Thursday, September 18, 2014

Becoming A Dolfan

Whenever I see the Chiefs on our schedule, my mind kindly wonders back to the day I became a Dolfan.

It was Christmas Day 1971 and my Mom's side of the family was trekking into New Jersey from Pennsylvania to share Christmas dinner with us.

The plan was to watch the Divisional Playoff game between the defending Super Bowl Champs Kansas City Chiefs and the visiting upstart Miami Dolphins and then eat dinner immediately after the game.

Ahh, the best laid plans of mice and men.

Now all my cousins and Uncle from Pa. were all Eagles fans. My brother was and still is a die hard Raider fan and my Dad hailed the Redskins.

I hadn't picked out a team yet so when everyone else decided to cheer for the Chiefs, I hopped on the Dolphin bandwagon.

When I think about it, I became a Dolfan just to be antagonistic!

While Mom and all the other women were in the kitchen preparing the turkey and side dishes, all the guys were glued to the TV.

It was a classic football game that had 13 future Hall of Famers playing in it. Little did I know at age 13 how important this game would be in both Miami Dolphins and NFL lore.

The game was tied at 10 at halftime and the Chiefs took the lead 24-17 with only a few minutes left. All my cousins starting ribbing me.

Mom politely announced that the turkey was ready so we should get ready to eat. That was the last kind word from her mouth that day.

Bob Griese led the Dolphins down the field to tie the game with 1:25 left.  Now, I was hooting and hollering.

Then Ed Podolak, the Chiefs RB who had a monster game, returned the kick off to our 22 yard line setting the Chiefs up nicely to run out the clock and kick a game winning field goal.  I was showered in laughter and got quite annoyed.

My Mom started to yell now "Its time to eat!"

The Chiefs sent Hall of Fame Kicker Jan Stenerud out to end the game and my misery. But he missed!

Overtime!! "Hahaha" was my reply to my loving family.

Mom came back into the living room "Lets eat everyone." "After the game." was the general consensus.

I could hear pots and pans and women biting their teeth.

Both teams missed opportunities to end the game with FGs in the first overtime period.

Yep, you read right, first overtime period.

Throughout the OT, as each team would drive towards victory, we would send one brave messenger into the kitchen to declare that the game will end soon.

And through the cheers and laughs and groans, my Mom would bellow "The turkey is drying out!"

My Dad dared not respond.

Finally, as Garo Yepremian split the uprights after 82 minutes and 40 seconds the longest game in NFL history had ended and my love affair with the Miami Dolphins had just begun.

I sat at the table with a shit eating grin on my face surrounded by my family struggling to chew an overcooked turkey.  I didn't care. To this day, it was the best turkey I have ever eaten.

Who would of thought that in my first 114 weeks as a Dolfan, we would go on to the next 3 Super Bowls, winning two and ending my first full season as a Dolfan undefeated.


I know that I have been blessed and I also know that many of you haven't had the opportunity to enjoy the same experiences but hang in there.

You never know in this world when something magnificent just wonders into your life.

Hopefully it will happen soon for you and us all.

I would love to hear how many of you became Dolfans.  I am sure many of you have some interesting tales as well.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Week 3: Chiefs AT Dolphins Predictions

This weekend’s matchup between the Dolphins and the Chiefs is an interesting one.

It really comes down to a few key questions that we as fans should get answered this Sunday.

How does Tannehill respond to his struggles in the first 2 games? Does he come out with yet another borderline mediocre performance? Does he do worse? Better? As a fan, I can only hope that he lights it up against a weak Chiefs secondary. This will go way beyond just winning or losing the game, it may show us if he is the answer at QB or not. It’s time to step up Ryan…

It is certain that Jamaal Charles will at the very least, be limited if not ruled out altogether with a high ankle sprain. This leaves us to deal with Knile Davis. Don’t get me wrong, he would be a starter on the Dolphins if he was here so he is no pushover but it should be an easier task defending him as opposed to Jamaal Charles. As for our secondary, we should have no problem covering their wide outs, but then again, that is what I said about Buffalo.

The two things that will ultimately decide this game is, can Tannehill EXECUTE? Can he be accurate? And can our coaching staff come up with a defensive game plan to stop a less than stellar Chiefs offense? These will be what decides the outcome of this game. There is not one side of the ball that the Dolphins do not have more talent than the Chiefs.

I know I picked the Dolphins to lose this game in my preseason predictions but that was before I know Jamaal Charles would be limited or ruled out because of an injury. Dolphins win this one 24-13.

I believe that Lamar Miller starts the game but Damien Williams has a better showing.

Ryan Tannehill throws 2 TDs and 1 INT.

Mike Wallace catches 1 of those TD passes.

Our defense sacks Alex Smith at least 2 times.

It will be interesting to watch this game Sunday with all the pressure that is mounting on the coaches and QB. I hope they come out & prove all the critics, me included, wrong. Thanks for reading!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A couple of quick takes from the cheap seats

As many of you know, I don't follow the Dolphins like I once did, and we have fallen in "love with" the Red Zone channel  So, on any given Sunday, we're watching that rather than a live game.

But I still listen to south Florida sports talk at times.  And after the Patriots game there was some (mildly tempered) enthusiasm for the Fins - 'they're gonna do great' seemed to be the theme.  And then this week, I heard a lot more negativity - 'tannehill is no good' and 'here we go again' were the two common lines.

I wanted to make one point about tannehill, and that is that he if you look at this year (so far) and his last two at the end of the '13 campaign, you realize he's now got 4 so-so games in a row. People still wonder about him and whether he's any good. 

Consider all of the QBs drafted 1st or 2nd round in, say, the last several years (excepting of course for the last draft).  How many of them are still on that bubble of we're not sure?  If I'm not mistaken, tannehill is the only one - the rest are considered either busts or successful....

Now on to a more general topic of the NFL and its continuing image problem. A number of players came to APs defense saying that it wasn't a big deal, and its part of growing up.  You listen to the Ravens players after their game and they wanted to win for Ray Rice because he's a good guy.

And then this morning, former line coach Jim Turner appeared on Mike & Mike to give his side of the goings-on the Incognito thing.  He basically said things were taken out of context, and the locker room is where boys are boys.  Essentially that is/was the root of the issue in the first place.

Are any of these guys right or wrong?  A lot of this is moral issues, and whether you agree with the "media", the coaches, the players, or even take a different view, the players in those locker rooms need to change in some way. 

Like it or not, this is our current society, and these guys need to stand up to the personal conduct clauses, and be good people - or at least give that appearance outwardly to the public.  And the NFL needs to take a stand to make it happen.

Rushing To Judgement

Looking at the Chiefs stats so far this season, we should be OK running the ball on Sunday.

They are giving up on average 125 yards per game and are ranked 23rd in the league.

We are ranked 10th in the league rushing the ball averaging 135 yards per game.

Despite losing Knowshon Moreno to injury, we should be fine this week.

The Chiefs were surprised at home opening up against the Titans and lost a tough game at Denver last week.

Statistically, the Chiefs have the following rankings:

Total Offense: 26
Points Scored: 30
Rush Yards: 22
Pass Yards: 18

Total Defense: 24
Points Scored: 23
Rush Yards: 23
Pass Yards: 20

My only concern is having to play a team who made the playoffs last year but is currently 0-2.

There is nothing worse than playing a winless team that has plenty of talent. You know they are due.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Lot Of Tough Questions Surrounding These Phins...

OK, so we all know how much losing to Buffalo sucked this last Sunday, let’s just face it, as Phillip Wheeler said, “The Miami Dolphins are built to beat the Patriots, unfortunately, the Bills are built to beat the Dolphins.” That statement hits home on so many levels and couldn’t be more true but we have to move forward to Kansas City. There are a lot of questions that came up after the loss so let us try to see if we can offer each other some insight shall we? OK good.

As you all know, I think Lamar Miller needs to be demoted. I was a big advocate for him in the offseason but he has shown me nothing. He cannot pass block, he can’t catch, he can’t break tackles, and this so called “breakaway speed” that he supposedly possesses has not shown in his entire career, not once. This puts us in a bit of a pickle considering Knowshon Moreno is out for at least a month with a dislocated and possibly fractured elbow. We need Damien Williams to step up in a big way ASAP because if Miller is our main back then we are in a world of trouble. I don’t see the recently signed Daniel Thomas making much of an impact because if he was that good, he would have been kept over Williams and Orleans Darkwa. It was an interesting move by Hickey though, I believe it was just to bring some temporary depth until our backs can heal up. Do you see a silver lining here??

Is Ryan Tannehill our franchise QB or not???! There are arguments on both sides here. I believe Tannehill played well against the Bills, not great, but well. He still has not found that killer instinct that I would like to see, maybe he doesn’t have it? Who knows. Overall he did well. Pro Football Focus is a well respected analysis site that takes into account things like receiver drops and things of that sort, that site has Tannehill rated as the # 2 QB behind only Matt Ryan!! NUMBER 2!!! What are your thoughts on that since it is fair to say that the Buffalo loss was not all on Tannehill, as Philbin said, “it was a team loss”…

The defense must play better. I can see Spiller & Jackson having a decent day against us but a rookie WR making our secondary look non existent? Unacceptable to me. We have 2 pro bowl corners, surely we could have and should have came up with a game plan to not let him make us look like fools. This has to get corrected.  Your thoughts on the defense?

In my preseason predictions, I had the Dolphins starting out 3-1 with our only loss of the first four games to Kansas City. I still believe we can and should end up at 3-1 since Jamaal Charles has suffered a high ankle sprain and will most likely be limited against the Dolphins if not ruled out altogether. Without Charles, Miami’s chances of winning this coming Sunday sky rocket. I will offer my predictions for that game later in the week. What are your thoughts on the Dolphins over all after 2 games?...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

For The Love Of God, Fire Darren Rizzi Already!

When will enough be enough?

When will Philbin realize we need new leadership on our special teams?

Shouldn't the special teams' performance against Buffalo be enough?

Blocked punt. Fumbled punt. Kick off return for a TD.

That sounds like enough to me.

I know I have not been a big fan of Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi. I had seen enough special teams' gaffes last year to support letting him go.

This last game's display should be the last straw.

I, for one, certainly hope so.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Miami Dolphins "Fix It" List

Well it was rough day for the Dolphins.  To be honest I was worried about this game from the start because Buffalo was going to be playing on such an emotional day.  The biggest things from a game like this is to learn from mistakes.  I thought rather than write yet another summary of the game I would touch on the top issues I see the team needing to address if they want to get back to winning.

Short Yardage – Phillbin or Lazor need to draw up better short yardage plays. I can understand running from the shotgun in 3 and 2 or 3rd and 3 but the team needs to prepare a power formation that is nearly impossible to stop from getting a yard. – They have had trouble with this since Phillbin has been the coach and it is time to get it corrected. Put a lineman at full back and run the William Perry offence if you need to.  In my opinion the dolphins running the read option from the shotgun when the buffalo brought everyone up on 4 and 1 was foolish.  You DO NOT run east and west on 1 yard to go plays.

Have the team more prepared for hostile stadiums that are loud. I know the game was rocking and it is hard to play in Buffalo, but that is how EVERY playoff game is. There were at least 4 to 5 times I saw Satele trying to call out the blocking assignments while Tannehill was clapping for the ball. That means either they play is coming in to slow or they are not getting in and out of the huddle fast enough. Everytime Tannehill has to start clapping you are telling the D-Line that is going to be quick snapped giving them a better jump.

Damien Williams has GOT to one cut and go. K Moreno looked terrific in the zone block scheme because he picks up where he was going quick makes his cut and goes.  Williams was dancing too much.  When you are playing a D-Line like Buffalo sometimes you are going to only get 1-2 yards and you come back with 2 and 9 or 2 and 8. You can’t dance and lose a yard making it 2nd and 11. I am hoping the coaches can help him out with that this week.

Tannehill has got to handle pressure better.  Miami’s O-Line did better than they did last year. Yes Buffalo got to him at times but he played uncomfortable all game. He was forcing passes and it showed. He was off target on several passes. I think he is doing a good job knowing where to go. That is always the hardest thing with a young QB. But he was pushing and rushing throws in this game. You have to be able to stand in the pocket even when it is a smaller one.  Again, if you want to win in the playoffs you have to be able to execute in adversity like this.

Get Landry on the field more – Rishard Mathews seems too slow to me and was targeted a lot in this game.  I am not clear where Gibson is at compared to last year but Landry clearly is a play maker.   Hartline, Wallace, and Landry need to be on the primary WRs on the field.

I guess we were dreaming?

An old friend of mine caught up with me at the coffee house.  He's a Pats fan, and felt pretty awful about last weeks game. All week, he assured me that last week was a mirage. That his beloved team had a bad game, and nothing more.

This morning, though, he decided to take it further.  "Get ready for a wakeup call.  Your team is gonna get their butts kicked."

And yeah, verily, it came to pass.  He was more in tune with his team than perhaps we were with ours.

Its not the end of the world, but three straight losses to the Bills?  sigh.

We got work to do.  And Knowshon is a key cog in this scheme. Hope he comes back soon.

Emotional Hannah Storm attacks NFL in closing SportsCenter remarks


Lamar Miller Needs To Go

While watching the game against the Bills, it's clear that Miami does not deserve to win this game and they probably won't. It is also clear that Lamar Miller is horrible. He has no vision and cannot run effectively and HE CANT CATCH THE DAMN BALL! He has flat out dropped 2 perfectly placed passes from Ryan Tannehill that should have resulted in first downs. The first one may have even resulted in a TD instead of a field goal. Horrible showing from the Dolphins, ESPECIALLY, Lamar Miller. Damien Williams had a good showing and should move ahead of Miller on the depth chart or at least we can hope...

A followup comment on the NFL's image

I mentioned in a post comment that there is a player who has been convicted of domestic abuse, yet continues to play.

The story is here

So just what is going on in the NFL commissioner's office???

The owners will never, ever vote to fire him (unless perhaps there's a video of him doing something illegal or immoral). 

So I suggest its time for him to just resign.  Do it for the good of the league.

Is Ray Rice "Getting The Business"?

Now I am not condoning what Ray Rice did.

I am not saying that he doesn't deserve to be suspended.

And he was. Initially for 2 games.

Was that an appropriate penalty for his actions?

That wasn't his decision. It was NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's.

Rice accepted that ruling.

Now after new evidence comes to light, i.e. the video, Rice's penalty has been changed to an indefinite suspension.

Granted that video does make Rice look like a villain. But isn't this new penalty a form of Double Jeapordy?

Has Ray Rice been retried for the same crime after accepting a penalty for that crime?

And what does the NFL do now with every other domestic violence penalty it has already rendered? Do they go back through their files and then indefinitely suspend all those other players?

Ray Rice deserves the current penalty he received but it came too late for actual justice to have been served.

Goodell should have gotten it right the first time.