Monday, September 18, 2017

Gase's Decision on Timmons will Shape Season (and Possibly his Tenure)

    The Dolphins win games like the one yesterday due to chemistry.  Make no mistake, that game  was won by the more optimistic, joyful, and confident group of men.  As I sat and watched our players sprint the field after the kick went wide (from my seat it had initially looked good) I felt a wave of genuine emotion, pride, and mutual respect among our players.
     Coach Gase is to be commended for building a winning culture, one that is giving Dolphins fans back our pride.  I had written that the game in LA would be at neutral site, and I may have been slightly wrong: that was quite nearly a home game. Our fans were in voice, optimistic, and present.
      Gase has given us our team back through making great decisions about the culture of our team. His model has been fairly clear:  give everyone a chance to earn their keep, run off dead weight, and emphasize high character guys.  Doing so has built a reliable locker room, one that believes in itself and has the professionalism to do what it takes to win.
    Lawrence Timmons therefore seems to have disrespected our core values as a team.  We will all wait for some explanation, but I don't think there is any doubt that our team's leadership was blind-sided by a player's personal decisions.  And now there will be the necessity of drawing a conclusion about how best to protect the culture and team Gase is building.
    The knee-jerk response is "you broke the rules we value, please pack your bags." But this situation may offer a better alternative.  There are times when any great leader must step above the model he has built.  Everyone knows by now what Gase values in his team; might this be an opportunity to wisely invest some of that cultural capital in a second chance?
    Timmons seems the right man to bet on.  Younger players see themselves at career's end in this linebacker warrior.  He seems to do everything right (see consecutive starts and think about the maintenance and discipline such a streak requires).  Here, in his moment of weakness, will the team pick him up, a younger man might wonder?
    Gase may have to move beyond his coaching philosophy here in order to make a decision that benefits all.  And his doing so may make his team see that they are following a flesh and blood man, who understands the importance of rules, but also understands bonds of brotherhood, perhaps enough to forgive another man who seems to have forgotten- or at least de-prioritized- those bonds on a single afternoon.
     Every player in that locker room has made mistakes; every coach has too.  Perhaps this is a moment to show that we can be there, with open arms, for a brother who let us down, but who is still our brother?

Jay Lopez

Friday, September 15, 2017

Dolphins Open Season at Neutral Site

    Four months ago the Chargers unveiled their new logo at Staples Center in LA during an NBA game.  It seemed to make sense: connect with a new fan base that is excited to adopt its new favorite sons.  The logo flashed.  The fans responded.
    With boos- so many boos.  I laughed out loud- it was pretty hilarious.
    I am attending tomorrow's game in Carson.  It will be played in the home of the LA Galaxy, where twenty thousand vaguely committed hipsters pretend to know something of the world's most popular sport.  In between derivative songs, the fan base mills about in a pretty, airy, lazy stadium that is about as intense as a coffee bean at three in the afternoon.
     I bought my ticket to the game last night.  I scrolled around for about an hour browsing options.  I am not making this up.  I will Lyft to the game and possibly Lyft home, since cars can pretty much pull up in front of the stadium. My buddy (also a Dolphins fan) is planning on "parking in the neighborhood."
     So the good news about the Dolphins opener is that it is also the Chargers "home" opener- and LA's second team may feel very much like a jv team playing before the varsity game.  The Dolphins need a break after all the storm related scurrying, and the Home Depot Center/ Stub Hub Center may be that needed break.
     If any of you out there are Dolphins fans attending this game, give a shout.  You will hear me tomorrow.  I'll be the guy actually excited to see my team.  And chances are, I'll stand out.  Phins up.

Jay Lopez


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

London calling

Stephen Ross apparently listened and wants to have a home game back, so he asked the NFL. But predictably, they said no.  Gotta build that brand. They're keeping the game in London.

Read more here

For what it's worth, this all boils down to money. The NFL gets more exposure, and a larger cut of the ticket sales in a game overseas.  The dolphins get a cut as the home team, but it's not as much as Ross could make from ticket sales, concessions and parking.

BTW, we are told that there is some damage to the roof of the stadium, but none of it is structural and it should be repaired before the delayed home opener in a few weeks.

Friday, September 08, 2017

The dolphins have left the building...

as I sit here and wait for Irma, I'm just catching up on various news, and reading random stories. Here's one about the fins heading west to prep for their game next week.  There's a picture of the bubble deflated in there, too.

If you are in Irmas path, please stay safe.  Preparation is key.

And on an unrelated note, I should apologize for stirring the proverbial pot with the Bennett statement.  I found it interesting and wanted to pass it along, but it took on a life of its own.  We now return to your regularly scheduled programming. 

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Michael Bennett's statement

As an NFL player who had an encounter with the police, I thought his words were worth sharing.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017


Heres an article from 1992, when the Dolphins postponed their home opener against the patriots. 

And keep in mind that for a period of time in the mid to late 90s (before the Browns rejoined the league), there were only 31 teams. So the NFL had to have either 1 or 3 teams with a bye each week. So one team had the unfortunate problem of having a bye in week 1, and having to play 16 straight. 

There have also been a few instances in recent years where stadium construction dragged into the season, meaning teams couldn't play a home game until several weeks into the season. 

So while the bigger concern about Irma is safety for everyone, the decision to make the bye week 1, to not be at home for a while, and postpone a game does have a precedent. 

New date for Bucs-Dolphins

Due to the potential impact of Hurricane Irma on South Florida, the Miami Dolphins home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, originally scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at Hard Rock Stadium, will instead be played there in Week 11 on Sunday, November 19, the NFL announced today.
Week 11 was previously an open date for both clubs. 
The NFL announced yesterday that in the interest of public safety in light of the continuing state of emergency, the league, in consultation with state and local officials as well as both clubs, would not play an NFL game in South Florida this week. 
Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the impacted area.
For more from NFL Communication​s, visit and follow @NFL345.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Update on Bucs-Dolphins game

Due to the potential impact of Hurricane Irma on South Florida, the Miami Dolphins home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, originally scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at Hard Rock Stadium, will not be played in Miami on Sunday, the NFL announced today. 
In the interest of public safety in light of the current state of emergency, the NFL, in consultation with state and local officials as well as both clubs, has decided that playing an NFL game in South Florida this week is not appropriate. 
The league will continue to examine other options, including playing the game this Sunday at a neutral site or in Miami later this season, and will provide an update on that decision as soon as possible.
For more from NFL Communication​s, visit and follow @NFL345.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Is Jarvis Landry on the Block? Should He Be?

     Let's start with the obvious:  I love Jarvis Landry.  He has been the best Dolphin on the generally disappointing teams we have watched since his debut.  Last year, the team finally made the playoffs and Landry was the player I was happiest for:  he deserved to be respected, to win, to shine.
     And I think the Dolphins will now trade him.  And I think that they have known that they would, and for a long time.
     I am sorry to say it, but this explains the Leonte Caroo trade-up.  This explains the enormous sum the team committed to Stills.  And this explains how the team will eventually keep Jay Ajayi, sign a new linebacker, corner, and safety, and finally make the AFC Championship Game.  OK- how did we get all the way to this imagined reality?  Let's start, as Landry does, in the slot.
     Slot receivers can't be the highest paid non-quarterbacks on your roster.  The reason is that they are covered by the other team's worst defender, don't score touchdowns, and don't earn the "chunk" yardage that this generation of statisticians think win games.  Slot receivers average 8-10 yards a catch at best, and that means that they average 5 yards an attempt.  5 yards an attempt gets you a new OC (think Bill Lazor.)
     What wins in the NFL is generally the ability to take the lid off the defense.  This forces deep linebacking and safety play, which opens up the NFL's dirty secret: running games still win football games.  That is, get 7 men in the box, and you get 5 a carry.  Get 5 a carry, and you win games.  You don't get 7 in the box by having your best receiver playing in the box, where he draws congestion close to scrimmage.
      One team wins in the slot:  the Patriots.  And that is an effective rebuttal.  But few teams have a passer who can complete 80% of his passes to slot receivers.  So- if you don't have Tom Brady, take the lid off.  And if you are taking the lid off, you can't afford a premier slot man.
      And if you can't afford a premier slot, you drag your feet re-upping a contract for your best player.  You (over) draft a replacement.  And you invest fearlessly in the surrounding cohort, knowing where your savings are coming.
     The Dolphins will try to trade Landry out of conference.  They will try to get a handsome package in return and reload with young players who are in their first contract or yet to be drafted.
      We fans will be dismayed, upset, and possibly wrong.  Good front offices tell fans what to think, not the other way around.  One thing we won't be is surprised.  We took care of that just now.

Jay Lopez

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Dave's take: Tannehill

Okay, so maybe I have another two cents in me.

I really don't understand the devotion to Tannehill as the QB from the coaching staff.  He's average, and hasn't won jack.  He has exactly one 4th quarter comeback win in his career and the team declined to invest in anyone to even consider a future that might be different.

And that's after he got injured late last season and declined surgery.  That's his choice, of course, and team doctors must have signed off on it.  But it was a risk - given that he could have re-injured the knee, and later did.  Why not at least plan for that being a possibility?

So he goes down, and then the team makes a decision to sign Cutler, which is just fine.  Tannehill has often been compared with Cutler.  Overall, they have similar skills and abilities.  But the odd thing is that its a 1-year deal with really no plans for the future.  He's a stop gap for this year.

And that leaves the team in potentially an odd place next season.  Consider the possibilities:
* Cutler does well and the team does well
How could the dolphins justify replacing him?  How would chemistry work?  We've seen Tannehills upside, and its limited

* Cutler does well, and the team doesn't
If the team finishes below .500 but you have a QB with great stats and great ability to lead, once again its the dilemma of why you would change that.
* Cutler does poorly, and the team does well around him
If this is the case, then perhaps Tannehill would make a difference.  Maybe.  But team chemistry can sometimes be a weird thing.

* Cutler does poorly, and the team falters
Are we going to be led to believe that somehow Tannehill coming back will magically cure all the problems and the team will win?

* Cutler gets injured or benched
Then we're right back where we were at the start of training camp.  In that case, why not promote the young guy to get a shot.  

My broad point is that I think its time to move on from Tannehill.  Maybe he makes it back next season, but he should not automatically be the starter.  He should have real competition, and be given "an opportunity" to start again.

Actually, I'm hoping that the team does really well this season, along with Cutler, making it a tough call by the coaches on what to do next season.  We get the benefit of a fun season, and maybe stop having to talk about Tannehill.

(okay, so I'm a hater....)

Dave's take: standing up

I have to say that I find it weird the way Colin Kaepernick has been essentially blackballed from the NFL. He is an above average QB (albeit with a limited skill set), but has been to a SuperBowl, which is something most QBs can only dream about.

And yet, he's not on an NFL roster.  Sure, teams are reluctant to draw negative attention on what would surely amount to a backup player.  But the bigger problem is that he essentially brought it on himself.

As I've said in the past, I don't have an issue with a player taking a stand against whatever they want.  But Colin made two mistakes: (1) he didn't back up his stance with demonstrable actions (yes, he does give to charity, and has quietly support some of his views) - like actually voting, or working to get people engaged as anything more than a curiosity.  Had he "walked the walk" and actually demonstrated that using his platform FOR something, he would probably have fared better.  And (2) he kept adding more into his repertoire that brought odd attention - like the Che shirt, and the pig socks.  Individually, those things might have drawn a yawn, but in the frame of him being a wanna-be-social activist, it came off as a pattern of ... obnoxious behavior. Personally, I think he was well-intentioned, but it wasn't handled right.

And so he's not in the NFL.

Meanwhile, the protests for social justice continue, with more players taking a seat, taking a knee, or raising a fist.  We are in what might be the most politically charged environment we've had in this country in more than 150 years.  So everyone has an opinion about whether this is right, wrong, or indifferent.

I've heard several pundits say the NFL is in a no-win situation.  People will (over)react if it continues,  or if the NFL or owners decide to put a stop to it.

Frankly, I see one option for the NFL: stop playing the anthem before games.  I've talked about this before, but there is no real history here.  Around WW2 the tradition of playing the anthem started as a means of patriotism - but is there really  a need to have it at games?  Its tradition, sure, but why keep it there if it becomes a rallying point - and stops the focus from being on the game.

Or, barring that, change the order, so the players are in the tunnel when the anthem is played, so we don't see them.  And then go through introductions and what not.

In short, remove the distraction and play the game.

That's my two cents for today.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Just A Thought...

So I have been thinking about this whole Jay Cutler thing.

There has been a lot made about Cutler's so so performance against the Ravens. Here is my take. It's preseason! I remember that Ryan Tannehill came out a few years ago with a Joe Philbin coached team and went like 5/6 and had a TD pass in his first preseason drive and everyone thought he was going to be the 2nd coming of Tom Brady. How did that work out that year? These games are meaningless and offenses and defenses run a vanilla scheme. Nothing to see here except to evaluate players on the roster bubble and to help vets shake of the rust. Who cares how they perform?

But since a lot of people want to talk about performance, let's break down Jay's night a little bit. He made crisp throws and seemed in command of the offense, honestly more that Tannehill ever has. Did anyone notice how much no huddle was ran with Cutler under center? It was a lot. The offense played faster with Cutler. His best pass of the night was called back because of a holding penalty. Speaking of the offensive line, it was a patch work line. The line playing versus Baltimore will not be the line playing in the season opener, most of them will be backups. So let's just all calm down! Jay played pretty damn good with what he had in my opinion.

That all brings me to me next thought.

One national columnist made a very bold prediction. He said Jay Cutler is primed to have the best season of his career under Gase and Miami could make a run at the AFC crown. Now let's scale that back a little bit. I firmly believe Miami will be in contention for a wild card spot and should get in. If that is done, which I believe it will, what happens next? What if the offense is as dynamic as we will hope it is? What if Cutler does indeed have the best year of his career? What to do?

Listen, this was supposed to be Tannehill's breakout year. Sound familiar? This was supposed to be the year the offense took off under Tannehill and I believed it would have at least improved. But what if Cutler performs as expected? What to do with Tannehill? This is what I would do:

Extend Cutler 3 years. Redo Tannehill's contract and lower it. I don't think Tanne would have a choice because none of his salary is guaranteed after this year, he can be cut without any cap hit. Have an open competition for the QB position which Cutler will probably win. Draft a QB in the early rounds of next year's draft and develop him to be the new franchise QB. Someone like Patrick Mahomes who KC drafted to sit behind Alex Smith.

Why do this? Are you willing to hinge your hopes on Tannehill as your franchise QB considering he is going to be 30 by the time he gets back on the field. Hasn't proved anything yet. Remember, "this was supposed to be the year!" He is coming off 2 ACL injuries. Don't get me wrong, I think Tannehill is a good player, but I also don't think it's smart to hinge your hopes on him being your franchise QB considering all the things I mentioned above. If Tanne don't want to reconstruct his contract and he don't want to compete for the QB position with a Cutler, you cut him and gain 20+ million in cap space. 

Miami is built that the QB does not have to do everything. He does not have to be superman like Peyton Manning had to be in Indianapolis. This team can win if the QB takes care of the football. Cutler fits that mold, even if it's temporary while a new QB is being developed. 


Sent from my iPad

Friday, August 18, 2017

Cutler Has Something in Miami He's Never Had Before: A Warm Welcome

    It was refreshing to see Miami fans welcome Jay Cutler with a warm ovation.  The respect the fan base showed to its new quarterback was heartfelt and respectful; it was also new, to Cutler at least.
    A lot is made of bringing quarterbacks along and giving them a chance to start their careers properly.  Placing too much pressure on young shoulders, however competent, can lead to the frequent phenomenon of the first-round-quarterback-never-was.  In this regard, Cutler was immediately set up to fail.
    Drafted in the first round at #11 overall, Cutler left Denver's fan base puzzled.  The team had made it to the AFC Championship game with fan favorite Jake Plummer the previous season.  Fans thought the Broncos would use their picks to upgrade a few fringe positions and make another run behind the charismatic everyman quarterback who was a Southwestern regional hero due to his fine career at ASU and for the Cardinals. Trading up for Cutler cost a 1st and a 3rd round pick and seemingly added nothing to the on field product.
     Plummer felt betrayed.  Who knows what sort of locker room Cutler walked into.  His coach, Mike Shannahan, liked what he saw and decided to start Cutler in game 12.  The Broncos were 7-4, and Plummer was healthy.  This was as high pressure an opening to a career as a player could have. Cutler went 2-3, showing amazing upside but also growing pains.  The team missed the playoffs, and in many senses, fan resentment was already baked in.
     During the next season, Cutler showed all of the statistical improvement that could be desired in a second year quarterback, finishing in the top half of passers in the league (12th.) In fact, he opened the season 3-0 with 8 touchdown passes.  However, the Broncos again missed the playoffs with a winning record.  Shannahan was fired and Josh McDaniel, perhaps the least prepared head coach in history, landed a job that was far too big for him.  McDaniel catered to the fan base, insinuating he would shop Cutler.  Hurt, Cutler sold his house and insisted on a trade.  A fresh start seemed in order; he didn't get one.
    In an eerie carbon copy, Cutler replaced a local hero with limited talent but great heart and charisma, this time Kyle Orton.  Beloved by the Bears fan base because he had rescued the team from an over-priced glamor boy (Rex Grossman), Orton left town with a first and third round pick.  Fans felt betrayed and that the Bears had over payed.  Again, Cutler came to a team in need of valuable parts that had surrendered picks to get him.  Again, he had to win a locker room from one of the most popular players on the roster.  Again, Cutler performed, and again he was treated with lukewarm semi-affection by a fan base that never got over his origin with the team.  Perhaps a good looking kid from the SEC with a monster arm was too reminiscent of Grossman.  Cutler won, without protection, without a defense, and without a running game.  Bears fans and media responded with amusing memes and merciless press coverage.
     So Jay Cutler retired, and it seemed football was done.  And then the remarkable happened, and he walked onto the field the other night and heard something equally remarkable:  gratitude.
   As I have written elsewhere, when Cutler went down injured with the Bears his replacements went a combined 1-8.  In games he started in those same seasons, Cutler was 17-7.  His replacements played behind they same line, handed to the same backs, threw to the same receivers.
      I think Miami fans knew what they were doing when they got to their feet last night.  And i think Jay Cutler probably thought that he had finally arrived in the style he has always deserved.

Jay Lopez

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Jay Cutler: A Talented, Clutch Player, Oddly Undervalued.

   I'll begin by saying that I am a firm supporter of Ryan Tannehill and I wish him a speedy and full recovery.  That said, I have been crunching the numbers on Jay Cutler and I am very impressed by what I see.  A few trends have emerged:  Cutler has produced a high number of fourth quarter scoring drives.  More importantly, Cutler has improved teams after his arrival.  However, Cutler has also been subject to a great deal of cynicism and mistrust from fan bases and coaching staffs.  I am hoping that Miami will offer this talented player a warmer welcome.  Here are a few reasons to believe.
    In his first full season as a starting quarterback in Denver, Cutler led fourth quarter comebacks against the Bills and Raiders in his first two games.  In the Raiders game he also engineered an overtime drive to win.  In that same season, he led two additional drives to tie or win in the fourth quarter and overtime- and this was a first year starter.  In his second season Cutler led an additional 4 game winning drives.  Let's recap:  8 comebacks out of a rookie starter?  No wonder the season ended with comparisons to Manning and Brady.
     Despite this early success, Cutler met with a strange lack of popularity.  Despite only missing the playoffs on a season-ending game in which his defense surrendered 52 points, Cutler found himself suddenly on the outs.  Mike Shannahan was fired so the Broncos could make room for New England wunderkind Josh McDaniels.  McDaniels insinuated that Cutler was expendable.
       This may have temporarily endeared McDaniels to his new fan base.  Shannahan had inserted Cutler into Denver's lineup over the wildly popular Jake Plummer.  The team was 7-4 when Shannahan, induced by Cutler's talent, switched horses.  The rookie closed 2-3, and the Broncos missed the playoffs.  Cutler was an easy whipping boy, despite glamorous statistics and a solid record as as starter.
       When Cutler got wind that McDaniels was shopping him, he sold his house and asked for a trade.  Here I see the first of several career-long traits emerge.  Cutler wants to be valued.  And he is willing to go where he is wanted.  He is also fiercely proud and competitive.
     The aftermath for the Bears and Broncos in the next two seasons reveals Cutler's value.  McDaniels went on to an 11-17 record without Cutler and was fired in 18 months.  Cutler, meanwhile, went 19-13 in the next two seasons and had the Bears winning the NFC north.  The Bears had been 15-17 in the two seasons prior to Cutler's arrival.  The Broncos had been 18-14 prior to his departure.
    In Chicago, Cutler was often a punching bag, both for other teams' defensive lines and for the media. Cutler replaced a very popular Kyle Orton (who had saved the franchise from Rex Grossman) and Cutler had the misfortune of rolling into a working man's town as a heralded blue blood.  Although he was successful (twice winning a tough division in his first three years) the fan base never truly warmed.
    But Cutler remained ferociously competitive, once pushing an inept lineman in his huddle and lighting up Mike Martz for terrible protection schemes (he took 52 sacks that season) all while pushing a limited Bears roster to a division title.  However, the hits came at a price and Cutler was often injured.  Which leads to a closing thought.
     Cutler was injured in 2011 with the Bears sitting at 6-3.  His backups went 1-6.  In 2012, he sat for a concussion after leading the Bears to 7-1.  They lost the next two games.  Cutler returned and went 3-3, and the Bears missed the playoffs at 10-6.  Think about the WAR there:  Cutler was 17-7, his replacements were 1-8.  If this were baseball, a smart front office would have made him their franchise player.
    In sum, Jay Cutler should never have been available for the Dolphins to sign.  A perfect storm of under-appreciation and talent has ensued, which has given the Dolphins the unique opportunity to fall upwards.  Hey O line: protect this guy; he'll win.

Jay Lopez


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Serious Question...

Serious question:

Did the Dolphins UPGRADE the QB position with Cutler?

I think Ryan Tannehill definitely has more upside that Cutler but I am looking at it from a talent perspective and a "right now" perspective.

"Cutler is out here throwing lasers"

"Cutler has easily been the best QB on the field today"

"Cutler has excellent velocity on his throws"

"Cutler just hit Julius Thomas for a 40 yard gain up the seam"

"Cutler just hit Jakeem Grant in stride for a TD"

"Jakeem Grant had the best practice of his career today catching balls from Jay Cutler"

Those are all quotes from various media sources that cover the Dolphins. Keep in mind, this was day one of him practicing coming out of retirement. There was one media source that said "Cutler spent most of the day looking confused". That may be partially true but what do you expect? He said he woke up that morning and forgot he was in Miami! Dude just unretired to join a new team and probably had a cross country flight to get to Miami and had to practice the next day! All other media said Cutler looked damn good! So to that I say:

"If 1 person calls you a jerk, that's their opinion. If 10 people call you a jerk then guess what? You're a jerk!!"

So I must ask again, did Miami upgrade the QB position for this year?

Sent from my iPad

Monday, August 07, 2017

Tebow was an option?

I was kidding, but apparently the dolphins were serious.  According to cbs sports:

"There's actually some logic to the idea, even though signing a Mets Triple-A outfielder to be your starting quarterback for the upcoming NFL season would be an all-time headscratcher. It doesn't pass the "say it out loud" test, at all. 
Tebow has worked with Gase before as well, however. Gase was Tebow's quarterbacks coach in Denver back when Tebow and the Broncos miraculously stormed their way to a postseason win over the Steelers. Yes, it does feel like a million lifetimes ago. 
Tebow hasn't thrown a pass in the NFL since 2012. Ultimately there are just better options out there."

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Let's Talk Some Jay Cutler....

I will start by saying this: I wanted Kaepernick, I really did. I saw more upside there but that is not what happened so let's talk about Jay Cutler.

He had his best season, in terms of passer rating, in 2015 with the Chicago Bears under offensive coordinator Adam Gase. 21 TDs and 11 INTs and I think he had a passer rating of 92.3. Not too bad!

Now let's talk Tannehill. Last year, in 13 games played before his injury, he had these stats. 19 TDs and 12 INTs with a passer rating of 93.5. 

Very Similar but Tanne had more picks in 13 games than Cutler had all season but Tanne most likely would have had more TDs so I guess that is a wash. So it's an even swap from a talent perspective right?


Alshon Jeffrey. Eddie Royal. Josh Bellamy. Marc Mariani. Marquess Wilson. 

Those were the 2015 Bears wide receivers and it should be mentioned that Alshon Jeffrey, by far the Bears best receiver at the time, only played 9 games. 

I don't think this Jay Cutler thing will be bad at all to be honest. Imagine what he could do with Landry, Stills, and Parker?

Now, that is only if a few things happen. 

1) Cutler needs to come in and WIN the starting job, not just be given it. And I fully expect him to win it. I love Matt Moore, but he is a backup and is being paid as a back up and I expect him to remain a back up. 

2) Cutler needs to show his teammates that he is in control of the offense and be a calming presence. There was a lot of emotions after Tanne went down and Cutler needs to rally the team. 

3) Cutler needs to keep that diva shit he pulled earlier in his career out of Miami. And I fully think he will because of Adam Gase. 

If those things happen then Miami will be fine this year.

I read an article where it was said that a Jarvis Landry extension should have happened instead and that this sends the wrong message to Jarvis and the team. So I ask, what kind of message does it send to do nothing and hope Matt Moore keeps the team in playoff contention AND stays healthy? BAD PLAN!!

As for Jarvis, he is expecting to be paid like an elite WR and he will be. What would having Matt Moore at QB do to his stock? I think it would drop. Jarvis knows he is going to get paid, he just has to be patient. Miami is not letting him walk out the door but right now, Jay Cutler should be a god send to him because I think he would get the ball to him early and often throughout the season. 

The same person who said The Jarvis deal should have been done instead of signing Cutler predicted a ceiling of 8-8 for Miami this year. I think he is way off. I see a 10 win season with contention for the wild card. This is not a bad team. There is upgrades all around and Cutler is working with weapons he has never had the luxury of having before. The stats don't lie, he had a very similar statistical season to Tanne in their best showing and Cutler had far less offensive talent than he has now in Miami.

One other thing, we need to draft a QB high next draft. We need to draft the QB of the future because time is running out for Tannehill to be that guy. He will be 30 by the time he plays again and he hasn't proven anything in Miami, even if the circumstances aren't his fault. 

Phins Up!!

Sent from my iPad

Cutler Signing Guarantees Maxwell Cut Next Year

    Whatever opinion you hold of Jay Cutler, it is beneficial to know what he will cost the team prior to rating the move.  He is a "free" pickup this year but he does cost the Dolphins a significant amount of carryover money.  Many pundits are suggesting that this will prevent the Dolphins from signing Jarvis Landry to a new deal.
    I think our front office knows its trade a bit better than that.  Drafting a corner in the third round this season and picking up Alterraun Verner in free agency may provide a clue to Miami's long range plans. Byron Maxwell renegotiated his deal on arrival in Miami; the guaranteed money expires after this season.  Parting ways with the aging cornerback will allow Miami to reclaim 10 million dollars in cap space (no dead money) which can be earmarked for 2018 draft picks, Landry, etc.
    The Cutler move may not work out.  I am not sold that his attitude will fit our building well (see the Smoking Jay Cutler meme if you haven't got a sense of what Chicagoans thought of him.) But Gase deserves the benefit of the doubt, and my larger point is that our front office also does.  This signing should be evaluated strictly based on how well Cutler performs this year in wins and losses. The money will take care of itself or we would never have made this move.
     Finally, for the Matt Moore fans out there, remember that his health is a very thin blanket to sleep under.  At the very least, Cutler puts us two hits (instead of one) from seeing if Peyton Manning is available (joking, I hope.)

Jay Lopez

Jay Cutler Rolls Into Town But What's Next??

The Dolphins signed ex Bear QB Jay Cutler today on a one year contract which tells me that Ryan Tannehill is done for the season.

Matt Moore knew someone was going to be signed.  That's a no brainer.

Let's face it. Cutler was prepping to be a broadcaster so he probably wasn't doing push ups or sit ups or running gasers.

Who knows when he even last threw a ball?

He knows the Gase system so that helps him but I don't see how he can just walk on the field tomorrow and expect to be our starting QB in 3 weeks.

Cutler would have to work magic to get all the timing and communication with our WRs in order to catch up to Matt Moore.

I expect Moore to start for 2 reasons.

Number 1: He is ready and earned it.

Number 2: Unless Cutler blows Moore out of the water, what signal does this send to the rest of the players who have been busting their humps together for months and this new guy waltzes in and just takes over.

Now if Moore doesn't play well then we have a good guy who paid his dues and will then earn the respect of the rest of the team.

I could see him starting at that point.

This should be a good competition. And a competition it must be. Not a given.

We have a good team. We do.

What we sure as hell don't need is a QB controversy.

I hope Gase handles this well. He may be planning on starting Cutler.

But he should at least give Matt Moore the chance to lose the job.

This is going to be a very interesting 3 weeks.

Phins Up!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Tebow time!

Since it's all about entertainment, why not sign Tim Tebow?!  Tebow! Tebow!

NFL experience
A proven winner
The guy will put fans in seats
He may complete a pass here and there
Decent guy

Kneels a lot (isn't that why folks don't like Kaepernick?)
He's been called the "Kim kardashian of sports"
To quote one NFL exec "he's really bad"
ESPN would never stop obsessing about him (wait that might be a pro)
He's still a virgin (which means we will never hear of his exploits, and I know some groupies who would be sad about that)

Photo from the phinphanatic

*And yes, this is a snarky post.  

Friday, August 04, 2017

With Tannehill Likely Out, Who Do You Prefer At QB?

Just when things were looking up. Injuries, Injuries, Injuries.

I know that they are part of the NFL.  But losing our starting QB and now our RB has concussion issues.

Yes, issues. Those nasty headaches tend to reoccur. And each time they take longer to recover from.

What a frecking week! I need a drink.

Maybe two.

So since everything is pointing to Ryan Tannehill going under the knife and losing out on this season, who would you like to see start at QB?

I know who our dear friend Dave Appoloppolloppaloloopie, a long time advocate of Matt Moore over a healthy Ryan Tannehill wants to start at QB.

I like Matt Moore too. And given the chance to take a ton of snaps before the season starts we should be OK.

He knows the system. He knows the WRs. He is accepted in the locker room.

He has replaced RT already. And went 2-0, prior to the NE season ender, to get us into the playoffs.

Short of bringing back Dan Marino or even George Blanda, we don't have too many choices.

Looks like Jay Cutler will remain a TV analyst for the Bears. He wants starters cash to leave the booth. He is familiar with Gase's system. And Gase is familiar with him.

But Jay Cutler is just another Matt Moore. So unless Cutler is willing to play one year for veteran back up cash, why bring him in?

Colin Kaepernick, sans the Castro Tee Shirt, would be intriguing since he can run like the wind and extend plays. He would allow the Zone Read to remain on the play sheet, which I happen to like having that threat in our arsenal.    

CK has starting experience. He also has controversy experience. I am sure he would be accepted in the locker room but how about in the community. Bearing that Castro image on his Tee Shirt, what was he thinking about anyway.

There are some other choices to bring in. I am wondering what the consensus is out there in Dolfan land.

Whom would you prefer???

Back to Dave Appoloppolloppaloloopie. Oh, he is for real.

Ask any follower of this blog.

There have been many an argument over who should be our starting QB. Even when things were going well for RT.

DA wouldn't let up. Not an inch.

If it weren't for this being a blog on the internet instead of discussions in a bar, DA's family would've had to order the widest head stone known to mankind.

So those who were against DA all these years have a big decision to make. Do they get behind Matt Moore and hope we are successful?

Hope that not only we do well. But more importantly, hope that if Matt Moore does play well, Dave Appoloppolloppaloloopie shows some class and doesn't rub it in.

Its up to you DA. The ball is in your court.

Gentleman or prick??

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Monday, July 31, 2017

Dolphins "Trade" Brent and Miko Grimes for Alterraun Verner

    Some players have that "it" factor.  They show up larger than life on game day and find a way to make the sort of plays that win games and change seasons.  Alterraun Verner is such a player.  The new Dolphins CB (and I don't say slot corner for a reason- he can end up finding a job anywhere in the unit) electrified crowds at UCLA, in Tennessee, and in Tampa.  He has ball instincts that are alarmingly good, and makes catches that other corners drop.  He is also freakishly athletic once the ball is in his hands, and can find a seam and disappear.
    Tampa Bay needed to make room for a young player on the rise (Hargreaves) and they feel that Brent Grimes can still lock down the other side of the field.  So the Dolphins pick up a player who is suddenly expendable for cap reasons.  A player who is quiet, except in his play.  A player who will do his job and create no distractions.
     When Grimes left, I was in despair about the state of our secondary.  We had let so many talented players go at that position, it seemed we would never get it right.  An intelligent trade with Philadelphia, a surprisingly successful retread of a receiver, and an excellent second round draft pick already had the Dolphins looking sharp.  Now with Verner, we are five veterans deep, and a highly touted third round pick (Cordrea Tankersley) will likely watch from the sidelines.
     Tampa made its choice.  We made ours.  I like ours better.  We got noisy on the field and quiet everywhere else.  The job this staff has done retooling the secondary is truly exceptional.  When the Dolphins are the state of Florida's lone representative in the playoffs, it will be because of personnel moves like this one.

Jay Lopez

Friday, July 28, 2017

Dolphin's Offense Should Be Fun Tho Season

   The Miami Dolphins have a great set of receivers. We know what Landry and Stills can bring to the table, but this is the year that it's gonna come together for Parker. Now he is healthy and has learned how to be a professional athlete and take care of his body, he has practiced hard and fast and he has not missed ny practice time.

If TE Julius Thomas can stay healthy he can be a major seam threat. But the thing is he wasn't healthy and was used to block a lot instead of as a receiver in Jacksonville , so here's the thing he will now be used properly for his receiving skill set, but at the same time he has become a better blocker because of Jacksonville than when Gase had him in Denver.

Jay-train has been practicing routes and pass catching all off-season because he wants to be the best he can be and Drake can be a burner kind of receiver out the backfield helping to stretch the field and Williams is at least solid.

I do remember Fasano catching some TDs for the Dolphins way back when he was here, he's no speedster but has good hands and defenders don't see him as a pass catching TE , but he can.

On offense the only worry is the Oline but will see how it plays out. I think the line will hold at least middle of the pack, average. I'm hopeful and excited about the team you should be too.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Dolfans NYC is now a charitable organization

Michelle and Igor are excited to announce they now are an IRS approved charity.  It helps them fulfill on their goal of doing some good in their community - and bringing together dolphins fans to take part.  Way to go guys!

Announcement and details here

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Fans Should Be Excited About Year 2 Of The Adam Gase Era

  • When the 2016 season came, Fanswas optimistic about the the coach and the staff he put together. I specially liked the way Adam Gase was a young up and comming coaching talent and it couldn't hurt that he is known as a QB whisperer. DC. Vance Joseph had such intensity and command when he spoke if he said drop and give me 20, you would've been doing push-ups.
Then the season started, it wasn't pretty, fans was hoping the team would come together. Then when all hope was quickly disappearing and the hole they were in was so big that the season was on life support, the Miami Dolphins experienced an unbelievable turn around that  shocked all fans. For the first time in years the fanbase was having fun and was exited, and why not their  favorite team had finally figured out how to win the close games. Winning close games had eluded the Dolphins for years and years. People say the wins came against bad teams, but as long time fans know we always used to lose the close games and always played down to the competition.
Now if we look in the rear view mirror here is what we see, smoke and mirrors. Gase did it with practically half of the starters out with injuries. I know I know, every team faces injuries but we were decimated. So many players were injured or banged up, more notably we had Rambo a safety we got from his couch (a street free agent)   as our starting free safety. Kiko Alonzo with that broken thumb and cast (how do you tackle a power runner with one hand) same with Branden Albert (how do you block an elite DE with one hand), Pouncey only played in a few games about the same as Jones, Jenkins, Misi, Jordan, Howard, Mitchell , Quddus and Mario Williams and Jason Jones.
With the 2nd season in this system the players should have a leg up on the first because of the experience and knowledge of scheme and playbook that comes with year 2, plus ironing out the players that don't produce or don't fit the scheme. The Dolphins did get a couple player upgrades (gotta love the additions of Julius Thomas and Lawrence timmons). Miami also added 5 draft picks for the defensive side of the ball which struggled badly against the run.
Armed with hopefully a few upgrades and better depth. The Dolphins could become real contenders once again. No more excuses fans don't want to here about tough schedules, they want exciting and fun football, but most of all fans want wins and playoffs.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

How I Became A Miami Dolphin Fan

Since the Dolphins are asking fans to tell their stories about how they became a Dolfan, here is my story:

It was Christmas Day 1971 and my Mom's side of the family was rolling into New Jersey from Pennsylvania for Christmas dinner.

Our holiday plans were the same as most football fans across the country: Watch the Kansas City Chiefs host the Dolphins in the NFL playoffs. Then eat dinner.

My Dad hailed the Redskins, my brother rooted for the Raiders and my Uncle and cousins were all Eagles fans. At 13, I watched a lot of football but hadn't picked out a team yet.

Since the Chiefs were loaded and had won the Super Bowl two seasons earlier, my family decided to root for them figuring they should easily handle these upstart Dolphins.

So just to be antagonistic, I cheered for the Dolphins. That's how it all started. The youngest boy sitting on the floor since there was no room on a couch or chair, taking on the rest of his family.

Throughout the game there were plenty of big plays and lots of ball busting and banter going back and forth between my brother, my cousins and myself.

Well the game went into overtime. My Mom is yelling from the kitchen " Dinner is ready!" We are yelling back "Hang on they are kicking a field goal. Oh no he missed."

Back and forth, wasted drives, missed field goals,  plenty of bantering and yells from the kitchen.

The Dolphins finally won in double overtime. The longest game in NFL history left the entire country sitting down to some good old fashioned dried out turkey.

As everyone else struggled to chew, I had the biggest turkey eating grin on my face and the love affair began.

I was so lucky. For the first 107 weeks as a Dolfan, we went to 3 Super Bowls, won two and finished my first full season at 17-0!

It was and still is, the best Christmas gift I ever got!!!

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

For Two Month Stretch, Dolphins Likely Underdog Each Week

   (A bit of a different read to break up the sweaty OTA interviews... )

   My wife recently asked me when would be a good week to travel with her sister next fall.  We have two little ones, and whomever is home alone is in for little relief until the merciful sound of keys-in-door.
    My answer was any time between 10/15 and 12/11- really, any time.  During that span, the Dolphins will be predicted to win one game.  And half of the lines will likely be 4+ against us.  Have you looked at next year's schedule?  I mean, really looked at it?  on 10/15 we are in ATL.  On 10/22 we get a reprieve, home against the Jets.  Then we travel to Baltimore, something of a house of horrors for us.  Then home to Oakland, the team that might have had the one seed in the AFC last year but for an untimely injury.  After that we travel to Carolina, take a Bye, go to New England in the gathering cold, are home to Denver, and then home to New England.
    Don't get me wrong; I am excited to see how we stack against the best in the business.  I believe we will be a good football team.  I also believe that Denver and Baltimore may be in serious decline, and that any game against the Patriots is winnable.  However, I still look at that stretch in the season and recognize why Vegas thinks the Dolphins stand a good chance of being sub .500 this season.
    Put another way, we open H TAM, @ LAC (does anyone else think Clippers), @NYJ, NO (neutral), H TEN.  We had better plan on taking all five if we want to be alive in late December.  And our last three games are hardly a favor, with trips to BUF and KC in the snow likely in the offing.
    So buckle up, Dolphins fans.  The NFL has done us no favors.  But I like our team, and I glad to get the chance to watch us play a playoff schedule.  I just may earn some husband points somewhere in the middle.

Jay Lopez

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Espn' Bill Barnwell is educated on the Dolphins

   My question is how do you, as professional analyst completely​ rip a pro team, without fully studying and understanding what is going on, and without having all the facts straight.

Half the things he says about the Dolphins are pure guessing and speculation. It's impossible to have great opinions if you don't have your homework done on a team.

It seems to me that he just read a couple of articles about the Dolphins and did not care enough about his work or reputation to go into    studying and making sure he got it right.

And so Barnwell, Dolphins fans are calling you out!🌋

Monday, May 15, 2017

I had a Dan Marino Encounter Yesterday.

I was out of town for a wedding this weekend. Last night I came back to UT, but I had a three-hour layover in Charlotte, NC, so I decided to go find some craft beer. I found the Carolina Beer Company, which happened to be right next to my gate anyway.

So I'm talking to the bartender and he's an Eagles fan. I apologize and say I know his pain...I'm a Dolphins fan. We talk more about sports and I start to also engage in conversation with others sitting at the bar as well as order a brisket sandwich.

Right after I finish my meal and order my 3rd beer, a tall older guy with curly blonde hair, glasses, and REALLY blue eyes comes in, sits down three bar stools away from me, and orders an IPA on draft. I'm 95% positive his name is Dan Marino.

Now I have no idea what kind of person he is out in public. Maybe he doesn't like attention. Maybe he just wants to drink his beer in piece. Plus I'm not totally sure it's him yet. But if it's not it's his damn evil twin or something. A bit later, another guy steps up next to Mr. Marino and orders a bud light. Dan turns to him and says "Man you can't order that, this bar serves REAL beer." The guy clearly has no clue who he is and doesn't laugh at the joke. "I'm just messing with you man," Marino says, then looks at the bartender. "He didn't even smile." We all laughed. I've seen Dan Marino on TV enough to know his voice. 98% positive it's him.

I text my wife and tell her. "Shut up....Pictures or it didn't happen," she texts back. I don't want to be obvious though. I look over and he's just answered his phone and is talking really low, clearly not wanting everyone to hear his conversation. I snap of picture of him in the bar mirror. It's not a great picture but I can tell it's him.

This is where the story gets cool. I decide to start talking sports with the bartender again and making sure my voice carries to see if I can get a reaction out of the guy. We talk about the other sports and how the NFL compares and I say "Yeah I like the NFL best because it's 16 games, so every game matters."

Dan Marino's eye brows raise and he glances over at me and nods.

A few minutes later the bartender says "man I just hope the cowboys were a fluke, I hate them." I say "yeah well you have to hate your division rivals, just like how I hate the Pats, Jets, and Bills.

Dan Marino turns and looks over at me over his glasses grinning. I look back for a second, raise my glass, and nod. He raises his and nods back. I play it cool but in my head I'm screaming "OH MY F***ING GOD AHHH!"

100% positive it's him and he knows that I know.

As I'm signing my check, I look over and notice he pays with cash and leaves. My gate is right next to him and he's headed to Ft. Lauderdale. He boards first class. I run back to the bar to ask to bartender if it was really him. He confirms it, says it's not the first time he's served him, and apologizes for not telling me but that he's not allowed to.

I didn't get a picture with him or an autograph, but I think my non-verbal exchange with him was 100 times cooler anyway.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Dolphins Draft Reveals Win Later Attitude

    This blog's other writers seem very high on our draft, and I respect the hard work they put into their excellent columns last week.  I am, however, not feeling as giddy- which may be a good thing.        This organization seems to finally understand that a win now attitude can translate to win never.  That is, that panic drafting/buying to catch the Patriots, who are in the last few years of what may be the NFL's last true dynasty, can be a mistake.  The organization made a concerted effort to establish a realistic timeline for long-term success.  This will be frustrating this year, and bear fruit thereafter.
    Consider linebacker.  The Dolphins need an OLB as they have picked up a one-to-two year lease on a run stuffing tough guy from Pittsburgh- a signing I love.  Win now would say draft Cunningham from Vandy- strangely, we picked a run-stuffing tough guy from the midwest.  Our DC was left to muse that perhaps this year no linebacker would have a "natural" position but they would be shuffled week to week, depending on match-ups.  This sounds to me like a good organization man making lemonade.
     What that draft move meant is "we are willing to develop a long-term solution behind our rental." McMillan will be the man for a while, if we are lucky.  The vet will teach him.  And the Dolphins will mature without being bad in the short term.  A philosophy emerges?
     Consider DE.  Wake can give us a season or two more of excellence, we hope.  Branch is serviceable and solid.  Did we need rotational depth?  You bet.  Did we need it in round one?  Not if we want to compete for a super bowl now.  But perhaps, if we want to be well positioned in three year's time.  Wake will be gone by then.  His time to win is now- but perhaps the franchise realizes that its time to win won't coincide with Cam's?  That's possibly good thinking, probably good leadership. Draft the kid- who will be a one trick pony for now, but who can develop.  A rotational player for a 10-6 playoff team with glaring needs in round one?  Makes sense, if you know that 10-6 was a mild overreach and you are trying to one day be better than 10-6.
      Consider safety.  Yes, I know, we didn't.  Which means we are trusting an 8 game suspension, our stable of never-was, and a journeyman from Oakland to hold down the fort opposite our best defensive player.  All this, when we struggle to cover and can't stuff the run?  All this when the best safety in the draft was falling like a stone due to a minor injury?  Win now says trade up and grab Malik Hooker.  Have the best safety tandem in the NFL immediately.  Win later says hang on to depth, keep that pick to draft a roster builder, and let the steal of the draft fall to another squad (in this way, I think Caroo last year cost us Hooker, but that's another story.)
      In round three, elite safeties still abounded; we went corner.  I like the pick- long term.  This allows us to cut Maxwell and return to cap sanity.  Long term, this was the right thing to do.
       The Asiata pick was a concession to now- and a smart one.  Which completes the picture.  This organization wants to be decent now, and be excellent tomorrow.  We can have a far worse philosophy.  It just might be a bit frustrating for the coming year- and not being aggressive where Hooker was concerned, may haunt us for a decade.  This was the year of the safety, which is a position that will become more and more valuable as teams adopt a New England style approach to offense.  I think we missed, but we missed the way responsible grown-ups do, not the way we used to.

Jay Lopez

Jim Kiick

Last week, there was a story of Nick Buoniconti suffering from CTE.  Today, there's a story circulating about Jim Kiick.

I never had the chance to interview nick, but did meet him a time or two - and got bumped from first class on a flight one so he could ride there...

but Jim I did have on once a few years ago.  I enjoyed talking to him, and you can hear it here:

Monday, May 01, 2017

Draft Pick Expectations

After mock drafting for 2 months, you get a good feel for the draft and where players usually get picked. Granted some GMs place different values on different players. And in some years, the prospects are deeper at some positions than other positions.

Last year we focused our draft on the offensive side of the ball for two reasons: 1) The draft favored offensive players and 2) Our head coach, a former OC, knew what he needed to get his offense off the ground.

This year, the draft was very deep with NFL caliber players at DE, CB and DT. And we knew that last year.

So how will our picks fair this year?

I like the Harris pick. I don't believe he will start. At least not until he proves he can set an edge against the run. Let's face it, opponents had a field day running against our right end. Hopefully, Hayes will help stop that shit.

 Harris will be a situational player coming in on passing situations and spelling the starters here and there.

I see Harris making an impact late in the half during the opponents 2 minute offense. Take the Seattle game last year. Before the half, they drove 70+ yards taking over with just under 2 minutes and kicked a FG. Then with 4 minutes left in the game, down by 4, they drove 75 yards and scored a TD with 30 seconds left. They also converted two 4th downs on that drive.

We could use Harris there. We gave up 9 points late in the halves. Lost 12-10 and yes Stills should've caught the ball and I still believe Gase should've took the FG on the road early rather than get stuffed on 4-1. But a Harris with fresh legs could get a drive killing sack or at least hurry some throws. That's the value in Harris.

Could we have traded down and still got him? I don't know the trade offers but I thought 22 was a bit early.

Can he replace Wake? That's some big shoes plus Harris works the right side and Wake the left. So he will have to work on that.

Speaking of 4-1s, if Asiata doesn't earn a starting position, he certainly will come in as a 6th lineman and help move the pile. He does have a chance to start but he will have to beat out a couple vets for either spot.

You have to love Asiata's attitude and toughness. I think he was a great value late in the 5th round.

I think Tankersley will play at some point this season. You never have enough good CBs in this league. At the end of last year we had so many injuries, that having quality depth is essential. Plus some teams go 5 wide to take advantage of that lack of depth. Tankersley may help out more than any other pick. He is a tremendous value in the 3rd round.

McMillan is interesting. We need to stop the run. I doubt we are going to a 3-4, so somebody has to play outside with Timmons at ILB. But what if McMillan beats out Timmons. Or Timmons, who is long in the tooth gets banged up. Then of course we need McMillan.

I believe the board dictated the pick and so we got the young run stuffing ILB we lacked and will actually have for at least 4 years at street value. Timmons is a stop gap solution.

Godchaux and Taylor are confusing to me. Neither has a reputation for being proficient against the run, which we needed to address. Now I am not saying they cannot make a tackle against the run. They will have to learn their roles in the defensive scheme but I see the former on the bench for a couple years and Taylor getting some looks on ST.

Ford may earn the 5th WR spot or on the practice squad. But he will be in the building. He had good numbers for two years so he can obviously play.

I think we will be looking for a vet OLB and DT who gets cut later.

Did we miss out on drafting any other players? Yes. That will occur every year.

Did we whiff on any? Time will tell.

Let us keep some perspective in that you shouldn't expect starters when you draft 22nd. You should hope for quality depth with solid players so if someone gets hurt, we don't miss too much of a beat.

As the draft unfolded, I was not happy until we picked Asiata. Then I looked at our 4 picks and was happy.

For me, that's enough.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Why I Believe it Was Our Best Draft (and FA) in Years.

First I'm going to rant about some of our fan base. If you don't want to read it, skip down below. But I think MOST on here will agree with me, especially if you follow the Dolphins on social media.

I have seen a lot of complaining from Dolphins fans on social media because they passed over Rueben Foster, Forest Lamp, and Zach Cunningham. I'm going to get into why I'm glad they passed on Foster most of all in a minute, but first I'd like to say that it doesn't matter who we draft. There are just some Dolphins fans who don't even watch the games, don't keep up with college, and if we drafted Hercules, these fans would just say "well....he's only a HALF god so....that's a stupid pick." I even saw some fans complaining that we didn't draft enough offensive players and saying we needed receivers. I'm going to say that again in case you mistook it for a typo. THEY THOUGHT WE SHOULD HAVE DRAFTED MORE RECEIVERS.

To fans like this, I ask: Did you watch a single Mizzou, OSU, Did you watch any Dolphins games last year? Do I REALLY need to explain why we didn't need to go offensive (other than guard) in the draft?

I swear, I hate the "casual football" culture. Yes, you have a right to your opinion, but we ACTUAL football fans have a right to blast you for your opinion when it's a stupid one.

                                                                   *Sigh of relief*

                                                      END USELESS RANT HERE
The Dolphins are known for making a big splash and winning "offseason championships" pretty much since Dan Marino retired, but very rarely has it ever paid off. Then they make a splash in the draft...and that doesn't pay off either. The Dolphins have had a terrible habit of overlooking character flaws and injury history and only looking at on-field talent. That has resulted in a lot of players getting paid A LOT of money to sit on the bench, or worse, at home. They are one of those teams who just never learned how to adjust to a league with a salary cap.

Well, it appears Miami has finally learned how to manage a roster in the salary cap era. It appears Miami has finally learned how to evaluate draft prospects with a "whole person" approach. You know who else does this? The Green Bay Packers.

The Packers have always been about building their team in the draft, and you really can't argue with the results. Lets look at the similarities between the off-season approach of both teams.

-Both teams were relatively quiet in the FA leading up to the draft, with the Packers' signing of Martellus Bennett being, arguably, the biggest splash between the two teams.
-Both teams passed on a very talented player in a position of need due character flaws and/or injuries. For Miami, it was Rueben Foster. For Green Bay, Joe Mixon.
-Both teams drafted players based on a mix of talent, character, toughness, positional need, and how well they fit the team.
-Both teams picked players who are passionate about the game, not overly flashy, and just happy to get the opportunity.
-Both teams stayed patient, let the board come to them, and had minimal trades.
-Both teams addressed nearly every need and received high draft grades from most media sources, yet neither team is making headlines.

You know who IS making headlines. The Bears....and not for the reasons you would want. Boy did they make a splash or what?

So, both the Packers and Dolphins had quiet, successful off-seasons. I'd say the Dolphins are in good company.

For more evidence that this way of thinking works, just look at some of our top players:

Cam Wake. Undrafted. Came from the CFL. If you judge him by the "whole person" concept, best DE in the league in my opinion.
Jay Ajayi. 5th round pick. Supposedly injury-prone? Doesn't seem like it. So far, so good.
Jarvis Landry. 2nd round pick. Totally over-shadowed by OBJ, but Landry has been more consistent than OBJ.

Why I like EVERY pick this year:

1. Charles Harris, Edge-rusher, Mizzou - He continues to be listed as an OLB, but he's a true DE. Anyway... I love this pick. I honestly never even considered him because I didn't think he'd be available. I thought Rueben Foster was a more realistic option because I thought he'd slip. Well, thank you very much, foolish, desperate, QB-needy teams. They were both available. But Foster has injury concerns and I'm sick of seeing talented players assuming the role of "cheerleader" for the Dolphins because they spend half the season or more on the bench. Charles Harris is tough. He will actually play. He's fast as hell. He's a true edge rusher. Best of all, he's win-win. He could possibly be tried out at OLB, but if that doesn't work out, he's still in line to be Cam Wake's successor, and I can't think of ANYONE better to be Harris' mentor. He's going to be a beast. Maybe right away, maybe not. But he'll be nasty. To people that are mad because he doesn't stop the run well, that's not what he's there for. Wake isn't there to stop the run. He's there to give the opposing QB nightmares. But Harris is young and can still get better at run defense. AND he's not injury-prone. Possible future star.

2. Raekwon McMillan, ILB, OSU - Another player I did not think would be on the board when Miami's 2nd round pick came up. To be fair, I didn't think Cunningham would be either. Cunningham is more athletic and I would've been thrilled to have him too, however, McMillan is a much better tackler...and I mean MUCH better. The last thing we need is another LB who misses tackles. That's been an issue for Cunningham, but not for McMillan. McMillan will be able to stuff the gaps and set the edge. He doesn't cover well, but that's something he can improve on. Right now, our top concern needs to be stopping the run. You can't fix everything in one offseason. McMillan is a better fit for us than Cunningham. He could be our stud MLB after Timmons leaves the team. AND he's not injury-prone. Possible future star.

That's two players who should become future stars at their natural positions on DE and ILB, respectively, but in the meantime, it's TWO possible solutions to our OLB problems.

3. Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson - In a division where your biggest rival loves to dink and dunk you to death, you can't have too many press CBs. Guys who can sitck to opposing receivers. Tankersley is one of those CBs. For now, he'll be good insurance for Howard and Maxwell and could see a lot of time in the nickel. He could also develop into a starter in a couple of years. Can't ask for much more at the end of the 3rd round. Possible future starter.

4. Isaac Asiata, G/C, UT - I live in SLC, so I watched him play...and he is one mean, tough, nasty mauler. The first thing they need to do in training is put him head to head with Suh...over....and over....and over. He can start immediately at G and I think he will. He can also be a good insurance policy for Pouncey. He's not injury-prone. He just had one ankle injury at the wrong time (or right time?) but it's not a pattern. He is humble and just ecstatic to be playing for Miami. If you haven't seen it, go to the Dolphins' FB page and watch the video of his reaction to getting the phone call. This guy has a ton of heart. He should've gone before our 3rd round pick even came up, and we got him at the 20th pick of the 5th?? That's value. That was well worth the trade up. Possible future star.

5. Davon Dochaux, DT, LSU - Very sold pick for the 5th round. I think he could have gone early in the 4th in your average draft, but in such a deep defensive draft, defense-needy teams got a lot of late-round value. He also does have some character issues, but I think they are minimal and Miami was careful about that this year. He was worth the risk late in the 5th round. He could push Jordan Phillips. Maybe it lights a fire under Phillips' ass and he becomes a good, consistent starter. Maybe he straight up beats Phillips out and becomes an upgrade at DT... mentored by Suh. Win-win. Possible future starter.

6. Vincent Taylor, DT, OK State - This was a 6th round pick, so we should curb our expectations. However, we need quality backups on the D-line. Also, he has a very good shot at making the 53-man roster as a ST player, as he blocked a lot of kicks during his college career. Solid ST player and future backup.

7. Isaiah Ford, WR, VT - Not too shabby for our version of "Mr. Irrelevant." He had a great college career for two 1,000 yard seasons. He has a great vertical. He could potentially beat out Jakeem Grant for a roster spot if Grant can't stop muffing punts. Otherwise, he may be the only draft pick that doesn't make the team. Even if that happens, I bet he'll be on the practice squad. Possible future backup.

So out of 7 draftees, that's 3 possible stars in the making, 2 solid potential starters, and 2 solid potential backups/ST players. I'll admit that last season, I didn't expect Grant, Duarte, or Doughty to stay on the team for long, if they even made the team at all. But this year is the first time I can remember that I truly believe every draftee will be on the 53-man roster when the regular season kicks off. And at least 3 of them (Harris, McMillan, and Asiata) will be contributing to wins for a long time.

The whole culture from top to bottom has changed in Miami and I couldn't be happier about it.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

2017 season much tougher tha 2016

   I know or at least think that the the Dolphins will improve from last season to this season, not just because the players they added or resigned, not just because it's year two for Gase as head coach, not just because T_hill will take a step forward in his second year with this system but it's a combination of all those things.
Now, the interesting question here is will they improve enough to be a play-off team when you consider the schedule with all the traveling and all the winning teams we got to play against this season and only 7 home games because the England game counts as home, though ​it's not and no by following that game.
Smoke and mirrors won't cut it this season, they need to be and stay healthy and really step it up a notch to make the playoffs.
This year if the Dolphins make the post season is because they are true contenders not pretenders. On a different note good luck with the draft to the power trio with the draft tomorrow evening.

T'was The Night Before The Draft

It's Christmas time for the NFL. All the draft picks are wrapped tightly so no one knows exactly what may be inside. There is plenty of excitement in anticipating what new presents each team will be receiving. With that in mind, I hope you enjoy the following:

'Twas The Night Before The Draft

                                         By Carl Leone

‘Twas the night before the draft and all through the league,
Not a GM had rested, all feeling fatigue.
Their draft boards assembled, each scout had his say,
From highest to lowest,  “Oh, that one can play”.

The prospects were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of great riches danced in their heads.
Since end of last season, teams knew were they’d pick,
From the worst to the first, their spot was affixed.

To trade up or trade down or snag that one guy,
Decisions, decisions, which one do they try.
From Kiper and Davis and even Mayock,
All threw in their two cents with many a mock.

They run a spread offense and defense, a zone.
Make sure he fits in or this choice they’d've blown.
When free agents sign, when picks they are traded,
Each mock is redone ‘fore they’d even faded.

We’ve seen and we’ve heard from all who attest,
They love this one player, now that one is best.
Agents are bragging, their client’s a stud,
But rumors can circle, now he’s just a dud. 

They pimp them, now primp them so all are impressed,
From Armani to Brioni, to the T’s they are dressed.                           
Come ‘morrow at night, the invitees will shine,
For GMs and coaches, their jobs on the line.

They’ll wait in the green room, some are brought to tear.
To fall like Brady Quinn, is their greatest fear.
The NFL Network and SportsCenter tell
All of their stories ‘tween hugs from Goodell.

The owners get checks out and practice with smile,
“He’s who we wanted. Look! He’s on my speed dial.”
Some fans will be happy, some fans will be sick,
As the winning contestant announces a pick.

Who knows whats the answer, no future is clear,
Will they bring them Lombardi or even a cheer?
There’s no proven science nor certain gimmick,
Just all fervent prayers to Dear Ole Saint Pick!

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan Since 12/25/1971