Miami faces Denver this afternoon in a 4:00 time frame on CBS in a game in which Miami will try to battle back to .500 and back in the thick of the AFC East race. The Dolphins are coming off of a 25-16 win over AFC East leader Buffalo last week while the Broncos are coming off a bye week.
The Broncos got off to a hot start but have struggled recently and come in to the game banged up as well with the loss of Champ & Boss Bailey in the lost to New England a few weeks ago. The Broncos feature one of the bright, young QB in the league in Jay Cutler and one of the very best young WR in the league in Brandon Marshall, a big WR that has given Miami fits all year long. Defensively, the Broncos have really struggled and are 30th in the league in total defense and show no signs of getting better.
Denver best bet to have a chance to win this game is to get into a shootout while I believe Miami can come in to this game and employ the game plan of the Jacksonville Jaquars and dominate with the run game and control time of possession and get out of Denver with a win.
Keys to the game will be keeping Brandon Marshall from having a huge game and getting after Cutler with pressure from the front seven, and once again, please someone join Joey Porter in putting pressure on the QB. Miami has a chance to dominate with the run game and Chad Pennington just needs to continue to do what he has done, which is be solid and consistent.
Most experts are going with Denver, but this is a game I believe Miami has a great chance to win.
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Analysts are saying that of all the rebuilding projects that BILL PARCELLS has done, his job with the Dolphins may be his finest work. For some reason Parcells likes to take over teams that were previously the worst team in the NFL the year before (Patriots, Jets, and now the Dolphins). I guess he feels he can only go up and so far with the Dolphins he has tripled our win total from last year and he has posted a 2-1 record in the AFC East.
We may complain sometimes about the coaching decisions on gameday, but there is no doubt that the personel that Parcells trusts the most is doing a good job and worthy of their appointments. Head Coach TONY SPARANO, whom Parcells considers Mini-Me, has instilled a toughness that is consistent game after game. Not only that, but players are in such good condition that injuries are few. This team may lose because it lacks playoff talent and possesses a lot of youth, but they do not beat themselves. Maybe we should call Sparano Mini-Shula because this team commits very few penalties in games. I know, it is dangerous to compare people to former legends, but I am only mentioning Shula here because his teams always ranked near the top of the league in fewest penalties committed.
So, sit back and enjoy the second half of the season. The first half has given us a lot of things to look forward to in the first year of the rebuilding program. Remember that it will take Parcells 3-4 years to get "his" team on the field.
Two More Attaboys Given Out By The NFL
No one kept Dan Marino out of the Super Bowl more than the Bills and Miami DC Tom Olivadotti, so, I promise you that no one enjoyed Miami's butt-whipping of the Bills more than Danny last week.What I really enjoyed about the game was not the individual highlights, but that the Dolphins finished off the game. I would say that the team took on Ricky's personality and played better and better as the game wore on.
QB CHAD PENNINGTON completed 22 of 30 passes for 314 yards with 1 touchdown and earned the AFC Offensive Player of the Week award. He is picking defenses apart with a 69.3 percent completion record (that's nearly 70 percent of his passes completed!). In four of the last five game, his QB efficiency rating has been over 100. So, with that said, Pennington is clearly the best free agent acquisition that we have added to this team ... in the last 20 years.
The only way to "one-up" a Player of the Week award is to win a Player of the Month award. I know who you are thinking and if it is LB JOEY PORTER than you are correct as he won the NFL Defensive Player of the Month award for October. Porter has all ready tied his career high of 10.5 sacks and is headed toward a possible 20 sack season if he keeps it up. With four more sacks he will break Bryan Cox's record of 14 by a linebacker, and with 8.5 he will break JT and Bill Stanfill's record of 18.5 sacks. Of course, Stanfill did it in 14 games.
Has Ricky Lost A Step?
NFL scout Ken Moll said this week, "he has lost a step and no longer has great burst" and described Ricky as a "capable backup". At his age you would expect Ricky to lose a step, but he has put very little wear and tear on his body over the past few years.
Ricky was never an outside guy anyways. He's more of a between the tackles kind of a runner. When he stops breaking tackles then I'll agree that he has lost a step. My guess is that Ricky looks better next year when he is afforded a hole to run through. He is only average 0.1 ypc less than his career average. What Ricky does not have now are all the carries in the 4th quarter where he runs the strongest as he would wear defenses down throughout the game. So, give Rasta a break.
What I really want to see are more passes to Ricky out of the backfield. My money is on Ricky on any one-on-one battle.
New Dolphins Fight Song.
The old Dolphins Fight Song is pretty lame, but let me tell you that when we were on the way to the Super Bowl back in the early 70's it was a lot of fun to sing. It united the fans and it was easy to remember. In fact, I will admit that even though I live in North Carolina, the guys at work know to expect me to stand in front of my office and sing the fight song after each Dolphins victory. They get a good laugh, but they know that I am a die-hard fan. That huge Zach Thomas Fathead that I paid $10 for in the offseason is on the wall in my work office right beside my MBA.
Anyways, if you go to the "Bud Light Deck" in section 441 starting two hours before a home game you will hear Steven Holmes sing this song. I really like it and I think it will catch on during a playoff run ... in a couple of years.