« Much happening at Dolphins camp on a Wednesday | Main | Henning defends Wildcat calls again »

Dolphins special teams: Not aggressive

The Dolphins are back at work this morning and there is absolutely nothing newsworthy to report other than the fact everyone -- with the exception of Benny Sapp --is practicing.

The media was in the house while the Dolphins were working on special teams under new coordinator Darren Rizzi. There is nothing extraordinary to report there, either. (If there were, I couldn't report it under Dolphins media policies anyway.)

But ...

Watching the period made me wonder: When was the last time the Dolphins took a chance on special teams? When was the last fake field goal? When was the last fake punt? When was the last reverse on a kickoff? When was the last onside kick?

My memory doesn't go back that far.

My point is the Dolphins are, along with the San Diego Chargers, perhaps the worst special teams unit in the NFL this year. They are now coming out of a bye weekend, having had time to digest their collapse against the New England Patriots and the firing of John Bonamego.

So they've had time to work on things and to work things out. They have nothing to lose anyway, so why not get aggressive and attack, attack, attack if they are otherwise not getting the job done so far.

I can handle mistakes on special teams when the unit or a player is pressing the issue. But this unit has been making mistakes simply doing the routine. So why not press the issue? Why not try to win a game on special teams for once?

[UPDATE: I asked coach Tony Sparano about this issue today. It does not seem like he shares my sentiments. Basically, he's saying he's not prone to try freaky stuff to gamble on greatness.

“No, I don’t think so. I mean I just think…I don’t think you want to deviate too far from where you’ve been. Now, there’s obviously every week we’re prepared and we prepare our players for different scenarios that could come up in the game from a special teams standpoint, but, I don’t think that’s changed. Our approach hasn’t changed in what we’re telling our players and what—and I don’t think you can…you want to get into desperate measures with that group. Because I actually do think that there’s some people within those units that have gotten a lot better and I’ve already said this before—and you guys aren’t hearing me when I’m saying it, or you are and you choose not to. But it really…although the evidence doesn’t show you that it isn’t really far away I don’t think from being fixed—and that’s one of the reasons why I think when you make a change like you did the continuity thing is important because there’s enough good things on film that I think you know are going to get us a lot closer to the end result. So, I don’t know that going out there and you know trying to rush every punt or faking field goals or doing any of those things is the measure…it just wouldn’t—really depends on the situations in the game and whether or not it’s right. I can tell you that you know in three or four games right now those things have been on the table and just you know has a large—in special teams a tremendous amount of whether or not you can pull something like that off. It has to do with what they’re showing you and it really does, so. Some of those things came and went and nobody ever knew about it.”

Well, it was a shot by me.]

If you're response is the Dolphins should always kick the ball because the punting is great or the field goal kicking is great, I have news for you. You are wrong on at least one of those points.

Miami's punting is hurting now. Brandon Fields is not kicking the ball great this year, perhaps for the first time since he was drafted in 2007.

Fields has a net punting average of 32.8 this season. That is 31st of 32 punters listed. He has a gross punting average of 40.9. That is 29th of 32 punters listed.

So I asked coach Tony Sparano why he thinks Fields hasn't been his usual self so far.

“The only thing I could say there, you know, we had one ball game there that, and I don’t really remember the game whether it was Buffalo or Minnesota -- it might have been Minnesota, where maybe it didn’t go as well as maybe he would have like it," Sparano said. "And then he’s had several opportunities really to knock it down inside the 20 yard line, the 15 yard line in there which he’s done a very good job of so far.

"I think that with that in mind we’ve been kicking going in a little bit and that’s been, that’s been probably has something to do with his numbers. One of the things we talked about as a team today which I think is important is we’re last in the league right now in average drive start, in field position, dead last. We’re, we’re starting on the 24 yard line and our opponents are starting somewhere right around the 31 yard line, so that has to change and it has to change in a lot of areas not only Brandon, not only (Dan) Carpenter, our coverage units, special teams. That can be, it will change with turnovers, us creating opportunities in their end of the field a little bit and certainly our offense with drives into that end of the field and us being able to knock them down in there. We need to start to change some field position around here and get it going the other way."


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Dolphins special teams: Not aggressive:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Never been a fan of ted ginn
unless we r playing a game of flag football

Home was a big proponent in the firing of ted ginn

NY Jets K Feely after tackling Ginn hard twice got cocky on next 2 KOs
and was out of position gunning for teddy and teddy burned him for 2 KR TDs last year (watch the tape)

If u kool aid drinking teddy ginn fans think he was all that special (ROTFALMAO)

Chew On This:
Outside of those 2 TDs
Ted Ginn has taken 155 KRs

Outside of those 2 TDs

In 40 PR



Welcome Nolan Carroll!

Agreed on Fields. I would even say Carpenter is a bigger problem on special teams than Fields because of his weak kick offs. Where does Carpenter rank there? That would be usefull information. Remember when Olindo Mare used to put the kick offs into the seats behind the end zone? You could have had Larry, Curly, and Mo on special teams back then, it would not have mattered.

Mark and Geno,

I'm not going to argue about Ginn.

I will say that had Ginn made the catch instead of the alligator armed bobble, Sharper never would have had the pick six.

The game probably would have ended differently, if Ginn had just made the simple catch in the first place.

PS: I have recurring nightmares over that play!

Talking a more aggressive ST is exactly what I have been wanting for years. It’s just not in the dna of this coaching staff. The coaches coach scared and I don’t see that changing. Scared to turn the ball over scared to expose Henne, scared to pass past the 1st down marker on 3rd down, scared to go on 4th down, scared to go for TD’s.
The Dolphins are too bereft of talent to win with the smashmouth style. I want a more aggressive approach in general, passing the ball, going on 4td down inside the 30 yard line, trick plays the whole shebang, but this staff is diametrically opposed to doing any of that.
In the mean time the team will beat bad teams most of the time and mostly fall short against good teams by not scoring enough points. I love the Dolphins but the 80’s are over and the team needs a new approach.


U know why
U cannot get a good blow job in the Winter in Canada?


All The Kocksuckers are down here

As stated yesterday
Do Not take the cheese on Aaron Rodgers Not starting

Green Bay has had ONLY 2 QBs play in their games since 1992 (much dif than the Miami Dolphins)
Neither starting QB has ever missed a game

Aaron Rodgers was at practice taking almost ALL the snaps today, Thursday 10.14.10

Expect Tough Day for the Dolphins

"and I don’t really remember the game whether it was Buffalo or Minnesota -- it might have been Minnesota"

It is official. Sparano is a damn moron. Both these games were only a couple weeks agao and he can't remember?????


Thanks Homes,

You know how much I value laughter.

Still, I think I'm going to leave that one alone......................

My God. Sporano sounds like a bumbling idiot. Can that guy ever put together a complete sentence?


I've gotta agree with Home that Nolan Carroll will be the answer at KR. The kid's fast, but still a little raw. Blocking and tackling ARE the problems on ST. And, we'd better get ready for Green Bay to throw everything at our team. They are banged up (expect Rogers to play) and they know that ST is our weakness. They'll throw the kitchen sink at them, blitz, stunts, tricks, etc. We have to impose our will and dominate them! No more pissy diapers! Put on your Big Boy panties and play the game! Go Fins!

Had we kept Matt Roth who is now rated the #3 De in the NFL this year and DE JT who also sacking AFCEAST QBs and creating QB pressures, FF and FR
Than we we would not be worrying bout rookie DE O`dricks return on his twice broken leg

and the Dolphin`s could have went with Home`s pick
O-lineman Mike Iupati who is doing an excellent job mauling defensive linemen and sliding off to crush LBs

Mike Iupati would have been lined up right next to Jake Long for the next decade+, replacing Smiley

No reason to have gotten rid of Bar Clearing Brawler and DE Matt Roth for 0 compensation,who now already has 26 tackles
and DE JT who would have played for small money

Seems Parcells tripped over his own droopy (ego)penis again

Now Dolphins have only one good pass rusher in Cam Wake and might as well just put an orange cone on the other side

Bored @ Work

AGREED, My 8 year old niece can put together better sentance structures. Sparano is a half-wit at best.

Mark in Toronto,

According to Sparano, this year we´re close to last in the league in average starting field position, our own 21, I believe. That puts a lot of pressure on the offense, having to march a lot of yards to score. Main reason for that? Poor kickoff and punt returns...I'm not a Ginn advocate, don't get me wrong, but I think the decision to trade him (and then not addressing the void) took away the possibility of getting better field position or having that scoring threat. Ginn hasn't played much in SF but I've seen him make some good returns in his little action.

Home had/hoped the Miami Dolphins drafting Mike Iupati

Mike Iupati is our highest rated guard prospect and a rare #1 pick at the position. He has improved our the critical postseason from the Senior Bowl through the NFL Combine. He may be selected as early as the 15th overall selection by the Giants with the Steelers, Bengals and Patriots all interested in him in the first round. He is our highest rated guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson was selected in the first round by the Seahawks in the NFL Draft 2001.

Mike Iupati #77 - 6’5” 330 lbs. - Idaho - Sp. 5.2 - Rating 90
Physical aggressive senior guard has been a three-year starter earning WAC first team honors over his late career. Mike is an imposing physical blocker who started at guard and graded out exceptionally high over his late college stay that should earn him a first round selection in April. He is an aggressive blocker who gets the most out of his athleticism, relying on sound technique, very good functional strength and the toughness the position demands. He is a powerfully built lineman that has good agility and footwork to carry all the assignments along the line. He plays with sound leverage, strong leg drive with a forceful hand punch to grade out high consistently. He has long arms that indicate he could also line up at tackle, though his initial playing time should be inside and probably as a starting rookie. He displays the toughness and aggressiveness to win vs NFL caliber defenders and uses his wrestling experience to gain quick leverage in matchups. He is a player who never lets down, going hard from snap to whistle the entire game. He has a very strong leg drive and is able create consistently good movement blocking inline. He can direct, wall off and sustain well inline and is also effective on short pulls. He has the look of a very likely rookie starting guard in the right setting. He is cut in the mold of a tough aggressive NFL guard like Jahri Evans with the nasty demeanor that scouts seek in a starting lineman and the footwork and functional strength to carry out all the assignments. He comes out of his stance quickly with good positioning and a fast hand punch that gains early control and jars an opponent. He is a physical blocker who locks on with strong hands and moves his feet to steer a defender with the ability to finish with power. He is effective when pulling and is able to adjust and get adequate fits when blocking on the 2nd level despite average footspeed. As a pass blocker, he can slide laterally, mirror and adjust to secondary rush moves, though he needs to get his hands on a defender early to gain a quick advantage. He anchors well vs the bull rush with the fine functional strength and agility to contain defenders consistently and sustains his blocks well. He works hard to finish and will bury defenders often, showing the nasty demeanor of that of top NFL linemen


You are very smart and I like your fancy third person dialogue, however, wouldn’t it be wiser to bring in Cowher than Gruden?

Have a lovely day


I agree that Cower is a better choice than Chucky but Cower will never come here. Ross is trying to make Dolphins games more of a Hollywood event than a football game. Cowher will never want to be a part of that crap.

Cowher would also be an excellent choice and prob the obv choice being Cowher is connected to King Karl, our owners new boy

However really enjoys the animated, tough, younger "Chucky" and has seen him many times as he has already won an NFL Super Bowl for another Florida team

Cowher 62% winning percentage// Gruden is a washed up piece of shyt who got lucky taking over a stocked team. Want stability you don't go firing Sparano after only 3 years and starting over again and again. Keep what you have and keep working. Good young solid team, if you have no patience then you should be jerkinoff for instant gratification.

I agree with many of the posts and although I have the most perfect and lovely Italian wife, I think this time "the tuna" overplayed the Italian thing! A cheerleader does not a coach make! This regime will not last three years. Watch!

Obviously those who are chanting "Gruden,Gruden" for 2011 have forgotten the last 3 years he was with Tampa. He won a Superbowl with Tony Dungee's Team then.... Nothin.

We'll see....Momma ever tell ya....We'll see?

If this regime doesn't last 3 years then Miamino longer deserves a football team. Changing coaches and regimes has got us nothing but losing. Belicheck and the Patriots prove that. 3 years is ridiculous. Short term fixes don't work, if Ross can't stick with these guys he should just sell and move the team.

few years after Gruden won the Super Bowl

the team lost 4 consecutive games and went 9-7

So Gruden was fired for going 9-7

and Sparano`s record last year was 7-9 and a nail biter in EVERY game

Hmmm ... 7-9 and this year maybe 6-10 while churning dif scrubs in every week, Injuring Jake Long in meaningless scrub fest in 4th preseason game, metldown on MNF and rewards the players with 3 days off
Hmmm ...

TriFlunka Triflopped
losing team 7-9 Miami

Parcells bolts

Special teams sets NFL record for new lowlights

Offense cannot score points

Running backs cannot hold football

Henne throws 3 Ints in one game

Just the facts, kool aid drinkers
We got work to do

Oh yeah

O-line cannnot run block

defense cannot cover TEs

We should have never traded Ginn. Huge mistake and shame on the front office for doing that. Now we are seeing our special teams and return game fall apart. Yea Ginn never lived up to a top receiver but he DID perform in the return game and the chance he could take it to the house every time was always there.

Our special teams have been below par on so many levels it is scary ever since Mike Westhoff went to New York. That was a HUGE mistake. Meanwhile, the Jets special teams have been just that-special. Keith Armstrong was just as bad as Bonamego. He is in Atlanta now and they are sub-par. Bring back the bone cancer survivor with the cane. He obviously uses it not only to walk but to intimidate his players to excel. I bet if he whacks you over the head with it a few times, you won't screw up your assignment!


Yes, the team did win a game last year on special teams....Remember the Jets game and Ted Ginn running 2 kickoff's in for scores..

Thanks for the update, Mando. I don't know how you can stand to listen to that guy. Thank goodness you have a tape recorder insted of having to take notes because he about put me to sleep with that ST talk. His answers are mind numbingly long and meaningless. basically he's happy with STs as they are, it seems.

« 1 2

The comments to this entry are closed.