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Who Are the Miami Dolphins?

After last week's loss to the Patriots, most of us want to move on, but it is hard because we didn't expect to see what we saw in the first half. It was a total disaster offensively and defensively. We should have expected a letdown. Let's face it, the Dolphins flew all the way to Seattle and then across the country again to play the Patriots. These two teams could be in the Super Bowl, and the friggin' NFL was unkind to us to have a first year head coach play on the road in such hostile territory for his first two games.

I think everyone expected us to be 0-2 at this point, but we thought we'd know who this team is. Are we the team that outplayed the Seahawks only to lose on their last drive, or are we the team that allowed a backup quarterback to drive down the field at-will? Are we the team that stuffed the running game in Seattle or are we the team that let a third string quarterback hand the ball off and run out the clock on us in New England? Are we the team that played a good set of receivers at Seattle tightly, or are we the team that gave the Patriots 10 yard cushions on their receivers? I guess I could go on and on here.

I think what we really want to see is the team that was promised to us this summer. Where is the aggressive offensive playcalling? We only saw this in the second half last week when we were far behind at 30-3. Where is the aggressive secondary that would hit the receivers at the line of scrimmage slowing their routes down?  What a poor game plan last week by DC Vance Joseph. As Vance Joseph said following the game ...

If we're playing 80 snaps, we have to do better on third down. The first game was a different kind of game. But last week it was solely on the defense to get off the field. In the first half, they were four-out-of-six on third downs. They had a nine-play drives for touchdowns. That's solely on the defense. They [the offense] played well enough to win the game and we didn't." link

Joseph is a young an upcoming defensive mind, and I will bet he hated getting schooled more than we hated watching it. I'll bet he took it very personal. Look for him to have a chip on his shoulder and take a schooling lesson from Belicheat positively.

As a project manager I really don't care who's fault it is (unless it happens over and over). Let's fix the problems together and move forward. The season is young. We need a coach who will take his'n and beat your'n, and take your'n and beat his'n. From what I've heard about Gase, he has a brilliant offensive mind and understands the players. He has more promise as a head coach than anyone we have had in a very long time.

 

Just Throw It.

OK. This is my solution: come out throwing the ball. This team does not have a running game. The lanes are not there. We came out running the last two weeks, and the only time we moved the ball was when we went into the no-huddle and passed it at will. This is Ryan Tannehill's specialty. This should open the running game up a bit. Don't expect a lot though as Marino never had a great running game to compliment him. Passing the ball is more risky, and it will wear out the defense if we do not produce first downs. I say "so what" to that. We aren't producing first downs anyways.

If you will remember, the Buffalo Bills ran the No-Huddle and their great defense never was rarely ranked in the top 10. The offense moved the ball and at times scored quickly. When Kelly went back in the traditional offense, the Bills struggled. Let's flip the switch to the ON position and let our talented quarterback and receivers give us fans a little excitement.

 

Beat the Brownies.

The best way to inject confidence into this team after an 0-2 start is to beat the Browns at home. The Browns have lost quarterbacks RG3 and Josh McCown in their first two weeks, and rookie Cody Kessler is going to have to start. Kessler is a dink and dunk quarterback, so, the best thing to do is to put the pressure on him, and cover the receivers bump and run. Isaiah Crowell is a good back, so, the Dolphins are going to have to stop the run. The biggest problem is that only newcomer ILB Kiko Alonzo is playing well at linebacker. Both Koa Misi and especially Jelani Jenkins are playing very poorly.

The Dolphins should win this game as all the experts are picking the Dolphins. I even picked them in my Survival League. Don't let me down, Fins. A loss here will destroy the morale of this team. Right now they believe in their coaches, but a loss here would be embarrassing for everyone.

 

Jamar Taylor. Goodbye, Hello.

As you know, the Dolphins traded Jamar Taylor in the offseason to the Cleveland Browns. The trade was negligible as the Dolphins moved up in the 7th round by teams swapping their 7th round picks. Jamar Taylor played so poorly with us last year that there was no doubt that he would have been cut loose as his style does not fit Vance Joseph's defense.

How is he doing with the Browns? Well, there were good reports from them this summer that it was a good trade for them, but after two games he ranks 84th out of 102 cornerbacks rated by Pro Football Focus. To compare that, rookie Xavien Howard is 63rd and Byron Maxwell 76th.

Look for Ryan Tannehill to pick him apart when he is on the field on Sunday. I hate to hit a man when he is down, but he was a very good college cornerback who never developed in the NFL. The game is just too fast for him.

 

The Miami Dolphins Defensive All-Crap Team.

You've heard of the All Pro team? Well, after two games these players need to step up or there is a great chance they will be looking for work after this season. The only player getting a pass is Xavian Howard as he is learning on the job and should improve. PFF rates these players' performance "POOR" compared to other players at their positions. Misi has always been dependable for us, but perhaps he just isn't getting this new scheme. I do have confidence that Misi will figure it out. He's been too smart and consistent for us throughout the years.

Phinfever's 2016 Defensive All Crap Team

 

 

Get Cam Wake on the Field More.

Cam Wake only saw the field on 16 out of 80 defensive snaps. Some of the reason was that the Dolphins were facing a run first defense in the 2nd half after the Patriots lost QB Garrapalo late in the first half. By the way, if you haven't noticed, the Dolphins defense has been knocking out quarterbacks at an alarming rate since last year. I think it is the aggresive style that Suh has brought with him to Miami. They are finishing plays off.

I think it is time to put Wake on the field more, and reduce Jason Jones role on the field. The Dolphins brought in Jones because of his abliity to stop the run. He must have left it in Detroit because he only has 5 tackles in 2 games and that is with the offense running right at him. Jones does have 1.5 sacks which is actually pretty good.  With offensive staying away from Suh, who is having a fantastic year, you would think that everyone else would be playing better.

So, get Cam Wake on the field more and let's see what he can do.

 

Pouncey and Foster are out vs Browns

C Mike Pouncey hasn't played a full season since 2012. As well as Steen has played in his place, you have to want your Pro Bowl center back. He has the attitude to make those around him better. They say he may be out until week 5. Is Stephen Ross' sports science team worth the money or is it just hype?

The Dolphins are going to do a "committee" approach to the running game this weekend since Arian Foster is out. Even though Foster isn't lighting things up this year for the Dolphins and is averaging less than 3 yards a carry, he looks quicker than Ajayi and has great hands. He is the better back, but I would be in approval of cutting him. I'm tired of his kneeling on the sidelines during the National Anthem antics. Whether you believe in BLM or not (I do not and this is why), I think we should keep politics off the field. Thankfully we have the friggin' media broadcasting it and giving it a lot of attention. As always, I will continue to look at the players who respect the flag rather than the few idiots.

 

Ryan Tannehill, Jarvis Landry, and DeVante Parker ... oh, my.

I'm going to end my blog on a good note here, because I think Gase is going to put together a top 10 offense in this league. The Dolphins better clear up some cap room because they are going to want to hold onto Jarvis Landry and Devante Parker for a long, long time. Tannehill has great chemistry with both of those receivers, and you saw it in the second half last week. You even saw TE Jordan Cameron step up, even though he did drop a tough pass once again. I can't wait to see Leonte Carroo because he is the big receiver the Dolphins have been looking for.

They won't make us forget about the Marino years, but no one should have to have a Hall of Fame quarterback led offense to compare to.

So, Gase, "Let's make the Dolphins great again".

 

 

Go Fins!

Big Dave

 

January 9th, 2000. I traveled home from a business trip in Virginia, knowing that the Dolphins playoff game I was missing while drove was being faithfully recorded on my VCR (remember those?) by my wife at home. I showed incredible self-control on that trip, refusing to search the A.M. dial for any sports radio stations that might bring me a report, determined to watch it from the beginning when I got home.

I arrived home, climbing out of my skin with anticipation. My wife had a strange, forlorn look on her face which she tried not to show me, but I ignored it. I remember her words. “Are you sure you want to do this?” I ignored the implications, popped in the tape and pressed play.

I watched it all, only fast-forwarding past the commercials. When the final seconds of the 62-7 disaster against the Jacksonville Jaguars mercifully ticked off, simultaneously ending the Dolphins playoff run and the careers of Jimmy Johnson and Dan Marino, I was numb. Disgusted, disappointed, shocked, yes, but mostly just numb.

The next day, I was as disinterested in football as I have ever been. I didn’t want to rehash the stats, analyze the causes of the travesty or even talk about it with my friends. Just let it fade into painful memory.

At about 24-0 this past Sunday against the Patriots, in a game many thought the Dolphins might steal from the Pats thanks to their injury and suspension woes, I revisited some of those emotions. Numb. Disgusted, disappointed, shocked, yes, but mostly just numb. And were it not for what followed those 24 points, I might be equally disinterested in football today.

Even though searching for positives in this past weekends’ travesty seems a little like saying “So other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show?” I am going to attempt to sift through the painful memories and provide us with something more valuable than gold to us Dolphin fans. I am going to attempt to surgically remove some shards of hope that can be found in the corpse of this past weekend’s game.

 Second half offense. Was it an ultimate decision to go no-huddle? The handing of the play-calling keys over to Ryan Tannehill? Or was it as Adam Gase says, a simple question of timing? Whatever it was, the Patriots had no answer for the Dolphins offense in the second half. Ryan Tannehill in the second half was 21 of 22 for 271 yards and 3 touchdowns until the last drive. 21 of 22. No misprint. In the last drive, he went 2 for 6 for 25 yards and the final interception, but to fair, one of the incompletions was a spike to stop the clock. The point is, this was working. Working well, and working easily. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that this success was only because the Patriots were playing soft. They weren’t. They were crowding the line, taking away the short routes and forcing Ryan to throw long, which he did at will. If the offense can play anything like this in the remaining games it will take away the sting of these two losses. This provides some hope for fans that are desperate for some good news.

Welcome to the 2016 NFL season, Devante Parker and Jordan Cameron. After an early drop, Cameron went on to play a very good game as a receiver, catching 5 of 7 targets for 49 yards and a very impressive touchdown catch which might have been the best throw I’ve seen Ryan Tannehill make as a pro. Meanwhile, Parker caught 8 of 13 targets for 106 yards. They made plays. These two players had a coming out party that fans have been waiting for for 2 years. If they can continue to be effective, Miami’s offense will be very dangerous. They gave us reason for hope.

Heart. This is what was seemingly missing from the Philbin-lead Dolphins. Too many times, long-suffering fans like you and I were left wondering if the players on the team cared as much about the results of the game as we did. Even with the errors (of which there were many) the players never seemed to quit this week. Kiko Alonso whiffed on sacks, got turned around on pass defense and failed to finish on some plays. But there he was, running hard and making plays with intensity, especially (by my eyes) in the first half. He played like he cared. Jarvis Landry played like he always does, right on the border between intense and stupid. Still, I love seeing him flattening opposing defensive backs with blocks in the running game and punishing them after the catch. He challenges the opposition. Ndamukong Suh had 12 tackles in the game. As a defensive tackle, that is remarkable. He just kept grinding. The team didn’t give up, even when down by seemingly insurmountable odds. That tells me that Gase has the belief of the team. They are willing to fight, to scrap, to not give up and cash it in.

At 0-2 and with serious questions to answer about defensive strategies, the lack of a running game and depth just about everywhere, it’s good to identify a few places where we have reason to have hope in our future as a team. It helps take the sting out of a frustrating, disheartening loss like the one we just suffered. Now, a big win against a Cleveland team starting a rookie third string quarterback seems like just the tonic we need to strike gold.... and find hope.

Go Dolphins!

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