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Phinfever, Miami Dolphins, Big Dave, blogDid anyone see that Steelers beat-down coming? I sure didn't or I would have gone to: click here to bet on American football matches and dropped several Benjamins on the Miami Dolphins. Everything Miami has done poorly all season was played correctly last Sunday.

The key to it all? Blocking. Miami had their 5 offensive line starters for the first time this season. After our loss to the Titans the team was criticized for not being with the times. They said that investing a lot of money in the offensive and defensive lines was old school. I don't think so. The Cowboys have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and they are winning with a rookie quarterback. A quarterback must have the time to throw the ball, the receivers must have the time to run their routes, and a running back needs a hole to run through. So, take that, sports writers.


Gase: Saban 2.0

Adam Gase, Miami Dolphins, PhinfeverIn Coach Saban's first year with the Dolphins, he was frustrated by the lack of effort that the team was putting on the field. After a 22-0 loss to the Cleveland Brown Coach Saban sat the team down and told them that from then on out he was evaluating each player for the next season. Anyone that did not put forth the expected effort would not be back with the Dolphins. The Dolphins ripped off 6 straight wins to finish off the season. Three of those wins were AFC East opponents: Jets, Bills, and Patriots.

Coach Gase didn't wait until late November to send that message to the team. He benched defensive linemen Mario Williams and Jason Jones, and called out the team for not playing hard. The Dolphins had their best defensive effort against one of the best offenses in the NFL.Coach Gase cut the three stooges first thing after the Titans loss: Billy Turner, Dallas Thomas, and Jamil Douglas. Ju'Wuan James responded with his best blocking game of the season. You have to give a big "attaboy" to Gase for sending a message to the team. Now, the question is, "Can this carry on to the rest of the season?" We will see Sunday against the Bills where our defense seems to make any of their quarterbacks look like Pro Bowl quarterbacks.


Ajayi: AFC Offensive Player of the Week

Finally ... we got to see the running back that I promised you in the offseason. With a hole and a chip on his shoulder, Ajayi ran for 204 yards on 25 carries with 2 touchdowns for the game. He ran hard from the first play until the very last play of the game breaking many tackles. Ajayi fell to the 5th round in the 2015 draft due to concerns about his knee, but you have to remember that he ranked behind Gurley coming into the draft for most yards after contact. He broke a lot of tackles in college, and he showed off a little on Sunday steamrolling over a tough Steelers defense.

Check out this touchdown run that put a stake in the heart of the Steelers late in the game. Simply "Ricky-like".




Suh Didn't Get Fined?

Suh, Miami Dolphins, PhinfeverSay what? Come on. If you watch the video you will see that Ndamukong Suh is manhandling his opponent but sticks his leg out in an attempt to trip or simply distract Roethlisberger. It's the first cheap shot that I've seen Suh do in a Miami Dolphins uniform. While it disappoints me to a point, I do see him fighting hard through double-teams on many plays trying to get to the quarterback. I'm going to have to get a Suh jersey at some point. He and Reshad Jones play very exciting football every single play of the game.

He’s trying to figure out a way to get to the quarterback. I don’t know if I can comment on it past that. I just know how I’ve watched him play. He just goes as hard as he can and he does everything he can to try to sack the quarterback. (Adam Gase @ Miami Herald).

Anyways, the NFL is still looking into the Suh play, but it didn't stop the No Fun League from handing out $12,154 to Jay Ajayi, Damien Williams and Ju'Wuan James. So, let me get this straight: getting penalized 15 yards is no longer good enough, so, now the NFL is fining players for unsportsmanlike conduct on the field. I think the NFL front office needs a serious makeover. Why don't we fine the NFL front office and take food out of their kids mouths for excessive force.





DE Dion Jordan underwent another operation - out indefinitely

Dion Jordan, Miami Dolphins, PhinfeverI swear that I get so tired of hearing that Jordan is trying hard to get back on the field. At this point I think it is just lip service. As a fan I am sick and tired of hearing about his "potential". I've been watching the NFL since 1970 and I have never seen anyone get paid this much for doing absolutely nothing. How many clean slates has this guy gotten? Trade him for Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon and a conditional draft pick. Swap the losers and give the fans a fresh start.

Right now there is only one name banned on our forums and that is Tom Olivadotti. He the former defensive coordinator who kept Dan Marino from winning a Super Bowl.  John Knighton (AFCMiamiEast) is suggesting that I put Dion Jordon on the forum ban list and I am heavily considering it.


We are going to miss Reshad Jones.

No lie there. The Dolphins want us to get excited about Michael Thomas, but he isn't playing well at all in my opinion. If you don't believe me then take a look at Pro Football Focus' stats on our safety position. The Bills have been winning by running the football, and if they past our front 7 it may turn into touchdown fever for the Bills. Michael Thomas needs to step it up big time.


Phinfever, Miami Dolphins, Pro Football Focus, Safety analysis



There's more to talk about, but I'll have to catch you all on our Dolphins forum. Do me a favor and do not have a meltdown on our Dolphins forum feeling the need to talk about the two idiots running for president, global warming, or even religion. Take it to the offtopic section. I had to ban someone this week who decided to take a walk to crazytown about Global Warming and insulted everyone who didn't share their exact opinion on it. There is medication for that (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that). Go solve the world's problems somewhere else.


Go Fins!

Big Dave


Better than expected.


Not like you expected a 1% raise but instead your union managed to bargain for a 3% raise.

Not like you expected your mother-in-law to cook her favorite meatloaf recipe but ended up ordering pizza instead (praise God!).

Not even like being pulled over by the state police in a speed trap going 20 miles over the limit and somehow driving away with a warning.


No, this was monumental. This was being set up on a blind date with Scarlett Johansson, or buying a $5.00 scratch-off lottery card and winning $5,000.00.


This was so much more than we had any reason to hope for as Dolphins fans, and it was exquisite not only because the team played so well but precisely because they had played SO FANTASTICALLY BADLY the week before that... I couldn't even post a blog with this title. I Sifted for Gold and all I found was Jakeem Grant's punt return. (Hats off to Jakeem; it was fun to watch and I get the sense it won't be his last.)


It is easy to over-react as fans, both negatively and positively. It is perfectly justified to want to withhold too much enthusiasm for the team after a good performance until seeing some sign that it will last more than a week or two. Lack of consistency is what has defined this team since Dan Marino's retirement. So, I won't climb aboard Finfever poster Finesse's playoff bus just yet in spite of the beat-down our beloved team handed to the Steelers this past Sunday. I just want to list some things I saw... some obvious, some maybe not as much, that should give us hope for a brighter future.


1) Coaching. Adam Gase shook up the team by (finally) releasing two players that we as fans were SO done with. By cutting Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner, the message was sent that his warning about "doing the job right" was not to be taken lightly. Furthermore, he benched (deservedly) two under-performing members of the defensive line (Mario Williams and Jason Jones). The message seems to have been heard and responded to by the team, if this week's performance is any indication. The point is that Gase is setting the bar where he wants it and will not compromise based upon a players salary or draft position. This is exactly the kind of leadership we have lacked in recent years, and is reason for hope.

2) Running Game. It all started up front. Having the starting 5 in the game made an amazing difference. It pointed out just how badly we need quality depth on the line, but it also pointed out just how good our line can be when they are in there. But it didn't stop with them. The tight ends blocked better than we've ever seen recently, and it made a difference. (More on that in a bit.) Gase gave the rock to Jay Ajayi over and over, and Ajayi finally showed himself to be the kind of physical, downhill runner that we thought we were getting when he was drafted. He showed burst, broke tackles and was decisive the whole game. The running game wore down the Steelers' defense and is largely responsible for the win and the hope that we have for the rest of the season.

3) Byron Maxwell. This guy was being written off as a bust in our trade with the Eagles so far this season. He hasn't just been underperforming, he has been BAD. He doesn't tackle and yet played with no confidence and rarely made a play of consequence. Yet there he was, running stride for stride with arguably the best wide receiver in the league and frustrating him so badly that it seemed he was completely in Antonio Brown's head. He was largely responsible for limiting Brown to a mere 4 receptions for 39 yards. So which guy is he? Well, if he can roughly approximate the guy that played this past week on a regular basis this season, than that is a huge reason for hope.

4) MarQueis Gray.Who? This guy has so little name recognition that I had to look him up on NFL.com to confirm how to spell his name. And that's about all you can read about him on that site, too.  Who is this guy? Well, he's the guy that caught 3 passes for 81 yards, including a 53 yard bomb from Ryan Tannehill that we should all watch over and over when we are feeling hopeless. This guy (I have learned) is 6' 4", 255 pounds and faster than many wide receivers. He's a former QB that can run, catch and isn't afraid to block. Call me intrigued. With the injuries to Jordan Cameron and Dion Simms, I suspect we'll be seeing more of this guy, and I hope he doesn't disappoint.


There are others that deserve mention in a game like this. Tony Lippett seemed to have a good game, considering how deep Pittsburgh is at WR. Ja'Wuan James played maybe his best game of the season. Isa Abdul-Quddus had his second interception of the season.


So is all of this nothing more than fool's gold? Maybe. Some would even say probably, and who could argue? If these Dolphins are the same as the Dolphins of the recent past, they will come out and get embarrassed by a Buffalo Bills team that is flying high right now. The smart money is on the Bills. But...


...what if this team learns to be the team we saw on Sunday on a regular basis? What if they play smart, passionate, physical football against another team that has been playing really well the last few weeks? What if coach Gase is FINALLY a Miami Dolphins head coach that GETS IT?


My list of building block players (see here http://www.phinfever.com/index.php/9-blog/266-sifting-for-gold-and-hope-for-the-future-week-4) is seemingly growing to include guys that were previously listed as "players to be named later." Jay Ajayi. Jakeem Grant. Jordan Phillips. Isa Abdul-Quddus. All have demonstrated in the last 2 games that they have the potential to be the kind of players we can build around. That we can turn the TV on for, to see what they might do.


They give us a reason to turn on the game. To show enthusiasm. To have hope.



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