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Wed. evening practice update plus '01 Moment

The Dolphins did their vampire thing, coming out after dark tonight for the first time this training camp.

But aside from the timing of the night practice, it seemed pretty routine to this reporter's eyes. Chad Pennington and Will Allen were present and accounted for, despite reports earlier in the day they were nursing boo-boos. Both took all their repetitions.

The Dolphins showed their local fans the Wildcat package a few times, always with Ronnie Brown at the trigger.

There were a couple of blown coverages on defense.

And Pat White continued to struggle on offense.

Of greatest interest to me was the Dolphins' willingness to show off more than just glimpses of Wildcat. The first-team offense ran it four times, which is more than any practice I've attended this camp. On three of those Wildcat snaps, Brown ran the ball.

On the other, we saw the same play the Dolphins ran against the Houston Texans in which Brown passed to Pennington who passed to Patrick Cobbs for 53 yards and a score. Unlike the Houston game, this time Pennington had no one to pivot the ball to because no one was open downfield.

Pennington threw an incompletion along the sideline.

And this is where this reporter reminds you of two things: Wildcat is a gimmick offense in the NFL. And it is bordering on ineffective because most teams now the Dolphins have it and they are ready for it. So it is incumbent upon the Miami coaching staff to come up with something else for Wildcat to work.

Defenses will be ready for the stuff the Dolphins did in Wildcat last year. They cannot be ready for the new stuff. And I've been told there is new spread formation stuff coming. But it is unlikely you will see much, of any of it, in training camp or the preseason.

But I digress. Back to practice.

The loudest reaction from the 2,000 or so fans watching practice came when WR Chris Williams pancaked Will Billingsley in the receiver blocking drills. Put Billingsley on his keyster, Williams did.

There was also fan approval when Pennington completed a 15-yard pass to Ted Ginn Jr. Rookie Sean Smith got his feet tangled in coverage and that resulted in the completion. There was a blown coverage in the middle of the field when Pennington found TD Anthony Fasano for what might have been a 50-yard pass and run (mostly run) up the seam of the defense. There was simply no one around to cover Fasano, who is a hard dude to lose.

And that brings me to White. He threw an interception when Nathan Jones stepped in front of a pass that should never have been thrown. The pass along the sideline went into a crowd where two receivers and two defenders had gathered.

White also tripped over an offensive lineman's feet on his dropback one pass play. Sack. And I cannot share with you one head-turning completion that I noted White making. Oh well, Thursday is another day.

OK, drumroll please.

I've been skirting around this Classic Training Camp Moment from 2001 for nearly a week now because I was desperately trying to nail down the facts and I was angry at myself for not remembering the incident.

But I have the facts now. And here they are:

During Miami's 2001 training camp, the Dolphins were a team in transition (what else is new) because some of Jimmy Johnson's players were starting to age and some of Dave Wannstedt's players needed to step up.

Well, one of Johnson's leftovers was mammoth defensive tackle Daryl Gardener, who was forever known as a man of many muscles and moods. You never knew where you stood with Daryl Mr. Gardener because he could be joking with you one minute and looking like he was going to crack you in two the next.

Gardener also had an issue with his health and his stamina in that his back was a problem for him and he always seemed to be trying to get in the right physical condition despite looking like he was cut from a marble boulder.

During one training camp practice, Gardener was feeling spent and so right there, during the middle of a two-minute drill against the first-team offense, he pulled himself out of the lineup. And that didn't sit too well with WR O.J. McDuffie.

McDuffie is the player Dan Marino once told me was the toughest player he ever played with. McDuffie was the player who went on the field with a foot injury so severe it would end his career, but he just shot it up with pain killer and played anyway.

McDuffie is also the guy who this day called out Gardener for asking out of the two-minute drill before it was over.

"This is the time to win or lose a game, this is the make-or-break time in a game, and you're heading to the sideline," McDuffie said loudly enough that everyone on the field, including Gardener, could hear.

That didn't sit too well with Gardener, who then started cursing McDuffie and, yes, said something about McDuffie's mother.

McDuffie, a very articulate man, went on to articulate his displeasure and disgust with Gardener in no uncertain terms using language that would have made his mother blush despite the fact he was using that language in her defense.

And so 6-6, 330-pound Daryl Gardener decided he couldn't compete on a verbal level with his McDuffie but could separate McDuffie from his spine if he wanted. So he tried. He grabbed McDuffie by the throat and choke-slammed the 5-10, 194-pound McDuffie to the ground.

Well, McDuffie went down hard, but got up and tried to fight back before the two were separated by teammates. Gardener obviously got the better of the physical exchange. And that didn't sit so well with McDuffie. So he left the practice field and headed for players' parking lot.

McDuffie was headed to his car but he wasn't going there to leave. Although it cannot be proven, it became widely accepted around the team that McDuffie kept his gun in his car. Thankfully, linebacker Derrick Rodgers intervened and convinced McDuffie to cool down and not do anything rash -- like, perhaps, shoot his unarmed teammate.

And how, you ask, could I have possibly forgotten this story? Well, I wasn't there. I didn't cover the Dolphins from July 2001 to July 2003.

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Thanks Mando. I see nothing much (apart from the Wildcat package) happened tonight. The White thing is a bit concerning for his confidence maybe? Any Turner or Clemons news? How about Bess... Hartline anyone?

The situation with Chris Williams is complex. This guy broke many records in his college, comes here plays well and fast in practice, but probably his only chance to make it is in special teams. If they sign him to the practice squad, another team will get him, and might give him a chance to play during games. I'm concerned he'll do great and make us look like fools. Who knows right? Just thinking out loud here...

So imo I believe that is probably the point in why they showed what they did. I think they're probably showing those wildcat plays to throw other teams off. They have fans and reporters there and now people are talking about how Ronnie ran three times in the wildcat and then other teams may start keying on the run to ronnie out of a certain formation. If you can put one second of doubt in a defenders head someone else can get open for a pass and the phins hit on a big play. We also have to assume that this staff has way more up their sleeves allthough Mandos correct and it will be tough to suprise anyone now.

Mando,
I dont if its just me but does it seem like Penny is throwing the ball a bit better. I read on a regular basis that Penny is completing some long balls. Does it appear Penny could have strengthened his arm a little during the off season?

NY SCott,

I agree, it will be tough to surprise teams now. But these teams will still have to prepare for what they know of the Wildcat the Phins used. Obviously, the phins will not reveal any other different schemes in the Wildcat.\

Tony,

Man lets not get you know who(JC) started on this.

Any word on the Wilford-Nalbone battle for the tight end spot?

Ace , that probably justin impersonating as tony . LOL

NJ,

I think it is Justin's girlfriend who wrote the post. Just read it. NO WAY JUSTIN writes that way, that is why I think his girl did it.LOL

Vic

"Any word on the Wilford-Nalbone battle for the tight end spot?"

You are joking, right?

ACE, Yeah you're right . LOL

nj phin is a goat
ace is the devil

Gino,aloco, gopats.

At least you got my right....devil.

You know I just want to reach out and touch you.

my name right

wilford has no chance at TE. not only due to no explosion off the line but he is only 232 pounds. big for a running back but way to light for TE.

hi, willi

Yo gino, how you been?

Sammo,

I think it is probably a waste of time even thinking about Wilford at this point.

Ace i think your detracters just want you to reach out and touch their soul.

Odinseye. You said on the previous blog that , until yesterday nalbone had been horribile. That is incorrect. nalbone had a terrific scrimmage on saturday , catching 4 balls for over 50 yds and a td. Since that scrimmage on saturday , nalbone has been terrific catching everything thrown to him and blocking well. Tonight he was running some offensive drills with the 1st team. JOISEY BABY !

NJ,

I don't think Odinseye is biting.

Agreed on wilford. miami will keep the wildcat close to the vest. henning is way to creative not to add new wrinkles as the season progresses. and our o-line needs time to gel in our base offense. by the time week 1 gets here they should be ready to go. then bust out the wildcat.

Odinseye is updating his depth chart and looking for flaws in Nalbone's stance.

IMO..I think that not only is Wilford all but gone, but also Martin. Both are 30 with low ceilings in their so called peaks!

This will leave Fasano, Haynos, & Nalbone as out TE's. All 3 are 25 or younger.

Fasano is in a contract year and will be resigned by the Trifecta that favors him. Rightly so!

Haynos is a beast and has looked decent in camp and made a nice TD catch in regular season last year. More playing time will make him better.

Nalbone is coming along pretty quick already in camp and he is Parcells pet project. He stays!

Finally cutting Wilford will most likely happen.
No other team will offer any picks for him and they know he is dropping off the Phins depth chart faster than Obama's approval ratings.

As for Martin who is a FA after 09, moving him will not only help offset Wilfords cap hit, but also create cap space for a Ronnie Brown extension.
We may also come up with a nice 4th round draft pick for Martin who is coming off his career year. So move him now while he looks attractive.

So since both Fasano and Martin are FA's after 09 then I can only see resigning one of them, and who do you think that should be?

This is why Nalbone was drafted and Bronson signed as a UDFA.
Yes, Bronson is already gone but who cares, he was practice squad at best. Can always find another developmental TE for our PS if needed.

The trifecta is already planning their TE situation for 2010! IMHO, I see it coming down like that.
Makes sense doesn't it ? :)

GetterDone Phins

Great training camp story - I wonder if OJ would have been stopped if he was going to shoot Wanny?

Two-a-days have been tough, 'Mando, and I think you are tiring along with the Dolphins. You answered your own question regarding Pat White.

I could not have agreed with you more when you explained the Fins ran last year's Wildcat at Wednesday night's practice and it looked old and tired and did not appear to be working anymore. It also begs this question: Are the Dolphins going to install the regular offense, the Wildcat and the Pat Spread Package?

You correctly pointed out where Pat White struggled, but he threw the ball fairly well in drills (don't hear anyone complaining about "flutter" on his ball anymore...), and he did get flushed out of the pocket and flashed some pretty good running moves, which is one of his strong points.

You also mentioned we haven't seen the installation of the forthcoming Pat Spread Package that will play to his other strengths.

One should avoid evaluating Pat White in comparison to Pennington and Henne because that's not who is or will ever be. He's not a classic pocket passer. Sparano's telling you that when he says he's creating something new for him.

For now, they have to get him comfortable taking the ball from center--no small feat it would appear--before they move to the next phase.

Coaches coach to keep their jobs. When you are 0-2 after a 1-15 year, nobody is going to kick you in the rear for taking a chance on a novelty like the Wildcat, and--what do you know--it worked better than anyone could have envisioned.

Now you're the defending AFC East champions with a lot more talent. It will take more courage than last year to trust Pat White to be one step ahead of the pro game, but we're going to lose more games than we win this year if we don't dare to resort once again to trickery and deception. I'm ready. Are you?

Wow, McDuffie always seemed like a nice guy. Can't believe he would actually consider unloading heat on a teammate over some name calling. Tell you what though, the Dolphins would love to have an O.J. McDuffie in their WR core right about now. Man, that dude was tough! Marino always looked for him in the clutch.

Interesting that it took a man that would be arrested for domestic violence to convince McDuffie not to get his gun.

I thought OJ McDuffie was a great player. He could catch that ball in the middle of the field take a very hard hit, get back up and catch another one.

It wasn't just the Wildcat package that got us over the hump. It was the physcology of winning. Once guys started beleiving and having fun winning became easier.

Take a look at NFL.com. You rarely see Dolphin stuff in their. Most the news is about controversy this and celbrity that. This team is a good team that shuts it's mouth and should do well this year. 10 or 11 wins, maybe more is not out of the question

Wow Pennington is throwing 50 yrd passes?? I though he had a noodle arm.

HI HATERS

TOLD YOU SO

Chad throwing 50+ yard passes.

STAND UP NJ

YOU SEE

o.j. mcduffie was clutch all the time! pennington was throwing almost 50 yards last year while rehabbing a shoulder injury. not that big a deal mr credible. have a great day fellow phin fans!

One question and one comment:

What the H-E-L-L did Allstar mean by his comment? All them words together make no sense.

And, Armando, that was a great training camp storie. Thanks you.

"And how, you ask, could I have possibly forgotten this story? Well, I wasn't there. I didn't cover the Dolphins from July 2001 to July 2003."

Dolphins fans are fortunate you're back Armando. You are easily the best covering this team stem to stern.

When are you back on the radio?

wow, 10 wins, i could see that, 11, very hard but not impossible. i do think 11 could win the east again. i hate saying this because i'm no lover of the pats but with the non-divisional schedule being so tough the pats, only with a completely healthy and back to top form brady, is going to get though this meat grinder schedule with 4 or less losses. i don't see him being back to 2007 form though, at least not right away. i really don't see the jets in the mix like they were last year. favre, though destructive at the end gave them many early wins. i don't think the rookie will do that. the bills are getting awfully gimmicky themselves saying no huddle 24-7. all i see that doing is grinding their defense into pudding. 11-5 and only 1 team getting out again. same 2 divisions getting both wildcards, north and south. west looks like hell! especially with no cutler in denver. raiders, still suck, chiefs still not there yet either. chargers in a cakewalk, heck 8-8 could win that division, i don't see any of the other 3 teams winning 8 games. another one of "the genius's" proteges are going to fail just like romeo and charlie, joshie is gonna bite it hard in denver.

the over under on seeing more than 1 shanahan sign or chant at a denver game... 3

Nuts to Daryl Gardener. Great story though.

pennington could throw 50 yard passes last year too, if you arch a ball high enough you can get that distance even with a non-canon arm. problem is unless your receiver is running loose, those passes are going to be defended way more often than not. even if he added more zip those passes will still be defended way more often than not.

chad is still a quality QB, but the difference between a penny and a henne is that chad p has to be near perfect with timing on every throw to complete them unless a guy is wide open. chad h has enough velocity on his throws that the ball can get there before the DB. i'm not saying henne is better. put him in and he could screw the pooch. but a guy with a big arm, favre, elway, marino type have a far bigger window because a WR doesn't have to be hit in perfect timing or you don't have to worry as much about a DB getting there before the ball.

Stuck here in the Philippines for the next 2 years, any one know if i can see or hear Phins games on the internet?? If not what radio station in Miami carries the games. Thanks in advance.

I'm in the trenches, I want OJ McDuffie in there with me.

Nalbone-Wilford Depth Chart Battle Update:

Drew R on WQAM this a.m., says Wilford is making impressive progress and is dazzling the coaches. When will the depth chart acknowledge this important development?

Derrick Rodgers should go into law enforcement. If he can catch OJ McDuffie before he pulls the gun, he can catch the thugs out on the streets.

I don't blame McDuffie though. It would have been manslaughter at worst and he could have tried to get off with temporary insanity.

Wow 'Mando, that's a hell of a story about Gardener and McDuffie.

Mando,

Seriously dude, PLEASE proofread your writing! It is highly unprofessional to write an email, an article, or anything else without spell-checking it first. Look up the word "keyster", and I think you'll find that it is spelled "keister." It takes away from your credibility when you miss stuff like this.

Jaison,

You took the words out of my mouth dude about the 50 yard passes. You are dead on. Any QB can throw the distance depending on the arch of the throw. You are correct on the timing having to be perfect due to lack of zip. Here goes my basebal krap. You have pitchers that all can reach the plate. The ones that throw in the mid to upper 90s can get away with mistakes. The ones who throw in the high 80s rely on location or they will get creamed.

Picture this: Wes Welker catching the bubble screen and gaining 5-20 yards 10 times a game. Now replace Wes Welker with Pat White. And then replace the Welker's blockers with Jake Long & Jake Grove to the left or Jake Grove & Vernon Carey to the right.
Throw or toss the ball to Pat White 10 times a game and he'll gain 200 yards.
That's what there doing in the bubble.

I believe we need more leaders stepping up from the playmakers on the offense. Yes we have Pennington and a stout offensive line. But Ronnie? smiles all day, Ricky? too shy, Polite?, too quite, and all of the receivers are quite, as well. Vocal leaders are always needed, specially during games.

NJ Phin Fan

Your right about Nalbone.
That's why I was asking Armando if he's ahead of Wilford now. Somebody was giving me a hard time because I used the word Depthchart in my question. You and I (real football fans) know the depthchart is meaningless at this point. It was just a way to reference my question.
Nalbone got off to a rough start in OTA's, and was quiet at the beginning of camp. Then Bam! He's coming along fine IMO. After all he is a rookie.

Armando = Brutal

True Story Armando was banned by Jimmy Johnson and when he was gone then he was allowed to cover the "phins. Ask Cote.

Johnnyfin,

Why did Jimmy Johnson ban Armando?

It is not true that I was banned by anyone. It is true that johnnyfin has posted the most absurd comment of anyone on this blog ever. Stupid, aside from being a lie.

Gridiron Gab 2009 AFC East Preview

The Dolphins are a team that is improving in leaps and bounds, but they are not blessed with a favorable schedule. The only real addition to the team in the offseason was Jason Taylor, who if you remember was let go last year.

AND....

The Dolphins will limp into their bye week with a 1-4 record scoring a lone victory vs Buffalo. The schedule coming out of the bye week will be just as brutal and I look for Miami to finally score a second win in week 10 against Tampa Bay. That win should be a signal and be the start of a strong finish for Miami. The Carolina game in week 11 is a toss up, and a week 12 trip to Buffalo should result in a victory. Miami will suffer a blowout loss to New England in week 13. Look for Miami to find their selves at this point in the season and win 3 straight games in weeks 14 through 16. The Dolphins will finish the season with a tough loss at home to Pittsburgh.

Absolute win total = 6

Armando

I believed Johnnyfin's story right up to the ask Cote part.

Some observations from a recently naturalized American citizen:

1) Ironically, I find myself getting more and more interested in Canadian history now. It's not buyer's remorse - it's just - I don't know what it is. For instance, I've always been puzzled by the demarcation in 1775/1776 between the 13 "American" colonies and Canada to the north. Why was it that people living in what is now Ontario and the Maritimes did not opt for independence from Britain, too? I've been researching this online and it's quite fascinating.

2) I really love - and I mean LOVE - just a little sag in a woman's breasts. That's why women don't really hit their sexy peak until their 30s.

3) I meant to tape "Mutiny On The Bounty" (1935) last night, but darn the luck, I fell asleep. It's my favorite version - far superior to the Marlon Brando (1962) and Mel Gibson (1984) versions.

4) Ronnie Brown is GREAT. Even though I imagine Pat White will supplant Brown as the star of the Wildcat formation, in no way does that diminish Brown's talents. Let's not obsess about his production. When you are often spelled by outstanding RBs like Ricky Williams and Patrick Cobbs, of course your yardage is going to suffer. But Brown does what an outstanding RB is supposed to do - find holes, and when you get hit fall FORWARD.

5) If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times - the most overrated statistic in all of sports is a pitcher's number of strikeouts. If you don't give up runs, WHO CARES how you get your outs.

6) I believe drivers are taught (if the steering wheel were a clock) to hold their hands on the wheel as if the time were 9:15. However, I place my hands as if the time were 8:10.

7) They show repeats of "Hill Street Blues" on AmericanLife TV. God, Veronica Hamel was beautiful. If I could exist in a parallel universe (and thus not violate my marital vows), I would drown in her eyes, have her rescue me from drowning with mouth to mouth resuscitation, make a baby with her, and then talk with her all day long about Tony Sparano and the Dolphins.

I guess henne wasn't at practice again. Is he hurt? Pennington and White- White and Pennington. Maybe Henne will be on the practice team1!

Nathaniel,

I agree on the strikeout stat for a pitcher. The strikeout stat would indicate the pitcher has great stuff along with velocity.

Startracker

Sporano just stated Henne will get the bulk of reps Monday against Jacksonville.

I say being that odinseye knows so much, we let him run the fins! I cut and pasted all his predictions, especially the 6 win prediction and at the end of the season I will post it up so everyone can know his great Football knowledge.

Ampd,

"Wow Pennington is throwing 50 yrd passes?? I though he had a noodle arm."

Posted by: Ampd

Is this you........moron

Ampd

I predict 11 wins, hopefully 12.

The post your refering to is headlined: Gridiron Gab 2009 AFC East Preview<

Try to keep up....DUDE!

Justin idiot. your stupidity never ceases to amaze me. LMAO ! Wow ! Chad pennington threw the ball 50 yds . " See i told you " . are you f'n Kidding me ? My 89 year old grandma can throw 50 yds if you throw it high enough and arch it. What about the 20 yd outs that need zip. Dude you;re embarrassing youself.

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