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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.

Examples:

"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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