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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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Dear Mr. Salguero

Yup got it right here from Wiki

"Wham! (often written WHAM!) was a British duo formed in 1981 by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley."

Its funny though Wiki has nothing about George Michaels sports Journalism career.

Soiled :)

Hey George, I put my garbage out this morning, by Christmas morning, it will be sitting in a landfill in the United States. Merry Christmas!

Dear Mr. Mark in Toronto

When we goin to the dump to drink hard liquor and shoot rats ?

Soiled :)

I would like to point out that both long Tds on Davis he safety "help" from either gibril Wilson or Tyrone culver. Also why don't we ever run Ginn deep across in front of the safety like philli does with desean Jackson? Jackson lines up on one side of the field, runs about 20/25 yrds, cuts to the opposite corner of the end zone and NO safety cam stay with him like that. Ginn is as fast as Jackson. Why doesn't he ever line up in the slot. Why isn't our 6'5" 220lbs rookie wideout in when we are inside the 10 instead of running the same wheel route to Ricky who is matched up on a corner or safety (ie not a mismatch). Why can't we place our personel so as to create mismatches on the defense. 6'5" is probably taller than ANYONE in the defensive secondary. Not rocket science, corner fade, from where ever you line up. No teaching involved. Srry I love the fins, henning just frustrates me. Armando, please ask the coordinators
sum of these questions

George, you're the man. Canada's symbol, the maple leaf, should be replaced with a a stick man figure with both arms raised... AMERICA baby!!! AMERICA!

Hahaha, it wouldn't be Christmas is we didn't. I love you guys! Of course I kid. Go Miami Dolphins!!!

Here is my Christmas gifts to some of the regulars:

Soiled - A bottle of Thunderbird

Nathaniel - A dvd of the Best of Benny Hill

NJ Phin Fan - A year's subscription to ESPN Insider so he can check Mel Kiper's big board all the way up to draft day.

Carlito - Miami Dolphins blanket so he can hug the logo while he sleeps and dreams of a Miami Playoff Game

Lips - For just one winter, we get weather like the Miami locals

ALoco - Veggie Sub - all those meatballs can't be good for you, man

Mando - That big play wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins

Marc - A strapless evening dress from Neiman Marcus to help ring in the new year.

All other regulars who I might have forget while being sedated by my prescription allergy medication, health and prosperity for you and yours and of course success to our Dolphins!

Peace and Love!

Sorry, that should read might have forgotten. Man, these pills are strong!

Canada is a giant landfill . so i guess you threw your crap on the front lawn, Maybe you can wipe your butt with the Leaf. HA ! Merry Christmas !!

JR , the canadian symbol should be replaced with a stick man bending over !

Thank you for your excellent work this year, Armando - I know it was a tough year for you with your mom passing and everything.

Keep up the good work and Merry Christmas!

Go Dolphins!

Dear Mr. George Washington

How was the Hemp crop this year ?
You guys gonna gather around a copper pot still and drink corn squeezeuns to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus ?


Soiled :)

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO:

Mark in Toronto LipsinToronto SoiledBottom carlito from golfito ALoco cuban menace NJ PHIN FAN cocoajoe Standley23 GOpats phinfan from birth73 Ace bobbyd12 EmoFinFan Ken in San Diego Indiana Dolfan Omar Kooky and Harvey Fialwhatever test DyingBreed bond, david bond Finfan H8dpats AZphinatic NYScott MsCuba j dizzle Lito FinFanEd Bigwillystyle KillerDolphin downer12 beerndrums AND ALL THE REGULARS!

Merry Christmas Mando!

Merry Christmas to you also Po and all the Dolphin fans everywhere, especially you Armando...... you are a Dolphins fan right?

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO:

Mark in Toronto LipsinToronto SoiledBottom carlito from golfito ALoco cuban menace NJ PHIN FAN cocoajoe Standley23 GOpats phinfan from birth73 Ace bobbyd12 EmoFinFan Ken in San Diego Indiana Dolfan Omar Kooky and Harvey Fialwhatever test DyingBreed bond, david bond Finfan H8dpats AZphinatic NYScott MsCuba j dizzle Lito FinFanEd Bigwillystyle KillerDolphin downer12 beerndrums, Po white trash, sammo, odinseye,oooh and last but not least Willi Chirino AND ALL THE REGULARS!

Sorry Po I had to copy your lis, but added a few others. Merry Christmas Armando

Agreed, I love bantering with all the regulars. Sorry if I missed any in my post. I blame the pharmaceuticals!!

Forgot a few too. Good save ace!

NFL network is replaying last week's game. Thank God I'm sedated for this. That Camarillo penalty was a joke. Camarillo touched him with his hands - hardly roughness!

Happy Holidays, Phin-Phans!!!

Mark, I think i'd get sick if I watched last weeks game over again. I do admit though we had a pretty cool comeback. If only we couldve capitalized it with a WIN.

Merry Christmas to all! Maybe Santa will bring us a special wildcard spot. Ooooh I've been a good boy.... I promise.... Pleeeease. Just one spot.

Playoffs ? Playoffs ?? You kidding me Playoffs ???

Merry Christmas Armando, great job on this blog this year. Merry Christmas to all Dolphins fans. Playoffs here we come!

Lol. Santa!!!! Don't holdout on us! Please don't make a trip to Denver or Baltimore. Please stop in Miami. You might find urself a ms Clause Hottie down there.

hilarious video mando, thanks. happy holidays everyone!!

We don't always agree but then, what fun would it be if we did?

Merry Christmas

I wish EVERYONE a great X-MAS and Happy New Year...Go Phins!!

I wish you a Happy Healthy Holiday Season, too, Armando. I wish the same to all of us here that follow the Dolphins, as well. And thank you for your insight and thought provoking commentaries throughout the season. Don't always agree with you but glad you are willing to be provocative or play the devil's advocate on occassion. I was particularly impressed with your moving article about your mother. That was a bold and courageous move for a sports writer to put in his blog and it was well received, for the most part. For some reason, I didn't get the video you were refering to.

As far as the Game this Sunday. I think Miami should run early and often against the Texans mediocre run defense. Ball Control and Clock Management will be key in keeping Houston's potent passing attack in check. And don't be afraid to occassionally put in a quick pass or two, especially if the Texans try to stack the box to stop the run.
I don't care if it hair lips the governor, win this week Miami!!! And don't turn the ball over, either!

That video was great! The corners are rookies, they will get better. MERRY CHRISTMAS DOLFANS!!!

If someone said Hey Vonte, you will be drafted in the 1st round and you will have 2 picks on Randy Moss your rookie year. Would he say no?

This is what the cuban wants for christmas,A wild card spot,A warm winter day in miami,A pink Floyd reunion,Less crime,more hot cheer leader calenders(Sorry mando),An end to Al-Qaeda,Less taxes,A winning Lotto ticket(Or better yet a Mega-Ball winning ticket,and all you crazy posters have a great Holiday with your family,and most importantly Our Troops safe AND AT HOME,You guys have a great Christmas.............peace be with you all, You too NJ..

Growing pains is the word I would use to discribe both VDavis and Ssmith. The rooks have had good times and bad but show alot of promise. They will feel the pain this week Im afraid, The texans have the 2nd best passing O and AJohnson is the best WR in the NFL this yr.

Mia 33
hou 35 I know it susks but I think our season is over after this game.

Von Davis always seemed like the one most likely to become a star and thus far, this kid has been absolutely great given the calliber of WR he's had to cover. GO FINS!

hey mando

i dont know if anyone else already asked about this, but dont the fins keep their corners on a particular side, ie, smith and davis dont swap sides to line up against a certain receiver? i remember hearing tony mentioning that in multiple press conf's to explain why one of the rooks was lined up against a certain receiver or not. if this is the case, then doesnt that mean that who defends andre johnson has more to do with their offensive formations than what the fins think of their corners?

thanks for the blog. merry christmas to everyone here.

ps- i am a architect/builder in virginia, and i did work for the manager of Cheap Trick and him knowing that i am obsessed with the fins, he offered to get me tickets to the game this weekend and to sit in their box for the game, but wouldnt you know that my wife and i had our second child a couple days ago, so there's no way i could get down there for the game. it would have been sweet, but i will cheer from VA nonetheless! go fins!!

The video is blacked out...WTF!! GO Phins!!!!!

Smith needs to be on Johnson. Moss and Owens both had height advantages over Davis and capitalized. Schaub is having his best year and will put the ball in position for AJ to go up and get it. We needs Smith's height out there to counter. Gibril Wilson needs to be demoted and Jason Allen should be a free safety. We have 2 strong safeties in Wilson and Bell. Double AJ with Jason Allen and Sean Smith. Put Vontae on Walter.

Look for Andre Johnson to kill us just like the last two times we played the Texans !!!! Hope im wrong but, It happens every time we play this team.. Take Andre out of this game and we win...Smith has to cover him vontae would get killed not that smith wont but at least he is tall...look for Andre to have at least 150 yards and 2 tds.. Another stud Nfl player from the U that this team didnt get there hands on... we got Vernon and Yatil never played Green.. how stupid !!!!!!!!

merry xmas to all
all the best to you mando we gotta beat the texans
go fins

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