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Will Losing Pouncey Derail Miami's Season?

Mike Pouncey, Miami Dolphins, Phinfever.comSometime in offseason workouts C MIKE POUNCEY tore the labrum in his hip. That means that the Dolphins will be without the only member of their offensive line who is returning from last year, and he was a Pro Bowl center to boot. He will be back sometime in October, but we are hearing that the time frame is a hopeful prediction as it is a pretty serious injury. I know most of us do not want him coming back too soon to reinjure it again or make it worst (see OJ McDuffie who is STILL fighting a lawsuit against the Dolphins). 

I've been sitting around waiting for what seems a "coon's age" to see the Dolphins seriously address the loss. With the OL performing so poorly last year as QB RYAN TANNEHILL was on his butt a serious 58 times, new GM DENNIS HICKEY made rebuilding the offensive line a main priority.

His first move was to sign LT BRANDON ALBERT to a 5 year, $47 million contract with $26 million guaranteed. He pocketed $8.5 million as his signing bonus. Was he overpaid? You betcha, but that is what free agency is all about: overpaying for a glaring need that you did not draft well for. It had to be done, and you can bet that if Ireland had traded for him as we all told him to do last offseason that he could possibly be still here. The Chiefs were willing to trade him. Getting Albert should definitely decrease the amount of sacks that Tannehill gets because it also gives him more time for obvious reasons and also because Tannehill does not feel pressure the way he should. Great quarterbacks have a sixth sense about pressure and we are hoping that Tannehill improves on this. He has to be one of the toughest quarterbacks that I've seen.

Sam Brenner, Miami Dolphins, PhinfeverAnyways, 2013 undrafted rookie Sam Brenner is penciled in as the starter right now, and the Dolphins have not signed a veteran to compete for the position. The Dolphins did bring in former Dolphin first rounder C Samson Satele and ex-Broncos C Steve Vallos (started 15 games), but they ended up signing G Daryn Colledge (say what??). Colledge will give the Dolphins good veteran depth along the OL as he has been a 16 game starter for each of the past 6 seasons, but he isn't the veteran center that we are hoping that will start for our first 6 games (or longer).

Now, I understand that any veteran center that is on the open market right now is there for a reason. Most are aging and winding out their careers as we saw with Bryant McKinney and Tyson Clabo. Some do argue that we should sign McKinney to a Dolphins-friendly as backup insurance should Brandon Albert go down this year.

Below is the list of available free agent centers with PFF grades from 2013. Hopefully the Dolphins will sign one of the better centers off of this list by the time the season begins. As we know, the sooner the better because offensive lines need chemistry. I'd hate to be a doom and gloom kind of person, but if the Dolphins do not get serious about this position, I can see the wheels falling off of the 2014 season. Aside from the QB, I find the LT and C positions to be of upmost importance. The Center sets the tone for the line.

Available free agent centers, Phinfever, Pro Football Focus

 

 

 

Sexy Rexy is Predicting the Playoffs for the Jests?

Rex Ryan, Sexy Rexy, Miami Dolphins, PhinfeverI know he is the rival coach for the cursed Jets, but how can you hate him? I love his humor and he is one of those coaches that can coach his way out of a wet paper bag. His Jets finished with the same record that we did, and comparing talent for talent, you know that he outcoached our Joe Philben.  Heck, the Jets offensive line was worst than our offensive line. I was hoping for a bit of a house-cleaning from both teams and the thought of us hiring Rex Ryan as our head coach put a smile on my face. Call me crazy but Rex is a good head coach and his team believes in him. He also believes in his team.

This year, HC JOE PHILBEN  needs to put together a playoff appearance (and a win once we get there in my opinion) to retain his job. I think he made a good job of hiring Bill Lazor, and Lazor had us very excited about the 2014 season until we lost Pouncey.  I do think that Philben made a blunder by changing a 3-4 defense into a 4-3 defense. Hopefully the personnel will step up to the new system this year. Hopefully.

 

 

Dolphins FINALLY sign 3rd round Offensive Lineman Billy Turner.

Man, what took so long to get this done? I think you're looking at our future starting LG, but he has to get past last year's 3rd round draft pick Dallas Thomas. Thomas was a serious disappointment last year, but I admire that he has put a lot of hard work in to actually beat out Turner in offseason workouts. Turner has the size and ability to grab this position at some point. He is part of Hickey's rebuilding plan on our offensive line. Hickey liked him so much that he traded up in the 3rd round with the Raiders to get him.

The surprise player from spring practices has been second-year offensive lineman Dallas Thomas. The former third-round pick didn’t contribute anything during his rookie season. Not much was expected of Thomas, especially after the Dolphins drafted a similar player in 2014 third-round pick Billy Turner. But Thomas showed up for offseason workouts in good shape and is flashing good athleticism. He’s done enough to earn the inside track on the starting left guard position next to Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert. Thomas’ next task is to hold off Turner when the pads come on in training camp and the preseason. (ESPN)

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The 2013 Redshirt Draft Class

2013 NFL Miami Dolphins Draft, PhinfeverA lot has been said about how disappointing the 2013 draft was for our Dolphins. Aside from K CALEB STURGIS and possibly JELANI JENKINS, no one really contributed much. Well, let me just say that I am expecting that class to step up to the plate this year.

* DE DION JORDAN. Even though he is suspended for the first month of the season for violating PEDS, you have to love his work ethic. He has majorly bulked up (uh, well, that would explain the suspension, I guess), but last year he came to the team injured. Even though Ireland traded up for him to the overall #3 position, the coaches knew that it would take him a year to make an impact. He was injured and could not bulk up and practice much in the 2013 offseason. He still wasn't 100% during the season, but even the great Jason Taylor  "spoke VERY highly of Dion Jordan who he said could be a lot better than I ever was. Taylor clearly must believe Jordan was underutilized and one has to wonder if this coaching staff can get that kind of production out of Jordan that many believe he is capable of having." And let me get the negative thoughts of the trade up out of your mind, this team has plenty of role players and they need real playmakers. It was worth a chance of moving up to get him. He could be great and is very versatile.

* CB JAMAR TAYLOR.  Jamar fell in the draft to later in round 2 due to injuries. Last year he had a sports hernia, a torn abductor, and a kidney condition which prevented him from taking anti-inflammatory medication. He felt and played so poorly that he thought his career was over. Well, he's 100% and I am expecting to see him start for us by next year. In fact, he may beat out Cortland Finnegan for the starting spot opposite of Grimes, and that would not surprise me. Finnegan's play has dropped off majorly the past two year but that could also be attributed to the system that he was stuck in at St. Louis. To me, Finnegan would excel as our nickel corner, so, having Grimes, Taylor, and Finnegan on the field at the same time could make our secondary one of the best in the NFL.

* LG DALLAS THOMAS. He is looking much improved this year, and he had to. When the Dolphins had offensive line problems last year, he was the only player the coaches had little confidence in to put on the field. That was telling. There are a lot of reports that say that he is looking very good this year. Let's hope it all isn't hype and that he looks in pads as well.

* CB WILL DAVIS and PK CALEB STURGIS should both look better. Sturgis did well last year, but was clearly not as good as Dan Carpenter. He was much cheaper and Ireland hung on to Jimmy Johnson's thought process of not overpaying for a kicker. And Will Davis should look more consistent as well.

* JELANI JENKINS gets an honorable mention from me. He actually peformed better than expected last year and he had to since Ireland's free agent additions at linebacker stunk to high heaven.

 

 

John Jerry fools another team.

The Giants are hopeful that John Jerry will beat out Chris Schnee at RG.

 

 

Is Pouncey Dumb as a Rock?

Mike Pouncey, Miami Dolphins, PhinfeverYep, but what do you expect from a Gator player drafted by the Dolphins (OK, I'm a Canes fan;)? You'd think Pouncey would try to stay out of situations that he could get into trouble at, especially being that he is in a contract year. I understand that you want to celebrate your birthday, but maybe nightclubs are just not good places to go to when you want to avoid trouble. Just saying.

Do I think the Pouncey bothers beat the guy up? I have my doubts. The brothers are trouble, but I just can't get past the fact that the "victim" was just standing there and one of the Poucey's decided to just hit him. So, let me get this straight ... he was just standing there and all of a sudden he was attacked ... for no reason. Yeah, right. That justs doesn't make any sense. Plus the bouncers were involved, too. Something really smells and I think the vic smells Pouncey's bank account.

Oh, and don't expect the Dolphins to go in another direction after this season. Even though this is the last year of his contract don't be shocked that he gets a nice longterm contract some time during this season. Good centers are very hard to find and drafting one in the first round next year does not guarantee that we will get another good player at the position.

And please don't compare Pouncey to Brandon Marshall (who is happy and shining with the Bears now).  While they both do seem to find trouble away from the game, the difference is that Pouncey is a great teammate on the field. Marshall needed babysitting in practice and on game day. The coaches had to always keep an eye on him.

 

Go Fins!

Dave Blake

 

Chrisian Fish, Miami Dolphins, Big Dave

 

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It seems that if you want to really know what the projection of your team is then you need to skip the "opinions" of the NFL media and check out something that deals with your wallet. A recent article over at Football Betting Center has the Dolphins right in the middle of the pack with these stats: Dolphins | 7.5 (-over -125) | 8. With the way the Dolphins faded out in 2013 it has left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. With the building talent on this team, I expect a break-out season on both sides of the ball.

 

BETTING MONEY IS AGAINST US.

The first good thing for a surprise season is that betting money is against us. The general consensus of those who deal with money is that the Dolphins have not done anything to really improve over our record of 8 wins from last year.  In fact, money says that they will fall back a half game. This is very understandable since the Dolphins suffered last year mostly due to a very ineffective offensive line play. They also whimped out with two heartlessly-played losses against in-division foes.

 

LT Branden AlbertLast season the Dolphins added some big name free agents only to gain just 1 more win than the previous year. Did any of us even that that possible? Well, looking back on that it does make sense as Mike Sherman did a poor job of utilizing WR Mike Wallace, the prize of last year's free agent frenzy. Also, getting rid of aging LBs Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett for young 1 year wonders LBs Dannell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler proved to be disasterous for our defense. Sliding Ellerbe to OLB and moving high 2010 2nd round pick Koa Misi should plug up any daylight in the middle. He is a former DT/DE at the college level and played well against the run at OLB for the Dolphins. And what about last year's draft? Ireland drafted players that were injured entering the draft and they never made any kind of a difference for us. But, keep in mind that those injured players are very healthy right now, have added bulk, and know the defensive playbook better than last year. I see the defense primed for a step forward.

 

Offensively, Miami's new GM Dennis Hickey went out and signed the best pass blocking left tackle on the market in ex-Chiefs LT Brandon Albert. Albert made the Pro Bowl last year while only playing 12 games. Talk about making an impression. Hickey drafted the best true RT in Ju'wuan James in the middle of the first round. He then added a mean offensive guard in Billy Turner who is all ready turning heads in camp. Let's also keep in mind that C Mike Pouncey is on the Pro Bowl bubble himself. I would not be surprised to see 2 offensive linemen make the Pro Bowl this year. I really like what Miami has done this year in their job of protecting Ryan Tannehill. Another move that I am excited about is dumping OL Coach Jim Turner for John Benton. Benton coached several good offensive lines under Gary Kukbiak at Houston.

 

 

NEW OFFENSIVE SYSTEM IN TOWN

OC Bill LazorWho would have thought that the Philadelphia Eagles would have gone from 4-12 in 2012 to 10-6 in 2013? They fired a great coach in Andy Reid and hired a successful college coach in Chip Kelly. Kelly took the talent on his roster and turned them into the NFC West champs overnight and did it with Nick Foles as his quarterback. I think Ryan Tannehill is a better quarterback than Foles. While the deep pass is his weakness which contributed several interceptions, Tannhill has a gunslinger approach to the game and has very good accuracy on the short to medium passes. He is surrounded by several good receivers and is now getting the proper practice time on the deep passes. If the OL protects him better he should have an outstanding year in 2014. I expect a lot of work on his pocket presence to cut down on some of those sacks. I have to say that Tannehill is one of the toughest minded quarterbacks in the NFL and does not fear contact back in the pocket.

 

The Dolphins liked Eagles offense so much that they dumped OC Mike Sherman for Kelly's QB Coach Bill Lazor. All ready there is a lot of excitement from every Dolphins player. Even our defense is raving about the difference. What I really like about Lazor are the head coaches that he has coached under:

  •  Dan Reeves (Falcons)
  •  Joe Gibbs (Reskins)
  •  Mike Holmgren (Seahawks)
  •  Chip Kelly (Eagles)

Three Hall of Fame coaches and the current offensive guru. All ready Lazor has incorporated a lot of what he learned from Chip Kelly. An example of that is his use of Mike Wallace. He is moving him all around on the offense as he did with Jeremy Maklin. While Lamar Miller is not LeShawn McCoy, Lazor has been impressed with Miller's instincts, quickness, and dedication.

 

Chip Kelly's comments on Dolphins OC Bill Lazor from ESPN:

“I think everybody’s product of what you see on the field and, obviously, Nick deserves credit because Nick’s the one who’s playing. But Billy was the guy that got him prepared to play, so I think Billy did a great job with him. I think he’s got great experience in terms of being a coordinator at the college level but has also coached with the Seahawks and the Falcons and the Redskins. … I thought it was a great opportunity for him and I think he’s going to do a really good job down there.”

 

DEFENSE SHOULD BE IMPROVED OVER 2013

Let's hope so, because it has to. While the Dolphins lost DT Paul Soliai to ridiculous money from the Falcons, they should stout against the run this year. There is a lot of depth along the defensive line and the Dolphins added DT Anthony Johnson who fell in the draft due to failing his drug test ... at the NFL Combine. One player that I am excited about is former 2nd round pick CB Jamar Taylor. He struggled last year due to kidney problems and injuries, but the kid is loaded with talent. He will be our starting corner at some point, but he'll have to beat out a rejuvinated CB Cortland Finnegan. Finnegan is now in a system that should take advantage of the skillset that he had when he was a Pro Bowl cornerback for the Titans a few years back. 

 

S Louis Delmas was a 2nd round pick for the Lions back in 2009, but injury issues made them part them part with him this year. He is an outstanding player and hits so hard that he oftens takes himself out, too. I'm excited about what he can bring to the defense team if he can stay healthy. The Dolphins were forced to move S Rashad Jones up to help shore up our run defense last year, but with the moving Misi to MLB and bringin in Delmas as the 2nd safety, I look to see Rashad Jones return to form as he plays his game.

 

GOOD COACHING STAFF

I do like Miami's coaching staff as I see two potential future Head Coaches in OC Bill Lazor and DC Kevin Coyle. Hopefully they should overcome what little faith I have in Head Coach Joe Philben.  Philben seems to stay out of things just enough to let his coaches have control.

 

MANY BREAK-OUT PLAYERS IN 2014

Last year the Dolphins saw CB Brent Grimes excel as our Comeback Player of the Year and TE Charles Clay as our Break-Out Player of the year. Yesterday, Mark Grimm wrote about players he expects to see step up this year. I would like to find fault with a couple of these players, but I just cannot. I expect to see a major stepping up of talent this year.

 

WR Mike Wallace
TE Michael Egnew and/or Dion Sims
RB Lamar Miller
OLB Dannell Ellerbe
S Louis Delmas
QB Ryan Tannehill
OG Dallas Thomas
OG Billy Turner
RT Ja’Wuan James
WR Jarvis Landry
WR Brian Hartline
DE Dion Jordan
CB Jamar Taylor
MLB Koa Misi

 

MY ADVICE?

Go to Football Betting Center and drop a Benjamin (or more) on the Dolphins. There is a list of their top 5 betting sites. Heck, I am going to do that myself and invest that money back into Phinfever. I would love to run this site and not have to not rely on my members to keep it running as server costs are expensive.

 

I know there is a lot of "rah-rah" in this blog, but believe me this is going to be an exciting year for us. Look for the Dolphins to finish strong in 2014 and not whimper out as they did last year.

 

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