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Win at all cost or just another game on Sunday?

You know the facts. Since 1990, only three teams have started their seasons 0-3 and still made the playoffs.

The 1992 Chargers started 0-4 and made it to the playoffs. The 1995 Lions started out 0-3 and made the playoffs. The 1998 Buffalo Bills started out 0-3 and made the playoffs. Everybody else that started out 0-3 since 1990 was playing golf by late January.

The Dolphins are 0-2, so history tells you they must beat San Diego Sunday to salvage a good opportunity to make the playoffs. The issue is so important, compelling even, that the great minds on the ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown set this weekend will look at several 0-2 teams -- the Panthers, Titans, and yes, Dolphins -- and tell their respective fans whether they should be patient or start to panic.

The issue will divide the cast among those that believe Sunday's game for Miami is a must-win and those who might think it's not any more important than other games. And in that respect, the divide cuts across the very Miami locker room.

I asked nose tackle Jason Ferguson this week if this game against San Diego is a must-win.

"Yes," he said quickly. "For me it's a must-win. We got to win this game. 0-3 is really hard. I've been there before. You give yourself a reason to go 0-4 and it's all over. And now it's 0-3 and it could be over because when you're 11-5 you may not make the playoffs around [this division.] It's definitely difficult but we put ourselves in this hole. And the good thing is you can look at last year and say we did it before. So let's get W, that's the main thing. 

"Every guy in this room got to be thinking we got to get that W."

Perhaps so, but every guy in the locker room is not thinking this game is make-or-break, must-win, pull-out-all-the-stops time.

"It doesn't make the game any more important," linebacker Jason Taylor said. "Every game is so important. You try your darndest to win them all so we're not going to put extra pressure or focus on this game. It's going to get the same amount it deserves and it always would."

Suggest to Taylor that this game truly is make-or-break and thus requires added effort and he does not buy it.

"I totally disagree," he said. "There's no more sense of urgency than there ever was. It's not like we were chilling the first game and then we lost and now we need to pick it up a little more after the Indy game. It's always been pedal to the metal. So the sense of urgency has not picked up at all. It's the same team. Our defense is going to stay the same. Our offense is going to stay the same. We just need to execute better and not make mistakes and finish games."

So why is Taylor refusing to put an added sense of urgency on this game that Ferguson clearly sees? 

"I don't want to start 'now-we're-pressing' and 'we're up against the wall' because we're 0-2. We're going to do what we do only do it better."

So where do you fall? And why?

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Paul Pasqualoni needs to be called out his lack of ajustment on the defensive side of the ball can not stand it's been two games now that we have been picked apart by the TEs

Hell ya ! this is a must game . Just look at the schedule. i like fergies honesty . Taylor is just giving us the old football cliches.

We need to trade our first round draft pick for a big time reciever this year.

If the dolphins don't win tomorrow, all is lost, and my sundays will be free for about 14 weeks.

sorry, if they don't win sunday... lol... its late

Go Dolphins!

Jason Taylor sounds like somebody in early retirement

Give me a break. Of course it is a must win if they want to make the playoffs. However, this is not a playoff calibre team so it doesn't matter what they do on Sunday because they are not making the playoffs. I think the writing is on the wall and the team has already seen it. They will give up on this season as quickly as the fans.

They had a 45 - 15 TOP advantage and still couldn't win at home no less. Playoffs? Playoffs? Lets just win a flipin game!

If I only recieved my weekly paycheck when we won, It would certainly be a must win then. Katrina is killing me with all that divorce lawyer spending.

Jason Taylor is a bad omen, always spouting of drivel that seems cooked up with some computer program.

On Manning's last drive to kill our season, I thought to myself, "yes, now is the perfect time for Jason Taylor to not make a play." His disappearing act in critical moments for the better part of his career is something I WON'T be missing.

Ted Ginn = done.
Anthony Fasano = done.
Jake Long = done.
Gerbil Wilson = done.
Indside Linebackers = done.
Paul Pasqualoni = done.

I agree with the comment above, at all costs we need a big play-making receiver. In today's game it is crucial to winning big.

Lastly, I can't wait to see what Henne has got.

0-2 this season is like 0-3 any other season. The Dolphins schedule is just brutal. Unfortuantely, the playoffs are already out of reach.

If they couldn't beat Atlanta, they're sure not going to beat Pittsburg, Tennessee, the Saints, etc.....

Last season was a mirage created by an easy schedule. Don't be fooled. The Dolphins are still in rebuilding mode.

Armando

I replayed the Monday Night game yesterday and watched the first game Tuesday.
Looking back at the Atlanta game we can make a case that the offense was still in preseason mode. Against the Colts the defense failed to tackle and stop Manning who is the best play caller at the line of scrimage in the game. Not many stop him. But specifically Wilson missed key tackles that whent for TD's. I'm sure the coaching staff won't let that happen again and get that corrected. So you have to have the sense of urgency but you work hard to get things corrected so that you execute proper tackling and blocking etc...but you have know that the team can not afford to start 0-3 as you pointed out Armando. And we wont!

Look its never as bad as what it seems and never as good as we make it out to be. The Dolphins will get it together and win in San Diego and I really believe that we win our next 3 and head into the bye week 3-2. After watching the two defeats again but this time more objectivley with out the fired up doom or gloom hold your breath on every play energy. LOL but really just watching the blocking assignments and tackling. You don't win titles or anything in September or October, its not how you start but how you finish. I know it sounds cheese or cliche but its true.

Dolphins win at Diego get momentum going and beat the Bills and Jets who you Armando, as you pointed out are beatable. I saw the offensive line come together and play the best game last week I have seen since the Cat' was unvieled. Now its time for the defense to respond and play the way they are capable of playing and come together. The coaching staff will get that worked out. The Dolphins will put a complete game together on both sides of the ball and win.

Course I will be at the game so that should help. lol Yeah baby gonna be there rooting for me Dolphins!

"It's definitely difficult but we put ourselves in this hole. And the good thing is you can look at last year and say we did it before."

I thought it was all about forgeting about last year and this is a new season. turning the page. we lose 2 games and now it is about last season and how we can do the same...

this is definetely a must win game and it's bout time JT played with some urgency!

"Pennington definitely limits an offense. He is a game manager at his very best, he will never win you a game... .

...The Dolphins were rebuilding we were told, but for some reason, instead, the Dolphins win the division and suddenly think they're a playoff team. You can't rebuild and use a transitional QB at the same time. The Dolphins should have taken Ryan or Flacco, really though Ryan was THE pick to make for a team without a QB. It is far easier to get a starting LT than it is a starting QB, and the impact of the QB is far greater."

Post of da year...Sphinx!

I said it before the season started.. This years Miami dolphins will end the season with a record of 10-6. Now saying that, I still would not be surprised to see this team slip to 9 - 7.. and honestly, that would still be a success in many ways.

Think about it this way.. even if we made the playoffs this year, who thinks we're going to the super bowl? Well, as history would prove, it's not impossible.. but i really don't think it's going to happen. Going 10-6 or even 9-7 would still be a success because we ARE rebuilding. Yes, we want to win now, but if you look at what tony sporano has said.. he will admit the team is not where he wants it to be.

If you're going to not make it to the super bowl.. then what is the difference between losing a game in the playoffs and not making the playoffs at all? Nothing.. except for how the media treats them.

Now, in response to the comment suggesting we trade our first rounder for a big time receiver.. I disagree. Great teams are built inside out.. and if you take that game against the colts, and throw in a potential first round linebacker or Defensive Linemen, then we win that game.. In fact.. we win most games. The dolphins are close to being a very good football team. Patience is the answer at this point.

Wow, some good ranting right there : )

Just another game. It's important to win, but I don't think it's a must win. Dolphins could go 0-3 and win 6 straight. Dolphins are that good and that bad.

Tenn. (0-2) is as cranky and grumpy as we are, they will beat the Jets and we will beat the Chargers and we will be just a game behind the Jets in the standings and we haven't even played anyone in our own division yet and come sun. night everybody will feel alot better about the teaM, calm down take a deep breath it's just 2 games, we don't need to sell off and trade the entire team.

"Dolphins could go 0-3 and win 6 straight. Dolphins are that good and that bad."

great post PAZ (lol)

Shawn, people always can look back at a draft and say the team should have done this and the team should have done that. When Miami had the 1st overall pick there were a lot of questions involving Ryan So the Phins went with the safe pick. So let me ask you this what if Miami went with Ryan and he turned out to be a bust and Long turned out to be the best LT in football? You would be saying oh Miami should have gone with Long wouldn't you? Fact is Ryan would not have been as successful with Miami as he is with the Falcons. Why? Because Atlanta already had players in place. I made a post earlier this week pointing out the fact that Atlanta has 13 starters form the 2007 including 4 of their 5 offensive linemen. Miami has 6 starters from the 2007 season.

The draft is done and over with and to whine about it is like crying over spilled milk. One more thing nothing about Jake Long tells me he is a bust. He may have had a bad game but every great player has had one.

LT is the safest 1st rd pick in the draft, u don't find 6'7" 325 lb. lineman just anywhere, QB's are a coin flip at best, for every Manning there's an Akili Smith, Ryan Leaf (touted as the "can't miss" pick), Cade Mcnown, Alex Smith, Tim Couch, Jim Drunkenmiller, for every Matt Ryan a Joey Harrington, Rick Mirer, David Klingler, Heath Shuler, Todd Marinovich. how many LT's have been busts over the last decade? Robert Gallery?(who has been moved inside to Guard so he still can be of use) Walter Jones, Orlando Pace, Jonathan Ogden, Bryant Mckinnie, Chris Samuels, Tra Thomas, Jamaal Brown, Joe Thomas, Ryan Clady, Jake Long, Jeff Otah, Vernon Carey.....Tackles are your safest, smartest pick for a rebuilding franchise.

Guy's look for Miami to have a BIG GAME this week, chargers are hurting with the lost of there center and gaurd. Our D-line should have a moster day.
Look for Ronnie Brown to run wildcat all over.San diego lost there NT for the year there will be a huge hole up the middle.
GO DOLPHINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PS IT"S A MUST WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ferguson is implying that the team is not trying to win every play. Taylor is saying we try hard every play. Mistakes are made and we lose.
I believe in Taylor's way of thinking. Do your job the best you can do and everything falls into place. I am not in the heads of the players on the field. Even though we have been all over Wilson and Ginn this week, I am sure both players were trying. Obviously both have been promoted to their level of incompetence.
Meaning that when Wilson wasn't a starter, he was competent and even good. As soon as he took over the full time assignment against tough teams, his true level of skill showed up.
The same goes for Ginn. If he can't make obviously easy catches for TD's then don't throw the ball to him in those situations. His level of competence is numba 2. So throw to this guy on second and 6 and see what he can do with YAC. But don't rely on this bird for anything other than 6 yards on second and 6.

JT is totally right! He is pointing out that every gam,e is important and that you want to win every game. If you say that you try one game more than the other that means you are not trying you best every game. JT means that every game you give it your all no matter what is on the line. if you are 11-0 or 0-11 you try your best every game because you want to win. If you are a true competitor one game is as important as the next because all you care about is the W!

I am with Fegeruson.

good post by Chuck judge it in ten years God willing and see where the picks play out I'll take Jake over the other two easily

If we stop Sproles, there is no reason we can't control the ball and win. No way is their offense as potent as the colts. Now, with that being said, if we find a way to lose and turn the ball over, it's not going to be a good season. We play the Bills, Jets, and Saints at home, you figure we could win 2 out of 3, we would be 2-4 heading out to play Jets/NE, say we win 1 of those 2, we are 3-5, beat either Tampa or Carolina, we are 4-6, then Buffalo, NE, Jacksonville, 2 out of 3, we are 6-7, then 2 out of our last 3 lands us an ugly 8-8. At best if we beat San Diego, we go 9-7 or 10-6.

Hey guys its Andy from Spain.

This game is totally a win win! Ferguson has the attitude.

I dont want to see me 240$ spent on the season pass go for nothing.

I´d like to see some more action by ayodele and crowder, crowder is making big bucks and be better earn it, or else he´s going to fall into the average kinf of MLB.

I would guess with a good MLB playmaker he would be a great fit but with ayodele they are a very flat duo.

I have a feeling Ginn is gonna do good stuff in SD.

Write that down guys, if not kill me xD

I agree with PAZ, dolphins are able to de the best and win every team and to lose to the worst team in history.

you didn't tackle in training camp cause you decided the best way to prepare for the season is to wait and tackle in a real game. players not use to being hit, so when they do, they fumble the football, can't tackle in the open field cause we just started learning how to tackle when the season started. brilliant

I am hoping they will win on Sun. but if the defense plays that poorly again, its lights out. And there is the season.

This team just has no "it", nothing fancy, no playmakers on either side. And on the offense, ronnie and rickie are awesome, but they can't do it all. Whether you blame the qb (penne) or the receivers (mostly ginn on here), you have no passing and def no long passing.

So if we are rebuilding lets put some young players in there, icluding henne, white, moses, waker, etc. and let's see what they can do and who we need to get rid of and which holes to fill.

And while I hate the Jets, there team in 1 offseason is so much more improved, so much. They got great def players that we didnt go after and they run different schemes-we didnt and we dont. We are so predictable on offense and defense...and don't put white in to hand off to ronnie, Penne can do that-lol.

tailgate tested, tailgate approved

This is from ProFootballWeekly.com...

Miami at San Diego

MIA 29th OFF; SD 20th DEF

MIA 22nd RUN; SD 25th VS. RUN

MIA 27th PASS; SD 13th VS. PASS

MIA 31st PTS; SD t-24th PTS ALLOWED

SD 5th OFF; MIA 7th DEF

SD 30th RUN; MIA 9th VS. RUN

SD 1st PASS; MIA 15th VS. PASS

SD 8th PTS; MIA 15th PTS ALLOWED

MIA t-29th TO/TA; SD t-14th TO/TA

MIA HAS WON ALL 6 GAMES VS SD IN PAST DECADE.

MIA HAD 4 TURNOVERS IN WEEK ONE LOSS TO ATL.

MIA HAS WON 4 OF LAST 6 ON THE ROAD.

SD HAD 60 YDS RUSHING VS MIA IN 2008 MEETING.

PHILIP RIVERS HAD CAREER HIGH 436 YDS LAST WEEK.

SD 9-2 WHEN VINCENT JACKSON HAS 74 YDS OR MORE.

to all farmers of the dolphin nation;

the dolphins came to boston last year having started 0-2 and w/ more odds of winning and played a classic game and defeated the pats and became the AFC champs.if this happens again in sunday this team will FLY again.just need the win at the wright time.

PS.. SUPPORT YOUR TEAM FARMERS .

Jason's right.
The same sense of urgency applies to every game.

Unlike last season, 10-6 may get you in this year - its wide open. New England, Tenn, Pitt have all struggled. It doesn't look like there is a dominant team in the league yet, the closest being the NYGs. NYJ and Balt and Indy are everyones faves, but teams can lose 2,3 4 or more games in a row in a mid-season slide.

The nice things about 0-2 (if there is such a thing) is that there is no false sense of security or bravado, coaches will have every players ear, and if you can put together a streak of 3 or 4 wins together, you are a stronger team mentally for overcoming it.

Thats important in November and December on late game drives. Lets hope those late games actually count.

I'll say it again. Beat your own division and you are probably in. Thats ALL that matters. You dont get style points for beating teams 35-0 and locking up homefield by December. Just ask the Titans last year.

Rebuilding? We've been "rebuilding" for 30+ years! We are just cursed by the NFL after going 17-0 in 1972. The NFL Gods let us win in 1973 and then they said that is enough. The curse is on in South Florida. We will never win another SB ever...Simple as that.

Is it just me, or does the D look slooooow?

I hate you fickle fans that say we are done. You will be right back on the bandwagon when the team is 5-3 and looking at an easier 2nd half of the schedule.

We have lost 1 game in the AFC and that was to a team that will likely win their division. We win in our division and against other teams that will be vying for a wildcard spot and we get in either as AFC East champs or gaining tiebreakers with those other teams.

Houston, Tennesse, and Pittsburgh. Those are the teams that will be trying to get wild card spots in the AFC and we play each of them in the last 3 weeks of the season with 2 of those games at home (that's a big plus for us in December).

Our last 8 games include Tampa, Carolina, Buffalo, and Jacksonville. All games we should win. We play only 1 cold weather game all year and that is at Buffalo Nov 29.

A 6-2 or 5-3 second half of the season is not hard to imagine. You fair weather fans better not be on here talking about how we can make a run by beating those 3 when week 13 comes along.

All this doom and gloom...

It doesn't look to me like this division is as strong this year as it was last year. Buffalo and the Yets will have their usual late season collapse and the Pats look pretty beatable (should be 0-2).

The Fins being 0-2 isn't so bad if 9-7 wins this division.

Hey and besides worst case scenario we get a good draft pick next year!

GO FINS!!

We are done.
Taylor & the coaching staff have given up on the season.

Slow??? Hell yea! You think Rex Ryan or Norville Turner didn't notice neither Channing Crowder or Yeremiah Bell couldn't cover slow footed Dallas Clark? Antonio Gates and Dustin Keller will be thrown to at least 12 times unless the Phins play more zone. They don't have a LB or safety fast enough to cover any TE and have not put much pressure on the QB.

Look at it this way the Fins take care of business in the Division (6-0), which is possible since none of their division rivals have great tight ends. Miami has shown they can shut down big time WR's (Reggie Wayne and Roddy White) which is very promising. Then all they have to do is beat SD, TB, Carolina. Just like that 9-7.

GO FINS

And did I mention if nothing else Miami gets a good draft pick!!

Mando, I've asked this before, but is there any chance that we might see a blog entry from you that recapped the utter dysfunction of the 2004 Dolphins? I've always been curious to know more of the details of the in-fighting that caused Collier to step back from being the OC and drove Ricky away from the team.

Thanks.

I hate JT's attitude.. He's sucha loser... of course, this is a 'must-be' and there should be an urgency of winning this game..

What everyone needs to face it that we were'nt nearly good enough to be drafting from the #25 position this year. We need far too many high quality players. 11-5 was fools gold. We would have been far served at 5-11 and drafting inside of the top 10.

Wouldnt hurt my feelings one bit if this season record is 5-11, we draft inside of the top 10 and get higher quality calibered players our team desperately needs.

I totally agree with Taylor...you have to play EVERY game as if it were the most crucial game of the season. You can't look at the first game of the year as a "it's okay if we don't come away with this one...we still have 15 more." Nobody is guaranteed a win during any part of the regular season...just ask the Detroit Lions. Anybody who feels the opposite at one point or another didn't give it their all, and that has no place on an NFL field.

Dfins006,
I think you already had your mind made up on JT before you skimmed over his statement.
He said, point blank, its always 'pedal to the metal'. Thats being a professional.
How do you qualify him as a loser? There is no win loss column for JT, only the team.

Wow, it seems everyone is happy going 9-7, barely a winning record. Why the hell play the season if that's what you are aiming for. I rather go 5-11, test and let the young guys get some experience, and aim for the draft, since we need alot of help.

I am not ready to give up but if we can't win the next few games, do as above. At least you know where your players stand.

And yes the defense is friggin slow and weak...they can't tackle. Really? I am disappointed with the defense, the play calling on off/def (no blitzes), and the lack of passing...why have a speed guy (ginn) if you can't throw it 50yrds?

Guys: first we must go 1-2, then we'll start the blah-blah over "a 10-6 finish", "9-7 wins the division", "a 6-2 second half", etc...

This team hasn't show us anything new yet.
We already knew the Wildact produces, that CP is remarkable at throwing 10 yards pass to the sidelines and that our CBs are above average.

But for the rest (LB coverage on TE and on screen passes, vertical passing game, running game with our base unit, clock management at the end of the games, etc), I'M STILL WAITING FOR ANY SIGN of PROGRESS.

So please let's concentrate on 1-2 before talking playoffs...

If they go 0-3 it's time to give Henne the ball. We need to know now what we have for the future. There is no reason to kid ourselves about making playoff if we go 0-3

I agree with both of them!

I mean, as Jason says, every game is SO important, that you should be giving it your all every game (although once officially knocked out of playoff contention, am sure it slips). From a game preparation point of view, they will focus on this game as they would any other - with all they have.

But on the flip side, game prep is the only thing that happens in a vaccuum. From week to week, you need to ignore past and future and just prepare for the next game. From a standing point of view, this game is so much more important than the previous two, because the first two were loses, because we are 2 games behind the Jets. Wins and losses are not looked at in isolation. They must be read in context of how many wins their rivals have, how many games are left.. the possibility of making the playoffs or winning the division drastically decrease during each loss.

So again, I think they are both right, but they are taking about two completely different aspects of the game. Taylor is focusing on prep while Fergy is focusing on the importance of the outcome.

but only the outcomes counts..."you are what you record says you are" (does that one come from Parcells?)
I'd rather win a badly prepared game than losing a well-prepared one...
So what JT says is pure crap.

You guys seem to forget we barely squeaked out about 6 wins over some very poor teams. If we lose those games instead of winning, we would have even better overall youth and talent this season via the draft than we presently have now.

As far as higher quality youthful talent on the squad, going 11-5 we may have taken a step backward in the rebuilding schedule not forward. But you guys wanna shot for the SB every year no matter what kind of crap's on the team.

Shaun, where are you from ?

I meant the other SHAWN.

RIPP and CHUCK , excellent posts regarding the draft. RIPP , atlanta had the leading rusher in michael turner , wr's michael jenkins and roddy white , and a good OL. Ryan woould definitley not have been as effective in miami with no wr's ( Ginn , that's it) and no OL. Remember the fins wouldn't have long on that line. Chuck the history os successful LT's over qb's in the top 10 is undeniable.

Here we have 1 poster saying that penny is a game manager and CAN'T WIN A GAME, which is ridiculous , but what's even more RIDICULOUS is another poster saying that's the quote of the year. LMFAO ! . The ignorance never on here never suprises me anymore. I'm not a BIG penny fan , but the guy was RUNNER-UP for mvp , threw for almost 4000 yds, brought a team from 1-15 to WINNING YES, WINNING 11 games. I recall penny winning alot of games ( including many come from behind wins ), Including the biggest game last year at the meadowlands for the division title. As far game managing goes , I remember bob greise helping miami MANAGE 2 super bowls.. In recent memory i remember Trent tilfer , brad johnson and even eli manning MANAGE Their team to super bowl Wins. Fact are facts. And 1 fact is miami simply isn't talanted enough around penny on both sides of the ball yet.

I'm not satisfied with just making the playoffs, I want a fricking championship. We don't have that team yet. We need a big play receiver, a big arm QB, a playmaker on defense and our DB's to gel. Until then we will continue to get trounced by the Baltimore Ravens of the world.

Wait a sec, doesn't sound like you asked them the same question. Ferguson is answering whether the game is a must-win. Taylor seems to be answering whether extra effort is required. Not the same thing, but nice swerve on trying to set up that either/or.

I don't think Giribil Wilson should be starting NFL player. If he miss more tackle sunday I hope he delivering my pizza or cut my grass for no tip.

Ok, that too mean, I used to work in restaurant long time ago, you have to tip. Giribil, here you tip:

If you want to be starting NFL player, you have to wrap up tackle. Maybe you ride with Cuban Menace for day and see how he tackle people who steel from cinnabun stand in mall.

Carlito makes a lot of sense .he tackles the panic at hand .not like nj phin he only talks to impress others or himself .

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