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Miami defense might ask "What about us?"

The Dolphins have lived by the credo, "Why not us?" during a season in which they discarded doubts about their ability to turn around a 1-15 nightmare in 2007 to an 11-5 dream in 2008.

But as 2009 dawns, it might be interesting to note the Miami defense may be adopting a new motto as the playoff game against Baltimore looms: "What about us?"

The Dolphins defense, you see, has apparently heard a lot about, of all things, the Ravens defense. Yes, the Miamian's defense has to worry primarily about the Baltimore offense. But with all the national attention on Ray Lewis and Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs and the greatness of the Baltimore defense, the Dolphins defenders are wondering why no one has noticed them.

"It's not talked about," defensive end Vonnie Holliday said. "Nobody's talking about the Miami Dolphins defense. No doubt about it. I was sitting there the other day and I'm watching television and thinking our defense is OK. But you don't hear that from anyone.

"So there is that competitive side of you where you want to match their defense. You want to play better than their defense, no doubt about it."

I could find no Miami defender who thought, or would say publicly, he believes Miami's defense is better than Baltimore's. Fact is, several Miami defenders kept saying they are more worried about Baltimore's offense than defense.

But these guys are competitors. And they don't doubt themselves even when the pundits do.

So ask Matt Roth who he thinks about when asked to name the better NFL defenses and this is his response:

"I think Pittsburgh and Baltimore and ourselves," Roth said, before adding, "At times."

So what has to happen for the Miami defense to be in that conversation all the time?

"Win this week," Roth said. "Yeah. Win this week. We've been playing good. We just have to be on all cylinders. That's where we're at right now."

The Miami defense was ranked 15th in total defense this season. Baltimore was ranked No. 2.

But the Dolphins had a run of three consecutive games in which they did not allow a defensive touchdown and they yielded only 317 points all season. Miami's D ranked No. 9 in points allowed, which is probably the most telling defensive statistic.

The Ravens allowed 244 points and ranked No. 3 in points allowed. 

"We're not trying to compare ourselves to them," said strong safety Yeremiah Bell. "We know where they're at and they got the numbers to prove it. They're like second in the league and we're like 15th. We can't compare ourselves to them."

And then in the next breath, Bell makes the comparison.

"We're a young defense," he said. "We're getting better and we will get to that point. Those guys have been together for a while and we're kind of a brand new team trying to get this thing rolling. So we're getting better each week."

Bottom line, Holliday said, the Miamians want to play well enough Sunday so that, when the game is over, people will come out of it, "Talking about our defense. And who won the defensive battle.

"We can win it. We're capable. Why not? We're capable of being in the playoffs aren't we? As a defense we've done some good things around here. But what a test. What a time to step up."

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We can beat Baltimore. We can be a better defence.

So now you're acting like a child in your blogs? With the whole Miamians thing. Dude, grow up and please explain to us why didn't vote for the local contendor in the MVP Race????

The whole Miamians thing is childish, not in the fact that I'm using it, and just might use it in every blog item from here until the end of the age, but in that it bugs anyone, which is ridiculous. Get over it.

As to the MVP thing, I gave my explanation in the post where I revealed my ballot. You can go there if you wish.

Armando,

I read your answer to the MVP quation and it was not a very good one. Can you name one Dolphins receiver that you wold pick over Harrison or Wayne. If you can do that then you have a valid point in picking Manning over Pennington.

Fact is Manning has been working with those probowl guys for years and Pennington just got here. Fact is Pennington has Manning beat or even in about every important category even with the lack of big time receiving talent on the Fins. Manning was already on a good team while Pennington was the main reason we are 11-5 not 5 -11.

The NFL should just call the MVP award what is it. Its an award to the Most Valuable Player in terms of marketing and ratings for the league. Its this kind of thinking that got Favre in the Probowl instead of Rivers or Pennington. You should have backed Penny. Im surprised at you.


Miamian????

WTH is that?

This defense is flawed in many ways. Their ability of not being able to get off the field on 3rd down will be a killer Sunday. You know Miami's offense will have a hard time sustaining offense. Therefore, for the Dolphins defense not to be worn down, they themselves need to get off the field on 3rd down ASAP. If they play that bend, but don't break style that they have been, they will be worn out by that big Ravens O-line by the 3rd quarter.

It was embarrassing last time the Ravens were down in Miami. Cam Cameron was dialing up what ever he wanted on the play sheet. It makes me sick to think he might do that again Sunday.

BWS: Please tell me what Indianapolis running back is as good as either Ricky Williams or Ronnie Brown? Pennington had both of them to lean on while Manning had ... an injured Joseph Addai who gained 550 yards all season? Be serious. The Indy offense revolved around Manning's passing and little else. Moreover, if you study the situation, the Miami offensive line was better overall than the Indy offensive line this year.

Finally, you really should rethink mentioning Harrison as a receiver worth noting. His best days have come and gone.

I made the right choice. And I will be surprised if a majority of the 49 other panelists that voted didn't agree with me. We'll see.

I don't think this Miami defense is even as good as Miami defenses in the recent past.
The Dolphins used to have JT up front, Zach in the middle and Surtain and Madison locking down the secondary. Baltimore has a stud on every level of the defense. Ngata up front. Lewis at the 2nd level. Reed in the secondary.

The best surprises on this defense are Matt Roth at LB and Andre Goodman at DB. I can't believe how consistently well both of those guys are playing. I can see why they drafted Merling so high. The guy's freakin huge and he's so athletic. Hopefully, he can turn into a Julius Peppers.

The key for the D this game is pressuring the rookie QB. Don't let him get settled. Hit him early and often. I hope Joey starts running his mouth at Flacco - Make sure he doesn't forget that he's a rookie in a playoff game.

Mando, I think what Fin Fans are missing is how great it is we have a QB that is even worth mentioning in the debate of MVP. I will take that every year in which we have a player that is in a legit discussion of whether he should win the MVP award or not.

Honestly Armando, I'll be happy if the defense just concentrates on stopping the Baltimore offense and doesn't worry so much about the Baltimore defense.

And haters: I am from Miami. I am a proud Miamian!

How many of the 22 Dolfin starters (offense and defense) would start for Baltimore? 2 maybe 3 on defense and 3 on offense. 5 or 6 out of 22 positions. As much as I love the fins - they simply don't have enough yet to win this game. Miami loses by 10+.

Helloooooooooooooooo mAndo
Well well well, Not only have I found out you are a Miamian, but a LEMMING as well. Called out by your fellow journalist (sic) Cote! Very rarely do I agree with his column (percentage wise yours over his), but this time he trumps you. He gives a GREAT case for Pennington, the Miami DOLPHIN'S QB for MVP. Fellow bloggers may want to see for themselves here is the Hearld's link:
http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/football/story/833502.html
or just hit the back button and read the HEADLINE story for today.
Well done Cote, well done. Pennington for MVP!

How about: Pitsburgoisie, or the Indianapolicemen, or Baltimorons? Bush league as always; voting for out of town candidates, talking about negative things, and now coming up with high school cutsie stuff! With the media we have in this town, I would not be surprised to see Ross move the team.

Bryan what the hell did the defense of taylor,thomas, madison or surtain ever do for us? Other than choke down the stretch or give up a zillion pts in playoffs, now if u wanna talk real defense then look at the 70's miamians d!!

Paz you posted last week that Jake Long wasn't among the NFL's top 10 rookie offensive tackles so what the hell do you know about anything?

I'd be surprised if Ross moved the team and you even noticed.

And mike kman who cares how many starters for our team would start on bmore by that logic then we should have lost to nyj new england san diego...this is not fantasy football there are a million variables that go into it..we can play with em and beat em but so can they

That's right, I'm a genius. Sign Brett Favre immediately! I told you it would work out.

I've jumped on the bandwagon. I also jump on boys.

Mando i realy love your blog but i agree, you really have got the MVP vote wrong. Your arguement that Ricky and Ronnie carried the load is ridiculous. We won most of our games this year with Pennington and the defence. If Pennington does not play for us this year we go 3-13 no joke. Believe me i feel Manning is a better quarterback than Pennington, but this year he certainly did not play better than him. LOOK AT THE STATS! Manning loses in every major category!

Indy has a far superior team around Manning than Pennington if you can't see that something is amiss. Love ya but you got this one wrong.

Yall crazy. What dummy on here would pick Pennington for his team ahead of Manning. Serious. You people crack me up.

Stick to your guns Mando.

Mando, really...

Harrison over Ginn anyday, Wayne over Bess (but maybe not for long I hope), Gonzales over uhm whoever is active.. London, Wilford, etc.

Besides the turnaround record, heres the stats,

Completion percentage (67.4 to 66.8), yards per attempt (7.7 to 7.2), TD:INT ratio (2.7 to 1 vs. 2.3 to 1) and passer rating (97.4 to 95.0).

Love your blog, read it everday, but if you dont back the local guy then why should some beat writer in any other town back Penny. Sorry but you are wrong this time.

I hope you voted Sparano coach of the year....

Trenton,
You cant have it both ways... cant say Indy has better receivers whan we have an undrafted guy catching passes for Penny.

Ask the Jets if Favre was better than Pennington.

Harrison in his prime yes, now? nope! Reggie Wayne? HELL YEAH!!! One of the top receivers in the league!!!

As for CP, they deserves all the accolades he is getting. But if I were starting a team now? If i couldn't have Tom Brady, gimme Peyton Manning in a heartbeat. This year will all he has done with an injury depleted Indy team, he deserves it. The way the AFC is setup he could actually go to the Super Bowl without a running game and a mediocre defense.

Miamians? Are you trying to make us non-Miamians, who are Dolfans, feel alienated? LOL j/k.

Armando,

Miami is 11-5 because of Pennington's play. The simple fact of the matter is he has been clutch, especially late in games when the pressure is on. Manning has been doing it for years on an arguably better team. One thing is certain. Pennington was more valuable to Miami this year then any other player was to their team. In my book that makes him MVP.

Manning is the more talented QB, no question there. Pennington had the better season. You are confusing the two.

As for our defense, we can hang with anyone. Even in the game against NE we matched point for point and it wasn't their finest day but they bounced back and didn't allow a TD for 3 games before the debacle in KC. What it comes down to is our defensive line.

I don't fear the Ravens. They are talented as heck. On our side we have a few good men. Bell is playing out of his shoes most games, kicking butt. If our front line can take care of the run, our secondary has played well recently to cover. But then again, maybe without the respect from the media or other teams will help light a fire under these guys to come out flying and hitting everything in sight.

Hey Mando, nothing new on the Parcell's front? Talk up here in NY is that the Jets are interested in a second go around.

Miamians!! I like! I suppose most of the frustration with it's use comes from those not from Miami.

We're all still dolfans!

any one please i need good meatball recipe without using eggs. posted by bacala

BWS,

Can you read, my brother? I never said nothing about nobody's receivers. Try again and get back to me. Peace.

I got to laugh when people twist stats. Look, I've said many times Pennington is invaluable to the Dolphins. He is the team MVP.

But when guys are comparing Penney's stats with Manning, they never mention yards (advantage Manning), TDs (advantage Manning), interceptions (advantage Pennington) and sacks absorbed (advantage Manning). Says here Manning wins 3-1.

I get it.

tom brady best QB in football history.every body else just number count. BY MIKO

You are simply caught up in the Manning name. Your disdain of the Local team is getting old. After watching the whole season and seeing what Pennington means to our team you are blind if you cant see the impact he has had and how important he is to the success this season.

It scares me that we can't stop the run and don't get to the passer consistently. One of the reasons I think we have not extended to Crowder is he is not physical at the point of attack ie he rarely stops the runner cold or take on blockers.

I HEAR THAT TUNA TOLD THE TEAMM HE IS NOT LEAVING.POSTED BY EAR

This defense has benefited by not playing anybody good this year. Let's see what they can do versus the Ravens.

i hear that tuna going to the jets to be part of the ownership. karmala

Two things that will help miami this week:

1) the understanding that the quick baltimore defense will overpersue, Count on this and use it against them.

2) when miami players step onto the field they are going to notice something different, and that will be something that maybe they have never seen before, A HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE, No empty seat packed house, thousands of LOUD fans in their corner! This rareity in itself will be mezmerising for fans and TV viewers, just think what it will do for the players! An already HOT miami team will for the first time recieve a high octaine adrenaline shot elevating their play like nithing else can! GET READY!!!!! GO FINS!!!

I hear that tuna tastes good.

when miami players step onto the field they are going to notice something different, and that will be something that maybe they have never seen before, A HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE, No empty seat .but wait this is going to be aginst the ravens not the lousy jets,,,,,,,,,,stop dreaming.by sherk.P

This is the main way I look at it, there is not many QBs you place on our current team right now and can do what Pennington is doing. Penny is efficient, makes great decisions. Without him we are not in the playoffs.

This Sunday will be a physical game, there is no question that Bmore's D is dominant, but i have to believe our D is good enough to suffocate their offense. This will be a low scoring game and will come down in the 4th quarter. Miami will finish them off in the 4th with a 8 or 9 minute drive. I believe Bess and Ronnie will have a huge game. On our D, someone surprisingly will step up. Lets go to Pittsburgh next week, GO PHINS!

Don't discount the Dolphins in the playoffs because they had a "soft" schedule.

First, the same thing was said about the 1972 Miami Dolphins. The Redskins, prior to the superbowl, even said that.

Secondly, just because we have no stars on defense defense does not mean we are fatally flawed. Every team and defense has flaws, and the fact that this one is the second incarnation of the "No-Name" defense makes it that much more special. Relish the moment, don't disparage it.

This team already has been one of the more special ones in Dolphin history, rating right up their with the 72, 73, 84, 82, 71, and 85 teams.

First,I think that the Dolphins have beaten some good teams this year, including

a) Pats, b) Chargers, c) Jets (yes, they were good and in contention for the Division two weeks before the end of the season, d) Denver, who on any given day can beat anybody, and like the Jets, were in contention for their division until the end.

They also beat three teams that, despite their records, were surging at the end of the year in the 49ers, Chiefs, and Seahawks (who did beat NYJ and should have beaten NE)

And don't discount the benefit of beating the poorer teams in the league. Coming out of last year, our Dolphins were bound to have lost much, if not most, of their self confidence. They lost to good teams, and lost to teams they should have beaten.

This year, we BEAT the teams we were supposed to beat (for the most part, anyway)and regained the confidence required to be a division and conference champion.

Playing lesser teams also means that we are physcially less beat-up and worn out than our battle-weary opponents, and in this game where the difference between the athletes mano-y-mano is measured in thousandths of seconds, this freshness could be to our advantage.

Now, let's throw in the intangibles. The weather in Baltimore right now is 35 degrees. Sunday in Miami is calling for 78 degrees. That's right. The weather IS ON OUR SIDE in January!!!

Also, Cam Cameron is returning again. The flutters are gone for "revenge" from the first game, much like Pennington noted in his first game against Gang-Green. Now is the time to kick his team into oblivion. I'll trade a playoff victory against a team against a season loss to the same team anytime.

It will happen.

You gotta believe.

Matt


i belive too that dolphins will go to pittsburgh for vacation.by sherk.p

Nice article Mando. Looks like the Dolphins continue to find their 'motivation' and feed off of the lack of respect thing. I don't care how they find their motivation, as long as they find it. Can't wait for the game!!

I also don't agree with your Manning for MVP pick. I am not saying he is not worthy because he is very valuable to the Colts....I just think he is the 'safe' pick because of his name and popularity. I recall the Colts winning quite a few games on the back of their defense....with defensive touchdowns. I also know that he has been working with the same guys for a long time and there has always been a lot of chemistry between them.

As far as their offensive line being better than Miami's....well I don't get that one. Miami's stats are and offensive line are inflated due to the Wildcat offense, which helped keep defenses honest and less aggressive. I think that has to be taken into account. I like Peyton and think that he is a great player. I just don't see why he should get his third MVP award when there are other lesser knowns who are worthy, deserving and do not have such an honorable award in their name yet.

Mando,

I hardly ever disagree with you but if you think that CP doesn't exemplify an MVP than there is definatly somthing wrong with the system. How does it happen when a player gets the shaft twice in a season? No pro bowl, or mvp consideration? In the end though I think CP will be the one with the last laugh.

GO PHINS!!!!

Sherk P. honey,

You are right. The dolphins will "go to pittsburgh for vacation". After beating Baltimore handily, Pittsburg will be even easier. Essentially a vacation.

Manning won the MVP.

According to CBSSports.com, he "ran away" with it.

Chad was 2nd btw.

" Manning received 32 votes, far ahead of Miami quarterback Chad Pennington and Atlanta running back Michael Turner."

How the "F" and Why the "F" did Manning get the MVP? Pennington passed up? I do not get the morrons who do the voting for this crap. Another reason for Pennington and the Dolphins to kick royal ass this weekend. We are still not respected..

Peyton Manning for MVP?! Come on Armando! Your explanation was "He put a team on his back in the face of numbing injuries to his offensive line, running back and receiver corps. And he did it without having any time in training camp and while still recovering from knee surgery."

Chad put an overall worse team, no offense Fins, on his back and led them to a 11-5 season after being 1-15. If that isn't carrying the team, I don't know what is. Also Chad did not have the calliber of WR that Manning has. Chad was more efficient, had less INTs, and had a better completion percentage. Also Chad had to learn a whole new program in absolutely no time what so ever. Sounds like an "overall better player" then pretty boy Manning is. Come on Armando vote on talent not on last name. Simply pathetic!

The Dolphins D certainly has the capability to be dominant. They are one of the best when in the red zone, right? If not, I know they're very good.

Roth was right, though, they have to win.

Just goes to show that the MVP award is really the MPP award (most popular player). No offense to you Mando, but I don't know why Manning, surrounded by a talent rich Colts teams gets singled out as the MVP. I think people beleive that because Manning had a setback from minor surgery and has a mid to late season surge that he (one of the media darlings) should get MVP. Its a joke!!!

Let's start an online petition to send Mondoboy to work on the paper in Corncob Junction North Dakota!!!!!

He sure hates it here in Florida !!!!

any chance of camarillo or smiley coming back....

As always mando, spot on on manning as mvp you the man.

How bout dem Yets ? LMAO

Everytime I watch ESPN or something all the analysts seem to talk about is how great the Ravens are on both sides of the ball like the Fins are supposed to be"so scared".We may not have a highly ranked defense or whatever,but we can make enough plays,especially in the fourth quarter. The offense is great-finally- and Chad doesn't throw INT's. The Wildcat isn't our only "scheme" used to score and I wish we would get more credit in general.I know we weren't expected to be 11-5 much less make the playoffs but we did so, we should be talked about just as much as our opponent. But I know the best way to be recognized is to win Sunday against the "scary" Ravens.GO FINS.Also I am tired of the soap opera in Dallas and in New York with the Jets. Neither of them made the playoffs, so why are we hearing about them so much?

If you voted for manning over Pennington.....u sux!!!GO FINS!!!!!!!

has any one seen my raft???

What happened to Joey Porter?!? He looks tired and old out there.

Maybe Sparano should consider only playing Joey on passing downs. I don't think he has enough left in the tank to play entire games.

The Giants kicked the Ravens' ass by running on the edge from a three wide set, so I guess we might see a few of those plays? I am sick and tired of the Ravens defense this and that. Pfft!! we can just as good, just stuff the run and make Flacco beat you.

BREAKING NEWS:THE DOLPHINS BOUGHT 75 TICKETS FOR STEELERS RAVENS IN SECOND ROUND OF PLAYOFF PLUS 600 MEATBALL WITH MOZZARELLA CHEESE IN FAMOUS CLUB IN MIAMI .THEY ALSO IN THE WORK LONG TIME VACATION IN THE GARDEN STATE.AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHR RAVENS NEXT S.B.CHAMP. POSTED BY SHERK.P

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