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Live blog of plow horses vs. thoroughbreds here

This time of the NFL season is interesting for teams such as the Dolphins and Lions only in that we can look toward the future.

And in looking at the future of the Dolphins and Lions, today's opponent, we know that both teams have much work to do to become playoff relevant. But their work must come in vastly different areas because the rosters are constructed so, so differently.

The Dolphins, you see, are a team of plow horses. They have a bunch of guys that can play pretty well, play pretty hard, and usually try to give a good performance when they step on the field. The Dolphins don't have a lot of terrible players, which is good.

But the Dolphins also do not have a lot of incredible, superstar players. And that is bad.

That is why after last week's loss to Buffalo at home, Tony Sparano lamented his team making no dynamic plays. What do you expect when you don't have many dynamic players? That is why offensive coordinator Dan Henning during the week echoed those remarks and expanded on them, saying the Dolphins lack dynamic players on offense, defense and special teams.

Hence, no 80-yard bombs or runs on offense, no fumble or interception returns 60 yards for a score on defense, no punt or kickoff TDs.

The Dolphins are a solid, but not a big-play, big-results team. And that is why they are 7-7.

The Lions?

They have a different makeup.

The Lions have a lot of holes in their roster. Their offensive line is leaky. Their running back corps -- traditionally a team strength -- is a weakness. And, quick, name me that young up-and-coming star linebacker on their roster? Ain't got one.

The Lions have myriad holes.

But the Lions have something the Dolphins lack: Dynamic players.

Ndamukong Suh? Dynamic.

Calvin Johnson? Dynamic.

Matthew Stafford? You might not agree, but trust me, he's dynamic.

Louis Delmas? Dynamic.

Brandon Pettigrew? Dynamic.

Stefan Logan? Dynamic on special teams.

The Lions have budding superstars at very important play-making positions and they have a freak in Suh who has turned the defensive tackle spot into a play-making position.

I'm not here to sing the praises of Detroit's dynamic players. You can look up their accomplishments for yourselves. But I know some of you will argue Stafford is not dynamic because, after all, he cannot even finish an NFL season without getting injured.

That's true. But perhaps if he had a solid offensive line in front of him he wouldn't be getting used like a rag doll by opposing defensive players and that might keep him in games.

When he is in games -- not today because he's still injured -- Stafford has shows signs that, frankly, Miami's young QB Chad Henne has not. Stafford has 6 TD passes this year to only 1 INT.

With Stafford in the lineup, the Lions scored TDs in nine of 10 trips into the red zone. Compare that to the FG kicking Dolphins and you see the difference.

He's got much work to do. But if he can stay healthy, he's got the goods. Compare that to Miami where the Dolphins have a QB that is hard to keep out of the lineup due to health concerns, but everyone is asking whether or not he has the goods.

I figured you might have questions about Logan as well. He is the only NFL player ranked in the top four in both kickoff returns and punt return average. His 105-yard KO return TD against St. Louis earlier this year is the longest in the league so far in 2010. He had a kick return of 50 yards or more in three of four games in October. He is, um, dynamic.

So here is the question: Is it easier to fill a roster of good-but-not-great players around your handful of dynamic players? Or is it harder to find a handful of dyanmaic players to lift your roster of good-but-not-great?

Is it harder to find a dozen or so plow horses or a handful of thoroughbreds?

I don't know.

I do know the Lions (4-10) are going to be drafting much higher than the Dolphins (7-7). I don't know it is easier to find plenty of plow horses and even more thoroughbreds higher in each round than it is to find superstars in the middle of the draft.

I know it is not impossible for Miami to find stars -- I mean, serious, honest-to-goodness dynamic stars -- in the middle of rounds, but I cannot remember the last time that happened. And sorry guys, Vontae Davis is a good player. He's solid. But dynamic?

Not so far.

We can discuss this further during the live blog. It will be going on during Miami's sold out meeting with the Lions. It begins in the comments section below just before game time.

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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.


yes davis was a solid pick and is becoming a really good cb. i wanted nicks at the time though, and i would still take him now.

and stafford can be dynamic but it will never matter if hes hurt all the time

dolphins are horrible

will armando join the fire trifecta crowd or is he like omar kelly, a dolphins media mafia hack?

wont matter if he does, either way this staff is gone. back the brinks truck up to cowhers house jan.3

How about a third option. Let's get a great OC who can make a few plow horses into dynamic players and a few below average players into plow horses.

I have a question to all Phins fan! Is Sparano a coach that can teach a player to play to their potential?

Mando, what's the over/under on the crowd that shows up today at it's still Joe Robbie Stadium to me = 25,000? 30,000? And, how much does that play into Ross' decision on whether to give Ireland/Sparano a 4th year? This is a disinterested fan base that not only wants a playoff team, but a team that plays offense in this century. Fins are so boring and have been for a decade now.

Armando,

Excellent comment on Davis....there are som who throw the word ELITE around like its going out of style.....elite he is not....revis he is not....solid he is and Smith is comming along nicely....it could be argued he is the MOST IMPROVED player on the Dolphins squad.....but neither is elite.

Wish ALL a Happy New Year!!!

I Was All For Cowher , But Thinking Again I'll Like For Them To Keep Sparano Players Think To Like The Guy , The Problem Is Henning And special Teams Play , Go Out And Get Kubiak If He gets Fired In Houston , And Get A Proven Special Teams coach From Another Team . Get A Running Back In The Draft with The First round Pick , Spent The rest Of The Picks On Offensive Lineman And Special Team Players, Get Rid Of Bad Salaries Crowder , Carey And The Team Will Be Very Competitive Next Year , One More Point , We Need A Tight End Badly

Sporano is a mediocrity and Henne is a robot

kris, I wouldn't even call Revis elite this year.

But to compare the Lions to the Dolphins to me is like comparing apples and oranges. Obviously this year's team didn't have the right mix of coaches and players (and I'm STRESSING coaches here). But last year Ronnie/Ricky ran enough to be the 4th best running team in the league (that's dynamic to me). Brandon Marshall had 20 catches in a game (yeah, not with us, but still, he has it in him), that's pretty dynamic. Jake Long, dynamic. Cameron Wake, dynamic. Davone Bess, not even drafted, breaking Dolphins records in Year 2 (or is it 3?), pretty dynamic to me.

I guess if you mean the ability to score from anywhere on the field, then no, Miami doesn't seem dynamic. But I think the players are mostly all here (even on offense). A couple more are needed, but if Henning put the right guys in the right places, things would have been MUCH different.

So, dynamic coaching, NOPE (unless you mean Nolan)!

yeah if u keep sprano we will go 8-8 every year. decision already made anyways, hes gone

bill, where'd you hear the decision is already made on Sparano? Or is that wishful thinking on your part?

So Armando why exactly is Stafford a dynamic player? His play last year doesn't prove that he's dynamic and his play this year is a very small sample size. It's inconclusive. We can give another young qb the benefit of the doubt but not our own. Yeah Stafford lines sucks but Henne's isn't much better. I really hope Miami gets rid of Henne and he lights it up somewhere else. While he hasn't been great I think this kid gets a bad rap by fans and the media in south Florida. Armando is again reiterating what he's heard from his media buddies and probably some unnamed source that Stafford is such a dynamic player. His stats do not prove that thus far and can't possibly tell us whether he will be a great or average qb in the NFL.

neither. nothing been announced, but come on man a 1-6 home record. attendance dropping like crazy. public wanting the coaches head. sources saying cowher might take job. writings on the wall, ross wants the fans back. he wants playoffs. this staff is garbage, jan 3 they will be gone,promise. hopefully we will lose next 2 and move farther up in draft.

Not that I'll lose any sleep over the decision bill, just hate being the last to know.

you're right, if he gets canned, it'll be ALL due to that home record. That's definitely unacceptable.

im guessing carl peterson will be gm soon and cowher offer will follow. i just dont think cowher will accept. but anyone over this play to not lose staff.

Lions drafted four dynamic wr in the first round 4 years in a row. Where did that get them?

I did not know the Lions were that Pats of 2007. Enough of the hyperbole.

I had the opportunity to go see the phins or cirque de solei. I chose the circus. Nuff said...

this will be another BORING game as usual. suck boy henne will throw at least 1 pick if not more. he will continue to not hit his receivers and regress even more. all the dolphins will do is run the ball anyway. total boar fest. i will be asleep halfway through the first quarter.

No question the Lions have more dynamic players. But I would put Danbsy, Wake and Marshall in the dynamic category and Davis is solid and still learning. He's let down a few plays this season and had mental errors but I still have hope for him to join the dynamic class and I know there are times that teams will not thrown at him. We don't have more dynamic players because we don't draft them. Matt Ryan would have been dynamic but we chose to select a franchise left tackle instead. Not exactly flawed thinking at the time but would love to have ryan on this team today. Ronnie Brown was dynamic but has lost a step or two. Time to go in another direction there. We draft guys like Odrick and Epps when we should be adding players like Nicks and Maclin and Hernadez and Gronkowski. Time for a change in philosohpy fro, Ireland and Sparano.

Even more hints as to why Cowher won't be coming here. First none of has any clue as to the future of Sparano. We can speculate all we want, but until the hammer falls Sparano is our coach. Secondly. The division. Why would an older, experienced coach want to step into a division where you have to face Bellicheck 2 times. When you could step into the AFC South and be the top dog right away, with perhaps the best personell in the division. Also you are 1 player away from getting hurt(Peyton Manning) from really being able to dominate. A few more things. The fan base down there has never experienced a winner. There is far less pressure then any of the jobs he has been rumored to be interested in. Lastly, and perhaps the most important is the state tax. No tax in Texas.

Bill,

You're funny....you have no more knowledge on what will happen to the coaching staff after the season than any of us on here. Sparano and Ireland have as good a chance to come back next year as to be shown the door. So much of what's wrong with this team is as a result of the offensive play-calling from Henning and all the mixed choices in FA and the draft. I would hardly put that on Sparano. Is it his fault that the team chose to draft White and Turner or that Odrick, Merling and Pennington were lsot for the season. To me Parcells was the guy who headed this up the last few season, so the blame falls at his feet. He's gone now. New OC for next year and Sparano gets another year to turn this around.

Darryl,

Good post at 11:23. So you think Cowher will end up in Houston? I could see that happening. Absolutely shocked how bad their defence is this year! They've drafted some very dynamic guys on that defence this year and it folded like a cheap suitcase. I don't get it! Just goes to show, doesn't matter how many dynamic players you have on one tea, and the Texans have guys like Johnson, Schaub, Okoye, Williams and Cushing, it doesn't guarantee success. McNair has lots of money and I could see Cowher there, in an easier divsion, as you mentioned.

They suck. Game is of no importance

Eventually Detroit will be really good especially since they have been drafting in the top 10 for, I don't know, the past 20 years....

AS GM this is what I would do. Hire Josh Mcdaniels to Offensive Coordinator. Get Deanlago Williams from Carolina via trade or free agency. Ricky retires and sign Brown at a low cost. At Qb start looking for an immediate veteran similar to Pennington while drafting a future Qb in 3rd round. Carson Palmer, Kyle Orton, Dennis Dixon, Drew Stanton... Trade a 4th or 5th for Tebow as I hear that Elway wants Denver to have Andrew Luck as QB and would put more fans in the seats even though not a fan of him or his style of play. Free agent Randy Moss at Wr. and upgrade. We need a deep threat to open up the play of Marshall. Keep Oline with one or two improvements. Get a dynamic TE in draft... Make sure Nolan is happy and stays. Give the man what he needs to be unstoppable. We have 1st rounder from last year coming back and maybe invest this year in a bigger NT or a LB to replace Crowder. Encouraged by Rashad Jones play but could use another FS or dynamic CB. This is what I would do.

Canesfantasy... I don't want to be the guy that just responds to posts and says no way. But I guess today....I'm going to be that guy.
Unless you want to stir up a hornets nest. You have to scratch McDaniels off the list. Most importantly, he and Nolan butted heads in Denver. Nolan arguably was our most important acquisiton last offseason. Our most expensive, Marshall. Was ran out of town by McDaniels. Sure you can say these guys are pros, deal with it. But McDaniles on this team would be poison. We are looking for some continuity, and a sense of identity. McDaniels would rip that apart. Is he worth it? As far as Deangelo. I'm right there with you. I think he would be a fantastic pickup. Carolina is going nowhere, and have an abundance of running backs. A new look Miami team(no henning) could recharge Williams.

This might sound terrible but if I were the dolphins I would lose the last two games to take Cam Netwon or Ryan Mallet over Minn. San Fran, Wash, and Seattle. Or trade Ronnie Brown, Chad Henne, and 5th round for Tony Romo! I just want to win now and I know we have a great defense but need a different offense to compete with Pats and Jets!

thanks for the falcon article yesterday, Mando. As a long time fan I'm pleased with what the trifecta has done overall. When we finally get better production out of the QB and ST (and a quality running game too) we can be legit contenders.

GO DOLPHINS!!!

Canefantasy,

I read your two posts and they are some of the worst posts I have EVER read! Not going to get into all the things I disagree with but here's a couple......how are you going to trade Ronnie Brown and get anything for him when he's a FA at the end of the year? Tony Romo? Seriously dude!! What's he's ever won? Cam Newton? Do you actually follow football Cane or just play fantast football. All terrible moves!!.....every single one you suggested.

I don't disagree with the general theme, which is that the Dolphins lack dynamic players. But, I would also say that part of this relates to how players are being used. You can look at Brandon Marshall and Wes Welker as proof that of this theory. Both have shown that they are dynamic players. Yet they are/were not properly utilized with the Dolphins. To be fair, the QB position can't be minimized in the equation. In this, the the Fins clearly lack in the dynamics department.

exactly craig, and irelands the gm and sparanos his coach. adios to both. carl peterson would first go after cowher, and like i said i dont think he will come here. but just like when u ripped me for sayin this team would go 8-8 back in september u shall see jan3 when this garbage staff is gone. and i never said i knew anymore about what will happen to the staff, i layed the facts down. 1-6 at home, awful attendance, source sayin cowher is interested. public wanting staff gone. all can lead even a dumb person to understand this staff is all but gone. ross cares about the attendance more than anything. u think sparano would put more fans in the seats next year than say cowher? gruden? get real bro

agree canes, def hope we lose these last 2 and improve our draft pos. without a 2nd rd pick we need to be least top 15 in first rd

canes should be so much better with a real coach next year. will do wonders just like it will for the fins

scott linehan is still the guy i miss most as our off cord

And why is it that the Fins have only plowhorses?Because for the past three years the staff has traded down to accumulate picks and in the process,missed out on the dynamic players.While i will agree that the Fins have a solid;blue-collar player base-they desperately need a few elites.The QB would be a great position to begin.

This is what I would like to see in the offseason, and into the draft. It is a little out of the box,so feel free to critique.. In free agency I would go after a Running back, and Center. It is going to be hard to pay another right tackle after Careys contract. That is alot of monet tied up at that spot. Unless Carey sets moved to guard, we will save this spot for the draft.
Onto the draft. I don't know what we will do as far as staying put, or moving down to get a second round pick. 2 is better then 1 so in my scenario we move down. I would take a corner back in round 1 to shore up the nickel spot. IMO the weakest link on our defense. And something that needs to be addressed if we are going to shut down the better teams in the conference.(not just our division) Round 2, depending on what we do in free agency. Offensive line. Probably a Right tackle. Round 3. Tight end. We missed the boat on tight ends last year.. But we need some speed here. Screw the size requirments...Fasano can block. fourth round. Playmaker...This could be a running back, or Reciever.. Someone fast more speed. Round 5-7 Best player available.. Maybe we get lucky and find a gem...
As for quarterback. I'm sure that we will sign a free agent to compete for the starting job. i don't see us trading down to get a guy, or spending a whole lot of money in free agency. UNLESS... Henne just completley pee's the bed in these last 2 games. I think this is going to be his job to lose next year.

Bill,

Don't blame attendance on Sparano. Where were the fans when this team started the team 2-0 and there was a buzz around this team? We had two primetime games against the Jets and the Pats and the fans had ZERO impact on the team. The fans have had zero impact on this team for years. It's a passive town and the fans will always find other things to do. They say Miami is a football town but I haven't seen it for years unless we're talking about at the college level. It's become a Heat town now and that has nothing to do with Sparano.

I guess no one can answer the question is TS a type of coach that brings out the best of a players potential? Because the great coaches do!!!

Henne..."I think this is going to be his job to lose next year."

Uh....I think NOT. Sparano is DONE with this moping, robot, inaccurate toad of a QB. New OC will get the memo. Henne will assume his rightful place on the sidelines for the duration of his career. Most likely, 2-3 more years.

Jake, Christmas is over, your an ass. Get lost

Dan Henning is such an idiot. It's everyone's fault but his. I read in an article that he said we should stay the course with Tony. This coming from a guy who once again has lead us to one of the worst scoring offenses again. He couldn't call a high school game anymore. The only reason he would say to keep Tony is Toney is the ONLY person who wouldn't fire that fool Henning on the spot. If we don't drop that dead weight Henning we will never go anywhere.

Darryl,

I agree with some of what you say but not all. I think you can get that shutdown nickel back in free agency. I don't think you need to use a first on it, especially after we took a CB in the first and one in the second two years ago. I'm all for trading down and I think they will, similar to what they did last year. I'm going to be in the minority here and say we need to grab a WR in the first or second, along the lines of a Nicks, a Britt or a Maclin, someone who will stretch the defence and gave Henne another weapon. I think it's a running back in the second or possibly a pass-catching TE. I think we grab someone for the OL in FA (likely a centre), possibly a MLB to replace Crowder and add a QB to compete with Henne in FA. It's not going to be someone great....someone along the lines of a Bulger or a Derek Anderson or an Alex Smith. I'd prefer we get a running back in the draft, somebody with less miles on them. D'Angelo Williams has shown the last few years that he can't stay healthy.

The reason I ask is do TS have his coaches do that! You guys want TS back but when you endorse a OC that has cause more harm than good, than that tells me that he doesn't know how to evaluate coaches and players and that is a major problem! My opinion is lets clean out the pantry because the fridge is full of groceries!

Jake... That is fine if this is what you believe. And it is quite possible you are right. But before Henne is jettisoned to the bench, or Oakland where all qb's go to die. What is the right solution. None of the free agents to be are outstanding. If they were, their teams would surely do everything they can to keep them. Couldn't you make an argument that we are back at square 1? Also IMO there is only 1 quarterback in this draft that is even worth mentioning. Again this is my opinion. If there is another guy you fancy, cool. I'm not going to get into that argument because we won't be drafting early enough anyway. This leads us back to Henne. He has been horrific. But, he hasn't had ANY help..None. There are perhaps a handful of quarterbacks that would have had success on this team this year. They are all elite. Henne is not. So we need to find a running game. Of all of the free agent guys available this offseason. Which one is going to be that much of an upgrade with no running game? Henne needs a lot of improvement. But to blame the ineptness soley on him is shortsighted.

Danny,

Tony Sparano doesn't blast his players or coaches in a public forum. To me that's commendable. What he says behind closed doors is another matter. I wouldn't read too mcuh into what he says for public consumption. Dan Henning won't be with the team next year....take it to the bank.

And I've said this since Marino's final couple of years.

Chris Chambers for a few.....

Ricky Williams for a few.....

That's about all.

DC - from the previous blog, thanks for that clarification. I wasn't aware of that column, but it doesn't surprise me at all coming from Mando. On all that stuff we are on the same page. Cheers.

Hello folks, im away from home. Can somebody post links to the game?

Hello everyone.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!

Stream Link ?!?!?!

Vikes-Eagles postponed. I remember when the NFL played thru any weather. Incredible

Lots of empty seats

id love to see the O opeaned up. that would at least be fun for a change.

LET'S GO LIONS! FIRE SPARANO! LETS GO SUH! MAKE SURE YOU MAKE HENNE RETIRE!

the stadium is EMPTY.

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