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Why not the Dolphins? Let us count the ways

The Dolphins are officially in "Why not us?" mode for the third consecutive year.

What is "Why not us?" mode you ask?

It is defined by not being consistent enough early in the season to have a clear and certain path to the playoffs late in the year. The team asking the question finds itself teetering on success or disaster late in the season. It is defined as being bad enough to be in dire straits, but still good enough to perhaps pull off the improbable and sneak into the postseason.

And that is exactly where the Dolphins see themselves today on the eve of Sunday's possible season-defining meeting against the New York Jets. The Dolphins are 6-6 and longshots to make the playoffs, but coach Tony Sparano is selling his team on the idea that a longshot sometimes sneaks into the playoffs in the NFL.

So, why wouldn't it be the Dolphins?

“This is an important game," Sparano said Friday. "My message to the team is that, the team that we’re playing was 6-6 last year at this time and ended up losing in the AFC Championship game, so … ran off a bunch of wins at the end of the year. We’re still in the hunt, somebody from that group that is in the hunt right now can possibly do that. So, why not us.”

OK, if you are a fan that only wants to read the happy news, please stop reading now and go to the comment section to agree the Dolphins have a solid chance to get in the playoffs. It's all good, see you during the live blog Sunday.

If, however, you want the truth, stick around. Here goes:

Why not the 2010 Dolphins?

Well, for one thing the comparison to the 2009 Jets is ridiculous on so many levels I cannot believe Sparano went there.

First, the Jets had one of the NFL's best running game last season. They were No. 1. Their defense was also dominant. They were No. 1 in the NFL in total yards (not important) and points allowed (very important). And New York still required had to profit from the fact both Cincinnati and Indianapolis basically laid down -- playing reserves for a majority of their games versus New York -- for the Jets to back into the playoffs.

The Dolphins have neither the running game at this point nor the defense to carry them into the postseason. And, the chance a couple of teams will lay down for them at the end of the year is not great. The Patriots might, might do it if they've already clinched home field advantage before the regular-season finale, but there is no assurance of that.

Barring that, Miami must travel to Foxboro where New England is undefeated this year and just administered a 45-3 whipping of New York. So the comparison between the 2010 Dolphins and 2009 Jets is just not logical.

I will tell you that "Why not us" mode worked for Miami in 2008. The Dolphins struggled mightily early in the season before finding their identity and rolling to the AFC East title. But, again, that team enjoyed a different and much more favorable situation for turning "Why not us" into "It is us!" than today's Miami team.

The Dolphins had an easier schedule in 2008. Their running game was superior than it is now. Their quarterback, Chad Pennington, didn't make mistakes and ultimately was in the conversation for league MVP. The Patriots didn't have Tom Brady, who was out for the season with a knee injury. The Dolphins were healthy almost top to bottom. And the Jets collapsed.

It was a wonderful sum of all the right circumstances that led Miami to the playoffs.

This year, the Dolphins are not a healthy team. Just Friday, the club announced both right tackle Vernon Carey and wide receiver Brian Hartline are out for Sunday's game.

So the Dolphins might once again be asking everyone "Why not us."

Unfortunately for them, this year there are myriad reasons why not.

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Maybe Stephen Ross should seriously consider charging high school ticket prices for what clearly seems to be a high school football team.

Darryl,

On a serious note, I would buy your argument lock stock and barrel except for one glaring tell tale piece of evidence.

Henne operated a much more dynamic and verstle offense 4 YEARS AGO at the UNIVERSITY of MICHIGAN! Audilbles and ALL!

I believe the ball has been spiked back into Hennings court.

LOOKOUT DAN!!!!

"We're getting off the bus, why not us! We're making no fuss, why not us! A win is a must, why not us! Goo0.... t-e-a-m-s-p-i-r-i-t!

Why not us.........yay..............!"

Stats are for losers and "Why Not Us" is for an insecure team that has to ask/justify its own legitimacy. The best way to stop losing is winning. Can we start with that first?

LAPhinsPhan,

Correctamundo! Enuff with this high school rah-rah none sense. This is supposed to be a professional sports team. Not the freaking Archies! Though at times we do resemble them.

LaPhinphan,

If we are the Archies then Chad Henne undoubtedly is "Jug Head." LOL..............

Darryl,

Henne had no problem rewriting all of the record books at Michigan throwing to Braylon Edwards. Now suddenly, he can't get more than 1 touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall?

Unless you believe that Edwards is that much better than Marshall, I'd say there's a c o o n in the wood pile.

Papa Hennings is great as a High School Principal, however, hie offensive genius just can't compete at the collegiate level.

I can also explain that check with me thing. It's called Dan Henning. Senility, egotism, and narcissism at it's finest!

LAPhinsPhan,

Also at times Ronnie Brown does run like Veronica or Betty. LOL.........

DB: I was thinking Marshall is Veronica (flashy, fiery, mercurial and hot tempered at times).

Tony Sparano is Fred Flintstone with the YABA-DABA-DOO fist pumps! For piece-sakes why couldnt we have had a BAM_BAM! LOL........

LAPhinsPhan,

I digress buddy! LOL..............

Odin- This is what is confusing to me. Why in the hell would the coordinator demand to "ok" the audible? There are already too many things for the quarterback to process besides asking permission, or chatting over tea before changing a play. I can imagine. Henne sees something, relays it to Henning. He overrules. This system IF it is the way it is going down is like I said insanity. I can't believe that every play is like this. Quarterbacks have to be able to check to "HOT" and this happens late in the play clock. Maybe I'm not understanding what the protocall is.

Dolphins fans, meet the "Flintstones". Our offense is pre-historic(Henning) so I also guess that does makes us the prehistoric family! LOL.........

Darryl Dunphy,

"Meet the Flintstones". Its called our offensive philosophy which is clearly "OFFENSIVE"!!! LOL.............

Mrs. Doris... I would buy a wetsuit, then jump in the ocean. Let loose in the wet suit. It is like a jaccuzi in the sea. The feeling is incredible.

Screw that Broadway play.

Fred Flinstone and the Archies would've been better entertained if they stayed home and read your guys stuff today.

Yaba-Daba-Doo and a Fist Pump Too!!!!

Hmmm.......... Our Dolphins could also suck because Mr's Doris has been pissing in our seawater. Hmmmm..............

How about this Odin, Ross calls Sparano into his office and tells him he's being retained. BUT he's bringing in a new GM and wants to see Henning fired immediately. He says that new GM will want to bring an end to Parcellian era and is eager to help Sparano.

I would go for that, what do you think?

Henning must enjoy the whole whips and chains thing. Maybe he dresses like the gimp from Pulp Fiction on his spare time. Wow, I thought this whole check with me thing was a joke. Incredible.

Darryl, that's not how it works. Check with me gives the QB 2 options. Usually 1 run and 1 pass play. The OC talks to the HC, the HC talks to the QB. The HC could if he wanted to, change the call.

Why do you people keep wanting Gruden or Cowher??? Folks its like saying jimmy johnson or parcells all 4 no longer have the passion.. The only coach that can clean up this mess is rob ryan sorry but thats the truth.

The even worse news is Carl Peterson is all but the next football czar. Soo hes to stupid to hire ryan and ryans too smart to work for peterson so i guess we will end up w cowher or gruden and another failed attemt. maybe will will see the playoffs in 2020 or so

"We're getting off the bus, why not us! We're making no fuss, why not us! A win is a must, why not us! Goo0.... t-e-a-m-s-p-i-r-i-t!

Why not us.........yay..............!"

"We're getting off the bus, why not us!
We're making no fuss, why not us!
A win is a must, why not us!
Go.... t-e-a-m-s-p-i-r-i-t!

Why not us.........yay>..............!"

If its any consolation to any of you. We are unquestionably the best high school team in the nation.

We're the only high school football team that can even compete on the professional level.

Cocoa..Thanks for clearing that up for me. I misunderstood this. So Henne checks W/ Henning, then he has the option to call a play. It has nothing to do with audibling. Right? At least this makes a little more sense.

LOL Dying, my X told me when she was a liitle girl waiting for the school bus, they would all chant: Here comes the bus, the B-U-S. Here comes the bus. True story.

Mrs Doris Wilson youve worn out your welcome. You are now about as amusing as treking the sun across the night sky.

I highly suggest extra strength Depends and a great "liquidation" sale.

Cocoajoe,

The team resorting to high school tatics at the professional level greatly disturbs me. With hopes fastly fading to play for the Lombardi they are now taking the team to a Lombardi play.

Seems like one big overlyhyped pep rally to me.

Maybe after the Lombardi pep rally the Parcellians should also take the team out to dinner at Chucky Cheese's too!

Chad Henne put the following receivers into the NFL: Steve Breaston, Mario Manningham, Jason Avant and Braylon Edwards.

Why dont we also just have the team wear mouse ears instead of helmets on game day. Why Not Us!

Michigan had a running game so opposing d's couldn't just drop 7 men into coverage every play like our opponents do.

I hope what ever s h i t t y team Sparano coaches next year brings in Pennington to help develop the QB.

Seems this team would fit in quite well at Chucky Cheese's after a post-Lombardian pep rally. Foodfight anyone! LOL.........

No Darryl, Sparano is relaying Henning's playcalls to Henne. Sparano can of course, over rule but I kinda doubt he does.

The fact is, in the NFL, better, more experienced QBs can and do audible. Check with me is better than no choice but you still have to make the right one.

Dolphins cut Jason Allen who was (still is) the team leader in picks for Al Harris (36 yrs old) who has bad legs and has now been placed on IR.

Dolphins didn't even pick up a draft pick for the former starter.

This is one of many reasons the Dolphins are 6-6

Ross needs to upgrade the front office and coaching staff and not the player personal.

What's next Armando? you're gonna tell us that Christmas is canceled this year too?

But seriously, the whole why not us crap is for losers who haven't planned well or decided to play hard early on and expect miracles at the end. It's like the dunce in the class who knew a paper was due or a test was going to be given and doesn't decide to write it or cram until the night before.

Why not us? hmm I wish we had a philosophy major here.

After witnessing what's been so far with this season. Im finding it extremely difficult to say anything serious about this team unless it's concerning the 2011 draft. At least they havent already screwed that up just yet.

Scott3300,
You are so f'ing right.
The sme with Matt Roth. And Joey Porter, Jason Taylor, Gibril Wilson.
That's why we had to spend the whole draft on D with the exception of John Jerry.

scott3300,

I keep telling everyone this team is being run like a high school backyard program. But I guess most arent taking me seriously when the full evidence is right before our very eyes.

WE NEED A QB! A QB. HELLO??? WHY CAN"T SEE THIS!

"We're getting off the bus, why not us!
We're making no fuss, why not us!
A win is a must, why not us!
Go.... t-e-a-m-s-p-i-r-i-t!

Why not us.........yay>..............!"


We're having a big pep rally on Broadway tonight. Geesh!

Oh I agree Dying. I've seen supervisors/managers think that some buzz word/clever phrase will actually motivate workers. But most just laugh and think it's stupid. I guess stuff like that might work on a rook for about 5 minutes.

Tony Sparano with the big Fred Flintstone yabba-dabba-doo fistpumps. Tell me how high schoolish and rah-rah is that?

Telling you guys we're being run just like a high school football program. When will you wake up and see the very evidence right before your unconvinced eyes?

I disagree heartily on your waving aside the Dolphins' Defense. They are (potentially, with a better offense) a top 5 defense. As it stands with a horrid offense, they are 9th against the run, 4th against the pass, and 4th overall (10th in Points against). The arguably have the best shutdown corner and they definitively have the sacks leader. Hell, they're a top five defense in the League now.

It's irresponsible and misleading to tell us all that the Dolphins' defense sucks, Armando. I read every entry in your blog every day, and I respect what you write. But, you really should know better on this one, because we do.

1. defense - pretty good
2. special teams - horrible
3. offense - no show

1 + 2 + 3 = 8 and 8 (give or take a game)

After every field goal Im going to start yelling yabba-dabba-doo and do a giant fist pump too! LOL............

Lou, Havent you heard? Armando isnt just any ordinary sports writer, he's the Clark Kent of the Miami Herald. How dare you spew krytonite at such a super soul. LOL...........

kryptonite

Darryl,

This quote from Sparano after the Bears game may clear up the types of "audible" they are talking about....

Sparano said offensive coordinator Dan Henning gave Thigpen the option to execute either a run or pass in numerous situations, and that when he got to the line of scrimmage he opted for the pass.
“It’s not that (we’re) calling pass plays,” he said. “I’ll give you an example: On the fifth series of the game we called four run/pass (options) in a row. On one of those four they baited Tyler a little bit and he threw the ball down the sideline and got it to Brian Hartline for 25 yards. In those situations we’ve got to have more handoffs and less worrying about the chunk play just because the coverage dictates the chunk play."


Here's what Chad Henne should do:

Whenever he needs to check out of a play just ask daddy Henning can he borrow the car to take his date to the prom.

Who knows, this might be stupid enough to work on the obviously stupid Henning!

Corners, before you start calling folks "idiots," perhaps you could learn to spell. Good "Riddens?" Nice.

But in the spirit of dear friend "Corners," I'm ready to call ANYONE here delusional if you actually believe an INCREDIBLY motivated Jets team, playing at home in what will be weather conducive to good defense will lose to US.
BTW, 10-6 won't even get us in to the playoffs without entire collapses from the Ravens and Jets. The Jags, possibly. But the Steelers and Ravens both have the tie breaker over us, and the Jets have the better in division record.
I truly wish it weren't so. I keep Tony 1 more year, fire ireland, Henning, our ST coach, and RB coach, who should have said to Tony...these guys run in slow motion.

IMAWriter,

We still have the Pats on the schedule at Gillette, so what makes you think we have a snowball's chance in hell of even being 10-6?

I would keep Sparano only if he's interested in the oline coaching position. Clean house of all the rah-rah high school types at the highest decision making levels!

Utdolfan.. I remember that play. Actually I commented on it earlier. It shows you what I know because I thought Thigpen audibled out of the run into a pass. That it was the correct play because of the gain. What I don't get is this preseason. Sparano was saying that we lacked chunk yardage plays, and that we would make an effort to improve in that area. This was an example of Thigpen maybe not making the correct call by the book. But getting a result that the coaching staff themselves admited we were deficient at.

Chad Henne was a bad boy this year so they sent him to the bench to put a little wood to his ass. In layman's term he was sent to the principal's office.

Darryl Dunphy,

If you're confused by this imagine what it must be like to play for these guys?

Its simple....

NO COACH and NO QB !!!!

Some of Armandos blogs don't even merit responses, like this one. He'll take some frivolous idea and try to squeeze an article out of it. Chalk it up to laziness in finding something worthwhile to report on. Why not us? Whatever... Sparano has dug himself a big hole and he is trying to dig himself out of it. I don't think Belichek stays up at night coming up with Feed the Wolf or Why Not Us slogans. When your coach turns into a cheerleader with hairy legs, its time to get a new coach.

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