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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?



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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Funny you label the Jets a better team than Miami considering Miami beat them twice this year. And don't forget, the Jets likely wouldn't have made the playoffs had the Colts not pulled their starters. You always think the grass is greener on the other side Armando. It's often not.

Dolphins Diciple . Just read your posts and thanks for the kind words. Looks like by many of the posts on here i win by KO. I still retain the belt.

Congrats bell!!!

Birth 73. W^ ??? Is That supposed to mean what's up ???


How does last year's Pittsburgh Steelers championship team fit in this analysis -- not so great offense, great defense. There is no magic formula. The best team usually wins. Sometimes the best team has a great offense. Sometimes the best teams has a great defense. It's best to try to be as good as possible at all phases of the game.

Birth73. w^. I like it . i think i'll use it . Thanks.

Mando, I heard that Parcells is trying to get the rules committee to bring back the leather helmet and outlaw the forward pass. Have you heard the same thing?

Hey Knight!!! I get it!!! Your not to bright, so I'll dumb it down for you. If u were REALLY a REAL Dolphins Fan, you would NEVER say your HATED RIVAL "the jets" are a better team than yours, especially if your team had beat that team the last 3 times straight in a Row in head to head matchups. So your point is..... because the colts laid down & let the jets stumble into the playoffs they are better than Miami??? Weak point!!! So maybe you should sell your season tickets & move to New Jersey so U can follow your jets who u seem to admire so much lol. Case officially closed!!!!

Hey Knight!!! Here's a question for you(mr. Jets fan) who's draft pick would you rather have, the jets(#28) or the Dolphins(#12)??? Lmao

I think Henne will be a solid NFL QB. Fortunately, he got a lot of reps this year, which should bode well for 2010.
Armando accurately says that the trend in the NFL is to favor the passing game. Defenses are handcuffed by the current rules (can't touch WR's after 5 yards, QB's are protected) so you might as well take advantage of this.
Maybe Mike Nolan resuades Brandon Marshall to come to Miami. He would cost a fair amount, but I think would be well worth it. If you had Marshall as a No.1 WR everbody else would fall into place. More attention on Marshall could be a bonus for Ginn, Bess and Hartline. Don't forget, Ronnie Brown can also be a valuable asset to the passing game.

it really doesnt matter if you have a running or passing team if you dont have an offensive line good enough to take you to a super bowl and people can fool yourself into thinking the offensive line is set but some of us know better, theres way too many injury prone guys and you cant have a line that is rotating guys every three plays they need to draft linemen high and get the same 5 guys to be a championship line when i hear people say are o line is set it makes me wonder if they even watch football

The Dolphins drafted two receivers last year. I'm thinking Hartline is (sneaky quick) going to become a very good #2 receiver. He gets open in the 15-25 yard range. Turner is obviously not what they hoped. Bess and Camarillo are both reliable. It's not a position they're ignoring. They need some luck. Keep in mind, Henne wasn't even supposed to start this season. And Pennington wasn't the quarterback to develop a deep threat with. I love what Penny did for this team, but we all know his deep ball floats like the goodyear blimp.

i agree about brandon marshall hes worth the number one pick if we could get him and then draft defense after. He would instantly make the passing and running game much better, all that crap about being a bad guy or the diva reciever stuff is such a joke every team has some bad guys and im quite sure theres alot of unsavory characters walking around out there with super bowl rings some of them right from the U. haha

Last year I believe the Steelers had the best D in terms of yardage allowed. The year before the Giants won the Super Bowl with a balanced offense and a great defense, beating the prototypical lights out passing attack. If high powered passing is the key to eveything, then why were the Saints mediocre last season instead of a Super Bowl contender? Why did the Chargers lose to the Jets? Just because a system did well teh last week doesn't make it the all powerful key to everything.

I cant believe how fair weather so many of you are.With all the injuries and young players in important roles on this team I think we had a solid season. Look at the Rams or Lions were they in every game or in the playoff hunt until the last week. NO! What this team needs to as far as the WR position is go after B. Marshall. I dont care about his some what shaky rep. Use some of our strengths to get him. The coaches always seem to rave about L. Dotson, so make him part of the DE rotation. Trade P. Merling, C. Crowder, and G. Camarillo to the Broncos for B. Marshall. Trade T. Ginn to the Ravens for a 3 or 4. Draft R. Mclain in Rd.1 J. Hughes in Rd.2, D. McCluster in RD.3 and if you get a 3 for Ginn take another ILB or a NT.

I totally agree. That was totally clear watching brees and favre march down the field possession after possession. The best teams pass, a lot, and for lots and lots and lots of yardage. Period.

I believe that the Jets, The Phins, Titans, Ravens, Texans, Bengals, Steelers and Broncos are all pretty equal teams. The jets received a few breaks at the end of the season, had less injuries, got hot and won. The Colts and Chargers are by far much better then the rest of the competition in the AFC. The charges turnovers and missed kicks doomed them against the Jets. This all said to say the jets aren't better then us!

Lets not fool ourselves and think Henne is Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning is the best QB in the league period. When we have Peyton Manning ok then I agree air it out but we have Henne.

DV and BigNasty13 - Get off B. Marchall kick. We don't want him. Problems will occur if he comes, mark my word!

BigNasty13 - You sound like you should be our coach with your ever so mighty picking and trading you posted. Who do we take if McClain is not there at #12? Who we take in round 2 if Hughes is not there? Who do we take in round 3 if McCluster is not there? You are trying to predict WAY TO MUCH!! Get out of fantasy world...

So many years of agony I remember watching Marino rotting on the sidelines while teams pound us to death in the playoffs. When the games mattered! Not saying dont throw the ball at all but if the single season record holder for passing yards didnt win a Superbowl in his entire career with that formula and led by the greatest coach of all time please enlighten me why this is now the formula to win championships? Give me a break okay, when the Patriots beat the Greatest show on turf it was because of balanced ball control offense and great defense. Same thing recently with the Giants and last years Steelers.

you dont need the top 5 passing offenses. If the Jets had any other QB beside Mark Sanchez they would have made the Super Bowl. I think Henne gets them there and I dont think Henne is all that great yet.

Yes we need to work on defense in the off season and yes we need very serious help at the WR position. I know I'm going to get trashed for saying this but if CJ Spiller is available to us we should take him. We can take LB's and WR in FA and in later rounds in the draft. Ricky has one last season in him and Ronnie is injury prone. CJ Spiller is a beast and is a threat on every level in the offense. Take him and do not look back.

Damian Woodey quote " I never seen so many grown men crying after a game" lmfao jets are soft!!!

Well,I'm pretty happy that the Vikings lost (as well as the Jets),but now it's the Brett Favre season here in Mn.I think it's time for Favre to just let go.I used to respect him as a Packer,but the way he unretired left me shaking my head a little.Do you guys think he returns to the Vikes,or does he sit at home with the Mrs?

The only team likely to R.Mclain before us is the Broncos. If you can make this trade their need for an ILB or other front 7 player will not be top priority. J. Hughes was just an example. There will be plenty of OLB help avaliable in RD2. AS for D. McCluster players of his size alwsys fall in the draft fair or not.

The two teams in the Super Bowl are the teams with the best 2 QBs. Unfortunately there aren't many of those guys around. If you don't have a top 3 qb, you have to run and play excellent defense - no matter who you have playing WR.

It's easier to re-build the defense than it is to find a Peyton Manning. We can also thank Saban and Wannstedt for Brees not being here.

Chad Henne may also evolve into being an upper echelon QB - he showed more in his first year than many others.

Did all of you enjoy the H U G E Chunk-plays against the defense this year?

It seemed that everytime the Dolphins had a long sustained drive, their opponent would, all too often, march down and score in three plays...

Did you have fun watching that?

They need a big athletic linebacker who can cover the Tightend (eg: Dansby) and a big scary Linebacker who can dominate (eg: McClain.)

Once they get those then they can find some people who can run and catch.

Does anyone disagree?

Bigwillystyle - If Marino played in his prime these days, he would have a ring. 10 and 20 years ago were A LOT different style of play then what it is today. We have QB's making rules up (Brady Rule, Tuck Rule) and instant review. Plain and simple, the game has changed even from 5 years ago, not to mention 10, 15 or 20...

There's more than one way to skin a cat Armando.

Everyone needs to forget FA this year. The only players that will be out there will be the G. Wilsons of the NFL. Over paid mistakes that teams will cut because there is no cap.

Beerndrums...I really believe Favre will retire for good this time...watching him limp around and the look on his wifes face said it all...it's over

I agree with Mark in Toronto about the QB. Henne played just as good as Manning's or Brees's first season in the league. And for those who think they're the "voice" of this blog, they need to get a life. Fast. Like living a life other than spending entire days on blogs and playing video games. Catch you guys later.

If this is supposed to make me feel better it, isn't. All those lost years with Marino still hurt.

Terrible running game. Terrible defense. Great passing game. No championships.

Joey from jersey , right on my brotha !!

Didn't Armando say in a prior article that Parcells and Co were on the right path and the Dolphins, would be going forward while the Jets would be going backwards with the decisions they made. I could have sworn he said that...maybe it was someone else.

A good Qb(we have)who can make all the throws and take good care of the ball(let's hope). A number one receiver surrounded by a solid set of receivers(the latter we have). A strong running game(we have),a strong defense and solid special teams is the formula for a very good football team, the type of team the Trifecta is trying to build. The type of team the Fins will be in two or three years. I would take this type of team anyday over the Saints and the Colts. We're not that far away from being a very good team.

# 1 Fan from Momtreal is a walking condradiction .

the new york giants won the super bowl only 2 years ago with running and defense against the wonderful high flying patriots enough said case closed it doesnt matter what style you play you just have to have great players and get hot at the right time and you also need a great offensive line which after watching these playoff teams lines. we are far from having

The Patriots lost the Super Bowl against the Giants on that final drive because they could not stop them.

The Vikings lost last night because they could not STOP New Orleans in OT.

The Cardinals lost to the Steelers in last years SB because they COULD NOT STOP the Steelers.

I think that a deadly offense just beats even a great defense. Didn't use to be that way (ask Dan Fouts) but now it seems to be true.

I disagree that the Jets are a better team ... because see ... they lost to Miami twice. Once is a fluke, twice is ... well ... we're better than you.

I'm sure y'all remember the Shula years with Marino and the Marks brothers, back then we complained because we need it a running game to set up the passing game. Now we need a passing game to set up the running game. So which is it, the chicken or the egg?
It seems to me that one offensive aspect can support the other regardless of which is the stronger, provided that there is a third aspects in the game that is successful.
In the Shula era "The Killer Bees" had success along with good passing and a fair running game.
I think the Phins need a strong or stronger defensive unit but they MUST improve the receiving core as well.

miami beat the Wets twice last year! nuf said...they got to the AFC game due to the luck of the draw and because the Fish gave it to them

Beacuse the fish gave it to them? How in the heck did we "give" it to them. The Colts did in week 16. The Bungals on the other hand were not the better team, so we can't say they handed the game to them either.

Really though how did the Phins give it to the Jets??

Lets not forget the Chargers would have beaten the Jets if their Kicker had decided to show up for the game. I believe he missed 3 inside 50 didn't he...

If McClain isn't available to the Fins at #12 in the draft, I would love for the Fins to draft either Dez Bryant or C.J. Spiller. Both of those guys would add some sizzle to the Fins bland offense.

as usual, fans want to get down on our team as if we have peyton manning as our quarterback. collie and garcon on the dolphins adds up to the same results as we had this year....let's be patient, build the team up from the doldrums huizenga left it in and let the team grow together...henne and company will be worth the wait....the jets will be aging faster than everybody thinks...look at their d -line and o-line....not built for next 10 years people....we had the toughest schedule in football and the dolphins played week in and week out with a mental toughness minus a couple of first half collapses....i'm not worried and pat white will play more next year like brad smith ran the wildcat for the jets....didn't they call our play a "gimmick"??? well they ran it all during the playoffs to offset the bengals and chargers...calm down....another great draft is coming up with very talented players....manning has played long enough for the colts to plug in young players and win...the dolphins can't do that yet.....in 5 years, we will be able to....mind you, last year was the first time we haven't had a coaching shake-up in the offseason for a few years...whew!!! let's go dolphins....not time to complain...let's build!!!

AK FinFan - Kaeding, who is the AFC's Pro Bowl kicker, missed three field goals (from 36, 57 and 40 yards), after entering the game with a streak of 20 kicks without a miss. Kaeding also had a streak of 69 field goals made from 40 or less, which included playoffs, that came to an end.

mdg - 100% agree!!

GOD i love Peyton..... He looks so good holding that AFC Trophy!!! Thank god the jests didnt make it whewww

ericatl - Are you a Colts fan? I am from Indiana and despise the Jets, but I still would never say I love Peyton, no matter if they beat the jets and Patriots every year. I may be happier with him and the Colts, but never would I say I love another player when I am a MIAMI FAN...

First off how are the Jets a better team when the Dolphins beat them twice? Do you mean they made it further than the Dolphins? Do you mean because the two teams they played at the end of the year pulled players they were able to back into the playoffs? That I'll agree with but you watched the Dolphins put up over 70 points with no receivers and a fist year starting QB on that vaunted "best defense" and you're still saying they're better?! I don't give a f**k how far they made it the DOLPHINS BEAT THEM TWICE HEAD TO HEAD THAT MAKES THE DOLPHINS THE BETTER TEAM! If you can't measure who is better by head to head matchups what is the criteria? How far you make it in the playoffs? That's stupid and everyone knows it considering there are many factors in deciding how far you go strength of schedule being one of those. The Jets had an easier schedule AND the two teams they played at the end that were playoff teams layed down.

Secondly, how are you getting all high and mighty talking about how the league is a passing league now? You're bragging about being right because some know nothing 15 year old posted that you can still win with a rushing attack? Yes Mando, you're so much smarter than the moronic blogosphere rabble that frequent your blog. There's something to be proud of.

Jason - The Bengals did not pull starters until late in the game week 17 after they were getting destroyed. Then, the jets went into the Bungals house and beat them. In return, the Jets are a better team and they did not benefit week 17 from the other team pulling starters...The Colts on the other hand did pull starters!!

And finally, Armando, when exactly are you going to admit how much you have it out for this current regime? Oh no, you'll claim innocence because you don't want to lose anymore access to information but anyone with half a brain can see your bias against our team. And that proves why most of these dolts keep participating in your Dolphins bashing, they don't even have half a brain. They can't think for themselves and unfortunately they found you and your special brand of "reporting" to do their thinking for them.

Jason - You showing a little hatred towards Armando..??? He is just doing his job and is right about what he says in his post today minus the point about the Jets being better than Miami. The NFL these days is a pass heavy league and geared towards offensive teams.

Jason I'm a life long fins fan and hate to say it but Armando is right the jets are a better team than us the stats don't lie. I just hope next year we can make a run

Gesh Armando! The Jets are a better team than Miami? Always stirring up the Hornets nest, eh? Miami is going to explode offensively next year. Here's a couple of interesting statistics that could indicate this possibility. (As garnered from the NFL Season Stats, and a few other sources).

They had the most plays from scrimage of any team in the league:1088. NE was 2nd with 1073. But with an average gain of only 5.0 yards per play, it was the lowest of the teams ranked above them, offensively. ( New Orleans was highest with 6.3, Cleveland had the lowest with 4.3).
They were tied with Indianapolis for best percentage of third down conversions: 49%
They made the most third downs of any team:120. (GB was second with 103).
They were second best in percentage of fourth down conversions behind the Jets: 72% vs 75%.
Their combined Pass/Rushing Yards placed them at 17th in overall offense.
They finished the season with the fourth best rushing attack in the league (Even without Ronnie Brown and the Wildcat).
They moved up considerably in the passing yards per game statistics: 20th, with Henne at the helm.
Miami had the fewest 20 and 40+ yard pass plays of the 19 teams ranked above them.
Percentage of pass completions were also the lowest of the 19 teams ahead of them:60.8%. But during the 5 weeks prior to the Steelers finale, Henne averaged 67%, and he was throwing more passes, too. As a matter of fact, in the four games preceeding the Pittsburg matchup, he had 300+ passing yards in three of those games, with four 300+ yards games on the season. But alot of those yards were the result of falling behind early and playing catch up). Henne was 16 of 20 in pass completions before he got hurt, late in the second quarter of the Steelers game. (That's an 80% Completion Rate)!
Miami only had 15 Passing TDS, with 19 INTS. 19 INTS is tied with Indy and Seatle. Teams like Chicago had more INTS with 27. But the Bears also score 27 TDs. Seatle had 20 TDs, and Indy got 34 to help offset those INTS.
Miami was also -7 in Turnovers. And how many times did Miami drive deep in their opponents territory, only to have an untimely interception or fumble? (A couple of those INTs were returned for touchdowns)?

So it seems to me Miami racked up some promising statistics, but wound up spinning their wheels. And they worked way to hard for it all, as well.
Imagine what this team could do if they had a more balanced attack instead of their "rush orientated, ball/clock control", philosophy, (with the occassional short pass thrown in for good measure)? It lacks dimension and makes them too predictable.
Henne has an arm, so 20 and 40+ yard pass plays are possible. Especially if they get him a reliable receiver or two with some speed and moves to provide that deep vertical threat downfield. Not every team with a high powered passing game has a running game to match it. If Miami could maintain a good rushing game, (no reason why they shouldn't with that stout, $150 million OL) and maybe add 40 to 50 yards per game passing for those "chunk yards", Sparano so affectionately refers to. They would be an elite team that can present a real dilema for opposing defenses to contend with.
I think Sparano and Corp have shown they are capable of developing young talent, in a timely fashion. And being a young team, the Dolphins will only get better. They weren't just going through rookie growing pains. They were forced to deal with some major blows to key players on both sides of the ball. They also adopted a different strategy midway through the season, going to a more conventional offensive set against New England, (And won too, I might add)! They are real close to becoming dangerously formidable.
Now that they have Nolan as their Defensive Coordinator, with his ability to elevate and improve a defense, look out! Even if Miamil were to shave just 5 points off the, "Points Allowed Per Game" catagory, Miami's offense will be able to score enough points to do the rest. Just one life time Dolphin Fan's opinion!

You're not mad at Parcells right? BULLCRAP. Then why do you constantly pick apart their picks and way of doing business and never compliment them on the good finds. You'll say a player is good but not that the team did well in finding him. But if a player is bad or worse than another player drafted after him you're so quick to point out their mistake. As in yesterday when for some strange reason you brought up Austin Collie's draft position and how he was drafted after Hartline, White, and Turner. Why? Do you have some kind of need to make the rest of us dislike Parcells as much as you do? Why didn't you follow that statement with but ofcourse he has Peyton Manning throwing to him and a probowl TE AND WR opposite of him to take the pressure off! So Collie would be just as good with the Dolphins was your point?! That just shows how little you know about football. Actually I think you do know a fair share but your judgement gets clouded by your dislike of this regimes treatment of the media. It's so obvious and started day one when they kicked you and the other tards out of the clubhouse. Kicked to the curb and vowed revenge. Well keep up the great work in trying to turn Dolphins fans away from their own team. But please realize you're only turning the dumbest fans and we don't need them. They are now fans of yours over their own team which is a f***ing riot! The rest of us see right through you. Why am I in here? Because you are now like Howard Stern to me. You're an oddity and I want to keep up with all the B.S. your shoveling so I have ammo in my crusade against you and south florida "reporters" who are just like you. Used to be a fan until I saw the light, now I'm an enemy and will do everything I can on any Dolphins site I can find to expose your B.S. to other fans. Okay pansies, all of you Armando fans throw your Salguero jerseys on and rush to his defense!

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