Tony Sparano gives inspired speech at Dolphins Kickoff Lunch Party

Earlier today, the Miami Dolphins held their annual Kickoff Lunch Party.  Attending the party were the Dolphins Cheerleaders, Dolphins Front Office Peeps, Coach Sparano, and some of the Dolphins players.  The Dolphins players included Brandon Marshall, Chad Henne, Cameron Wake, and Jake Long.  During the party, Dolphins coach Sparano gave an inspired speech, which you can listen to below:

Sparano talks in his speech about how passionate the Dolphins are right now and proclaims that it will show through once the season kicks off.  He urges the Dolphins fan base to bring the same passion to the stadium every Sunday/Monday night….especially the Monday night opener when the Dolphins host the Patriots.

It’s clear that Sparano likes this Dolphins team.  He says that the locker room is very motivated and that this is the best group he’s had since he’s been in Miami.  We hope all of what Sparano says is true, because if it is, we could be in for an exciting season.  He was emotional during the speech, which leads us to believe that he truly thinks he has a good Dolphins team this year.  With a majority media ‘experts’ casting the Dolphins as the 4th best team in the AFC East, this Dolphins team could easily adopt the Us against the World mentality.  It’s up to these players…..these coaches to prove the Mike and Mike’s wrong….to prove the Peter King’s of the world wrong…The time for talking is just about over.  And 12 days, words will no longer have meaning.

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Dolphins News: Jake Long likely to sit, Marshall will not be suspended, Mando’s Henne thoughts

On Tuesday, the Miami Dolphins prepared for their final preseason game of the 2011, against the Dallas Cowboys.  Dolphins coach Sparano didn’t give away too many secrets about who’s going to play and who’s not.  However, you can expect that the starters will likely see very limited time, if they play at all.  The game will be used mostly, to evaluate the younger players on the roster.  The Dolphins need to trim their roster to the final 53 by next week.  But keep in mind, the final 53 might not be the FINAL 53.  After the final cuts next week, the Dolphins will likely look to pickup an acorn or 2, as Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland likes to call them.  One would have to guess that one of those acorns would be some offensive line help.  That’s a story for another day.  Here’s a look at some of the latest Dolphins news:

Jake Long to sit?

The Dolphins 3 time pro bowl LT, Jake Long, is likely to miss the 4th and final preseason game of the year.  He hasn’t played in a preseason game yet, but has been working out with the Dolphins at practice.  Long suffered an injury during the final preseason game of 2010 and the injury has lingered.  The Dolphins really need Long on the field during the regular season…that goes without saying….especially with the anxiety caused by the current offensive line.  Lydon Murtha is currently injured as well, which would lead us to believe that Chad Henne will not play tomorrow night.  Why would Sparano put his starting QB into a game, when he is missing his top 2 LT’s?

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I wish the Dolphins front office was as aggressive as it’s offense is supposed to be

I’m about to write this post and I know full well that Miami Dolphins fans are probably going to kill me for it.  The Dolphins brought in new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.  Daboll is expected to deliver a Dolphins offense that is far more aggressive than it has been in the past.  We’re all on board for that.  It will be a nice change from the snail paced offense Dan Henning orchestrated in Miami.  Daboll’s version of the Dolphins offense is going to attack defenses and will no longer be predictable.

We just wish the Dolphins Front Office would take on the aggressiveness of the new offense.  This offseason was ‘now or never’ time for Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland.  Their jobs are literally on the line this year.  If the Dolphins don’t make the playoffs, or at least improve dramatically, they are both likely gone.  So we wanted to take a look at a few moves that would have shown some aggressiveness and would have most likely helped the Dolphins in 2011…and helped them both save their jobs:

Signing Ahmad Bradshaw

The Dolphins were reportedly VERY interested in Bradshaw, but were bidding against the Broncos and Giants for his services.  Any why wouldn’t they be?  He rushed for 1,235 yards and 8 TDs last year and he’s only 25 years old.  The Dolphins stepped out of the bidding war and decided to trade for Reggie Bush.  We say bidding war, but the price was never really even that high.  Bradshaw resigned with the Giants for a 4 year deal worth $18 mil, with $9 mil guaranteed.  REALLY?  THAT was out of the Dolphins price range for a solid starting running back?  Instead the Dolphins traded a late draft pick and Jon Amaya for Reggie Bush and gave him a 2 year deal worth $10 mil.  EVEN if it meant a little more money, I would feel more comfortable with Bradshaw in the backfield.  I do love the explosiveness and possibilities that Reggie brings to the Dolphins, but I worry about his durability.

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Are we FINALLY seeing Chad Henne progress for the Dolphins?

This entire offseason, we talked about the Miami Dolphins need to upgrade the quarterback position.  We said that the Dolphins either needed a clear improvement from Chad Henne or to go out and get a veteran QB that could lead this team to the playoffs.  Full disclosure, we wanted the Dolphins to go out and acquire Kyle Orton…though we want to be clear that we weren’t bandwagon jumpers, since we first suggested in early May, in the midst of the Lockout.

The Dolphins failed in their attempts to bring in a veteran QB to challenge Henne for the Dolphins starting QB spot. Like many Dolphins fans, we were upset and annoyed by Henne’s first preseason game against the Falcons.  4 of 8 for 75 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs?  It certainly wasn’t the way we wanted to see Henne start out the 2011 preseason for the Dolphins.  However, you have to look at what Chad has done over the past 2, more meaningful (if there is such a thing) preseason games.  He looked sharp against the Panthers and I would go as far as to say he looked great against the Buccaneers.  The Dolphins young QB has amassed a QB passer rating of 93.3 this preseason.  While that’s not elite, it’s much better than his 75.4 career average.  Yes, we know it’s the preseason and we’ll believe more in Chad once he does this when regular season starts.  But, you have to be encouraged by Henne’s performances and Brian Daboll’s new offense.


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Reggie Bush is motivated to bring a Super Bowl to Dolphins

When the Miami Dolphins traded Jonathon Amaya and a late round draft choice to the Saints for Reggie Bush, we weren’t as excited about the addition as most Dolfans were.  We knew the Dolphins were getting Bush, a big name player, but with less than expected production.  However, after seeing Reggie in practice and 1 preseason game, we’re a little more excited about the Dolphins new RB.  Bush is not only a running back, which is how many view him.  He’s also a big weapon in the passing game.  Bush showed against the Panthers (yes, we know they’re the crappy Panthers), that he can take a checkdown pass and scamper 20 yards.  We’re confident that Brian Daboll can utilize Bush and get the most out of him.

Reggie is also the last player on the field after practice.  He regularly stays 30 minutes AFTER practice to catch extra balls, run sprints, and push the tackling sleds.  This guy wants to be great.  He wants to live up to the hype that surrounded him when he was drafted.  And it seems as though the Dolphins are going to give him that opportunity.  Dolphins coach, Tony Sparano, said earlier this week that Reggie will be the ‘first guy out of the gate’, meaning he’ll be the starting running back.  The big question is whether or not Reggie can stay healthy throughout the course of the season.  We certainly hope so.

Below is an interview that was done by The Finsiders, in which Reggie talks about his goals for 2011.  He also talks about the transition to the Dolphins, coming from the Saints.  I find it interesting that he says Dolphins camp is more relaxed.  Really?!

They goals Reggie points out are….in order:

1. Win the Super Bowl

2. Win the AFC East

3. Average 4 yards a carry as a running back stable

4. Make the Pro Bowl

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Vontae Davis: Me and Sean Smith are the BEST CB tandem in the league

You read that right Dolfans.  The Miami Dolphins cornerback, Vontae Davis, thinks that he and Sean Smith are the best cornerback combination in the league.  Not Revis + Cromartie.  Not Samuel + Asomugha.  The Dolphins corners.  If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that we like the Dolphins two young corners….a lot.  We’re not willing to say that Smith + Davis are the best CB tandem in the league…YET.  They have a combined zero pro bowls and still have improvements to make.  BOTH can do a better job of hauling in INTs for the Dolphins and helping the offense by creating turnovers.

Even though we don’t agree with Vontae in this case, we like the confidence in the Dolphins 3rd year CB.  He and Smith are both confident players, but to take their game to the next level, perhaps they need something Tony Sparano has been saying a lately………SWAG (as in swagger).  Confidence plays a big role in the NFL and will play a big role in the development of the Dolphins young corners.  They have to be confident so that they can quickly rebound from pass plays that they give up.

Tony Sparano also shouted some confidence today, saying that the Dolphins ARE one of the good teams in the AFC East and that they are poised to  ’make a run at this thing’.  We like the confidence…it’s actually refreshing.  We’re not suggesting that Vontae and Sparano start yammering on like dough boy Rex Ryan, but it is nice to hear once in a while.  The key will be for the Dolphins to back up their confidence with solid, WINNING play on the field.  Winning will breed more confidence.  But losing will cause any confident remarks to fall on deaf ears.

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Dolphins RB Daniel Thomas told by team to run HARDER

In the April draft, the Miami Dolphins traded up into the 2nd round to select running back, Daniel Thomas from Kansas State.  The Dolphins liked the vision and running style that Thomas possessed.  For him to reward the Dolphins for trading up to get him, he’s going to have to show more than he has in the first 3 weeks of training camp.

 

Daniel Thomas is a rookie and has only been practicing with the Dolphins for 3 weeks.  He didn’t have the luxury or OTAs or mini camps to get acclimated to the NFL.  Thus far he has not shown the burst or ability to hit the hole hard, that he showed at times at K State.  Running backs are usually the quickest rookies to make an impact in the NFL.  It’s more of an instinctive position, so the transition is usually easier.  In the opening preseason game, Thomas didn’t look very good, on limited carries.  To be fair, the Dolphins OLine didn’t exactly open up gaping holes for him. Continue Reading

Miami Dolphins offense to FINALLY get aggressive in 2011

Since Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland, and Tony Sparano came to the Miami Dolphins, the team has been built in what many describe as ‘old school’ football.  The Dolphins have brought in big bodies and focused their philosophies on ball control and limiting turnovers.  In 2008, this approach worked well, leading the Dolphins to the AFC East title.  You remember, the Dolphins had Chad Pennington, one of the smartest, most accurate QBs around, that year?   Over the last 2 seasons, with Chad Henne at the helm, the Dolphins have used that same approach.  The problem is, Henne is not the same type of QB that Pennington was.  Period.

So for the last two years, the Dolphins have relied on a young QB,  2 aging running backs, and an offensive coordinator (and philosophy) that predates WWII.  At times last year, opponents said they knew what plays were coming before the ball was even snapped!  Well, according to Yahoo Sports and CBS Sports reports, the Dolphins have undergone an offensive makeover.   Actually, it’s more like a brain transplant.  Tony Sparano looked himself in the mirror and realized he needed to change his style…and the Dolphins style all at the same time.

It started with the retirement of Dan Henning, whom was replaced by Brian Daboll.  Yes, Daboll’s offense in Cleveland last year ranked BEHIND the Dolphins.  However, he is known for his creative playcalling and aggressive style.  Something the Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’…..and now Tony Sparano, now covet.  The Dolphins also added speed to the team (see: Clyde Gates, Reggie Bush, etc.).  They tried to add a veteran QB (Orton, Favre, whomever), but were unsuccessful for a myriad of reasons.

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Sign Up TODAY for PhinNation.com Fantasy Football League – Dolphins fans ONLY!

As we mentioned last week, PhinNation.com is running a Dolphins fans only Fantasy Football League for the 2011 season.  We still need 3-4 more teams to join by this week!  Our draft is scheduled for August 30th, a week from today.  The league is free to join and will be run through NFL.com.  We’d love to have you join our league!  We’ll occasionally mention the league on PhinNation.com and update all of our readers with the standings and key performers!

If you are a Dolphins fan and are interested in joining, please send an email to phinnationblog@gmail.com as soon as possible!  The deadline to register is this FRIDAY!

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Miami Dolphins Sign RB Larry Johnson….Not Grand-MaMa

The Miami Dolphins are keeping us busy this morning!  First, they cut Kory Sheets, then we hear that they worked out Clinton Portis….Then we see this from the officiall Miami Dolphins Twitter account:

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No, the Dolphins twitter feed isn’t talking about Grand-MaMa…ex-basketball player Larry Johnson.  This is the Larry Johnson who rushed for over 1,700 yards in 2006.  We first heard about the Dolphins working Johnson out in early August.  Apparently, Johnson is the veteran RB the Dolphins think has the most left in the tank.  It could mean that the Dolphins aren’t overly impressed with what they’ve seen thus far from Daniel Thomas….as his running style is similar to Larry Johnson’s….Well, the Larry Johnson from 2006.  Johnson will be 32 years old this November and carried just 5 times for 2 yards in 2010.

The Dolphins probably signed Johnson to add depth at RB, but the quality of the signing for the Dolphins will depend on how much Johnson has left in the tank.  There is certainly the posibility that he ultimately doesn’t even make the Dolphins roster going into 2011.  He could very well be cut in favor of a RB that is released from another team when September cuts occur.  This is a low risk, likely low reward signing for the Dolphins.

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