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Dolphins feelings on Davis, Smith show Sunday

'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring ...

Yeah, about the Dolphins cornerbacks: I told you folks long ago that you should listen to just about every word coach Tony Sparano says about his players. You should gauge those words. And then you should measure those words against what the Dolphins do either on the field or in contract talks or with their personnel decisions.

That's how you find out what these Dolphins really think of their players.

Sparano, you see, has a no-public-criticism policy relative to players. So a dude can fumble four times the past two games and you will not hear Sparano tell you he's displeased. A player can miss a dozen tackles and you won't hear the coach utter a reproach.

But you'll see guys benched. Or demoted. Or something on the field will tell you how the coaches really feel.

So this week you'll see what coaches think of their two young cornerbacks, Sean Smith and Vontae Davis.

Publicly, both players are playing well and both players need to continue improving to reach their potential. Sunday's game against the Houston Texans, and more specifically against Andre Johnson, might offer the most challenging test either rookie has faced.

That's because Johnson is statistically the best receiver the Dolphins have faced this season and because subjectively, he might be up there with Drew Brees and Peyton Manning as the best player the Dolphins have faced all year.

(And I'm not just saying that because he went to Miami High, like me, and went to The U, like me.)

"When you’re playing against players of this caliber week-in and week-out, it does help you," Sparano said Wednesday. "I’ve seen both of them learn from playing against some of these players along the way at different times. I think that it will help them, sure I do."

But how the Dolphins play Johnson will tell you what they think of their rookies.

Remember earlier this year when the Dolphins would allow their corners to match up with whomever lined up opposite them? That lasted a while until the Dolphins starting matching up. And typically it was Davis lining up against Randy Moss or Terrell Owens or the big reputation receiver, despite his smaller (5-11) stature.

That told you that coaches felt Davis, shorter but more physical, had a better chance of working successfully against the taller receivers. It didn't work out too well. Sure, Davis had his moments. But he gave up long TDs to both Moss and Owens.

Well, last weekend, the Dolphins had a switch of tactic. The Dolphins put Smith. who is 6-3 and 215 pounds, against fellow long and lanky rookie Kenny Britt. Britt, 6-3 and 218 pounds, was Tennessee's leading wide receiver.

Smith held him to two catches for 32 yards -- a good outing for Smith.

Davis had a tougher day against the Titans. He had an interception, to be sure. But he also gave up two touchdown passes -- one to Justin Gage and one to Nate Washington.

So this Houston game will tell you which player the Dolphins believe is currently their best young cover corner. Smith? Or Davis?

This game will tell you which player the Dolphins believe is more ready to challenge the best wide receiver in the game.

Of course, the chances of Miami putting just one of their corners on an island against Johnson should be low -- better be low or coordinator Paul Pasqualoni will have to answer for it next week.

But the corner that draws the assignment for Miami against Johnson? That's the kid the coaches really believe is their best on the roster. No question about that.

[Update: Everyone practiced today, including Jason Taylor, who is nursing a shoulder injury. The game has been declared a sellout and will be televised locally.]

Merry Christmas everyone! My gift to you is the video below. Enjoy and God bless you all! 

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When I saw this headline, I thought that both of the starting CBs are going to be out on Sunday. What's with that?

Me 2. Botched headline mando. I thought injury. Almost gave me heart sttack.

Merry Christmas Armando! I think both corners have their up and down moments. Both have played very well in games and both have given up that big play or penalty. They will become the best duo in the league in the future.

Here is a question: What happens when Will Allen comes back from injury? Is he benched for Smith and Davis or traded or will someone to switch to a safety position?

While I think who lines up
opposite Andre Johnson will be somewhat telling, it is not really that important. Vontae seems to be the risktaker, all or nothing, while you don't really see Sean making impact plays. They are different in how they approach it, but both are successful. These guys have gone against not only the best QB's this year, but also the majority of the best WR's. With experience, these guys are only going to get better. They will have seen every route, understand what the QB is trying to do to them, and not be so prone to double moves. The flexibility they have shown in being able to both line up against the other team's best WR is something I am excited about. And you have to think that these guys at some point realized they are not going to get the Safety help that they should have. Adding a real safety is only going to make these guys better. Oh, and both pretty good tacklers, and get involved in stopping the run.

Merry Christmas Mando!

smith is a step slow, and davis is out of postion or cant seem to turn and reach, they are both overated

if they would have kept the veteran secondary from lat year we woulg have 3 more wins right now, think about that

SEAN SMITH does not impress me. Vontae Davis, for all his mistakes however, does. Even on many of the TD catches he was in great position. He also tackles like a man, and supports the run well, whereas SEAN SMITH seems as concerned about hitting as Ginn does about getting hit. Highlight of SEAN SMITH's career so far was his coverage of the Patriot's receiver, who's name escapes me where he got outworked for an 80 Yard TD...

While their pass D is a work in progress, their run support, in my opinion excellent. Sure tacklers and physical for CB.

too much turnover too fast! these kids will get better for sure, but i dont see the next coming of madison and surtain!

Miami 38-13

If Madison and Surtain never play football again, I woul like to see one of the two come in and coach up these kids.

Merry Christmas to you too, Armando! I don't think we'll see our CB's moving with Johnson. Johnson lines up all over the field, so we'll just keep 1 safety deep on Johnson's side of the field and let each rookie get some chances to shut down Johnson.

Anthony B - stats compared to last years veterans are VERY close to this years stats when it comes to our secondary and Mando has proved this in previous blogs. In their first year, they are going against the best of the best: Randy Moss, TO, Reggie Wayne, Vincent Jackson, soon Andre Johnson...not to mention REALLY good QB's and yes they have given up big plays, but for first year starters going against these studs they have prgressed and will be elite corners in the future!

Johnson has burnt our previous teams corners EVERY year they have played us, so if and when Davis and Smith stop him this Sunday will everyone be sold on how good this duo can be?

I remember watching the Fins best duo (Madison & Surtain) play during their first year, and I immediately knew that those two were going to be great; however, Smith and Davis are much better them. I'm excited about that. Great picks by the Trifecta!!!

I agree. I think S smith, V Davis has the best first yr experience you can have. They will be special next yr. Plus that position is one of the hardest. How many HOFs are CBs.

Great video montage...hahaha!

I would cover Joihnson with davis and whoever and leave Smith one on one with the other WR

Vontae Davis got beat for one touchdown (on a perfect throw by Vince Young to the corner of the end zone). On the first touchdown, Gibril Wilson was supposed to give Davis deep help down the middle of the field and the ball went right over his shoulder (What a shocker!! G. Wilson gets beat!!). I love the rookie corners because they truly are playing man coverage even when there is supposed to be help over the top because the help from Wilson is NEVER there. He cant cover anyone. The defense is playing with 10 guys out there, thats how bad G. Wilson is.

madison and surtain hands down, i love the dolphs but i am honest with myself, i hope im wrong but i usually spot the great ones right away. i also beleive Henne to be the real deal, he will grow into top 5 QB in about 2 more years, strong arm, good leader, fearless. only problem is he holds the ball way too long. remmember Marino, you could count 1, 2, 3 and the ball was gone!!

this is the most important game of the trifecta era. we need to finally beat the TEXANS to say we are there!!! as for ANDRE JOHNSON,i would prefer SMITH playing him with a safety spying him but the only problem with that is SMITH is soft. so i guess the best way to attack him would be let whoever side he lines up on cover him with safety help. PRESS him at the line when you know the safety has your back!!! and for godsake TACKLE!!!! p.s. dont bite on double move (safeties)

U guys crack me up calling these guys overrated or even great. None of u at home watching can even see sean smith or vontae davis for 90 percent of the game. You have no idea if they are doing good back there for most of the game. Could be sean smith is so awesome he owns half the field and the other team must pick on vontae. Could be sean smith sucks and gets all the safety help so they can only throw to vontaes side. Everyone has an opinion. Lol.

dolphins win the next 2, make the playoffs, win the wildcard game, loose the divisional game. i feel that would be a succesful season. next year Super Bowl! Parcells is the MAN!

Here is my Christmas message:

2009 has been a trying yet redemptive year. We mourned the tragic loss of D.J. A.M. Goldstein. (Can someone please tell me why I'm supposed to care about a purveyor of musical filth who threw his life away on drugs?)

Britney seems to have turned her life around, but Lindsay still succumbs to the temptations of fame and their by-products of ephemeral joy and long-lasting devastation.

A President and Congress woefully out of touch with the dreams and aspirations of a bewildered nation is embarking on a course of reckless spending and government expansion.

We've witnessed the Dolphins tease us by temporarily scaling the heights of excellence, only to fall back to the plains of mediocrity.

Yes, 2009 has been a trying year. But there is always redemption to be found in the Season of Good Tidings.

So I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

P.S. When Vontae Davis gives up 80 yd. TD passes, the Baby Jesus cries.

Cool video Mando! Merry Christmas.


Deuces.

not an opinion, fact, what have you been watching, the secondary gives up big plays every week, big time cbs give up 1 every 4 games not a bomb every game. they cost 3 wins, that is a fact, they will get better because they are so young.

I think the biggest news of the day is that Dolphins Stadium is about to have a corporate sponsor from the great country of Canada - Sun Life Stadium. Canada - a country who's financial companies don't depend on taxpayers to thrive. Lean on Canada Miami, and you will thrive!

Nathaniel always go to be political. Merry Crhistmas to you....BOZO

If a QB averages 300 yards per week and his primary receiver averages 125 yards per week and they get that against us it doesn't mean that our corners are great or suck - it means they're equal to the average of all the corners in the league.
I'll take that from 2 rookies and be happy.

Merry Christmas... Beat the Texans.

Great video Armando...

If we're going to point fingers for 3 losses the first 2 fingers need to point to Chad Pennington and Ronnie Brown and thier high-flying, 300 total yards per game, bonesmoking, BACKDOOR wildcat offense that made all of us look like h0m0s.
Now that my first 2 fingers are occupied the next one goes to that offensive genius Dan Henning.

Canada is a JOKE !!! Without The US , there no Canada .

I agree with someone from a earlier post saying the two passes against Davis was unfairly judged. I really could care less who is better of the two because they are on the same team, all I want is for them to play well and I think they have for the most part. There is one big weakness in Smith's game though. He is a weak at tackling.

Just got off the phone with the Tuna...

He wishes all of us a Merry Christmas and wants us to know that he reads our comments and evaluations all of the time and will be making personnel decisions based solely on our input.

Hey George, which is the country that brned down the white house in the War of 1812 - Canada. Since then you guys were smart enough not to mess with us. Smart move!

But hey, if you guys need anymore money, we always have our wallets out for the Miami Dolphins.

In elementary school on Long Island we were taught that it was the British that burned down the White House.

Armando-

I don't know what has happened but lately your blog work has been excellent and I appreciate it. I still feel that you could answer more questions in this forum and not just via email or Twitter so that all can see information that we obviously crave. To the masses, I am nobody, another dude with a unimaginative screen name. To you, however, I am a reader and feel you deserve to know, legitimately, how I feel.

Regardless, it's your blog and I read it religously as do many others here. Best wishes for the holidays and 2010 to you and yours.

Canada is a F'N joke and without The US protecting it , it would cease to exist it be . Thanks for stopping By .

PriceMaster, a little bit of North American history lesson for you. Canada's Independence didn't occur until 1867 so technically in name it was The British vs The United States in the War of 1812 in name. However, the battles were fought on North American soil and soldiers were not brought over from what is now known as Great Britain so in substance it was now known as Canadians who fought against the Americans.

No worries though, we won't burn down the White House during these holidays.

Peace, love, and a Merry Christmas to all!!!

Hahhaaa, George, who exactly are you "protecting" us from? Without our natural resources, Americans wouldn't be able to drive their oversized SUVs or have enough clean water to drink.

By the way, thanks for letting us use Detroit as our garbage bin.

Thanks for your input.

Smith is better than Davis, and that is why opponents are avoiding his side of the field. That's the measure of a great CB: not a lot of INT (see Bailey or Asomugha) but few passes in his directions. Bites too much on the double move, tough. But he'll be very good. Davis is certainly above average, but not much more.

For the coming game, HOU has no running game, so they'll attack our secondary early and often.

And by the way, I'm still upset at you guys sending us Northern Illinois to play in the International Bowl!

Merry Christmas to u as well Mando

Canada ? US is Scared of Canada ??? What a joke !!! US relies on Canada for anything ??? Caanada Is NOTHING !!! Ha Ha. Canada would be safe haven for every nut job Dictator without the US. To even compare Canada To US is Insulting and Embarassing. Ha Ha .

Sadly our rookie corners aren't the biggest problem we have. How is Wilson is collecting a pay check still? Can I get alittle Clemons love? Hell I'm starting to miss Tuff Harris...

Any this a Fins blog, take the pissin' contest elsewhere.

Txsandman , what you think of the US being scared of Canada.

I'm thinking the Fins almost have to use Davis to cover Johnson because Smith just isn't physical enough. Against Smith, Johnson catches short passes and will easily break that first tackle. Against Davis can you really count on help over the top with G. Wilson?

All in all a tough matchup...hopefully we stop the turnovers and we grow a pair and play for TD's and not FG's.

Go Fins!

Merry Christmas Armando. Thanks for all the great work and information this year.

George, I think it has nothing to do with the Fins....but seriously, who puts a leaf on their flag? ;)

Video at the end is great Merry Christmas Armando and everyone!

Merry Christmas, Armando.

Peace be with you and yours..

I am extremely pleased with the play of both this year but Must give the slight nod to Vontae.

The plays that have been big against him were spectacular catches made by crazy throws that Could not have been played any closer. Also Vontaes tackling has been awesome. Sean does seem to be a step slow at times but for a rookie has made some good plays as well with improvemt with each game.

Regardless how this season ends the growing pains forced upon us this year will pay off dividend next year, count on it!!!!!!!

Go Fins!!!!!!!!!!

Dear Mr. Salguero and all Phin Fans

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
I hope everyone is in good health and spirits.

Soiled :)

Thanks Mr txsandman. You're a Man of Honor . A leaf ??? Ha Ha.

Dear Mr. Salguero

I just read George Michael the sports caster died.
Wasn't he also in the group "Wham" and also had a solo career.

Then he got caught in a public restroom doing naughty things and it ruined his music career.

Thats when he started doing Sports Journalism right ?

Soiled :)

This is way off target. Tony dungy a coach that will be elected to the hall of fame but based on media or actual performance. What does it say that he coached two team that together will put in over ten players in the hall of fame and he only won one super bowl. But the year after he left, one team went onto win and the second is now 14 and 0. I would say overrated.

You're as good as your last play. When they both start having good games together, everyone will feel alot better about the situation. Right now, it seems one or the other is having a good game. Regardless of who is covering Johnson, if they don't get help, I'd be looking to Pasqualoni for answers.

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