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63 posts from December 2010

December 02, 2010

AccuScore.com not high on Miami's playoff chances

Many experts (not me), pundits (not me), and guys that have a blog for no logical reason (me) have theories as to why the Dolphins have been able to forge a 5-1 road record this season while managing only a 1-4 record at home.

My theory is pretty simple, really. It goes like this: Nevermind the venue mumbo jumbo.

The Dolphins beat poor or diminished teams regardless of where the game is played. And the Dolphins lose to outstanding opponents regardless of where the game is played.

Go ahead, argue with me. The Dolphins have lost to New York, New England, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. All are winning teams. All are likely playoff teams. Miami has beaten Buffalo, Minnesota, Green Bay, Cincinnati, Tennessee and Oakland. Green Bay is the only team in that group that seems headed to the playoffs and, remember, the Dolphins won against the Packers when that team was battling nearly a dozen significant injuries.

So if I'm correct, the Dolphins have a great chance of beating Cleveland, Detroit and Buffalo in their final five games regardless of the fact they play those games at home. And the Dolphins will be heavy underdogs at New England and at New York. That's because the first three are not great teams and the latter two are likely playoff participants.

Simple.

The folks at Accuscore.com don't necessarily see it that way. The statistical forecasting company puts games through approximately 10,000 simulations to come away with the greatest likelihood for victory and defeat. This week, AccuScore is calling for a close game between Miami and Cleveland and the game is likely to be decided by the running game.

According to AccuScore, if Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams both rush for at least 50 yards, the Dolphins are 89 percent likely to win. Cannot argue with that.

Despite any probability of winning against the Browns, AccuScore isn't wild about Miami's chances of making the playoffs. The stat forecast for Miami winning the AFC East is less than one percent. The chances of the Dolphins making the playoffs as a wild card team is 8.3 percent this week.

No, that's not a very high probability for Miami. But it is better than it was last week when AccuScore.com placed Miami's chances of making the playoffs were at 8 percent.

AFC

WEEK 12 REVIEW

PLAYOFF

% CHANCE

TEAM

WK 12

WK 13

% DIFF

WIN DIV

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

26.6%

34.6%

8.0%

25.4%

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

72.1%

76.3%

4.2%

72.1%

HOUSTON TEXANS

3.1%

6.3%

3.3%

6.2%

BALTIMORE RAVENS

90.4%

93.2%

2.9%

54.0%

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

96.8%

97.7%

0.8%

59.5%

MIAMI DOLPHINS

8.0%

8.3%

0.3%

0.9%

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

94.6%

94.8%

0.2%

46.0%

BUFFALO BILLS

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

CINCINNATI BENGALS

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

CLEVELAND BROWNS

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

DENVER BRONCOS

0.5%

0.0%

-0.5%

0.0%

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

20.1%

19.2%

-0.8%

18.9%

NEW YORK JETS

93.2%

91.6%

-1.5%

39.6%

TENNESSEE TITANS

24.5%

20.5%

-4.0%

20.4%

December 01, 2010

Henne getting more comfortable in his own skin

There is a feeling from those around Chad Henne that he is feeling more comfortable these days.

That's interesting because so many critics called him robotic and unfeeling and just not comfortable in his own skin when he was on the field in recent times, most notably before his benching following the Nov. 7 loss to Baltimore.

But that seems to be shifting a bit these days. I cannot exactly quantify for you that Henne is feeling more comfortable with his status on the Dolphins because there is no statistic for that. But it's just a hunch, a gut feeling, that he seems more at ease.

The most tangible example of that is what Henne said today about throwing interceptions. Look, Dolphins coaches have beat him over the head with the dogma that he must not make the big mistake and throw interceptions.

These coaches preach not losing the game as much as winning it.

But the truth, as has been discussed on this blog before, is that great quarterbacks throw interceptions. It's a fact of greatness. If the QB is going to expose himself and gamble sometimes and stretch skills to the breaking point, sometimes the result will be an interception.

The measure of greatness could include making sure the touchdowns far outnumber the interceptions. But the interceptions will come. And the great ones, while not accepting the interceptions, understand they are a fact of life.

Henne showed on Wednesday he understands interceptions are to be avoided. But they are sometimes a fact of life.

"This isn't life or death," he said of the miscues. "There's worse things in life out there that you can do. Obviously it hurts you deep down inside, but you have to let those things go. You have to keep on trucking ...

Henne cracked a smile.

"That's like Will Ferrell there, huh? No, you just have to put it behind you and move on to the next play because you can't let something despise you and shy away from it. You have to keep confident and keep throwing the ball out there."

I like it. I don't want the Dolphins quarterback playing scared.

On the other hand, Henne isn't a wild child, either. He has a sometimes funny, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes edgy streak he rarely shows the media. But it is there.

On the other hand, he is still big on saying the right thing. So when he was asked today if Arizona quarterback Derek Anderson blew it by smiling and laughing on the sideline in the fourth quarter of a blowout loss to San Francisco on Monday night, Henne straddled the fence.

He would never condone what Anderson did. But he didn't want to rip a fellow QB, either.

"I think you take the game seriously," Henne said. "It's not time to joke around, I guess, on the sideline. I mean, sure, if someone says something funny, you're going to laugh but I think staying focused and staying in command at all times shows the team you're there to play, this is a business, this is a game. You have fun and I'm sure whatever Derek did wasn't to say, 'Blow off the game or my mind's out of the game.' "

Well, that's polictically correct Henne. Maybe he's not totally comfortable being himself yet. But he seems to be headed in that direction.

 

Marlon Moore watch continues on Armando and the Amigo

I predict at some point this week coach Tony Sparano will be asked what he expects to do with his receiver corps once Brandon Marshall is healthy and able to play again following treatment on his injured hamstring. And the coach will say something akin to "it's a good problem to have," in that he'll have to decide which receiver not to keep active on game day.

It's a number's issue with the receivers. The Dolphins typically keep four active on game day.

Last week, with Marshall out, Miami took Davone Bess, Brian Hartline, Roberto Wallace and Marlon Moore to the game. So when Marshall is ready to return, who goes back to the inactive list?

Moore? He had a 57-yard TD catch in the game last week. He had as many TD catches in that one game as what Marshall had in 10 previous games.

Wallace? He's extremely physical. He's a core special teams player. And he had a 19-yard reception last week.

Like I mentioned above, "it's a good problem to have."

My guess is Moore might have to return to the inactive list. I will talk to him about this on my Armando and the Amigo radio show this morning on 640 Sports. If you miss the interview, I'll post the podcast of the hour when my producer gets that ready.

Moore simply has to find a way to help on special teams. He's fast enough to be a kick returner, but hasn't emerged in that role. He continues to be a project player. But he's got promise and talent.

He's also a communications major, so he should be a good interview.

Oh, almost forget: Do not suggest Marshall would be the odd man out. Although I've heard whispers that quarterback Chad Henne seemed more at ease without having to feed Marshall, the alpha receiver remains Miami's best receiver target.

Right?