, 2013

When will the National Media Realize? Miami is for REAL!

Okay, so last year we are 2 missed FGs (3 if you count the additional chance in the Jets game) from going 9-7 (both games in the first half of the 2012 season).  And, had we won those two games - wouldn't the team's confidence been high enough to have possibly won another??  I think yes.   Also, we had the league's best Red-Zone defense, and we were only 6 of 23 in fumble recoveries, and we let 17 possible interceptions get away....  Bottom Line:  We are (and were) a much better team than the national media realizes. Had we bettered our recoveries by a mere 6 and had we caught 6 of the 17 missed INTs, we would have been in the top half of the league in takeaways.

Now we have made our Defense faster and with better hands.  We have more skill at pass rushing.   These things alone would equate into at least 3 more wins than last year...  My take is that with the new athletic TEs, the speed and size increases of the WRs and with the new kicker...  WE (the Miami Dolphins) should also score more per game than last year.  If we don't win 10 games this year, I will eat my signed Dan Marino helmet.    I am that certain!

Fellow Phins Fans - you need to ignore the naysayers (the national media and the Jets fans pretending to be Phins fans calling into the local sports shows) and jump on the bandwagon - this is going to be a great year!

I predict 11-5, but will accept 10-6.

And by the way: Pete Prisco, bite me you freaking idiot.  That SOB said we would do no better than 7-9.  If he is right, I'll buy him a steak dinner!  He is a Dolphin-Hater.  Don't listen to his analysis.  

Yours truly,
The Mad Dolphan

Views on the new uniform and logo

I got a few emails after posting the poll. So
I thought I'd present a sampling:

"The uniforms are unbalanced, too much bright aqua, not enough orange (orange is still their secondary color, right?). "

"Logos should be sacred, not marketing tools. Honestly, why not return to their 1972 look? No other team has ever had a perfect season. Why not honor that tradition by maintaining that look? "

And John Spilovoy had this to say, and wanted to be sure the team knew:

"I realize its a little late in the game, but where can I register my outrage at the new logo?  I know its probably here to stay, but I just want to let them know that not all fans are happy.  I have been a fan since 1971, probably longer than the idiots who designed the logo.  My team has a logo of a dolphin leaping through a ring a fire, quite an accomplishment.  Without the helmet or any facial expression, the new dolphin looks like an airplane banking.  I hope it crashes."

Sunday, August 11, 2013

New uniforms - blech

Now that I've had a couple of chances to see them in action I'm ready to give my opinion about the new uniforms...I think they suck. I'm still distinctly reminded of the Boston breakers usfl team and instead of moving forward to something interesting, they went backward to the ho-hum glory of the ny Giants.
What do you think? .

Art Donovan

I didn't have a chance last week to pay my respects to former colt hall of famer Art Donovan.

Art has virtually no connection to the dolphins - other than the fact he played with Don Shula in the 50s in Baltimore. He just had a persona that can't be denied.

Many of you might just shrug it off and say "an old time player". But I encourage you to find a copy of his book - or watch the YouTube video linked below. Art made the rounds on late-night tv in the 80s and he was great.

I never met the man, but I was such a fan I researched how to find him and sent him an actual letter telling him how I became a fan and how much I enjoyed his appearances on tv. I sent along a football card of his and asked for autograph.

He sent me back a very nice letter on his personal stationery and thanked me for being a fan. I treasure the letter more than the autograph as it turns out.

I, for one, think we lost a someone who made the world a funnier place.

The football gods surely welcome you warmly fatso. ;)