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Cortland Finnegan says he knew Miami's plays

Lost in the strange and compelling game that was Sunday's 29-17 victory by the Dolphins over the Titans was this item in my friend Jason Cole's column for Yahoosports.com that should tell you a little something about the offense the Dolphins currently run.

Now, that offense had a good day on Sunday, rolling up more points than any other game this season. But we know that very offense has been under fire for not producing this year.

We know the statistical rankings are bad. And we know, that several players have been borderline frustrated with that lack of production.

You saw an open and obvious show of that frustration Sunday when Brandon Marshall caught a pass and then slung the ball to the sideline when he got up from the turf.

So why was Marshall, who didn't talk to the media after the game, needing to release that emotion? Maybe it was the fact he caught only three passes for 34 yards against Tennessee cornerback Cortland Finnegan.

And maybe it was that Finnegan says he knew exactly what play the Dolphins were about to run and what pattern Marshall was about to run -- before it happened.

"Sometimes I would be calling out his routes because they told me I would have a chance to follow him around all game, play him one-on-one," Finnegan said. "So I felt like I needed to be prepared and we would laugh sometimes because I would be calling his routes out based on the formations and the splits."

Cole apparently asked if a cornerback should be able to indentify what's coming before the snaps and Finnegan suggested he could before admitting why he could readily decipher Miami's coming play.

"OK, I know, but I watched every single game Miami played this year and the formation doesn't lie unless they're trying to trick you," Finnegan said. "The formations don't lie and he didn't like that."

Finnegan had five tackles, four passes defensed and an interception against the Dolphins, but that is not the point.

The point, indeed, the concern is that one player can spend one week of film study watching the Dolphins and apparently diagnose what offensive coordinator's Dan Henning's offense was about to run simply by looking at the formations and splits.


Are you kidding me?

By the way, I have seen this before. It happened in 1997 when the New England Patriots figured out Miami's offense to the point defensive players were signaling calls on the field before Dan Marino snapped the ball. It was partially the reason Jimmy Johnson fired then offensive coordinator Gary Stevens.

I'm not suggesting Henning is about to be fired or should be fired. (He's probably going off into retirement after the season anyway from what folks are whispering.)

But maybe it would be a wise idea to change a couple of things here and there so that enterprising defensive players don't continue to yell out Brandon Marshall's coming patterns before, you know, he runs them.

Just sayin'.

Oh, and while I'm on the topic: Cole's column also addressed Randy Moss and his first game with the Titans. That leads me to an item in a local story last week that got blown into news that folks are actually believing despite the fact it isn't accurate.

It was reported that Moss or his representative or his camp made it clear to the Dolphins the receiver didn't want to play in Miami and so the Dolphins, previously eager to get Moss, backed off.

Um, wrong. Again.

The facts are Moss very much would have welcomed playing for the Dolphins. He liked the idea of coming to Miami. He has a house down here somewhere. He is friends with Chad Pennington and considers the Dolphins to be contenders.

The truth is the Dolphins studied Moss and had an initial interest in Moss but once they dug deeper, decided not to claim him. It had nothing to do with an understanding from Moss or others that he didn't want to come to Miami if the Dolphins claimed him.

Moss didn't want to play in St. Louis. But Miami?

He had no problem with that.


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...and they still lost! That fool was everywhere but they got the beatdown by the Mighty Phins!

Go Phins!

Phins front office is clueless. They are delusional to think they are good enough to pass up RANDY MOSS.

It doesn't surprise me. I may not be calling the routes but it is obvious to me that the defenses know what Miami is up to. And it really explains the trouble in the red zone.

Ball control is great but when everyone on the field and in the stands is calling the plays it makes it so easy to beat us. Don't tell me Bellichek doesn't know what is coming. Same as Ryan.

All the more reason there were so many check downs and throwaways?

Certainly didn't help Henne in his game?

I notice that some of the Red Zone plays had Marshall as the only receiver running a route as designed. On other plays all the receivers patterns had them end up within feet of each other.

I guess it will help even more to get Thigpen and his mobility in there. Hopefully be able to extend the plays so the WRs can create separation and even break off routes.

Thigpen has 22 1st downs in 67 run attempts. Keeps the drive alive.

Go Phins!

This will be an interesting week.

I'm hoping for the best but I'm not going to expect a super outing with the Bears

I remember that year (97) when the patriots were calling those plays - it was sad as is the case now.

It tells me if people can figure us out so well then we're executing on talent and not by surprise.

Let change things up a bit Henning - please.

I know what Miami is gonna do too! They never change up anything. I know that Polite is gonna get a dive play when its 3rd or 4th and short.( Surprised that play actually works everytime)
I also know that screens work well on the defense cuz they can't tackle. And if you want to score on 3rd or 4th and goal against Miami, run a QB draw up the middle. I see it everytime by the other teams formation.(I screem at the TV but for some reason they can't hear me) They get burned everytime.

Coaching is the problem!!! More of the same, way to predictable.



There is beautiful people in Miami.

F_cking Henning!

No offense Armando, but tell us something we don't know.

Like who is whispering these things and why aren't they yelling it......in his face!

People think I've been too harsh in my criticism of Henning, yet the worthless senile piece of shyt is GIVING our season away.

Mr. Henning are our PLAYERS making our offense so predictable that opposing defenses can call out assignments?

Is it our PLAYERS EXECUTION causing this?

You egotistical ba_tard, did you ever think that this predictability could possibly lead to any of our players being injured?

Armando is Hennings presser bumped up because of the Thursday night game. I know his is usually on Thursday. Whatever day it is Armando, would you PLEASE get in his face about this inexcusable bullshyt?

Could you take this retardation to Tony's face? PLEASE!

This is your chance Armando, you're our guy we got your back, DO IT!!!!


If Sporano doesn't want to do it, then fire him too. This is tantamount to treason due to dereliction of duty.

This can't be allowed to continue, it's inexcusable and unacceptable. We have some very good players here, they don't deserved to be railroaded by Dan Hennings senility and Tony Sporano's dereliction of duty.

Mr. Ross if you can get your head out of the stars a s s e s for a second, would you please do something? This is ridiculous and YOUR Front Office is quickly becoming the laughing stock of the NFL.

This is disgusting!!!!

Dear Mr. Salguero

In the beginning of the movie "Eneney at the gates" there is a scene in which the Russian military leaders are sending there soldiers straight into German enemy fire.

With little ammo and not enough guns the Russian soldiers try to retreat but they are shot and killed by there own Leaders and comrades.

Are Dan Henning and Tony Sparano Russian by chance ?

Soiled :)

Doesn't surprise me much. I have always suspected that Joe Willie knew the plays the Baltimore Colts were running in THAT Super Bowl. How? HHHMMMMMM...

Did you go to sleep last night ?

This team is still controlled by the ghost of Parcell. Henning is a Parcell's disciple. They are running an 80's type of offense. How can you have a receiver like Marshall and only 1 TD so far from him ?. Now with Thigpen a mobile QB, Are they going to strap him too ?.
The NFL is a passing league now. The Dolphins should start getting in line with the rest of the league. Teams still run the ball but they have also gotten creative. Dolphins haven't

Wow Soiled, that was spooky.

I K new M.Vick would score 6 TD last night ,the guy scored the same amount the dolphins had all year .


Not really. I WAS too excited about going hunting this morning. It doesn't matter now. I think I just scared away every rabbit, squirrel, coyote and deer for 5 square miles. I read this shyt and screamed out loud.

I can't believe more peopl are as upset as I am over this.

I'll tell you what, it wouldn't happen on a Belicheat or Rex Ryan team. They wouldn't put up with it.


Armando please write a story in the Herald on this. I'm begging you Brother!!!!

who cares about Moss I wouldn't want him anyway, as far as knowing the plays your probably right they don't seem to get open as much as they should and that is from running the same formations all the time which is coaching again, I really like Tony i hope he becomes a better coach it is time for a New OC and that is Tony's decision

M.Vick is the best QB in the nfl while we had chad.p /100 million dollars ,as austin powers would say .

Whay in the hell are you guys(Soiled,Martin,aloco,Odin) Doing up so early???, Did you guys have a slumber party and forgot to invite me????????

Somebody posted this stuff the other day and I thought it was so far out there it couldn't be true. My bad!

If I lived in the Miami area I would have my entire family picketing the team facility by noon.

You guys can think I'm crazy all you want, it doesn't bother, because I AM. But you know what? I'm not senile and I'm not retarded.

This is supposed to be a professional sports franchise, not a High School Junior Varsity Football Team.

The balls in Tony Sporano's court now and if he can't do what needs to be done, then Ross needs to step in immediately!!!!

What a F_cking JOKE!!!!

I agree, it's no conspiracy, its the formations.

M.Vick rating ........ 115

I never cease to be amazed by M. Vick.

This team is boring. Bess and Marshall are the leading recievers on this team. Throw the F***ing ball down the field more than 5 yards. Let marshall and Bess get deeper and maybe this team can win some games and the opponents will not have this offense figured out. Henning needs to go. the Jest and Pats will run over this type of offense. get behind and we are done.

Mando, please ask dan henning about the predictability of the play calling and offense. Get into that fuc ker's head...

The Chicago Bears MVP will be Dan Henning Thursday night.

How nice. Am I the only one getting irate over this?

Finnegan and his teammates were laughing at us!

I don't care about Mike Vick, I dont care about Randy Moss! I love the Miami Dolphins and we shouldn't have to play with an unfair disadvantage names Dan Henning!

Mr. Ross, not at the end of the season, not now, RIGHT NOW!!!!


Lost in the strange and compelling game after The MASH report following 11 13

The team is doomed

No Playoffs

Should have signed Mike Vick when we had the chance and Home was pounding the table

Vick has even exceeded expectations

4 passing TDs & 2 rushing TDs on MNF for Mike Vick
when is the last time a Dolphin QB did that, if ever?

Mike Vick Rules!

Congrats to the Best, Mike Vick!




We're 5-4 and Cortland Finnegan said he and his teammates could recognize our playcalls correctly about 80% of the time. I tend to believe him, after all, he did get five tackles, four passes defensed and an interception.

Unless the Titans players are the smartest in the NFL, I have to assume that alot of others on our scedule have and will do the same.

Can you imagine how good this team would be without being handicapped by a Dan Henning offense?

it is true, you can predict over 90% of Miami's plays before they ever happen. i do it every Sunday and my friends think its amazingit's not. its the stupidity of Henning. Finnegan is right, unless its a trick, they are very predictable. i'm surprised he admitted to it. i can't always get the routes, but i definitely nail run or pass. However, Miami did show a wrinkle this past week with the empty backfield and using 4-wide. maybe there is hope! By the way, the Pats, Jets

Fire Henning now, this teams needs an OC that mixes it up!

If it is true that J. Long will require surgery, we are near fuc..d.


Thanks, I needed that!

yeah henning is the problem lol. typical moron fans. fasano and hartline both catch close to 100 yds each and because marshall is used as a decoy to free up the others, the game plan sucks. the key quote armando had is "the formation doesn't lie unless they're trying to trick you" So when you know what the route is guess what, the throw isn't going your way. We're setting you up for that 20% of the time when Marshall will be the first read and you think you know what the route is based on formation tendencies but all we've done is set you up for a big play. Hennings approach is simple but effective. He runs the "concept" offense he developed where you run certain plays to set up other plays and figure out the weak spots of the defense and attack them unmercifully.Cortland Finnegan wasnt the weak spot on the Titans defense, Alturran Verner was and the middle of the field. Thats why Hartline and Fasano had such big days. Its why we pass underneath when we face cover 2 or umbrella coverage. The reason for our innefiency in the red zone isnt because of the playcalling but because Henne has had a tough time attacking umbrellla coverage in a shortened field. Hey guess what, he's only in his second year starting, thats part of the growing pains you live with when you draft a QB. Also makes me laugh when I hear Henning is a conservative coach. Anyone see the hook and ladder game against the Chargers? Anyone watch Doug Williams and his four-touchdown pass, 35-point second quarter in five minutes in the Super Bowl. Anyone remember Jake Delhomme heaving passes to Steve Smith and coming within three points of a Super Bowl?

Fans opinions are based on nothing other than wins and losses. They cant evaluate talent effectively enough to have reasonable expectations. If you dont win a Super Bowl people need to be fired

I always laugh when I hear we should have drafted Drew Brees. With our fanbase he wouldve been run out of town before he developed

Now I'm convinced, the problem is not Henne its Henning. Parcells should have took Henning with him when he left.


Finnegan is also a good player, so he makes plays. But...if they really 'knew' what was coming that often, it doesn't say too much for their defense when the Dolphins put up their best offensive performance on them of the season. Heck, the Titans couldn't stop the wildcat or cover Fasano and everyone else has...

True, adam, true, still.. I think the main problem WAS Henne.

It appears Sparano and Co. are not smart enough to recognize their own predictability.

Never been a fan of "setting them up". You run at them, execute, timeaftertime, and score.

I also read this the other day. And I've got to say, it really doesn't surprise me. In any other line of work, he would have been fired last year. But like somebody said earlier, Bill Parcell's ghost is still running this team.

Mando, I realize you operate under some restraints but I think it's time you took the gloves off. Time to tell it like it is. Henning needs to go and go now. And please no arguments about no time to install a new offense or hire a new OC. It's not rocket science, promote David Lee and let him call plays.

Our offense is as predictable as the sunrise. Our Coordinator needs to retire.

Fans opinions are based on nothing other than wins and losses. They cant evaluate talent effectively enough to have reasonable expectations. If you dont win a Super Bowl people need to be fired

Posted by: adam | November 16, 2010 at 07:54 AM

Adam, I always love it when some idiot comes on here calls everybody stupid and then proves he duMMerin everyone else.

Read what you just typed you dumba s s douche bag. Carolina didn't win the Superbowl and the TEAM fired Dan Henning, NOT US FANS you retard.

You bringing up the hook and ladder and Doug Williams proves your ignorance even more so. That was 30 freaking years ago you MORON.

Lombardi was a great coach, but he wouldn't do us much good right now would he. Henning hey day came and went way back before I was doing your mother. Now take your condescending A s s on and get yo shine box!!!!


is this the work of anyone here?


is this the work of anyone here?


I know Finnegan a good player. I also realize that our entire team played well enough to beat the Titans despite them knowing our plays.

However, if you look at the game and the stats objectively, our defense played a major role in this victory.

We got multiple turnovers and the D kept getting us great field position.



He runs the "concept" offense he developed where you run certain plays to set up other plays and figure out the weak spots of the defense and attack them unmercifully.

Posted by: adam | November 16, 2010 at 07:54 AM

Uh, that should have been done studying game film PRIOR TO GAME DAY.

When JJ was in Dallas winning SBs he said the measure of a good team in the NFL is if the other side knows what you are going to do, and they still can't stop you. Everybody knows Peyton Manning is going to throw the three yard slant to Reggie Wayne, and fans don't call him a robot. There's only but so many plays and routes. Every formation has two or three variations that can come out of it. So this loser CB knew it was one of the three, and some of the time he'd guess right, sure. But it's a hell of a lot more important to practice the plays and execute the damn plays than to surprise the other team. Our RedZone trouble has one simple explanation: the running game sux. How can bozo fans not see that?

You don't have to be the sharpest tool in the shed to figure out the dolphins offensive plays.

I am not a football player, or football coach, and I know what plays and routes the receivers are going to run.

1.) they arent running the ball. So, play action will not fake anyone.
2.) they are too conservative for deep routes.
3.) they are too conservative to throw it in the middle of the field.


You're right about the D, absoloutely. Turnovers were a huge key. But the O still scored 3 TDS inside the redzone.

I'm with you on removing Henning as OC, no question about it. Play selection and the attack approach has been poor this year.

OK...but the Titans still LOST the game and by doing so the Fins are ahead of them in the AFC standings.
I want Henning fired like the rest of the world, but just because you know the play does not mean you can stop it!
Great talent beats good talent every time and so long as our playmakers get the ball with space, they have a chance to bust-a-move and gain some serious yards after catch.
Fact- We are 5-4 and in the playoff hunt after we smack down the Bears this week.

I remember the Patriots game where after the game the Dolphin players were citing that the Pats players were laughing on the field because they knew the calls.

Why would it suprise anyone that the same thing is happening in this regime?

In a sport where:
1) You know you are not going to get 100% performance every game.
2) Not every call is going to go your way.
3) The ball bounces funny
4) Injuries are to be expected and not an excuse
5) Pete Rozelle's dream of parity is reality since free agency (most of the top - tier teams and the rest of the pack is separated by one or two games (morass of mediocrity).

... you need every advantage you can get.
-Peyton running a hurry up offense when defenses are tired.
- The Falcons also running no huddle when the Ravens had to travel on a short week for a Thursday game and gassing the Ravens front 7 in the first half.
- Belicheck calling timeout with seconds before halftime and forcing the opponent to punt and making them execute the play or risk a turnover in their own territory.
- Running your offense onto the fiield on 4 and short and doing a hard count with the hope of offsides and a 1st down.
- Ryan calling fake punts twice in a game and converting.

Those are the obvious ones and for every one that you see there are probably at least 10 mind games that good coaches are engaged in every game.

I may not be the brightest bulb in the circuit, but I don't see this team doing much of that in any of the 3 phases of the game.

The good coaches in NE, Pitt, NYJ (yes I have to say it), Indy, Philly etc attack you in all areas and make you react to them.
Belichick is playing chess while Sparano and company are playing checkers, if not tiddlywinks.

Whats worse is that the Dolpin's offense in particular (yes the senile old man upstairs) cannot even get it right when he is predictable. When the offense gets on a roll and Ricky or Ronnie are tearing off chunks, he gets cute and throws in a wide reciever screen
that get tackled for negative yardage. He doesn't let his studs get into a groove and if you are going to be predictable, find something you do well and do it until your opponent stops it. Then do somethiung else.

BENDER: So, do you know what I'm gonna do before I do it?

GOD: Yes.

BENDER: What if I do something different?

GOD: Then I don't know that.

Adam, I always love it when some idiot comes on here calls everybody stupid and then proves he duMMerin everyone else.

Read what you just typed you dumba s s douche bag. Carolina didn't win the Superbowl and the TEAM fired Dan Henning, NOT US FANS you retard.

You bringing up the hook and ladder and Doug Williams proves your ignorance even more so. That was 30 freaking years ago you MORON.

Lombardi was a great coach, but he wouldn't do us much good right now would he. Henning hey day came and went way back before I was doing your mother. Now take your condescending A s s on and get yo shine box!!!!

Posted by: odinseye
Thanks for making my point about the typical fan with your response. you are the poster child for a typical know nothing fan. You are incapable of analyzing what is wrong with Henning's play calling because you have no clue what the offense we are running is. You dont offer any solutions are than Henning sucks or he needs to be fired. Who you going to replace him with? What type of offensive scheme. You going to run a Coryell offense or a Perkins Erhardt offense? Do you even know what the difference between those two is? What offense is the best offense for a below average run blocking team with a QB who cant attack a cover 2?

As to your points if they can be called that. He loses to new england by three points in what would be considered one of the biggest upsets ever if they could have pulled it off and he sucks because of that? lol. classic reasoning. he took a 1-15 panthers offense and in two years had them in the super bowl with a first year starting delhomme who he nurtured the first half of that season by pounding stephen davis only to open it up when delhomme proved himself worthy in the second half of that season. give henning the right ingredients and he will win for you. he's proven it for 40 years. oh but they fired him the year after his entire offensive line got injured and was innefective. oh he must suck. yeah right. ask the panthers fans now if he sucked. didnt they improve dramatically after firing henning? to fire henning means david lee or maybe karl dorrell would become the new off coordinator. you might as well change the name to the new panthers if that happens.

and i brought up examples of the hook and ladder and doug williams to prove the idea that he's conservative is nonsensical. he will attack if thats the best way to beat a defense. obviously that was over your head

look at us this year if you want to be current.

1) against the best defense in the league (pts against) green bay, we scored the 3rd most points in the season against them and beat their average 15.9 by 7.1 points by scoring 23

2) against the 3rd best defense the Jets we scored the most points they have given up all year and beat their average 16.7 points against by scoring 23

3) against the 5th best defense the steelers we scored the second most points they gave up all year and beat their average of 18 by scoring 22

4) against the 9th ranked titans defense we scored the second most points all year 29 against their average of 19.9

baltimore is the only top ten defense that shut us down

and he did all of this with a below average run gm and a 2nd year QB who cant beat cover 2 defenses. thats not sucking, thats friggin amazing. but you have to understand personnell and its something you clearly dont. I bet you play madden football because i guess thats where you learned your so called football knowledge

adam....nice smackdown!

Odinseye is THE MAN!!! Agree 100%.......I spoke to Henning personally
last yr in San Diego the day before the Charger game....I asked him if he was gonna run any wildcat....he said "wildPAT".....I wanted to ask him what he saw in Pat White but didn't.......no clue!!!!!

The biggest problem with Henning's offence is Henning himself! Poor game management!
Not staying with the hot RB or creating mis-matches on the field. No creativity when needed and too much when it's not. He keeps everyone out of
rhythm and we're all herky-jerky going down the field. There's no smoothness to it. No groove. It's like it's just pasted together with glue. And, the players know it! It affects their play.
It's like it's just Xs and Os to him. No real feel for the players that are on the field. What they can do. What their strengths or weaknesses are. It's not designed around them or for them to succeed. And, they know it!

Hey we just played a great game and now have a chance to be 6-4 lets be positive!!

The bottom line is: If Henning is so damn good, then why is our offence at the bottom of the league in nearly every category? Hmm?

I agree with Adam although I have been frustrated with some of the play calling it is always easy to second guess. Lets back Henning and our team he can be creative at times and certainly has plenty of experience. I think Tyler is going to work out very well!

We have been moving the ball well but not scoring TDs. I believe Tyler has a better touch pass and will provided the scoring spark in the red zone.

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