Friday, December 05, 2014

File this under "peculiar rumor"

I heard it from a friend, who heard it from a friend....

As we all know, Stephen Ross still has his thing for Jim Harbaugh.  The Michigan job is open.  It looks like Harbaugh won't get the commitment from the 49ers.  So it would seem he might be a fit at Michigan, and Ross gets Harbaugh in a program he has an interest in....

Except, its been said that Harbaugh wants to stay in the pros. 

And here's where the rumor comes in: Ross is *considering* bringing Harnaugh to Miami - regardless of what his current coach does this season. And he'd even be willing to part with a draft pick to get him.

True?  Fair?  I have no idea.  But its peculiar in any case, and given the way Ross courted Harbaugh the last time (while he still had Sparano as coach), its not *that* far-fetched.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

A Boost For The Miami O-Line

The Miami offensive line got a huge boost this weekend against Baltimore.

No, Branden Albert did not make a miraculous recovery.

Instead, Haloti Ngata, arguably the best run stuffing defensive lineman in the NFL, which happens to play for the Ravens has been suspended for Adderal use which is considered a PED in the NFL’s eyes.

Samson Satele benefits from this the most because Ngata steals his lunch money every time the two have faced each other.

If I were Lazor & Philbin, I would dial up a heavy dose of Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, & Damien Williams to try and capitalize on the situation. I believe now, that we can run successfully on the Raven defense. This can greatly help the rest of the offensive line in the passing game against Dumervil & Suggs.  Not to mention, it will tremendously help Tannehill and take some pressure off of him if we can get a run game going.

This game is Miami’s to lose, hopefully they make a statement on Sunday!

Phins Up!!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Toys for tots

The Miami Dolphins this Sunday are asking fans to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots. The team is partnering with the U.S. Marines and will collect toys for local underprivileged kids and families. Marine vehicles and personnel in uniform will be outside all entry gates on Sunday.

Baltimore Ravens Analysis

I just watched the Raven and Chargers and here are some of the points I took away from the game.

-Although everyone is freaking out about run defense, the Ravens like to run a zone blocking scheme that is more effective against large power defensive lines.  It features a lot of stretch runs to the left and right.  Defensive Tackle penetration really helps to contain this type of attack. Our Defense has the speed to be able to match up to this.  However, they need to be able to improve on tackling if they do get through gaps.
-They have a very dangerous kick returner. We need Sturgis to hit his kickoffs into the back of the end zone to limit his impact in the game

-The Ravens like to push the ball down the field to Torrey Smith and Steve Smith. Look for them to challenge our cornerback not named Brent Grimes deep.

-The Raven really have impressive rushers off the edge.  We will need to be very careful with deep drops and Tannehill will need to be aware to slide up into the pocket.  They are very aggressive so our read option, draws, and screens should be used to take advantage of them rushing so hard off the edge.

-The Ravens like to stand their linemen up and move their players a lot on defense to hide where they are blitzing from.  I would use a lot of Peyton Manning long snap counts to catch where they are moving.

-Flacco has a live arm and throws a pretty deep ball. However, he seemed to not be great at intermediate passes to the left side of the field.  It could just have been the game, but he was much more comfortable throwing 10-15 yard passes to the right.

-The Ravens like to work in a play action bootleg setup off their zone stretch runs.  Miami HAS to be committed to staying home to respect containment and everyone maintain their gaps.

-The Ravens are somewhat limited on interior pass rushing.  Nagata can really anchor well to limit runs up the middle but he reminds me of Paul Soliai in that he is too heavy to provide a strong interior rush. The Ravens like to blitz linebackers up the middle to compensate for it. A well timed screen or reverse could really catch them.

-The Ravens defensive backfield looks very suspect to me. The Chargers were consistently able to beat them 1 on 1. Landry, Wallace, and company should have a matchup advantage in 1 on 1 situation. I would get these guys the balls in the flat and make the Ravens defensive backs try to tackle them.





Tuesday, December 02, 2014

She Ain't Pretty But She's My Girl

Al Davis could've been talking about tonight's victory when he proclaimed "Just win baby!"

This may be our ugliest victory in a long, long time.

These type of games usually ended with us losing.

You block a kick and then throw a freak interception.

You kick a long field goal and then boot the kick off out of bounds.

But after each mishap we found a way to suck it up and make a play.

Usually by a big sack to push the Jets into two longer field goal attempts which drifted just left.

I wasn't sure who was going to lose this game since no one seemed willing to win it.

And the fourth quarter arrived and Ryan Tannehill, who threw for his 5th consecutive game of at least a 70% completion rate, mixed in some good throws with some great running by Lamar Miller.

The O Line made enough creases for Miller to slip through and kept Tannehill upright dispite having Samson Satele sidelined in that last drive for the go ahead field goal.

Just as I thought "Yes" another "No" would soon follow. But the last "Yes!" will carry the day as a perfectly thrown ball by Geno Smith was tipped into an interception and victory formation.

You have to give Joe Philbin some props for running the ball inside the red zone and winding that clock down to 2 minutes left because after the Jets gashed us for 277 yards rushing it would have to be Geno Smith who would have to win it for the Jets and those odds were long.

Probably longer than the anguish of that first half. Too many "No!"s

So we leave NJ with a 7-5 record. Good enough for the sixth seed in the AFC Playoff race.

One that's a long way from over but she is looking better each day.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Monday, December 01, 2014

'Fins/Jets: The Good, Bad & Ugly

The Ugly:

The Dolphins gave up 277 yards rushing. They gave up 131 in the first quarter alone which is the most given up by any defense in the last 3 years. 

The Miami offense looked very lackluster and that might even be a compliment. There was of course the lack of the deep ball but the one thing that sticks out to me the most is the sure TD drop by Mike Wallace. It was a very good thrown ball by Tannehill in my opinion.

Special teams played pretty bad as well. Sturgis had a missed FG and a kickoff out of bounds. The lone bright spot on special teams was Dion Jordan's blocked punt.

The Bad:

Did I mention that we gave up 277 yards rushing to a team that sucks at passing making them 1 dimensional!!?

Our red zone efficiency which looked a lot better recently, seemed to have taken a step back. We should have scored a lot more TDs in this one. 

This was a very ugly game in all three phases of the game for the Phins BUT speaking of ugly games...

The Good:

One thing this team has not been able to do is win the "ugly games" and they accomplished that tonight because this game was U-G-L-Y. That is one thing I believe has to be done in order to separate good teams from bad teams and good teams from great teams. Is Miami a "great" team right now? I do not think so because a great team would have beat the crap out of the Jets and it wouldn't have been close BUT I do think Miami is at the higher end of the good team category. 

They also accomplished another thing that has evaded them this season, they won a close one! Granted it was the Jets but it still qualifies as a "close" game!

I see this as a disappointing performance but it provided Miami with a taste on how it is to close a game in the 4th quarter. I believe that the way this game unfolded will be more valuable down the line than rather if they would have won by double digits. 

My Thoughts On The Rest Of The Season:

The game against Baltimore is a must win. We cannot afford to lose that game, it severely lowers our chances of making the playoffs if we do not win that game.

As a previous commenter pointed out, Miami is still in play to win the division. In my opinion, this can happen only if Miami wins out. Impossible? No, but very unlikely. 

Just for information's sake, in case you missed it, ESPN showed a percentage table on how likely it is that a team will make the playoffs this year, here is what the top 3 teams looked like:

Ravens-%39, might have been 36, but it definitely was not in the 40's

Biggest game of the year this coming Sunday for Miami and the biggest game in Tannehill's career so far. This is his chance to show he deserves a contract extension from Miami and also to show the world that he should be in the conversation as one of the up and coming stars of the NFL. 

Phins Up!!!

Dolphins-Jets Time

Ready for some football! We get loud at this house for the game!

I hope the trainers have the shoes figured out. This field will be slippery. We need to make Geno Smith beat us by throwing short to medium passes with consistency and taking advantage when he makes a mistake. Phins Up!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

AFC Wild Card Is Gonna Be Hard Work!

I guess the Chargers didn't get the memo.

They aren't supposed to win on the east coast at 1 PM. 

But they did and ruined a pretty good day for the Dolphins.

What we don't need is the Chargers winning the AFC West. Then both the Broncos and Chiefs, who both beat us, would be in the Wild Card hunt.

All the teams ahead of the Dolphins in the loss column of the AFC Wildcard took a spill excluding the Chargers.

If teams do not play each other, the first tie breaker is your conference record.

We actually needed the Ravens to win.  That would have kept Baltimore ahead of us today with only 4 total losses but we could notch another one on them next Sunday in Miami and hold the head to head with them as we both would have 5 losses.

The Browns and Steelers both lost and now are 7-5.

The Steelers have only 3 AFC losses as do we which would make for an interesting tie breaker with us.

The Steelers still have @Bengals, @Falcons, Chiefs and Bengals left to play.  Not an easy row to hoe.

The Browns have 5 AFC losses so we are ahead of them if we run the table.  They still have the Colts, Bengals, @Panthers and @Ravens.  Not an easy row to hoe.

The Chargers still need to lose one more game. They are 8-4 and have only 3 AFC losses. They still have to play Pats, Broncos, @49ers and @Chiefs.  Not an easy row to hoe.

The 7-4 Chiefs host the 8-3 Broncos tonight. If the Chiefs win there will be a 3 way tie at 8-4 in the AFC West. Crazy!

The Chiefs still have to play @Cardinals, Raiders, @Steelers and Chargers.  Not an easy row to hoe.

The Broncos still have to play Bills, @Chargers, @Bengals and Raiders.  Not an easy row to hoe.

Our buddies in the AFC East, the 7-5 Bills with 5 AFC losses, still have to play @Broncos, Packers, @Raiders and @Pats.  The Pats may not need that last game and may, by that point, have the #1 or #2 Seed locked up. The Bills may catch a break there but @Broncos and then hosting the Packers  is not an easy row to hoe.

The 6-6 Texans are staying in the hunt. They have only 3 AFC loses too and still have to play @Jags, @Colts, Ravens and Jags.   That may be the easiest row to hoe out of all the teams still in the hunt.

We still have to play @Jets, Ravens, @Pats, Vikings and Jets.  Those Jets are a pain in our asses. Throw the records out with them. Twice.

The Vikings will be fighting for jobs so they will be no pushover.

The other two games need no explanation.

Lets face it, if we win out we are in pretty good shape looking at everyone's schedules.

I don't see any of those other teams running the table. I think everyone is going to lose at least one more game if not more.

December is going to be very interesting for all the fans, talking heads and teams involved in the AFC race.

And that is exactly what the NFL has worked so hard to produce.

I hope we play well and reap the rewards.

It is there for the taking.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971