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PRESSURE points for tonight's Indy game

If you read this blog, and I know you do because you're reading this blog, you know how I feel about the importance of Miami's offensive line. Just in case you need reminding, here is today's column on the OL I wrote for Mother Herald.

If you want the matchup breakdown of tonight's Monday Night Football meeting between the Dolphins and Colts, you now have the link for that.

But in this post I want to approach things from a different perspective.

I want to show you the pressure points for the Dolphins. These are the areas that the Colts probably think they can attack and perhaps even win at during the game. These are the areas where the Dolphins need improvement over last week.

These are the areas that, finding resolution, will bring victory to the Dolphins. And lacking resolution, would send the Dolphins down in defeat. The pressure points:

The secondary -- Last week the Dolphins dodged a bullet. Sean Smith had terrible technique on two or three plays and Matt Ryan found him each time. But the Atlanta QB either overthrew, or underthrew passes to open receivers that would have shredded the secondary. So Smith's first game was not a disaster. It was fine.

The Colts have nearly as good a complement of receivers as the Falcons -- although Anthony Gonzalez will not play tonight -- and their QB is much better. Peyton Manning makes throwing mistakes in tosses to open receivers, too, like any other QB. But he doesn't do it two or three times in one game as Ryan did.

So Smith must show improvement. He told me his greatest problem was keeping his technique good when running with a receiver that went in motion across the formation. He said he worked on that all this week. We'll see.

The offensive line -- Read my column on the unit. If gives insight into the difference in philosophy between the football side and business side of the Miami Dolphins. It also makes the point that if the OL plays well tonight, the Dolphins will likely win.

Interesting perhaps only to me is that the Miami OL has struggled in games against smallish offensive defensive lines recently -- with the Tampa Bay preseason game and the Atlanta regular-season opener coming to mind. It wasn't just Jake Long, either. Miami is big across the line and all five men had issues with opponents that were generally quicker.

Justin Smiley told me it wasn't all five guys struggling at the same time, either. It was four guys carrying out their assignments and one guy blowing it. And it was a different guy every time. So that tells me the OL needs time to gel. The struggles against the quicker opposition is a timing issue as much as anything.

So it's not about proficiency. It's about efficiency.

That makes me optimistic a better day is coming soon. We'll see if that day is actually tonight.

Chad Pennington -- I love Chad Pennington. He's a great leader. He's a winner. I recognize his arm-strength issues but don't necessarily believe they are the reason he hasn't won big in the NFL.

But ...

The last two meaningful games he's played, he's been terrible. He was terrible in last season's playoff loss to Baltimore, throwing four interceptions. He was better against Atlanta, but still had a couple of turnovers -- one via interception and one from a lost fumble.

So the last two games Pennington is 46 of 67 for 428 yards, with two touchdown passes and five interceptions. That's a 64.7 QB rating.

More troubling than those statis is the fact Pennington has gotten the Miami offense in the end zone only twice in the last two games -- once against Baltimore, once again Atlanta. And both those TDs came in the fourth quarter when the games were all but decided.

It's the quarterback's primary job to get his offense in the end zone. Pennington hasn't done a great job of that the last two games.

He's better than that. And he has to start reminding people of that starting tonight.

Finally, I'm having a hard time seeing a victory tonight. So it's on you. What is the recipe for victory against a team with a solid D, a better QB, an OL that is the equal of Miami's and a better receiver corps?

Coaching? The Dolphins have the edge there. But what else authors a victory?

[BLOG NOTE: Yes, there is a live blog of the game tonight! I'll have it set up a few hours before kickoff and be on here with you guys to discuss pregame activities and news. Come back then.] 


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I'm Baaaaaaack ! Joisey in the house.

Miami 23-19.

there's no way but up for miami's OL after last week.

Mando , you mean miami has struggled against opponents smallish DL not OL.

I'm ready for some Monday Night Football! B can't wait to go!!!

I think the Oline will be better now that they are at home.

Hayden fox. great point. No silent counts needed.

of course the ol line will be better .when you suck that much there's no where to go but up after mr fasano the new jersey boy screwed us up last week .

I hope JP & JT show up tonight ... we need their pass rush. Don't count on all the secondary issues being worked out and even so Peyton will shred us given the time.

Hopefully Jake & co. will play a much better game. Feed Ricky & Ronnie. Screw P White.

The Dolphins need to run the football to win tonight. They can run the Colts's bad defense off the field. But they need to commit to it. And you are right Mando, Pennington has to play better for this team to be good.

I agree on smith if he plays like he did last week manning and wayne will destroy him.

penny wasn't as terrible in ATL than he was againist baltimore. either way, if we establish the run they'll be less pressure on chad.

I believe and have always believed that our weekest DB is Will Allen. His cover skills are suspect, and he always seems to slip and fall down. V. Davis should start in his place, rookie are not. But then again, Allen seems to be something right if the coaches see's somtheing in him that I don't. I wish I knew what that was?

ps, trade for Crabtree.

Dolphins 49- Colts 6

Wait till you all see the Ol' Alligator Gar in action tonight.

Pennington can't play better if the line doesn't give him time.

Hey Mando and anyone that wants to respond. Let me know if you agree with this. I respect Chad Pennington for his abilities as well. Without him, I doubt we win the division last year. That being said, I really don't like how EVERY scoring drive takes 12-15 plays. I know that is something Coach Sparano said they need to address, but I don't see a change with Chad P. at the helm. He is very methodical, and seems to check down, even when not necessary, to prevent turnovers. The problem with these long drives are that there are more plays for something to go wrong. If 1 out of every 15 plays is a bad play, that can kill every drive. But if we could have 7-9 play drives resulting in TD's, that would be much better. I'd say the only positives to these drives are resting the defense and holding the ball at the end of the game. However, we will never win decisively using a "dink and dunk" offense.

Folks, can we quit with the "trade for Crabtree" talk. He cannot be traded until next March, OK?

And if Bill Parcells is still with the team then, the Dolphins won't trade for him then, either.

I agree about running the ball.

The Colts are not big up front. Not small, but not big. So the Dolphins, in theory, should be able to run at them.

That would milk the clock, keep the ball away from Manning. And discourage the Colts D.

Bob's point is exactly why Miami will struggle to win tonight's game, though I sure hope they do. It is rare that the Fins ever break off a big play that leads to a quick touchdown. You hardly ever see Miami grad a cheap touchdown due to a blown coverage or scheme. It just doesn't happen right now for this team. Holding the ball is great when you have the lead. But, when you are playing a team like the Colts that will put up points, you need a couple of quick drives and touchdowns.

Use Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney's pass rush against them with screens, Pennington NEEDS to get the ball out of his hands in 3 sec. or less. The colts have very good cover linebackers so we should establish the run, ricky and ronnie need a combined 35-40 carries, 15-20 is unacceptable. The cover2/ Tampa 2, they run is to not give up the big play, so that should fit our offense perfect(lol), they will give us the dinks and dunks all night. Can we please utilize Ted Ginn in the wildcat/spread, i want to see a Pat White option or reverse with ginn going the other way,my god we have 2 of the fastest guys in the entire league at their positions, however i think we should not use the wildcat until we have the defense on the ropes running it down their throats, then hit em with the big play. everyone is talking about our o-line, but i will be watching joey and jason against their 2 young tackles, we have to blitz. If manning has time to throw with just a 4 man rush he will tear us apart. run the football so our o-line gets it's confidence running down hill.

Dolphins 24 Colts 21

Physicality mando, physicality...

"And if Bill Parcells is still with the team then, the Dolphins won't trade for him then, either."

Crabtree? no need!

The Dolphins Dolphins have so many good (!!)receivers first...

you can trade for crabtree as long as he signs a contract then is traded before the deadline

I am key to win the game tonight. I be there, and my yelling will be winning factor for Dolphin win!

if fins loses today THE OL COACH will be fired this week plus HENNE will start . HARTLINE also will start .

I'm worried about tonight, but optimistic the Dolphins can win one at home (especially since this is our first Monday Night game in forever). But, one key I think is to get Ronnie/Ricky comfortable in the game. I'm not sure this one series and your done scheme is working so well with the backs. Maybe they need to let Ronnie play for a half (with Cobbs giving him a rest), and then let Ricky play for a half. Remember when Ricky won the rushing title a few years back, he'd ALWAYS kill them in the 2nd half (after he got going and tired out the D). I think we need to give each back a chance to get into the game, instead of switching them out every series. Definitely for Ronnie (he's not looking as lethal as he was before the injury). And I love Dan Henning, but the calls last week were probably the worst I've ever seen since the Wannstadt days. He's gotta call better plays, get the "O" into a groove. Good going Mando on questioning those calls (but I knew he'd sidestep the issue, coaches are great at that).

It's not often that I read this blog, but when I do, I drink Dos Equis. I take both with a grain of salt. Stay extremely thirsty my friends.

I just had a tremendous lunch and I feel a few pressure points of my own. Man@#$! I hope the bathroom fan is working here, because I am seriously poking daylight, aka brown capping, prarie dogging etc.

run the ball, keep it close until the 4th quarter, efficient qb play, good defense and special teams?? is this wanstache all over again?

Every week will depend on how well the offensive line plays. I said it before the Atlanta game the winner would be decided between Miami's offensive line and Atlanta's defensive line. Atlanta's D-line clearly won. But I also think Miami's D line was set up for failure. Miami played right into Atlanta's strength and Miami's weakness. Tonight is no different. If they keep going away from the run and ignore the true strength of this offense its going to be a long season for all of us.

Sorry I meant Miami's O-line was set up for failure.

Pennington is the only thing holding us back. better QB, a gamer, will lift and make better everyone on offense...look at what is happennin in NY.

tonight, watch what we have seen the last 10 years. dink & a dunk and managaging the game with hopes of eeking out a win...

our fortunes will change when we find a great QB.

We are gellin like a felon and we are going to run the melon like we are playin against some dude named Ellen, thatz what I am tellin .... boyeeeeeee

I hope penny has an amazing game so everyone who is hating on him will praise him like last season. F**k all of you who flip flop your opinions

cut down on turnovers...we should allow no more than one per game and we should be looking to get at LEAST two takeaways.

Pennington even with noodle arm still needs to look to be more aggressive...nothing wrong with looking for those 10-15 yard completions downfield as opposed to those 3-5 yard completions everyone is expecting.

defense needs another solid night but must enforce at LEAST a couple of turnovers.

our special teams coverage can not routinely have these lapses. they MUST stop doing this.

Good luck Fish!!

We HAVE to win so the Jets fans stay off our blog.That one Jet fan who posted the same thing over n over last night had me feeling like Mr.Greg Cote.



jets fans were loud like against the pats.may all fin fans should listen to MAGDIEL RODRIGUEZ .


good to see us back in prime time. run ricky run.


You beat them the same way the Jets beat NE yesterday. Keep the qb guessing. If he doesn't know and you blitz you will get him

I hate to say this is a must win game but it is a must win game.

Dear Mr. Salguero

Will Jimmy Buffett be performing at halftime ?
If so tell him to put on a clean shirt. I dont want to see any parrot crap on his shoulder during a national spotlight for the Dolphins.

Soiled :)

Dear Mr. Salguero

Come to think of it does Jimmy Buffett have enough hits to cover a halftime show ?

Will the kids understand some people thought this guy was cool ?

Just wondering

Soiled :)

Chris Mortensen from espn.com, one of about a dozen "experts", predicts that dolphins will prevail tonight. everyone else is picking Indy. honestly he's the only experts I pay attention to, especially when he's picking againist us.

The Colts are going to play both safeties up as if they were playing a high school team. There is not an ol in the NFL that can be effective against 2 safeties up.
The bad news: Phins and Stephen Ross humiliated in front of the the fans, the new showbiz partners and the nation.
The good news: Dan Henning will be fired tomorrow and Chad Henne will be named the starter for better or worse.


One of the reason's we lost last week and could not shake the Atlanta "8 in the box," is because we did not throw any balls over 15 yards in the first 3.5 quarters. If Miami wants to run effectively, or throw middle screens that work, etc... WE MUST THROW 3 BALLS DEEP IN FIRST QUARTER. It is as simple as that! We lost last week because of a coaching and gameplan mistakes as much as any other reason.

I just ate at the Jimmy Buffet all u can eat. Its good food at a reasonable prices and the
bathroom is 4 starz .

Enough with the poop jokes you morons. Stick to football.

Here's a sneak preview of the Jimmy Buffet Monday Night Football special tonight.

I am going to Chargers game Sunday. Should I leave my Dolphins Gear home? I don't want to get thrashed in front of my wife.

Dear Mr. Salguero

During the telecast of last nights game between the Giants and Cowboys there was a camera shot showing who I thought was "Stan Laural and Oliver Hardy" but it just turned out to be "George Bush and John Madden".

Soiled :)

I have been to SD at least 6 times... they are a tame crowd. Wear your colors proudly!

The team that scores the most will likey win....

I Hope the dolphin fans show up tonite and not only show up I mean being loud. I went to the jet patriot game and the crowd was so loud that the game ball was given to the fans(12th man) If the meadowlands is like that when the dolphins play I don't think were gonna win not to mention hopefully a 1st place matchup on monday nite where jet fans out number the dolphin fans. Maybe Sparano should take a page out of Rex Ryan book and call the ticket holders and fans how much we need there support. Go Phins

tony sparano will be a good coach but now he cant see that our opponents put 8 in the box and dare us to throw a ball over 10 yds. we got to use the shotgun and 3-4 wideouts to get the defense to back off a bit. (or else our oline is toast!) we have to throw before we can open up the run!!! just watch sanchez when they let him throw in the second half.

Lets hope the air breathing mammals have a phintastic nite...


You make a few good points. But if you do follow the Dolphins then you are aware that Sparano has put in more time this week working with the O-line to get things right.

The Dolphins will improve and that O-line just needs to gel and develope cohesion and rapport with one another. They need to run the ball even if they do it with the wildcat which is usally less than 5% of the time when thet have the ball. Then Pennington will have the time to deliver the ball and not be sacked 4 times and knocked down 13 times etc..., and continue to control the clock.

On Defense the Dolphins have given Manning trouble in the past only then they had a running game which lead to some high scoring games. But now Indy's running game is hurting and we are gonna work on that wound and hammer at it! Stoping the Colts run early and often and this will allow the Dolphins to tee off on Manning!

We should be able to move the ball on the ground against Indy and set up the pass, but we can't get many third and long's especially, early when they the Colts are less winded. Jake Long should be more focused and well as the rest of the Offense and his technique will be better.

Dolphins 24 Colts 13

Dolphins should take advantage of a lack luster running game from the Colts and bring plenty of pressure, hopefully some of those throws will be picked off by Miami.
Dolphins running the ball to set the pass is what I believe they will and should do against a suspect run defense from the Colts, this game to me fits the Dolphins well and we need this game and we will come out hungry on Monday Night Football!

I'm soooo freakin fired up!

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