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About the good defense and frustrating offense

CINCINNATI -- The calendar has flipped to November. Awesome! This means the weather is getting colder and the NFL is getting hotter.

And because we have reached to point in the season when we start to look at the potential playoff contenders, because this is the time of year teams begin to separate relevant from not, this is also the time of year standards have to rise if one's team is going to be part of the relevant contender crowd.

The Dolphins believe themselves to be in the contender crowd. So I am holding them to a higher standard now because I want them to make the playoffs and be relevant.

And that is why I wrote what could be described as a column with a critical view following Sunday's victory over the Bengals.

I didn't celebrate the wonderfulness of a fourth road victory in four outings because, frankly, with the exception of the Green Bay game, I don't think that record has a lot to do with being exceedingly great on the road. I believe the Dolphins have an 0-3 record at home because they've played their three toughest games -- New York, New England, Pittsburgh -- at home. I believe they have 4-0 record on the road because, other than Green Bay, the teams Miami has beaten are terrible -- wherever they find themselves playing.

Buffalo, Minnesota and Cincinnati are terrible. They have a combined record of 4-17. They are what their record says they are, as Bill Parcells once famously said.

So I dismiss the road warrior myth. If the Dolphins can go on the roard and win 2 of 3 against Baltimore, New York and New England, I will be the first applauding their prowess on the road. Until then ... we should take those victories, with the exception of the outstanding Green Bay win, with a grain of salt.

I am not too comfortable being critical of a team after a victory. It's a victory!

But as I write in the column, a victory over a collapsing Cincinnati team isn't the goal this year. The playoffs are the goal this year. And the production the Dolphins are getting from their offense this year is troubling. One of the most troubling aspects of that not-good-enough production is this team cannot find Brandon Marshall in the end zone.

Marshall has caught one touchdown pass this year. One.

The excuse, er, reason the Dolphins give for not getting him the ball enough in the end zone is that teams are bracketing him with double coverage. Whatever. I asked Marshall if this is any different than what happened in the past. Read the column to see his answer, please.

The last three years Marshall has scored 23 touchdowns. That's an average of nearly 8 TDs per year. He has one now. Something has to get corrected to increase that number. Something has to get corrected so that Miami's best offensive weapon is getting the ball when the Dolphins are in the red zone.

Now, I must tell you some members of the Dolphins knew where I was going with today's column before I wrote it. And one astute member of the organization asked that I at least balance it with the fact the defense is playing very well. My balance was probably not good enough. I mentioned that Miami's defense is playoff caliber. Anyone disagree with that?

But let me add some more here: Mike Nolan's unit spent all of last week practicing against the no-huddle because the Bengals showed it against Baltimore the week before. Practices actually ended early last week because of that work against the no-huddle, which is kind of a hurry-up attack. Well, the Bengals came out with the no-huddle and shredded Miami on the first drive.

Then Nolan adjusted. He benched Jason Allen. He didn't have Allen share time with Sean Smith as was the plan. He put Allen's hind quarters on the bench and let him go play special teams while he searched for a more effective player on that day.

Don't you wish the offensive approach was similar? How many times has Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams been the hot running back, but offensive coaches stubbornly stick with their platoon plan and give an almost equal share of carries to the tepid as well as hot runner?

Nolan and his coaches basically discarded the plan to share snaps between Allen and Smith and went with Smith. It paid off as Smith had good coverage much of the day and even turned in his first career interception.

The Miami defense blitzed, which is why Benny Sapp was in the backfield so much. The defense mixed man and zone and matched up Vontae Davis against Chad Ochocinco. Davis basically erased Mr. 85 from the game.

"We knew one thing Carson [Palmer] does is read the fakes," said safety Yeremiah Bell. "Me and Chris [Clemons] tried to mix it up. In the first drive, [Palmer] was being patient and waited a little bit. He was trying to make us show our hand. But after that first drive, we started hanging in there and started getting him into some things we wanted to get him into."

Did the defense have moments of struggle? Sure, the Bengals running game had plays when it got wide of the edge and also did good work on cutback runs. But the cutbacks were basically eliminated in the second half.

Oh, that's called an adjustment. Good work gentlemen.

 

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The patriots 2-0 with out moss...TO INCLUDE A VICTORY OVER MOSS.

vikings 1-2

ANY QUESTIONS!

Can Moss kick field goals? We really need a backup field goal kicker just in case carpenter gets injured

after reading this info from the great DYING BREED ,consider i didn't write my last 3 posts .being from FL WILL make a huge differance .

The dolphins should put in a claim for Randy Moss

Moss didn't want to talk to media, that was his big "issue" that got him bounced from the Vikings. They have a QB older than our OC, who can't stand or throw because his arm is spaghetti and ankle is in more pieces than a jigsaw puzzle, but Moss not talking to the media is the problem.

Don't believe the hype. Moss FORGOT more about football than Dan Henning can REMEMBER! Moss has 2 TDs in 3 games (how many does Brandon have for the year again, refresh my memory?). How would you defend Moss going long, Marshall going intermediate, and Bess in the slot going short or an out or a cross-pattern? I mean, it would be a coaches wet dream to have Moss and Marshall on the same team.

But kris and 'em are right, once neither Moss nor Marshall gets a pass during a game, they'd both probably hold their breath and stomp their feet and cause such a big commotion that the team couldn't go on figuring out which opposing receiver the safeties WEREN'T gonna cover and instead rush up to the line for run-stopping. That would be a disaster, you guys are right. NOT!

DC,

How that chad 85 and TO combo working out?

Moss has a history of lack of effort in places he didn't like....that includes mgmt.
Moss would hang himself before he played for Henning.

You don't need 2 supermen...you need 1 Superman and 1 flash...we are missing the flash...not the Superman

Your right DC...Its just me....

Me and the cheatriots organization....

Wait me and the cheatriots orginization, the Vikes, and lets see who else.

Your my man fifty-grand DC, but we do not need moss.

Isn't Moss the flash? I still haven;t seen a CB that can cover him deep all game. Didn;t you see Merriweather just run into Moss because he knew he wouldn;t be able to stay with him? I agree with the masses here, Moss would be a nice short term fix.

Can Nolan coordinate the offense too? Just askin.........

Can Moss kick field goals? We really need a backup field goal kicker just in case carpenter gets injured
Boulder, that was classic!

kris, It was working out great on that 1st drive. Not sure what Palmer was doing rest of the game (maybe jerking himself) but correct me if I'm wrong, didn't TO get 2 TDs yesterday? I mean, I may have been watching the 'Canes getting CRUSHED by UVA (yeah, baby), but I thought that's what I saw.

And Moss IS your big-play guy. He'd only be the long bomb option, that's what he's built for.

BTW, the passing attack in Cincy is working well. It's all they do well actually. Cincy is 6th in the league in pass yards per game entering last week. That is what made miami's defensive performance all the more impressive.

Mark,

In the short term he will rip this team apart...thats why he is no longer a viking after a few short weeks.

Who in our locker room can keep moss in check. We don't have a Ray Lewis....Who is our Alpha DOG. Who is the LEADER that tell moss to shut up and play?

Instead he will DOG IT IN PRACTICE.

Derail our good young team with disiplined habits

And when he gets special treatment (look the other way while he dogs it) the team will lose faith in the coaching staff.

It's depressing watching highlights of Matthew Stafford throwing to Calvin Johnson. They hooked up for three TD's in the game vs. the Redskins. Is Johnson better than Marshall? I'm sure that Strafford is better than Henne. (imo)

If Moss makes to the Fins, through waivers they should see where his head and heart are. Sorry Moss is an upgrade over what they have now on several levels. That is not to say he will be a great fit, but you gotta look. . .Hope they do. . .

Mark and DC,

Those are padded stats.

Those yards come from being beind and then teams going to the PREVENT. Only we don't put teams away.

you don't get to 2-5 by being awsome.

Seriously, to kris and everyone else, I'd love to get Moss, but they're right, he's not the answer to the offense. And, frankly, I'd love to get our defense shored up more than another "flash" WR. So, this is really a dream. But I disagree with kris and the like who say he'd be a "J Peezy"-like cancer in the locker room. I don't believe that (unless or until he gets rubbed the wrong way). In the same way Crowder or Marshall could be cancers.

I'm repeating what I've always said, I'm cool with the talent on the team as it is (at least for this year). Upgrading would be terrific, but not necessary. IT'S using what you got better (that's the problem IMO).

Reason I say this is I was totally all in for Brandon Marshall. Now, I feel a little sorry for the guy. I may have just ruined his career by wanting him in Miami (I'm so selfish). Now his streak might end (100 catches, 1,000 yd season). And I'd hate to do the same thing to another Hall of Fame receiver (not fair to them).

Not sure about Moss in Miami, but I do know this...

Jets went out and got some extra weapons for their young qb.

Ravens went out and got some extra weapons for their young qb.

It is Moss we're talking about, but should we at least try that route?

just a piont trent dilfer has a ring. how did he get that ring? it wasnt cause he was an amazing qb. no it was because the defense of the ravens. dont get me wrong im not saying we are that ravens d. im saying we have been able to win by d and as i remember offense sells tickets defense wins games

DC agree 100% with your post at 4:46...I to was 100% in on Marshall and feel sorry for him as well. I know his blood is boiling and he's thinking WTF did i just do to my HOF carreer?

I too was selfish....

if there is one thing that would be good for Moss coming to Miami, we could always hidr him from the media!

OhFinFan,

I wrote a long response to your last post to me. It didn't get through, so I'll paraphrase.

The Chicken salad out of chicken shyt phrase is one I love to hate or hate to love.

Don Shula is my hero and his ability to adjust to the talent provided is what made him great.

To me Dan Henning is the "Anti-Shula"-LOL.

The sound of your last post to me made me feel like I should apologize for the earlier name calling. My Bad!

Moss is old...we need SPEED at both WR & RB.
More so at the RB position than anywhere else.

Ronnie is slow and sheepish at hitting the gap...when was the last time you saw him get around the edge and break a 20+ run....NEVER.

Ricky, I love ya man and think you should be the starter with 25+ carries a game, but you too are getting old.

Please draft a young fast RB next spring...PLEASE!

To be completly honest DC, Mark, and others....

The reason I don't want him is because I think he only wants to play for the pats....and we have seen him quit on seasons before (raiders)

Everytime he gets a mike in his face he gushes about the patriots, even after they cut him...I think he has Stockholms disease

@odinseye I couldn't agree more about Shula...and calling Henning the "Anti-Shula"...I see what you are saying...he doesn't adjust, does he? I just want to see more big plays or Sparano's "Chunk Yards". That, and Red Zone TD's. LOL.

I got one good reason for us getting Moss.

If the patsies get him, I'm going to prison!

You can bet own nat!

Moss has to pass through waivers (reverse standings). If someone claims him they are on the hook for the rest of his contract this year (about $3.5 million). If he makes it through everyone by 4pm tomorrow teams are free to sign him at the minimum for the rest of the season.
Not sure if I'm in the minority or majority here but I would sign him off waivers if we have the chance. He'd be a great number two for Marshall and if nothing else would get the double-teams away from Marshall. It's for nine games! If he acts up we get rid of him. It's that simple. What's the commitment? $3.5 million. It's worth the risk. But I don't think he will make it through to us. The Rams would seem like a good fit but they would be after us in the process. There's word Seattle is interested too. I could see a team like the Bucs as well but again they and KC would be after us picking.

Lombardi just said he thinks Sporano or Rex could handle Moss.

I think the Rams will definatley claim him if he gets that far. I'm sure the phins will grab him if he gets to them just to keep him away from the pats and the yets

Moss old? He was consistently running sub 4.3 fourties coming out of college. Even at this point in his career if he's lost a full step we're still talking about a 4.35-4.4 max fourties.

That's slow for Moss and still a flame thrower for others. By the way Hartline run between a 4.5-4.6 fourty. Moss is still about a full step and a half faster than what we have.

Well, the Dolphins just can't let him go back to the Pats at any expense. They have to put in a claim and even if they don't play him - you can't let him go to NE.

And about the bengals, they are 2-5 because they are 19th rushing the ball, 19th agains the pass, and 22nd against the run entering last week - not because 85 and 81 can't play. IN their defense, they have been good soldiers too in Cincy.

How much longer is marvin lewis going to get a pass in Cincy anyway. Under .500 8 years in. These are his players now - nobody else to point the finger at.

I dont know if Moss would fit with the Fins or not. However, he is exactly what this offense needs. Line him up and let him glide deep. only 2 things could happen, Marshall gets less double teams or Moss gets less doubling. Either way, it helps this offense.

Odin,

I love my fist-pumping coach and I got his back win lose or draw...but i'm not sure he could

Anyone who says Moss is old and slow just doesn't know football, I'm sorry. The dude still can;t be covered one on one on the fly pattern consistently.

your problem with your critique mando is this. the line between good nfl teams and bad is very fine and thin. all 32 teams have the worlds best football minds, facilities, technology, scouting and billionaire ownership. the 1,696 players in the nfl are the top athletes in the world. they are ALL big and strong and fast and have bee football players most of their lives. they are all paid great sums of money and their jobs are to run throw catch block and tackle. all 1,696 are great at it. how games are won and lost are so often based in mental toughness and good fortune. yes there is the occasional blow out but then right after that a team with a bad record beats the crap out of an undefeated team (except for 1972!)

the point is. there are zero wins taken with a grain of salt. i guarantee you that after the 3 saltless wins as you say that our dolphin players had bruised flesh and cracked bones and dizzy heads and stretched muscles and strained tendons and sweated off a few gallons and were really dirty and their skin was scraped all up.

Kris,

pretty good analogy. Teams that are front runners for Marshall also need to consider getting the Raiders Moss if he really doesnt wanna be there. He'll shut it down and just pick up a paycheck.

However with Marshall here, the fact his presence could make eachother better, and he seems to have formed a pretty good relationship with Vontae in games against him. I believe those are things playing in our favor if we can claim him.

Mark,

I think Marvin Lewis will be gone by the end of the season. You're right, he's had more than enough time to make that team good. They are a team going nowhere fast.

And you are also right, when Moss is focussed he can still make it happen. He was great in the Pats/Jets game earlier this year when he made Revis look bad. Thr trick is to keep him focussed.

Mark...NFL.com...were not much better...My point is that blanket stats don't tell the story....we could be 2-5
defense stats next.

PTS
19.0 (23rd)

YDS
343.7(13th)

PASS YDS
232.4 (13th)

RUSH YDS
111.3
(16th)


21.3 points against
(17th)

YDS against
309.4 (8th)

PASS YDS against
207.9 (12th)

RUSH YDS against
101.6 (11th)

Were nothing special, but we do have the right mental attitude with the folks we got....

jrly2,

I think you just said: Pick your Poison!

Kris,

I love Sporano too, I really do, and, and, at the end of the day I think he's really cleaned up, I mean you guys can see, his fist pump has clearly improved!

I don't know if he can handle Moss or not. Worst case scenario we can cut him at anytime and wouldn't be missing a third round pick.

If it were up to me, I would be extremely and severely tempted to sign him. I not going to pretend to know if it would work out or not, but the THOUGHT of Marshall and Moss, The M&M express together in Miami would be overwhelming.

How about Dan Mullen, Mississippi State Head Coach as the Dolphin's next offensive coordinator? Thou my first choice would be Sean Payton, no way he's going to leave NO unless he's offer the head coach position in Miami. It was really fun watching the Saints offense last night. Sigh... 'Mando, wake me up when this nightmare offense is over!

Chris those offensive stats showes we are what we are. A borderline top 10 offense at best. We need to be a lights out defense to be a serious championship contender at present.

Would rather have the #1 offense and defense borderline top 10.

The Lions or Chargers are my two favourites to put claims in for Moss. Lions would be great with Moss opposite Calvin Johnson and another weapon for Stafford. Also, a division foe of the Vikings. Chargers could use another weapon for Rivers, to help take the place of Vincent Jackson. The Chargers aren't out of that division yet.

http://espn.go.com/blog/afceast/post/_/id/20985/how-would-randy-moss-look-in-aqua

this didn't take long

Theisman is saying nobody will sign Moss?

I thought it was his leg that got broke, not his brain!

He says it's because his skillset is limited????

I always knew Theisman was and is a dumb a s s!

Me 2 dying...

You're absolutely right to point out that 3 of our 4 road wins are against bad opponents, but how about using a bit of that wisdom when critiqueing the 3 losses as well. You pointed out that they have come against New York, New England and Pittsburgh, but why don't you get into the details a bit. Miami was throwing into the endzone at the end of the NY game for a chance to tie the game, certainly that's not a bad loss to one of the best teams in football. If not for a botched fumble call, Miami has the ball 1st and 10 at their own 20 with about 2 minutes left in the game, up by 2 against Pittsburgh. Again, certainly that's not a bad loss to one of the best teams in football.

Certainly wins would have been better in both cases, but if you are going to dissect wins the way you did then dissect the losses that way too.

Yeah, Miami is 4-3 with 4 not so impressive wins, but only 1 of the 3 losses would be considered disappointing and that the most obvious disappointment in that game was the special teams.

The fact is that Miami beat Cincy DESPITE the fact that they didn't play that well. Without a gift TD to TO the game isn't close. So yeah, it's worrisome that it took till the final drive to put the game out of reach, but the good teams are the ones that find ways to win when they aren't playing their best. That's what Miami did on Sunday. They found a way to win, ugly though it may be.

How do you keep a diva receiva happy? By winning.

Kris the points allowed against the defense are skewed. We gave up 41pts to Pats but they were predominantly on the st's and offensive side of the ball.

I'm sure we can find another 7-10pts at least where offensive turnovers led to opposition points or st's.

Odin...2 funny @ 5:18

Any team with a losing record signing Moss is asking for trouble.

ok sneaks,


no one will sign moss this late in season unless jerry jones come through

We know when it's all said in done .He's going to the pats or seahawks..But the fins should get him ..why ..it's only for 9 games ..he'll tell you what the pats do on offense..he wouln't be the go to guy heRE..just a decoy ..long ball threat..or a red zone option..he would free up..the offense..and help the running game..put a boost of confidence on this team..he probaly won't be back next year..they should try it for A PUSH FOR THE PLAYOFFS ...DOLPHINS4LIFE!

I don't believe Moss will make it through to us but if he does we're nuts not to take him. There's very little risk involved and we don't have a true number two. I'd like to see what the offence looks like when Marshall isn't double and triple teamed!

Blackcerote,

Didn't we right all those things with the signing of Marshall...it feels like Deja vu

I think anybody who thinks he's going to the Pats is nuts!! Don't you guys understand they got RID of this guy for a third round pick. Do they look like they miss him? Belichik knows what he's doing. He may very want to go back there but I highly doubt they would take him back.

Moss hasn't even been released.

Power struggles in Minnesota?

Maybe Childress has not only lost the lockeroom, maybe he has lost the owners confidence?

The waiver wire was released by the NFL and Moss isn't on it.

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