Within the span of the next week, the Miami Dolphins will have played their final game of 2011 and will already have begun making preparations for 2012 and beyond. The Dolphins have a lot of big decisions on the horizon that will play a huge part in the direction the team heads. But before those decisions are made, there is some work left to do on the football field on Sunday.
Actually, before Sunday’s game, there will be an organized fan protest against Jeff Ireland. And by protest we mean there will be a huge airplane carrying a sign that reads: “Mr Ross, Save our Dolphins, Fire Jeff Ireland”. The plane will fly for 2 hours before the game kicks off. So if you’re there, look up!
Then the game will kick off and it will be the Dolphins, playing for pride, against the Jets, playing for playoff hope. The Dolphins will have extra motivation for this game, as it will be the last for an all time great Dolphin, Jason Taylor. Taylor is loved and respected in the locker room and his Dolphins teammates will want nothing more than to send JT out on a high note, by crushing the Jets playoff dreams. As you know, the Jets not only need to beat the Dolphins, but they need help from 3 other NFL cities (Bengals loss, Titans loss, and a loss by the Broncos or Raiders).
As fans of the Miami Dolphins, we’re almost programmed to feel like our team will never make the big play or make the big move to get the player they need. Well, take a second Dolphins fans and imagine the following scenario: The Colts win this week against the Jaguars and the Rams lose to the 49ers, giving the Rams the 1st pick in the Draft. Imagine then, on draft day when the Rams are on the clock, no one having any clue about what they are going to do with the pick (Draft Andrew Luck and trade Sam Bradford, etc)….Mel Kiper and Chris Berman are arguing about what the Rams should do…Berman thinks they should trade the pick to the Dolphins or Redskins and build around Bradford…Kiper thinks they should draft Luck and trade Bradford to the highest bidder, Washington.
Then, the commissioner comes up to the podium and says “We have a trade between the St. Louis Rams and the Miami Dolphins” and “With the 1st pick in the 2012, NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select Andrew Luck, QB Stanford”. Dolphins fans from everywhere erupt in celebration like the Monkees’ are getting back together. We find out seconds later from Adam Schefter that the Dolphins surrendered their 2012 1st and 2nd round picks, 2013 1st round pick, and 2014 1st round pick to move up to select Andrew Luck. Dolphins fans laugh it off and say that they would’ve traded Don Shula’s Steakhouse, their left arm, and their Ray Finkel shrine as well!
Miami Dolphins’ wide receiver Brandon Marshall is looking forward to his upcoming rematch with Darelle Revis. Against Revis, in the Dolphins first matchup with the Jets, Marshall caught 6 balls for 109 yards. However, there is on play, in particular, that stood out in that game. The play is right around the 1:00 mark in the below video:
At the time of the play the Dolphins were leading 3-0 and that pick 6 by Revis turned the tide in the game that the Dolphins eventually lost 20-9. The question is, was it a penalty? Brandon Marshall and many others think it was. Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski both think thought it was a penalty during the game broadcast. The week after the game, Revis was interviewed by Mike Francesa in New York and was VERY adamant about it not being a penalty. Here’s the interview for your enjoyment…It got so heated that Revis was asked ON THE AIR by a Jets PR staffer, to hang up the phone and end the interview.
According to the Miami Herald, Jason Taylor of the Miami Dolphins is ready to call it a career. Taylor is the Dolphins all time leader in sacks with 139.5. With those 139.5 sacks, Taylor ranks 6th in NFL history. It’s debatable whether or not Taylor will be an NFL Hall of Famer, but it’s certain that he will one day be in the Dolphins Ring of Honor.
Taylor started his career with the Dolphins in 1997 after being drafted in the 3rd round (Akron) by Jimmy Johnson. He spent 11 seasons with the Dolphins before being traded to the Redskins for a 2nd round draft pick. After one season in Washington, Taylor returned to the Dolphins for one season before parting ways again with Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland. He spent one season with the New York Jets before returning to the Dolphins for the final time in 2011.
The NFL announced the Pro Bowl rosters on Tuesday and 2 Miami Dolphins made the cut. The Dolphins #1 receiver, Brandon Marshall, was selected as one of the AFC’s wide receivers. He will be a reserve in the Pro Bowl Game. Jake Long, meanwhile, was selected as a starting offensive tackles (along with Joe Thomas). This marks the 4th straight year long has been selected to a Pro Bowl, meaning he’s been selected every year he’s been in the league. However, it’s unlikely that the Dolphins franchise LT will play in the Pro Bowl game, after tearing his bicep on Sunday.
While Jake Long made the Pro Bowl, he has struggled at points this season. If you’ve been watching Dolphins games this season, you know that Long made this Pro Bowl on his reputation and out of respect his opponents have for him. Remember, fan voting counted for only 1/3 of the final vote. Whether it was from an assortment of injuries or from the rest of the line crumbling around him, Long has not played up to the level we’ve become accustomed to. Jake struggled early with knee issues and then was hampered with a troublesome back. Finally, it was a torn biceps injury suffered in the Dolphins 27-24 loss to the Patriots, that ended his season. Hopefully, a full offseason of rehab and rest will allow Jake to come back and give the Dolphins the All Pro Left Tackle they’ve had for the last 3 years.
The Miami Dolphins were unable to play spoiler on the Patriots attempt to gain a bye in the playoffs. The Dolphins looked great in the first half, jumping out to a 17-0 lead. But in the second half, things fell apart and the Dolphins couldn’t stop Tom Brady or the no huddle offense. Now, in the grand finale of the season, the Dolphins will get another chance to ruin their opponent’s season. The Dolphins have a chance to end the Jets playoff hopes.
The Jets controlled their own destiny entering week 16. However, their loss to the Giants took their destiny out of their hands. In fact, they need A LOT of help to get into the 2011 postseason. The Jets need 4 things to happen in order to get into the playoffs…They get in if they beat the Dolphins AND the Bengals lose AND the Titans lose AND either the Broncos or Raiders lose. The Bengals play the Ravens, the Titans play the Texans, the Broncos play the Chiefs, and the Raiders play the Chargers. That’s probably asking a lot, but nothing is impossible. The one way the Dolphins can ensure that the Jets DON’T make the playoffs is if they beat them on Sunday.
It has amazed me how so many Miami Dolphins fans are openly rooting for teams in other cities this season. I include myself as one of those Dolphins fans. Last night the Dolphins didn’t play, but their future success could have hinged on the Texans/Colts game. Sadly, I had nothing better to do than to watch the game and root like crazy for the Colts to pull out a miracle, second straight win. Why am I suddenly a Colts fan? Simply, if the Colts are knocked out of the #1 draft spot, the possibilities arise for the Dolphins to trade up to get Andrew Luck.
The Colts Owner, Jim Irsay, has said a number of times that he would not shy away from selecting Andrew Luck, even with Peyton Manning on their roster. Who knows the inner workings of the Colts, but many expect the Colts to select Luck if they have the #1 pick. The question then becomes what to do with Peyton Manning. I don’t think they’ll both be on the Colts roster in 2012.
Brace yourselves Miami Dolphins fans and fans of other QB hungry teams, the Draft in April is about to get a little less exciting. One of the Dolphins QB options is officially ’off the board’. In his 4pm press conference, Matt Barkley confirmed what we heard rumors of earlier today…..He will be returning to USC for his senior season and will not enter the NFL Draft. (Dolphins fans weep). Barkley has been reportedly telling his USC teammates all day that he will be back next year:
Barkley has told teammates he’s returning. Look for good news for USC fans at 4.
Barkley, is apparently willing to put off the NFL for one more season and will return to USC . USC was ineligible for a bowl game this season, due to NCAA violations, but will be eligible next season. Barkley will also have a better chance at winning the Heisman trophy next year and, barring an injury, will probably only help his draft positioning. If he were to come out this season, Barkley would probably be the 2nd or 3rd QB taken in the draft. Andrew Luck is the unquestioned #1 QB, but Barkley and Robert Griffin III are said to be the next best options. There is debate as to which is better, but Barkley appears set to leave that debate for another day.
It’s not secret that the Miami Dolphins will be looking for a young QB in the April NFL Draft. Well, the way things sound right now, there could be a few less options for the Dolphins in the first round. The buzz on twitter is that Robert Griffin III, Matt Barkley, and Landry Jones could ALL be returning to school for their senior season. This means that there will probably be only one QB taken in the top 10 of the draft, Andrew Luck.
The following 2 tweets are courtesy of @TonyPauline:
“This comes as a shock to me but sources from So Cal tell me the word is Matt Barkley reversed course and is likely to stay at USC.”
“Also- as of today the word is Robert Griffin III/Baylor & Landry Jones/Oklahoma will also return to school. Could change, still interesting.”
The Dolphins currently reside in the draft order, around pick #9 or #10. The exact order will depend on a lot of factors, but primarily if the Dolphins finish the season with a 5-11, 6-10, or 7-9 record. It will also depend on what teams ahead of the Dolphins are also looking for a young quarterback.
The Miami Dolphins 2011 season has not gone according to plan. The Dolphins are 5-9 and are no closer to the playoffs than I am from dating Mila Kunis. There are still two games left in the season, but we came across some numbers that we thought were interesting. We took a look at the 2011 salaries of various Dolphins players and came up with a Top 5 list of most effective players (judging from salary vs. performance). We’ll get to that in the slideshow below.
Even during a disappointing season, there are some signs of hope with the Dolphins. We’ve seen the Dolphins backup quarterback lead the team to 5 wins in their last 7 games. We’ve seen the Dolphins defense awake from the hibernation they were in during the 0-7 start to the season. We’ve seen Reggie Bush put up rushing numbers that he hasn’t seen since he was accepting lavish gifts at USC.
Most importantly, there are some solid building blocks for the future. The best way for a team to get better is to keep the good players they have, at a reasonable salary. That means drafting wisely. When teams draft well and find players that can immediately make an impact on the field, it helps create long term success for an organization. Why? Because rookies sign 4-5 year deals at a reasonable salary and they are usually motivated to perform during that time to earn their next contract.
While the Dolphins and other NFL teams have to pay their best players (i.e. Jake Long and his $11+ mil salary), it’s important to find value in players that perform better than their salary would indicate. The Dolphins have some of those players and they have them under contract for the next few years. Here is our list of the Top 5 Most Effective Dolphins for 2011:
Brandon Fields - $986,000 (photo by chris-j-nelson)
Yes, I know, he's just the Dolphins punter. BUT, Fields was voted the Dolphins MVP halfway through the season and has been very good. He's making under $1 mil, which is 13th among NFL Punters. Fields ranks #3 in punting average, #4 in Net punting average and #1 in punts inside the 20 yard line.
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