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The truth and spin about the Miami Dolphins

I try to read most of your comments. And one theme I'm noticing lately is how some of you feel disappointed when one of the coaches says something that is clearly, patently false or just a bunch of hooey.


"Ernest Wilford is improving every day in practice," when everyone knows if he was improving he'd be playing.

"I don't have information on that yet," when discussing injuries that are already diagnosed and have a prognosis and the third person to find out that information (after the doctor/trainer and player) is usually the head coach.

"The right guard job is Shawn Murphy's to lose," when everyone knows the second Donald Thomas can put one foot in front of the other he's starting and Murphy is really not going to pan out in Miami.

"I thought Matt played really well," when Matt Roth plays his first game after being on the non-football injury list but is cut three weeks later for poor performance and other reasons.

"I like our receivers," when Miami's receivers don't often win one-on-one battles and are all flawed in one significant way or another.

The words don't always match the facts. Your eyes tell you one thing while the Miami coaching staff tells you something different.

Well, it happens because that is what the Dolphins staff feels it must do. When your team is as flawed, as filled with voids as the current Dolphins are, you cannot as a coach, fire a broadside into your own ship and add yet another hole. It would be dumb considering the coaching staff is on that ship.

So Tony Sparano and Dan Henning and Paul Pasqualoni tap dance. They try not to outright lie. But they cannot really tell you the whole truth about their Dolphins.

Some of you, and even some media, often forget this fact. You take what coaches say as gospel. It often is not. It often is spin.

"I've got people upstairs that I'm accountable to," Dolphins offensive coordinator Dan Henning explained Thursday. "And when I'm called in to be accountable to them, I explain it to them exactly like it is. They don't like to hear it all the time but that's the way I explain it.

"I can't do that with you and Tony can't do that with you [media]. Because if I explain to you that this is a liability for us and this is a plus for us, then pretty soon that gets written or somebody speaks it on the TV and then somebody on the other side [on other teams] writing that down says, 'Well, they won't do this because he thinks that's a problem,' that type of thing. Understand that from us. You guys know that. I don't have to explain that to you."

So understand, when you read quotes from Sparano or Henning or Pasqualoni that stretch credulity, don't think them unwise or fooled by their own team. Trust me, the Miami's coaches know they have talent problems. They know this team is a work-in-progress.

But what are they supposed to say? We stink like a sewer?

And that leads me to this:

The Dolphins offense and Dolphins defense stink like a sewer.

Naw, not really. But they are both very, very troubled.

The offense has scored 26 touchdowns in 11 games. That averages to 2.4 touchdowns per game. You know what team made the playoffs last year averaging 2.4 touchdowns per game? None.

And it's not just that the Dolphins struggle to score. It's how they score that is also troubling. In a league that is all about electric, dynamic offense, the Dolphins look like a team straight out of the 1970s. They plod along, slow and sometimes steady on 13-, 14-,15-play drives.

The "chunk" plays Sparano is always talking about? Wait until next year the earliest for them.

This year the Dolphins have scored three, count 'em, three touchdowns from outside the 20 yard line. Three!

Don't blame the running game for this fact. It's all about a terrible passing game. Fact is the Dolphins have eight running plays of 25-yards or more this season. The passing game has contributed the same number of plays of 25-yards or more. That, in a word, is horrible.

For context, consider that Miami's defense, not exactly a slice of swiss cheese, has yielded 26 pass plays of 25-yards or more.

About that defense. If it's the fourth quarter, Miami's D Fence more closely resembles a swinging gate. The Dolphins have yielded an NFL high 134 fourth-quarter points this year. Aside from being an NFL worst, it is already a franchise worst.

The 2007 Dolphins, the 1-15 debacle of a team, yielded 126 fourth-quarter points.

So this year's team has already surrendered more fourth-quarter points than the worst Miami team of all time. And there are still five games to play!

And what does Pasqualoni say when he's asked about that terrible, terrible fourth-quarter performance?

Hint: He's not saying, Phillip Merling isn't playing like a first-round pick, Joey Porter gets sacks only when he plays backup tackles, Channing Crowder isn't making any big plays, our young corners are going to be good some day but not yet, our safeties were out of synch the entire first half of the season, and our front seven is slow to the football.

Pasqualoni is saying: "We've been real good in the red zone. We've been real good, to me, it's field position as much as anything. Just so happens that some of that stuff has come up in the fourth quarter, but we've got to do a better job of finishing there's no question about that. And we've got to do a better job of just flat-out executing."

You didn't expect him to put another hole in the ship, did you?


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This is your best article yet.... This is so true and I think that all fans need to keep this in mind. The Fins coaches aren't the best, but I agree that they know what the issues are. The just can't fix them at this point. The bad drafting over the last 10 years can't be made up with 1 or 2 good drafts. The team needs more talent plain and simple. Also, last year the Fins had a very easy schedule, this year it is quite different.There are still many holes in the roster... It will take 2 more drafts to have an elite team in Miami, and even this isn't a certainty. Depends on how the picks pan out... Hang tight a little longer for the results we are all looking for.

New Englnd 31 miami 20. 5-7 and in third place after sunday. Sorry folks but that is reality.

Maimi will be super bowl caliber in 2011 ! GOD has spoken ! Good night all of my fellow Dolphin fans, God bless ! LOL !

Here's some more recent spin that no one really believes:

"Joey Porter does a lot of things well that you don't even notice."
"Ricky Williams can keep this pace up for the rest of the year."
"The defense didn't give up on that last drive at Buffalo."
"You guys may have written us off, but we haven't."
"I'm comfortable with Joe Berger at center."

One thing the team clearly lacks right now (besides talent) is leadership on the field. Henne said there was no emotion in the Buffalo game, no sense of team unity. That's directly a result of lack of leadership. The two main guys holding this team together were Ferguson and Pennington, and their absence is keenly felt. It'll be interesting to see who (if anyone) is going to step up to fill that void the rest of the season. On offense, it's gotta be Henne. On defense, who knows?

Good stuff. Challenge the maroons to actually THINK.

One thing:

"Phillip Merling isn't playing like a first-round pick"...

True, but he wasn't one, technically. 1st pick -- 2nd Rd. But, I agree he and Langford are on some paycheck-collecting 2nd year plateau...Trust me, they'll get IT (vet advice) from JT.

The staff in Miami is at fault for the lack of talent.. We want to get younger but there has to be a mix of young guys and vets on the roster and in my opinion we dont have enough proven playmakers. Why didnt the staff grab some of the free agents receivers to help the passing game out ? Why didnt they keep Goodman and Hill in the secondary ? those where major mistakes that this staff created.... I sure hope they learned there lesson and get some playmakers in the offseason because im real sick of the letdowns with this team !!!! Its real old year after year...

Sopt on armando. I loved the way you had Sparano suckered into your point about Ricky not being listen to by Henning. The responsiblity for the Personnel problems is the Three Amigos have not gone after play makers on offense, but pounding running personnel ,which parcells loves. This does not win superbowls anymore. Parcells doesnt have the Ravens or Bucaneers defenses of the past. Our draft this year is proving to be a joke too. White and Turner, what wasted picks when we needed so much help on Defense at S and NT.
Chalmers and esoecially edwards are proved at their positions, we should have pulled the trigger on them. Next year we have to take a game breaking WR or a NT in the first. Keep it up on sparano, how long does he get without a playoff win 2 or 3 more seasons ???

Wait, there's more:

"And believe me, Ronnie doesn't throw the ball any better than Ricky does in that area of the field.''
"Afghanistan is not a quagmire."
"When she smashed the rear window, she was trying to rescue me."

For one, publically rip your players you'll destroy your locker room. Two, you lower your chances to make suckers trades which are almost non existent to begin with.

Why waste money for big money free agents while still so far away from incomplete. Drafting 25th one season removed from 1-15 and some of you guys think free agency would have been the answer all? Are you kidding me!

Its just a good thing this regime isnt as football dumb as most of its fans and sports writers. The regime is doing a combination of patchwork and replacement as the opportunities present themselves to add more key pieces. Thats why while most want playoffs, this regime probably wont tell you this, they know the team is better off with improved draft positioning and I agree.

I cant understand for the life of me why most Dolphin fans and sportswriters cant see how 11-5 and division champs hurt a team fresh off of 1-15 a whole heck of a lot than it help.

I don't agree. Just because every other team in the league gets chunk yardage and quick scores and quick scores is good for fans but it loses super bowls. Ball control on offence eats up the clock. Where we lack is defense. We can't stop the pass or the run. 8 yard runs followed by 25 yard passing plays. Stopping that would win take us to the big game. Our 3 4 defense is not strong enough nor fast enough right now and the backfield is worse. Once our rookie safeties start getting more experience and wheezy peezy is gone for someone faster and better, we are on our way

Why the owners do not shell out some good money to acquire good receivers is beyond me.. this is what Miami needed for decades.. decades of wasted efforts..

The Trifecta knew they needed a stud WR and a nose tackle in the draft.

Instead, in round 2 we got Pat White (and some of you still complain about Ted Ginn). This guy can't throw a pass to save his life. He is not fast enougn nor strong enough to be an elite Wr or Running Back, not to mention QB. He is a "tweener" which in NFL terms means he is not good enough to play.

Rounds 3 and 4, we draft to relatively slow WR (slot guys) when we already have Bess and Caramillo. Two more waisted picks.

Round 5 we draft a TE who can't even catch a pass. He was nt even good enough to stay on the practice squad.

Picks 2,3,4,5 wasted....it's not abut qunatity BUT rather quality. Would have traded all those picks for one Boldin.


CB - Green (released)
S - Wilson (downgrade from Hill)- 27.5 million
ILB - Akin Ayodele - 17.5 million
ILB - Reggie Torbor - 14 million

Want to know why we suck and the SAINTS are 11-0. SAINTS : CB's - Chris McAlister - Jabari Greer - star free agents - one year contracts. Both studs. See above Greene and Wilson.

Our personel department is a joke.

Oh, yes, and the coaches pretty much suck.

What a bunch of crap,So it's front office not doing the job of giving the coaches the right players?Or the coaches not calling the right plays when it counts?Sounds like where I work!NO ACCOUNTABILITY AND PASS THE BUCK

Ocho cinco and Anquan Boldin catching passes from Henne would look real good next year. The boys upstairs better go all out for either or both of them. Build the defense up thru the draft but get those receivers please!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great story Armando.

I'd give my left nut to fire suprano (another genius), pasqualiny and Henning (AARP is still looking for him) and replace them with some quality coaches.

Many thought that Shula was burned out. He was...

BUT, the crap that has landed here in his place has been the worst of the worst.

-Saban (and his wife)
-Cameron (and his whole family)
-Suprano (OL coach confused for a head coach)

Many thought that Shula was burned out. He was...

BUT, the crap that has landed here in his place has been the worst of the worst.

-Wandstedt (mr. Mustache and not much else)
-Saban (and his wife)
-Cameron (and his whole family)
-Suprano (OL coach confused for a head coach)

I predicted at the start of the season we would be 6-10 with this group of high rollers.

I may have been off by one game. New Prediction looking more like 7-9.

7-9?wishful thinkin

Might as well lose the rest for better draft

i think sparano is a position coach;nothing more. coach p could be a linebacker coach;nothing more. the problem i have with sparano is telling the fans what we saw didnt really happen. and how good murphy, wilford, roth etc etc etc were coming along. we should have resigned goodie and hill; used our 1st pick on clay matthews. the white and turner and nalbone picks were wasted on 7th rounders. why didn't we know turner couldnt run a route after we worked him out? all year coach says white is our back-up QB. thats a lie or a joke. the fans are not that stupid.

Yeah, thats right blame this regime. By winning the AFC East last season it got a team fresh off of a 1-15 season, one and done in the playoffs and 25th drafting position in a well known weak 09 draft.

We still got 2 starting corners, a solid contributor in Hartline, and a definite future maybe in Clemmons. Though the verdicts still out on White.

Two even hit two right on the head drafting from the 25th position in this watered down draft was turning water to wine. Oh, I know what we're missing, "Lazarus come forth!"

Just pulled this from Wipedia:

Green Bay Packers
Matthews was drafted in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, with the 26th overall pick, by the Green Bay Packers.

He scored his first touchdown during a Monday Night Football game against the Minnesota Vikings; Matthews stripped the ball from running back Adrian Peterson and ran the ball back for a score.

Matthews had arguably his best game in his young career in week 6 against the Detroit Lions. He made 3 tackles, assisted on 2 more and sacked Daunte Culpepper twice. He was nominated and won the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week award for his performance.

In week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys Clay had another outstanding game: recording 1 tackle, recovering 2 fumbles forced by Cornerback Charles Woodson, and sacked Dallas quarterback Tony Romo to make him a nominee again for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week. For the 2nd time in as many nominations was voted Rookie of the Week for week 10.

So, Clay Matthews is doing ok but he isnt exactly setting the league on fire either. Look at his tackle total in supposedly his best games.

2 sacks against the Lions isnt overly impressive in anyone's book. Sure glad you werent doing the picking.

GREAT column. Not much more can be said.

Hardly anyone from the 2008 draft class is exactly setting the league on fire this season and we drafted 25th. Keep telling you guys winning the division last season has hurt us far more than anything else! Are you a bunch of retards or do you just say fock the truth?

Only thing nearly as weak as drafting 25th in an equally as weak draft was the weak @ss schedule we played that contributed heavily towards being in this very awkward 09 situation to begin with.

The very tough 09 schedule just exposed what was already in place.

Even signing Gibril Wilson wasnt too stupid dollar and cents wise. even though the contract is for 27.5 million, only 8 mil is guaranteed. If they have to cut him next season its only 4mil against the cap. Denver signed Goody for 5mil a season.

Dying breed talks to himself in the early morning becuase he is FREE of NJ's tyranny.
NJ is a buffoon, please leave us sir

Shula's Son knows more about ordering at a drive thru than he does football..


That is the other thing that drives me up the wall, they have players who are talented, yet won't play them very much, if at all.

Armando, most times you do a great job of fanning the flames of idiosy in this blog of yours. Keep up the good work.

I cant argue because it puts food on your table, pays the bills, and maybe a little left over for the honey.


This forum is highly laughable at times. The more fact based reality one seems to inject into it, the more most posters recoil. There's more b!tchiness in here than a tampon recall at that precious time of month.

Armando please dont forget to tip the garbage men this Christmas. Seeing how they play a huge part in most your material.

Very very good article Armando.

Great damn article Armando!

Dying breed- please die already-and don't breed

Armando, This is a great column and yes there are problems on both sides of the ball for us. Last year they drafted linemen, this year they drafted secondary and WR trying to bolster areas we were weak in. I think they hit on Henne, Long the cornerbacks and our kickers. The O-Line is good.

Offense WR is a big hole for us. We need a speed/deep threat and we need a move the chains guy that can get open 15 yards down field over the middle.

Defense, the line needs an overhaul and our LBs stink. Safety is another concern.

I'd love to see Ginn, Porter, Crowder, Wilson, White, J Allen, Anderson, Soliai, Ayodele, and torbor all on other teams next year.


All Miami needs is the two or three stud players who can others better....On defence, a linebacker and/or safety that can rush the quarterback and takeaway the ball would help help the d-line a lot. On offense, they need speed receivers who can catch. I wouldn't give up too quickly on players like Merling & Langford. They could develop into stars....but they will never be players to lift those around them..

Pat White not fast enough? Now, that's one quote for the ages. A quarterback is only as good as his offensive line allows him to be. And when a quarterback is only in the game for a couple of plays he cannot get into a rhythm. Seen it too many times over the years.

Great article!!! I wish u would write one on the difficult position that Parcells was presented when he took over this team with the past mistakes and especially how salary cap issues effects a team..too many people here think you can throw out unlimited money and just pick up whoever, whenever u want

i'd like to see henne study tom brady every day and pattern himself after him. go to the shotgun with 4 or 5 receivers and let the passes fly. this would make an exciting game with defenses backing off our running backs! this would allow ricky,lex and sheets to rotate and find some holes. we may pick-up some chunk yds and yac that coach talks about. thigpen should be the back-up in the wildpat because he can run and throw! to be competitive we may have to copy the best!!!

pat white sucks< he is very uncomfortable< watch, he is terrible, he cant wait to hand it off, huhe disappointment, he is not very smooth, the defense sees him and they know he will hand it off because he is afraid

Just like Eric Mangini is a cheap imitation of Bill Belicheck, Tony Sparano is a cheap imitation of Bill Parcells.

Dying that 'garbageman' quote was one for the Hall! Armando you should keep track of these and post them during a slow part of the year.

Armando may be right about coaches knowing we are weak at certain positions, but take WR for example who exactly are they grooming there that would prevent them from trying to bring a fading veteran (like Chambers)?

Also someone suggested that they would have prefered trading for Boldin instead of drafting White, Turner, Nalbone. At this point I can't argue. Trading picks for players is ok - you just have to trade for the right ones! We have been snakebitten in the past and now its our culture to think thats a bad idea.

I'm still with ya Tony

Lets review a few things....
1) Parcells teams don't count on the D linemen to create a pass rush, that job is relegated to the LBs. So do we have some good D linemen who would be great if we had a more physical presence on the inside and better speed on the outside? You bet!! Don't forget Wake and Anderson are learning from two of the best OLBs.
2) We do need a fast ballhawking safety, Clemons could prove, but we still need a game changer here. CB are set!!
3) What this team needs most though, is that physical, big, fast tough receiver to make a difference. In fact we also need a #2 receiver as well. This will force the safety's to cheat on the WR and allow Fasano to look like the guy we traded for.
4) You can plug any running back into Miami's system with 4.5 speed who knows how to be patient and read his line to run for a 1000 yards.

Draft in no particular order WR, LB, DL/NT. Through Free Agency Miami will pick up a WR, DL, OL and an acorn off the tree for the RB position.





There is another reason why we hear this never ending BS: Whatever these guys say, reflects on THEIR personnel decsions. Draft, trades and FAs (Parcells/Ireland) and roster choices(Sparano).

So, if they say, player X is not performing, it makes someone else in the organization look bad. And they won't do that. How does that saying go? Something about biting the hand that feeds them?

I think even with the personnel we have now, what we see on Sunday could be a lot better. But that's another topic.

Great article? WTF?

Do you really need to explain this. The reason for coach double speak should be abundantly clear to even a 5 year old who has watched 'the bad news bears'.

Duh. Let's guess at some possible reasons why not to call out specific areas of one's own organization:
1) It clues opponents in to your weaknesses if they dont already know.
2) It demoralizes players.
3) It reduces the value of your own assets.

I think there is a perception among the media that fans are ignorant otherwise why the dumbing down of sports journalism everywhere i pick up a sports page or tune into a talk radio station in this country. What is worse is that fans justify it by writing dumb crap in blogs, editorials, and call in responses to sports talk shows. So the feeling is mutual. We end up with a cycle that calls to mind two logs chasing each other down the vortex of my toilet this morning.

Gentlemen! We are better than this!

Here is a call to arms, an appeal to rationale, and a simple request from Joe six pack. Take a moment to read, listen, digest, or better yet - spit out, and critically think before you write. Be you a journalist or purveyor of the fish wrap called the Miami Herald, the urge to impress, be first or strike while the iron is hot, as it were, is fools gold. A seminal idea, a well thought out rebuttal or even an overlooked observation is timeless and has no freshness date on it so take a moment and actually practice excellence.
An original idea from you is of far greater value than vacuous, vapid comments based on knee jerk reactions and actually adds to the body of knowledge on the topic at hand. Above all an opinion without reason offers nothing. If nothing else cite examples from your own rich and rewarding lives to support your argument or illustrate your comments using cause and effect. Yes, you actually have something to contribute. That is all.

I just hope to god that Bill Parcells will stay for 2 more drafts. PLEASE bill we need you.

Go Dolphins!

I still believe

Shulu's son is on the right track...There is more to that, but, well played sir

Trade for Aquan Boldin and use both Ginn and Crowder as bait. Ginn could be their #3 WR and Crowder could fill in for Dansby (who is a FA this yr).

We draft McClain in the 1st, at 2nd rd BPA-for pass rushing OLB (Kindle, Miller), 3rd or 4th rd take a flier on WR Mike Williams AND RB Legarrette Blount.

The offense would be much better with youth and experience.

I agree with Mando on the whole B- thing the other day.. I mean on the one hand I am happy in comparison to the previous inept regimes that would be ofer basically 6 drafts in a row. "maybe a little Harsh" ok Ronnie Brown. But its the American way to want more when we get a little success. I think these last two drafts have been decent. They have plugged some holes with solid players,. but Freeagency has been a glaring weekness. I also wish they would pull the trigger on some trades and not be so leary of giving up young talent or picks. I mean I am not saying give a 2 for AJ Feely or anything but if you get a shot for a Boldin, I mean come on , Hello McFly, No Brainer.. Even for a 1 if you have too.. Young proven, star... Come on.. Hopefully they will learn from there mistakes. I am so glad to see Ricky featured I have been saying for quite some time he is the best player on the team. Mando I know your not a big fan of him but deal with it.. If he was featured from the beginning of the year he would be in the pro bowl.. I mean the dudes averaging over 5 yards a carry.. Um Better Than Adrian Petersen.. And thats with no passing game, 8 and 9 in the box... He is a remarkable story and should be discussed as a hands down come back player of the year...
Peace Out

I'm a huge Dolphin fan and always will be but I've come to face the facts. We're in the second year of a rebuilding stage facing the best the NFL has to offer and for the most part have been giving them a good fight. Injuries and learning players have killed us this year. We're a team that's almost a top level team but not there yet. One more year will tell us if this was a good project or a failure. I'm not jumping ship or going to rip off the sails because this year hasn't gone well. We're a couple of players away from running with the big dogs. With going 11-5 last year I think we all ate the cheese as Tony likes to say.

Henning's comment was dead on. They can't tell us what we know, because than the other teams would know. Wait. What?


Trust me, if I know we have no receivers to speak of, so do the Patriots.

Armando, this is your best column that I have had the pleasure to read. (The Ricky interview was the worst.)

Please consider bobbyd12's suggestion. An accurate, authoritative piece painting the mountain Parcells agreed to climb would be a real contribution to Dolphin fans. I won't be enough to put a crimp in some fan's crying towels but it would earn you a place in the hearts of those who really want to understand.

P.S. I'm a 72 yr old Dolphin fan who constantly is trying to cling to the past. Watch Joe Auhr (sp) run the opening TD. Watch Wahoo McDaniel use his tomahawk chop at middle line backer, and was on the 40 yd line to see the D's close out their perfect 72 season. So please forgive this one request.

Next time you see Don Shula find out if I'm getting senile or if there is a reason something about Henne reminds me of my favorite Dolphin, Earle Morral (the unsung hero of 72'). If he agrees there is, that might make a future column for when you are desperate for column inches.

Thanks and forgive and old man's reach into history...jack

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