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Week 6: Dolphins at da Bears
Is there anything that needs to be said about this game? Do I need to say that the Patriots have been the most dominant team in football the last 15 years? Do I need to say that Tom Brady will be a first ballot HOF’er? I could speak about their great run defense, the small chinks in the armor that I see, but really this game is more about Miami than NE. We know what NE is capable of. What we don’t know is what this Dolphins Team is capable of. So lets get to the questions.
The Dolphins Offense looks better than it was in Preseason’s Past. Will that translate to the regular season? In order to beat NE, Miami will need to unleash a passing attack that hasn’t been seen in S. Florida since a man Named Marino was the QB. It will need to do so while minimizing big mistakes and turnovers. That is a tall order against a Belichick Defense that will give you small yards all day and then feast on the mistakes you make. Tannehill doesn’t have to be perfect, but he has to be close. NE’s run defense looked like it was in mid-season form during the preseason. So the question of whether Miami will have a running game this year will be answered. Can Moreno and Miller….M&M for short, find any yards to take pressure off the passing game. Finally, with Chandler Jones and Ninkovich, NE can dial up the pressure so Miami fans will know if the OL is truly fixed or is it simply patched.
Defensively, will Miami's revamped secondary hold up? Will Coyle be able to dial up pressure on Tom Brady? Will they tackle? The offense could put up 30 but if Miami's Defense is missing tackles, it won't matter. Coyle has had plenty of time to figure this out. I'm hoping having both him and Lazor on the sidelines will be a boost to their units. In any case, the defense will be seeing one of the NFL's best offenses, so any cracks will show under the pressure they'll bring. Miami's best case is to have guys living in the backfiled. Mr. Wake...you're up to bat.
I guess the bottom here is simple: to be the best, you have to beat the best. Miami will get opportunity right off the bat this year as they host the Patriots. Miami has to win these division games at home if they hope to even get into the playoffs. A win here would be a huge boost to the confidence of this team. It would also send a message to NFL that the Miami Dolphins have arrived. One final thought: We have a special weapon that even the great Darth Belichick doesn’t’ know about. Finhead34, his lovely wife and beautiful baby granddaughter will be at the game. Miami is almost undefeated over the past 10 years when Karl attends the game.
The pre-season finale, if you can call it that, is being played as I write this (actually for the second time, the whole article was erased when I attempted to insert a picture), and there is not much to talk about until we get underway in just over a week. Funny how the offseason seems to take so long and then there we are, just 10 days away!
So in this little calm before the storm, it's time to hypothesize, How Much is Riding on This Season.
It's an interesting question, one that is full of speculation of course, since none of knows what goes on in the head of owner Stephen Ross. How many jobs in the organization are on the hook this season, if you ask a lot of people, you'll get a lot of different answers, it's really anyones guess.
Mr Ross has not yet "cleaned house", so one wonders if this season is not a success will he actually do that, meaning is GM Dennis Hickey on a one year, double secret probation status. Mr Ross has settled for "half measures" so far when trying fix what ails this team.
When Tony Sparano was fired many thought that Ireland should also have been fired, when Ireland was, well, uh, amicably parting ways with the Dolphins, many thought that coach Philbin should have been, well, uh, amicably parted as well.
So what would Mr Ross do, common thought is that coach Philbin is coaching for his job, but Mr Ross is very fond of coach Philbin, so would he keep him if we have another 8-8 season. QB Ryan Tannehill has shown a lot of potential, but has been short on results. If this is an unsuccessful season would they part ways with him, after all, the man who drafted him is amicably elsewhere, so there is no loyalty to him from Hickey, or someone new. Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle is probably also on the hot seat, and is new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor in a similar position as Hickey?
There certainly can be a case made that it just isn't fair, a new GM needs time to build a roster, a new offensive coordinator needs time to fully install his system, a young inexperienced QB needs time to develop. However, no one said it's a fair world, I do remember hearing something about a small world, but nothing about a fair world (see above comment about this being the second time I have to write this article). So will another 8-8 season bring more "half measures", will a sub .500 season bring a "cleaning house" front office massacre? Win and do well and we will never know what possible solutions Mr Ross would come up with.
I know I'm hoping for the latter.