Saturday, September 07, 2013

AQUA ALERT

To all Browns fans:

Sunday's forecast for Weeden is PAIN.

Continual disappointments throughout the game.

Widely scattered harrassments early. Leading to a heavy downpouring of Dolphin Defensive Linemen later.

Do not venture outside your feeble pocket unless absolutely necessary.

Stock up on medical supplies today.

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

Friday, September 06, 2013

Fond Memories of Cleveland Despite Our Beat Down

In November of 2005, I had the pleasure of visiting Cleveland and the surrounding area while catching our Dolphins at the Browns. 

I had sold an estate in New Jersey and the executrix, JoAnne, is a prominent attorney in Cleveland who has season tix to all the Cleveland teams so she invited me out as soon as the schedule was released.

Her husband, Jim, is a die hard Cleveland fan since childhood while JoAnne, from New Jersey, is luke warm at best and still roots for the Yankees.

Now Cleveland fans haven't won a Championship in any sport in decades and they have a defeatest attitude to say the least. They lost in the World Series and had their hearts ripped out through their throats by the Broncos and Raiders in 3 AFC Championship games.

They get fired up but as Jim says "We are waiting for the 2x4s to fall out of the sky and knock us out".

I flew in on a Tuesday morning and Jim picked me up.  We had met previously in New Jersey finalizing the sale of JoAnne's childhood  home and we hit it off immediately.  Jim is very knowledgeable about sports, X's and O's included. We had five days before kickoff and they had a great sports agenda laid out for me.

That first night, Jim and I went to see the Labron James led Cavs.  Their seats were excellent, 10 rows from the court in a corner.  Those guys are big and quick. The environment was electric and we had a great time.

The following morning, Wednesday, I woke up to my first lake effect snow storm. It didn't bother Jim in any way, so we hopped in the car and headed down to Canton to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

If you have not been to the HOF, you must get there. When we arrived I thought they were closed as there were only a few cars in the lot.  Now mind you that it is late November and it is snowing so we wound being with maybe about 15 visitors there that morning.

By chance, I happened to be the only one in the Hall of Busts at one point, so what the hell, I ran around rubbing top of the heads of all our Dolphins' busts on display.  Could you imagine if one of them fell?  "OOOPS.  Sorry."  I am sure the security guard watching the video feed got a kick out of me.

Thursday, we hit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Friday, we did the Science Museum and dinner and clubs.

Saturday night was special. The Italian Law Association in Cleveland have an annual dinner and it was that night. We dressed up and went to this swank restaurant in the Little Italy section. They had a Perry Como imitator who was excellent. The food was perfect and wine kept pouring.

Now comes Sunday at the Browns.  As we start to cross a bridge to head into Cleveland's mid-town, Jim says "There it is, our cow town!".  He was right. The streets were disolate. I asked if anyone was going to the game.  There was no one to be found. 

We parked and started to walk a few blocks towards the lake and the stadium.
As we turned a corner it was like we landed in Oz.  Finally, football nirvana. Tailgates upon tailgates.

The Browns fans were very friendly even with some snide remarks about my Dolphins jacket.  Every where I turned, we were offered brats and beers. Can't beat mid-western hospitality.

We go into the stadium to watch the pregame.  They owned 10 seats on the 15 yard line between the Browns bench and their locker room.  2 seats were in the 4th row, where their friends sat.  4 seats each were in rows 6 and 7 right behind each other so they would sit as a group with friends and colleagues.

As the teams were warming up, Jim calls me over to the wall and looking down says "Jim, I want to introduce you to a good friend of ours from Jersey".  I look down and standing there looking up is Jim Brown!!! I shake his hand and he asks if I am enjoying my visit.  I was flabbergasted!

Anyway, the Browns kick our butts, 22-0 as Reuben Droughns guts us for 166 yards.  It was one of those slow deaths were nothing is going right but somehow we still have  hope. Their fans were comical and gracious.

After the game, as we are walking back to the car, I couldn't believe how quiet it was. Thousands of people just slowly marching to their cars.  I said to Jim "You guys just kicked our butts and I cannot believe we can hear a pin drop".

Putting his arm around me, Jim sighs and says "We are listening.  We are waiting for them to call us back to announce the refs put more time on the clock and get ready for another 2x4!!"

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

I predict Dion Jordan will play TE in the Red Zone.

Okay, I know this is out of the box.   If the Dolphins lose another TE during a game.   It would not surprise me one bit if the Miami Dolphins' coaching staff have a few plays drawn-up for Dion Jordan, the 3rd pick in the 2013 Draft and considered by many to be the best defensive player coming out this year.

Remember, Jordan played WR/TE in high school.   He converted to OLB/DE in College.  We've seen in practice, he has pretty good hands.

So, my Bold Prediction is:   Dion Jordan will catch at least 1 TD pass.


Thursday, September 05, 2013

Playoff Preseason Prediction

AFC East     Mia
AFC North   Cin
AFC South   Hou
AFC West     Den
AFC Wild Cards    Bal, NE

NFC East     Dal
NFC North   GB
NFC South   Atl
NFC West    SF
NFC Wild Cards    Was, Chi

AFC Championship Game

Denver defeats New England

NFC Championship Game
Atlanta defeats Green Bay

Super Bowl Champion
Atlanta Defeats Denver

Warren Sapp - Tannehill will surpass Marino

I DVR a few of the NFL shows.  So, last night I couldn't sleep and I watched the NFL Network 2013 Game Day premier show at 2am.   One of the features was the "Bold Predictions" segment near the very end of the show. 

Warren Sapp said Ryan Tannehill will surpass Marino's second season numbers.  You remember.  The 5086 yards year with 48 TDs.   I am pretty sure Sapp was being 'Tongue and Cheek' with his prediction.  However, he must have some belief in the ability and upside potential of Ryan Tannehill.

Ryan, I am not asking for 5000 yards and 40 TDs.   But, 4500 yards and 32 TDs will get us to the playoffs.

I couldn't stop laughing after I heard Warren Sapp's Bold Prediction.   I must admit.  It made me feel warm all over.  I might need to get a life.  LOL

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

We are the superior team - it comes down to play calling

The Miami Dolphins are a quality team from a roster stand point.  We should not lose to Cleveland.  If we do, it would be a coaching snafu.  At this point, the fate of the season is tied more to the Game Plan and the offensive play-calling than it is with holes in the talent or the roster.

I have stated a few times in previous posts that calling sweeps inside the 10 yard line is a coaching mistake.   It is interesting that today, Sherman said, “We have to be able to run the ball better in the red zone because people really defend the pass pretty well,” Sherman said. “There’s just so many defenders up there in the short areas. They just make it impossible to throw some times.... A couple of games ago I thought I could have done a better job calling some runs down there.”

I love that our Offensive Coordinator is critical of his own play-calling when he makes obvious mistakes.  I think also that he plans to throw the ball more.    I read between the lines.  And truth is, Tannehill throws a bullet - which is very hard for defenders to intercept.   I am excited to see a wide-open playbook this year.  Protecting the the young Quarterback from making mistakes should not be a thought at all.   In Texas Hold'em vernacular, it is time to go "All-In."  We have the hands, we have the speed, and we have the experience.  Further, I think our O-Line will be better than average.  Clabo and Pouncey are studs.  Martin and Incognito are above average, and Jerry is pretty good against pressure defenses.

If (and I fully expect this) our offensive identity is Pass First to set up the run, we will be a very good offense.  When we go 4 wide (using Thigpen), we will have 3 very fast receivers.   I cannot remember a time we had this kind of speed on offense.   It will allow our O-linemen to hold their blocks for less time, and it will produce some very favorable one-on-one match-ups.  I am hoping that the anticipation that Tannehill started to show this preseason will continue, so that he can launch the deep ball before the receiver makes his final break (my mind flashes to Marino throwing the ball to the place he expected Duper or Clayton would be).

Again, I expect our offense to score somewhere between 24 and 31 points against the Browns.  And, with our Defense, we will win handily.


Monday, September 02, 2013

4 WRs or, is Marcus Thigpen number 5?

Early in camp we saw Marcus Thigpen line up in the slot and also a few times in the number 2 WR position.  I believe the coaching staff has decided that there is enough talent at TE and using the speed of Thigpen (even as a decoy) that we would be fine going into any week with just 4 WRs.

Losing Francis hurt!  It was added salt to the wound when NE signed him.

All those DBs...   I guess we are guarding against an injury to the secondary.   It also confirms the coaching staff's perceived weaknesses - The backup secondary (kept 11 total - and we never play more than 6 at a time - in the dime package) and then the backup linebackers (kept 7 in a 4-3???). 

I predicted we would NOT go get a TE.   I am completely comfortable with the talent we have there.  Sims looks good and will get better.   Hell, Egnew was open at least 4 times and not targeted in the NO game.  He will be fine.  Clay, go get the damn ball - You have the skill, now go fight for the ball.  Stop letting it come to you.  Overall, if the talent develops, we could be very good at this position by year end.

Cleveland Game Prediction:  Miami 24 - Cleveland 13 (I am actually hoping for a 17 point victory, but I don't want to get greedy).