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The great transition that is, was, & must come

I wrote a column in today's Miami Herald that focused on how the Dolphins have continued winning despite undergoing a difficult transition at quarterback, cornerback and nose tackle. Those transitions are the toughest there are in the NFL --  obviously at quarterback but particularly at nose tackle if the team runs a 3-4 scheme.

Check out the column and you'll see some fascinating statistics that prove Chad Henne, Vontae Davis, Sean Smith, and Paul Soliai have been exceedingly effective in replacing valuable veterans.

The column also gives you a hint where future transitions will be needed.

The column does not address where the Dolphins have already made changes previous to this season. The offensive line and defensive line is where those changes came first. That's where Bill Parcells built his foundation.

And the offensive line has delivered, as well it should since it came at a price of $156 million.

"Here's what has been the most impressive - and when you watch an offensive line play, it's never pretty, it really isn't," coach Tony Sparano said. "Their tenacity, I think is a good word, they really are, they're a pretty tenacious, resilient group. They're doing some ugly things hard, and as long as you're doing them hard, you've got a chance. They're giving us a chance that way. Those guys would probably tell you that's a compliment. First of all, I don't dish many out their way, but secondly, that fact in the offensive line, it's not always pretty. It's a different position than most, yet, they're pretty tenacious, and they're pretty resilient. I think that that's the thing to me that stands out the most about it, it's that even when the game gets a little bit ugly, they keep grinding pretty good."

The defensive line has been effective of late also. Sparano said he challenged his defensive ends to play well last week against Jacksonville. They did. And Randy Starks was excellent.

"I think he’s having a great season, I really do," Sparano said. "I’ve said it before, but Randy was physical again yesterday, he had four or five tackles, tackle for loss in there, made a big play in one of those situations. There's still things Randy can get better at, there really are.

"Fundamentally, go back to that again, there's some things in the game yesterday that Randy will watch the film, and he'll know he left out there on the field. He played pretty good in there yesterday, physical, did a great job I thought. We asked our defensive ends yesterday, Randy, [Phillip] Merling, [Kendall] Langford, to do a hard job in that run game yesterday. Their job was very, very difficult from what we asked them to do from a defensive standpoint yesterday, but I thought the three of them, they really did a pretty good job in that game."

Starks is interesting because he came from the Tennessee Titans as a free agent in 2008. He had never played in a 3-4 defense. He'd always been a defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense. Well, he kind of struggled in his first year. He really wasn't much of a factor. But he seemed to get it in training camp. The light bulb seemed to flicker on and now it is burning brightly.

"I think I've had a breakout season," Starks said. "This is probably the best football I've been playing throughout my career. It could be the coaching, the coaching staff. The coaches help me a lot, coach Kace, Kacy Rodgers, he's helped me. Maybe this defense fits me better, maybe I'm just a 3-4 type of player, not a 4-3.

"The first time I ever played 3-4 was last year. It was a hard adjustment for me, but now, I'm getting the hang of it."

Discuss ...

And remember to check out the column for those stats and what I've been told is the next coming change of youngsters replacing vets.

Also, follow me on twitter.  You'll be able to see a picture of my Christmas tree the wife and I just finished trimming.

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NJ was out on a service call, Aloco not sure what he was doing...(maybe sloopping the pigs on his farm)(maybe)....Just saying...

smooch ! Smooch ! xoxoxoxoxoxox.

LOL at the last NJ post...

cuban , that means you were sloopng the pigs on your farm ...... just saying because after all , we all know you're aloco. OINK !

Good job on the article Armando. Finally Starks is starting to get some recognition. Luckily for us he seems to show up against the Jets the most! He ate them up in the season finale last year and had consecutive plays this year. Apparently, he just needed help with the light switch.

Seems Parcells' plan from building from inside out is working again. The formula works, but his shying away from big time free agents is a concern because inevitably you need one or two of those to keep a team winning consistently.

Berger has done a good job, but will Grove start this week?

Mando, Please tell NJ that I'am Not aloco or any one else , so he can realize that there are others that think he's Obnoxious and a blow hard know it all(Not that there's anything wrong with that NJ)

SOOOOOOOOOWEEEEEE

I thought being obnoxious and a blowhard came with the territory in the Northeast?

Yeah armando, Tell us how many me isn't aloco . You already confirmed it in the past. Remember Many me ? SOOOOOOOOOOOOOWEEEE!

Nyfinfan, THAAAAAT'S RIIIIIGHT !

My bad, NJ. You are correct. I appreciate your participation.

You have good insights ... better than most.

But don't let that go to your head. And Cuban is not somebody else.

totally agree with you Odinseye on the injuries being (gulp) a bit of a blessing in disguise. Moved things up for them.

Could have been terrible if the new talent wasn't up to the task. But it was and that will make Miami a better team in the future.

LOL @ armando . You hear that folks ? better than most. LMFAO ! Just Kidding everyone so relax

NYFINFAN, I'll have a better idea on Grove as the week progresses.

I remember people ripping me on the live blog when free agency opened and I broke the news that Berger was Miami's first visit.

They were not too impressed with Berger.

What do those people think of the Berger signing now, I wonder? It's been a blessing for Miami.

Mando , stop sticking up for your fellow Cubano. LOL ! You already confirmed that the menace aka MANY ME ! has Mulitiple Personalities on the blog in the past. I've been on here a very long time. :) I don't care, i think he's funny sometimes

Actually, NJ, you're in the 98-99 percentile.

Oh, many me is Aloco, but Cuban Menace is neither of them, er, him.

Mando,
What's the word on resigning Brown? I'm a little torn, the guy plays his butt off, but he can't sustain a full season even splitting time with Williams. And if we don't keep him, who do we bring in. I'm convinced that just about anyone can run behind Polite's blocks. Also what WR do you see Miami looking at. There is the obvious big names like Boldin, but let's not kid ourselves the Dolphins don't like a lot of flash.

NJPINFAN

Good research on Henne, but how many fourth Quarter comebacks does Henne have this year.

What his record as a starter?

Berger, a man who's stepped up with out a lot of recognition....

DantheMan, Ronnie Brown told me a couple of months ago that his contract is set up to where if next year is uncapped, he is locked in with the Dolphins for $5 million. So he is not unsigned.

If the union and league sign a new contract, then he becomes a free agent. That doesn't look like it will happen, if you believe what has been written by the national media on the topic.

Back in a few. Putting decorations on the Christmas tree.

Dolphin4life, I can think of two off the top of my head, Tampa and New England.....

Dolphins4life. Henne is 3-3 as a starter when he's thrown Int's in a game. That's not good enough for the team. I did say i loved him didn't i ? but those are states that CAN'T be ignored.

Armando, can you ask the coaches to install magnets in the middle of the field and then throw a few into Teddy's shoes? But seriously, can you ask why T Ginn is not returning punts? I love what Bess brings to the offense (providing he can hang onto the ball), but his punt returns, reverses and deep ball are comical. It's like he's running in sand and everyone else is running on pavement.T Ginn was an excellent PR in college. It was probably his best role. This Dolphin offense has to start getting some short fields provided by the punt return team. What's the problem?

I agree that needs to be cleaned up, and it probably will as hes only started what 9 or so games, the obvious is that he has all the tools you need to be a great QB from those nine games. I just discussed on the last post that hes getting better and Hennes best game to me was the Jets game down in Miami.
But there is more to come from Henne. And yes he may even throw a few more picks but I like what I see and I know hes only going to get better. I especially like that the coaching staff took Henne's training wheels off two games ago as he attempted 52 passes. Reminded me of the time Parcells was coaching the Patsies and he let a young Drew Bledsoe throw for 52 times in taking off his training wheels. Just handed him the reigns and aired it out. But I love Henne's toughness and his ability to hang on to the ball when he gets sacked.

Oh, many me is Aloco, but Cuban Menace is neither of them, er, him.

Posted by: Armando Salguero | December 15, 2009 at 02:57 PM

Thank you Mando, NJ....... Apology is in order....

WOW ! I'm in 98-99 percentile ? I love you armando !!!! I know , I know . Smooch ! Smooch ! :)

Armando, here's a question for u. I know Fasano has been a bit better lately, and i mean a BIT, but I liked what I saw from Sperry when he got his 1 start. Why have we not seen him since?

HAL, Ted(No Jock strap required)Ginn is to scared to return punts, have you noticed his love for the side line???? there's a reason for it....

No Apology. you , me and armando know the truth. We've been here a LOOOOOOONG TIME ! My friend. :)

MJ, why don't you give some credit to Mike at the SS who did the actual research you are ripping off. I read the same story you did.

I meant NJ

98-99 percentile of what? I wish I was like NJ PHIN FAN...not really lol j/k

Yeah I saw those stats on the Sunblog but this is essential his first year as stater by default. He's 6-3 as a stater and has 3 comeback wins. On one of his int's in the fourth agaisnt the Bucs he came right back and marched the Fins down the field for a game winning FG.

Yeah I understand what your saying and yes he can not afford to throw INT's in the fourth quarter. But you also can not handcuff the guy and must let Henne be Henne. i think he will clean it up and protect the ball more, but to that end I also hope the coaching staff runs more when the Fins have a lead in the fourth quarter.

actually D4Life, Henne is 7-3 as a starter.

Armando, As much as I would hate to say it, it looks like the signs are pointing to a lockout. Imagine the horror of Fall without football. I hope these dummies learn from MLB, it took them to the steroids era, the "homerun" season and all to get fans back. Even after that a lot of fans have not gone back. I am one of them. The way the country is right now, the last thing people want to hear about is a bunch of billionaires arguing with millionaires about money. Sanity has to prevail, but when it comes to money, it usually doesn't.

FinFAn13

Thanks yes forgot the last game. :)

Allright Dolphins nation I'm out catch you guys tomorrow got to go take care of some business.

GoDolphins!

NJ PHIN , YOU OWE ME AN APOLGY.I AM NOT THE CUBAN MENACE .

Peace dolphins4life !

ALoco - you are not owed anything by anyone...

Actually Espn's Kc joyner and pro football stats did it before Mike . Anybody could've looked up the stats.. That 's where i got it and i'm sure where mike got It. Nice Try ! thanks for stoppong by though . LOL !

Mando thanks for answering, I'll be checking back tommorrow for some answers on Torbor. You should put a pic of the Christmas tree for those who follow you on Twitter.

I dont know why nobody remembers Berger is in his second stint with Miami. I was one who wanted the guy signed as soon as he became available from Dallas. I remember stories of when Nick was here & the kid having tremendous potential. He was personal favorite of Houck & when Saban waived him I was super pissed. All the local reporters saw potential in him. Real stupid move back then. I remember when Sparano came over and the pouching of Dallas squad began me thinking I hope Berger comes back. He sure did and has done a tremendous job, filling in for one of the best C in football Jake Grove. Kudos to my boy Berger.

" Why have we not him ( sperry ) more " because fasano and Haynos are 10 times better blockers than sperry. Maybe i looked that up too ! LOL !

NJ, what r u basing that on? Haynos can't block his way out of a paper bag. Maybe fasano is a better blocker, but sperry caught a TD in his 1 start, how many does fasano have all year??? That's what I thought. You don't know S&^T. I find it hard to believe that you looked up those stats, when Mike B at the SS did an exact breakdown in his article today, but you can try and play it off if you like. By the way my question was for Armando, not some idiot who needs attention on this blog:)

"THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE"......lol......btw, I agree with you on the 3:39 post(Though i hate to admit it).

Tony Scheffler for Miami in 2010, just sayin'

Finfan13 . fasano tied a dolphin record for most td's by a te with 8 last year . He's been asked to stay in and block more this year and has been hurt, . Now that he's more healthy and has been asked to go out in the passing game he's come on, Fasano is 10 times better then sperry , No maybe's about. haynos is better than sperry and a better blocker. . 1 td for sperry ! WOOOOOW ! i bet you he's not on the team next year when miami drafts one. No cry me river somewhere else . Yhis is a blog . it's a open forum. posters can respond to you , if you don't like then leave otherwise STFU ! :)

NJ, still making friends i see........lol

Menace , What truth ? read my post and tell me where i claimed it was my stuff. i just relayed a story for those who don't go to other sites. it was intersting stuff. don't shoot the messenger. Jealousy by one poster will get you nowhere.

Odin you Norse/Indian Warrior. you still out there. or are you consuming fire water and smoking the proverbial peace pipe??????

Nj, you are the only one crying here, AS USUAL. Fasano is SH&T this year deal with it. Typical NJ TRASH. Sperry, is a rook with alot of upside, he will be here next year Fasano won't.
"Now that he's more healthy and has been asked to go out in the passing game he's come on"...Oh yeah he has really brought his A game with his 4 catches since he has been back...GET A F'N CLUE. Your posts are the most idiotic I have ever seen. It's like arguing with a 3 year old...dumbA$$

Cuban , if you need to make friends on a blog , than you ( in general ) are a loser my friend........... LOl

Miami could draft the TE from Oklahoma you skipped out on draft last year to play his senior year with Bradford. I know he got hurt this year, but the guy is a stud (even though I can't remember his name, sorry)!!

NJ was posting to your 3;11 post, trust me i'am not jealous of you nor will i ever be in the future sir... :)

"Menace , What truth ? read my post and tell me where i claimed it was my stuff. i just relayed a story for those who don't go to other sites. it was intersting stuff. don't shoot the messenger. Jealousy by one poster will get you nowhere"

LMAO, yeah we are all jealous of you. My 10 year old son has forgotten more about football then u will ever know. Tell you what I'll just ignore u, and please do the same for me. That way I won't waste valuable time showing everyone what a idiot u are. It works out for both of us :)

WOW, NJ i can see the Gloves are off, you sure you want to do this????

Indiana, I'd like a FA TE, maybe B. Watson or Dallas Clark. Either would be a huge upgrade over Fasano.

Fin fan 13 once again you show that you know jack about the dolphins and have further embarrassed yourself. Fasano has only 4 catches since he been back ? REALLY ? LMFAO ! How 's 5 catches for 74 yds vs bufflo in the loss and % catches 67 yds vs NE in the win. That's just 2 games. Please get a F"n clue before you put your foot in your mouth. LOL 1 I bet you sperry isn't on the team next yeat.

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