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AFC East playoffs live blog today from Foxborough

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It is cold. There is fallen snow on the ground. And playoff football is in the air. As in years past, The Miami Herald will be at the NFL playoffs watching other teams play while the Dolphins ...

... Well, they're watching just like you and me. Actually, I'm closer to being in the playoffs than the Dolphins. At least I'm in the stadium.

I'm covering the Jets at New England today.

You remember the Jets and New England, right? They're the two teams that finished ahead of the Dolphins in the division. They're the teams the Dolphins must pass in 2011 to get to the playoffs.

So we should watch and see what the task might be like. There will be a live blog here starting at 4:30 this afternoon.

In the meantime, I would ask you to check out my Sunday column. It makes the point that Miami faces a tougher job in getting past the 2010 season than it did in the 2007 season. Yes, I know the Dolphins were 1-15 in 2007 and were 7-9 in 2010. And I repeat, the assignment is tougher now.

I explain why in the column, but suffice to say one of the reasons is the folks trying to turn things around don't have the luxury of working with the benefit of a honeymoon now.

Some extra things I did not have room to mention in the column that makes overcoming 2010 might be harder than overcoming 2007:

After four years of tooling and retooling and retooling again along the offensive line, the Dolphins have to, you guessed it, address the offensive line once more. They need a center and maybe a right tackle.

And they need to dump that idea of picking players who mostly offer position flexibility but no position consistency. Here’s a crazy idea: Rather than find a mediocre player that can play guard and center, how about finding a really good starting center and leaving him there until he retires?

The Dolphins need to upgrade the tight end position. Last year they loved Tony Moeaki and Dennis Pitta in the draft but couldn’t land either. They really must upgrade the spot this year or once again the red zone troubles that plagued in 2010 will haunt another year.

As I touch upon in the column, coach Tony Sparano, already fixing his rift with general manager Jeff Ireland, must broker a fix between receiver Brandon Marshall and quarterback Chad Henne.

Yes, Henne is very likely going to return in 2011. The Dolphins would be unwise to anoint him their starter and probably will not, but I doubt they will simply dump him. And unless an experienced, talented veteran can be added, it is unlikely any rookie Miami finds will be immediately ready to supplant Henne.

So you might find yourself with Henne under center in 2011. Again. Marshall might find himself with Henne under center. Again.

That’s not a comfortable spot. The receiver openly criticized his quarterback the last few weeks and in some cases he was right to do so. But Marshall never admitted that sometimes he blows his assignments and runs the wrong routes and causes problems that sometimes get blamed on Henne.

Both players need help. Both need improvement. And in 2011, both may be surprised to learn they need each other again.

Crazy right?

See you at the live playoffs blog.

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kris,

You're an a** and you've always been an a**....unlike you I don't sit on here all day...I have a life! I've never posted under anyone else's name and I don't intend to start now.

I was simply making the point, that you and others want to keep appointing Ryan and others as franchise QBs and you can't win without one crap!!....blah blah blah....do you think that's how the fans in Baltimore and Atlanta are looking at things this morning or do you think maybe they are starting to wonder if Ryan can win the game....or put it another way HOW LONG do you think before they start asking those questions. You and others come up with this CRAP about 'you can't win without a franchise QB' stuff....I'm simply saying, these teams are supposed to have them and they ain't winning. You want to refute that?

And all this 'we made a BIG mistake not picking Matt Ryan over Jake Long' stuff.....how's that looking this morning?

yea dd i went 1-0-1 yesterday

NY G, I understand your frustration about news of the Childress interview.

The truth is there is no NEWS.

Everything you would get on that matter is speculation. Is that what you want? I'd rather try not to give you that.

But if that's what you want .... ask.

Meanwhile, I've done live blog of playoff games and Super Bowls since the blog began in late 2006.

Bill,

I actually thought Seattle would keep it close than 10.5 points today...shows you how much I know. No doubt Chicago is the better team, just thought Seattle might still have a little extra gas in the tank after beating the Saints last week.

huge difference in being on the road

The NFL will announce Monday or Tuesday it is going to award a coach of the year award that covers all levels of the sport, NFL, college, high school, pee-wee, all levels.

The award will be aptly named the Don Shula coach of the year award.

Agreed Bill.

Aramando, how is the weather there today and any chance that it affects the game today?

Also, I'm not surprised there's no news on Childress. I actually don't think he'll say yes. When do you forsee the new OC announcement? Are you surprised that they have haven't at least talked to McDaniels or do you see Nolan and Marshall as deterrents to this?

good questions. lets hope armando actually answers them

Bill,

Be nice!!....LOL. I'm still a big Armando fan despite the way some of the guys on here uncessarily bash him. If we had a winning team there would be a lot more harmony and happiness around this team than there is.

I'm sorry, what were the questions I'm supposed to answer again.

WTF with the Bears....

Just run the ball and get the win over with.

Craig, the weather is COLD and clear. It has been sunny all day and it will get colder as we get further along.

Childress is gone. I don't think he's going to be the guy, but that is not 100 percent. It is a fluid situation.

I do know that Sparano understands going to the west coast offense is very much a desperation move. But the fact is there will likely be a couple of west coach quarterback available out there, so he's doing his homework.

Those west coach QBs include Kolb and McNabb.

Still, I think that is a fallback position.

lets hope armando, we do not want childress

On McDaniels:


He's not coming to Miami. Period.

He is the hottest OC candidate out there and can pick and choose where he wants to go. he's not going to go somewhere he might be looking for another job next year.

Also, he and Mike NOlan did not get along in Denver. They will not be on the same staff in Miami.

Resign thigpen get jocby Jones new oc draft acorrdingly linemen von miller would be a good pick Cyrus gray 2012 from what I've seen in the playoffs you need to get qb and have conerback to step up

resign thigpen,lol. thigpen is horrible. j.jones maybe for returning kicks

One more thing on the coordinator front: John Garrett, who wasn't a very strong candidate anyway, is staying with the Cowboys. He signed a contract extension with Dallas earlier this weekend.

Armando,

I figured that would be the case regarding McDaniels. Would have been a damn good hire but I get the politics involved, the personalities involved and the fact that he can write his own ticket. Where does that lave us now do you think? Is thee somebody out there from one of the reamining teams for example, who you think might be a good hire?

Did I actually see a post where it was suggested the team follow the example of Mike Ditka and trade an entire draft away in pursuit of one player?

For those with memory loss, that happened to be one of the most astoundingly boneheaded moves ever and Mike Ditka was fired (never to return) a year later.

THAT'S the pattern you want Miami to follow?? Ugh.

For those enamored with McDaniels as some kind of offensive guru I'd ask this: How much has New England missed him since he left?

I have a hunch much of his supposed "genius" has a name. Tom Brady.

wont be a big name craig. nobody will come here with a lameduck coach

Armando what is taking SParano so long to make a decision. He said it would be a fast process. I'm not complaining in fact I like the fact that he is taking his time. But I am curious as to why no info has been leaked. Also which of our FA's do you think we resign?

If you think the offensive coordinator will come from one of the teams still playing, I would suggest you think why a coach on a playoff team would make the jump to a team with uncertainty all over the place?

where's the job security in that?

Starting to look that way Bill.

So is Chudzynski the leader in the clubhouse or do we have some other candidates waiting in the wings?

I would like to see the Dolphins make a push for Jim Zorn, the QB coach in Baltimore.

I think he'd be a good OC.

Regardless of the Saints upset, this Seattle team is cementing their status as probably the worst team EVER to make the playoffs.

Today will mark the TENTH time this season they have lost by 15 points or more. Ridiculous.

Yeah, I'd be good with that too Armando.....good call!

How about a QB coach? Who are we going to end up with? Would Jim Fassel come here?

dr. roberts,

Agreed on Seattle. It's a farce that they were able to host the Saints last week. Tha game should have been played in New Orleans where they would have lost.

Chris Palmer?

Guys, please keep a lookout for Logan Mankins.

Dolphins love this guy. Patriots will not pay him. He's a stud.

Chris Palmer would be good too, Armando. I'd be happy with a Palmer and Zorn combo...

Armando,

You don't think the Patriots will franchise Mankins?

Craig---agreed about Seattle.

Understood that abortion of a division put 'em in there but the NFL really should consider seeding teams based on record. A 7-9 team should not be "awarded" a home game while the better team is penalized simply for playing in a much tougher division.

Can't see how this would hurt the league in any manner.

Franchising Mankins will depend on the salary cap. Remember, to franchise a guy means to count his entire franchise number for that year.

By all accounts, folks are saying the salary cap will go DOWN. So that means, franchising a guy will be a tough thing to do.

dr. roberts,

I'll be surprised if they don't change this in the off-season. They can't reward mediocrity.

yeah but pats are good at franchising a guy and then dealing him.

Not trying to be argumentative with you Armando but I think the Pats would be nuts to not at lease franshise this guy. He's too good a player. You're right, I don't believe they'll sign him long term but I could see them re-upping him for one more year. He's going to command big money on the open market but he'd be great for us at RT.

Actually, the Pats are good at not paying guys, letting them go, and replacing them with someone better.

Guys,

I'm suprised nobody has mentioned Carl Nicks from New Orleans.

This guy would be great for our offensive line if the Saints decide to let him walk.

It is possible Craig. I have no idea what exactly Bill Beelzebub will do.

I'm so excited... Maybe both teams will lose.

Looks like Wes Welker put his foot in his mouth and will be benched to start the game.....Belichek rules with an Iron Fist

Ok 2 things to discuss.

First, I think Henne will be better than last year because everyone, including the HC knows that the offensive coaching was BAD. Does this mean Henne will become great? Time will show, but Henne can be better considering he will now be coached differently. He can be serviceable. Some QB's took more time (and teams) to flourish than others. Rich Gannon, Kerry Collins and even Kurt Warner. Warner was undrafted, signed with Green Bay and subsequently cut in 1994. He didn't get his next opportunity until 1998. So lets hope Henne can be salvaged at least for a year. Dolphins still need to draft a QB. I personally think Ryan Mallett can be a franchise QB.
Second, I just saw a report on CBS by Charley Casserly showing that the Patriots have been doing this side line wall thing and attempting to trip players during the kickoffs. Yes, same as the Jets! In fact the tape showing this was against the Jets!. Lets hope the are fined and players suspended also. It just shows that Belichick still cheats and has no class!

So Wes Welker pays the price for his brilliance. I hate it.

Where is Vince Wilkford?

Armando, what kinda shape are we in as far as salary cap?

Jason Taylor got zero push on that last path.

Meant PASS on the last comment.

The Oompa Loompa would have never seen the field in the old Dolphin System. The Patriots trust all of their offensive skill players to make plays. The Phins...Same 4-5 guys that get all of the touches. The 2 best offensive games this year(Tenn.Oak.IMO) Everyone was involved. I think Even Lex got a pass thrown his way. Easy to defend when the defense only has to account for a few guys.

Mando what about the Tom Cable Rumor?

Brady interception! Hasn't happened since, like September.

That's 335 consecutive passes without an INT streak busted up.

Craig M....the old...."NO LIFE"......really....my feelings are hurt.......

Do me a favor and find ONE reference where I said we should have DRAFTED Ryan.....Armand has the things archived......

YOU WILL NEVER FIND IT....cause I never said it....I live in the here and now.....My argument is to draft a QB with first round talent this draft....not draft past....I don't believe in revionist history.....

Its weird the playoff are shapping up just like their suppose to...the best QB'd teams are winning....minus an anomoly or blip.......

I asked you who is the better QB Rothlesberger or Flacco?

Ryan or Rodgers?

you can call me an A s s....but you can't answer those simple questions......I wonder why that is?

maybe because in doing so you see your theory crumbles.....there is nothing wrong with being wrong....or even altering your views....what is sorry is clinging to an idea when every game played shows your theory needs to be re-worked....

But don't listen to me.....i'm an a ss......

boy the jetsters are looking like a hot mess on offense...

Cable might add some punch to the offense.

I guess there is no free speech in a NFL Locker room Armando...at least not one run by Belichek

Third and 19 and jets run the ball. Look familiar?

That fg misssed by about a foot.

Absolutely great play calling by NE. Part is Brady's.

DD,

You are benched for the next minute, lol.

After carefully watching Danny Woodhead he reminds me of a white Roger Craig. He's quick without necessarily blind speed, great hands and a nightmare in coverage for lb's, with the ability to make defenders miss.

All these are traits once shared by Roger Craig. Also noticing the Pats offense more carefully they now more resemble a "west coast" offense than the traditional nfl offense.

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