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Salguero: Miami Dolphins to upset New England

I'm not a homer. You kind people who read this blog daily know you are more likely to get a scathing review of the Dolphins in this space as you are a cheerleading attaboy.

That's just how things are when people don't perform.

That's just how things are when the last two seasons have brought twin 7-9 records and last year's homestand yielded seven failures in eight tries. Stuff like that makes me write angry.

Having said that, I'm picking the Dolphins to beat the Patriots Monday night.

I made my prediction on The Herald's Pigskin Challenge yesterday evening. I also will make the same prediction in The Herald's Monday print edition. And I'm saying it here as well, obviously.

I'm saying it here because this is the only venue for me to explain the odd pick. (It's odd considering no other Herald "expert" has picked the Dolphins at this stage and everyone and their mother nationally thinks the Dolphins are, how to put this delicately, crap).

Make no mistake, the Dolphins have issues. I think the right side of their offensive line is like a dam that has tons of little cracks, with the question being when, not if, those cracks will spring a leak. I think running Reggie Bush between the tackles is a joke. I think the secondary had better start working on catching interceptions on the JUGS machine every day after practice because I have not seen them do it as a unit even once this training camp. I think anyone who is certain Chad Henne will play well this season is stupid because that is impossible to know. I think Miami has zero depth at tight end. I think Miami's offense needs either Clyde Gates or Marlon Moore to be good enough to win that second receiver job because no one else is really going to pose a legit deep threat otherwise.

So I see the flaws in the Dolphins. And those are just off the top of my head.

But guess what?

The Patriots have flaws, too.

When I look at the Patriots, I see a well-coached team with the best quarterback in the NFL the last decade. That, in a nutshell, is the reason the Patriots have been so good for such a long time. But that, in a nutshell, is also the reason the Patriots haven't won a playoff game since January 2008 and, indeed, have lost three consecutive postseason games they were favored to win.

That team is mostly about Tom Brady.

The defense? Good, not great.

The receivers corps? If you don't include the tight ends, they're below average. With the tight ends, they're good.

The running backs? Ordinary.

The offensive line? Check the Detroit Lions preseason game. Check the recent addition of Brian Waters. Tell me what that says.

The Patriots maximize their potential. The Dolphins haven't. The Patriots have a franchise QB. The Dolphins haven't had one since 1998.

That, however, doesn't answer why I'm picking the Dolphins. This will:

I recently spoke with two people who talk to Bill Belichick with some frequency. They tell me Belichick is not really thrilled with his team these days.

They point to the fact the Patriots have been something of a turnstile of late, bringing in new players, jettisoning players like Brandon Meriweather and James Sanders, whom most believed had had spots on the roster nailed down.

The comings and goings are a sign of dissatisfaction. Belichick has a plan and wants personnel to fit that plan, and apparently he is still stirring the mix to try to get the recipe just right. And he may well do that. But it will be hard for him to get it right this early.

So the Patriots are not last year's 14-win good. And they're not as good today as they might be a month or two from now. The Dolphins are catching them at the right time. So there's that.

Then I look at the players the Patriots added as their prized offseason additions. Albert Haynesworth? He practiced, what, a grand total of two weeks? And he's ready for the regular season? The man who takes every third play off is ready for a game in Miami's humidity?

I am skeptical.

The Patriots expect to go with a pressure-oriented defense this year. Quick, tell me what pressure-oriented defensive player have they added? Yes, Vince Wilfork is a beast. But he's been there.

Rob Ninkovich again? He's Belichick's latter day Lawrence Taylor? To play pressure defense you have to, well, create pressure. That means they have to find an elite pass rusher or do it as the Jets do -- with schemes. You do it with schemes, you better have great cornerbacks and disciplind safeties. We'll see about that.

On offense the Patriots like their rookie running backs. They can also point to Chad Ocho Cinco as a signature acquisition.

Ocho Cinco brings a great personality to Boston. Of course he does, he's from Miami. And this game he's coming home to play. All wonderful. All cool. And all worthless when the kickoff comes.

Ocho Cinco is still getting acclimated in New England. He is a possession receiver and the Patriots are hoping he can be more than that. I don't see it. Yes, Brady will make him look better than he looked in Cincinnati. Brady would make me look like a better receiver than I typically look in front of a Whopper. But that doesn't mean the Patriots found a 2007 Randy Moss.

"Chad’s been here all of training camp," Belichick said Wednesday. "He hasn’t missed any practice time. He's worked hard and he's spent a lot of time before and after practice working with our quarterbacks and with our receivers and receivers coach and so forth, so I think he’s pretty well versed in what we’re doing offensively. He hasn’t had as much game experience doing it as other players who have been here longer, but that’s the way it is on every team with certain players. I think he’s doing fine."

We'll see.

Look, the Patriots are going to be a good team. Please don't misunderstand. I think they'll eventually win the AFC East. But they've got miles to go and the folks I'm talking to say Belichick knows this and is working hard to correct the gap between what he's got now and what he wants.

The Dolphins, by the way, also haven't arrived. But they have advantages working on their behalf this game.

They have been pointing toward this game all offseason. If Brian Daboll doesn't have three or four surprise plays for New England, I'd be disappointed and so should you. Daboll, by the way, authored the offensive game plan last year that helped the Browns beat the Patriots.

The same holds true for Mike Nolan. He knows it is time for his defense to take the next step. The Dolphins had a good defense last year. Next up, this unit has to be dominant. The way to do that is turn Brady into a tormented soul who wishes he was back dancing in Rio instead of laying on the field at Sun Life.

Enter Cameron Wake. Enter some scheme work to get Jason Taylor loose. Enter a more seasoned Koa Misi. They have to get after Brady to make this thing work. If they fail, my prediction is worthless. (I know, it's probably worthless anyway).

The only way to beat the Patriots is to beat Brady. Hit him. Sack him. Frustrate him. You beat the Patriots.

I think the Dolphins can win the battle up front against the New England offensive line, tight ends and backs. They must win or else.

None of this speaks to the idea that Reggie Bush presents issues for the Patriots. They don't have an exceedingly fast defense. What are they going to do when the Dolphins come out in base offensive personnel, they respond with their base defense, and then Bush shifts out of the backfield and into the slot?

Who is going to check him? A linebacker? Really?

A safety and a backer? And now who's doubling Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess?

Oh, you can't double Bush, Marshall and Bess. Oh, I get it. Ten catches for Davone Bess, fantasy geeks. With five of them going for first downs.

I've said enough.

I know the Dolphins won't be in New England's class by the end of this season. Belichick is too good. Brady is way, way, way too good. Everyone else will fall in line or get shown the door. The culture there breeds success.

But the culture takes time to germinate every season. It needs breeding time. The Pats haven't had that time. And that is a great equalizer.

The Dolphins will grind. They'll use what little weather advantage they have remaining after ownership and the schedule maker chopped them off at the knees with a night game. They have the advantage of unveiling a new offense.

And Miami is desperate, or should be. These guys have a circle-the-wagon mentality going on right now. They're hungry. That means something.

For right now it means I'm picking the Dolphins in this one.

(By the way, this is a prediction. I've been known to be wrong. If I am, indeed, wrong, get over it! Also, this morning a radio station in Boston has turned me into the biggest villian since the Boston strangler. Of course, they didn't speak with me. Nice journalism, boys.)

Follow me on twitter. That means you, WEEI dorks.

 

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worst 14-2 team ever,lol man wish we could be that

I get the Fins lost to a bunch of bottom dwellers at the end of the season. But come on, I believe it was Finnegan for the Titans who was telling Marshall what route he was gonna run. Nice offensive system we had last year. You think teams were doing that to the Pats or Packers last year?

Armando,

Thanks for drawing national attention to our dismal right side offensive line situation. I have Belichek's email if you'd like to send him a photo analysis.

ddill2

Just another lame excuse overplayed. That happens to all teams. Teams spend countless hours studying the opponents film. Both Brady and Peyton commented how Zack knew their calls and formations and would call them out before the snap too, and those are two pretty sophisticated offenses.

pats already know that, ill be shocked if henne finishes this game

some things dont change. sun life stadium store still sells ny jets jerseys. thats on ross,a billionaire looking to make a buck.

Dusty,

We will get there. Football is a game of inches each week, and sometimes things fall just right. NE was that team last year. We were that team 3 years ago with Chad. No injuries and no turnovers.

I'm just not going to conceed that NE is just going to walk into Miami and own us. Miami has too much talent, and a lot of people's jobs are on the line.

I went to the Monday Night game last year. It was a beat down with the Pats taking it to the Dolphins in the second half. There was no pressure on Brady that night and he carved us apart. Same defense coming back, so how do you create pressure with the same people and same scheme? I am a Dolphin fan and love to see a win, but we need to be realistic....

HaHa!, Julian.

All I feel is a trumped up, manufactured confidence that won't translate when people actually collide on the field. The Phins always play the Pats well, it's a rivalry, and they do occasionally win. If there's a time to win one, it's now before the Pats hit their stride. Still, the Pats have a plan that's been practiced and executed for years consistently... the Phins have a new one, and it's still inconsistent. That spells loss for this game. The following schedule with the Chargers, Texans and Jets isn't going to help the W column. Predicting 1-4 after the Jets game.
This one: Pats over Phins by 3, low scoring game, several turnovers each side. Miami D plays very well, offense makes some very good big plays, and some awful plays - shoots themselves in the foot at times. Brady has a off day, in part from Dolphin D, but manages an extra field goal. It'll be spun as a good loss.

Win or lose, right or wrong, the people who give Armando flack for being a hater or negative have the intelligence of a gnat.

His job has been to report what he sees. Not what you hoped to see!

There is no reason to be a rah rah reporter when this team has done nothing to justify it. Just because they're our team doesn't mean they are immune to LEGIT criticisms!

Voicing those issues doesn't mesh with peoples inflated hopes & delusional dreams. So, Armando & others here get labeled as negative.

PLEASE, see things for what they really are. Not what you dreamt or hoped it'd be. Maybe then, you'll realize Armando has been doing a pretty good job!

You're welcome, Armando!

Richf,

Last year was Mike Nolan first year as Def Coord. Let's see what they do knowing the system fully.

I see that Henning will be the lame duck fall guy for everything that went wrong with this team for time to come. People are still making excuses for Henne saying he is stuck in Hennings influence. Henning is long gone, if Henne needs more than 9 months to adapt, he is in the wrong profession.

I love it when people say that Dolphin fans are in a pre-season lather and then use pre-season stats and situations of the Pats to justify why they will beat us!

If your going to use pre-season stats about how great the PATS are M Golden then why not point out the Pats pre-season game against the Lions to point out that they to have a weak o-line?

FlyCo
If Henne throws for a couple TD's and 300 yards against the Pats - tell me how Henning can not be the fall guy for how bad this offense was last year?

Remember the game in 2009 when Henne outplayed Brady in the shootout. Well, we didn't have Marshall or Bush now we do so I see something similar for Monday Night.

I will be there so I hope that it comes true.

PS- Anyone have any good ideas about a good sign?

Phin Up!

The D line is going to have to win this game for the Phins. Pats 24- Phins 27

There's nothing wrong with constructive criticism Joe/dusty. But Joe, you made a key point there, "his job has been to report what he sees."

Anyone with eyes can see Brian Daboll's offensive system, even before playing one Season game, is already better than Henning's do-nothing offense. That in and of itself should at least evoke a tiny shred of optimism.

Then you add some speed. Everyone's talking about Reggie Bush getting hurt. What about what happens UP UNTIL THAT POINT? Shouldn't that be more exciting than Ronnie "twinkle toes" Brown tap-dancing at the line of scrimmage?

Henne hasn't proven anything, EXCEPT that he's a MUCH BETTER leader today than he was at the end of last season. That's ALREADY been proven in the offseason to the only people that really matter, the rest of the team.

So there's 3 things right there guys that a fan should be able to appreciate. I'm not saying we're Playoff bound, this all may wind up getting us to 8-8, or maybe 9-7. And I understand if you don't think that's good enough and don't want to get rah-rah over a 1 or 2 game better record.

But, it's the 1st game of a new Season, those things I just said considered, are you guys telling me you CAN'T see why some fans are showing optimism? If not, then you're not giving those optimists the same respect and consideration you want others to give you (and I agree you should have). No one knows what's going to happen. Based on history, your opinion is probably more likely, but the NFL isn't based on history, it's based on the here and now. No one expected us to win the division in '08. It's not totally inconceivable that we don't surprise people this year.

Agreed DC Dolfan

preseason stats mean. nothing. we know the pats are good,well cause they always are and have brady and bellicheat. we know the fins sucks,well cause they always do and have henne and spormoron

ddill2

You are forgetting Henne already stats like that in 2009 while Mr. Henning was our OC.

henne will throw at least 20 ints if he isnt pulled before

dusty, we also know pretty much every division game is a close, tough game that comes down to a few mistakes. Pats all-time record IN Miami, 13-33. Yes, they've won 7 of the last 10 games vs. us, but Belicheck is only 13-11 vs. Miami.

That doesn't sound like definitive stats to predict a win for them. Sounds like they should be (and are) favored, but that they need to play the game to see who wins.

Mando you are the man! If anything this prediction has got us all pumped, I don't care if you are wrong! Oh and by the way, you are a Dolphin fan, you will ALWAYS be a villain in Boston. We all have your back, and we can pronounce our "R"s!

hey dolphins fans we can win it all if we play our best football hey coach you got to get the best out of your players all of them we need to play our best football the reason Belichick win all the time he get the best out of his players we have got to stop giving away games we gave away 4 or5 games last year take that away we;er in the playoff win 7 or8 games at home we in the playoff wehave the team to go to the playoff right now we just have to put everything together play smart footballgo phins win win win

It's a no win for the Dolphins if we win this game cause if they do they got lucky. Then FlyCo will be on here saying well every year an elite team gets beat by a bottom dweller.

For once, Mando's got it right (althought his logic is a little faulty) and he's still a Homer!

Pats 13
Miami 27

GO FINS!

well dc thats basically what i said. said it would be close, pats win 27-17

DC, I don't want ppl to stop being optimistic. But, people's optimism does not alter the reality. People have reason to be optimistic, I agree 100%. I'm hopeful too!

But, to use optimism(unproven) to discredit a REALISTIC view(proven) is laughable. Optimism is a view point. It is a hope. It is founded by belief but not by anything proven. Armando hasn't posted anything people with common sense & 2 eyes haven't been able to see for themselves.

Armando has made comments about Henne being a better leader. About Dabolls offense being different. About Bush adding an element. IMHO, he has been VERY FAIR.

He's just telling it like it is. He's critical at times & cimplimentary at times. That's is job. His job isn't to post articles that simply appease the ppl who live in La La land.

People simply refuse to accept things for what they are because it will burst the bubble they live in.

Simply said, I think Armando has been very objective in his articles & analysis of this team.

mando why do u have to hedge, just say it. Pats will be a 7-9 team this year. Thats it.
That Defense has many holes. I dont see the edge setters, i think the backfiled will be picked apart as the season goes, the 4-3 front two dont have the stamina, wilfork getting older haynes wont survive the season.

Dolphins 24-10

perfect post joe, get so sick of people saying im not a fan cause im critical of the team

I love when writers say things like "take so and so out of the equation and they are not that good." Well guess what those guys are there. Take Peterson out of the Vikes backfield and their running game sucks. Sound logic.

I LIKE YOUR THINKIG

Wishful thinking Mando. Simply not going to happen. Miami's right side of the Offensive Line is a mess. They have no running back to run between the tackles. Daniel Thomas and Clyde Gates are BUSTS and will be complete NON-FACTORS in this game.

NE 38
MIAMI 13

The game will start out close, but NE will break it open. I also expect a Miami "trick play" such as an end-around or Daniel Thomas throwing out of the wildcat to lead to a huge turnover or drive killer.

Miami is not ready to compete with the big boys.

When you look at the schedule, seeing that tough road portion, they simply won't win more than 6 games. I think even that is a bit generous. Their toughest games are on the road which makes it more difficult. I blame the front office and Ross because they wouldn't spend to the cap. They could have potentially had $15 mil to spend (with Soliai redone) and they didn't. Here's what Joe Theisman says:
NFL Network's Joe Theismann predicts "Henne will do well in this offense. You will get to see how good a thrower he is." But Theismann said Miami's running game isn't good enough. "Sparano has got to look at [it] and say: 'I'm beating my head against the wall. Let's throw the ball 40 times.' Running is not Bush's talent. He's a specialist. On defense, I would take him out of your attack by blitzing and making him be a pass blocker."

Theismann's other complaint: "They didn't spend on … impact players" — such as DeAngelo Williams: "You sign Jason Taylor, Marc Colombo. I don't understand it. Their best years are way behind them. The front office needs to do a much better job finding young players."
These are the same complaints I've had. So at least I know other people see it as well.

ddill2

Really now you are just making false accusations to compensate for your lack of argument. I'm just looking at things objectively. Don't know why one can't be a fan and still look at things analytically.

you are high my friend. Love the phins but management and the head coach really do stink!!

It's gonna happen!

jrjr i agree, very sad. i put 5 k down on the under of total wins for them. seemed to easy

Like Yoggi Berrea once said " tHE TEAM THAT SCORES THE MOST USSUALLY WINS". CLASSIC.

I think the Dolphins pull out a solid win. This would be great to see Berman openly weep on national TV. Could you imagine if the Dolphins won the Superbowl? Berman would trash the ESPN studios before jumping out the window.

This blog is just way to depressing picking out all the negatives on this team before the FIRST game.. This is the best time to be optimistic. Just saying!

Are you serious? "Not the same 14-2 team as last year." You my friend know nothing about the New England Patriots. They are exactly the 14-2 team they were last year minus Meriweather. Also added Ochocinco and Haynesworth. Your telling me they will do nothing? Leigh Bodden is back from injury and Devin McCourty has another year under his belt. The dolphins literally did nothing in the offseason. Yes I count Reggie as nothing. There is a reason the saints let him go, he is not a every down back, he is not a featured back. He is a hybrid Widdeout/Back.Guess what thats nothing abnormal in this leauge. The remark about the below par wide reciever core also is quite comical. Wes Welker, Chad OchoCinco, and Deion Branch. Pro bowlers and a superbowl MVP there. Think before you write.

LMAO ireland sucks, you are the only person that would label a rookie a bust after a very short off-season. I guess we should call, Ryan Mallett and Julio Jones busts because they are not starting! So why don't you tell us what happened to the Pats o-line against Detroit Irelandsucks?

Armando, best balanced and well supported blog entry in a while. Thanks. The Phins are all in on this game, the see the Home opener as a most win. As shown by Sparano piping in crowd noise. Miami 27 Pats 13

OPTIMISM FROM MANDO!!! Wool-hooo!! Bout dang made me cry Mando!!! GO FINS!!

Armando, what a shot in the arm that would be, as long as they don't become OVERconfident! Go Miami!

I hate ESPN,Chris Bermann and has Man Crush on anything Northeast, Disgusting, I hope the fins take it to the Pats but I would'nt bet any money on it.

I can't believe that bad luck mondo picked the phins. I don't want him going for the phins. He picked the heat to win, the hurricanes, and both lost. Go back to picking against the Miami teams then we will win. You know you want the pats to win, so pick them so the true fans on here can give you what you deserve. You basically are picking the phins by default, not because you think the team is better. It's much how I pick large black men over women, because they are so abundant where I am imprisoned for incest with my mom. I rather see you go with how you really feel, rather than try to make the real fans happy with your bs.
The phins will when because the pats D suck, and our D is good enough to limit Brady. Not to mention our offense is ready to show the world that we are back. Go phins its hunting season and the pats are the first team in our line of sight.

Zach, in this new offense, Reggie Bush is exactly the type of Rb they envisioned.

I can't see Sparano being dumb enough to ignore Bush's injury history & make him the every down RB.

Then again, maybe I can see it.

Zach, Why do you know so much about the Pats?

The fun for me is looking at all sides, not just waving the flag like a cheerleader. Most of the bloggers seen as negative are only playing GM, doing their best to objectively analyze what is good and what needs improvement together. That's what makes the blog interesting, thinking about different points of view we may not have considered yet. Otherwise, whats the point of the debate?

Disagreeing should cause no more animosity than agreeing.

If I want cheerleading, I'd rather look at the cheerleaders.

mando is basically never right, hes a writer nothing more

dusty/joe, looks like we're talking past each other.

dusty, never said you're not a fan because you're critical. I have no problem with you being critical. I'M CRITICAL. So I'll assume that was to others who have said that to you. And yes, you've said what you said, about it being close, etc., but you also said the team stinks, and I don't think that's proven because we haven't even played a game. Now, you can say, "I THINK the team will stink," or, "we've STUNK in the past and I don't think it'll be different this year," but I don't think it's accurate to say the team stinks right now because you haven't even given them a chance to prove you right or wrong.

Joe, again, I haven't said anything about Mando. You guys are responding to others through my post I guess. I think Mando's been pretty fair too. And if you've read my stuff in the past, up until the 2nd game in Preseason I was pretty critical of the team. Didn't have faith in Henne, was pushing for Orton or anybody else, no faith in Daboll, Ireland, Sparano, QB Coach, Hartline, Fasano, Safeties, etc.

But, if you say others' optimism isn't proven, then it's demonstrably false to say your pessimism is! That's my point. WE HAVEN'T EVEN PLAYED ONE GAME! How can we suck if we're the same record as everyone else in the league? We're 0-0. If we go down 0-2, THEN you can say we stink. Even if we lose Monday, THEN you can say we stink. But your pessimism has no basis in reality (only history and I guess listening to Northeastern so-called experts).

Reality is anyone, EVERYONE in the NFL today, right now, has a chance to do something. EVERY SINGLE TEAM. From Green Bay to Cincinnati.

You're right, right now, all I have is hope. I don't know if we'll be better than last year, worse than last year, same as last year. No one knows. That's why I give just as much credence to your point of view as my own. We may be 2-14. I highly doubt it, but maybe.

All anyone is expressing right now is opinion. Some people hype theirs up cause they want their team to win, some people downplay it because they have a bad taste from years past, and some people see if for what it is and kind of play it right down the middle. I happen to be one of those people. It won't surprise me if we do well, and it won't surprise me if we don't. There are too many variables: Henne, RBs, oline, WRs/TEs, Daboll, defense, secondary, safeties. The experts don't even know, so nobody should be saying they are 100% positive what's going to happen, because that would be a lie.

LOL At Joe,Over/under on what game bush will be sidelined due to injury?, Iam going with game 4.BTW, I'll check with my guys at BODOG.COM, They have bets on everything.

Nice blog Mando...I believe if the offensive line could run block effectively, then Bush could run through those interior lanes....also pats have Mayo on defense who is a beast. Fins up!

Just asking dusty/Joe, my post at 10:23am, is that a fair commentary?

FP4FG's, I want to see how he's used week 1, then I can make an educated guess.

Joe, Reggie would be best used going east to west, I cant see him going north to south, Not sturdy enough for that type of punishment IMHO.

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