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Live blog of must-win game today

The Dolphins must win today's game against the Tampa Bay Bucanneers.

That sounds strange to the ears because we are only at the halfway point in the season, a loss wouldn't mathematically eliminate Miami from any race and good things could still happen. But the importance of today's game goes beyond sheer mathematical calculations relative to playoff possibilities.

The reasons Miami must win are two-fold.

The team finds itself 3-5 and the coaching staff has hung a short-term goal of evening that out at 5-5 in the span of five days. In other words, coach Tony Sparano has told his team that despite being 3-5, by next Thursday they could be at .500 if they do good work against Tampa Bay today and on Thursday against Carolina.

"We have two games in a week and we need to get a handle on the first part of this first," Sparano said, "but as I said before there are 16 teams right now that are somewhere between 3 and 5 wins. Well, in a week we can be right in the middle of all that mess, instead of kind of at the end of all that mess. I would say they know the importance, I say they know the importance very much of this football game first. Then we will worry about where we are.”

There is another reason today is a must-win game. Because today is the tipping point. I have noticed on blogs and radio shows that some fans are no longer following the lead of Sparano and Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland in zombie-like fashion.

I've noticed fans starting to question, even disagree at times.

That still represents a minority of fans because Sparano and Parcells and Ireland are still drinking from the resevoir of good will they filled with an 11-5 season in 2008. And rightfully so.

But lose to 1-7 Tampa Bay and the level of that resevoir drops dramatically. The Dolphins, you see, are still not a championship team. But they are a team that has beaten teams they should beat. They might lose games against superior teams, as they have this year and folks understand that.

But they have not lost any games the past couple of years to inferior teams. So fans have an expectation about beating certain bad teams. And the Bucs are inferior. They are young, have a rookie coach, a rookie quarterback, and not a ton of talent. So Miami should beat them.

If the Dolphins do as they are supposed to, everything will remain calm. But if the Dolphins lose today, oh boy, the natives will become restless. The bloom would be off the rose. The honeymoon would be over.

The Dolphins don't want restless natives, finished honeymoons, or de-bloomed roses in their midst. So that makes today's game a must-win.

I request you join me to see what happens during today's live blog of the game. It starts in the comments section below. I will be updating posts with whatever news comes out of the pregame. Meantime, discuss whether today is must-win for the reasons I outlined.

Remember: The Dolphins must win a game they should win. Otherwise, the resevoir of good will is lost.

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These two games are also must wins as it is the first time all season that we play two inferior teams in a row while the Pats play two games they could very well lose and we could make up a lot of ground in the division!

obviously i dont speak for all fans, but if they lose today im not jumping off the sparano bandwagon. i like what the team has done. we have good young players. smith and davis will be good in the secondary for years to come. the dl is growing befor our eyes and we finally have an ol that is not an embarrasment. face it. 99% we are not winning the super bowl this year. so in the big picture this game doent mean that much. we definitely should win, but a loss isnt a franchise breaker. the carolina game is going to be tough. they arent as bad as their record and it will be a road prime time game.

hope to see more pat white today. he is fast.

I think the Fins win a close game.

must win!

glad Phins honoring military!

Are we in the white jerserys?

Come on Dolphins! Let's beat the Bucs!!! I live in the Central Florida area, and I'm sick and tired of hearing about the Bucs and the Jags. Winning today would be an awesome week for me!

BTW, Mando, have you heard any more news on why Joey Porter is out? I know Coach Sparano sat him, but I don't know why. Either way, I'd like to see more of Wake today!

If we lose this game then Sparano will lose the team and a lot of finger pointing will begin

Has Patrick Turner been activated for the game?

My biggest disagreement with the coaching staff has been our play calls on second down. I thought there were many questionable play calls last week that set up for very tough third down situations. Other than that the dolphins r still a young team in many key areas (qb, secondary, wr, and I believe the oline is closer to young than old) and I think the right guys are in place to make the dolphins a team to be reckoned with in a few years

Hey Armando did you fall sleep at the computer again?

They lost my goodwill when they kept saying Joey Porter was better than Wake stopping the run. Sorry, but even before Joey's crazy decline this year he sucked against the run. And his play this year is so bad that I can't think of a single player in the league that's worst than Joey against the run.

So the Fins coaches were feeding us crap when they said Wake wasn't out there because of his play against the run. The truth is they stood by Porter when it was clear his play was losing them games. But they lost me with that. Because I thought they were all about playing the best performers.

The Porter situation showed me they are willing to lose games in order to stick by a player that doesn't perform. For reasons beyond my comprehension.

Who has been activated in place of Porter? Can we expect Turner to be seeing some game action today?

I think what you fail to mention is that they have given superior teams, New Orleans, Indy, and arguably New England, everything they could handle. A couple of plays separated us from victory against the Colts and Saints and I think both those teams had a sense they got away with a win, esp the Colts.

At what point is Coach P and the defensive staff---especially a supposed head coach in waiting Todd Bowles come up with a game plan to lead this team?

They skate by all the time.

It is laughable that people think that Joey Porter is they issue. We shall see today.

Armando has benn blogging all week about Turner...HE IS NOT PLAYING

Any links to watch the game?

To say Porter has been ineffective against the run is idiotic..Miami has one of the best run defenses in this league, you don't achieve that status by having Porter totally ineffective...give me a break

Oh, Tommya made that comment..now I understand why it was so idiotic

I thought we had no chance to sign Chambers.

Personally I am on the band wagon with the management team. From the bottom to the middle of the pack in one season is something to see. We only get so many draft picks. Some of the picks have to develop. We have a good running team. I good o line and a pretty good d line. The qb is looking strong.
Now they may not bring us all the way to the promised land in the next couple of years but the team competes, week in and week out. I would love to see a couple of more wrinkles in the Wild Cat. And next year get us some linebackers. Ours seem old and slow. Oh and some wide receivers.

The Cuban is on line right now guys, what shall we talk about???

Cuban, let's talk about how we are gonna destroy Tampa today

According to NFL.Com, Mia v TB game preview, depth chart has been released and Patrick Turner is in! Also says Cameron Wake starts.

Great subject bobby, Hopefully ronnie and ricky should have a field day against the worse rated run D in the league thus freeing up Chad(96 inch neck)Henne to throw... To Who is to be determined, hopefully Ted(Sideline)Ginn will be relegated to K.O return duty, PLEASE DONT LET HIM LINE UP AT WIDE OUT...

who in the heck is inactive for todays game? anyone hear yet?

Patrick Turner is active today.

Steve, Jusy said Pat Turner active and Cameron Wake starts......

Omar announced it half hour ago. Follow him in Twitter. He uses Twitter correctly. Unlike Armando. Mando has better blogs though.

Nat Garner starting for Smiley. Moses in for Walden on ST

So, Wake starts at strongside or weakside linebacker?

No smiley?? F***. Turner I'll b glad to see him play

Was Folsom resigned to the Practice Squad?

Hallelujah, lets see if Turner can catch better than Ginn, shouldn't be hard, one thing I'd like to see is more play from our base offense, let Henne get in rythm shelf the pat white/wildcat and lets try and get Wake feasting on Freeman's rookie ass!!!

Omar Kelly just said that he thinks the Fins were not focused this week at practice.

That means the Fins win 25 points.

Any good links to watch the game online?

TURNER IS ACTIVE....GINN is starting

WAKE just got a sack

New blog was posted

bobbyd12,

I guess Porter has been scaring running backs into getting tackled. Getting swallowed by TE's really does help the run defense, I guess.

Seriously, if you're saying Wake is worst than Porter against the run then you're smoking the same crap the Fins coaches are smoking.

This game is unloseable. Even without Smiley.

Yes! Can't wait to see what Turner has to offer.

BUCS will be dangerous because they’ll be playing like they have nothing to lose. Since they know they aren’t going to the playoffs, they’ll try to be spoilers the rest of the season by taking risks that a playoff bound team wouldn’t dare take (like running on 4th down on their side of the field). Why not gamble, what’s one more loss going to do anyway?

FINS KNOW BUCS can be dangerous. FINS also know that they have a remote chance of winning their division or getting in as a wildcard (depending on if they win out or lose one game).

They also know that this might possibly be the easiest game of the season for them. Panthers are getting better and Texans aren’t a pushover. One loss will most probably happen against PATS or Steelers (preferrably Steelers).

FINS need to run on them early and build up a 14 to 21 lead . FINS can then use BUCS as guinea pigs to “test” and “perfect” new spread offense passing plays using Pat White plus “4 wide receiver sets” for Henne. Who knows they might even test some A-11 offense plays (see www.A11offense.com)with both White and Henne in the backfield. On defense they will also be testing Wake and other defensive alignments to plug the leak in their passing defense. If BUCS can’t pass on FINS, it will be a long day for BUCS.

I thought Sparano said he would not dress 5 WRs this week.

Happy that Turner is active. Would like to see him make 1 or 2 catches today. I think good possibility for that with Fassono out. Yesturday, I was thinking about Turner, what do you think long term looking at him as TE. He is 6' 5" 225. If he added 20 - 25 punds I really think it sould be looked into and I am sure the coaching stafff has thought about. Provided he can learn to block. I do think he has good hands. I remember watching him in practice. Saw him make some nice catches. Of course that is paractice. It seems a lot teams allow the TE (Dolphins included) a free release at the line of scrimmage. Based upon what Henning said about not used to be being pressured at the line of srimmage by corners, it could be good option for him, provided he can learn to block.

Let me know your thoughts.

Go Dolphins.

if anyone can post a stream link iot would be raaaaad

One more thing. Before the end of the season, I would like to see one game we don't use the wildcat. I would like to see Henne take all the snaps in the game just to see how he reacts. I realize the wildcat works pretty good, but it has too affect the rythum of Henne. Several times he has completed 3 of 4 or 3 or 4 in row and was moving the team only to bring him out of the game and then putting him back in on 3rd and long. We need to see what he can do by the end of the year. And, he needs that game time experience.

Just a thought.

Go Dolphins!

I kind of agree with that. This is a kind of rookie season for Henne and to REALLY see what he's got we need to let him take us through a whole game, get a bit of a rythem and see if does have what it takes!!! I like the Wildcat but I'm sure we'd all like to see us playing a regular offence with a splash of wildcat rather than the other way about!!!

Let's go Dolphins! Win is all I need to say!!1

Stream link anyone??

So whos spot is turner gone take bc coach said he wasnt using a empty set yet

surprise surprise.....pass one to Ginn...another drop......why is he playing??????

The new Dolphins slogan. What can Brown do for you?

Sadley this week the game isen't being showed in NY, anywhere I can watch the game online!?

Ronnie!!

Link 2 Game
http://www.justin.tv/mediphin

Thx Go Miami!

WTF!! Put Gin on punt returns

God our special teams stinks. Two negative plays already. Why? Oh Yah. When a fish rots it starts at the head.

I swear they need to stop letting davonne return punts

Just tuned in and it looks like tampa is handing it to the the Dolphins. Oh you guys suck!

No talent dolphins

Would like to know how many fumbles there have been this year, on both sides of the ball, and how many have been recovered by the Dolphins. We don't seem to react very fast.

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