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Miami's "above average" pass protection to be tested

Ponder this statistic: The Dolphins are among the three worst offenses in the NFL at preventing sacks of their quarterback. Miami has yielded 22 sacks, which trails only league-worst Seattle (24) and St. Louis (22).

Now consider coach Tony Sparano's take on Miami's protection: "I would say that the protection as a whole right now I would call it slightly above average. So I think in our league right now above average is about where you’re going to be. I don’t think anybody is great protecting a passer in our league. I really don’t. I think with the limited amount time that you’re in pads and the limited about of time that you have to practice, I really don’t think anybody is great. I think above average is probably pretty good. I think we’re kind of slightly there. We have a high number of sacks right now, but those are for a bunch of reasons."

Obviously the statement and the numbers do not match on their face.

That kind of statement makes most media crazy because they seem totally disconnected from the truth. And thus, fans reading the media account think Sparano is totally unaware of exactly how atrocious his offensive line really is.

But ...

Stop. Breathe. Relax.

Allow me a second to translate, if I may. No, I do not speak coachspeak fluently. But after a few years of listening to the droning of these guys, I think I can kind of sort of understand every other word more or less.

The truth is Sparano is no doubt referring to the protection of his quarterbacks as much more than offensive line play. It includes tight end blocking and running back blocking. And when he mentions that the number of sacks is high but the protection is still "above average" he is clearly saying sometimes the quarterbacks have held the ball too long. He is probably also saying sometimes receivers are not getting open quickly enough or maybe not at all.

Now, there is no way I would defend Miami's offensive line play while protecting the quarterback. Matt Moore got absolutely rocked by multiple blitzes last Sunday and while some of those were successful against terrible blocking by Daniel Thomas, among others, some of the problems were indeed up front as well.

So hopefully you don't think Sparano to be living in a fantasy world when he tells you protction has been "above average." He probably should have specified whose protection he meant and whose he didn't.

Having said all that, the entire picture that makes up Miami's protection -- offensive line, running backs, tight ends, quarterbacks getting rid of the ball on time while receiver get open quickly -- better be at their best on Sunday.

That's because the Giants have perhaps more talent along the defensive line than any other team.

The Giants share the NFL lead in sacks with 21 -- and that while premier pass-rusher Justin Tuck was missed four out of six games with neck and groin injruies. There could be moments in Sunday's game when Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Jand ason Pierre Paul will be pinning their ears back on Moore at the same time.

We will know then exactly how "above average" Miami's pass protection really is.

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FIRST!

Guys when you lose oxygen to your brain or you dont get enough sleep you start to become delusional. I think Tony Sparano has lost his mind...

"Above Average O line"
"Marc Columbo doing a pretty good job"
"We practice hard"
"Were a good football team"

These quotes alone should get Sparano fired RIGHT NOW!

I think these guys (Ireland and Sparano) would test positive for crack. Either that or they're really dumb. Nothing they do makes sense. NOTHING! WTF don't we pick up that FS Harris released by the Bears, can he be any worse than Jones? Or Clemons? Get real!!! Release that useless stiff Colombo and sign Harris. These guys are f***n clueless.

After Moore is carted off, Losman pulls a Carson Palmer, and DT pulls a hamstring operating the WC...then what?

We could of had Rex, we chose Tony. We could of drafted Matt Ryan, we chose Jake Long. We could of drafted Andy Dalton, we chose Mike Pouncey. We cut Channing Crowder and sign...another useless stiff named Burnett. We spend 12 million on Paul Soliai, he's just another guy. We could of had Zach Miller or Kevin Boss, we decide to go with Fasano and Mustard. We ranked 30th in total offense last year and we hire an OC that had his offense ranked 31st. DOES ANY OF THIS MAKE SENSE???? Mr.Ross, ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION???

Why is Pat Devlin getting off scott free?

We need Bill Cowher to coach and we need a GM that can draft and sign some free agents that make an impact. We don't have either right now. When was the last time Miami signed a free agent that made plays and had an impact on the team? Anyone remember?

Dolphin Montreal,

I hear you bro lol. Head scracther after head scratcher. Putting together a bunch of Parcell type "lunch pale" guys has gotten this team where they are now.

Not too mention when they do decide to try and make a splash it fails like Marshall is good not great or elite, Dansby is average so far this year but is one of the top paid ILB in the league. Bush was a smoke in mirrors signing but the team thought he was an every down back.

Suck for Luck? I agree! Also Suck for the sake of the clowns getting fired!

I can see the Giants Defense getting at least 6 sacks, and of course Moore is going to be throwing a few more ints.. This Miami OL is nothing to be proud of, to think of it there's only 2 Ts, 1 C, and 2 Gs.. But still after 4 drafts & signing FAs Sparano still can not build a dominant OL.

the guy knows he's fired...he can allow himself to tell any kind of crap.

NOBODY WANTS TO HEAR THIS BULLSH** - A SACK IS A SACK NO MATTER HOW IT HAPPENS. IT'S BLOCKING THE MAN IN FRONT OF YOU.
PHINS HAVE 20+ SACKS AGAINS THEM ALREADY, HOW THE HEL* IS THAT ABOVE AVERAGE?!?!? CHECK GB's SACK TOTAL ON RODGERS.....THAT'S ABOVE AVERAGE, IDIOTS!!! MANDO JUST LOST CREDIBILITY FOR TRYING TO EXPLAIN THAT CRAP!!!

if sparano and ireland like the oline so much why don't each of them take a few snaps against the Giants on sunday? that might end half our problems!

Well I guess it is now open season? Armando will you be taking everything that a player or coach says and try to make them look stupid? What do you expect these guys to do? They are trying to look for something postive, just as you are trying to look for something negitive to write about. The fans know this team is done for this year and will not be very interesting to watch, just like reading some of these blogs. So why you need to feel that you should keep beating this dead horse I don't know. Why don't you invest your time in maybe doing some reporting about some moves that could be made next year to help fix this mess. After a few years of reading the same droning from you it would be nice to get something really worth reading.

Your forecast for Sunday's game:

Sunny, with a high near 48. North wind between 9 and 16 mph.

New York Giants 30
Miami Stink Bugs 16

Miami's only touchdown will come late in the game when the outcome has already been decided and the Giants are in a prevent defense.

Tim Tampa,

Sounds about right

WHAT's EVEN MORE FRUSTRATING is that these coaches and players think, WE THE FANS, ARE STUPID OR SOMETHING.
I DID HAVE SOME SYMPATHY FOR SPARANO AT 1st because he was thrown under the bus (EVEN THOUGH HE PUT HIMSELF IN THIS POSITION BY BEING BOUGHT) but his RAH-RAH BULLSH** and REFUSING TO FACE REALITY is starting to get on my nerves now!! IF HE CAN FACES FACTS THEN HE NEEDS TO GO ASAP!! IT'S LIKE AN ADDICT SAYING HE'S NOT AN ADDICT. You got to ADMIT THE PROBLEM IN ORDER TO FIX IT!!!

Yo, Matt Moore,,,,,,Duck!!!!!

I might watch some of this game for comedy value.

That's just flat wrong re when Henne was in there. He did not hold the ball too long. He was playing valiently and greatly and the line was letting him down. Poor Henne was ready for a good year and got crushed because of his terrible teammates.

AndyNJ, if we wouldn't have a coaching staff so damn clueless like these bozos perhaps players like Bush, Dansby and Wake would make more plays. Everytime I see Bush running between the tackles my blood pressure goes up!

Totally agree with you my friend I would pay to see Sparano and Ireland take a snap behind this OL...jajajaajajaajaaj

Armando let´s have a little compasion for the ones that are leaving WHY TOSS WOOD TO THE FIRE

I used to like Sporano, now I hate him. He knows he's failing horribly and way over his head yet he keeps hanging around to collect his money...sounds like a Parcell's guy alright

What can be expected from a coach who after every loss says, "we played a good game, made a few mistakes, we would like to have a few plays back, we will take a look at the film, and see where we can correct it."

Above-average? Really? I guess the coaches IQ is above-average too... if we are comparing him to rocks.

FROM THE LAST BLOG:

Armando,

Pot calling the kettle black? You know before the 2010 draft I mentioned to you the Dolphins should draft Jimmy Graham.

YOU WERE AGAINST IT TOO YOU KING OF HYPOCRITS!

Posted by: yesterday's gone | October 28, 2011 at 10:47 AM

ARMANDO IS SUFFERING FROM EARLY ONSET DYMENSIA. ITS EASY TO DISECT ANOTHER'S WRONG, JUST AS MANY IF NOT MORE BUM ARTICLES COULD BE BROUGHT UP TO PROVE ARMANDO MAYBE THE WORST SPORTS WRITER IN AMERICA.

IF ARMANDO WERE A FOOTBALL TEAM HE WOULD BE 0-6 RIGHT NOW TOO. ANY NIMBLE HEADED FOOL COULD BLAST THE DOLPHINS RIGHT NOW. bUT THERE'S AN OLD ADAGE THAT GOES:

"IF YOU SPOT IT, YOU GOT IT"!

Posted by: yesterday's gone | October 28, 2011 at 10:52 AM

ARMANDO,

IF YOU CAN SPOT A LOT OF IT. THAT MEANS YOU'VE GOT A LOT OF IT. YOU'RE THE LOSERVILLE OF SPORTSWRITERS WORLD. HOW'S THAT ANY DIFFERENT FROM WHAT THE DOLPHINS NOW ARE?

Posted by: yesterday's gone | October 28, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Bottomline:

Im a dolfan no matter what. Armando show's in this article he's not a true dolfan. The past decade has been a very bumpy pothole filled ride for all of us. In the end, when the dolphins return to glory will be made just that much sweeter because of the very rough roads traveled to get there.

Yes, like most of you I'm disappointed in what's happened over the last decade too. But I can guarantee each and everyone of you I'll never be disappointed to be a Miami Dolphins fan.

Wins and lossess, they come and they go. Real fans last forever!

Posted by: yesterday's gone | October 28, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Truth be told, this franchise has been in slow decline beginning with the 1984 33-16 loss to the 49ers. Just so happens it would be over 20yrs later before the wheels really began to fall off the wagon.

Shula bares some responsibility for where we are now too. Sure he deserves high accolades for the championship seasons. But the demise began with Shula, which is evidenced from his forced outterture.

It wasnt like this was a playoff calibre team when Jimmy Johnson took over. But Im sure many have forgotten this. IMO, the franchise's fall from grace begin that easily forgotten SB day when Marino and company where routed 33-16 by eventual SB champs San Fransico 49ers(1984).

Posted by: yesterday's gone | October 28, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Yes guys, the bearings in the wagons wheels needed severe maintenance in the Shula/Marino years. But for some unknown reason it seemed because Shula knew he had a high speed mazzerati in Dan Marino. He deviated from the normal maintenance schedule.

In the end the mazzeratti itself would eventually break down(Marino's worst season ever 1999).

Posted by: yesterday's gone | October 28, 2011 at 11:19 AM

CASE KEENUM?

Dolphin Montreal,

I hear you. Imagine how another staff would use Bush. I don't think he is bad player. He should be kickoff and punt returns, 3rd down role, motion man, give him some HB draws and tosses but to go pro set or I-form with him is insane!

The definition of insanity according to Einstein - is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results!

Hopefully the Dolphins watched UVa last night to get an idea of how to play WINNING football!

When will the focus of this mess turn to the owner. He's interviewing the coach's replacement before the end of last season and is now doing the same thing. How does that inspire this group? Where's the football guy helping with decisions? All I see is flash in the stands and a bunch of average players. Matt Moore? Really? As for Bush, he was a retread from the Saints who found out they made a mistake. He's not what we saw in college.

I CANNOT STAND when I read articles talking about getting a new Coach next year. Every one I read has a sentence like this in it:

"Barring a historic turnaround, he [Tony Sparano] will not make it beyond this season."

Someone please explain to me what "historic turnaround" Sparano could oversee to keep his job? Anyone? EVEN IF we won every remaining game (it's almost too fantastical to write), we'd be 10-6 and out of the Playoffs. And Ross pretty much said Sparano needs to make the Playoffs to keep his job.

So STOP SAYING THAT reporters. There IS no historic turnaround that could save Sparano's job at this point.

There isn't a rational explanation for Sparano's comments. The team is delusional and is trying to show some semblance of remaining pride even though there is none. This is a team that has lost all touch with reality and by not accepting how bad they are at this moment time is actually working against them. You can game plan around deficiencies, however if you refuse to believe you have deficiencies you're going to be even more exploited by said deficiencies.

OUR PASS PROTECTION WILL DEPEND ON TWO VERY CRITICAL THINGS:

1. How effectively can we run the ball

2. By how many scores and how early in the game we fall behind by 10pts or more.

If we have to play catch up via our passing game. Better have the next qb in the batters box because Moore probably leaves the game on a stretcher.

I used to like Sporano, now I hate him. He knows he's failing horribly and way over his head yet he keeps hanging around to collect his money...sounds like a Parcell's guy alright

~~~~~~~
Scott,
If you hired anyone for a job, you wouldn't expect them to quit on you if things didn't go well.

Right now it isnt delussional to think Monday morning we'll be signing yet another qb. Matt Moore's season could possibly end Sunday.

DC........... OUR DOCTORS SHOULD TREAT OUR COACHES HEADS AND OUR COACHES SHOULD TRAN OUR DOCTORS IN DETECTING BROKEN LEGS .

I rather have Steven Q. Urckel play ahead of Colombo.

The should put two tightends to help Colombo block.

Armando, please stop quoting Sparano. Every time he opens his mouth he embarrasses this team and get fans' blood boiling. Logic and the fans' rage have spoken: Sparano and Ireland have to (will) go. They're irrelevant. All focus should be shift towards Ross. The guy won't speak, but if there are enough undesired attention pointed his way - he will have to speak. And what he needs to say is the truth. Tell us that he plans to keep Sparano through the season. Or tell us Sparano will be evaluated week-to-week. Or tell us you're negotiating with him on a resignation plan. Say something to calm the minds of players, fans, and the media.

Wow....the team with some of the worst pass protection in the league vs the league leader in sacks.... Moore's going to spend more time on his back than all the Hookers on Calle ocho combined.

Scott,
If you fire Sporano, he's STILL going to get paid. I guess coach Sporano since he's drawing a paycheck, he should still coach.

I'm not saying he shouldn't be fired, but I find your post humorous.

I've searched the internet and found 8 hearse rental places in North Jersey. The team should have one standing by at the stadium. When the game is over, it can ship Sparano's coaching career home. It surely will be dead.

This team plays like a crapy High School football team. They seem to be more worried about whats going friday night, rather than what's going on during the game. It's sad these guys can't seem to get back to the basics of wanting to play football. Been a long time fan and it never seems to change. Nothing makes sense anymore with this club. Black is White, and White is Black.........wtf?

Knowing that at some point this Sunday, I'm going to have to watch JP Losman trot out on the field 17th representative of the sh**fest known as the Miami Dolphins QB situation, makes me want to vomit.

Because it's pretty much guaranteed that Matt Moore will be sacked out of the game.

For a reference point, google "Giants defense shuts down Bears in 17-3 win". Last year's game, Giants came up with 10 sacks, sidelined 2 QBs, and limited them to 110 total yds.

Only question is: who's going to run the wildcat when Losman gets knocked out?

Why not try Pat Devlin?

This team finds new ways to lose against terrible teams and defenses. There will be no suspense "Black And Blue Sunday". This one will be over 1st qtr when the Giants score thier first points.

Look for a shutout Sunday, and no it wont be the Dolphins on the pleasant end of it. Cant we just forfeit this one so nobody gets hurt?

jason pierre paul is a guy i liked in college. played in south florida too. not good enough to be a dolphin though. we have jared odrick instead who is a decent d tackle in a 4-3 but man not a 1st round impact player....

Why not try Pat Devlin?

I'll tell you why. Hopefully Devlin hasnt so infuriated the football gods that thier willing to end the kid's career before it even officially gets started. That would definitely be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

mark,

how many times in last few years you said ,(( I LIKED THAT GUY IN COLLEGE )) AND NEVER BECAME ANY BODY .

Mark T,

Doesnt make sense to waste a 1st rd pick on a DE in the 3-4 defense anyway. In the 3-4, DE's job is primarily to occupy an olineman to make it easier for olb's to make sacks.

In the 3-4, you draft DE's no higher than 2nd rd unless he's a surefire potential hof. Draft them 2nd-3rd rd and hope you hit on a real gem.

Even Merling's a bust as 2nd rd'er. Kendall Langford's a 3rd rd pick outplaying Merling. Odrick should never had been a 1st rd pick unless he looked like a potential hof'er in college.

OLB's in the 3-4 defense are the one's needing drafting 1st rd. These need to be special players. That's where the 3-4 defensive pressure must primarily come from.

You cant play 2nd rate olb's in the 3-4 defense. You may get away with it in the 4-3 defense because the De's are the primary pass rush force. But not in the 3-4 where the olb's are expected to be the primary pass rush force.

As for Misi being a 2nd rd olb selection. There was nothing in his college career suggesting the kid was a great pass rusher then. Nor to suggest he would translate to a great pass rusher in the nfl. This fo is terrible at identifying the talent they need to truly win in Miami.

0-6, soon to be 0-7, says Im dead on spot about that.

I want to get the Number #1 pick like everyone else. But if Tony Sparano is really trying to win why does he continue to run Bush through the tackles; and if Daniel Thomas (who i think has potential) is banged up and a suspect blocker at this time; then why not give Lex Hilliard more snaps ? I sit there in front of my TV and just shake my head in disgust.
Just saying that Tony's decisions are mind boggling. We are 0-6 and he continues to do the following:
- Play Columbo
- Bess returning punts
- Run Bush up the middle
- No Trickery with the offense (flea flicker, half back option, wildcat, anything...)
- Not giving Marlon Moore or someone else a shot at wr after witnessing drop after drop.

....and then Sparano has the nerve to say the offenseive line is playing above average....and nobody at the press conference calls him out....i guess it does not matter.

Cam Wake is a FA that was a great pickup. Smiley wasn't bad until knee issues. Dansby and Marshall are great just not playing like it right now. That's about all I can think of right now...

Earl, did you copy one of my posts from a few weeks ago? I agree with most of what you say...little nervous about a flea flicker with this group. We can't even perform a standard issue hand-off without our starting QB going down for the season. BUT, on Sparano...

stubborn = stupid.

Furthermore,

Sparano = Rain Main

Definitely, definitely...

Above average as compared to what? Compared to the NFL or compared to the last 4 seasons? There is no way he actually believes this team is above average in protection. Heck, how many yards does our RB's have? They can't protect OR open holes.

We're 18th in rushing yards. That right there is BELOW average.

We've given up 22 sacks. That right there is way way below average.

Why not try Pat Devlin ?

Why Not ?

TS,how's that decision to ignore the TE position looking now?And why not replace the turnstile,otherwise known as Colombo,with Garner or the new kid from Tampon Bay and UVa?Oh yeah--I forgot you don't really want to win.

beerphin, I guess Cam Wake and Dansby are decent...Marshall wasn't a FA, we gave up 2 second rounders in a trade with Denver to get him. Smiley was OK for a year and that was it. This front office has sucked badley in regards to signing free agents. The Gibril Wilsons, Jake Grove, Ernest Wilford, Marc Colombo, Burnett, it goes on and on. Pathetic.

Can we fast forward to the 3rd week of April already?

I agree they might as well try Devlin. You never know look at Fitzpatrick he was undrafted too. Sometimes those guys have chips on their shoulders and stand out. It is possible we might find ourselves a cheaper solution to backup QB instead of resigning Henne, who might be disgruntled being a backup here.

The Dolphins suck because it's the media's fault.

Get rid of the media and Miami runs the table!

Problem solved.

The Columbo thing is what frustrates me the most. It may be a misconception on my part, because what do I know, but, keeping Columbo out there and then having to compensate for his shortcomings with a blocking TE (Fasano) is stifling Clay's development and limiting the offensive game plan.

IN MY HUMBLE AND ILL-INFORMED OPINION.

Lots of screen passes and draws should be called

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