Miami Musings: Don’t suck (for Luck) against Jets, Irsay > Ross, & Who’s to Blame?

It’s seemed like an eternity since the Miami Dolphins last played in an NFL game…doesn’t it?  It probably feels that way because so much has happened with the Dolphins since they lost to the Chargers on October 2nd.  The Dolphins lost their starting QB (and signed Sage Rosenfels), the coach’s seat got a little hotter, and the Suck for Luck campaign has spread like wildfire.  So have we relaxed during the 2 week hiatus from Dolphins football?  Heck no!  We’ve been thinking of new ways to improve PhinNation.com for you, our loyal readers.  You’ll see some changes and some new posting features in the weeks ahead.  But today, we want to begin our newest blog title “Miami Musings”.  This will be a feature we post 1-2 times per week, sharing other, unique articles written by other Dolphins bloggers.  Enjoy!

What is Brandon Marshall Thinking? - ThePhinsider.com

ThePhinsider.com does a weekly post called “Caption This”, which allows Dolphins fans to use their creativity to come up with a caption for a Dolphins related picture.  This week, the picture is of Brandon Marshall, who seems to be deep in thought.  Head over there to leave your comment on what the Dolphins “Alpha” receiver is thinking!  Here’s mine:  ”Damn, I wasted 15 minutes on that jug machine this week in practice and I’m STILL dropping passes…..I could’ve used that time more wisely and save 15% on my car insurance by switching to Geiko”

The Blame Game - PhinPhanatic.com

Brian over at PhinPhanatic.com wrote a few different pieces about who’s to blame for current, lowly state of the Miami Dolphins.  After looking at everything, I’ve concluded that an entire new regime is needed for the Dolphins.  It’s believed that even if the Dolphins ownership decides to fire Tony Sparano, Jeff Ireland could be sticking around as Dolphins GM.  Personally, I think this would be a mistake and I hope that Mr. Ross isn’t being blinded by Ireland, who seems to be a pretty good salesman.  Blame for this mess is spread around, from Bill Parcels to Jeff Ireland to Tony Sparano.

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Miami Dolphins PLAYERS that need to step up

To say the Miami Dolphins have been disappointing would be a monumental understatement.  Since the Dolphins last game, a loss to the Chargers, much of the attention has been placed on the Dolphins Coach, Tony Sparano.  Sparano has gotten much of the attention because many Dolphins fans and ‘experts’ thought that the Chargers loss would lead to Sparano’s firing.  After Sparano received a hallow endorsement from the Dolphins Owner, fans’ anger spread to include Jeff Ireland.  We believe BOTH are to blame, but today’s focus is going to be on the players…you know, the ones that are on the field.  Coming into this season, we believed that the Dolphins were no worse than an 8-8 team, and with some breaks, they could challenge for the playoffs.  For the love of Luck, were we wrong!  Here is a short list (it could be much longer), of players/positions that need to step up for the final 12 games of the Dolphins season:

Brandon Marshall

Yes, Brandon Marshall is on pace to catch 88 balls for over 1,200 yards and 4 TDs.  Considering almost half of his 313 yards came in the Dolphins first game, he needs to do better.  He needs to be more consistent.  He needs to catch the important passes.  Just last week we saw 2 key drops.  1st, on 3rd down, he ran an out route, beat his defender….and had the ball hit him in the hands and fall to the ground.  2nd, he beats his defender on a go route, Matt Moore places the ball where only Brandon can catch it…..and it goes right through his hands because apparently the sun was in his eyes.  Big time receivers, ALPHA receivers make those catches.  We thought we were getting an elite receiver when the Dolphins traded 2 2nd round picks for Marshall…hopefully, sometime soon, he starts to play like it.

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Dolphins job will likely be Gruden’s, “if he wants it”

Last week, we told you about Jason LaCanfora’s assertion that the Miami Dolphins have Jon Gruden at the top of their list to coach the Dolphins in 2012.  Here we are, 6 days later and Tony Sparano is still the coach of the Dolphins….where he could remain for the foreseeable future.  However, this will not stop rumors from spreading and reports from surfacing.  Yesterday, the National Football Post contained a story (found here) that suggests that the Dolphins job is Jon Gruden’s “if he wants it”.

It is uncertain whether or not Gruden is ready to return to coaching and leave his cushy ESPN broadcasting job behind.  Gruden is in a great spot, if he actually does want to return to coaching.  He can use his current role as leverage and squeeze every last dime out of the desperate Dolphins Owner, Stephen Ross.  If you remember earlier this year, Ross flew to California to try and entice Jim Harbaugh to come to Miami…reportedly throwing around $$ signs like they were confetti on New Years.  By the way, that very same Jim Harbaugh, has the 49ers off to a 4-1 start.

We probably won’t know until late December or January, whether or not Gruden will leave the broadcast booth.  At this time, the Dolphins have a coach, albeit a lame-duck one, barring a miracle.  So all we CAN expect are a lot of rumors and speculation until the time to fire/hire a coach is actually upon us….the time when other teams are making playoff runs.

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Tebow likely to get first start of 2011 vs. the Miami Dolphins on “Gator Day”

If the cosmos isn’t lining up for a 2012 catastrophe, perhaps they are lining up against the Miami Dolphins.  The Dolphins front office has had embarrassment after embarrassment and the football team is 0-4.  Hope is about as distant from the Dolphins right now…..as Mars.  And JUST, when you think the last straw has finally broken the Dolphins camel’s back, another straw falls from the heavens.  And by saying ‘from the heavens’, we’re talking about none other than Tim Tebow.  In yesterday’s 29-24 loss to the Chargers, Kyle Orton was replaced by Tim Tebow, he who walks on water, when the Broncos trailed 24-10.  Tebow sparked a comeback and had a desperation throw for the win to end the game…that ultimately fell incomplete.  John Fox has a bye week to ponder whether or not Tebow will start on October 23rd against the Dolphins.  However, according to Broncos fans, 92% of them at least, want Tebow to start.

So how does what another team’s QB have to do with the Dolphins?  Well, you see, the Dolphins have agreed to have the reunion of the 2009 National Champion Florida Gators on the very day that Tebow will likely make his first start of 2011.  Considering the Dolphins have had issues (saying it mildly), selling tickets this season, we can expect about 1/2 a stadium’s worth (or more) of Tebowmaniacs.  Sure, from a business perspective this is a great idea.  The game won’t be blacked out and Mr. Ross and the Dolphins ownership will get their sellout.  I wonder if they’ll be selling Tebow jerseys in the stands?  Or even in the ‘team’ stores?

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Dolphins Nation is divided on the Suck for Luck campaign

The Miami Dolphins are currently 0-4 and without much hope for the rest of the 2011 season.  Because of this, many Dolphins fans are saying that it would be best for the Dolphins to ‘tank’ the rest of the season, to secure the top pick in the NFL Draft to select QB Andrew Luck.  We conducted a poll earlier this week to see just how many Dolphins fans were in favor of the “Suck for Luck” campaign.  Surprisingly,  over 65% of Dolphins fans want the team to lose the rest of their games.  Although, maybe it’s not so surprising considering the Dolphins found out that their starting QB, Chad Henne, is out for the rest of the season.

No matter your feelings on “Suck for Luck”, we know that almost every free thinking Dolphins fan is tired of this regime (Sparano/Ireland).  That’s why we thought we’d share the below video:

The video above was created by @Vinbob and posted on FinsNation.com.  Great job on the video Vinbob, it was funny and well put together.

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How can the Miami Dolphins fix the rest of the 2011 season?

It hasn’t exactly been a boring bye week for the Miami Dolphins, has it?  Since their last game, the Dolphins have gotten 2 opinions on Chad Henne’s shoulder, lost him for the year, tried out numerous quarterback equivalents of backwash, named a new starting QB, signed a backup (Rosenfels), and caused some of the most faithful Dolphins fans to join the Suck for Luck campaign.  Add to all of that the rain cloud (Tony Sparano’s pink slip) that hangs over the Dolphins and will until he’s finally let go.

Most of that is off the field and will do little to correct the issues the Dolphins have had through the 1st 4 games of the season.  To be fair, the Dolphins have lost to 3 teams tied or in sole possession of their division lead.  For those of us that will continue to root for the Dolphins to win, we can only hope that the Dolphins coaching staff and players can get things corrected for the season’s final 12 weeks.  After all, even though a majority of the fan base wants the team to tank the rest of the season, the players and coaches are playing for their jobs and for money (a great motivator).  So here is a quick look at what must be done for the Dolphins to turn around their 2011 season:

Bench Marc Colombo

Colombo was the 2nd worst tackle in the NFL last year according to Pro Football Focus.  If it’s possible, he’s playing even worse this year.  His signing caused the Dolphins to move Vernon Carey inside to RG, where he has been playing poorly.  Our suggestion would be to move Carey back to RT and insert Nate Garner into the RG spot.  Colombo is going to get Matt Moore, Sage Rosenfels, or whoever the Dolphins QB is, killed.

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Miami Dolphins’ First Quarter Report Card

It’s hard to believe that a quarter of the NFL regular season is already in the books; at least for the Dolphins and the other teams that have week 5 byes it is.  To mark the passing of the first quarter of the season, I was asked to write a review of the Dolphins’ performance up to this point.  Seeing how I am a certified high school teacher, without actual students, it seemed only appropriate that I should brush-up on my assessment skills; with the Dolphins.  The following is my first marking period report card for the Miami Dolphins. (They are going to need this one signed and returned by their parents).

Quarterbacks: C  – Student [Henne] has shown improvement, fails complete work.

I have to admit, I have been somewhat impressed by how Henne has preformed through the first quarter of the season.  Henne is ranked 24th in yards/game with 217 and has 4TDs and INTS.  He seems to have more confidence and has used his freedom to change the play at the line to his advantage.  The bad part of me being impressed by Henne is that I’m impressed only when comparing him to his 2010 preformance and not to other QBs in the league.  Henne’s failure to receive a better grade from me stems from his inability to complete a drive.  I know this is a team issue, but he is the Quarterback and needs to be the leader.  Also, Henne’s season has just been officially ended after the injury he suffered on Sunday.  This means the QB position will most likely suffer.  Moore looked decent, but still not good news if the Dolphins want to win.

Running Backs: B-  – Works well independently, but struggles with group work.

Daniel Thomas is the sole reason that the RB core broke into the Bs.  From what little time we have seen from Thomas, I have been very impressed.  Thomas ranks 3rd in the NFL for yards/game with 101, but that is for only two games.  Thomas’ inability to stay healthy has been his main flaw; as I love his one cut, strong running game that has a pinch of speed.  I only foresee brighter days for Thomas, if he can stay on the field.  Reggie Bush, no way around it, has been a bust, but, honestly, I never had high hopes for him anyway.  One thing I’ll say for Bush is that I can see the effort his is putting forth, it just hasn’t translated into much.  Lex Hilliard showed some flashes last game, but the Dolphins’ RBs have struggled on short yardage downs and it has hurt their grade in my book.

WR/TE: C  – Has difficulty retaining process of catching.

The Miami Dolphins rank 15th in overall passing offense, but imagine what their rank could be if Marshall would catch the ball.  I’m not saying every incompletion that targeted Marshall was his fault, but how many seemingly easy drops has he had?  Answer: Too many to be an elite player and with only one TD, I’m not sure he is anymore.  Adding to Marshall’s struggles, the Dolphins’ TEs have been absent and Bess has underperformed, despite the fact he as the second most receptions on the team.  The head of the receiving class for the Dolphins has to have been Brian Hartline.  Hartline has caught 13 of 23 targets and has the team’s longest reception (38 yards).  Now that Henne is done, this core is going to need to step-up their game.

Offensive Line: D  – Needs to develop a better sense of responsibility

The offensive line has caused several disruptions for the Dolphins’ offense.  Excuse me, the offensive line has allowed their opponents to cause several disruptions for the Dolphins’ offense.  The Dolphins’ offensive line has allowed 14 sacks (11 on Henne); which is the 3rd most in the NFL and 1st in the AFC.  This is completely unacceptable, especially when you already have a below par offense.  One bright spot has been the play of Mike Pouncy, whom has played well for a freshman.

Defensive Line: C-  – Rate of achievement makes it difficult to keep up with other teams.

The D-line has been fickle with its performance on the field.  They will have a play where everyone is in the backfield blowing up a run, but then follow it with 3 plays where they seem like they couldn’t stop a flag football team.  As it stands now, the Dolphins are ranked 17th in overall rush defense; which is a far cry from last year’s strong D.  Injuries along the line have added to their lack of success, but that is no excuse because they have shown they can make plays.

Line Backers: D  – Must improve coverage habits to gain the fundamentals needed for success.

Talk about not performing up to one’s abilities.  If you would have asked me, entering the season, what group the Dolphins could rely most on, it would have been the LB core.  When watching the LBs play, they are not reading plays well and once they get to the ball, they get drug for extra yards.  It’s ok because they make up for this by not being able to cover any TE…wait, what?  Seriously, do they not know the TEs are the ones that start in a down stance, then go out for a pass?  BUT, they then make up for these flaws by getting to the QB, wait no. Umm yea, uhh I think one of them calls the play…so there’s that?

Secondary: F  – Not present during games.

Really not much I can say about the Dolphin secondary.  They seemingly have not been present and when they are, they might as well not be.  Their body of work has been horrendous and their accusations of being “the top of the class” make it almost comical.  They certainly have become the class clowns of the NFL.

Special Teams: D  – Sacrificing accuracy for unnecessary speed.

How many times will the coaching staff let the returners bring the ball out of the endzone and not get to the 20?  I don’t care how fast someone is, ITS NOT WORKING.  Any time they do have a good return, they get caught cheating and the return is negated.  Carpenter has been inconsistent and by inconsistent I mean, I walk out of the room every attempt he has.  Though, my valedictorian for the Dolphins has to be Brandon Fields…the punter.

Coaching: D-  – It may be time to look for alternative “schools.”

They fail to make obvious adjustments at half.  Play calling in the redzone is horrendous.  They [Sparano] act like scoring a field goal gets you another year on your contract.  Yes, players have to take a lot of blame, but as coaches, its your job to get the players to improve.  One thing I will give the coaching staff is that the Dolphins always keep the game close.  They haven’t lost a game by more than two scores.  At the same time they keep it close, there’s always this feeling that we have no chance.  How much more can we take from this staff?

Overall: D+  – Not dependable during work periods.

Improvement in all areas is needed for success.  Is it possible? Sure. Will it happen?  I’ll just say, get used to hearing “suck for Luck.”

PhinsUp!                                                                                                                                                                                                     -John

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @PhinNationJohn for additional Dolphin news and commentary.

Thank you for reading my article, I hope you enjoyed it and be sure to leave a comment.

Dolphins select Sage Rosenfels as their QB savior for 2011…No really, they did

Yes, Dolphins fans, THAT Sage Rosenfels.  Hours after releasing news that their starting QB, Chad Henne, would be out for the rest of the 2011 season, the Miami Dolphins signed Sage Rosenfels to a 1 year contract.  The Dolphins finally concluded their QB search, after trying out 326 different quarterbacks this week.  They have reportedly tried out Brodie Croyle, JP Losman, Trent Edwards, and Cleo Lemon, while talking with agents for David Gerrard and Jake Delhomme.  In the end, the Dolphins decided that Sage Rosenfels gave them the best chance to win in 2011….Really, I’m not joking.

Rosenfels was last seen backing up Giants starter, Eli Manning, but hasn’t thrown a pass in an NFL game since 2008.  But don’t worry, he’s the QB the Dolphins think will give them the best chance to salvage the season…and the front offices’ jobs.  This is Rosenfels 2nd stint with the Dolphins, as we was with the team from 2002-2005..mostly backing up other QBs that were not good enough.  His ‘best’ year came in 2007 when he started 8 games for the Houston Texans.  He threw for 1,684 yards, 15 TDs and 12 INTs, posting a QB rating of 84.8.  Not terrible…but not very good either.

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It’s Official: Chad Henne to miss remainder of Dolphins 2011 Season

Moments ago, Jeff Darlington confirmed that Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne will miss the remainder of the 2011 season.  Henne injured his shoulder on a botched play in the Dolphins 26-16 loss to the Chargers on Sunday. The Dolphins and Henne received 2 different doctors’ opinions on his shoulder and has opted for season ending surgery.  Here’s the tweet from Darlington:

[blackbirdpie id="121974540615168000"]

I feel bad for Henne, who showed some improvement for the Dolphins, early in this 2011 season.  Yes, he did have 4 TDs and 4 INTs and a 79.4 passer rating.  However, he looked like he was taking a step towards becoming better.  He showed more leadership on the field.  Heck, he threw for over 400 yards in the Dolphins opening game against the Patriots.  Henne’s contract with the Dolphins is up after this season and his return is questionable at best.  We wish Chad a healthy recovery and eventual return to football.

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Sorgi to work out for Dolphins, Ireland to blame too, plus an early look at the Draft

Miami Dolphins QB Search

You could say that the Miami Dolphins are being very thorough in their search for a veteran QB to replace Chad Henne.  They apparently hit a new low today, as they are expected to workout Jim Sorgi.  This morning, on Mike and Mike in the morning, Mortenson said that he had just found out that the Dolphins will be working out Jim Sorgi today…..Jim Freaking Sorgi (his full name).   This comes after the Dolphins tried (and failed) to agree to a contract with David Gerrard.  They also reached out to Jake Delhomme, Trent Edwards, and Brodie Croyle.  That is a ‘whos who’ of quarterback nothingness.

We also learned this morning from John Clayton of ESPN that Sage Rosenfels could be another option.  Seriously, are the Dolphins messing with us?  We told you yesterday about the fans push to ‘Suck for Luck’, but we didn’t think the team would be trying so blatantly!  The Dolphins have no wasted 3 practice days, during a bye week, where they could have brought in a veteran QB and gotten him caught up to speed.  The Dolphins are scraping the bottom of the QB barrel…and seem to have busted through the barrel and are now looking in the dirt below the barrel.

Ireland shouldn’t get off easy

I read an interesting article yesterday in the Miami Herald, that suggests that Stephen Ross has quite a bit of faith in Jeff Ireland as a talent evaluator.  Ireland has apparently gotten as close to the Dolphins Owner as possible, in hopes that he can survive the inevitable offseason of firings.  In the article it says that Ireland endorsed keeping Sparano as coach of the Dolphins.  We can assume that the longer Sparano stays coach, the less heat that will be placed on Ireland.  After all, if Sparano is sent packing after the Jets game, who then will the Dolphins fans choose to take their anger out on?  Exactly, Ireland.  In 4 seasons as GM (3 with Parcells playing puppet master), Ireland has rebuilt the Dolphins roster from a team that went 1-15 in 2007 to a team that has gone 14-22 since 2008.  I don’t know about you, but I’m optimistic.

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