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Please Dolphins, don't bury your heads in sand

INDIANAPOLIS -- Do you believe me now?

For weeks since the regular-season ended for the Dolphins, I've been on the soapbox preaching the need to pass the football in today's NFL. Well, have you noticed the two Super Bowl teams?

Colts.

Saints.

The No. 2 passing team in the NFL versus the No. 4 passing team in the NFL.

Oh, but Mando, you have to play great defense and run the ball and wear leather helmets to play for championships.

Um, the Colts had the No. 18-ranked defense in the NFL this year. The Saints had the No. 25-ranked defense this year.The Colts had the worst rushing offense in the NFL. The Saints were ranked sixth overall rushing, which makes them supremely balanced, but let's face it: They're a passing team first and foremost.

[Update: A reader reminds me that for the second consecutive year, the team with the NFL's worst running attack is in the Super Bowl. Last year Arizona made it while ranked 32nd rushing. This year Indianapolis is 32nd rushing.]

One thing to worry about: As I wrote in my column for The Miami Herald print edition, the Jets know their "ground and pound" approach is about to change and that's bad news for the Dolphins. You see, the Jets intend to be more balanced on offense going forward.

"They get a big beast at wide receiver," South Florida's Michael Irvin said on NFL Network, "and you got yourself something going forward." 

And as the Jets are already a better team than Miami (you can't bury your head in the sand, they advanced to the AFC title game) that means the Dolphins can't be happy merely celebrating New York's Sunday loss. They have to improve their own passing game as well.

Sure, the Dolphins need to address the defense this offseason. Sure they will continue to run the football in 2010. But Miami must throw the football better in 2010 to keep from being third-best in a four-team division.

As they were in 2009.   

[Newsy Note: Safety Yeremiah Bell is in the Pro Bowl! A source tells me he will be asked to replace Colts S Antoine Bethea, who obviously will be playing in the Super Bowl.]

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Amen Mando!

Armando,

The biggest media myth about this regime is that they want to sacrifice the passing game at the expense of the running game. That is simply not true. Parcells/Ireland want to be what Dallas is right now - a team that can throw and run. They dont want to be strictly a running team. But they've had to orchestrate two "nuts and bolts" drafts b/c this roster was a joke when they took it over.

Even while having two drafts that focused on the foundation of the team (Offensive line/Defensive line/Cornerback)they have drafted a QB in the 2nd round, a WR in the 3rd and 4th rounds, and a specialty player (P. White) in the 2nd round. Trust me, this regime wants to have a balanced attack. But you cant fix every problem in one year.

As you noted in your live blog Mando, the Dolphins drafted Pat Turner and Pat White before the Colts picked Austin Collie.

I'd take Collie over either of those guys.

And last year, while the Dolphins got Davone Bess as a free agent, the Colts got Pierre Garcon in the seventh round. Again, advantage Colts.

There are reasons the Colts can throw the ball downfield. And there are reasons the Dolphins cannot.

Good points Mando.

One question for Fake GM is if the Dolphins are fixing one thing at a time, why are they going to have to fix the defense this offseason after spending the last two years fixing the defense?

Please, man.

but the reason why my boy Pierre Garcon and Collie are more producing then patrick Turner and Bess first look at who they have for QB, me im a firm believer in QB makes reciever better.

Willi. Miami was only fixing the defense the last 2 years ?? Really ?? I didn't know jake long , donald thomas , jake grove ,justin smiley , , justin smiley , chad henne , pat white , brian hartline . devone bess , , lex hilliard . anthony fasano . etc all played defense. Please , man.

Hey mando, do your homework- neither team had a running game.

I only have one thing to say.
C J Spiller.

NJPHINFAN, I didn't say the Dolphins have "only" been fixing the defense. I said they've spent the past two years fixing the defense.

To wit: They've drafted Merling, Langford, Smith, Davis, and Clemons. They signed Wilson and Taylor. They traded for Ayodele and Ferguson. And they re-signing Yeremiah Bell, Will Allen and Channing Crowder. That's called fixing the defense.

Please son, don't come to a gun fight carrying a knife.

Willi,

I agree that Parcells/Ireland have made some big mistakes so far like every other NFL front office does. Signing Gibril Wilson was laughable. But the linebackers they inherited were Zack Thomas (35 years old), Joey Porter (31), and C. Crowder (who is average). They havent drafted any linebackers yet b/c they havent had enough draft choices. They will draft them this year, and the team will continue to improve.

Again, you cant fix everything in one year.

Fake GM. Bingo !!

We took the weekend off. Oh well. Thanks for learnin' us stuff, Mando.

Today in the 4th quarter, Sanchez made play where he threw the ball off of his back foot to avoid a sack. He was lucky it wasn't intercepted and returned for a touchdown. I wasn't impressed with Sanchez in 2009. He had a tendency to make big mistakes that cost his team games. I didn't see much improvement over the course of the season either. Unless the Jets play a 14 game schedule next year and draw a team (the Bengals) playing 5-11 quality football in the playoffs again. They won't make it back to the Championship game again next year. The Jets are a largely a team of mid to latter career veterans. Even the sun shines on a dog's ass...Btw, the Dolphins would have been the second place team if not for their bad luck with injuries.

Willi,

They have been trying to fix both the offense and defense the past two years. My only point is if you want to be a great team, you need to have several good drafts. The Dolphins have had two so far. But Parcells/Ireland need more time. They need one or two more drafts, but they are close. They need more time, that is all I am saying.

Will , this regime has totally omitted the LB corps in both FA and the Draft . PLEASE SON , go back to playing cowboys and indians. CHILD PLEASE!!!

Good points by Willy Chirino here tonight.

Judging his debate with NJ ... and the TKO goes to Chirino.

That was a loooong list of Parcells defensive guys that helped us be a less than mediocre defense.

FLPD , really ?? how about he long list of great LB'S this regime has brought in. Oh yeah , there is none. I know you florida boys like st stick close to each other. LMFAO !!! Good night.

Armando

Hell NO! Defense wins championships and the Colts defense still had to show up. Right?
Bottom line though is that you don't need what did you say 1, 2, 3 No#1 recievers. LOL!

Austin Collie, whom I liked and was hoping the Dolphins would have picked in last year's draft, is not a number one WR, and niether is Garcon, but they both play with, PAYTON MANNING. Point blank end of story. Like Shula said when it's all said and done he will have all the records, and I, dare I say he may even be better than our beloved Dan Marino-hate to say it but yes.
I mean did you see those passes to not only Garcon and Collie but whom ever he was throwing to, RIGHT ON THE MONEY! There was nothing you could do about that.
The point I would like to make is Manning after the first 2 offensive possessions and was sacked twice. Was on the sidelines and figured it out. He started going to three step drops and completing short passes to Collie and Garcon who broke a few for long gains, and that is what opened it up later in the game. They (Jets) had to drop more defender in coverage and the pass rush from the Jets was stagnant from then on.
Thats the difference between him and all other QB's in this league. Take for instance Philip Rivers whom has a basketball team for recievers, failed to make any adjustments when the Jets blitzed, River's kept looking for the big play down field. Unless you make the Jets pay early with short three step drops, the Jets will make you pay. And that and having pin point accuracy, and his ability to audible at the line of scrimage and recognize coverages is why Manning is the best in the game. Not because he has 3 number one recievers.
Don't forget that the Colts D showed up too, what do the Jets do well, run the ball, how many yards did the Jets gain? "86!" The number one rushing team in the league gained 86 yards, why? Well Payton can't play defense too. The Colts D still had to show up.

As far as the number one scoring team the Saints, like against the Dolphins and many other teams all year they got the right calls at the rigth time, and when the other team fumbles what 5 times that will not win many ball games to say the least. The saints would not be going to the Super Bowl if their defense did not create those tunrovers, something they did well all year.

Now looking back at the Dolphins game when they played the two contenders in the Super Bowl if our defense was better, if we had better ILB's and more experienced corners and Safeties that can cover, then we might have beaten the Colts and Saints, as it was we came close, close but no cigar. So when you say the need for 3-4 #1 WR, we need not look back at the time men in the NFL wore leather helmets, but the last years champion defeated a very, very good offensive team.

Congrats to YB! He deserves it. He's been one of the best players in the whole league to go under the radar the last few years. It seems kind of crazy that anyone from the Dolphins secondary would be going to the probowl this year, but people say you make it the year after you deserve to make it. YB was great last year.

I disagree with you that the Jets are that much better than the Dolphins. First of all, the Dolphins beat the Jets TWICE. Also, if the Dolphins had the equivalent of the teams playing backups against the Jets at the regular season, they would have beaten Indy and Pittsburg (the Dolphins equivalent from the AFC North). If Indy played their starters in week 16, the Jets wouldn't have even made the playoffs.

Cincinatti just wasn't that good of a football team. The Dolphins would have beat them if their last 2 opponents didn't play their starters and they got in the playoffs. At San Diego was an impressive win for the Jets, but the Dolphins played the Chargers tough @ San Diego and I think that was the game Pennington went down and Henne threw a 4th quarter pick 6.

The Jets were VERY lucky to get even get in the playoffs.

Agreed about the NFL being a passing league now. The rules favor it too much (did you see that pass interference in OT against the Vikings?). The NFL is all about the QB now. Let's hope Henne continues to improve.

Looking at the final four teams in the playoffs the dolphins beat the jets twice, shoulda beat the saints and the colts this is a good football team when healthy and you add a couple players through free agency and the draft and some experience under henne your looking at a very good football team

Armando

Was the NFL a passing league when Marino thew all those TD's and had one of the best season a QB could ever had? How about Joe Montana, John Elway, or Jim Kelly or later with Troy Aikman, and Steve Young. With the exception of the early years of John Elway and Marino, all the above mentioned QB's had good to great defenses, and those Qb's each in their own right putt up some good to great numbers, but it was only when those teams had the D, is when they won it all. Well thats my opinion Armando and ever since I have been playing football as a little shorty Offense was fun but Defense won the Championships. OK my friend, I hope Parcells has a great Draft that is loaded with defensive players and a good tight end, but until then keep the faith and have a good night.

I love my Miami Dolphins!

Sorry typos and sorry about Kelly, good numbers, good D, just had some BAD luck. Parcells and his Giants.

The Jets are NOT better than Miami, how can anyone say they are???

Looking at the Final Four teams ... the Dolphins were not one of them.

Let's stop fooling ourselves people. We are a looong way from being as good as the Saints or Colts. We're not even as good as the jets, and they're not so great themselves.

That's all I got to say about that.

The guy comparing Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie to our picks is not looking at things the right way. We have Chad Henne throwing to our guys, they have Peyton freaking Manning, only the best quarterback in the game.. (and I'd personally say ever. Peyton helps the running game too, Dan never did) You put any of our guys with Manning and they would automatically see a production increase. And if you doubt that.... well, i'm not here to call names.

Miami swept the Jets period.

Mando,

I will *NEVER* say that it's possible to win consistently without being able to throw the ball, but hidden in all the passing yesterday was that the Colts out-rushed the Jets 101-84, and their defense played VERY well (outside of 2 big plays). Sanchez made some REALLY shaky decisions, while Manning was Manning.

In the other game, the Saints were out-rushed by the Vikings and were pretty much statistically dominated all game, except in the turnover battle. Brees couldn't throw the ball all over the yard (held under 200 yards). They benefitted from timely defensive play (forcing a TON of turnovers at key moments) ie. a fumble recovery right before the half with the Vikings in the red zone, and the interception of Favre at the end of regulation.

The Defenses in each game were every bit as important as the offenses. I know you're going to talk about trends throughout the season and how the teams with the best passing offenses won everything, but the #1 passing offense in the NFL didn't make the playoffs.

The Jets and Vikings lost.I am a very happy person right now.

This is what i got to say, we dolphins have to stop paying these players all this money. our team is second over all n giving away money to people that is #2 n #3 on other teams. if we paying that kind of money we need some star's. stop saving money or giving it away i should say n go out n get a star. believe it or not we are 2 stars away from being n the super bowl for years to come.

plz dolphins cuz if the jets would have been n our own locker room wit us at home looking at them.......man i would have flip n protest at every mini camp n off seasons work out untill they kick me out of there.... go get a #1 wr and a real middle linebacker n we good to go..LISTEN to me and we going to the bowl

Nobody said we didn't need receivers. But we need a defense first. Getting burned for 8 and 12 yard runs and 50 yard pass plays isn't going to win you championships either. These games prove you do need a defense and it has to be even better because of the pass happy NFL.
And the Jets were not better than Miami. Both Cinci and Indi layed down for them to get in. San Diego had a bad game. It is good that they think they are great because when we meet them next year the fall from glory for them will be a 50 story drop.

I understand what Mando is saying but something that has gone alittle unnoticed is that the Colts have a very underrated defense themselves. Whilst everyone talks about how great Manning and his receivers are,the Colts defense,led by Freeney,Mathis,Session,Bethea and Bullitt have played tremendous all season.

At this present time,it's easier for Parcells to make the Dolphins offense an elite group compared to the defensive side. The Dolphins are just 1 elite WR away from being pretty impressive but the defensive side of the ball is a mess that needs some serious upgrades.

Mandi I'm with u.. Reality is the way henning calls plays..he wants to run and run down the clock.. We were down in many games late and when we would spread out and go shotgun... It would work... Problem was by then we were down and they would play zone..if u spread your offense from the start and mix in the run the results might be different.. Yes receivers we need.. But we also need a man. Who will call plays that believes in passing schemes...

Just dont understand why any ordinary idiots like we have running our team just couldnt take the 1-15 team they inherited and made us super bowl champions by now. Just cant for the life of me understand it.

jet suck...what's new? Fins have beaten them 3 straight, we've got their number.

The Austin Colle, Pierre Garcon comments are stupid. When have the Colts not had a productive receiver. Look at Stokely, he was average with the Ravens, went to Colts and had 1000 yards and 10 TDs, signed a contract with a pass oriented Denver team and no one has seen him since. Bess would be a pro bowler for the Colts. It is the system and QB, not the players.

Posse if u know anything about football.. U will know that the saints... Vikes...jets.... Teams like that have had less time to turn their franchise around and haven't blown it by trading away draft picks and wasting the ones u have on receivers that like the fetal position and qbs that weigh 190 pounds and receivers that are good enough to draft but not good enough to get past the practice squad or conerbacks that are good enough to draft in the first round but not good enough to play in from of the guy that was drafted two rounds behind him... Please... This team needs to stop with the rebuilding krap...They need to sign the right players... Not gibril Wilson. Instead of sharper.. Do I need to stretch this any further!!!!!

I agree with you Armando. I'm not sure a team needs to throw for 300+ yards to win in the NFL, but one thing is clear. The teams with the best QBs are the teams in the playoffs year in and year out. A team can make the playoffs and maybe even win a SB, but the teams consistently at the top have a top flight QB. A team with a great QB and a great defense is a perennial winner much like NE a few years back.

The real question the Dolphins, and the Jets for that matter, should be asking themselves is whether Chad Henne or Mark Sanchez will be that guy. A good example is Baltimore, they have had a great defense and running game for the last 10 years and they did win a SB but without a great QB they are just another 1st round playoff team.

QB is the great quandary… Every great coach can be tied to a great QB, every great team can be tied to a great QB. I don’t think this is something new with the passing game, great QBs have always been what has set great teams apart. If Chad Henne is not the guy, the Dolphins will flounder around the edge of the playoffs, perhaps winning a few playoff games here and there. If his is the man, the Dolphins could move on the greatness.

In the end Parecells and company has to make one call that will define their Dolphin legacy, is Chad Henne capable of becoming the man? If he is not then it will be a long and mediocre ride. If he is then an era of greatness will follow. At this point I don’t think anyone can answer that question and so the quandary continues.

I'll go with two super stars. A fast good hands receiver and an Inside linebacker like Ray Lewis and we go to the super bowl. Henne is plenty good enough.

The WR comparison is pointless.

Welker's last season with Miami:

67 rec 687 yds 1 td

3 seasons with the Pats:

112-1175-8
111-1165-3
123-1348-4

Bess with Dolphins:

76-758-2

Camarillo with Dolphins:

50-552-0

If Ginn was Randy Moss stretching the field and we threw the ball as much as the Pats, either one of those guys could easily replicate Welker's stats. If Collie and Garcon were on the Dolphins, we'd probably be complaining about why we picked them.

we took a step backwards this year with the draft picks and free agents signed. talent evaluations missed their mark. porter took over the team and sparano never got it back. the best guys didnt play and we didnt make halftime adjustments. most of all we didnt come together as a team. we couldnt TACKLE OR COVER! we really laid an egg the last 3 games. lets try to figure out why. coaches or players or both?????

Dave... I agree with u 100 percent!!!! It's all about what the gameplan is... They have said they don't want big mouth receivers... They don't want them becuase they won't be the main focus of the offense and big time receivers want that.. They built this o line because they want to be a running team and that's great and all.. But just look at when we played the colts.. We man handled them on the run and time of posession and still lost!!! Have to be able to pass and have the quick strike ability and coaches need to have that mentailty also... I am a huge fan of sparano but I also think they have got to open it up when need be!!!

yo man, who cares how the Jets make a living and put food on their table. lets just take care of our own issues man... tired of hearing all this Jets s#&t no less from a whinnying journalist. fact of the matter is if Ind wasnt scared to face history and play the regs in the 1st Jets meeting, this Cinderella end to the Jets season wouldnt have happen and we wouldnt have to hear about molding the Dolphins to the likes of the Jets. Phins have obvious have needs that they need to address regardless of how the Jets make a living or any other team in the league!

Armando,

I must say that I do agree with you with today's NFL being a passing league. The reason why is because the rules are all in favor of the QB's/WR's! Take that pass interference in overtime in the Saints game for instance, they're making it impossible for CB's to pass defend. Another thing is that the only reason why the #1 offense in the league won the game was because of their defense forcing all those turnovers! The Vikes defense played lights out all game giving up only 2 TD drives, the other points were all set up by the Saints DEFENSE! In the Jets game, the Colts #18 defense only gave up 86 rushing yards to the #1 rushing offense in the league. Without the ability to stuff the run, the Colts would not have won so easily against the Jets.
All in all, Defense does wins Championships as it was again proven last night. Miami will need to draft some defensive guys in order to be contenders. The offense will improve with a stud WR, but that is not the main problem right now.

The Saints vaunted O looked pretty average last night, their 25th ranked D got 6 turnovers........

You guys keep saying how the Dolphins never made half time adjustments,but they did the last 5 games.I know it was a little late but we got behind and were able to make a game out of it.Being down 18 points at the Titans and sending it to OT, should tell you that Henne will be good.Where are the Jets fans at today?

MOST ARE MISSING THE POINT!!!! the reason the jets lost which am extremely happy for is the fact that the fatman went into this game with only 4 active d-lineman and brought no pressure on Manning whatsoever after his team became tired. no pressure vs. manning equals a lost every time. not to mention manning is undefeated vs. rex ryan defenses. you put our reciever with manning and they perform and if you put colts recievers on our team they look average at best too. and no marino is still the best QB of all time! the rules are made for QBs to succeed now more than ever. also you dont need the best offense or defense to win you need timely stops and conversions period and to score TD and not settle for field goals

The Jets never should have been in the playoffs to begin with.It was luck,and luck only.

Would have been great to start the rebuilding process with Peyton Manning or Drew Breeze. Guarantee we wouldnt be talking abot a passing game issue right now.

henne continually brought miami back from huge deficits with average receivers and tight ends. give him one reliable guy that can get downfield and catch whether a TE or WR and the offense is set. defense needs all the attention in FA and draft. NT linebackers in general and a CB. granted we are getting will allen back but nate jones needs to be replaced. he was always giving up plays. and can someone teach sean smith to tackle! several times during the steelers game he would launch himself at a pitt player like a missile with his arms at his sides!

100% Spot-on, 'Mando!!!!

I really do not want to hear "jets blueprint" or "run + defense" nonsense for awhile.
\
What got the jets the lead was aggressive passing--the BOMB to Edwards ,the "gimmick" Smith-what-White-is-supposed-to-be Wildcat bomb, etc.

Let her rip....the ONLY parts of the Jets to "emulate" are (a) aggressive attacking defense & (b) best O-line around.

Doesnt matter Sammo it will still take Henne time to see, learn, and master all the different defenses. Peyton Manning didnt become the Manning he is today by overnight express.

Seriously Armando,
Your argument is flawed. The Colts D shut the Jets down in the 2nd half to a tune of 0 points. Anybody who watched the 2nd game saw that the Saints hits on Favre and the takeaways courtesy of Greg Williams' defense was the difference. If he doesnt show up as D coach we are talking about another offensive juggernaut that is one and done in the playoffs as the Colts were until they learned to play D the last 3 games of the 06 season.

I notice when teams win you are like a woman who impulse shops. Gotta have this gotta have that - always chasing, but seriously are you ever happy?

i know henne needs time to learn and master his craft. he should give marino a call and ask for pointers. marino helped peyton out his first few years in the league.

The big question is whether Henne takes a step forwards or backwards next season. The ones of potential greatness take forward steps. The eventual busts take that even ever so slight step backwards thier 2nd starting season. Everyone's talking #1wr at all costs and we're not even out the woods yet with Henne.

The next years or two Henne will still have to feed off of a productive run game while his experience and play matures. Anyone expecting the Indianapolis 500 offense within the next few years in Miami are nuts.

fer crying out loud---Mando is NOT saying don't be the best you can be defensively--

his overarching point is PASS PASS PASS!

that's true posse. it took brees some time to become the qb he is and same for manning.

You guys talk about how you would take Garcon and Collie over some of our players. As I agree to a certain point, I have to disagree as well. I would guaratnee you if we switched WR's with the Colts, the Cotls would still have a better passing game than Miami. It's not that we have drafted terrible or not picked up that big time WR. We don't have the big time QB....YET....we are on the right path though! Manning make Garcon and Collie A LOT better than what they are!

'72 Dolphins had quickstrike ability(Warfield & Assoc.) But they also played great D and once they got the lead mauled the crap out of you(run game). Thats the blueprint for success in the nfl. You need all 3.

Jets a better team.. That's strictly your opinion and saints "D" won that game yesterday as their offense misfired all day long. U Dng

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