Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Midseason Thoughts And The Lions Game...

We are a little more than halfway through the season and what an interesting one it has been. It has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride for me. I have seen the Dolphins lose games they should have won. I have seen our QB play like the second coming of Tom Brady...or Ryan Leaf, depending on which game you are referring to. Here is my overall opinion of the season so far as well as predictions for the Lions game:

Dennis Hickey deserves to be the MVP of this team, in this case, the "P" stands for person. He has done a tremendous job with this roster. Everyone under the sun thought he was a fool for signing Finnegan in the offseason, how dumb does he look now?! Even in the draft, Ju'Waun James has been fantastic and Jarvis Landry, in my opinion, is the best receiver up to this point in the season, to come out of the draft. Not to mention he also signed pretty much the rest of our new and improved O-Line minus Pouncey. Good Job so far Hickey. I am interested to see what happens this offseason when Miami is in somewhat of a cap situation and has to restructure contracts as well as sign new ones and let go of key players. I am confident Hickey will do well. 

Can Tannehill maintain his recent success? I am not sure but he looked like the second coming of Brady in the Chargers game. I hope I was wrong about him. 

Overall, we are sitting at 5-3 and have lots of reasons for optimism. It still hurts knowing we let the Packers game slip away but we are on the good side of .500 and need to string some more wins together to separate ourselves from the pack. There is a crap load of teams that will be battling for a wildcard so every game will count in my opinion. I am not going to bank on winning the East although it would be nice. Just look at the AFC North, every single team is above .500 right now, EVERY SINGLE ONE! Steelers, Ravens, Bengals, and Browns. CRAZY! Sorry KNick, I have to disagree with your post about resting players this Sunday. I believe this game will count big time come playoff time. Only way we should rest players Sunday is if we get a big lead. Not to mention, taking a few players out of the mix for rest may ruin our momentum that we seem to have picked up the last few games. 

Now, as for the Lions. This is going to be a tough call. Who wins the battle? Optimus Grimes or Megatron?! Suh or Pouncey? Those are anyone's guess. I honestly don't think Detroit will be able to run on our defense, but I also think we won't run on theirs either. I believe the offensive coordinator who calls the best game will be on the winning side of this game. Will Lazor find ways to get Miller involved if we can't run effectively? Some screens? Using him as a wideout against some LBers? I would suggest even getting Landry and Wallace involved in the running game and Tannehill on the read option, just don't get carried away with it. We just have to keep them honest. And under no circumstance, we cannot abandon the run no matter if it is effective or not! We cannot let the Lions pin their ears back and get after our QB. As I said before, the Lions have the same problems so which coordinator will adapt? I sure hope it's Lazor...

Bringing it all together

I posted or replied something similar a couple weeks back; can't remember when??  But canamDolphin made a reply that touched on the same area in Carl's Post titled "THE MARINO AFFECT ON TANEHILL"
The area I am speaking about, and also what canamDolphin said, have to do with the affect & the offensive scheme Lazor had on Nick Foles, and possibly what we are seeing now in Ryan.  If you have time, look at Philly's record 2013.  They were 3-5 at one point; Foles came into game 5(I don't recall why? Injury or just trying someone new?), but didn't start a game until game 6!  
I think there is a higher learning curve to this offense that takes all of pre-season, and then maybe 6-8 games??  Continued practice & serious attention to detail for every position is required(I believe).  e.g. On a very short 4th & 1, all 11 players must perform their job to get that 1 yard?  Maybe that is too much for an NFL team?  But they ended up pulling it together in Philly, losing on a no time left FG to get to the 2nd round of the playoffs!
I believe when you learn this offense the pay-off is high!  But everyone has a job to do on every play so no 1/2 %^&*#@ on plays where the ball isn't coming to you.  And I haven't seen that with this group & I do not think they will over celebrate before going to the Motor City.
I'm not sure how much this game means when we have to turn around and play Buffalo on Thursday.  If anyone is in doubt injury wise, I would rest 'em.  Our last NFC game & I don't think it means squat.  Unless they are still rolling then of course, a "W" is great.  But don't take chances with any LB ankles, or TE issues, as well as our RB's!  Give those guys another Bye week if they need it!  I have my plastic rain coat on for all the fruit & veggies thrown at me on this one.  It's how I fell. 

Monday, November 03, 2014

The Marino Affect On Tannehill

Former Dolphin great Dan Marino has been spending some quality time toturing QB Ryan Tannehill.  They have been watching film together as Marino shares with Tannehill what he looks for while studying an opposing defense.

But I believe, after watching Sunday's game again, that Marino's biggest affect on Tannehill is more mechanical than cerebral.

Even though Tannehill has a big arm, he had been trying to put too much touch on his passes.  Many of which were falling into enemy hands or harmlessly to the ground or wound up being over thrown to the WRs.

Against San Diego, we saw plenty of Marino like zip on his passes.  Tannehill is starting to make his reads and then zip it in there.

He thread a few needles Sunday as he fired the ball with much more velocity on his passes than in games past.

As such, his passes were finding their receivers in stride leading to big gains.

Case in point his 38 yard reception to Mike Wallace.

On this play, Tannehill rippid one in between two defenders and in front of the San Diego safety, allowing Wallace to gain 20 more yards in yac.

Marino was notorious not only for his quick release but also for his canon arm.  Tannehill may not possess Marino's quick draw but he certainly has as powerful an arm as Marino's.

Now, you can consider our West Coast Offense to be a Finesse Offense but that doesn't mean that Tannehill has to lob it in there.

Nor does Tannehill have to complete some long balls to be effective.

We can still run quick slants and crossing patterns, which when hit in stride, can turn short passes into big gains creating those chunk yards we all want to see.

if the velocity is there, as it was on Sunday, then Tannehill will continue to put up great numbers and we will all be glad he did.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Tuesday is election day

Get out and vote!(there's no political stuff in here, just a reminder)

There are no excuses, polls in most states are open 7-7, and its your Constitutional right, or dare I say duty, to have a voice in government.

In many states (Florida included) who resides in the Governor's Mansion is up to you.  You can select your member of Congress.  And there are Attorneys General, Commissioners at various levels, and city decisions to be made.

In Florida, we have 3 proposed Constitutional Amendments, and in Broward County there is a bond issue - to provide more money to schools (this is the only thing I will give an opinion on, please vote YES!)

The internet has a wealth of information about your polling place,and what's on the ballot.  Here's one site that offers such info (I am not endorsing this site, merely providing it for reference)

So do your homework, and remember to vote on Tuesday.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

This Was Our Day

This was our day.  A day that brought over 70,000 fans to their feet and had them walking out afterwards still cheering.

This was our day. From the Chargers opening drive of 58 yards, which was the only time they crossed midfield and failed on a mistakenly called for 4Th and one attempt from our 22 yard line, to the absolute end.

This was our day. From our first drive when Mike Wallace let a ball go off his hands and it popped up and back into his hands again for a first down.

Yes, this was our day.

Nothing was going to get in the way of a very emotional post game locker room in which team owner Donald Ross presented Head Coach Joe Philbin, whose father passed away on Friday, with the game ball.

No team in the entire league could have matched the desire and drive of our Miami Dolphins today. No, this was our day.

Ryan Tannehill started his 40th game at QB and his precision passing lead the way for both Philbin and himself to be considered losers no longer as both their records are now 20-20.

Yes, today was our day. A day to relish and remember as a possible turning point in both their careers.

Today was our day!

Thank God, we needed it.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Blow Out Win!

What a day!   Carl Leone and I were at the game today and let me tell you the stadium was rocking.  Miami is back in the playoff race so I am hoping we get some momentum going. Next week is going to be very difficult on the road against Detroit. Miami has clearly established they are in the top half of the league. Now they need to establish they are in the top 3rd and a playoff team.  There are reasons for optimism everywhere. Our defense is playing so well and now the Lazor offense is really starting to click. Tannehill is continuously getting better and we certainly appear to be a better team going into the 2nd half of the season.  If we can go 5-3 in the second half of the season this team is position to make it. Phins Up!

Today I Had One of Those Dreams that, Upon Waking Seemed Like it Was "SSsOOO" Real?!?!?!

I was very confused. Did I just wake up or did I just watch 4 quarters of Dolphin football that appeared(Honest, this is not one of my Posts that seems to make sense until I queue Mr. Waters for the closing remarks:
"And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear.
And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes
I'll see you in Glendale, AZ on 02/01/2015!") as if 54 men had a common goal? "O," "D," "SpTs," 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th quarter was one long effort & thought process to help achieve the common goal these men, "this team"  were determined to fulfill.
I better stop, I don't want to wax rhapsodic straight in to  my normal length of "armchair QB knowledge!"
Game ball for Joe's Father, and "the TEAM" of 54 men!
And I'm still riding your wagon Ryan; Well Done!!
Phins Up!!!

Dolphins/Chargers. The Good And The Bad

Ryan Tannehill played flawless today against the Chargers. He picked their defense apart from the first snap until his last. He did not turn the ball over today and was as accurate as I have ever seen him. He made some throws that absolutely blew my mind. Like the one he rifled between 3 defenders to hit Wallace for a big gain. Like the one where he pump faked Rishard Matthews open for a TD. Like the one where he extended the play with a scramble and threw it deep to Wallace, even though it was not completed, he gave our playmaker a chance. VERY IMPRESSIVE GAME BY TANNEHILL. I very may well have been wrong about him. I was also impressed when Tannehill ran the ball, he protected himself very well and gave himself up rather than taking an unnecessary hit. 

What could be more impressive than Tannehill's performance? Our defense. 3 turnovers off Rivers and a shutout. I said the Dolphins would win by at least 10 but I never expected this. Rivers was pestered all day. I believe Cameron Wake had four sacks. Grimes with 2 INTs. And where the hell did Reshad Jones come from?! He has always been a decent player but he is playing like a mad man. Just today, he had a pick and played STELLAR in run defense. He is playing like the best safety in the league right now in my opinion. 

The bad I saw today? Only a few things. First, Mike Wallace needs to put more effort. I saw him leave a TD on the field when he purposely went for a 1 handed catch for whatever reason when he could have had an easy TD if he had used two hands. Second, Caleb Sturgis sucks. He is missing way too many field goals, it is getting ridiculous. Third, the Patriots just beat the hell out of Denver, they seem to have hit their stride.

I am totally flabbergasted about this game. I don't know what else to say. If these Dolphins can play consistent then the NFL is in trouble. Great game by the Phins today