Suck for Luck sweeps across Miami Dolphins Nation

As fans of the Miami Dolphins, we’ve almost become desensitized to losing.  We dealt with the 1-15 debacle of the Dolphins 2007 season under Cam Cameron.  We witnessed blowout after blowout when the Dolphins did reach the playoffs in the early 2000′s.  We’ve seen all that was good in the 2008 season crumble, as the Dolphins are 14-22 since.  We’ve been witnesses to the seemingly never ending fall to the bottom of the NFL.  We are Dolphins fans.  Well, it seems as though A LOT of Dolphins fans are tired of the mediocrity and losing ways the Dolphins have made all too common for us……

I don’t know where it started, or when, but there is a fast growing sentiment that the Miami Dolphins should lose as many games as possible in 2011 to secure the top pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.   The thought here is that the Miami Dolphins would then be in a position to draft All-World College QB, Andrew Luck.  Luck is said to be the most can’t miss, highly rated quarterback to come out of college since Peyton Manning and John Elway.  It’s called the “Suck for Luck” campaign….and it’s growing, quickly.  After the Dolphins fell to 0-4 on the season, Chris Joseph of the Miami New Times wrote an article about it.  There’s a Twitter handle (@SuckForLuck) devoted to the Dolphins demise in 2011.  Even the South Florida media is getting involved (Sedano Show on 790 the Ticket, Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald, and Sun Sentinel).

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Gruden at the top of the Dolphins list to replace Sparano (after he’s fired of course)

The Miami Dolphins currently have a head coach and his name is Tony Sparano.  However, according to NFL Network’s Jason LaCanfora, it’s only a matter of time before Sparano is given his pink slip from the Dolphins.  Yes, we all know that Stephen Ross, the Dolphins Owner, gave Sparano a vote of confidence yesterday.  But, as we mentioned here, that ‘support’ is laughable.  We think that Ross just believes it’s too early to fire his head coach (especially after giving him a phony contract extension in January).  With all of the speculation about Sparano’s job, Ross needed to do something to: 1. Calm the tension, at least for the time being and 2. Let potential coaches know that Ross isn’t going to hang his coach out to dry.  To put it simply though, unless Sparano pulls a miracle and gets the Dolphins season turned around, he’ll be out as Dolphins coach before 2011 is over.

Photo by John E. Woods (US Navy)

In this video from NFL.com, LaCanfora explains that Sparano would likely not be fired until the second half of the season (November or later).  He then suggests that Jon Gruden would likely be ‘at the top of the list’ for the Dolphins once Sparano is fired.  Jon Gruden is currently working the ESPN booth on Monday Night Football, but may be starting to feel the itch to get back into coaching.  He’s young (48) and has a career coaching record of 95-81 (.540) and a playoff coaching record of 5-4 (.556).  In 11 seasons of coaching (4 with the Raiders, 7 with the Bucs), Gruden won 5 division titles.  That’s basically one every other year…you think the Dolphins would sign for that?  Oh, and he took the Raiders to the AFC Championship game in his 3rd season there…and he led the Bucs to a Super Bowl Title in his first season in Tampa…again, I think most Dolphins fans would sign for that too.

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The Week Ahead for the Miami Dolphins and Division Foes Week 5 Edition

Hey PhinNation readers, before I get into my football analysis I figured I would write a few brief sentences about who I am. To start I am a 17 year-old student in Massachusetts. I may be younger than most, but my knowledge is extensive. I have been a Miami Dolphins fan for my entire life and have researched almost all of the important happenings that occurred before my birth with the team. I am a huge fantasy football junkie and also love the Boston Celtics, Red Sox, and Bruins. If there is anything else you want to know don’t hesitate to leave me some comments after the post or hit me up on twitter @ PhinNationBK.

Week 4 was a bad week for the AFC East as the New England Patriots were the only team to win in a 31 – 19 victory @ Oakland. The Dolphins were beaten as most expected by the San Diego Chargers, in a game in which Dolphins quarterback, Chad Henne, was knocked out in the first quarter with a separated shoulder. Matt Moore relieved him and wasn’t awful statistically, going 17 for 26 and 167 yards with one interception. The New York Jets were destroyed on Sunday night football by the Baltimore Ravens and a defense that forced 4 turnovers with three going back for six points. Lastly, the Buffalo Bills were handed their first loss by the Cincinnati Bengals with a last minute field goal. That is what happened in week 4, lets preview whats going to happen in week 5 starting with the first place team in the AFC East, the Buffalo Bills…I know, still shocking.

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Dolphins trying to sign Gerrard or Delhomme this week, while Henne is still hurting

During their bye week, the Miami Dolphins will be practicing today, tomorrow, and Thursday before taking the weekend off.  The Dolphins resume practice next Tuesday, as they begin to make adjustments to dig themselves out of the current 0-4 hole they find themselves in.  As practice resumes today, we learned that Chad Henne is not practicing with his Dolphins teammates….The same Chad Henne who fell and injured his non-throwing shoulder in the Dolphins 26-16 loss to the Chargers on Sunday.

Henne said earlier this week that he would rip his left arm off and play, just as long as he can post the ball…By the way, what does posting the ball mean?  Anyway, for all of his flaws, the Dolphins young QB is tough.  He’ll play through pain.  We haven’t gotten an official diagnosis of Henne’s injury yet from the Dolphins…However, reports indicate that Henne’s shoulder is getting a 2nd opinion.  This means Henne and the Dolphins didn’t like the first opinion (likely for surgery).  We should know more news later this week on Henne’s status for the remainder of the season.

At this point we are only left to guess as to Henne’s health for the Dolphins game Oct. 17th against the Jets.  We did get some information, not about Henne directly, but about the Dolphins backup plans in case he is seriously injured.  According to Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network, the Dolphins have tried to sign David Gerrard and Jake Delhomme this week, but haven’t been able to reach an agreement with either:

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Maybe the Dolphins pursuit of these QBs is just a backup plan, in case Henne can’t return this season.  Or perhaps they actually think one of them will be an upgrade to the QB play the Dolphins have received thus far.  Henne, after all, has completed only 57% of his passes and has 4 TDs and 4 INTs (79.4 passer rating).  Along with the two names mentioned above, Brodie Croyle is also a possibility, as the Dolphins worked him out a few weeks ago.  Of the quarterbacks mentioned, Delhomme is the most familiar with the Dolphins’ offense from his time in Cleveland with Brian Daboll.  In my opinion, the only one of the bunch that MIGHT be an upgrade is Gerrard.

PhinNation.com will keep you posted on the Dolphins pursuit of a veteran QB, as well as bring you any interesting tidbits from Dolphins practice today.

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Dolphins Owner’s support of Sparano rings hallow

Amidst a lot of rumor and speculation regarding the Miami Dolphins head coach, Tony Sparano, Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross gave his coach some words of support yesterday. Appearing on the Dolphins official website, http://www.Finsiders.com , Ross said that Sparano is the “right coach” for the Miami Dolphins. Ross went onto say that continuity is a trait shared by consistent NFL winners.

I’m sorry if I don’t rush out and buy a Tony Sparano bobblehead, because Ross’s comments ring hallow with me. I know, I know, what is he supposed to say? But, at the same time, I can’t help but remember a certain Dolphins owner flying to California to meet with Jim Harbaugh. After getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar, Ross returned to Miami and gave Sparano an endorsement then (as well as a contract extension). The entire free world knows that Sparano is gone after this year if he doesn’t miraculously turn the Dolphins season around. All Ross did was show “support” for his coach, so that his successor sees that the owner has his coach’s back.

I did find it a little nauseating how many times Ross referred to the “talent” on the Dolphins roster. I mean, is he watching the games? He said the players are giving effort, the talent is there, and Sparano is the right coach….All well and good if he believes that, but if all of that is true, WHY THE HELL IS THIS TEAM 0-4?!?! If the Dolphins have the talent and they are playing hard, is coaching not the problem? Or if the Dolphins coach is right and the players are playing hard, is the talent not the problem?

Stephen Ross is a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan, but as the Dolphins Owner he has done little to help the team get better. Yes he writes the checks for the groceries, but he needs to find (probably after the season) a better grocery shopper and cook.

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Latest on Tony Sparano and the Miami Dolphins

The last 24 hours in Miami Dolphins land has been fun, hasn’t it?  The Dolphins were beaten Sunday by the Chargers 26-16 and dropped the team to 0-4 this season.  Prior to the game the hot seat for Dolphins Coach, Tony Sparano, was estimated to be ‘hot’, and that’s being kind.  Following Sunday’s loss, the temperature is now approaching that of the sun.  Many expected the Dolphins to put their coach out of his misery this week (the bye week), as the playoffs are about as far from the Dolphins as Charlie Sheen is from being sober.  But, as of this writing, nothing has happened.  In fact, last night reports indicated that the Dolphins would allow Sparano to coach at least until the October 17th game at the New York Jets.

Photo by Chris J. Nelson

Then, this morning, we receive word that the Dolphins cancelled their ‘day after’ media news conference and said it will be held on Tuesday.  There are conflicting reports, as some suggest that it has always been the plan, while others say this is out of the ordinary:

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Dreadful Dolphins still winless after 26-16 loss to the Chargers

Like most other fans of the Miami Dolphins, I continue to watch this team.  Why?  Because I’m a freaking idiot!  Before this season I mocked the NFL “experts” and their ridiculous predictions of the Dolphins winning “only” 3 or 4 games and finishing 4th in the division.  I’ll be apologizing for those rants later this week, because I was wrong to bash them for predicting the Dolphins to be so bad.  In fact, the way the Miami Dolphins are playing, I should be thanking them for having THAT much faith in the Dolphins.

Entering Sunday’s game against the Chargers, the Dolphins had their backs firmly against the wall….they were 0-3….the temperature on their coach’s hot seat was set on “flames of hell” setting….they were losing fans faster than Rex Ryan loses his mind when he sees feet….They needed a win and they needed it badly.  To their credit, the team did get off to a quick start and jump out to a 7-0 lead.  They not only jumped out to an early lead, but they did so after their starting QB, Chad Henne, was knocked out of the game.  Well, Henne wasn’t so much knocked out of the game, as he fell like the Life Alert Lady and injured his shoulder.  I could almost hear him yelling “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”  Henne, by the way, appears to be okay, but will have an MRI tomorrow.

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Tony Sparano’s job with Dolphins apparently safe for another 2 weeks

The Miami Dolphins lost their fourth straight game of the 2011 season on Sunday, falling to the Chargers 26-16.  Even prior to this loss, the Dolphins coach, Tony Sparano was on the hot seat.  After this loss, it was thought that the seat might finally be pulled out from under the Dolphins coach.   Apparently the calls from many Dolphins fans for the coach to be fired, will have 2 more weeks to continue.  Sunday night, we learned from the Sun Sentinel that the Dolphins will hold off on making a coaching decision until at least October 17th, when the Dolphins take on the Jets.

I’ve been away for a few weeks, so I’m slowly getting back into the sporting world….and by slowly I mean I’ve been watching everything and anything NFL related since I woke got off the plane at 1am Sunday morning.  I know that the Dolphins have struggled in all facets of the game, thus far, in 2011.  Considering they are 0-4 and Sparano was almost replaced in January, it’s hard to imagine him making it through the season as Dolphins coach.

My question is, why do we have to wait until after the Dolphins/Jets game?  Is that his last chance?  Will a win buy him another week?  Will a loss make him walk the plank?  I mean at 0-4, the Dolphins will need one of the most miraculous turnarounds in NFL history, in order to make the playoffs.  Wasn’t MAKING THE PLAYOFFS the thing that was going to save Sparano’s job?  I mean you’d almost be doing Tony a favor, because he’s going to be asked about this (so will the players) until he’s eventually fired….why keep that distraction around the Dolphins team?  Maybe an explanation is coming….maybe the bye week will give the Dolphins time to reassess where they are and what they are going to do.  We’ll see…..

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Vontae Davis and Daniel Thomas OUT for Dolphins today

The Miami Dolphins are not only 0-3 on the year, they’re hurting too…literally. We learned Saturday night that the Miami Dolphins will take on the Chargers at 4:15pm without their starting CB Vontae Davis, RB Daniel Thomas, and Koa Misi. The Dolphins have looked bad for the better part of their first 3 games and these injuries will not help the Dolphin’s attempt to get off the shnide!

The Dolphins secondary has been bad (being kind) even with Vontae. How bad will the Dolphins DBs be later this afternoon, matching up against Phillip Rivers?!

The Dolphins running game has had it’s moments, but will certainly miss Daniel Thomas. The Dolphins have an uphill battle this afternoon…hopefully they can overcome the injuries, bad play, and almost deafening jeers for Sparano’s job….

Yes, I’m back from my 2 week hiatus and couldn’t be happier. We want to thank @PhinNationJohn for doing and excellent job running PhinNation.com while we were away. Great job John!! John has agreed to regularly contribute Dolphins news and opinions to PhinNation.com so keep a look out for his posts.

Starting this week we have another addition to the PhinNation.com team, new contributor, Brandon. We’ll keep you posted on the new happenings for the blog as the week progresses. We hope to be talking about a Miami Dolphins victory! PhinsUp!!

Week 4 Preview: Miami Dolphins at San Diego Chargers – West Side Woes?

Following an embarrassing loss to the Browns last week, this Sunday, the Miami Dolphins (0-3) head west to take on the Chargers (2-1) for a 4pm start.  Both, the Dolphins and Chargers, are coming off poor performances against below par teams.  The Chargers had decent numbers last week, but committed too many mistakes that let the lowly Chiefs hang around.  The Dolphins, similarly, had the lead for the majority of the game, but, unlike the Chargers, could not seal the deal.  I have seen comparisons of these teams that say they are very similar, but will that make for a close game? Let’s see…

What to Watch For:

Chargers’ Offense vs. Dolphin Defense:

When examining the Chargers’ offense it’s easy to figure out where to start: Pro-Bowl QB Phillip Rivers.  Last week, Rivers threw for 258 yards on 24 completions and had 2 INTs.  I’m going to chalk up that performance to him having a bad day, considering Rivers has thrown for the 4th most yards (979) this season.  The matchup of Rivers against the Miami Dolphin defense is scary at best for Dolphin fans.  It’s no secret the Dolphins’ secondary has more than struggled this season and I do not foresee that changing this week as CB Vontae Davis did not make the trip with the team.  If the Dolphins’ 30th ranked pass fails to right the ship without Davis, Rivers may drop Brady type numbers on Sunday.

The Chargers’ offense relies heavily on their passing attack; having attempted 126 passes to 81 rushes in 2011.  Despite their reliance on Rivers, the Chargers’ backfield will feature two RBs: Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert.  Both backs have combined for 271 rushing yards in 2011, but their main contributions come in the passing game.  Together, the two backs have accounted for 34 receptions for 341 yards and 2 TDs.  These two may play a larger role this Sunday as, future Hall of Famer, TE Antonio Gates’ status looks bleak.  This is very good news for the Dolphins as it takes away one of Rivers’ favorite targets and Gates is a TE (whom the Dolphins simply cannot cover no matter the quality).  This is a big loss for the Chargers, but definitely not a fatal one.  Rivers’ will still have quality targets in Malcom Floyd, Vincent Jackson, and his RBs.

Dolphin Offense vs. Chargers’ Defense:

The Chargers come into Sunday with a solid defense to backup their equally solid offense.  The Charger have the 9th ranked passing defense, 19th ranked rushing defense, and the 8th ranked defense overall.  You might think their 19th ranked rush defense would be the point of attack for the Dolphins given how well Daniel Thomas has played the previous two weeks right?  I thought so too, but that idea went out the window once reports came in that Thomas did not make the trip with the team due to his ailing hamstring. Great.  This might be the explanation for the Dolphins acquisition of RB Steve Slaton.  Hopefully Slaton will have picked up enough of the Dolphins’ playbook to possibly take advantage of this Charger weakness. Oh, maybe Bush will give it a shot?

As I said in my Week 3 Wrap-up, I felt that Henne had another good week.  There had been rumors following last week’s game that the Dolphins were looking into trading for Carson Palmer.  I do not think that this is a good move or the answer for this team’s problems.  Henne has been playing better and Palmer wouldn’t make that much of a difference.  Until he would learn the offense the season would be over (at least our chances of making the playoffs), you’re not building your franchise around him because of his age, and you’re giving up valuable draft picks.  That being said, it’s time for Henne to stop “not losing games” and start winning them.  As I said, he has been playing better, but the redzone struggles are no longer acceptable.  The Dolphins’ offense has shown they can drive the ball, but now it is time to finish those drives.  For this to happen, the line has to play good (not even great, just good), then Henne and the receiving core have to get on the same page, and they have to change up the play calling.  As will be the case every week, if the Dolphins fail to put the ball in the endzone, then they will have NO shot at winning this one.

Two Minute Drill:

Dolphins’ Key to the Game: Damn the Rivers.  If the Dolphins allow Phillip Rivers to get into a groove, then it’s going to be a long, painful day for Miami fans.  The Chiefs were able to force Rivers into making mistakes.  The Dolphins must do the same if they want to remain in this game.

Chargers’ Key to the Game: Safe and Sound.  The Chargers do not need to be flashy in this matchup to be successful.  The Dolphins’ secondary can be picked apart with basic passing plays; especially with a QB the caliber of Phillip Rivers.  To win this game the Chargers do not need to hit big plays, but rather hit short passes and keep the ball safe.

Dolphins’ Player to Watch: The Defensive Line.  I usually save the “Player to Watch” for someone I think will have a big game, but this week it’s the players that NEED to have a big game.  I have pretty much given up on the secondary’s ability to stop the pass, so this leaves the task of stopping Rivers to the D-line.  The D-line needs to finally come alive and get to Rivers consistently to break up his rhythm.

Chargers’ Player to Watch: Phillip Rivers.  No shocker here.  If Rivers can have a solid day with minimal mistakes, then the Chargers will find themselves in position to get the W.

How it plays out:  After looking at the numbers, I do believe these two teams do matchup better than I originally thought.  Despite this, Phillip Rivers is still Phillip Rivers and the Dolphins’ secondary is the Dolphins’ secondary.

Prediction: 27-17 Chargers. Rivers and the Chargers’ offense control this game.  They do not make many mistakes and put the ball in the endzone.  Henne and the Dolphins offense do not.  Failed opportunities and poor defense continue to plague the Dolphins.

If my prediction holds up, I hope it doesn’t, the Dolphins will drop to (0-4) entering their bye week.  One has to wonder if Tony Sparano can survive another loss.  Something will have to be done, but what can be done and will it honestly make a difference?

As  always, 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.