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Dolphins biggest 2009 opponent? Themselves

Last season the Dolphins had a style of play which they rode to the playoffs.

The roster was not busting at the seams with talent, but the Dolphins found a way to keep the ball longer than the other team, found a way to close out games, and rarely, if ever, beat themselves -- at least not until the playoffs came around.

Today we focus on the third of those three points. Today we focus on turnover ratio.

Last season the Dolphins set an NFL record, along with the New York Giants, by having only 13 turnovers. As a result, Miami led the NFL with a plus-17 take-away, give-away margin.

Said poetically, the Dolphins didn't beat themselves.

This year, the Dolphins aren't doing such a good job of helping the opposition.

"It’s ridiculous, it’s very critical," a concerned Tony Sparano said. "Looking at it right now, we’re about 10 more interceptions and 10 more fumbles more right now than we were last year at this time. That’s not good football, that isn’t winning football. That’s not what we talk about, that’s not what we try to practice, just not good. Can’t win like that. Can’t win consistently."

The Dolphins this year have dropped to 25th in the NFL in turnover margin. They are at minus-7 with 25 total give-aways. Those gifts come on 15 interceptions and 10 fumbles.

"There’s a lot of energy put into overcoming those things," Sparano said. "We overcame it last week and won the game, fought our tails off this week and didn’t win the game, but got back into the game only to lose. There’s a lot of energy spent overcoming turnovers, overcoming untimely penalties, those type of things. This team’s been pretty good with penalties all year long. We had a few [against Tennessee].

"The turnover thing, it’s hard to overcome. It’s not only us, it’s everybody in the league. You get down like that turnover-wise, hard thing to do. We put ourself in that position [Sunday], and we knew it going into the game. We just knew that that was something – it was one of the keys to the game for us. Every week, we start the week off, ‘This is a key to the game.’ That’s not good."

The fact Chad Henne took over at quarterback for the more experienced but injured Chad Pennington had something to do with the higher turnover margin. Pennington threw seven interceptions all of last year. But the way I see it, the Dolphins have no choice but to grin and bear it, really, with the high rate of interceptions unless they are going to put a big leash around Henne.

And they can't do that in games like Sunday's when the team is trailing 24-6. You have to throw. And the defense knows you have to throw. So the Dolphins have to simply hope time is a friend and Henne's maturation cuts down the interception number.

But the really frustrating stat is the 10 fumbles with two games left to play. Miami fumbled only six times all of last season.

Coaches have been working with ballcarriers on their ball security for several weeks in practice.

It's a good bet when the team goes back to practice Wednesday afternoon, that work will continue. 

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Ricky is a fumbler, he's always been a fumbler...Is this news to ANYONE? Henne is essentially a first year QB with what is defined as "the least intimidating receiving corps in the NFL"...With that said, he's also made plenty of mistakes, but, some of the picks this year were the fault of receivers making the wrong reads or running the wrong routes and/or the ball bouncing off their hands into the defenders. I actually like a lot of what I see with Henne, but, two 3 INT games in a month isn't great...

Stop the leaking and the Dolphins win the games. Fumbles and interceptions often mean a team is making small mistakes.
It will only get better.

Agree that you have to expect the interception ratio to go up -- way up with an inexperienced QB taking the reigns from a guy like Pennington who rarely ever forces a throw. But the fumbles have been a bit of a let-down between Fasano earlier in the year and Ricky and Bess of late...

The turnovers have definitely cost them games.

If Bess doesn't fumble, the Dolphins beat New Orleans.

If Ricky doesn't throw a pick, the Dolphins beat Buffalo.

They'd be in the playoffs without a few key turnovers.

Good point about Henne, Armando. You can't really complain about Henne's picks. He's a 1st year starter with a less than stellar receiving corp. If you drop back 50 times a game, he's going to make a few bad decisions and bad throws.

This species definitely is of conservation concern - the degree depends on where in the world you look.

henney needs a little more time .
he has a gun and uses that well at times and then at times he doesn't put that gentle touch an the pass.
henney's deep passes sometimes doesn't have that arc so that the receiver can run under it,he strong arms it down field and our receivers aren't fast enough to adjust the rout and get to the ball.
henney sometimes stares down his receivers as he did with the pass to ricky in the endzone.
when vet qb's throw that pass they put it at the back of the endzone so only the receiver can come down with it.
henney's shot that pass perfectly in the past.

henney is making rooky mistakes and he will learn, so we need to be patient.

fumbles come from running back & receivers etc. from either fighting for more yardage or running in tunnel vision and losing concentration on everything else going on around you and you let down on you concentration on the ball.
but both come down to concentration on the ball to do something else like run through a hole or fight for extra yards.

I hate turnovers...I LOVE when the FINS create turnovers.

Good call mrmikejohnson. you have to throw dropped balls in there. One thing I notice watching the saints play, they may turnover the ball, but hardly drop the balls. We would of beat Indy if Ginn holds ball. Along with NE in NE. Henne's fine, will and should start next season.

"So the Dolphins have to simply hope time is an friend and Henne's maturation cuts down the interception number." - "an friend"? If your paper can't spring for a copy editor, here's a hint - MS Word, Tools - Spelling and Grammar Check. It's kind of... you know, professional?

turnovers will kill you so does not having enough talent on offense. this team needs a major up grade at the receiver spot but then again everyone knows that. more play makers at linebacker but then everyone knows that. it is the same song and dance week in and week out the second year of the regime was going to be hard. last year was no fluke we just didn't play good teams. with a proper draft and some free agent signing 2010 will be a great year.lets not forget dan the man took the fins in his second year so there hope right around the corner. P.S CROWDER AND WILSON STILL SUCK.

Fasano fumbles twice in Atlanta. Another game it was Bess. Ricky has had a couple of good/bad games. Henne is throwing more ints. lately. This could possibly be from opponents noticing his tendency to overthrow his receivers and have a safety floating back there. There is more than a turn over taking place. The energy gets drained from the players. Sadly, when the team loses, these plays over shadow the great plays. (Hartlines int. breakup and eventual reception comes to mind here.)

Dear Duh- your comment was idiotic, feel better?

Some of the fumbles we did not lose the ball, so I don't think that stat is as bad as it sounds. Mostly it is multiple picks in a game that have hurt us, and I would say that is a tie with dropped passes. If Ginn catches a couple more, and Henne throws a couple less picks, we are in the playoffs. We are not far away guys.

The Dolphins have also faced better teams this year. This leads to more turnovers.

Add to the mix that Pennington couldn't force the ball downfield. Sure there weren't turnovers, but there were no plays either.

I think the problem is here Chad's become a victim of his own success. Meaning when he first stepped in for Penne noone had a right to hope for the playoffs, just a constant maturation of the new young QB and a few wins, however Chad Henne was instantly alot better than many gave him credit and us fans got carried away with ourselves and dreamed of the playoffs hence why now Henne has thrown a few interceptions of late some guys are a little dissapointed, the thing is with our lack of a No 1 receiver, 1-2 punch at RB and 2 rookie corners we aint ever gonna do anything in the playoffs if we even get there but next season is another ball game.
Henne has been tremendous apart from a few bad throws which are perfectly understandable, if someone had told me after 11 starts he would be 7 and 4 I'd have took it and I'm sure most would, throw in a No1 receiver (Highest priority surely), a good draft (No more Pat White picks!!!) and more experience for the rookies (QB included) and this team is ready to challenge next season, I can't wait for next season already!!! Go Henne, Go Fins!!

Fumbles smumbles, when we win everyone forgets about them.

Replace Wilson and Ayodele and get us a top receiver and we will be able to overcome any future fumbles.

Good point Rockmeister. You get the feeling on this team that Gibril can never make a play on the ball. This guy is an undersized linebacker. Doubt he could even play SS, but he can tackle. Any ball skills he once had are clearly gone - but he can tackle.

The playoffs I believe is there for our taking. I believe Denver will lose to the Eagles and I am hoping Pittsburg wins against the Ravens. Then, we win out, which is a must, and we are in the playoffs...

If that is the case hello PATRIOTS for the 3rd time this year...

Why don't you blow out it your butt, Duh?

Deuces.

Merry Christmas, Mando

there are two glaring problems with this team and turnovers are not them. 1)we have to be cute on offense when we should just line up and run out of a 2rb set.2) we have to have the worst starting unit of LBs in the NFL. Porter doesnt try,jason has held up but he's not a LB,channing could be great but i think he's trying to hard to cover up for akin, who bring nothing to the table period. I think this years draft will bring us at least 2 of the top 5 mlb and olb in draft, with a TE getting high consideration (grisham of OK) in 2rd. we need big,fast,and skilled LBs not slow,tweener and borderline at best skilled LBs. The sign of how bad our LBs are, is the way teams kill us with running QBs and RB AND TE in the flats and on seam routes. THIS MUST STOP! If henne was 5yr veteran i would be made about the TO's but he has to have GROWING PAINS in order to get better. Bess and Williams TO's are from lack of focus and a little bad luck

LMAO @ Duh, you funny dude

i hated the fact that ppl are down on WHITE,true we could have used the pick on a LB or a WR but if you have veteran LB's and no vet at WR to school a younger or rookie WR why bother. it's the same crap shoot. give the front office props for being ahead of the time, football is changing from pee-wee's to pro's. WHITE was like new kid moving to new city and school for the first time NERVOUS. WE witness PAT's role vs. tenn sunday and that will be the trigger man for the wildcat and a true college spread formation to max. talent incoming b/c most these kids dont even know what the i-formation is

Not to knock on Henne, because i am fan of his and believe he will be great, but he is just making some of those rookie mistakes that is expected for a first time starter. This year has been a success, because i like our future, at least we can take this season and say i cant wait to see how we will improve versus we will need a miracle to even win a couple of games.

Well, this week is nerve wrecking for the simple fact that Houston has ANDRE JOHNSON, i just hope our secondary can contain him, we cant give up big plays to them. I got Miami winning for the first time against Houston. Payback!

Today the best column I read was how the dolphins helped out the Lady with MS and her kids that was a great play at this time of yr.So for today Armando I wish you and yours and everyone else who has posted on this blog a very Merry christmas and a happy new yr,and I will worry about the football later on

Hopefully Henne will even out his td/int ratio (9/12) in these last 2 weeks. Whats Palomaulu's status?

Happy holidays to everyone! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Hopefully we are celbrating the new year with a playoff birth!!

Hopefully the Dolphins celebrate festivus.

We will air our grievances, and players will provide a great feat of strength.

I believe Palomaulu will be playing this week and if not, he will be playing next week. That is at least what is expected and the news around the league, but we will just have to wait and see.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves, this week we have the Texans and we have to beat them for the first time ever or it won't matter if Palomalu is playing or not. We can't afford to look past the Texans, like we have in the past!!!

GO FINS

Let's go dolphins

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