Thursday, October 27, 2016

An important moment for Gase

Everyone is so excited about the Dolphins resurgent running game. So am I, as good running teams tend to display the physicality that is necessary for winning football.  The Dolphins can now be a balanced football team, but if anyone believes that 200 yard rushing games or anything close to that is sustainable, you are setting yourself up for serious disappointment.  Now the Dolphins have put the rest of the NFL on notice. Now other teams are going to game plan to stop that potent running game and to some extent, they are going to be successful. This in turn will create opportunities in the passing game, but only if Adam Gase is not stubborn and inflexible. We cannot call power runs repeatedly just to show our commitment to running the football when the opposition is shutting us down. Gase must be ready to attack eight in the box sets with an improving and potent passing game.  He will need to anticipate other teams’ strategies and utilize that knowledge to stay one step ahead in preparation. I am not advocating for the Dolphins to in any situation to give up on the running game. But for the Dolphins to continue to win, the passing game will have to improve and become more consistent and the running game will need to sustain a level of success. I hope that Adam Gase is not using the bye week to exclusively tweak an already effective running game. I hope that he is working to improve the efficiency of the passing game in anticipation of the reaction of the rest of the NFL. The Dolphins offensive line and running backs have given Dolphin nation two amazing weeks. It has given us an edge. Will Adam Gase show the flexibility and creativity to parlay that edge into something meaningful and lasting? Go Dolphins!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

STOP IT! Tannehill is not a "Game Manager"

     I am so sick of hearing Orlando, Omar and all the other pseudo-expert "know-it-alls" tell me that Ryan Tannehill is "just a game manager."  Bull you know what!  Game managers can't throw the ball on the run to their non-throwing side of the field, stop and across their body deliver a strike for 55 yards, a la the Pittsburgh game to TE Gray.  That is a play-maker.   Game managers don't run for their lives and throw perfect completions for first downs - 3rd Down and 7 yards to go, Ryan escapes to his right and on the dead run delivered a perfect pass to a crossing Landry against the Buffalo Bills.  That is a play-maker.  Game managers can't do read option run plays for first downs in the red zone.  That is a PLAY-MAKER.   Strong-armed quarterbacks are rarely considered game managers.  And, as Marino is fond of saying, "never doubt Ryan's arm strength."

     Now, if you want to tell me he sucks.  Go for it!   You're wrong.   If you want to tell me he has next to zero pocket presence; Well, you are 100% correct.   This is Ryan's greatest weakness.  If you want to tell me he makes terrible throws after being pummeled for most of the game; You are again correct.  If you want to tell me that he is not accurate with ball placement; I will say that under duress you are partially correct (under duress on the run - he is really good), and with protection, you are wrong.  Early in his career he had terrible ball placement, no doubt.   His accuracy and general ball placement has gotten much better every year.  If you want to tell me he can't throw the deep ball; well, the statistics do not bear that out.  Ryan is actually one of the better deep ball QBs over the last two years.  Early in his career, yes, he was below average.  Frankly though, had Mike Wallace caught a few more and fought for a few more balls, it would have been much different.

     Let's be realistic.  Dan Marino, the greatest most accurate QB to ever play until Brady, had incredible Offensive Line protection for most of his career -  Webb, Sims, Ruddy... just to name a few protected him and EVERYONE KNEW he was going to throw and yet he was rarely hit.  Yes, he had the greatest pocket presence of any QB I have ever seen, and yes, he threw into tight windows that no one even attempts today, and yes, he had the fastest release of any quarterback ever.  But, hey, we will never see another Marino in our lifetime.    Ryan Tannehill will get better and better as the line protection and run game improves; But, most importantly as his line protection improves.  Let's not forget that Tannehill has been hit more than any other QB in the last 5 years, except Andrew Luck.  And, Luck throws a boat-load of interceptions, more than Tannehill.   Let's not compare Tannehill to Brady or Marino.   However, Tannehill is more than proficient enough to win a Super Bowl with a decent line.  He simply has not had a very good offensive line his entire career.  Had he played behind Dallas' Offensive Line, he would have been a star.  In the first five games this season, the line did a horrible job protecting Ryan.  This is exactly what Gase has been saying from day one.  If the offensive line does its job, Ryan plays well enough to win most games.   I think I will trust the offensive Guru, Head Coach Adam Gase, who is generally regarded as one of the smartest offensive minds in the league - over a few Wannabe Football Experts, like Orlando and Omar.

     Ryan Tannehill is a play-maker.  He is smart; actually an extension of the coach.   And, just because he has a vanilla personality does not mean he plays vanilla!

Dolphins To Take Advantage Of Todays Fast defenses

   As it has became a passing league, a faster style defense came to be in order to keep up with fast WR, TE and a lighter faster RB coming out of the back field.

Seems like that has made it more difficult to defend against a real bruising back. I mean a DB that's faced with stopping a big man at full speed is at a clear disadvantage especially if that happens 3 or 4 times a game, it can't be easy to jump in front of a truck (train in our case) multiple times in one game, just think about DB in the 4th quarter when the bruises from the first half are telling you please don't do anything crazy your well-being is on the line and all you see the J-TRAIN coming at you (choo, choo).

To all Fin fans, enjoy the fact that we're going into the bye week with a great taste I our mouth, the taste of victory and of Dolphins finally coming around and playing good football.

Monday, October 24, 2016

it Looks Like It's Coming Together For The Dolphins.

What a turn around for the Dolphins, it feels like it's all  coming together nicely for our loved team. The last two weeks have been really special, I hadn't smiled much watching them play in recent games, but I did the last couple weeks.

We finally have our starting O line on the field, the players are starting to thrive and because they understand all the nuances of the system. The coaching staff has learned where the players fit in and what they feel comfortable doing so they can put them in position to succeed.

The Dolphins have also figured out who they are and who they want to be. They found an identity behind tough, physical, man handling kind of play from the O line which made possible what the running game has been able to accomplish (wow J-TRAIN) as well as a clean pocket for our QB.

The time of possession battle has finally been won thanks again to the O line that dominates the line of scrimmage. That means the defense bis always fresh and under less stress so they can really just go after the QB and create pressure.

So now as they head into the bye week they can build on this new found confidence as they prepare for the Jets and rest and get healthy. They must not under estimate the Jets, they need to study them and prepare well because the division games are the most important and are always the toughest games because your opponents know you well.

Enjoy the axitement and let's hope they can stay healthy and keep the game winning streak going and the and action on the running game up and we'll be fine.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Credit to Gase for Bringing Out the Best in Ajayi

     A wise person said on this Blog that he was withholding judgement on this team until he saw a healthy O-line playing together.  That wise person wasn't me- I was too busy standing on the ledge to see that particular strand of reason.  It was Carl- hats off, sir.
    So as this particular football team shows signs of life and recovery even as many of us were shoveling dirt into the hole, it is time to reassess:
     1)  The loss to Tennessee at home- pathetic as it was- did come with extenuating circumstances.  The Dolphins players and coaches were handling a major life disruption in the form of a property (and potentially) life-threatening storm.  Perhaps we should have expected some chaos- even before ankle gate.
     2)  The win over Pittsburgh may not have been entirely due to desperation on one sideline and looking ahead on the other.  The Dolphins have beaten two hot teams two weeks in a row.
     3)  There may be life for this team after losing arguably its best defensive player.  This was a very solid defensive effort without our All-Pro safety.
And most importantly:
     4) Jay Ajayi may be a superstar in the making.
     This last is the hardest for me to believe I am typing.  I recently thought Ajayi (after his week one attitude problems) was not long for the team.  When Gase left him home for the season opener, I thought another fifth round flier had gone by the boards.  I was sad about it, because he seemed like such a smart risk for us to take late in the draft, with tremendous upside and small-conference sleeper potential.  When he missed the opening roster for poor attitude, I thought the door was closing.
     As with so much about this year's Dolphins, I was stark, raving wrong.  A young coach was simply sending a  still younger player a message:  attitude counts.  The player was listening.  By all accounts, Ajayi has attacked his opportunities since that early misstep, and the results are a historic two game run.
     Does it help that the line he was always meant to run behind finally started two games?  Does it also help to have a coach who calls your crap and runs mediocrity out of town?  It gets interesting now.  For another week, Lazarus walks.

Jay Lopez

Who Are Those Face Masked Men

It must be close to Holloween.

Pretty soon there will be plenty of Trick or Treaters and Partyers alike, doning costumes and masks, making them completely unrecognizable.

That I expect this time of year, every year.

No surprises there.

But these past two games have left me curious as to who the hell is playing for the Dolphins.

I am astonished to witness what is happening on the field.

Two games in a row with over 200 yards rushing!

Two games in a row dominating the time of possession!

This week, 37:02 to 22:58. That equates to the Bills averaging just 5:44 per quarter.

Am I dreaming?

Did some aliens from outer space secretly consume our team and replace them with robotic appliances whose only purpose is to churn out yards leaving an exhausted defense in its dust.

I don't recognize this team of Dolphins.


This new running game can not only dominate an opponent and win but it can also travel well and win in the playoffs.

With this type of game plan, all we need from Ryan Tanne-Hype is a pedestrian performance of managing the game with no INTs.

A couple hundred yards and no glaring mistakes.

This may be boring. This may create some yawns.

But in can win games and belive it or not, even championships.

Now, by no stretch of the word, am I putting us in the playoffs. Not yet anyway.

We still have some issues with bone head penalties that have nothing to do with playing the game. These unsportsmanlike conduct penalties have to end and soon.

Now that we are cooking, the bye may be coming a bit too soon.

I would love to keep this running game rolling.

Sure, some nicked up guys can heal. But I say "Let 'er ride".

There is one other benefit to the bye coming this weekend. We get 14 days of Jets Week!

And after the last two games, I am feeling a hell of a lot better about this team, no matter who they are.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971