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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.

True.

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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@ BOGERT


The tendency on this and other blogs is to attack a messenger who brings bad news or views revealing the Dolphins ineptitude. Instead of assessing the message, some folks appear to think that if they don't like a commentator, his analysis cannot be worthwhile.

Case in point: earlier this year, when Mike Mayock -- USING VIDEO & SLO MO * REPLAY AFTER REPLAY demonstrated (proved!) that the Fins passing game was shockingly ill-conceived. But all many here and elsewhere could do was recall that Mayock had criticized the Jake Long selection, thereby making him a bad guy, thereby making his criticism of thr "passing" game wrong.

Sparano/Ireland/Tuna football is dull as dishwater, and Dilfer was right.

2watt, you're right. What was I thinking? I should never question anything you say because afterall, I'm clueless. You say Henne sucks, then he sucks. No reasoning or logic behind it, your vastly superior intellect & way of explaining things is unparalleled by anything in this universe. Thank you for enlightening me this Holiday season.

Henne Sucks, so says 2watt. HAIL 2WATT!

Dilfer is a no good never has been, HIS SB appearence was totally based off of a strong defense with very little offense so what he says as an *Anaylist* should be taken serious about as much as a Dead Henning style offense.
The only thing that i would say is It is a valid point overall in what Everyone has been saying all damn year.....THIS OFFENSE PLAYS TO LOSE, WITH THE HOPES OF HAVING A CHANCE TO WIN IN THE END!!!

Dilfer is right, but many of us realized this after our first two WINS of the season.

Wrong,


Most of us realized this after WATCHING last years team on offense!!!!It would seem that the Coaches and Players didnt pickup the clues in the offseason and figured the old if it aint broke why fix it routine for 2010!!!

problem is it is broken and it is Definately in need of fixing for the future and can anybody honestly say that tony strapono* Mr. Puppet* will have the balls or toughness to turn this team into a SB contender?????


I say NO!!!!

It isnt like Dilfer made any kind startling revelation that was unknown to us all. It's been crystal ball clear all season long that we have an offensive philosophy that plays it so close to vest we're always only one play away from disaster or loss no matter what the quality of our opponent is.

If you're a Miami Dolphin fan or player this hasnt been a fun season at all. Both fans and players have been operating under the premise of pins and needles all season long. Zero margin for error has been the prerequisite and will also be the final stake thrust to heart of this clearly unspec-Dracular season.

Let's hope we get as close to the top of the draft as possible. If it is a light draft talent wise, like many claim it to be, teams will be more than willing to move up & get a solid player. We should trade down & get our 2nd back. Hopefully they make better use of that pick than they have in the last 3 years.

Trent Dilfer was a mediocre quarterback at best, no a bum at best, but, he was a better quarterback than is an analyst.

Joe Shmoe,

What does it really profit us to trade down in an already weak draft? This draft is very limited at skill player positions offensively.

This draft does have some very solid players on the defensive side of the ball. But defense isnt our primary issue. If you can hit one home run a skill position on the offensive side in this draft you've done very well.

I still think the most solid thing for us to do is take Mark Ingram if available. We're still unlikely to get a high impact skill position player on offense in the 2nd rd anyway. You know the old saying:

"A Bird In Hand Is Better Than Two In The Bush!"

Joe Schmoe,

I think the 2nd picks overall have been pretty good. Merling has been productive since his return (wonder what a do or die type situation will do for production), Sean Smith is a good starter, and Koa Misi has been improving.

Then there was Pat White ....

Db, I know. But, this team still has allot of holes. 1 guy won't make them a playoff team. We can't fill them all in FA. There should be enough talent in the 1st 2 rounds where we can find 2 players. Our 2nd round jinx has to end this year.

We may disagree on what this team still needs but I think the offense will be rebuilt in FA, especially the oline. Putting less emphasis on the draft. I really think they have driven Ronnie's value as a free agent down so far, he'll be back. Especially if Sparano & Ireland survive, Ross won't give them time to develop more young guys. They've had that time. They have to start winning.

Hell, if they were in win now mode this year, they better be in it next year in OVER DRIVE.

Joe Schmoe,

Can't really agree on your assessment of our 2nd round picks but I do agree that like last year, the front office cannot rely exclusively on the draft. They need marquee free agent(s) (Karlos Dansby), they need a trade (Brandon Marshall), and they need to find about 3 players in the draft to contribute next year (Misi, Jerry, Carroll - Edds, Odrick still have a chance). Probably all on offense, haha

Mark, I think Odrick will be fine. I think Edds will be another ST'er situational type guy. Misi I think will be OK & I don't think Carroll will be a long term solution at CB. He seems awfully stiff for a CB. Jerry? Who knows but I'm holding out hope.

Also, I'm not calling for marquee players really. We just need better starters @ FS, Nickel Db & ILB on defense. In FA, there are plenty of options available to upgrade.

On offense, I've been asking for guys like M. Bush, D. Cooledge & S. Breaston. Ideally I'd love a guy like Deangelo Williams at RB but his price tag will be too high for us. However you can bring speed to TE, RB & WR I'm all for it.

Hate on Dilfer all you want. He is 100% right. I have been pointing this out for the last 2 years.

David Neal wrote an interesting article about another thing I have been pointing out for years.

It is not just that there is no margin for error with the Sparano approach. The dolphins are boring.

Want to bring fans back Ross? Fire Sparano. Sparano will never bring a dynamic offense to Miami. He does not know how.

BTW Cowher is just another conservative style coach.

I am not sure who is best suited to bring a dynamic offense to the Dolphins.

So--Checkdown Chad said if they(defense)give us the right read,etc..What is the right read for this choker?Perhaps IF the defense would just sit down,well,maybe then Chad could hit an open receiver.But,remember that Im said maybe!Marino dictated coverages from the defense,but he was a bona fide QB.

This is what I've been saying all year. The coaches philosophy is play it safe and kick FG's. This has burned us over and over, YOU PLAY TO WIN. If the coaches had that attitude even with the players we have we would be in the playoffs.

This will probably be the only time I agree with anything Dilfer has ever said in public.

I wonder if Dilfer would consider coaching an NFL team?

Here's the problem with Henne... he's just not a good enough athlete to play professional football. His arm is strong and he's (usually) smart enough - but his footwork, game sense, coordination are just not there. Watch tape of Aaron Rodgers drop back and adjust to the rush and then watch Henne - Night and day.

Jeff, Rogers sat on the bench for 3 years learning from a risk taker - Farve. Henne sat on the bench for 1 season and learned from a care taker - Pennington. That's pretty night & day also. Not giving Henne a pass, just pointing out the differences in the comparison you just made.

suck boy henne says he's eager to finish strong these last 2 games. what about all the other games that really mattered you jackass. he should have been finishing strong all season. what a loser this guy is. can't wait till he's gone.

if henne was such a good qb at michigan, that should have carried over to the nfl. sorry, haven't seen it and we will never see it!

Remember when they threw that wonderful pass to Ted Ginn against the Jets for a touchdown last year? We never, ever have seen that ATTEMPTED again-in 2 years. I think it was a mistake to trade Gin-who I don't like because of the out of bounds issue-but who like Randy Moss-has to be accounted for!
The next check down Henne does-the fans should rush the field. Why do the never throw any where near the 1st down to get one? Why does Henne throw so the receiver has to run out of bounds instead of upfield for a TD-and did you know our great defense has the league record of 30 dropped interceptions.

We won in Sparanos first year because we played against the AFC West and NFC West. We were able to play conservative because those two divisions suck! We get to play against them next year again so I plan on having a better season. We need to draft another QB, RB and SPEED!!!!!!!!!!!

We have the foundation to be dominant. We have all the personnel we need on defense - especially with the injured players returning. The running game will work with a new Center, shifting Incognito to RG, making Jerry the backup and drafting a LG. The short passing game will increase with a big pass catching TE. A fast RB who can also catch our of the backfield will introduce change-up on the running game and facilitate the short passing game. Finally and most importantly a new OC can design the plays to get Marshall and Hartline into the game more deeply and hopefully groom Moore and Wallace as well.

Da MiAMi DoLPHiNS STiLL CANNoT WiN@H0ME EVEN 2MAKE Da PLAY0FFS-Da Li0NS SAY Da D0LPHiNS r D0NE -- Da LiONS HAVE ALREADY WON n TAMPA -- LiONS SAY ON 2 MiAMi n LETS WiN THERE! UN-f ucn-BELiEVABLE....

IF NOT NOW....DAMN-IT "WHEN"???

(@ MR. STEPHEN M. ROSS, ARE YOU A "PROVEN WINNER OR WHAT???")

***** TO RITE THIS SHIP AGAIN, COACH BILL COWHER IS TOTALLY AVAILABLE RITE NOW *****

COACH BILL COWHER IS ABSOLUTELY "YOUR LOYAL MIAMI DOLPHINS FANS BASE CHOICE" AND CLEARLY "ALL OF THE PEOPLES FAVORITE!!!"

COACH JON GRUDEN IS ALSO AVAILABLE RITE NOW!!! COACH TONY DUNGY IS MOST DEFINITELY AVAILABLE RITE NOW -- THESE SOLID, TOUGH, CHAMPIONSHIP PROVEN COACHES ARE UP CLOSE AND HANDS ON AND "BIGG GAME TIME WINNERS"....

(PROVEN "LOMBARDI TROPHY" WINNERS MR. ROSS)...

MR. ROSS, JUST IMAGINE YOUR MIAMI DOLPHINS PERFORMING AT A HIGH LEVEL EACH AND EVERY WEEK AND EVERY GAME OVER AND ABOVE THEIR PHYSICAL, MENTAL, AND SKILLS CAPABILITIES AND "WINNING" -- EVERYONE IN SOUTH FLORIDA WILL BE TRYING TO GET INTO SUNLIFE STADIUM TO WITNESS THAT KIND OF AWSOME MIAMI DOLPHINS PERFORMANCE, JUST BY THE WORD OF MOUTH ALONE...

MY, MY, MY -- COACH BILL COWHER "IMAGINE THAT"???
STEVE ROSS THAT BUNCH OF "IDIOTS YOU HAVE" RITE NOW AT THE HELM ARE DONE!!!

(IF THE TEAM HAS NO SPEED ON EITHER SIDE OF BALL, DAMN-IT...IT'S YOUR FAULT HENNING) -- THAT SHIP HAS COMPLETELY SUNK!!! MR. R0SS "Y0U" DESEARVE A MUCH BETTER SENIOR MANAGEMENT STAFF AND COACHES FOR YOUR MONEY THEN THAT "AWFUL PISS P00R PERFORMING GROUP"
(SWITZERLAND, MIKE DEE, JEFF IRELAND, TONY SPARANO & DAN HENNING) --- THEY ARE HIGHLY DESPICABLE AND INCOMPETENT 2 SAY THE LEAST!!!
(THE PROBLEM IS YOU WON THE DIVISION IN 2008 -- TWO YEARS LATER YOU HAVE SUNKEN THE DOLPHINS TEAM T0 THE LOWEST DEPTHS OF THEY CANN0T WIN A GAME AT HOME NOW -- ARE YOU BLIND -- CUTT THE DAMN EXCUSES DAN HENNING!!!)
*** SUPA SPECIAL SHOUT-OUT 2 MR. MIKE GOLIC AT MIKEANDMIKE@ESPNRADIO.COM ***

THERE IS ABS0LUTELY NOTHING JEKYLL AND "HIDE" AB0UT YOU -- JUST KEEP ON TRUCKIN' MY MAN....ENJOY YOUR CHRISTMAS AND ALL 0F THE BEAUTIFUL HOLIDAYS THAT BRINGS IN THIS NEW YEAR....

MRjavinbur

terrible writing across the board...

Da MiAMi DoLPHiNS STiLL CANNoT WiN@H0ME EVEN 2MAKE Da PLAY0FFS-Da Li0NS SAY Da D0LPHiNS r D0NE -- Da LiONS HAVE ALREADY WON n TAMPA -- LiONS SAY ON 2 MiAMi n LETS WiN THERE! UN-f ucn-BELiEVABLE....

IF NOT NOW....DAMN-IT "WHEN"???

(@ MR. STEPHEN M. ROSS, ARE YOU A "PROVEN WINNER OR WHAT???")

***** TO RITE THIS SHIP AGAIN, COACH BILL COWHER IS TOTALLY AVAILABLE RITE NOW *****

COACH BILL COWHER IS ABSOLUTELY "YOUR LOYAL MIAMI DOLPHINS FANS BASE CHOICE" AND CLEARLY "ALL OF THE PEOPLES FAVORITE!!!"

COACH JON GRUDEN IS ALSO AVAILABLE RITE NOW!!! COACH TONY DUNGY IS MOST DEFINITELY AVAILABLE RITE NOW -- THESE SOLID, TOUGH, CHAMPIONSHIP PROVEN COACHES ARE UP CLOSE AND HANDS ON AND "BIGG GAME TIME WINNERS"....

(PROVEN "LOMBARDI TROPHY" WINNERS MR. ROSS)...

MR. ROSS, JUST IMAGINE YOUR MIAMI DOLPHINS PERFORMING AT A HIGH LEVEL EACH AND EVERY WEEK AND EVERY GAME OVER AND ABOVE THEIR PHYSICAL, MENTAL, AND SKILLS CAPABILITIES AND "WINNING" -- EVERYONE IN SOUTH FLORIDA WILL BE TRYING TO GET INTO SUNLIFE STADIUM TO WITNESS THAT KIND OF AWESOME MIAMI DOLPHINS PERFORMANCE, JUST BY WORD OF MOUTH ALONE...

MY, MY, MY -- COACH BILL COWHER "IMAGINE THAT"???

STEVE ROSS THAT BUNCH OF "IDIOTS YOU HAVE" RITE NOW AT THE HELM ARE DONE!!!
(IF THE TEAM HAS NO SPEED ON EITHER SIDE OF BALL, DAMN-IT...IT'S YOUR FAULT HENNING) -- THAT SHIP HAS COMPLETELY SUNK!!! MR. R0SS "Y0U" DESERVE A MUCH BETTER SENIOR MANAGEMENT STAFF AND COACHES FOR YOUR MONEY THEN THAT "AWFUL PISS P00R PERFORMING GROUP"
(SWITZERLAND, MIKE DEE, JEFF IRELAND, TONY SPARANO & DAN HENNING) --- THEY ARE HIGHLY DESPICABLE AND INCOMPETENT 2 SAY THE LEAST!!!
(THE PROBLEM IS YOU WON THE DIVISION IN 2008 -- TWO YEARS LATER YOU HAVE SUNKEN THE DOLPHINS TEAM T0 THE LOWEST DEPTHS OF THEY CANN0T WIN A GAME AT HOME NOW -- ARE YOU BLIND -- CUTT THE DAMN EXCUSES DAN HENNING!!!)
*** SUPA SPECIAL SHOUT-OUT 2 MR. MIKE GOLIC AT MIKEANDMIKE@ESPNRADIO.COM ***

THERE IS ABS0LUTELY NOTHING JEKYLL AND "HIDE" AB0UT YOU -- JUST KEEP ON TRUCKIN' MY MAN....ENJOY YOUR CHRISTMAS AND ALL 0F THE BEAUTIFUL HOLIDAYS THAT BRINGS IN THIS NEW YEAR....

MRjavinbur

Da DOLPHINS Do WAT DEY Do BEST ON Da ROAD "WIN"-UNFORTUNATELY Da DOLPHINS Do WAT DEY Do BEST@HOME AND Da LIONS Do NOT WANT2 CHANGE DAT FACT


I agree that the Dolphins play well and still lose games. However, ever since I've been a fan, the Wanny era was played almost like this. We ran the ball more and had a mobile qb in Fiedler. A bad line etc. This Sparano Parcells era is almost the same. They play to not lose and end up losing. If we win the nex two, maybe that's a start. I believe Sparano and Ireland will be gone very soon.

While I normally think that Trent Dilfer is a moron, I have to agree with him on this subject. The Dolphins do not leave themselves much room for error and rarely defeat an opponent soundly. They play to conservatively and don't make enough game changing plays.

IF ALEX SMITH COULD PLAY HE WOULD BE PLAYING.... HE IS ANOTHER MEDIOCRE QB.... STICK WITH HENNE AND A REAL OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR, HIRE CHAD PENNINGTON.... AND MOVE FORWARD NOT BACKWARDS WHICH THE DOLPHINS HAVE BEEN DOING FOR 20 + YEARS.....

It is hard for any qb to become consistant on the long deep ball when he is given only one opportunity every few weeks.Henne needs to throw down field at least 3 times a game to hit a homerun.He miss fired on Curtis who he has practiced all of a week.Have seen a pass play designed for Marshall deep all year.Except the one he dropped because it was under thrown.

Armando - give me a break - do you really think the Fins are NOT trying to build a team that "Can take the fight to the opponent" as you say?

The plan this year was for the running game to "take the fight to the opponent". Not the passing game since Henne is not ready to do that. But the O line failed them in that approach.

But "the plan" for next year and beyond was always for the passing game to also be potent, once Henne developed enough to do be the triggerman of a potent passing game.

To say that Sparano's plan is to build an O that just "hopes not to lose" is foolish and a misrepresentation - and you should know it!

Sure, that was the plan this year, (because of Henne's inexperience) but it is certainly not the long term plan. Gimmie a break.

It is beyond me how you as a SFLA sports writer can so blatantly misrepresent things, when you know the truth. Sparano was stuck with Henne this year and had to game plan based on Henne's limited abilities. In fact, he was even ready to give Penne a shot! To say Sparano does not care about a passing game that can "take it to the opponent" is so ridiculous it makes me wonder if you are 1) just plain ignorant, 2) a bold faced liar that enjoys misrepresenting facts. Just for the fun of it!


The bottom line in the game of football is "he who scores the most points wins." Now why would a team go out and play conservatively - try to hang with the other team then in the 4th quarter hope for say a winning FG? It defies logic and it is not what the great teams do. Great teams go out and play 100% the entire game, score more points than the opponent and go home with a W. This is why Miami is not a great team and until they adopt that mentality they will not be a great team. Take a lesson from the Shula philosophy - that's how he won games. GO FINS.

b

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