The Miami Dolphins entered Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh with their playoff lives on the line. The Dolphins were welcomed in by a snowstorm and a Steelers team that had been playing better than than their 5-7 record. The Dolphins fell behind 7-0 early, but would rebound to take a 10-7 lead into halftime. Ryan Tannehill was playing his first game in the snow and it showed in the first half. He missed badly on a few passes and the offense looked out of sync. However, the Dolphins came out of halftime strong and would take a 17-7 lead early in the 3rd quarter.
Photo Courtesy of Dolphins.com
And then, things got ugly. The Steelers drove down the field and capped off by a 43 yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown. On the very next series, with the game 17-14, Ryan Tannehill threw a pick-6 to Troy Polamalu. That gave the Steelers a 21-17 lead and it looked like this game was going in the direction of so many games this season. But the Dolphins responded immediately. They drove the field and with some big catches by Charles Clay and solid runs by Daniel Thomas (yes, Daniel Thomas), the Dolphins capped off their TD drive with a beautiful catch by Brian Hartline, tip-toeing in the end zone.
The Dolphins this weekend were on the short end of the stick of at least three terrible officiating decisions that undoubtedly helped cost them the game. A game which New England had just a 4% chance of winning early in the third quarter, according to ESPN statisticians.
Photo Courtesy of Dolphins.com
The first blown call was a third down, 21 yard pass interference that gave New England field goal range late in the first half. Without this incomprehensible decision, New England goes into halftime scoreless without having even crossed midfield. The Patriots converted a field goal which helped them go into the half down 17-3.
The Miami Dolphins finished up their short week of practices on Wednesday. They also got some good news on the injury front. Mike Wallace returned to action and was running at full speed. He even caught a 40 yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill in the team portion of practice. The Dolphins also welcomed back Olivier Vernon and Jared Odrick, two defensive linemen that sat out Sunday night’s game against the Cowboys.
Photo Courtesy of Dolphins.com
In addition, Ryan Tannehill had a good bounce back day on Wednesday. After a rough practice on Tuesday where he threw 3 or 4 interceptions (depending on who you ask), he threw multiple touchdown passes and only 1 interception (to Dmitri Patterson). It’s good to see Tannehill bounce back. Hopefully it continues into Friday night’s showdown with the Jaguars. Coach Philbin said the starters would probably play a little bit more in their 2nd preseason game than they did in their first. For the record, the starters played about 10-12 plays against the Cowboys.
Many Dolphins fans were worried (myself included), when the Dolphins placed 1st round pick, Dion Jordan on the NFL non-football/injury list on Sunday. Jordan has been recovering from surgery that repaired his torn labrum, back in February. While many voiced concern (again, myself included), everyone can take a deep breathe and exhale. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald via Twitter:
Dolphins say dion jordan off non football injury list.
This is great news! Jordan has missed most of the Dolphins offseason program because NFL rules prohibit players from practicing before they graduate. Due to the combination of Oregon’s schedule and Jordan’s injury, he was unable to attend most of the Dolphins OTA’s and minicamps. The Dolphins coveted Jordan enough to trade all the way up from pick #12 to pick #3 in the April draft, to grab him. Continue Reading
The Miami Dolphins took to the practice field again this morning, for the 2nd of many training camp practices. Following a spirited first practice, the Dolphins returned to the practice field to build on what they learned on Day 1. The Dolphins new players, like Dustin Keller, are still adjusting to the heat and humidity of South Florida. Keller admitted that yesterday’s practice was a little sloppy, but things were cleaned up a bit today.
Photo Courtesy of Dolphins.com
If you are interested in seeing some clips of the Dolphins in action, click here, for a video from Dolphins.com. We’ve learned a few things from the first 2 days of training camp. Many are not all that surprising, but some of them are:
Jared Odrick is a DT
Odrick spent most of this offseason working as a defensive tackle. We thought at the time that this was mostly because Randy Starks was not present, as he was unhappy with being ‘tagged’ by the Dolphins in March. However, it appears that Odrick has added some weight and will be used in a 3 man rotation with Paul Soliai and Starks this season. The Dolphins know that both Soliai and Starks are free agents after this season, so grooming Odrick makes sense. Odrick has not played at defensive end since last season.
The Miami Dolphins shocked everyone when they traded up to the #3 pick with the Oakland Raiders. As soon as the trade up happened, everyone assumed it was for left tackle, Lane Johnson of Oklahoma. The next big surprise was when commissioner Roger Goodell announced: “With the 3rd pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select, Dion Jordan, defensive end, Oregon”. I saw watching this all unfold and was literally speechless. The Dolphins made a very bold move, draft a player that many have compared to Jason Taylor. I thought I was dreaming and literally pinched myself. Then, unimaginable fear overcame me……WHAT DID THEY GIVE UP TO GET HIM?!?!
Photo Courtesy of Dolphins.com
According to the often used NFL Trade Value chart, the Dolphins move from #12 to #3 should have cost them two 2nd round picks. Instead, the Dolphins moved up 9 spots and surrendered only the #42 pick to do so. Whether or not you love the pick of Dion Jordan, you can’t deny that the Dolphins essentially moved up into the top 3 for half the price of what it would normally cost. The Raiders wanted out of the top 3 so badly and needed extra picks so badly, that they made a good deal (for the Dolphins).
The Miami Dolphins have a chance to move into a tie for first place in the AFC East this week. The best part of that equation is that the Dolphins simply need to win to do so. Since the Patriots are on their bye week, the Dolphins don’t have to do any scoreboard watching, they simply need to go out, play their game, and win. If they do, at this time tomorrow, the Dolphins will be tied with the Patriots at 5-3 atop the AFC East.
Last week, we got back on the winning track with our Pitiful Picks. We went 3-1 with our only loss coming in the Eagles/Falcons game. This brings our season total up to 17-12. We didn’t think the Dolphins game would be close against the Jets and it wasn’t! This week, I have a much more uneasy feeling about the Dolphins chances, but we’ll get to that in a bit. There are a number of close point spread lines this week, suggesting many of the games are fairly even matchups. We’ll see what we can do in this week’s edition of PhinNation.com’s Pitiful Picks:
Atlanta Falcons -3.5 over Dallas Cowboys
Last week, we took Andy Reid’s 13-0 streak of wins following Eagles bye weeks. We gave the Eagles too much credit and didn’t give enough to the Falcons. I don’t think the Falcons are going 16-0 this season, but I also don’t see them losing to a Cowboys team that seems to keep shooting themselves in the foot. The Falcons are at home and the odds makers usually give 3 points to the home team. That means they think the Falcons are just 1/2 a point better than the Cowboys. I disagree whole-heartedly. I think the Falcons win this game by at least a touchdown. Falcons 24 Cowboys 17
Detroit Lions -5.5 over Jacksonville Jaguars
The line for this game was actually lower earlier this week. However, I don’t think a desperate Lions team will mess around with a terrible Jaguars team. The Lions are coming off of a quality home win against the upstart Seahawks and should keep their season alive with a win against the Jaguars. The Jaguars, for those of you that didn’t know, had Chad Henne playing quarterback for them last week…..Chad Henne folks… I think this is the week that Matthew Stafford and Megatron put up a big game and the Lions route the Jaguars. Lions 31 Jaguars 16 (cont’d on page 2, click below)
Yesterday, the Miami Dolphins welcomed Ryan Tannehill back to the practice field. Tannehill is still recovering from a hyperextended knee and deep thigh bruise that he suffered in the Dolphins win on Sunday. Tannehill was limited in Wednesday’s practice, only taking part in individual drills. Matt Moore took the majority of the actual practice snaps with the entire first team offense. Again, this is what is being reported by the media that only gets to see a portion of the Dolphins practice.
Photo by June Rivera
On Thursday, Ryan Tannehill took all of the first team snaps with the Dolphins offense. The Dolphins rookie has been wearing a brace and compression sleeve on his left knee during practice, which have helped. However, Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post said today that he is still favoring the knee. Omar Kelly had an encouraging observation, saying that Tannehill was ‘moving around better’ today.
It should be noted that Tannehill took all of the offensive snaps in the portion of practice that was open to the media. After that time, the Dolphins close out the media, but continue practicing. It’s possible that Matt Moore took snaps with the first team during the closed portion of practice. The Dolphins are being coy about who will be their starter on Sunday, trying to make the Colts prepare for the different styles of Matt Moore and Ryan Tannehill. (cont’d on page 2, click below)
The Miami Dolphins had a lot to cheer about yesterday in their 30-9 demolishing of the Jets. Two Dolphins players in particular had quite a bit of fun…..Gangnam Style! If you’re asking yourself what Gangnam Style is, check out this video:
Gangnam Style is the the Korean rap senstation that has been watched over 115 million times on YouTube.com. Honestly, I have no idea what this guy’s singing about…..but it’s a popular song. Saturday Night Live even did a sketch about Gangnam Style a month ago.
The Miami Dolphins never came out and said that this was a rebuilding year. However, after the Dolphins drafted Ryan Tannehill with the #8 pick in the draft and decided to start him, most wrote off the Dolphins 2012 season to a rebuilding year. The Dolphins front office also made moves that were geared more towards the future than for the present. The Dolphins traded away Brandon Marshall for 2- 3rd round picks and then Vontae Davis for a 2nd rounder. The front office was building the team around young players and fans thought they could only look towards the future.
While all of this was going on, the Dolphins continued to say that they were re-tooling, not rebuilding. The Dolphins players, to their credit, have played hard under coach Joe Philbin. The Dolphins players are out to win football games and many are not signed through 2013, so they have to make the most out of this season. Players like Sean Smith, Reggie Bush, Randy Starks, and Jake Long are playing out the last year of their contract, so they all hope to have impressive 2012 seasons.
On Sunday, the Dolphins did something that many people didn’t think was possible; They moved into a tie for 1st place in the AFC East with their 17-14 win over the Rams. Yes, it’s only week 6. And yes, after next week the Dolphins will be knocked out of first place (The Jets play the Patriots, so one will improve to 4-3). However, Dolphins fans have to be happy with what they are seeing out of their team. Many will even point out that if Dan Carpenter hits a couple of kicks in weeks 3 and 4, the Dolphins could be 5-1. He didn’t, so they’re not. BUT, they are playing better football than they were at the beginning of the season and they seem to be learning how to finish games.