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Dilfer: Dolphins give selves too little error room

Why has the 2010 season been a disappointment for the Dolphins?

Myriad reasons, really, but ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer has a fundamental reason: The Dolphins have built a team that gives itself too little room for error. And this year, when games are won or lost on one or two plays, the Dolphins have not made those one or two plays.

In other words, as Dilfer says in the video, the Dolphins have allowed themselves very little room for error.


The Cleveland loss? If Nolan Carroll catches that interception in his hands inside the Browns 25 yard line late in the fourth quarter, Miami wins. He dropped it. Miami lost.

The Pittsburgh loss? The Dolphins obviously didn't account for the refs working against them. They also got zero help from a running game that could not move the football despite the fact it was handed to the offense inside Pittsburgh's 30 yard line twice in the first half.

The Buffalo loss? Dan Carpenter missed four field goals. You put the game in a kicker's hands, er, legs, you pay the price for misses.

The Dolphins want to play games close and win in the fourth quarter. They think they won't lose the game as much as they will win the game.

Typical of this thinking is what quarterback Chad Henne said in this Miami Herald story that when everything is perfect, he can be a very good player.

"If they're giving us the right coverages, and we're in sync and everybody is executing the right way, we can be that kind of team. I can be that kind of player."

Unfortunately for Henne and the Dolphins, stuff isn't always perfect on the field. And that is a flawed approach which has betrayed the Dolphins this year.

Note to Dolphins: How about building a team that can, you know, actually take the fight to the opponent and either run so well or pass so well that they can win the game instead of hope not to lose it?


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Chris,I agree. Speed at WR, TE & Rb is a must. My thought process is move Jerry to RT & let him & Carey battle it out there. Whoever looses that fight should go to RG. Sign Ryan Kalil to play Center. Put Garner in at LG.

Follow that up by signing RB D. Williams or M. Bush in FA & draft another young RB. Re-sign Ricky for 1 season and you'll have 3 solid RB's. Sign Cobbs or Hilliard back to be an emergency Rb/ST guy.

Sign a guy like S. Breaston or B. Smith to be your long term solution or a guy like M. Floyd to be a short term answer. B. Smith can run the wildcat, can return kicks and play WR. What a value signing he would be! Breaston is a speedster.

Find a TE with speed in the draft. It sickens me that NE found 2 Te's in 1 draft & we haven't found 1 in 3 drafts. And it's such an area of need.

On Defense, sign a Db or 2 in FA, so many value guys will be available. R. Marshall, K. Jennings, T. Williams...etc

Draft a speed rusher. We need someone else to get pressure other than Wake.

Find a cover FS. TONS of guys in FA (Mikkel, Bigby, Poole, Landy, Ball etc...)Then move Jones or Clemmons over to replace Bell.

Hopefully changing the o-line & adding some speed, Qb play may improve but should draft a QB anyway.

I'd like to know why these reporters that write these wonderful columns day after day and week after week don't ask the hard questions during Fins pressers like, " coach, there are only 2 games left why don't you give Thigpen a chance to play we already know what Henne can do ( nothing ). I guess it takes some balls. Guess you got to have some!

I agree with mando and the posters on this one. If the Dolphins want to break from middle of the road to the upper tier in the NFL - they have to evolve into a truly balanced, complete offense. There is no team in the upper tier that doesn't have an offense that plays like ours right now - except for the NY Jets who are pretenders anyway.

The way I see the Dolphins don't really need a Q.B. since all they play for is field goals. Let's just get 2 more place kickers to make Tony happy. Jeez could you imagine with 3 place kickers he'd be so excited he'd have a stroke. No such luck!

Fins Armageddon, it's pretty simple really. Because they have more invested in Henne & he is the only 1 under contract for next year. What's the point of giving Thigpen more play time? He probably won't be here next year. Why showcase him off to other teams for free?

They need to continue this so called "development" of Chad because more likely than not, he will be our starter going into next year. Even though it's in this antique offense & coaching philosophy, it's better to get him as much play time.

development.?. lmao.. into what.?. a herpes sore...henne f'n blows chunks and he will never be an nfl qb..period.

Henne will never get it. While other qbs like Roeth, Brady, MattyIce, Mannings, Rivers, Flacco, Cassel,Cutler, Rogers (and even the Packs 2nd stringer last week), and a couple of the rooks this year have all been in nitty gritty games and fought tooth and nail for wins, Henne has played like he talks - it has to be juuuuuussst purrrfect or expect mistakes. He is too gdmned smug (shocked that fans would boo him? - really...) and acts like he is still the big man on campus. NotForLong.

this will happen,
1) Soprano to get one more year,
2) we get a new OC
3) Henne stays,
4) We draft a QB in the first round,
5) MY WISH...we get Vernon Davis in free agency, Vontae needs to campaign for this to happen
6) im not sure about ronnie or ricky, my feeling is we keep both and draft another
7) clean up the line,

we get a new OC with Vernon Davis, B Marshall, D Bess, hopefully the QB drafted is Cam Newton ..ha nice looking offense.

Bad coaching or bad decisions? The good qbs get it and the bad ones don't. Christ this was a qb at a MAJOR 1A school who is now in his rd season and has also had the tutelidge of Chad Pennington (about as cerebral a guy as you are going to find who did more with less arm). Still you see fundamental breakdowns.... absolutely no sense of where to move in the pocket, no intuitive clock in his head - (hint anything over 3 seconds in an NFL pocket and you want to be getting rid of the ball FAST). Check down and short passes to guys in tight coverage and a consistent ability to find defenders with no receiver in their zip code.




Mclovin, as we told you yesterday, Vernon Davis is under contract until 2016.

Oh yeah in case you havent noticed - I think Henne sucks. Anyway I'm bored - you henne defenders are numbskulls and are boring.I'm gonna go get a sandwich.

Josh McDaniels is not the answer, he has had a falling out with Nolan and Marshall! I still believe that Mr. Sparano is an acceptable coach, but... When there is an upgrade available, its hard not to look at the possibilitties, This is Where Mr. Ross and his advisors have to decide, of the available HC, how many are TRULY an upgrade at the cost of stability? I do agree with another article entitled "Miami doplhins are a BORING team". A total lack of identity, this is the FO's job and they failed badly. Dolphin-atics need information, they want to feel like they are part of the team! that they are special... not just walking wallets. I have to admit that I envy the OAKLAND RAIDERS because of their fan base. GEEZ the JETS (that i really dislike) have a better fan base and they play in the G-Men's Stadium! Lets go Mr. Ross, please hire someone to give direction to this team, we want to be part of the team, we don't want to look at a football game like we are looking at an aquarium!

Aloco, I don't see a problem with that.

That Guy - if henne was as bad as you described, I'd expect the next coming of ray Lucas - truth is - the guy has a winning record so he's better than that. he shows some really positive signs - he just needs to be harnessed and funneled positively like Orton was this year. I really equate Henne and Orton as far as QBs go. They both were slaughtered byt their home fans despite neither being the true big problem on their team. The Bears mortgaged the farm only to find out that Cutler was even worse than orton. I wonder if Dolphins fans want to find the same answer.

Dilfer hit the nail on the head... But all that is not hennes fault.... Bad coaching and coaching philosophy!! I've been saying this for a while!! If you raise a child telling them they can't do this and that, that child 90% of the time will have low self confidence and struggle... That child is Chad henne.... Now if you tell that same child that he can do anything, and you know he can, and you trust in him, you will see his confidence grow... Even tho he might stumble from time to time.... That child is mark sanchez

Posted by: supersport4 | December 23, 2010 at 10:01 AM

BINGO! Best post on this blog in a long time. Hey Henne bashing trolls and mouth breathers: Read this. Then re-read it. And then start to really think if Carson Palmer or McNabb or Cam Newton is gonna be an upgrade

"That guy - no intuitive clock in his head - (hint anything over 3 seconds in an NFL pocket and you want to be getting rid of the ball FAST)."

Perhaps you should go back & watch the last 3 games vs. the Bills, Browns & Jets. 2 of 3 teams which are NOT considered elite defenses.

With max protection ON, Henne was already sacked or running for his life in LESS than 3 seconds on each of his sacks & tip ball for int. You want him to dump the ball when he gets to 3? We all do. How about giving him a chance to GET to 3 before we crucify him?

If you want to criticize him, fine. BUT, at least TRY to be objective. The kid is playing on a bum knee & behind a Div 2A o-line except for Long. Behind a better o-line last year on a good running team, he played quite well. He even play well early this season as well. How about we look to see why he is struggling instead of just killing him for all the problems?

Is he to blame somewhat? Sure he is. He makes mistakes & hasn't been the most accurate at times. But, he is not the biggest problem on offense. It's the men in front of him.

If we HAD to get a free agent QB, the only one that wouldn't make me cringe is Carson Palmer.

Now, my question: is David Lee the OC who will get this offense fired up or (since he's spent the most time with Henne) is he going to play afraid of Chad as well?

Henne has several areas in his game in which he needs to improve before this team can be elite. That is a fact.

That said, when a QB has 2 options and 1.5 seconds to throw, and the defense is double-covering the only TWO receivers, and ALREADY KNOWS the routes, what is a QB to do?

Hope his WR can beat the coverage enough to create a tiny sliver of space to fit a perfectly thrown ball into?

Good luck, Chad. Oh, by the way, dont throw a pick...

Before the Fins select a new OC, they need to decide if they have confidence in Henne.

If they do, the new OC must take the hand cuffs off and let Henne sling it all over the field (especially down-field).

If they do not, then they must find someone else.

If they dont have faith in Henne to let him loose, then they might as well keep Henning as well, cuz ANY OC who comes here and doesn't have confidence in Henne and the O-line is gunna run the same max-protect bullsh*t.

I'll remind the blog that Henning had exact same issues in Carolina in 2007/8. They were predicted to be NFC superbowl team with dual running backs and premier defense. THey ended 8-8 and fired Henning for 'being too conservative' as the Seattle paper quoted a source. The problem, again, is Henning can create/design plays but does not know when to use them (good with the WHAT, fails and the WHEN). Head coach at this point should step in but Tony seems to hide or is intimidated by Henning. In the end, results are same outcome as Carolina. Henning can be a value-add for teams in transition but a value-minus for teams moving to next level. And it seems his presence exposes Tony's inability or fear to manage play calling. Peter Principle once again proven with Dolphins coaching (only perform to level of weakest member: head Coach).

Hype, Palmer was throwing to To(Who had a probowl type year) & Ochocinco, with a decent running game and currently has MORE int's than Chad. Plus, he's from USC. When was the last time a USC QB did anything above average in the NFL? Plunket?


Alex Smith is not the answer, the knock on him is that he has small hands and is prone to fumbling and throwing errant passes.

Tom Brady would struggle in this offensive scheme, we look for defensive benvolence on offense we do not attack or dictate.

The only QB worth approaching that is a Free agent, better than Henne will be, is VICK.

Henne is still developing. Many people on this have no idea how a QB developes or what is happening that we don't know about, such as play calling, the other team earning their pay by stopping us, etc... Get a new OC and we should be fine. Even Vick is allowed passes longer than 15 yards, put him with our OC and he would just be running, and dumping off.

I think Miami is about there on defense and just needs a person to stop the te like Gonzales and broken in offense! They need a head coach who can see a different way to build an offense!!!

why build a team to win close games anyway. as a fan I want some dang blow outs some times. can't remember when that happen.

Raiders was a stat blowout I suppose.

BTW Mando, defense gave away that Pitt game. The O charged down the field and put us ahead, but the D allowed their QB to bring it all the way back for the winning score. The ST didn't help by setting up RothB. at their 40 but still.

anyway, go dolphins!!! bring on a new OC.

Tony, agree with you 100%. To follow up on what you said, aside from throwing a pretty deep ball, he is not that accurate on shorter passes. With the offense currently in place, Vick would not play much better if any better than Henne. he would add the dimension of running but that's about it.

He thrives in Philly because he has fast talented WR's who get open & they are aggressive on offense. Allot of deeper routes which Miami skill players just cannot run without taking forever to develop.



Take A Knee
Set Up The FG
Avoid Losing
BORING Football.

Audace, Audace, Toujour L'Audace!


the phins have the white vick on the team already. it is thigpen.. theses f'n morons will not play him because they would be admitting f'n failure with block head henne when thiggy starts to light it up running and throwing the catchable long ball in which the block head has no idea how to connect with...... you henne homers are clueless but after telling you homers for 2 f'n seasons that you need a qb i came to this conclusion.. fax.. you homers get waaaaaaaaaaay to f'n stoned during the phins games to see that henne f'n blows chunks and you have zero idea on what's going on.. wow.. clueless homers..lol

dolfanSF brings up a good point. When is the last time the Dolphins hammered somebody? Just blew them out to the point the game was over going into the 4th. Its not easy to do in the NFL, but the elite teams do it a couple times a year. i.e. Pats/Dolphins earlier this year. The Dolphins have trouble beating teams with inferior talent, let alone blowing them out. That falls on Henning and Sparano

Hey joe,
They benched McNabb. Henne could't carry his cleats!

they benched macnabb so they can lose al games left THE DRAFT A QB FOR THE FUTURE NOT LIKE US WE SIGN QB LIKE CHAD.P


2 watt, Thigpen is the White Vick? He's closer to being the white Ray Lucas.


Armageddon, and your point is what, exactly? LOL

Washington benched Mcnabb because he won't be there next year. Henne keeps playing because he will be & Thigpen probably won't. Does this not make sense to you?


i have been a dolphin fan alot longer than you--
get real--it is CLEAR THAT PROBLEMS START AT THE TOP- blame this or that player is a joke,blame this or that asst coach is a joke,THE PROBLEM IS SIMPLE AND STRAIGHT--THE ISSUE STARTS AND RESTS WITH THE FRONT OFFICE
he immediately turned the fins around his first year--
to give parcells,ireland and sparano another year is RETARDED!!

Speaking of clueless....2watt, we get it. Henne sucks because you tell us he does. We get it. We should all start taking your word for it because you are all knowing.

2011 Priorities
Speed on O
Inside LB maybe Edds from iowa is that guy?


Dilfer is right. I hope we dont lose Nolan. He was our only bright spot this season...



& Hail Festivus to you, too!

Merry Christmas ALoco and all the other bloggers too!!!

Trent Dilfer must be reading this blog everyday for the last 4 months. The thing is that margin for victory is so small in the NFL. When you play close games it always comes down to 1 or 2 plays that decide a game. The good teams find a way to make those plays. And the teams that don't make excuses as to why.

Merry Christmas to you all and to all a good night

joe if you have 8 men rushing against 5 because the qb sux and can't throw deep.. 8 wins that battle all of the time. i mean. pat white is playing baseball now and henne is just a wee bit better than him. you guys want to wait and see. the see part is never gonna come for henne at the nfl level. it aint college.

Guys, Sunday game is not a gimme. This team is notoriously distracted when playing at home. Compounding the problem is that their playing right after Christmas.

So would Sparano's fate be sealed if he loses to the Lions, under a chorus of boos from a near empty stadium?

aloco. thanx. and happy xmas to you too.. remember to put the clams in some water and corn meal so that they eat the corn meal and spit out the sand so they taste better aloco.

Vernon Davis is signed til 2016, damn, well, looks like we will suck again next year, im gonna cancel my nfl ticket

mclovin. haynos will be back. he's good .if he can stay in shape.. don't cancel just yet.but the phins need a qb 1st.lol

New World Order preplanned nuclear war is bout to start, just as Dolphins, ... well
They Suck

North Korea threatened Thursday to launch a "sacred war" after South Korea completed large military exercises near the volatile inter-Korean border.

"The revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) are getting fully prepared to launch a sacred war of justice of Korean style based on the nuclear deterrent at anytime necessary," North Korea's defense minister Kim Yong Chun said, according to the state-run news agency.

"The South Korean puppet forces perpetrated such grave military provocation as renewing their shelling against the DPRK during their recent exercises for a war of aggression in the West Sea of Korea," Chun said. "This indicates that the enemy's scenario for aggression aimed at the start of another Korean War, has reached the phase of its implementation.

The long-planned South Korean exercises, billed as the largest land and air winter drills, were conducted just 15 miles from the North Korean border.
Richardson: We were 'very close' to war

More than 800 military personnel, fighter jets and anti-tank missiles took part in the exercise in Pocheon, which also involved more than 100 types of weapons.

Its the End Of The World As We Know It
i feel fine

Festivus for the rest of us!

We need to hire the Pats offensive line coach as our head coach. Speed at the skill positions is irrelevant if there are no holes and the QB has no time to throw. Or at least one of his disciples as he has been the offensive line coach for 28 yrs with the pats, except for 99-00 when he was with the colts. And we should hire a disciple of scott pioli as our GM....


my sense is that a loss to the Lions would push even the most ardent, refusing-to-surrender Fist Pump / Ball Boy supporters over the edge.

That distresses me, because I really do not want to root against my team, BUT...........

Seer: If I was Sparano, I would be more worried about the Lions than the Pats. We lost to the Browns and Bills already. Losing to another lowly team would put my head on the chopping block. And guess what? The Lions just beat GB and TB. gulp...

lets see we have a head coach that refuses to change the garbage plays henning sends down, a head coach who is the absolute worst in game coach especially at clock management and usage of time outs and most importantly a head coach who just about throws his arm out of the socket cheering for first quarter field goals yeah lets give this guy another year yeah ok hahaha lets wake up we need a new head coach period

Armando and friends,
You guys can analyze this team all you want from bottom to top. The bottom line problem is TALENT!!!! (The lack of, in certain key positions). Starting from management-we need a personnel director with that certain quality to pick talented players, even in the 7th round, i.e. Tom Brady? Coaches- we need a smart off coordinator that can design and create schemes to beat great defenses. (Kind of like playing chess). And we need a head coach that can oversee all of this and not act like a moron when your team scores filed goals (instead of TDs). Oh and last, please somebody get us a talented quaterback for crying out loud. I know there will never be another Marino, but something close, perhaps?

Why is everybody bashing Dilfer. I know that he has a reputation as being non-scholarly, but his point in this article is absolutely, 100% correct. The Dolphins are always "keeping games close", it is a coaching strategy for them. Even when they get ahead of teams early (i.e. Pittsburgh, NYJ three weeks ago) they play conservative and let the other team hang around. This is partially because they lack talent on the offensive side, but it is also because of an ULTRA-conservative coaching strategy. I assume that this comes from the top, but Dan Henning is no spring chicken...his 1970's style needs to blown out of our system and we need some fresh, creative ideas to spice up the offense immediately. Tip your caps to Dilfer on this one, he doesn't think we are as far off as many frustrated DOLFANS currently do.

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