Friday, August 08, 2014

Post Game Stock Report - Dolphins-Falcons

                                 Just a quick summary of what I saw in the first preseason game.

On The Rise

Ryan Tannehill – Perfect 6-6 on his only series

Lamar Miller – Looked vastly improved

Brandon Gibson – Still has the chemistry with Tannehill

Rishard Mathews – Made a strong move to take the #5 WR

Jarvis Landry – Nice Punt Return – Hard to Judge with a limited QB

Damien Williams(RB) – Nice Kick Return–He flashed some nice speed and power and made some tough catches out of the backfield. – Very disappointed he was hurt.

Starting OLine – No Big Mistakes – Converted a 3rd and One

JaWuan James – Played 3 Quarters and held his own.

Will Davis – Almost picked off 3 passes. Not perfect but you can see the talent

Randy Starks – Is a beast

Brett Brackett – For a guy just off the street he has some big receptions.  With the uncertainty behind Clay at TE. He made a big jump towards making the team


Did not hurt their cause

Anthony “the freak” Johnson – I saw him getting some penetration but also was not dominating against 2nd and 3rd string players.

Terrance Fede – See above – Saw some flashes but was not dominating back-ups

Jamar Taylor – Falcons did not test him much. But did not give up anything big.

Mike Gillislee – Had some nice looking one cut and up field runs.

Billy Turner – Looked solid in run blocking but gave up a sack on a blown block

Chris McCain – Made several plays and seems to have a knack for getting to the ball. Also took a bad angle in pass coverage and gave up a big play.


On the Slide

Starting Linebackers – Wheeler had a dumb Penalty, Misi missed a tackle for a loss. The Falcons backs smoked them running off tackle several times. Ellerbe was beat in coverage. 

Reshad Jones – Suspended  For PED. Obviously that hurts him and the team.

Daniel Thomas – With Williams showing some talent and Moreno about ready to return – This was a game he could not afford to be missing.  If Williams is out a few weeks he really needs to show up to make the team.

Michael Agnew – With Clay hurt and Brackett showing some flashes this was a game Agnew could not afford to miss either.

Jason Fox – Does not look like the answer as the #3 tackle to me. The team has to seriously consider signing McKinney for depth IMO. 

Seth Lobato – To be fair he is just learning the system. However, with Matt Moore and Pat Devlin out. He got to QB pretty much the whole game. He botched a snap on the goal line when the team could have went ahead and failed to move the team on a  2nd chance late in the 4th. That may have really been his only chance.

Matt Hazel – Failed to bring in a couple passes late in the game. Granted they were not great throws but the competition at WR is too fierce to do that.


I  saw about 80% of plays so if there is anyone I missed let me know…

Dolphins Starting Units Preseason Game One - Quick Shot


Lamar Miller - looked like a completely different back. He ran with speed, power and was catching well out of the backfield. Very Sharp! – Grade A

Ryan Tannehill - Looked Great! Throwing different depths and moving around. Could not ask for more. – Grade A

O-Line - Looked good in Pass Pro and was able to convert a 3rd and short in a 3 WR set.  Grade B

Gibson and Mathews - Made the big plays moving around. Mathews making a good case he is the 5th WR. – Grade A


Linebackers – Struggling (as they have for years) with small quick running backs in a dome. Knucklehead shot to the head on Wheeler.  Had trouble running down backs. Grade D

D-Line – Good penetration and QB pressure. Starks blew up a play. Jordon’s talent is obvious. Grade B

D-Backs – Got hit with the new contact rule. Although they gave up receptions the coverages were generally tight.  Almost picked off a pass.  Not bad considering first preseason against Matt Ryan and Roddy White. – Grade C

Will give some other updates soon – Starters are already being pulled

Boy, Are We Gonna Be Well Rested For Green Bay!

And I am not talking about coming off the bye.

No.  I am talking about how another defensive player has decided to risk his livelihood in order to keep his livelihood.

By now you may have heard that Reshad Jones has joined Dion Jordan on the "Mentally Unable To Make The Right Choice" list by being suspended for our first four games for, can you imagine, violating the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy.

Now I hate to point fingers at anyone and Reshad Jones and Dion Jordan are certainly not the first, nor the last, players to get caught with their hands in the supplement jar.

Just read the transactions column in your local paper's sports section.  The NFL announces their suspensions along with the teams' announcements of their player transactions.

Each week another one bites the dust.  Or drinks it for that matter.

Now you have to figure a 5th year vet has some inkling as to what is ok to take and what is not ok to take.    

There has to be some sort of scuttle butt in the locker room.  Beyond bullying of course.

Someone, somewhere, should have the flyer that reads  DO NOT TAKE  handy.  I wouldn't doubt its pinned up somewhere in the locker room.  It is there to make players aware of what they shouldn't be putting in their bodies.

That's a good idea.

Unless you decide not to review it.  Or even worse, not to follow it to the letter.

There has to be some benefit for someone to completely ignore the flyer hanging under a bright spotlight with flashing arrows pointing at it.

There is.  Its to keep their job.

Most supplements aren't taken to make you a better player.  They are taken to make you a better healer.

And I can understand why some players choose to ignore the warnings. 

They feel the threat of losing their jobs.

Each year the teams try to create depth and competition by bringing in some new guys to push the old guys and make the team as a whole...better.

Simple math.

The problem with this equation is that when a veteran feels like his job might not be his job if he gets banged up and doesn't get back on the field quickly enough, he may and some do, resort to mother's little helpers.

I am not sure that these supplements are found on the shelf at Wal-Mart with those jugs of whey protein.  I am not sure where the players get them.

But they do.

And some get caught.

I do not know the exact motivation behind Jordan and Reshad's decisions to take what they did.

Jordan is young enough and Jones should be smart enough.

So we are dealing with a full spectrum of a player's experience here to see that this issue is not limited to only long time vets trying to hang on.

I am sure the league is doing the right thing by outlawing certain supplements.  I am not advocating a "Just Do It" policy since some players are going to take them despite the league's efforts so you might as well let them all take them.

And I doubt, supplemental enhancing will ever stop occurring in the future. 

You have to figure that a player has got to look at a situation were if they don't get back on the field, they could lose their job if someone, younger and cheaper, can do it just as well, if not better.

So why not risk the four games? 

If I sit out on my own for a couple weeks to heal, I could lose my job.  So I might as well take what I can to get back out there and risk getting caught so that I can build value and keep my job.

If I get caught, then I can rest and heal.  More importantly to the player, its better to risk losing 4 weeks pay than all the pay.

So if these players seem idiotic to you for getting caught, they are probably applying the probabilities of getting caught multiplied by losing their jobs.

They may be smarter than we think when one of them finally wins a Fields Medal for math.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Tickets for sale

Anyone looking for a great pair of season tickets?

A "friend of a friend" is unable to go to the games this year and is looking to sell his two season tickets. They are great seats (Section 143, Row 6). He is looking for $3,000 for the pair, which is less than the price of the tickets based on individual game pricing.

Interested? Send me an email

Tonight's 60 Million Dollar Questions

We pretty much know what we have on Defense.  There are no big secrets there.

A ball hawking secondary behind a deep defensive line.  That's for certain.

My only question on the defensive side is how well can our linebackers play the run?  Atlanta can run the ball and will try to establish it early in their 1-3 drives by their starters. 

I don't expect their starting QB, Matt Ryan, to sit back there too often and wing it.  They know what he can do so I don't think Atlanta would want to risk him in that capacity against our D Line.   I could see their subs chucking it around later in the game.

So that brings us to the big question mark on D.

Is Misi the answer to plugging the run from the MLB position? 

We will find out early and often.

Offensively, all of us are concerned about the play of our O Line.  No secret there.

We are very deep at wide receiver.  No secret there.

We have the new Lazor Gun Offense Install appearing tonight.  No secret there.

I have 2 concerns on the O side of the ball.  And they both are tied together.

# 1: Can we consistently run the ball? 

Can we keep their D Line from pinning their ears back and coming after Tannehill?

If we can pound out some first downs then this Lazor Gun O with all its up tempo intentions can be very effective.

#2: Can we get a yard when we need a yard? 

How many of us miss Lousaka Polite and his uncanny ability to get a hard yard for a first down?

In 2008, he was 11 for 12 in rushing for a first down with one yard or less to gain on a 3rd or 4th down.

In 2009, Polite was perfect in 16 attempts.

In 2010, he converted 14 first downs in 15 attempts to get a yard on 3rd or 4th downs.

Polite was successful 41 times in 43 attempts when the whole country knew he was getting the ball.

That's exactly what I want to see tonight.

Noses to the grindstone!

Not only stuffing the run but even more importantly running the ball.

If we can rush the ball consistently, then Tannehill can have his way with this new high octane offense.

He can rush up to the line, make his reads and keep them guessing.

If we can't run the ball, then we could be watching a lot of our defensive players tonight and wonder if our offense actually knew where to report for the game.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Dolphins Vs Falcons

Finally, something other than practice to watch for the Dolphins! It was a LONG offseason after those final two loses last season.  In my opinion this team has more depth than in past years and there are several positions and players to keep an eye during the Atlanta game.  For those of you that are not up to speed on training camp here is my top 5 cheat sheet of what to watch for during the game. For those of you that have been following the team, what are your picks to watch?

1.)    Right Guard – This position is wide open for grabs and we have three players in the mix for it. Dallas Thomas is starting but he is neck and neck with rookie draft pick Billy Turner.  Along with them you have the free agent acquisition Shelly Smith. All three players fit this offense much better than John Jerry and there is not a clear cut favorite at this time.  We should see some quality guard play going to later in the game.

2.)    Running Back – Lamar Miller is the leader at running back and I don’t expect to see K Moreno in this game since he just is getting back on the field from an injury.  Daniel Thomas is hurt (and seriously on the bubble at this point) This game is an enormous opportunity for Mike Gillislee and Damien Williams. This is their chance to earn the #3 spot or possibly #4 spot on the roster.

3.)    Linebackers – Koa Misi is in the middle of the field now and this will be a first glimpse to see how he looks in the position change.  Also the depth at linebacker has become interesting Chris McCain is an interesting prospect that is tall, fast, and can hit hard. He is making his way up the depth chart. Along with him we have Jelani Jenkins and new comer Jordon Tripp.  I am interested in all three of these guys and expect to see some solid linebacker play later into the game by them.

4.)    Wide Receiver – We are going to see what I think appears to be our best WR core since the 80’s.  Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, and exciting rookie Jarvis Landry appear to have the top 4 spots locked down. After them Rishard Mathews, Damian Williams, Armon Bins, and rookie Matt Hazel are in a battle for 1-2 roster spots.  You have to expect them to make some big plays as Atlanta puts in their backups. There is a lot on the line in this game for these guys

5.)    Tight End – We have Charles Clay and we lets see…..I already said we have Charles Clay right? In training camp Dion Sims appears to be moving up the get the #2 TE spot.  Charles Clay is banged up and so is Michael Agnew. Dion will be playing with the starters and this is his chance to move into the lead as the #2 TE on the team. We really need a #2 to step up, will Dion do it?

Also, I am going to be at practice on Sunday after the preseason game. I am going to send out some live updates as I expect things will get changed up at some positions after this game. You can follow these on my twitter feed if you are hungry for information. My Twitter tag is @Gofins4SB

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Sun Life Takeover

If anyone needs tickets for the Chargers game at Joe Robbie Stadium, the dolfans NYC crew is planning a takeover of sorts.

Here's all the info....

Have your camp questions been answered??

Earlier at the beginning of camp, I posted my questions and asked for yours also. Well have they been answered? Do you have new questions? I would love to hear your comments, input, and questions! Here are mine that are new or have yet to be answered:

Earlier I said that I believed Sam Brenner will win the starting center job until Pouncey returns. That is out the door now that the Phins signed Samson Satele as he is a virtual lock to win the job until Pouncey can return...

A new concern that came up was that Tannehill threw 6 INTs in just 2 practices. Are you worried about that? It was reported that this was partially due to experimentation with new routes and the fact that he has thrown more than normal passes due to backup and 3rd string QB injuries. Thoughts?...

Knowshon Moreno is officially off the PUP list now and will push Lamar Miller for starting duties. I still believe that Miller is still better suited for this offense. The question is, can Miller be a legitimate pass blocker/blitz pickup back on obvious passing downs and on 3rd down. This is something that can determine who starts and who sits or if it will be split etc etc etc.

Does Miami have the best CB duo in the league or at least the AFC. SERIOUSLY?! Cortland Finnegan has been an absolute beast in camp. He is staying healthy and even mentors the younger defensive backs. Most importantly, he is keeping his mouth shut and just playing football. That signing where Hickey got blasted by everyone isn't looking so bad now is it?! Your thoughts...?

More on the defense. Does Miami have a top 3 defensive line in the NFL? It is certainly debatable. This is a very deep talented group. You lose very little talent if one goes down or gets subbed out and all are playing at a very high level. What do you think?

As mentioned above, in my opinion our defensive line is probably the best unit on the entire team. So with that it's obvious that they will eat the offensive line's lunch almost every practice. My question is, how much do you read into the offensive line struggles through camp so far? In reality you do have wake going against rookie JuWuan James. There is an obvious mismatch across the whole line in favor of the defense so is our line really looking that bad?

Those are a few of my thoughts so far in camp. I would love to hear your thoughts and questions as well. Thanks for reading!


Monday, August 04, 2014

Is Koa Misi the answer?

Jim Rassol (Sun Sentinel)
The Dolphins released their first depth chart for the first preseason game and Koa Misi is listed as the starting inside linebacker with Ellerbe and Wheeler playing on the outside of him. Ellerbe played the inside linebacker position last season but as we saw, he looks better suited as an outside linebacker. Misi who played outside last season now is switching over inside, something the Dolphins experimented with last offseason
but ultimately decided against it.

So what makes this season different? Misi is entering his 5th season and needs to make a big jump in order to not only help his cause this year but ultimately in the years that follow in order to ensure he remains a Dolphin. This year Misi counts just $2.3 million against the cap however that number almost doubles next season with a $4.4 million cap hit. Looking a year into the future is a bit premature considering he hasn't played a down yet this season, however it will definitely be something the Dolphins consider next season.

Misi if he plays well however will be worth that future cap hit. He has shown some promise over the last 4 years but this could be his most crucial year transitioning over to the inside. This I believe will be one of the biggest questions the Dolphins will face and something we should keep an eye on as preseason rolls around the next 4 weeks and then into the season. Besides the quarterback position and the offensive line, the linebacker position will be one of the biggest keys for the Dolphins next season. Hopefully it all goes well.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Dennis Hickey’s Acorns

So we are approaching the first preseason game of 2014 and at this point you can get an early feel for Dennis Hickey’s first offseason as GM of the Dolphins. Granted I do know that the performance of the regular season is what is the true measure of success. However in the early going it appears Dennis Hickey has done a solid job.  In free agency he recruited  Alberts, Delmas, Finnegan, Colledge, and Mitchell. They all appear to be solid veteran players the team really needed to mix with the younger players. Dennis Hickey’s first draft also appears to have a nice outlook. James, Landry, and Turner all appear likely to be solid contributors as rookies.  Wow, is that was is like to get 2nd and 3rd draft picks that actually can become starters on your team as rookies?  So as any fan would hope for, it looks like our new GM did a solid job in free agency and drafting. That in itself is very impressive. However, what is even more impressive are the “acorns” Dennis Hickey seems to have found. (Ok I used that on purpose since very few Jeff Ireland acorns ever turned into trees)

It is not easy, NOT EVEN IN THE VICNITY of easy to acquire rookie free agents after they draft that are much more than camp bodies.  If you’re lucky maybe one makes it as a practice squad player or is a special teams player. It appears Hickey may have acquired two, yes TWO players that might not only make the team, but have the ability to be starters for this team at some point.  Ireland had trouble getting players that could do that in the 2nd and 3rd round of the draft.  Hickey also has two potential players that could develop into significant roles later in the season or maybe next season. In review here are my four favorite acorns to keep an eye on as you are watching the preseason games.

Anthony Johnson -DT - looks like he has moved in the mix as a reserve defensive tackle. This guy clearly has the ability to be starter in this league.  It would not surprise me to see him working in the lineup as reserve during the season and being one of our top 3 tackles in a year or two.  – It is almost unheard of to get a solid Defensive Tackle after the draft.

Damien Williams – RB – This guy has been flashing a lot. It looks to me like he has moved up to the #3 running back (at least with Moreno out with an injury) I think he has the ability to surpass Daniel Thomas.  He clearly has the upside and ability to play running back in the NFL. At this point I am not sure it makes sense to keep both Moreno and Thomas. They are both on unrestricted free agents after the season and Williams is much younger and cheaper than both of them.  It would not surprise me to see Williams take over as the #2 back in 2015. – Again very impressive for an undrafted player.

Gator Hoskins – TE - Quick question. If Charles Clay gets injured, what player is the closest to being capable of being the dual threat that he is? That player is Gator Hoskins.  I doubt that he is on the active roster, but I do suspect he will be on the practice squad and I would not be shocked if was suddenly put on the regular roster if Clay gets hurt.

Chris McCain – LB- All the guy keeps doing is making plays. He is currently too small to be an every down linebacker. However, this is another guy I think may be put on the practice squad or even on the regular roster to play in passing downs and on special teams. If he can add another 10-20 pounds on his frame he may have the ability to even start at linebacker or be a solid reserve in 2015.

Let me know who your favorite acorns are and how you think Hickey has done.