Dolphins Offense and QBs struggle on Tuesday, Sparano says Colombo is starting RT

Earlier today, the Miami Dolphins completed their next to last ‘open to the public’ practice of training camp.  And from the reports we’ve read from eyewitnesses, it wasn’t very pretty….at least for the offense. From what we’ve read, the Dolphins top 2 QBs started out okay in 7 on 7 drills, each going 6 of 7.  But in the 11 on 11 drills, the Dolphins defense stepped up and started to force interceptions from the QBs.  It was said to be one of the uglier practices in Dolphins camp.

Please do not misunderstand the following paragraph as an excuse for the offense.  They need to get better…Whoever the Dolphins QB is (Henne), needs to get better…..The offensive line has to begin to show signs of improvement….These things must all happen before the September 12th meeting with the Patriots….Or Tony Sparano will be looking for an OL coaching job in early January.

During a normal offseason, it’s usually the defense that has an edge on the offense, early in training camp.   This offseason, as a result of the Lockout, has meant that the Dolphins D is even further ahead of the Dolphins offense.  Even further tipping the scales is the fact that the Dolphins are trying to install Brian Daboll’s offense in a relatively short amount of time.  Should we really be surprised that the offense is so far behind the defense?  After all, the defense was #6 in the NFL last year, while the offense was ranked #21.  So even if all things are considered equal, shouldn’t the defense be outperforming the offense?

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Former Dolphins ILB Crowder doesn’t think Henne can get the job done

When the Miami Dolphins released Channing Crowder, we knew the day was going to come when he would truly speak his mind about his former team.  Today was that day.  The Dolphins former inside linebacker commented on everything from his love for Dolphins coach Tony Sparano, to his rocky relationship with Dolphins GM, Jeff Ireland.  For a full run down of his comments, check out the Palm Beach Post here.

Crowder was interviewed earlier today on the Joe Rose Show on 560 AM and confirmed that he will be ‘retired’ for this season.  He is awaiting the birth of his son and wants to spend time with his family this season.  He suggested that he will be back for the 2012 season and beyond.  He does point out that its highly unlikely it will be with the Miami Dolphins.  He said that he was often called up into Ireland’s office and assessed fines for his sometimes, outspoken comments.  It should also not surprise any Dolphins fans that Crowder is unhappy with the man that unceremoniously cut him earlier in training camp.  Crowder does profess his love for Tony Sparano, who he ‘loved’ playing for.

Here are some of Crowder’s quotes about the upcoming Dolphins season:

When asked whether Henne can get the job done for the Dolphins this season: “As of what I’ve seen so far, no.”

“The defense will be great this year, but they can’t make a run unless they get a delivery man throwing that ball to all the great players they have.”

“But you know the proof’s in the pudding, so if he comes out here this year going crazy I’ll have to put my foot in my mouth. But if I was a betting man I wouldn’t bet on that boy going crazy.”

So there you have some pretty damning quotes by one of the most vocal voices on the Dolphins team.  Does the rest of the team feel this way about Chad Henne?   Or is it the Dolphins defense that feels this way about him?  OR, is it just a scorned player speaking out?  After all, Crowder wasn’t around Dolphins training camp that long this year.  Other, current Dolphins, have said that Henne has shown more leadership this year in camp.  Maybe Crowder just hasn’t seen it firsthand?  We caution you to take Crowder’s words with a grain of salt, but also remember that he’s never been one to hold back what he really thinks.

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A suggestion for Brian Daboll and the Miami Dolphins coaching staff

I have a small suggestion for Brian Daboll and the Miami Dolphins offensive coaching staff.  Maybe I should start by saying that I am not, nor will I ever be an offensive coach in the NFL.  So take this for what it’s worth.  However, I do watch every Miami Dolphins game 2-3 times a week to analyze what I think is going on.  Also, being a DirecTV Sunday ticket holder, I am able to watch other games from around the NFL.

Let’s all come to grips with the fact that Chad Henne is going to be the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins in 2011…..at least for the start of the season.  For all of his flaws, Chad Henne does have a very strong arm and has the ability to make every throw in the NFL.  Below is a video I found on YouTube, which was actually put together by one of our readers and followers on Twitter (@PhinsRock).

 These are the highlights of Chad Henne’s 2010 season.  It is refreshing to see all of the good things that Chad can do and shows that he has potential to be a good QB for the Dolphins, if he can manage to be more consistent.  Keep in mind that Henne was hamstrung by a poor offensive coordinator last year, which should be helped by the addition of Brian Daboll.  Daboll’s offense will bring an aggressive offense to the Dolphins, something they’ve lacked for a number of years.  We will see more throws downfield, attacking the defense.  We will see more shifts, which often create mismatches for the defense.

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Miami Dolphins Sign LB Marvin Mitchell

The Miami Dolphins officially announced the signing of former Saints linebacker, Marvin Mitchell.

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The signing of Mitchell is mostly a depth signing for the Dolphins.  He has played primarily a backup role in New Orleans, which is stats indicate.  Mitchell adds depth to a linebacking corps that is already pretty well stacked.  Cameron Wake and Koa Misi are slated to start at OLB for the Dolphins, with Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett at ILB.

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There are SOME positives to take out of the Dolphins win on Friday night

On Friday night, the Miami Dolphins beat the Atlanta Falcons in the first preseason game of 2011, 28-23.  However, from the reaction we’ve heard from Dolphins fans, you would have thought the Dolphins were blown out 62-7.  Yes, Chad Henne’s first pass was picked off…Yes, he threw another one….Yes, the starting defense allowed a TD on Atlanta’s second drive of the game….We know all of the negatives.  BUT, please, please, please remember that this was the FIRST preseason game.  Not only was this the first preseason game, but it was the 1st preseason game in a year when there were no mini-camps, OTAs, QB schools, etc.  So of all of the seasons we’ve watched preseason games, the 1st one in 2011 should be treated as the least important.  The Dolphins have been in camp for 2 weeks….the new signings (Burnett, Moore, Colombo, etc.) have only been practicing with the team for a week.  Add to this that the Dolphins and Falcons both played ‘vanilla’ and you can begin to understand why you can’t put too much into preseason game #1….But for now, we understand that this is all we have to go off of.

Make no mistake about it, we’re not apologists for the Dolphins, we’re just trying to put things into perspective.  If the same problems are there in preseason game 3…or week one vs. the Patriots…then we can start to worry.  Can the offensive line gel before opening night?  Can Chad Henne manage the game properly and avoid costly turnovers?  Can the defense live up to it’s Top 5 billing?  All of those questions will be answered later in preseason and once the regular season begins.  Right now it’s too early to be overly critical.  Just as you can’t read too much into the negatives about the Dolphins, you can’t read too much into the positives.  But, some of the things we saw were encouraging:

Injuries

The Dolphins came out of the Atlanta game relatively injury free.  Koa Misi and Jared Odrick were nicked up, but neither injury seems too serious.  The Dolphins held out several players to play it safe (Brandon Marshall, Reggie Bush, Jason Taylor), etc.  Hopefully the Dolphins can remain relatively healthy until the regular season starts.

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First glimpse at the 2011 Dolphins, who are you excited to see tonight?

Tonight at 730pm the Miami Dolphins take on the Atlanta Falcons in their first preseason game of the year.  The 2011 version of the Dolphins is hopefully going to be an improved unit from the 7-9 (1-7 at home) version of the Phins.  Our question to you – Which Dolphins are you most interested in seeing in action tonight against the Falcons?  You can vote in the below poll and leave us your comments on why you want to see that player more than any other Dolphins.

Personally, I can’t wait to see how the Dolphins rookies perform.  If I had to pick one player it would be Clyde Gates.  Reports from early in camp are that this guy has blazing speed and can actually catch the ball.  We’re excited to see what he can do in the game.  Some other Dolphins we’ll have our eyes on are Mike Pouncey, Daniel Thomas, Kevin Burnett, Rashad Jones, and Reggie Bush.  Out of all of those players I think Gates and Jones will see the most action tonight.

On a sentimental note, we’re looking forward to seeing Jason Taylor back out there as part of the Dolphins defense.  JT will probably play very sparingly tonight, but it will just be good to see #99 back out there….In a Dolphins uniform!

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PhinNation.com’s Fantasy Football League (Dolphins fans only!)

The Miami Dolphins season opener against the Patriots is just 1 month away.  That also means that time is growing short for you to join the PhinNation.com Fantasy Football League!  We’re planning on running a league for ONLY Dolphins fans.  This is a free league and is open to the first 11-13 Dolphins fans that email us at phinnationblog@gmail.com .  We have a few entrants already, so if you are interested, please email us as soon as possible.  We’ll let you know when the league is full.

We’re expecting big things from this league because we know that Dolphins fans are the most passionate football fans in the country.  Considering what we’ve been subject to recently, we have to be, right?!  We expect creative team names and a lot of trash talking…Plus, since the league is all Dolphins fans, we can also talk about the team.  If you’re interested, we encourage you to sign up quickly!

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After a long wait……..It’s FINALLY Miami Dolphins Gameday

We have not seen the Miami Dolphins on the football field (against an opponent), since early January.  That’s over 7 months!  In those 7 months we’ve seen story after story about the Dolphins…speculation and rumors.  We saw the Dolphins Owner fly across the country, trying to lure a new coach…We heard about Brandon Marshall’s domestic incident in April and his subsequent diagnosis with Borderline Personality Disorder….We saw the NFL draft unfold, with Dolphins seemingly improving the roster….We watched 4.5 months of the NFL Lockout and read reports about the Dolphins player-only workouts……and recently we saw the free agency period unfold with a flurry of action.  And now?  Now it’s time to finally start to see if the Dolphins are better this year than they were last year.  Were the changes made the right ones?

After reading that, you might think that we’re prepping you for the Dolphins season opener against the Patriots…No, no.  We’re talking about preseason game one for the Dolphins against the Falcons in Atlanta.  We’ve been so starved for football that the 2nd most meaningless preseason game has us itching for football (the 4th game is most meaningless). Seriously….the countdown until 730pm kickoff tonight seems endless.

So what should we look for tonight?  What should we expect?  Tony Sparano said that the Dolphins starters will only play a very limited amount of time.  They will likely play 1 or 2 series.  Some players might even be held out (i.e. Jason Taylor) from the game altogether.  Let’s face it, the Dolphins have only been practicing for about 2 weeks now.  The Dolphins offense has only installed a fraction of Brian Daboll’s playbook thus far.  The defense will likely run shell, vanilla coverages (mid-season form for the pre-Nolan Dolphins).  Quarters 2-4 of this game are going to be great…watching young players try to prove themselves on the football field.  Who’s going to stand out and step up?

What has us so excited is the opportunity to see the new Dolphins in action.  We’re eager to see Reggie Bush catch a checkdown pass out of the backfield…..Kevin Burnett stuff a running play…..Mike Pouncey pull and open up a running lane for Daniel Thomas……Jared Odrick get after the quarterback…..Jimmy Wilson pick off a backup QB’s pass and take it to the house……Clyde Gates take a Matt Moore pass and blaze to the endzone……We can hardly wait…..but the wait will come to an end soon Dolphins fans…

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New Police reports shed further light on Dolphins’ Brandon Marshall’s stabbing incident

As the Miami Dolphins prepare for their first preseason game of 2011, details continue to unfold about Brandon Marshall’s domestic incident in April.  Earlier today, we learned more details about Marshall’s stabbing incident.  A bloody gun?  Clean cuts to Marshall’s wrists?  The longer time goes on, the more we are learning about this story…and quite frankly, it’s scary.  And by scary, we mean the kind of scary that is FAR away from the Dolphins practice field.

While we are saddened by the latest police reports, we are hopeful that the April incident was the low point for Brandon Marshall.  We haven’t heard much from Brandon since he opened up about his personality disorder.  We can only hope that he is getting the medical help that he needs to deal with his Borderline Personality Disorder. Again, we’re not writing about this as Dolphins fans, we’re hopeful for Brandon Marshall the human being.  To his credit, it seems that Brandon has turned things around.  He’s getting help from doctors and learning how to best deal with his sickness in everyday life.  Getting his personal life back in order is the most important thing in Brandon’s life right now, but it is unknown at this point where his relationship stands with his wife.

If football and his Dolphins teammates can help Brandon get his personal life under control, perhaps that is an outlet he can take advantage of.  On the Dolphins practice field, it seems as though Brandon Marshall is back to his old Alpha receiver self.  In Sunday’s scrimmage he did a great job, catching multiple TD passes from Chad Henne.  Again, we love Brandon and having him as the Dolphins #1 receiver in 2011 will be great, but only if he can deal with his sickness and straighten out his life outside of football.  Good Luck Brandon!

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Dolphins’ rookies are ready to make an impact

The Miami Dolphins, like many other NFL teams, have some draft picks that ‘hit’ and some that ‘miss’.  In 2011, the Dolphins’ brass is hoping that they have a lot more hits than misses…..Well, because their jobs are on the line.  If the Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland led Dolphins’ don’t make it to the playoffs, the coach and GM might very well be unemployed after the season.  So today, we want to give you our thoughts on the Dolphins 2011 class of rookies and how much of a potential impact each of them can have.  After each player you will see a “Potential Impact”, which is our assessment of how much each player can help the Dolphins in 2011.  A score of 1 is a minimal impact/backup player and 10 is a key contributor with a HUGE impact:

Mike Pouncey – Center

Pouncey was drafted to play center for the Dolphins and has looked good so far in camp.  Yes, he’s had a few snapping issues, but keep in mind that the guy has only played center for 1 season.  He will be able to fix his snapping issues.  Pouncey gives the Dolphins an athletic center who can pull effectively and open holes for the running backs.  Potential Impact: 10

Daniel Thomas – Running Back

Thomas has gotten off to a bit of a slow start in Dolphins camp.  However, we’ll really know how good Thomas can be, once the preseason games start.  Can he hit the hole hard, as he did at Kansas State?  We’ll see.  Thomas has some veteran help in the backfield in the form of Reggie Bush, which should only help him accelerate his learning curve.  Sparano has said that Thomas has ‘soft hands’, which would lead us to believe that he will be expected to catch a lot of balls out of the backfield.  As with many young running backs, the toughest thing for Thomas may be to get used to blitz pick-ups.  We’ll get our first glimpse tomorrow night against the Falcons.  Potential Impact: 8

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