« Henning: Dolphins lack speed, changes haven't worked | Main | Live blog of plow horses vs. thoroughbreds here »

The odd ties between the Falcons, Dolphins

Merry Christmas and Happy Holy Days, everyone!

I want to wish you and yours the best, brightest and most prosperous days as we celebrate today, tomorrow and heading into the New Year.

Can I share some football thoughts with you?

It is about this time three years ago that the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons, two franchises in similar terrible states, made a bold and hopeful reach for finding credibility and excellence and a new dawn to what had been a very dark night in their histories.

They both made a play for Bill Parcells in late 2007.

Before I get to that ... a little history.

These two teams seemed strangely similar for a couple of years before December of 2007. The Falcons were 7-9 in 2006. The Dolphins finished 6-10. The Falcons fired Jim Mora. Nick Saban fired the Dolphins.

The Dolphins hired Cam Cameron and the Falcons hired Bobby Petrino to coach in 2007. Neither was NFL head coach material. Both seemed overmatched. Both lost their locker rooms as the season progressed.

Neither team had a quarterback to speak of. The Dolphins cut a one-legged Daunte Culpepper and signed a diminished Trent Green. Culpepper had been a terrible mistake because Saban asked him to play despite the fact his knee would never allow him to play at a Pro Bowl level again. Green was a mistake because his concussion while with Kansas City the year before had made him a candidate for more concussions in the future.

The Falcons were dealing with their own quarterback issues and, in most respects, their issues were more serious.

Michael Vick, talented but troubled, was suspended by the NFL after he pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his now infamous dog fighting ring in Virginia. The Falcons were sunk.

Their quarterback situation was so terrible to begin the 2007 season, Petrino handed the starting job to Joey Harrington, who the Dolphins had discarded after he failed with them in 2006.

 And so as the 2007 season got underway, both teams then set off on what could be optimistically described as disasters. Neither won with any regularity and, in Miami’s case, regularity was defined as all but once.

Players on both teams quit well before the failed seasons ended. But the Falcons had the special added bonus of having Petrino quit on the players three games before the season ended so he could take the job coaching Arkansas.

Petrino left his playes a note in the locker room telling them he was cruising.

Miami?

Well, let's put it kindly. It is Christmas. Cam Cameron was a mistake.

By December, Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga and Falcons owner Arthur Blank were shopping for help to fix their broken franchises. Both focused on Parcells.

Huizenga talked to Parcells first, actually, but couldn't land him because he planned to sell the team and Parcells wanted stability in ownership. So Blank swooped and had Parcells all but signed to come to Atlanta. Blank actually went to Parcells' home in Saratoga, New York expecting to get a deal signed with Parcells after the football man had told him he was ready to return to football.

But Huizenga came back and offered Parcells everything Atlanta could, plus an opportunity to be closer to his Jupiter home, plus a longer-standing relationship than the one Parcells had with Blank. Let me be clear: Parcells preferred to come to Miami the entire time. But he had initially rebuffed Huizenga when the Miami owner told him of his intention to sell the club.

It wasn't until Huizenga changed his tune and told Parcells he would keep the team that Parcells refocused his interest on Miami.

The Dolphins got Parcells and by December 20 when they announced he was hired, they were enjoying instant credibility again. The Falcons, seemingly cast aside and beaten to the punch, settled on former New England director of college scouting Thomas Dimitroff as their general manager.

Sure, everyone knew Parcells wasn’t going to be around very long because his history guaranteed as much. But no one gave the relatively unknown Dimitroff any advantage in the pairing against Miami’s new football boss.

That didn’t last.

Dimitroff signed running back Michael Turner and traded for tight end Tony Gonzalez. And when Parcells, owning the first overall pick of the 2008 draft, selected future Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long, Dimitroff did him one better by drafting future Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan.

Yes, that is hindsight. At the time, the Long pick was the more logical, safer selection. And Long might turn into a Hall of Famer some day.

But a Hall of Fame left tackle does not trump a franchise quarterback. And that is precisely what Ryan has become in Atlanta.

Both teams seemed to turn it around instantly. The Dolphins won their division with an 11-5 record in 2008. The Falcons similarly went 11-5 and made the playoffs.

But the Dolphins, benifitting from an easy schedule, were something of a mirage while Atlanta had actual staying power. Even though both teams regressed in 2009, Miami's took several steps back to 7-9 while Atlanta dropped to 9-7 while playing in the same division with the eventual Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

And while the Dolphins got about the business of finding their all-important QB in 2009, the Falcons were already certain Ryan was their man. They also had a good, albeit not great left tackle in Sam Baker, an Alpha wide receiver in Roddy White, and consistent pass rusher in John Abraham, and a full complement of draft picks for 2010.

The Falcons have filled in with trades and free agency, but they have really been built through the draft. That's the New England way that Dimitroff learned.

All six draft picks made the team this year. In fact, on the day teams set their initial 53 man rosters this season, the Falcons had 31 of their own draft picks on the team, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That was fourth highest in the NFL.

The Dolphins had 21 of their own picks on their roster which was tied with the Jets for the league’s second lowest total.

The Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins – organizations that have often set the standard for how to mess up in the NFL – had the league’s lowest total of draft picks on their respective rosters. They each had 17.

And while the Falcons were building slowly and surely, the Dolphins at the start of 2010 found themselves rebuilding once again. Parcells quit as his contract allowed him to do. Huizenga had sold the team despite indications to Parcells he would not and so Parcells made his counter-move by stepping down as Miami's football czar.

It has been portrayed that Parcells walked out on the Dolphins. I would tell you if Huizenga was still the owner, Parcells would still be the football czar. Period.

No, there isn't a rift between Parcells and new owner Stephen Ross. The two men still speak but their relationship is not a friendship. They talk about the labor issues facing the league. It's business. Huizenga and Parcells were more friends.

Obviously, neither Huizenga nor Ross wanted to take the PR hit for losing Parcells immediately following an 11-5 season when they announced the sale of the Dolphins. So they gave Parcells the sweetheart deal he enjoys today of basically getting paid until the end of 2011 without really working for the team if he doesn't want to.

This year, Parcells began to use his option. He stepped back from daily operations, handing them to general manager Jeff Ireland. And now he is only a consultant. He doesn't make decisions about the team. He isn't involved in the daily grind. He doesn't have an office in the football facility in Davie and hasn't visited since he moved out, best I can gather.

Does he talk to Ireland? Sure. Does he text coach Tony Sparano? Sure. Does he tell either what to do? Nope.

And so while the Falcons are hitting their stride with their front office and coaching set up in Year Three, the Dolphins are kind of starting over with an independent Ireland and Sparano working without a Parcells net for the first time.

On the field, the differences are obvious. The Falcons are fast, they make plays, they're dynamic, and yes, they win at home. Atlanta is 6-0 in the Georgia Dome this year. They're 19-1 in their house the last 20 games.

The Dolphins are great on the road with a 6-1 record, but incredibly disappointing at home at 1-6. Miami lacks speed, dynamic playmakers on offense and special teams and even its No. 4 ranked defense needs work because it has had a chance to win -- WIN -- a couple of games this year and didn't do it. Cleveland comes prominently to mind.

The Falcons are 12-2 today, three years after they missed out on Bill Parcells. The Dolphins are 7-7 today, three years after they landed Bill Parcells.

Amazing.

The Falcons, by the way, are doing it with a Dolphins flavor. They have five former Dolphins coaches on their staff – offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, offensive line coach Paul Boudreau, receivers coach Terry Robiskie, linebackers coach Glenn Pires and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong.

In that regard also these teams are strangely connected.

 

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b26169e20148c70774e5970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The odd ties between the Falcons, Dolphins:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

lol,breed still drinking .

lol,I'm still dumb.

mikeliver1313,

Been sipping on vintage 1907 Heidsieck champagne. It had been sitting on the bottom of the ocean for the past 80 years. I bought it at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow for $275,000 a bottle. LOL.....................

DcDolfan likes this coaching staff so much that if he had his way he would invite tony sparonos Dad and hennings grandchildren to come aboard and run this organization all over again.

Miami Heat took the LA Lakers behind the woodshed for good ole fashioned Christmas day beatdown!

Lebron James triple-doubled and the Heat played defense like Mike Nolan was running the show!

superphins is very bad fan ,he likes men w.hair in their ears .

Wow, the moron is still here spreading more germs and disease all over the blog.....

What total lies are you spreading for the new year DyingBuffoon...

I would like a manhole of hair myself right now


lol @ DyingBuffoon

I believe Cowher's stepping down prior to the 2007 season was to spend time with family and to re-energize the coaching batteries.

A truly successful HC has to give his heart and soul to the game. Everything save God has to come 2nd to football. The man did this for 15 consecutive season without coming up for air. He's no fly by night JJ nor BP.

Now that Cowher feels he has totally re-energized himself and again has that insatiable thirst and hunger for coachingchampionship football again. We would be total idiots not to heed when he has publically pounded us in our dimwit heads this is definitely the place he want to begin that new and totally revived quest.

Mr. Stephen Ross will you please go answer that damn door! LOL...........

That's funny. I've said this team isn't that far off from being where it needs to be (true). That we're better than we were in '07 (true). And that if we had a new OC we probably would have make the Playoffs this year (true).

I usually don't respond to fake homos (and I don't use that word in the deragatory meaning for gays, I use it in the meaning for a purebread loser) that are too chickenshyt to use one handle so people know who they are, and ESPECIALLY if English doesn't seem to be their primary (or even secondary) language, but I'll make an exception in this case for you, the true MORON who posted at 10:11pm, to tell you it doesn't matter what you post or think or say, you get ZERO props on this site for your subpar knowledge on anything, while there are plenty of folks here who have responded favorably to my posts.

So keep posting, and me (and countless others) will keep skipping the rest of your insignifant posts. And really that's what kills you, that out of a world of billions of people, you're meaningless, pathetic life doesn't even register as a blip on the screen, you change your name because you don't have the ability to make a name for yourself. You try, but no one remembers you. Sad really, to be so puny, to have so little to offer the human race. You're really just space giving off a projection of a human being, but when anyone gets close, they see there's really nothing there. Tootles to you cream puff, now that I've made your day by recognizing you, I'll go back to ignoring your ignorant statements.

Cowher went to 5 afc championship games without ever having a top 5 qb. Hell, some of those times he didnt even have a top 10 qb. Still he made one trip to the SB.

On the 6th try finally having a franchise qb he struck SB 24kt gold. Cowher not only kicked the door in he kicked the motherf^cker down!!! LOL...........

DB, one thing that's clear, Sparano isn't really the sharpest knife in the drawer. This year it's Henning, but last year it was Paul P. And they were like mirror images of each other. Pasqualoni, like Henning, was conservative, ran a vanilla system, didn't take many risks, had trouble making adjustments mid-game. Almost all the problems this year on offense were the problems the defense had last year. You'd think after the first few games Sparano would have taken Henning aside and been like, "yeah, saw this movie last year, not going through it again. It's time to change things up Danny boy." But, you don't need a big brain to be a football coach I guess.

DC,

Dont get angry. It's just ALoco playing around. He doesnt mean any harm and he does the same thing to me. I just laugh and move on because I know its him just kidding around. LOL...........

Mikeliver1313 or whetever handle you want to call yourself, You need some serious medication help my friend and i Mean THAT in all honesty!!!!

Too happy to get angry DB. But never been one to back down from a fool talkin' mess. Now I know the deal though, thanks for the heads up.

DB/superPHIN, either you guys have season tix, and if so, are you going to the game? Just wonderin' if the stadium will be more empty than usual tomorrow.

DC,

Cowher is the guy to lead us now. He's a proven game day caoch and has 1 SB win, 2 SB appearances, and 6 afc championship appearances w/2 wins to prove it.

No HC has been successful for so long as Cowher(15 seasons) except Shula. Not even Belichick. Belichick hasnt even been with the Pats 15 seasons yet.

breed still drinking .

DB, but you have heard the stat right? That a SuperBowl-winning coach has never taken another team to a SuperBowl? Not that there can't be a first time, just sayin'.

lol@dying buffoon

havent bought season Tix since 2004, and nope will not be at the game tommorrow, my guess is it will be the same dead enviroment its been all year long, in fact i wouldnt be at all surprised if we see some Blue and Grey out there along with a lot of Orange. Orange being the empty seats....Did this game even sellout yet????

think so superPHIN. They get the tv station to buy all the remaining tix or something to make it a sellout (that's what I heard). But you're right, even the couple thousand people there will be quiet as church mice. Can't blame 'em though, nothing to get hyped about at a Miami game.

DC,

Nope, dont buy season tix. Best seat is in my livingroom. Although I'm not opposed to catching a live game from time to time.

As for the "stat" you stated. Ben so long since we had a consistent winner here. Now even the fans have developed defeatist attitudes. Seems both fans and team alike look for reasons to remain losers.

Sad it has now come down to this on both sides of the aisle.

To those who say 'with another OC we'd have gone to the playoffs', are missing the big picture. The HC is responsible for how the coordinators do their job. It was on Sparano to ORDER Henning to take a different approach. Sparano has no balls and just acquiesced to Henning. The blame goes on TS.

DyingBreed - With Cowher in, Nolan is out. Not a good move.

DC, if worded correctly the statement about a super bowl winning coach has never taken another team is not true. Parcells won with the Giants then took the Patriots and lost.

Also D Vermiel lost one with the Eagles then later won with the Rams.

Armando it is fun to compare but the bottom line is that the owner of the Falcons Arthur Blank is glad he did not hire Bill Parcells. Parcells is yesterdays news and is so old school. Big slow players that are not very athletic just does not work anymore. He and this regime has failed to acquire enough talent to get into the playoffs....and so it goes. Moreover Bill Parcells is going, thank God for that.

kingsmith, you're right, my bad. I meant a coach hasn't won a SuperBowl with 2 different teams.

Mando,

Gotta bone to pick with you dude. Just read your article on Rex Ryan, and not sure what you're talking about. Maybe I don't know the extent of it, so someone chime in if they can help, but didn't Rex just have a foot fetish (WITH HIS WIFE) and post it on YouTube? Is there more to it than that? If not, Mando, you must be the most prude person I've ever met or come into contact with (which makes you a typical American).

I'm so sick of this country's attitude towards the most natural thing in the world...SEX! Everyone does it (or thinks about it, or wants to engage in it). Plus, to equate a fetish practiced with one's wife is hardly comparable to a serial adulterer (Tiger) or a guy who sends pics of his junk to an unwilling participant (Favre).

And you know why the guys in the locker room will respect Rex more than the Miami guys do Sparano, because all their money is generated from WINNING on the field (THEIR JOB). And, correct me if I'm wrong, the Jets have more wins than Miami. The Jets are STILL in Playoff contention. The Jets MADE the Playoffs last year. This is a sport, and that's all that matters, and Rex is getting the job done, while Sparano isn't.

Other than that, if it's not violent, or endangering children, I think what adults do to "entertain" themselves through Life is as natural as glacier water. And I implore people to escape your Puritanical views on sex and wake up to the animal nature we all possess. Marriage vows, religion and the like are MAN-MADE (not found in nature). Don't get it twisted, people may want to think the human species has "evolved" past it's animalistic nature, but they'd be wrong. We are what we've always been. Wake up, put down the Scarlet letters and the corsets. Sex is good!

The Dolphins Offense and the OC & HC that Run the Offense Suck
Period

6 Rushing TDs All Season including the Wildcrap Sucks
Period

We all know the problems w the O-Line & with the skill players on offense which were picked by the same individuals
Still there job which they are highly overpaid to do, found No Solution all season

The Miami Dolphins OC & HC Suck
Period

While Parcells and company havent finished the job, they have created an outstanding defense. The D needs nothing else other than to hang on to INTs. They are young and will be good for a long time. Long was and is the right pick. You talk of Matt Ryan like he is the next Brady or Manning. He is having his best year and has a 90 QB rating with an outstanding O line running back, play makers and an easy NFC conference. Had he come to the FINS there is no doubt he would be struggling with the other pieces we have on O. Same is true of Flacco. The biggest mistake Parcells and company have made is the O line. When you inherit a 1-15 franchise w absolutely no talent, it takes more than a couple of years to build it into a superbowl contender. Not to mention being in a tough division and in the AFC. QB is still a ? but we should be close with a good draft and free agency period.

TO INVOKE BOYCUT THE DOLPHINS GAME AND NOT BUYING TICKETS AS SOME PEOPLE PREACH IS NOT HELPFUL AND SPEACK MORE OF THEIR REAL MOTIVE .AS FOR COWHER , WILL WE PATIENT W/HIM AND WAIT 6 YEARS TO SEE RESULTS ?

I SAY NO, KEEP SPARANO FOR 1 YEAR PLUS HIRING A NEW CAOCH IN A YEAR WE DON'T HAVE ANY SECOND ROUND DRAFT PICK,DOESN'T MAKE SENSE .

THE LAST TIME WE WILL SEE THESE 3 PLAYERS IN FIN JERSEY ;;;;;;;

R.BROWN ...HE ALREADY MADE 40 MILLION IN SIX YEARS W/ONLY ONE SEASON OF 1000 YARDS .I SAY THE FINS SHOULD MOVE ON EVEN IF HE ACCEPTS A LOW MONEY .THE FUTURE IS MORE URGENT .

2- VERNON CAREY...... HE'S UP AND DOWN ,NEST YEAR HE'S DUE BIG MONEY ..SURE HE BE HISTORY.

3-CROWDER....OFTEN INJURED PLUS DUE BIG MONEY NEXT YEAR ALSO,I AY HE'LL BE GONE .

Memo to Chad Henne:

Davone Bess needs 4 catches to get 80 for the year. In your unsuccessful season, this can at least be one bright spot (with him and Marshall having more than 80, eclipsing the Marks Bros.). Other than winning 9 games this year, THAT'S your goal.

Memo to Cameron Wake:

J Peezy couldn't wear your jockstrap. YOU are the MAN!

After seeing that video I may be thinking about "it" less.

DC you sure went off the handle over some silly little comment Armando made about the Rex video. Can't see how you get into anti-puritanical frenzy over that, he's just giving a jab to embarrass Rex further, not implying all that stuff you wrote. You frequently sound uptight in general here, its a football blog, nothing to steam up about. If things are that dull with the wifey there are alternatives, you need to burn some carbons friend.

cowher better be offered a deal right after last game. but im guessing he wont take it since the fan base here is almost all gone. if he declines ross better find another home run. cant wait till jan 3 to see this staff fired.

who the fu$k cares about honor and respect. all fans care about is winning and putting a product on the field who will get it done. it doesn't even matter what people do in their own time. fact is the wets win and go to the playoffs, and the dolphins lose and they go home.

aloco don't forget about henne. GONE!

Thelonious, not sure you read the full article Mando wrote (it wasn't a silly comment). It's on the front page (a column, not a blog). I'm all for embarrassing Rex Ryan (and anyone affiliated with the Jets), but if you read the article you'll see why Mando took it WAY too far (he was the one who claimed it was morality issue for "pimping" his wife).

Also, you probably have the wrong perception of my writing. You say I'm "steamed up" or "uptight" when I'm probably exactly the opposite (don't believe in allowing stress to dictate my moods, pretty chill in person). But, yeah, I'm passionate about things I believe (and the stronger the belief, the more passion I exude). So, since I'm passionate about the Dolphins, yeah, I probably get a litte animated (at least sounding). And I'm also passionate about people not trying to push their own ideas about morality on others. I start at the point that we're all sinners, and then go from there. So, like I said in that post, if it's not harming anyone else, I usually don't trip about what people do or do not do.

Unlike the Vick incident (where I understand how people can be unforgiving to a guy who harmed animals) I think the issue with Rex is pretty silly to get all "holier-than-thou" about.

Making a joke about it is fine, writing the article Mando wrote to me is going overboard. Read the article and tell me what you think.

« 1 2 3 4 5

The comments to this entry are closed.