Monday, April 24, 2017

7 Round Miami Dolphins Mock Draft George Costanza Edition

George Costanza: Why did it all turn out like this for me? I had so much promise. I was personable, I was bright. Oh, maybe not academically speaking, but...I was perceptive. I always know when someone's uncomfortable at a party. It became very clear to me sitting out there today, that every decision I've ever made, in my entire life, has been wrong. My life is the opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have, in every part of life, be something to wear, something to eat...its all been wrong....

Jerry Sienfeld: If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would be right.

George Costanza: Yes, I will do the opposite.

Yes indeed. We all know what Miami needs. But what if the opposite were true??? In this edition, I am going against all conventional wisdom and not trading back at all. I am utilizing a computer app to pick for all the other 31 teams. Lets see how Constanza would do with the Dolphins instead of the New York Yankees.

Round 1 Pick 22:  All the conjecture has been about Miami drafting a guard or DE or LB in the first round. But solving the OL issue doesn't necessarily mean we draft Forest Lamp while moving Tunsil to LT. Oh no. We do the opposite. We draft Cam Robinson the LT out of Alabama and leave Tunsil at LG. Robinson, 6'6", 322 LBS is a 3 year starter at left tackle against some of the best defenders in the country. He is a road grader and needs some work on his balance in pass protection so he could slip to us.

Round 2 Pick 22:  Instead of an OLB how about an ILB we can move to OLB like Jarrad Davis out of Florida. He is a thumper and can cover a lot of ground which makes him a good fit as a 4-3 OLB. The best part about Davis is he has great personal character and will be a safe pick for us.

Round 3 Pick 22:  Most teams want to play it safe in the early rounds. But we are doing the opposite so lets gamble on Sidney Jones, CB out of Washington, who tore his Achilles tendon at his pro day. Jones was the top rated CB prior to his unfortunate injury and no one knows for certain if he will come back as the same player. However, Wake came back from the same injury and I believe we feel confident about Jones' ability to fully recover.

Round 5 Pick 22:  We just traded for Julius Thomas and added dear ole Anthony Fasano to go along with MarQuies Gray and Chris Pantele. So what do we need another TE for? Because Bucky Hodges out of Virginai Tech fell to us. When you are 6'6", 257 LBS and run a 4.57 40, we will find a spot for you. Hodges has plenty of work to do with his route running but he will have 2 quality veterans to learn from. He also needs some work on catching but again this guy is an athlete that can grow into a matchup nightmare.

Round 5 Pick 34 (Comp):  We just picked up Nate Allen and TJ McDonald. The later will be a stud for us at FS during the last 8 games of the season when we play both the Pats and Bills twice, plus the Raiders, Panthers, Broncos and Chiefs. So we should be all set for that part of the season on the back end of our defense. And we have serviceable players to go along side of Pro Bowl SS Reshad Jones in Walt Aikens and Michael Thomas. And that's exactly why we will grab Rayshawn Jenkins out of Miami. He is a 6'1", 214 LBS and runs a 4.51 40. He may have to work his way up the totem pole to get playing time at Safety but he would be a steal in the 5th round.

Round 5 Pick 40 (Comp):  Depth on the OL is a concern and a 5th round pick for a big conference guy we can develop to play guard in the future wouldn't hurt. Looking for guys with big time experience to handle the pressures of blocking real mean men out there on the field is the ticket. But we are doing the opposite and grabbing Collin Buchanan, out of Miami, Ohio. He played RT in the MAC and at 6'5", 316 LBS he has quick enough hands to move inside. He is a 2-3 year project to develop as a starter.

Round 7 Pick 5: You gotta love Ryan Tannehill. His stats have proven him to be a top 10 QB. He  actually has the highest completion percentage of passes over 20 yards. Haha to all those RT haters. We also have the loveable Matt Moore and of course the amiable Brandon Doughty. We are all set at QB. That's why we are grabbing another QB and another one with limited experience against big time talent. Sounds a bit like RT. Our last selection was 3rd in the ACC for completions beyond 20 yards, behind Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson. He is only a Junior and many believe he is making a mistake coming out early with only 1 year under center but Jerod Evans, out of Virginia Tech, prefers to learn and gain experience from Adam Gase. Evans is pretty burly at 6'3", 232 LBS. He could eventually become a Ben Roethlisberger type of QB who is just a beast to bring down. He needs a lot of work but he should at the very least push Doughty. 

There is our opposite draft and Thursday Night will prove who was right.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

7 Rounds Miami Dolphins Mock Draft 3rd Edition with Trades

In our last mock draft, I accepted trade offers and fell back in the first round while still getting Lamp, Cunningham and others that can add depth to our roster.  Lets face it, we will be lucky if we grab 2 starters for 2017.  For the most part, we will wind up with cheaper guys who can grow into starters in a year or two, become permanent backups or get released.

Our organization looks like everyone is reading off the same page, from Tannenbaum to Grier to Gase.  And that is exactly were we need to be if we want to continue to grow into a championship franchise.

So in this version, I want to try to fall back again and pick up a couple additional picks along the way.  As everyone on the planet knows, we need OL, LB, CB, DE, DT and TE depth with a preference to find a starting LG and OLB if possible.

I will be utilizing an app to pick for the other 31 teams so here we go:

Round 1 Pick 22:  We have a choice to pick either OG Lamp, FS Baker, SS Adams, DE/OLBs Harris or McKinley or Watt, TE Njoku and CBs King, Humphrey or White. There is still some talented guys sitting there even if I fall back and risk losing Lamp.  We are offered 4 trades. I accept the one from Cleveland offering their 2 second round picks 1 (33) and 19 (51).

Round 2 Pick 1 (33) from Cleveland:  Everyone mentioned above is gone except Lamp and Watt.  Lamp is now a Dolphin and starting at LG!!

Round 2 Pick 19 (51) from Cleveland:  We need to focus on defense now and we can grab DE/OLBs Rivers, Williams or Basham, OLBs Riley or Bowser, CBs Jackson, Wilson, Jones or Tabor, FS Sanders-Williams or SS Jones. Lots of talent for the pickings.  I like DE/OLB Tim Williams from Alabama here a lot as a pass rush specialist who can learn from Wake and take over on the left side at DE.  However, we have one trade offer from Oakland offering 2nd round 24 (56), 4th round 23 (130) and 5th Round 24 (168).   Since we pick again 3 picks from now at our 22 lets take the trade and see if Williams is still hanging around. If not, we grab another guy and pick up 2 picks, one of which gets us back into the 4th round.

Round 2 Pick 22 (54):  Haha, Williams is still there. Well, not anymore as he is now a Dolphin!!

Round 2 Pick 24 (56) from Oakland:  We get 4 trade offers but eventually you have to pick guys and if you keep trading you wind up with 19 fifth through seventh round players.  I want to grab an OLB here since the talent level at OLB drops off significantly after the 2nd round in this years draft.
So lets welcome to the team Tyus Bowser from Houston. At 6'3", 247 LBS he ran a 4.65 40 and benched 21 reps. He is an athletic specimen having played both hoops and football at Houston for his frosh and sophomore years. Lets hope the Heat don't find out about him coming to the Dolphins.

Round 3 Pick 33 (97) Comp:  The pickings are slim for starters now. So its all about depth and finding someone who can step in and play without hurting you too if the starter goes down. I haven't looked this next guy's way in any draft because he is only 5'10" as a CB. I prefer taller guys but Michigan's Jourdan Lewis is no slouch. He has been starting since 3 games into his sophomore year and is projected to be a good slot corner since he doesn't shy away from the LOS and plays the run well. Welcome to the Dolphins, Mr. Lewis!

Round 4 Pick 23 (130) from Oakland:   More depth for the defense, this time at Safety. Can we find a good pass coverage guy who can play center field in this Pass Heavy NFL?? Well, we just did. Welcome from Boston College, 6'0", 208 LBS, John Johnson. He runs the 40 in 4.61 and has starting experience at both CB and Safety. Last year he had 77 tackles, 2.5 for loss, 3 INT and 9 pass break ups.  His Junior year, he had 63 tackles, 1.5 for loss, 3 INT, 3 PBU.  Not bad. Hell in the 2016 Quick Lane Bowl against Maryland he had 12 tackles of which 11 were solo. So he isn't afraid to stick his nose in there and can play both CB and Safety. When you can only dress 46 guys from the 53 man roster for each game, being able to kill 2 birds with 1 stone is huge.

Round 5 Pick 22 (166):   Still looking for depth and want to address the DL so lets grab a big ole mountain of a DT in USC Stevie Tu'ikolovatu. Granted not too many equipment managers or media personnel are going to love dealing with that last name but I am sure he will wind up being Stevie Tu.  At 6'1", 331 LBS, its pretty clear what his job is. Stuff the run and tie up blockers so the LBs can be free to pursue the ball. He could be a problem to block with Suh getting doubled only a few feet away.

Round 5 Pick 24 (168) from Oakland:   Lets grab an OT for some depth. So how about UCLA Conor McDermott. My God, this guy is 6'8", 310 LBS. 6'8". He is a project though since he doesn't have enough core strength to play right away but he certainly has a frame to put some muscle on. He started the past 2 years at LT in the PAC-10 so how bad can he be having been voted 2nd team all conference the last 2 seasons. 

Round 5 Pick 34 (178) Comp:   Here comes a special teamer. A kick coverage dude who runs a 4.51 40. Get this, he runs that fast at 6'4", 221 LBS. Yep, he is a wide receiver, Mack Hollins, from North Carolina.  When you are that big and can run that fast, you will make a roster whether we need another WR or not. Then again, he could be just another 5th round cut.

Round 5 Pick 40 (184) Comp:   Here comes another edge type rusher from the OLB position or a special teamer to cover kicks.  From TCU, 6'3", 242 LBS, Josh Carraway earned 2 consecutive All Big-12 First Team selections.  He had 11.5 tackles for loss and 9 sacks followed by 11 TFL and 8 sacks this past season. The guy is an athlete. Pure and simple. Camp will tell us just how tough he is.

Round 7 Pick 5 (223) Comp:    Time for a sentimental journey.  Or what the hell, the acorn doesn't fall too far from the tree or like father, like son or its getting late and I gotta show a house!! So lets grab a name you should all remember, Bryan Cox! That's right, the same nut job who played for us (and well BTW) has a son coming out of Florida and looking to play the DL and create havoc. Too bad he is not as talented as his Dad but he does have the size at 6'3", 265 LBS.  He is big and quick but only 16 reps benching tells me he spent little time in the weight room.

So there we have it.  A couple trades and we wind up with starting LG Lamp, rotation DE Williams, back up/ possible starter OLB Bowser, back up slot CB Lewis and back up FS Johnson plus some special teamers and push other guys to play better picks.

Lets see how it shakes out next week.

Phins Up!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Friday, March 31, 2017

Dion Jordan

Sad but true.

That's what my Dad would say when you hope against all odds that the inevitable ending would somehow turn out different.

Yes it is sad but true.

Sad we had Jeff Ireland making picks.

Sad we over evaluated Dion Jordan.

Sad he never panned out.

Sad we burned an additional draft pick trading up to get him.

Sad the talent never caught up to the promise.

Sad. Just plain sad.

And that's all I got to say about that.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

7 Round Miami Dolphins Mock Draft with Trades 2nd Edition

With my last mock draft, I didn't accept any trade offers and drafted straight up. I wound up selecting Forest Lamp in the first round and unfortunately the way the chips fell, I didn't pick a DE until the 5th round. We are primarily looking for help at OG, DE, OLB and CB with possible help at FS, SS, DT and TE

This draft will include trades as I feel we would be better served to trade down and grab a couple extra picks. I will be utilizing an app to make all the other teams picks and trade offers. Lets see how this shakes out.

Round 1 Pick 22:
The following players are still available at 22: DE/OLB Charles Harris, TE Dave Njoku, OG Forest Lamp, CB Gareon Conley, SS Jamal Adams, DT/DE Malik McDowell, CB Quincy Wilson, OLB/DE Takkarist McKinley, OLB/DE Tim Williams, CB TreDavious White and OLB/ILB Zach Cunningham

I am offered the following two trades:
For our Round 1 # 22 Green Bay offers Round 1 # 29 and Round 2 # 29 (61)
For our Round 1 # 22 and Round 2 # 22 (54)  New Orleans offers their Round 1 # 32, Round 2 # 10 (42), Round 3 # 12 (76) and Round 3 # 39 (103)

Part of me says take Green Bay and see what else hits for # 29 but I like the deal New Orleans offers and I take it.

Still available are Njoku, Lamp, McKinley, White and Cunningham

Round 1 Pick 32:
I receive 5 trade offers as well but with our first pick I take our good old buddy, the OG out of Western Kentucky, Forest Lamp, knowing I have another pick in 10 spots and can help the defense there.

Round 2 Pick 10 (42):
Our next pick has been falling into the 2nd round of a lot of mock drafts of late and, sure enough, there he be. I grab the OLB/ILB out of Vanderbilt, Zach Cunningham. At 6'3", 234 LBS, Cunningham brings a wealth of experience having started since the end of his freshman year. He is very athletic and plays with a downhill tilt. Always looking to draw first blood, Cunningham would be perfect for blitzing and as a 3 down run and chase OLB.

Round 3 Pick 12 (76):
Quite a few good players left in CBs Cameron Sutton and Sidney Jones, DE Trey Hendrickson, FS Marcus Maye, SSs Josh Jones and Justin Evans, Cs Pat Elfein and Tyler Orlosky, TEs Adam Shaheen, Bucky Hodges, Gerald Everett and Jake Butt. I could have accepted any one of 4 trade offers but the earliest pick offer would have been 15 spots down and I didn't want to lose a chance to grab another decent pick. If we could wait a year and gamble that our pick can come back from injury, I would grab Sidney Jones, who tore his Achilles tendon at his pro day. I instead will go with the highest rated player still available. Sorry but I am skipping on Hendrickson because he is more of a right side DE and will never have the quickness replace Wake on the left side. For this reason I am grabbing as insurance for our OL, the highest rated remaining player in the Center out of Ohio State, Pat Elflein. This guy can just flat out play at Center or Guard if needed and frankly who knows how long before Pouncey goes down again. Lets secure our running game and pass protection and lock down the OL for the next 3-4 years.

Round 3 Pick 33 (97):
Well, luck is a lady and shining down on the Dolphins as DE Trey Hendrickson fell 21 picks. Didn't need to wait or consider any trades. I immediately put in his name. He is 6'4", 266 LBS who runs a 4.65 40. We won't ask him to run that far. Hendrickson is a hard working, 2 time All-Confernece USA First Team selection. He has some developing to do but could spell Branch on the right side.

Round 3 Pick 39 (103):
Now I am looking for guys who fell and can help us as much as possible. No trade offers so I grab a run stuffer from Alabama, DT Dalvin Tomlinson. At 6'3", 310 LBS, he is built in the mold of most Alabama DTs, ready and willing to stuff the run and also stay on the field for passing downs. Now get this about Tomlinson: 3 time high school heavyweight state wrestling champ AND played goalie on the varsity soccer team. He is big, strong and athletic. Should've gone sooner but we grab him here.

Round 5 Pick 22 (166):
Lets add some depth at the CB position and welcome Shaquill Griffin out of Central Florida. At 6'0", 194 LBS, he offers good size with a 4.39 time in the 40. He has very good ball skills but will need attention to detail on his technique. You can teach technique but you cannot teach size and speed.

Round 5 Pick 34 (178):
KC offers me their Round 5 Pick 36 and their Round 6 Pick 36. There is no one here I am in love with so I accept.

Round 5 Pick 36 (180): 
There are a couple decent wide receivers starring at me but I grab a good back up ILB in Ben Gedeon out of Michigan. Nothing flashy at 6'2", 244 LBS, runs the 40 in 4.75 and benches 27 reps. He will play special teams and fill in as needed at ILB. He will never be a full time starter since he lacks short area quickness and speed to cover TE or RB but he will get you through a game if need be.

Round 5 Pick 40 (184):
We got some trade offers but I like this kid in the last draft and may have reached a bit here but there really wasn't much more that I liked so I grabbed the SS out of Clemson in Jadar Johnson. Size, speed, ball skills, all there. Run support, not there. So we keep in out of the box and he plays in passing situations or we move him to FS and special teams.

Round 6 Pick 34 (218):
I like the TEs we got but one could always use a Matchup Nightmare so with no trade offers I grabbed Darrell Daniels out of Washington. At 6'3", 247 LBS, he is a converted WR who runs a 4.55 40 and has 34.5" arm length with 10.5" hands. He catches everything thrown his way but he won't give you much in the way of inline blocking. With his speed and catching ability he could cause havoc running up the seam for opposing defenses.

Round 7 Pick 5 (223):
Of course in the 7th round, its special teamer time so here comes another kid whose ceiling is low for a starter but can possibly make the team on special teams. Welcome FS out of Oklahoma State, Jordan Sterns. Nothing special at 5'11", 196 LBS. He has adequate size and average speed but he does have a knack for making plays and that certainly counts for something. He is also a good character guy who you would want in the locker room and on the sideline. The type of guy who knows his place and won't cause any problems

So we wind up with 10 picks and look at our first 3 rounds with me trading back. We wind up with OG Forest Lamp, OLB Zach Cunningham, C Pat Elflein, DE Trey Hendrickson and DT Dalvin Tomlinson.  Not a bad start to building depth and filling a couple big holes. I feel very good about this draft.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

7 Round Miami Dolphins Mock Draft 1st Edition

The purpose of this mock draft is to get a feel for whom may be available when we pick. I am utilizing a computer app to draft for the other teams. I will not utilize any trades in this edition.

We should be looking to draft a OLB, DE, OG, CB and possibly an ILB, FS, TE and QB. The first four positions are a priority to address, however sometimes the best player available will prevail over a glaring need.

As of today, we have the following 7 picks:
Round 1 Pick 22
Round 2 Pick 22
Round 3 Pick 33 (compensatory)
Round 5 Pick 22
Round 5 Pick 34 (compensatory)
Round 5 Pick 40 (compensatory)
Round 7 Pick 5

Round 1 Pick 22: We have 4 trade opportunities but as mentioned above, this edition will be straight up. The following players are still available DE/OLB Carl Lawson, DE/OLB Charles Harris, TE David Njoko, OG/OT Forrest Lamp, CB Gareon Conley, DT/DE Malik McDowell, DE/OLB Taco Charlton, OLB/DE Takkarist McKinley, CBs Teez Tabor and TreDavious White.  This draft is very deep in DE and CBs so I will pass on any of them with this first pick.  That leaves OLB and OG as our best bet and still get a good DE and CB later.  Charlton and McKinley would be better served on the edge or a 3-4 OLB not a 4-3 OLB. I like Charlton a lot to play on the edge and if I was accepting trades, I would move back 4-5 picks still possibly get him as well as pick up an additional Second Round pick. OGs are deeper in the second and third rounds with only Lamp showing 1st Round potential.
I could still grab a good CB in the Third Round so I won't draft one here. Since I am not accepting a trade, this pick has to produce a starter and of all the guys mentioned above, my pick can and will start immediately and also has some flexibility as to positioning. He doesn't grade out as high as most of the above but he can play 2 different positions.  The safe pick for an immediate starter is Forrest Lamp out of Western Kentucky who can start at LG. Lamp played LT in all but his first three games as a redshirt freshman when he played guard in 2013. He was an all conference (USA) selection the past two seasons and a third team AP All American in 2016. His tape against Alabama's defensive front has many sold that he can play well in the NFL as an interior lineman for a decade. He reminds many of Dallas' Zack Martin. Lamp has a good frame and moves well but he has short arms which will move him to LG in the NFL. Guess what??? That's exactly what we need. Problem solved.

Round 2 Pick 22:  4 more trade opportunities, how about that? So we need either a DE or a OLB here. All the top DEs are gone leaving DeMarcus Walker and Ryan Anderson who would be reaches at this point. At OLB, we can choose between Tyrus Bowser, Vince Biegel and Derek Rivers. Biegel is under sized and will be a special teamer. Rivers would be a good edge rusher on passing downs. Bowser can play in the NFL and had I accepted a trade in Round 1, we could've solved both needs in Round 2.  I love FSs Budda Baker and Marcus Williams, who would be great choices here. But as it is, the best DE or LB still available is our pick. He played ILB in college and loves to thump but due to his athleticism, he will be better served to play OLB in the NFL.  Grading just a bit higher than the FSs is LB Jared Davis out of Florida. This kid is simply a very good football player who has absolutely no character issues. He can start at OLB if he can simply be trained to avoid blockers rather than attempting to run threw everyone while on his way to crushing the ball carrier. LBs are getting lighter and quicker and this kid fits the mold for a good OLB in a 4-3 system that keeps blockers off the LBs.

Round 3 Pick 33:  The phones are ringing again, 4 times. I feel like the only kid with money for the ice cream truck. Of course the computer doesn't recognize that you cannot trade compensatory picks. We have a choice, a tough choice here between CB Ahkello Witherspoon, CB Kevin King and DE Trey Hendrickson. Witherspoon is the better choice for CB. Both are 6-3 but Witherspoon has quicker feet from his younger days playing soccer so he can adjust better with any change of direction than King.  Hendrickson would be good against the run as a 4-3 DE but his sacks come more as a second effort rushing and not from any stellar quickness. Imagine if you would, that Tony Lippet had 4 years of experience playing CB in college and then brought his ball skills and size to our defense. That's what Witherspoon brings. He is the 2018 version of Lippet. I know we are pretty deep at CB. I know we need a DE to get ready to replace Wake but Hendrickson will never be quick enough to rush from the left side, he will never be able to replace Wake. He could give Branch some breathers so if I am drafting a DE, he has to have potential to replace Wake in another year or two. You guessed it, I like Witherspoon here. Had I traded down in Round 1, I would absolutely love Witherspoon here near the end of the 3rd Round after grabbing a DE, OLB and OG. He is not known for his tackling. Its not great but he is a pass defense specialist with his gangly frame of all arms and legs. He possesses a rare combination of speed and size for a CB. He is one of 3 Colorado DBs to be named to the 2nd Team All-Pac-12.  He tied teammate Tedric Thompsn with a nation leading 23 passes defensed.  So he has been well coached.

Round 5 Pick 22: Slim pickings are left for a DE. So we might as well grab a guy who has experience in a tough league and has produced. I grabbed Garrett Sickels out of Penn St who lead the Big10 in QB hurries while collecting 6 sacks. He played his absolute best against Ohio State's talented OL with 2.5 sacks. He plays with the same intensity throughout the game. Typical for a fellow guy from Jersey.

Round 5 Pick 34: When in doubt double down. If you cannot find a good DE, maybe we can grab a quicker OLB who has a frame to put on some muscle and grow into a DE on the practice squad. Enter South Carolina's Darius English. At 6'6" and only 245 LBS he has some room and time to muscle up a bit and train under Cam Wake.  Can he put on 30 LBS and learn to be a DE? Worth a shot.

Round 5 Pick 40: Time for some depth at the back end of our Defense so enter Jadar Johnson of Clemson. As an All-ACC Safety, he led national champs with 5 INTs. At 6'0", 206 LBS, he possesses explosive speed and terrific ball skills. Why did he fall so far? Not that great in run support so keep him out of the box and let him play some FS on passing downs while we work on his tackling.

Round 7 Pick 5 You gotta love this guy's name for the Dolphins, Kansas Safety Fish Smithson He is a bit undersized at 5'11", 190 LBS but he makes up for it with his instincts and field awareness. He can cover in the slot and loves to stick his nose in and tackle. He would be a decent backup and could play special teams.

All in all, I am not in love with this draft. Grabbing the sure starter at OG in the 1st Round really limited our opportunities later at DE. I believe we will trade back and pick up an additional 2nd Round pick. I would even trade back again. I think we could wind up with 3 solid 2nd Round Picks and 2 Good 3rd Round Picks by trading back twice in the 1st Round. Look for that in my next edition.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Dolphins Set to Draft Malik Hooker

      The signing of Nate Allen positions Miami perfectly to draft the best safety in the draft, Malik Hooker.  Although most scouts think Hooker a top ten prospect, he is likely to fall in the draft due to off-season surgery.  Walterfootball reports that Allen will sit for 4-6 months, meaning that any team that takes him must be prepared to be without him at the start of season.  Teams with immediate needs might therefore pass on Hooker in order to get a healthy player on the field, unless, of course, they had just signed a journeyman, stop-gap free agent.
        Enter Allen, who is exactly such a player.  A natural SS, Allen could be asked to cover at FS while Hooker mends, and then leave the starting lineup to back-up Jones at SS.  These moves make sense, and thankfully the Dolphins front office seems to make sensible moves these days.  Hooker might be a once in a decade player.  If Miami can sign him, it would be a coup of similar proportion to what happened with Tunsil.
       Hooker also fits our scheme; he is a classic deep safety, with ball skills and closing speed, which means he can cover for the talented gambler who would start next to him.
        Should the Dolphins miss on Hooker, they might get a shot at Jamal Adams (an excellent fit for Miami) or Obi Melinfonwu, who are both good fits for our scheme (though Melifonwu is more raw and less proven, having played at UCONN.)
         What the Dolphins must not do is draft the overrated Jabril Peppers.  A dumpster fire of a pick for our needs, since he is a 'tweener LB/S with no real coverage skills, Peppers would only remind us of a certain LB/DE "athletic freak" who shall henceforth remain nameless in these pages.
          This is a deep draft at safety- if the players who warrant a first round pick are gone, simply move on to another position of need (linebacker or Defensive Line seems logical) and circle back at a later round.
      But if we get Hooker, man does that Allen signing make sense!

Jay Lopez

Thursday, March 02, 2017

News with a smirk: the combine

Maybe it's just me, but I watched a video of the combine and I simply didn't see the allure...

Monday, February 27, 2017

Free Agency & The Draft

Hello all! 

It's been a while since I have written on here but I have been keeping up with some of the NFL transactions, especially the ones the Phins have been making.

First and foremost, I want to give major props to Jay for calling Julius Thomas to Miami this offseason FIRST on this little ol' fan only blog! Honestly, when I read what you wrote Jay, I loved the idea but didn't see how the hell it would ever come to fruition, I thought it was a pipe dream. In the end we pretty much picked him up for a seventh round pick, we gave up a 2017 Seventh rounder and got a 2018 seventh rounder for Brandon Albert. Think about that, a TE that proved he can be elite in a Gase offense for a seventh rounder? Absolute no brainer for me. So it's like we gave up nothing as did Jacksonville for B.A. The kicker is going to be in the deal Thomas gets, he has agreed to restructure his contract so we shall see what comes of that. The word in Jacksonville is that he couldn't stay healthy and couldn't block for crap which is why they wanted to unload him. The Miami staff will have to work on his blocking if that is true or maybe the scheme change will help? Denver had a decent running game with the offense they ran that Thomas was in so who knows. What gets me excited about Thomas is if we resign Dion Sims. We will have 2 really good TEs. I personally believe Dion Sims is a better receiver than most people give him credit for. Our offense with 2 capable receiving TEs and one that that can mow over MLBs in the run game?! Vicious...

I said it all of last year and I'll say it again one more time! A winning season last year was a great accomplishment. Making the playoffs, win or lose, had me ecstatic! There were games that they could have played better and won but who the hell would have guessed a 10 win season and a playoff berth for a rookie head coach with a rookie DC? Not to mention all the damn holes we HAD on the roster. LBER, which is still somewhat of a hole. CB, which was a hole early on but turned out to be a strength late in the year. Maxwell played great, Xavien Howard has me excited as hell if he can stay healthy and Tony Lippett came straight out of nowhere to be a pretty good CB, that is a huge credit to the coaching staff for developing players. 

We have to resign as many of our own FAs as we can without being stupid as well as extend a few. Kiko and Reshad Jones are deserving of an extension. I would love to resign Stills but if he wants 12 Million per year, I say let him walk. We have to sign Jarvis Landry, if he wants 12 Mill a year, I say we have no choice, sign him. It didn't help that Antonio Brown just got 17 mill a year either. We also have to find at least one free agent guard and draft one. 

As for Tannehill, there are reports that he will have a full offseason program and that his knee is "as healthy as it's gonna get". If he would have had surgery, he would still be rehabbing for most of the offseason and training camp. He has said he will be playing next season with a knee brace as a precaution, not a necessity and that his mobility will be the same as it was without it. That's a win in my book. He was told when he sprained it that the best course of action would be to pretty much let it naturally heal with some sort of strengthening regimen, it seems to have worked out great. He was also told that having surgery would not guarantee he could not tear or sprain it again which I believe had a lot to do with the decision. 

Going into this offseason is a great feeling. We filled a giant hole in TE with Julius Thomas and that move just makes sense but we can go into free agency and the draft with the least amount if holes to fill that I can remember. Most of our needs are on defense and this draft just so happens to be a DEEP defensive draft. And I mean wwwwwaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy freakin' deep! Only 7/32 projected "Top Prospects" are on offense! Which is great news for us because that means defensive talent GALORE!

Phins Up!

Sent from my iPad

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sources Confirm Julius Thomas to Dolphins for Late Round Pick

    In confirmation of a story I wrote here three weeks ago, James Walker just wrote that sources report that the Dolphins will acquire Julius Thomas from the Jacksonville Jaguars.  I had expected Jacksonville to cut the out of favor Thomas, leading to the Dolphins signing him.  However, Jacksonville kept Thomas in order to gain some value for him in the move to Miami.

    This move makes almost too much sense.  Thomas reunites with the coach who made him great.  Gase fills a major hole without having to burn a high draft pick on a developmental player.  And the Dolphins offense picks up another potential probowler, albeit one who has had trouble staying healthy.

    If Thomas can return to something like the form he last experienced under Gase (65, 788, 12) the Dolphins will have significantly upgraded their offense for years to come.  Lets hope our coach knows what he's about- there is no reason to suspect otherwise.

    Finally, the Dolphins front office seems to be making sensible, timely choices that adhere to plain common sense.  And it pleases me to say, you heard it here first.

Jay Lopez

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Clickbait: 8 Offseason Moves and Changes the Dolphins Should Make.

Some shameless fodder for the offseason, brought to you by a football starved correspondent.  Enjoy!

1) Sign Julius Thomas.  See an earlier article to this effect, but Thomas will be cut by the Jaguars and will move into the free agent market this spring. When that happens, a reunion with Adam Gase and an upgrade from Blake Bortles to Ryan Tannehill will resurrect Thomas's career...  And save the Dolphins an early pick at a position of need.

2) Lock up Kenny Stills.  I'm still angry about the drop in Seattle, but I am also fully aware of what Stills does to coverage schemes.  Tannehill's above-average deep ball and scrambling ability make Stills a unique threat on our roster.  We need him to ensure that we don't waste any picks at WR again this season.  Our budget for receiver projects (Caroo, Parker) is already spent.  This must be a defensive draft.

3) Draft linebackers early and often.  We need mobility and toughness in the middle.  Until Atlanta imploded, they showed what a pursuit defense can do to New England and its crew of small but agile skill players.  Draft two or three LB's and get with the speed on defense movement.

4) Draft a physical corner who can jam at the line.  Our D line needs cover to earn its (inflated) pay, and physical, big DB's are at a premium in the wide nine system.

5) Anticipate expiring contracts and get extensions for key players (Landry, Jones) done right.  Send a message to the NFL that the new regime in Miami rewards gifted contributors with sound deals.  We need to reverse the perception that we are a tight-fisted, exploitative franchise that would rather bargain shop than protect its own.  I still miss Charles Clay- let's not do that again.

6) Move on from BA and let Tunsil move to guard.  I like Albert- when this line was healthy, we were terrific.  However, we need to get younger and healthier.  It may be time to free up some cap room on the offensive line so we can attract some free agent guards and a higher quality backup center.  Doing so would also allow us to distribute more money to skill positions and the defensive secondary.  The Dolphins have more money caught up in their O-line than most other teams in football.

 7)  Overhaul our scouting department.  We over draft players that can be had in later rounds and whiff too much with high picks.  We need depth; teams with no depth generally can't scout.

8) Maintain draft day discipline.  No more trading up for non-impact players (Caroo.) Lost picks hurt so much in the depth department and lead to a roster stocked with linebackers no one else was willing to draft.  Trade down, not up.  Know your targets and stop chasing the draft.

Share your thoughts- and let's hope some intern somewhere is reading and taking a note here or there.

Jay Lopez

Monday, February 13, 2017

Hard Rock Stadium nominated to become Stadium of the Year

From the site hosting the award...
Miami Dolphins’ reconstructed stadium is one of the candidates from 21 countries to become the next Stadium of the Year. 29 nominees are competing in the world’s largest vote.NFL’s Hard Rock Stadium is one of two American stadiums nominated to become Stadium of the Year 2016, along with U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Having been thoroughly reconstructed, the stadium was considered almost brand new and worthy of being listed among the best modern stadiums around the world, each of which was either opened or reopened in 2016.Now Hard Rock Stadium faces competition from 28 other sports venues from 20 countries, primarily in Europe. Majority of them are soccer-specific, representing some of the biggest teams worldwide, including England’s West Ham United or France’s Olympique Lyonnais. But, with over $500 million spent on redevelopment, Dolphins have one of the most impressive stadiums nominated for the title. So far the world’s largest stadium vote hasn’t been lucky for NFL stadia, MetLife Stadium finished 7th and Levi’s Stadium in distant 27th spot. However, NCAA’s Husky Stadium (3rd) and Kyle Field (5th) showed in previous editions that USA may eventually see its first Stadium of the Year. Maybe in the current, 7th edition?There are two ways of winning Stadium of the Year 2016. One is the Public Vote, in which everyone around the world can cast one vote. This means one vote from one device: mobile, laptop, PC, etc. In this vote victory depends on how excited fans are about their stadium, it’s simply a popularity contest and in the current edition already over 20,000 people have voted and the voting platform is open until March 4.The second way of winning the title is the Jury Vote, with a team of experienced stadium architects grading each nominee. Five specialists from different countries use their expertise to judge the 29 modern stadiums opened in 2016. This year’s Jurors are: Peters Bordas (BORD, Hungary), Przemek Kaczkowski (STOPROCENT Architekci, Poland), Mårten Leringe (C.F. Møller, Sweden), Robert Mankin (NBBJ, USA) and Andy Simons (KSS, England). Each vote will result in a separate Stadium of the Year title. Winners will be announced on March 6 (Jury Vote) and March 7 (Public Vote). Stadium of the Year is a non-commercial competition launched 7 years ago by and, two websites specialized in football stadiums. It grew to become the largest open vote of its kind, in which everyone can take part.Vote here:

Friday, February 10, 2017

Off topic: spending on stadiums vs spending on schools

Every once in a while, I come across something that reminds us that we tax payers are just pawns in the stadium construction game.  We help fund the stadium, and then we turn around and pay to use it.  And often its at the expense of other things - that is, the money could be spent elsewhere. 

Here's an article from a group called FormSwift about the spending of Texas on its sports stadiums versus its spending on schools:

You might say it's a primer of sorts. Something to think about as we continue to support building of stadia. 

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Could D'Qwell Jackson Be the Stopgap Miami Needs at Linebacker?

    When the Indianapolis Colts released D'Qwell Jackson today, a potentially viable short-term solution presented itself to one of the Miami Dolphins' most glaring needs.  Jackson is old (34) and has a checkered past, but he is a football player of a very high order of magnitude.  He is a solo tackling machine and brings attitude, toughness, and physicality where he goes.
    He will likely have to settle for an incentive-based, team-friendly contract.  He will also be playing to prove he's not past his prime, which can be an excellent recipe for a one year rental.  Signing him would allow the Dolphins to shore up a position of weakness and enter the draft with fewer gaping holes, which might allow the team to draft an excellent player instead of taking what fills a gap.
    Free Agency is a great way to resolve short-term issues while preserving a draft for talent mentality.  I wonder if the Dolphins will seize an opportunity to improve the squad while incurring almost no risk?

Jay Lopez

Thursday, February 02, 2017

How about 7-11 Hogan

I remember When he was in our training camp and everybody kept talking about how he always got open or was always open.

So then roster cuts come around and he gets cut. I always wondered why if the kid was always open.

Whatever the reason, our coaches let him go rather than coach him up develop the kid who was always open.

Now he's going to the Superbowl with our worst enemy and nemesis the New England Patriots, now he is in position to burn us twice a year just like Welker did.

So thank God we have better coaches now and that's the last of the Philbin nightmares.

Hopefully our coaches can stop him from becoming Welker's second coming and get us over NE hump.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

On Moore and Tannehill

First on Tannehill:
Nearly seven weeks later, the dolphins still don't know about tannehill:

And with a 9 month recovery time, you're looking at the prospect of him missing 6+ weeks just to get back to health; much less not having any preseason, or actual game action until then.  So half the season is not unreasonable....time to draft another QB?

On Moore's concussion:
The NFL has issued this statement:

The NFL and NFLPA have reviewed the application of the Concussion Protocol by the Dolphins’ medical staff in the January 8th Steelers-Dolphins game. 

The Miami Dolphins were notified in a letter co-signed by Dr. Hunt Batjer, Co-Chair of the NFL Head, Neck & Spine Committee and Dr. Thom Mayer, Medical Director for the NFLPA, that the NFL-NFLPA review determined that the Protocol was not strictly followed. The letter further advised the Dolphins that they must engage their staff in a full review of the Protocol and conduct additional education, if necessary. The Dolphins were also advised that any future deviation from the Protocol may result in enhanced discipline, including monetary fines assessed against the Club. 

In the second quarter, Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore incurred a hit to the chin and mouth area which drew a roughing the passer penalty. Mr. Moore was attended to by medical staff on the field and on the sideline. The team doctor took appropriate steps to promptly and fully involve the Unaffiliated Neuro-trauma Consultant (UNC) in the medical evaluation of the player and review of the video. They jointly cleared Mr. Moore to return to the game, but did not recognize that Mr. Moore presented a documented symptom, bleeding from the mouth, that required further evaluation in the locker room under the protocol. There is no indication that competitive issues had an impact on the care that Mr. Moore received, nor did Mr. Moore demonstrate any concussion symptoms either during or at any time following the game.

It is important for us to ensure everyone understands and follows the Protocol and that we continue to reinforce its importance. The co-chairmen of the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee sent a memo to the medical staffs of the clubs participating in the playoffs reminding them of that point. 

The objective of the Concussion Protocol is to ensure a standardized process composed of best practices is used to identify and manage potential concussions. Concussion diagnosis and management is often a difficult and complex exercise, compounded by hectic game conditions. Accurate diagnosis and management of concussion requires a collaborative approach among experienced physicians on the sideline, each acutely aware of his or her responsibilities and all committed to the strict application of the protocol designed to protect players.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Dolphins Season Recap

The Miami Dolphins finished the 2016 NFL season with a 10-6 record and the team's first playoff berth since 2008. While they failed to win their playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the fact that they made the postseason was a huge accomplishment for the franchise and its first year coach Adam Gase.

Adam Gase and Ryan Tannehill Look Like a Worthy Coach/QB Duo

While Gase and Tannehill won't be confused with Shula and Marino anytime soon, they look like they will be in Miami together for a long time. Tannehill had the best quarterback rating of his career in 2016 as well as his highest completion percentage and yards per attempt in his career last season. While Matt Moore filled in admirably in the final three games after Tannehill hurt his knee, the team and its fans saw what they were missing when he wasn't on the field. Gase was brought in as the head coach because of his reputation as a “quarterback whisperer.” Many felt if Gase couldn't get production out of Tannehill, then no coach could.

Jay Ajayi Was a Revelation

Running back Jay Ajayi had three games in which he rushed for more than 200 yards. Overall, he finished fourth in the league in rushing with 1,272 yards in 15 games. Ajayi averaged 4.9 yards per carry while scoring eight touchdowns on the ground, and he was as valuable for fantasy owners as he was for the Dolphins in the second half of the season. Ajayi quickly became the focal point of the Dolphins’ offensive attack and one of the surprising breakout players of the 2016 season.

The Kiko Alonso Trade Worked Out Well

In March 2016, the Dolphins made a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles that netted them cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonso. Alonso had been dealing with the aftereffects of an ACL injury that had impacted his effectiveness over the past two seasons. However, in 2016, he had 115 combined tackles to go along with two interceptions. It was his best season since he was a rookie with the Buffalo Bills in 2013.

Mario Williams Was a Dud

Mario Williams had been among the best pass rushers in the league when he was in his prime. Unfortunately, it looks like he is past his prime as he was routinely benched by the Dolphins late in the season. Set to make almost $8.5 million in 2017, he could become a cap casualty at some point before the 2017 season begins.

The Miami Dolphins overcame a 1-4 start to have one of the franchise's best seasons in recent memory. While they may not have enough to compete with New England or other elite AFC teams, they have the building blocks in place to continue to be successful in the future. A playoff appearance sends a message to the fan base that the team is headed in the right direction under Gase and that it is looking to be competitive for the near future.

Monday, January 23, 2017

One followup about Jake Long

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Dolphins took Jake Long #1 overall in 2008.  Matt Ryan went third.  Anyone remember who went second?  That would be Chris Long.  And as it happens, he starts for the Patriots.

I guess the Dolphins did bungle that pick.  Ah well, can't change the past...hopefully they'll get it more right going forward.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

On Quarterbacks.

Over in the NFC, you have what could be one of the great QB matchups of all time: Rodgers vs Ryan. Both have had astounding seasons, and really terrific careers. It could be that the matchup may not be so great, or the game could be weird in some way, but on paper it's exciting.

And of course, both were oh-so-close to being dolphins.

Back in 2005, the 49ers drafted first and took Alex Smith.  Aaron Rodgers was there as the dolphins picked second... but Saban took Ronnie Brown at that spot, and Rodgers sat in the green room as he dropped in the draft, all the way to the 20s. It was embarrassing, and for the dolphins more so because many speculated as he dropped the dolphins might trade up from round two to get him...but ultimately they traded down, and let him go to the packers.  Ronnie was okay, but never great.

Then in 2008, the dolphins drafted first and took Jake Long, letting Ryan go to the falcons at #3. Long is out of the league and Ryan might get the MVP. And for the record, I railed about this decision pretty regularly.  After all, the falcons and dolphins were pretty much in the same "sorry" state that year. Arguably, the falcons have fared better over time...

Now a word about the current dolphins QBs. Or more to the point, what is going on with the medical staff?  First off, the Matt Moore situation in the playoff game was weird.  He gets hit so I hard, I felt it. One friend said "oh shnizzle I think he broke his jaw." He gets tended to and goes to the sideline. The backup comes in, and before he has even take a snap, Moore is back at the coaches side asking to go back in.

How is it even possible to have done a concussion evaluation - an independent one as required, away from the game - in the minute he was on the sideline. Sure, maybe he showed no signs of concussion, and he was "fine" according to his agent, but that's not how concussions work; it's impossible that he didn't have one.  Shame on the dolphins for letting him back in that quickly.  Yeah. It's always about results on the field and perhaps he gave you the "best chance" to win in a game that couldn't be won, but he should never have gotten back in.  And it shows how poor the concussion protocol is.

And then there's tannehill.  He got hit and had a knee injury, of some undetermined nature.  He and the doctors decided against surgery and we were told he might be back for the last week, or the playoffs. Only to find out after the season there was no way he was coming back this season. That may have been some subterfuge to make teams unsure who to prepare for, or it could be that the doctors and coaches handled it somewhat ineptly. I'm leaning to this as the answer because now it appears tannehill probably will need surgery anyway.  And according to a few doctors who do this type of surgery, they suggest that there's a 9 month recovery...which would mean tannehill could miss the first month of the season.

Ummmm, wow, he's just okay as a starter and now he might miss 25% of the season? That doesn't seem like a recipe for success.

We pay our respects to Edwin Pope

Former Miami Herald sports columnist Edwin Pope passed away a few days ago, and I just wanted to pause for a moment and pay my respects.  Throughout high school and college - and beyond - I enjoyed reading his work daily in an actual newspaper.

He frequently wrote about the dolphins, but he had other thought-provoking topics that were always worth a read. I personally think the paper's sports section was not as good after he retired from writing.

And as Shula once said "Edwin was instrumental in me coming down here."  So we can thank him to some degree for the perfect season.  

One fun fact about him: he was one of the reporters who covered all of the first 47 Super Bowls.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Dolphins Will Sign TE Julius Thomas This Off Season

      Adam Gase opened his tenure in Miami making a move for CJ Anderson.  The Broncos matched, Anderson got hurt after a hot start, and Jay Ajayi made Dolphins fans forget.
     What we shouldn't forget heading into this off season is that Gase made Julius Thomas a far bigger star than he was ever able to make Anderson.  And Thomas is going to be available (Jacksonville is looking to shed his contract and label him a "bust"- an easy title to earn when Blake Bortles is throwing you into coverage.)
     The Dolphins must, should, and will pounce.  For the first time since Keith Jackson, we will have a dominant red zone target at Tight End, and for the first time since Charles Clay left we will have a seam busting zone-killer.  A few years ago, when Dustin Keller went down, Miami's offensive blueprint changed irrevocably:  consider the inverse of that possibility?
        Imagine getting Thomas a free release since teams have to respect Landry over the middle? Now think Parker (and potentially Stills) running free release on the outside?  Ajayi will see seven in the box routinely.  Tannehill will have time to operate, as opposing defenses are forced to keep safeties and linebackers honest.
     The Dolphins will sign Julius Thomas.  Big name linebackers and corners will draw more ink this off-season, but make no mistake:  Thomas will be the lynchpin signing for the Dolphins this spring.

Jay Lopez

Friday, January 13, 2017

NFL Moves Steelers at Chiefs Start Time

Due to inclement weather forecasted for Kansas City on Sunday morning, the NFL has moved the start time of the Divisional Playoff Game between the Steelers and the Chiefs.

Kansas City is expecting freezing rain early in the day on Sunday. So to protect the safety of fans not only traveling to Arrowhead Stadium but also navigating to and from their seats the start time has been moved back into prime time.

The game will now kick off at 8:20 PM EST. NBC will still televise the game.

So as fans, we get two prime time kick offs this weekend with the Patriots hosting the Texans on Saturday night at 8:15 PM EST.

No need to rush around Sunday morning as the first game with the Packers at Dallas will still kick off at 4:40 PM EST.

Enjoy the games.

Phins Up!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Dolphins Dawning

From the Philbin/Campbell Denouement to the dawn of The Gase Era, have the Miami Dolphins really changed?

Owner Stephen Ross gets the first credit. For someone universally panned as "...not football-savvy...", he demonstrated great football instincts by signing Adam Gase to be his head coach. Gase did the rest!

Not surprisingly, the Dolphins offense became much better at finishing drives and putting points on the board. The passing game went from 6 yds./att. to almost 7, that's the difference between 24th to 6th in the league! Similarly, quarterback play improved equally well. The Gase Effect!

The Dolphins running game ranked near the top ten with both the departed Lamar Miller and the current Jay Ajayi despite sub-par offensive line play for both runners.

In the give-and-take of turnovers, the Dolphins regressed from 8th to 17th, because of one more fumble and three more interceptions.

Defense stagnated. Forcing opponents to work harder for scores, bending without breaking, actually improved from middle-of-the-pack to near the top ten. Against winning teams and/or good quarterback play, the defense under-performed equally poorly. The Dolphins run defense improved from awful to middling.

Overall, the Dolphins have become more competitive under Gase than they have been in the past. Part of that is due to the draft and free agency, but the greatest benefit to the Dolphins has been their head coach, Adam Gase, who rallied his team to a 10-6 record and playoffs after a 1-4 start.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Injury Decimated & Outclassed But Still A Season To Be Proud Of

Decimated by injuries and outclassed against the Steelers. 

No way Miami wins giving up 7 YPC every single run and not tackling anything.

We are playing with mostly backups at a lot of key positions

This season is still something to be proud of. 

The future looks bright in Miami.

Good season Dolphins!

Phins Up!

Friday, January 06, 2017

Proud Week For Young Dolfans

It's truly been a blessing. And a long time coming.

I can only imagine all the excitement in South Florida.

Back in the 80's, when I lived in West Palm Beach, going to the playoffs was much more commonplace.

Dolfans were pretty pumped up about our chances whenever you get to the playoffs with Dan Marino.

You knew you had a great chance to move on.

So discussions were always about the next round and who or where we would play next.

This year, I find myself looking back on the season. Not really looking ahead.

Not that I don't believe we can win in Pittsburgh. I think we can.

It's just that this whole season seems so miraculous.  So unusual to this franchise.

In the past 7 years, we might string a few games together to create some hope. But never enough wins to get over the hump.

I live in New Jersey, so it's pretty rare to run into another Dolfan.

Today, as I walked into the local diner, I heard someone say "nice jacket". I turned and the guy said "I'm a Dolphin fan too".

"Let's get 'em! Been a great year." A high five. That was about it.

I know this 14 year old kid I see at Mass. A nice kid. He is a Dolfan as well.

It's kids like him and so many other kids ages 12 to 20 that I am most happy for. Those newbies who came on board since 2009.

Not so much for myself but those diehards who have waited their entire cheering lives for their beloved Dolphins to be in the playoffs.

I've been a Dolfan a while. Since Christmas Day 1971. So I have been very fortunate to witness and partake in some tremendous victories.

Enough good memories to sustain me through those lean years.

These kids are tougher fans then I could have ever been. They have stuck it out.

When all your peers are probably rooting for other teams and they get to wear all their garb into school during playoff week, that's gotta hurt a bit.

Our kids were left with there is always next year.

But this week had to be glorious for those kids. For their Dads.

Had to have been some happy campers in the hallways.

That's what comes to mind.

Being a kid and having your team in the playoffs. Walking the halls, proudly wearing a jersey, sweatshirt, tee shirt and/or hat with a Dolphin emblem on it.

Had to have been pretty special this week.

I hope it continues for these kids. I hope they get another week of walking those halls with their heads held high.

Who knows? Maybe a month's worth.

That would truly be special.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Monday, January 02, 2017


   Very happy new year to all!!!  Here we are sitting as the 6th seed going into the playoffs for the first time in 8 years, people ask me if the Dolphins actually deserve or are good enough or worthy of the playoff spot they got, well the answer is a resounding yes they are worthy of the playoff spot they got because a playoff spot is not given it is earned and the Fins did just that.

So they lost to the Brady Bunch, maybe we aren't as good as the Pats, but we are as good as Pittsburgh or Houston if not better, and I'll say this the game against the Patriots wouldn't have mattered regardless of outcome and they didn't get our best shot. Now when we hit Pittsburgh that will be with everything on the line.
I am expecting a great game may or may not be pretty but it's going to be mano a mano (hand to hand combat) between to teams that know it's win or watch from the couch like the rest of us.

Here is something else, I did not like the hit on tony Lippett,  he was completely defenseless. It may be legal but if you hit a defenseless receiver you get a flag and it to me doesn't seem right. That hit could've hurt Lippett on the verge of the playoffs. Good cheering for this game Dolphin's fans let's see if we can make some noise.

Miami Dolphins Open As 10 Point Dogs at Pittsburgh

No respect, I tell ya, no respect!

Take my wife!

We are the Rodney Dangerfields of the Wild Card round.

Houston giving Oakland 3.
Seattle giving Detroit 7 1/2.
Green Bay giving Giants 3 1/2.

Miami gets 10 points.

We got em right were we want em.

Or as Marine General Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller said during the Korean War when surrounded by the Chinese Army "All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us....they can't get away this time."

We have found some magical ways to win games this season. Looks like the odds makers feel this cat ran out of lives.

Well, we are playing with house money anyway.

Nobody figured we'd get into the playoffs before the season started and after a 1-4 start, we only confirmed their suspicions.

Me, I like our chances. I like the J-Train running wild.

Looks like a sucker bet to me.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Miami Dolphins Play Of The Season

Without this play happening we would be the same old Dolphins.

Thankfully, it saved our season.

More to come?

Phins Up!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Nothing Gained, Nothing Lost For Miami Dolphins

The Chiefs won anyway.

Even if we beat the Pats, we were still going to Pittsburgh as the 6th seed.

When you look at our final score, it looks like we got completely spanked.

We got beat. But it was closer than the final score indicated.

7 minutes left and we were on the doorstep of making it a one possession game.

We had already done that after taking the 2nd half kick off down the field and Matt Moore found a wide open Kenny Stills making the score 20-14.

Lets face it. We have to play a perfect game to beat the Pats with so many subs starting.

But fumbling the ball on the 5 yard line and watching it go 80 yards the other way is not anything close to perfection.

Ok. So we go to Pittsburgh. We were gonna go there anyway.

What did we lose? Nothing.

An argument can be made that we gained a little.

Pittsburgh is tough, but they aren't the Patriots.

They will watch film. They will be ready but they won't be as cranked up as if we beat the Pats.

No. Falling on our faces isn't as bad as it looks.

We know we could play better than we did.

And I am confident we will in Pittsburgh.

Up here in NJ, there are plenty of Steelers fans running about.

Many of my friends, including my sister, will be waving their terrible towels this week.

I sure could use an upset here.

We should open 7 point underdogs. Better for us.

Nobody will give us a chance. Better for us.

We are playing with house money. Better for us.

We have nothing to lose. Everything to gain.

Lets just enjoy the ride, however long it lasts.

Phins Up!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971