Friday, January 09, 2015

Help Dolphins Plays Win The NFL Performance Play Of The Year

The Miami Dolphins are well represented when it comes to the list of nominees for Performance Play of the Year presented by Bridgestone. 

Four Dolphins plays are among the 32 offered for nomination in a vote of fans at

Mike Wallace is featured twice, for his touchdown catches against the New England Patriots on Dec. 14 and against the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 21; Brent Grimes is among the candidates for his one-handed interception against the Detroit Lions on Nov. 9; and Lamar Miller is on the list for his 97-yard touchdown run, the third-longest in NFL history, against the New York Jets in the season finale Dec. 28. 

Fans can vote for five of the 32 plays and the winning play will be revealed Jan. 31 at 9 p.m. on NBC during NFL Honors, a two-hour prime-time awards special, as the "Bridgestone Play of the Year."

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Just. Plain. Weird.

Because Tannenbaum (hey! is he related to Tannehill?) was introduced as the grand poobah and was designated as the personnel director, the position was scrutinized by the NFL.

You see, the "Rooney Rule" is intended to ensure that qualified minority candidates are considered for coaching and personnel jobs, and because of Tannenbaums job title and the fact that he was hired essentially on a whim, without considering other candidates, it appeared to run afoul of the rules.

I think its safe to say the NFL didn't understand what Tannenbaum's role was anymore than we did...And the penalties for violating the rules can range from fines to losing draft picks,

So someone from the league office called Stephen Ross, and they apparently talked for "a while" and discussed the hiring. 

Shortly afterward, Ross released a statement that Tannenbaum was NOT, in fact, the personnel guy.  He was also no longer Hickey's boss (and that means that he spent as much time in that position as Marino did as VP several years ago).  In fact Hickey, Philbin, and Tannenbaum all report to Ross directly, because that makes so much more sense.

And thus, the Dolphins weren't in violation of the Rooney Rule.

It also means that in addition to making a confusing hire, he made it even more so - and didn't even do it right.

Down And Dirty

There is debate whether or not the Dolphins should use their first round draft pick on an offensive lineman. I'm not going to argue for or against. Rather, I'll present some facts about the draft positions of the Dolphins as compared to the draft positions of the best linemen in the league based on PFF ratings.

        Albert               Colledge                Pouncey                 Thomas                  James
      Rd 1  15              Rd 2   47                Rd 1   15                Rd 3   77               Rd 1   10
          2008                   2006                      2011                       2013                      2014

Interestingly, the Dolphins best linemen, and their best hopes for 2015, are all 1st rounders. When looking at the league's best:

6 of the top 10 centers were chosen no later than the 55th pick. One was undrafted.

7 of the top 10 tackles were chosen no later than the 55th pick. Two were undrafted.

2 of the top 10 guards were 1st rounders. All 10 were chosen in the first four rounds.

The only Dolphin to land on the top ten list was Brandon Albert at #8

There is no right or wrong way to draft offensive linemen. Following is the team, ranking and round.

Dallas: #2 center 1st, #6 tackle 1st, #7 guard 1st.  MADE PLAYOFFS
Cleveland: #10 center 1st, #3 tackle 1st, #5 guard 2nd. MISSED PLAYOFFS

Green Bay: #5 center 5th, #3 guard 4th, #4 guard 4th. MADE PLAYOFFS
Philadelphia: #8 center 6th, #1 tackle undrafted, #2 guard 3rd. MISSED PLAYOFFS

As shown, there is no clear cut method for drafting linemen.

Staying the course.

Every so often, I get the feeling Stephen Ross is up to something. I have no idea what his end goal would be, but I am reminded of the movie Major League, where the new owner wants to "move to Miami" (though, clearly, that can't be the goal here!).

But at times, like yesterday, it almost feels like this, doesn't it?

Who knows what any of what's going on means. But we did get a report yesterday that Ross prefers not to fire people, especially in the football world. He apparently didn't want to fire Jeff Ireland last season, so instead he changed his role enough, to where Jeff got the message and they parted ways. And think about how he handled Sparano....its how he manages his people. I wonder what would have happened if he had landed Harbaugh at that time ("Hey Tony, want to be a line coach?")

So he simply couldn't fire Philbin. Period. He didn't give anyone power to fire him, because that's not how he operates. Philbin will be around until the owner decides to part ways (mutually, of course, because you can't fire him), and that means we get to laugh at this team for at least one, and possibly several more, years!

You just can't run a professional sports franchise that way.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Confusion reigns

Since the dolphins lost the last game, there hasn't been a word from the owner. Considering how it went down, that was a little odd.

Then today, we hear that Mike Tannenbaum takes over as president/czar/grand poobah in a similar role to the beloved (and missed!) bill parcells.

Except the details make it seem that he's not. Tannenbaum will oversee the personnel side, and Dennis hickey now reports to him. And Tannenbaum now also has the title of director of pro personnel, which was hickeys title.

So hickey has kind of, sort of, been replaced. Or at least has more bosses.

And meanwhile, Joe Philbin remains as reporting directly to the owner.

How is that going to work? Tannenbaum has the title of someone overseeing the coach, but with no power.

There was one report out there that this means Rex Ryan can't be far behind. We'll see.

For now it's weird.

But no weirder than the situation in Oakland. Technically, Sparano has not been fired. But they are interviewing other candidates as coaches. And are considering Sparano for a permanent role.

Poor guy. Two head coaching jobs, and twice the owners actively look to replace him while he still holds the job.

Dolphins 2015 Free Agent Grades

I'll give all the 2015 free agents a grade for their performance in 2014. That grade will be + or - with a description. These grades are derived from the actual grades given by Pro Football Focus.
© 2010 All rights reserved

Positive Grade: Offense
RB Daniel Thomas -excelled receiving and pass blocking, average rushing and run blocking
TE Charles Clay - excelled receiving and run blocking, liability pass blocking

Negative Grade: Offense
G Daryn Colledge - liability pass blocking, worst run blocker on team
C Samson Satele - liability pass blocking, above average run blocking
T Jason Fox- liability pass and run blocking
RB Knowshon Moreno - 74 plays, below average all phases

Undetermined: Limited Plays
RB LaMichael James 9 plays
TE Gerell Robinson ERFA 8 plays

Positive Grade: Defense
DT Jared Odrick - stout pass rush, average against pass and in coverage, special team penalties
ILB Jason Trusnik - stout against rush, average against pass, below average in coverage
ILB Kelvin Sheppard - stout against rush, liability against pass, in coverage and special team
DE Derrick Shelby RFA - stout against the rush, liability against pass and in coverage

Negative Grade:Defense
S Jimmy Wilson - worst grade on team, penalty machine
CB R.J. Stanford - RFA liability in pass coverage

Undetermined: Limited Plays
OLB Jonathan Freeny - RFA 42 plays, slightly below average all phases, special team ace
S Michael Thomas - ERFA 96 plays, slightly below average all phases, special team ace
S Jordan Kovacs - ERFA 34 plays, slightly below average all phases


Sunday, January 04, 2015

7 Round Mock Draft For Dolphins 2015 Picks (1st Edition)

The Dolphins finished tied with the 49ers who did us a favor by winning their last game and finishing as the only other team at 8-8.  Since their opponents' final winning percentage was higher than ours, we will pick 14th in the odd rounds and they will pick 14th in the even rounds.  Had they lost and fell to 7-9, we would have picked 15th for the entire draft so we actually move up one pick in 4 of the 7 rounds, which gives our picks more value in the eyes of a trade partner.

Today, I am not taking into account any trades.  Without any regards to Free Agency signings and/or losing some of our own players to Free Agency,  I am considering our needs of finding a starter and/or depth on the O Line,  an Inside Linebacker, an Outside Linebacker, depth on the D Line and finally a Corner or Safety for depth in the secondary.

I am utilizing a Computerized Draft Application that will pick for all the other teams.  Below is who I wound up drafting in our 7 rounds.  Unfortunately, I do not have the time to list all the picks in the draft and who else was available when I picked but as I update this weekly, you can at least get a feel for some of the players and were their value may be come the actual draft.

Round 1: La'el Collins OT/OG from LSU
At 6'5", 321 lbs, Collins can step in and play guard for us as LT Albert comes back and we move  James back to RT.  Collins can also slide over to right tackle if we unfortunately have to juggle positions again due to an injury.  I like his value to not only to step in and play guard right away but he is versatile enough to move to the tackle position if needed. 

Round 2: Todd Gurley RB from Georgia
Surprise, surprise!  I was shocked to see Gurley still sitting there in the 2nd round. Now RB is not a major need but the talent level that Gurley plays at is hard to pass up. Granted he tore an ACL and that is probably why he was still sitting there but I think he is worth the risk and he doesn't have to rush into the line up right away. He can rehab and hop in when he can contribute.

Round 3: Eric Hendricks ILB/OLB from UCLA
Hendricks benefitted from being coached by Jim Mora Jr at UCLA and is a sideline to sideline tackler.  In 2014 he made 139 tackles, 8.5 for a loss and 2 sacks.  He pass covers very well and had 3 interceptions and forced a fumble.  He can start at OLB and if he can add some bulk to his 6'0", 230 lbs frame, he may remind many of us of Zach Thomas.

Round 4: Senquez Golson CB from Ole Miss
This kid is a playmaker. Even though he is only 5'9" and weighs only 176 lbs, Golson picked off 9 passes in 2014, the 2nd highest total in the nation. He has very good instincts and is very smart.  He can add depth right away at either the nickel or corner.

Round 5: Travis Raciti DT from San Jose State
Raciti had a very good Sophomore year but fell off in 2013 as a Junior with only 37 tackles.  At 6'5", 285 lbs, something lit a fire under his butt and he went back to work as a Senior making 72 tackles with 6.5 for losses, 3 sacks and a forced fumble.  He can come in and compete for a spot in the rotation and who knows who may be back at DT for us with Odrick a Free Agent.

Round 6: Jordan Hicks OLB from Texas
At 6'2", 238 lbs, Hicks was a tackling machine for the Longhorns when healthy.
In his Senior season, he posted 98 tackles with 11 for a loss, 3.5 sacks and 2 interceptions. In 2013 Hicks had 41 tackles in 4 games before blowing out his Achilles tendon. He missed 10 games in his Sophomore year due to a hip injury and as a freshman Hicks was voted First-Team All Big XII with 65 tackles.  If he can stay on the field, he is productive so a 6th round pick seems about right right for him.

Round 7: Vince Mayle WR from Washington State
At 6'3", 219 lbs, Mayle offers a nice sized target who runs a 4.57.  He caught 106 passes for 1,483 yards and 9 TDs in a pass happy offense. He competed against the two better secondaries on his schedule by putting up 7-75 against Oregon and 6-78 against Stanford.  Mayle could offer a nice Red Zone target for Tannehill and start out on the practice squad.

Next week we will see how the chips fall and learn a little bit more about the prospects for our draft picks.

Phins Up!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971