Saturday, November 23, 2013

Forget the dolphins

Go Heat!!!

How We Will Beat The Panthers

Conventional wisdom says that when an inconsistent team plays a hot team with a very good defense the inconsistent team gets crushed.

But the more I think about our team and how we just haven't put a real good game together, I just feel we are due.

Its not like we don't have any good players. Our defense can play. Our offense has played well at times too. We could use a kick in the butt with our kick returns.

Now I am not talking about a blow out here but a good decisive win. And here is how it will play out.

All Men Are An Island:
Defensively, we will place 8 men up in the box for run support and force Cam Newton to beat us. Man coverage outside with a single safety deep and lots of blitzing. Newton has been playing much better this year and has been taking what the defense has been giving him but I see him getting a little greedy and missing most of his one on one matchups.

Throw Early And Throw Often:
Open it up against their 2 deep zone.  Athletic TEs have had success against them so I expect Charles Clay to have another big day with 8 receptions for 100+ yards and at least 1 TD.
Ryan Tannehill is so due for a monster game. So due. Carolina's corners aren't that great.  They play a lot of zone. I believe Ryan will get a hot hand early with quick slants and then hit Clay deep down the middle. I see Tannehill throwing for 280 yards and 3 TDs. And finally hitting Wallace in stride for a 40+ yard TD.

Live By The Sword:
Carolina Head Coach Ron Rivera is a gambler.  He has been going for 4th and 1s throughout their 6 game winning streak. He is 6-8 in those situations looking to extend drives. In this game, he dies by the sword.

Field Position Sets Us Up Nicely:
I see league leading punter Brandon Fields just pinning them back at every opportunity and Thigpen finally breaks out with a couple decent returns.

We Win The Turnover Battle:
As I said earlier, Newton will get greedy and step out of his character a bit in this game. I see a couple blitz pressured over throws landing in our mits. We will win the turnover battle 3-1, Newton's two pics will kill 2 good drives, one late in the first half and Newton gets picked mid way through the 4th. And their 3rd turnover will come on a fumble at their own 23 yard line.

Trap Game, Nah:
Carolina is coming off a big Monday night win against the Patriots and they play the Saints next week, so it seems like a perfect trap game. However, they watched the Saints win on Thursday night so they know they need to win to stay a game behind. Its not like they would be scoreboard watching to see how the Saints are doing.  And that will play right into our hands as we blitz and force Newton to make plays to beat us and he will press and misfire throughout the game.

Bold Prediction:
Miami 27  Carolina 13

Cherry On Top:
The Jets will go against their current pattern of win one, lose one and lose their 2nd in a row at Baltimore and we wind up in the 6 hole.

Phins Up!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Friday, November 22, 2013

Panther Injuries give Dolphins a ray of hope

With ends Johnson and Hardy fighting knee injuries (and probably out), the formidable Front 4 of the Panthers will be slightly less imposing.   Their strength, their Defensive Line is our our weakness - our offensive line.

If they were healthy, we would have no chance to move the ball on that defense.  We were simply out-matched, yet these injuries bring us closer to competitive. 

If we game plan correctly, if we start faster than we have lately, if Tannehill can hit Wallace deep at least once, and if our defense can contain the scrambling Cam Newton we might be able to keep this close.

For the first time this year, I am saying that the chance of us winning is less than 1 in 4, a 25% chance of winning.  The injuries make it maybe a 35% chance to win.  

This is about game planning, play calling, execution and general coaching.   Hopefully, we pull a Buffalo and upset them...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

We need 4 more AFC wins to make the playoffs

I believe after reviewing the opponents of all of the 4-6 teams and Buffalo (4-7), the Miami Dolphins should only need to win 4 AFC games to secure the final AFC playoff spot.

Do you agree?

Further, if Miami can win 5 (all 5 AFC games actually) of the final 6 games, they should overtake New England for the Division Lead.

Your thoughts?

Monday, November 18, 2013

This And That From Our Win Over San Diego

Spreading it around:
Tannehill's first 4 passes went to 4 different receivers before coming back to Wallace for his 2nd reception on the first drive of the game.
Play 2: Wallace for 17 yards
Play 3: Hartline for 16 yards
Play 6: Matthews for 3 yards
Play 7: Clay for 18 yards
Play 8: Wallace for 13 yards
Great way to keep the defense from keying on any one receiver.

For the past few weeks I have read about how the officials were ganging up on the Dolphins and that there actually may be a conspiracy against us.  I assured everyone that there is no such conspiracy and that they tend to even out by the end of the season.

Well yesterday's game went a long way to evening those numbers out.  San Diego was flagged 10 times for 76 yards while we were flagged only 3 times for 15 yards. 

There were a few times when it looked like from our angle on TV that the Chargers had been drawn offsides by Tannehill.  I swear I thought the refs looking down the line were missing their contact lenses.  But we never got a look directly down the line with replays so the Chargers could have still been onsides by a fraction of an inch.

Jerry's 2 False Starts came at critical moments in the Red Zone. 

His first, during our first drive of the game, came when we had the ball 2nd and Goal from the 6 yard line. And we wound up settling for a FG.

His 2nd came on our 3rd drive of the game, this time with the ball at the 7 yard line and we were facing a 2nd and 1.  This was a big penalty as now we go to 2nd and 6 from the 12.  The next play, Tannehill hits Hartline and he fumbles (?) the ball at the 1 and San Diego recovers.  However, we catch a huge break with a roughing the passer penalty and we wind up with a 1st and goal.  Two plays later, Thomas goes over the top from the 1.

We never got a replay of Hartline's fumble at the 1 yard line.  Had he been downed at the 1 prior to coughing it up then that roughing penalty would have been administered from the end of the play and we would have had the ball 1st and goal from the 1/2 yard line.  I was surprised we never got a second look at the end of the play, only a replay of Tannehill getting roughed.

San Diego had 2 huge penalties called against them on their final drive of the first half.  On their second play of the drive that started with 3:39 left, Gates went 27 yards to our 27 yard line and it sure looked like he got tackled by a face mask and the flag came in.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear that he got called for face masking while straight arming.

Their second big penalty on that drive came with 1:11 left facing a 2nd and goal from our 5 yard line, Rivers steps past the 5 and sidearms a pass to Gates for an apparent TD.  But he is flagged for an illegal forward pass and the reviews show he clearly was past the 5.  So not only do they lose the points, but get backed up to the 10 and lose a down to boot making it 3rd and goal.

4th Quarter Sacks:
For once it wasn't Tannehill being submerged late in the game but Rivers who got sacked twice in their final 2 drives.

The first came with Rivers facing a 3rd and 5 from our 29 yard line with 4:36 left in the game. Vernon bull rushes the tackle and drops Rivers for a huge 7 yard loss.  Shockingly, rather than having Novak attempt a 53 yarder after he already booted a 50 yarder with plenty of room to spare, San Diego punts.

The second came on their final drive of the game, facing a 2nd and 2 from their 42 yard line, Cam Wake beats his man and down goes Rivers for a loss of 5 with only :49 left.  This forces San Diego to burn their last TO of the game.

Growing Up Tannehill:
Ryan still has some maturing to do that comes with experience. I don't blame his interception on him.  I just think that was a hell of an intuition by their nickle for pulling off his man, the slot, and under cutting the route by Hartline in the flat.  That could be our tendencies being detected in film study and figuring that was exactly what we would do.

However, he did miss a wide open Wallace early in the game for a sure TD and then a wide open Hartline late in the game as we were trying to ice the game.  Those were 2 big throws that he has got to start making.

Lets take a look at our last drive of the game.  We get the ball at our own 6 yard line with 3:38 left in the game and San Diego has all 3 TOs left. Everyone expects us to run the rock.  I figured we would too and force the TOs and hopefully, somehow against a stacked box, get a 1st down.

But "How do you like my play calling now" Sherman fools everyone and has Tannehill hit Hartline out in the flat were he avoids a tackle and scampers for 15 yards down the sideline while staying in bounds.

Next, Tannehill scrambles for 4 yards and wisely stays in bounds, clock a ticking.

Then, "Eat my playbook" Sherman fools everyone again and has Tannehill hit Matthews for 13 yards to the 38 yard line and another 1st down.  TO San Diego!

Maybe it was all that extra time he had to think, as Sherman next calls a run for 2 yards. 2nd TO San Diego!

Now comes 2 plays Tannehill wants back.

First he misses a wide open Hartline for a sure first down.  Clock stops.

Then on 3rd and 8, Tannehill avoids the pressure by rolling right and after looking for any open receiver he runs out of field and out of bounds to stop the clock again.

This is were he needs to grow up a little with some experience and just slide down in bounds.  Even with the sack, the clock will get running again and force that 3rd TO to be used.

These are some of the growing pains we will all have to deal with while trying to mature a Franchise QB.

Red Zone D:
They made three trips into our red zone and walked away with only 1 TD.  Great job and the reason we won this game.

Red Zone O:
We made 3 trips to the red zone and walked away with only 1 TD.  Poor job and the reason why we didn't blow them out and not have to rely on our Defense.

What else has to be said about this guy.  We all know how important he is to our success and how we all want him back.  The only reason I can think of for why his contract has not been extended is probably that HE doesn't want to get it done yet and prefers to see what he can get on the open market.  Let's hope we get him extended before he gets voted as our MVP because he has a great shot at that. And then who wants to lose their MVP?

Carolina on my mind:
Glad to hear all the players talking about focusing and getting ready for our next game.  We have been 2-1 since the scandal broke wide open. 2-1! So much for distractions. Tampa Bay was destined to win soon any way and look how well they played in their 2nd win yesterday. We just got spanked by a fired up home team on MNF.

Let's all watch tonight's game with Carolina hosting the Pats.  Let's hope the Pats fall and then that will be some weekend for us Dolfans as all the teams in the hunt with us fell, including the Chiefs who now join the ranks of every other team that ever played the game lest one. OUR PERFECT 1972 DOLPHINS!!!

Special Shout Out:
I spent yesterday's game on facebook with a good dozen or so die hards from Dolfans NYC.  They are quite an active bunch and I look forward to joining them at Slattery's in NYC for a game soon enough.

Phins Up!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Big Win For The Program

Jets lose!
Browns lose!
Ravens lose!
Chargers lose!
Chiefs lose!

Can we get a Carolina Win on MNF?
I say let's double down!!!

Enough said...enjoy your evening


Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Suspicious behavior?

Mike Pouncey has had own legal issues to deal with, and neither he or the team has given much on anything that's going on, or if he might miss any time. 

Then this scandal breaks out and Martins rep says its playerS (emphasis on the s) who were involved. 

Pouncey missed practice on Thursday with an "illness" (which is the same ailment that Martin had) and yet the team said he was still going to start. This in spite of the coach's statements over the 1.5 years he's been here that if you don't practice on Thursday, you don't start (and is code for you don't play). 

Previously there was no report of any injury. 

Then on Saturday, they promoted some scrub from the practice squad who happens to be a center - as the team has no other centers on the roster. 

The team said nothing, though they also placed Yeatman on IR so it's not highly unusual. 

Except that it is.

And this morning the report is that Pouncey is "out" and will not play.   This did not come from the dolphins, but from a league source. 

What was going to be a more transparent organization - especially in light of the allegations and their stance on being more open - has clammed up considerably. 

Sure maybe he is sick. But then why not comment on it?  Or say that he won't play?  

Weird. And with all that's going on around the team -and him- this is strange. 

Good luck to the team which now has to replace another starter on the o-line and lost some additional depth. 

Call me negative, but there is NO WAY this team winds up with a winning record. Not with all *this* going on.