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Changes the Dolphins should consider starting, like, immediately

The bye week is over and I assume the Miami Dolphins have discussed among themselves what their problems are and how to address them best as possible.

I'm sure we'll see a vastly different approach when the team returns to the field. But just in case the team isn't happy with the bye week's self scouting and vast number of changes they have made (assuming here), I'd like to suggest a couple of changes from here on out.

For the offense:

Start Daniel Thomas and let Reggie Bush come off the bench: Thomas is the more explosive back right now. He is more of a sledgehammer than Bush and as such would be better at setting the tone of a game from the very first moment the offense is on the field. Bush hasn't made a statement to any defense other than, "This is going to be easy for your guys and a long day for us." So Bush becomes the change-of-pace back. Will this upset Bush? Who cares? This is a damn football team, not a psychologist's couch. This actually sends the message that not getting the job done means you lose your job. The Dolphins haven't had enough of that this year.

Use Bush in space: Let me repeat: Use Bush in space. He is quick. He has some speed. Use those traits to your benefit instead of trying to run him between the tackles and turning his gifts into liabilities.

Spread out the formation: The Dolphins do not have the kind of personnel that is clearly better than most defenses they face. So why bunch things and try to overcome the defense mano a mano? Spread it out. Make the field an ally instead of an enemy. Go with four WRs and one RB in the backfield. If the defense lines up in its dime package, run the football with Thomas or throw to Bush matched against a linebacker. If you cannot win those matchups, retire. On the other hand, if the defense tries to stop the run by using an extra LB or bringing a safety down into the box, pass the ball. Throw more slants. Throw bubble screens to Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess. Put both of them in the slot on either side of the formation with Brian Hartline and Clyde Gates on the outside. And keep the defense honest with occasional deep throws to Hartline and Gates.

Oh yeah, more Clyde Gates. Less Anthony Fasano: The idea of drafting Gates was to blow the top off the defense. That is not possible unless he's in the game but his playing time has been sporadic. But what if he doesn't produce, you might ask? Well, Fasano isn't a huge producer and he plays lots. Time to cut losses. I'm not saying forget about Fasano, but he isn't good enough to get the kind of playing time he gets. He's neither an offensive tackle nor a great pass-catcher. So why are they asking him to block or catch the ball when they have people that do either better?

Bench Marc Colombo. He's on pace to yield 12 sacks this season. Is that good? Move Vernon Carey back to RT. Colombo has been a downgrade, not an upgrade at RT. Meanwhile, it is time to put John Jerry in at right guard. The reason the team moved Carey to RG in the preseason was, in part, to protect rookie Mike Pouncey. He's fine. Now this team needs to find out if Jerry is a player or not. They cannot go into the offseason needing a right tackle, not having Carey signed, and not knowing if Jerry can play or not. Get an answer for at least one of those questions.

For the defense:

Bench Reshad Jones: He was supposed to be a playmaker back there. Tell me, what play has he made? Enough said.

Promote Chris Clemons: No, he didn't make a lot of plays back there last year. But he didn't take terrible angles to Wes Welker, thus allowing 99-yard TD passes. He didn't let people get behind him. There were fewer blown coverages back there.

Pray Vontae Davis is ready to play. If he's not, don't keep making the same mistake with Nolan Carroll as the starter. Jimmy Wilson needs to be the next guy up because at least he battles. Carroll hasn't done that. And I'm tired of it.

More blitzes up the middle: Neither Karlos Dansby nor Kevin Burnett have been very productive this year. Wake them up! Ask them to attack instead of letting offensive linemen run over them. Blitz them up the gut. The CB blitzes are a joke and now predictable. And how about a higher percentage of zone blitzes? Teams like Baltimore and the Jets get unblocked rushers taking shots at quarterbacks. I hardly ever see that from the Dolphins. How about administering to the Jets some of their own medicine. Not tons, but on a couple of special downs.

Special teams:

Bench Davone Bess as the punt returner. Reggie Bush returns every single punt. Give him enough at-bats, he might break one or two. Bess has never broken one because he hasn't the speed to break any. Oh, you're worried Bush might get injured? Well, um, it's football. It happens. And as to the idea of using an offensive star on special teams, Bush is not producing like an offensive star and Wes Welker, who is a legitimate offensive star returns every punt in New England. So whatever.

Are some of these unorthodox? Maybe. Are they an aggressive approach to the rest of the season? Undoubtedly.


Because going orthodox and playing it more conservatively hasn't worked at all so far.

Add your suggestions please.


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I am not a real fan of you I have to say as too often you appear to me as a smart ass. However this is a reaaaally good article. Agree to all of it (besides the comparison between Fasano and Gates). But benching Colombo and Jones, modify your blitz packages, put Bush in space etc. It makes so much sense. What worries me is that it seeems so obvious and I am afraid none of this will happen in week 6.

Yes, Lulu, Mando is a smartass. But he's OUR smartass and he's brilliant!

I have another suggestion: A reverse here and there with Gates.

A shovel pass every once in a while, which is a handoff only safer because if it doesn't work, it is merely an incomplete pass.

My suggestion is that Tony take his butt hairs and shave them, then make a pubic butt hairs sandwich and give it to Ireland to eat. Then maybe Ireland gets so mad he attacks Tony and both get fired. Also I suggest Tony start using Rogaine. I also suggest that Ireland start looking for a new job involving circus clowns and circumcision. I lastly suggest that Henne stops looking like Gomer Pyle.

I would like to see some real offense. This would start. If you see this, what the heck takes Sparano so long to adapt.

One more, cut Solai. 12 million dollar bag of apples. Save the money for the first overall pick.

1) Why bench Colombo and not just cut him altogether?
2) Can we try rushing Wake and Taylor from the same side once in a while? Line JT up at end with Wake standing behind him.
3) Or try moving them around like they did when JT was NFL defensive player of the year, yeah he's not the player he was a few years ago but at least keep the other teams OL guessing and while they're looking to see where Wake and JT are lined up blitz Dansby and Burnett up the gut.
4) Trade Soliai for whatever we can get. He's not worth what he's getting paid and he's not coming back next year.
5) Cut Nolan Carroll and bring back Benny Sapp. Just kidding. Cut Carroll but don't bring back the same old BS.

You are VERY right, Armando !

This Miami Dolphins team needs to wake up. Either play hard or suck it up for Luck in the draft. Ross really needs to make the correct decisions as this once proud franchise needs to rise from the dead since Marino retired. It simply has been ugly viewing the Dolphins since. We need some direction and purpose as a team.

Come on Miami Players wake up and just win baby???

rg III
rg III
rg III is the man for me!

this guy is the real thing and he is the next franchise qb of this team. he was valedictorian of his h.s. class. he graduated in 3 yrs w/a degree in pol. science and wants to get his masters next yr. and he wants to go to law school. on top of that, both of his parents are staff sgts. this guy makes cam newton look like an amateur. if he was playing for a better team his numbers would be even better.
he's completing 82.3% of his passes, 11.5 ypa, 18 td's, 1 int., with a qb rating of 230.3. i say he should be number one on the radar at qb. luck is a good qb but this kid is a quality player and a quality human being. jmho.

Shut down the guys who are playing hurt (Long and Davis) and give them time to rehab for next year. Play your young guys and see if you have any keepers. Don't let Indy jump in front in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. Oh and most important thing of all, fire Ireland. I feel a little bad for Sparano, he has to coach the terrible players that Ireland gave him. The offensive line is Sparano's though, and sweet jeebus are they bad.

What in the world is an rg111? Sounds like a Japanese robot! WWYwaaarg111? Cyse? Ydmy.

Right on mando ....right on ....come on this stuff hurts more n more every year ...

All good moves. I would rather have will barker playing right tackle. He might be the long term answer. I never understood why Miami doesn't use bush or gates to return punts.

rg III is robert griffin III

If the Dolphins do this they might acctually win a couple of games. Right now I feel I want them to continue have a bad taste in their mouths.
Lions went 0-16 and are now onto something.
Why not try that strategy? Maybe we will get Lucky.

Very well said Mando. Its funny you can see the changes that need to be made but management cannot. Maybe you should send this story to the coaching staff. Changes are always good. Your right we need to play to our strenghts.


Armando, This are all good sound suggestions but I disagree with all of them...

I want nothing changed, I want to lose the rest of the games ... Let's make sure WE GET LUCK...

try to emulate the bills. with half the talent and salaries, they play twice as good. they are well coached and create multiple turnovers. its coaching + ballers = WINS! they also appreciate their fans.

I saw Luck play this weekend and boy this kid is the real deal. If Miami ends up having the chance to draft him, and they decide on taking some stiff from say,"William and Mary," I will formally turn my back on them for ever!!!!!!!!

Finally an article from Armando that makes sense and isn't an article to aggravate fans with no real substance.

I agree on all accounts. The Dolphins have to see what they have. I have no idea if Matt Moore is up to the challenge, but we will see.

A final word on Chad Henne. I feel really bad for this guy who heard all boos and Kyle Orton chants! The guy worked his ass off and the DEF let him down. Guess where Orton is going now? To the bench for Tim Tebow.

If the Dolphins draft Luck next year, teams like Seattle, Jets, and even Buffalo would be better with Henne. I'm sure he will beat us next year. They always do.

AGREE change nothing and lets lose them all for Luck. The guy can play and if losing every game this yr. gets us luck for the next 12 seasons im 100 percent for it... Luck is gonna be a star Qb.. The Colts know that it takes a star QB and there star is almost done so they want the kid.

AGREE change nothing and lets lose them all for Luck. The guy can play and if losing every game this yr. gets us luck for the next 12 seasons im 100 percent for it... Luck is gonna be a star Qb.. The Colts know thatit takes a star QB and there star is almost done so they want the kid.

absolutely correct and absolutely obvious... reason that Sparano needs to go. He doesn't get players in the right position to succeed. CUT COLOMBO NOW he sucks donkey hole

Sit Brandon Marshall.

Stop giving them good ideas...we need to suck to get lucky remember....


Only a week ago you stated that you believed Sparano is a good coach. I couldn't imagine what led you to that conclusion. Do you still believe that?

Sparano is simply too stubborn in his ways or just in denial. He is still saying Columbo is doing well while everyone else sees otherwise. He will run Bush up the middle until game 15 before he figures it out. Tony is very slow to change.

It seems like every team in the league plays with more energy and urgency than the fins. I think Ricky and JT were dead on right, their brains are too cluttered with TonyGarble to let loose.

Or we could do something that might actually benefit this team.....SUCK FOR LUCK!!!

I watched the Colts-Chiefs game yesterday and it looks like the team with Peyton Manning might be bad enough to get a chance to draft the best QB prospect since Peyton Manning.If Miami and Indy end up tied for the worst record who picks first?

Like your suggestions to IMPLEMENT CHANGES NOW!! We have to see what we have and don't have. Our starting teams and our schemes to date have NOT worked so try something different. I like your suggestions.

Here are a few others I have been crying for:

1) Hartline, Bess, Fasano and Gates have all been used in different combinations to partner with Marshall. I want to see less Hartline and Fasano. I agree we need to spread it out but I want to see more of Marlon Moore and Roberto Wallace. They are bigger targets, who have speen and POTENTIAL. Lets see more 4 and 5 receiver packages and get these guys into the game.

2) I want to see them put Marshall in motion so the defense has to always guess where he will be. Get him a running start several times a game to get him open. I particularly like this when we have Thomas and Bush in the game at the same time.

3) That leads me to gettting Thomas and Bush into the game at the same time.

4) Go to a 4-3 scheme. I want to see Odrick (DE), Starks (DT), Solai (as a DT not NT), and Merling (DE). Use Langford in the rotation as either DE or DT. I want to see Wake, Misi, JT, Burnett and Dansby as our LB's. I want to see Wake, JT and Misi (when healthy)) blitzing as the 5th pass rusher frequently on 2nd and 3rd downs.

5) Once V. Davis is healthy, they need to BENCH Sean Smith and give Will Allen the starting CB position. Smith is WEAK. Can't cover consistently and he is AFRAID to tackle.

6) Cut N. Carroll and R. Jones. They have proven time and again that they are not deserving of a roster spot. I'd rather take on new PROJECTS then allow these two to be TOAST.


Robert Griffin III is the truth!

Also, Armando, ClydeG is not being effective as a kick returner.

Move Sean Smith to safety, has the size and speed.

Following on DA's post @ 7:45am, what I saw this week around the league, but don't see enough in Miami is players playing with heart (and confidence). You see it in Buffalo, with the Raiders, of course Green Bay, but even Cincinnati, and losing teams like Carolina. These teams are trying to make it work. I mean, take Buffalo. They believe. In their Coach, the system, each other. It's refreshing. Especially compared to the Eagles, who thought they were being anointed Pre-season. They didn't think they actually had to play for their glory.

Miami is bad in every way. The Coaching is lousy (with Daboll's being the best of the bunch, but still not good enough). The play has been horrendous. Anyone even think we had a chance to get back into the Chargers game? Or, as soon as Henne left, did people (like me) already cash it in? Because they don't give you any reason to think they can overcome ANYTHING!! Has nothing really to do with Matt Moore (though he sucks). Has to do with heart, and there's very little of it here.

Armando to replace Sparano

As far as your suggestions Mando, I'm behind every one of them. However, with Jones, I'd move him to SS, get rid of Yeremiah Bell (he's done his time, let's grant him freedom), and have Clemons play FS. I say after QB, the 2nd pick of the Draft should be a Safety. That's where we've been getting killed since Sparano's been Coach. We've needed to upgrade there for years, yet never got the right player. Let's see if Jones is a better SS. If so, we can look to upgrade FS. If not, we look to upgrade BOTH position.

Mando, this is by far the best "take" you have ever had on the Dolphins as I agree totally with your observations/suggestions. My question is, if you and I can see these are issues that should have been happening, how the heck didn't the Phins brass see the same thing (they are supposed to be the experts) and make these changes earlier?

On Jan 31st, vote for Rick Perry in the GOP Primary.

On Jan 31st, vote for Rick Perry in the GOP Primary.

"With the 1st pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select....some fat lineman no one has every heard of from a school nobody knew existed...."

Also, let's look at the Raiders, dysfunctional organization, with an Owner that, with all due respect, was loony toons last few years of his life, coaching carousel. Complete meltdown of a franchise.

The ONLY thing the Owner instilled, was speed. He wanted speed on all sides of the ball. And after finally getting rid of their dead weight QB, and finding a good replacement (Campbell), look at what they're doing. Just winning.

Does this tell you how wrong Parcells was, Sparano IS? We have all the dysfunction as some of the worst teams in the past, but on top of that we have very little talent AND a horrible team philosophy and no team identity.

We're in WORSE shape than the Raiders of years past. Worse than teams like Buffalo and San Fran who've been bad for a long time (prior to this year).

We are the worst franchise in the NFL. All you fans need to come to grips with that truth. We need to understand the depth of the problems here before we fix anything. This isn't a small issue 1 guy will fix (though a franchise QB will do WONDERS to our winning percentage). But we need to update our philosophy (and go ALL IN, not half-*ss), we need to get a SYSTEM, on both sides of the ball, that the HC is willing to live/die on, and get his team to go all in on, and get TALENT where currently there is none, with personnel that's willing to play AS A TEAM, fight AS A TEAM and come back from adversity, AS A TEAM.

It can be done. Starts with the right HC. Everything follows from that.



Keep on this course. Please.

Seriously. If you are Stephen Ross think about this: What is going to sell tickets and re-engergize the fan base? Rallying to finish 6-10 and getting the No. 8-10 pick in next year's draft or biting the bullet on a 1-15 season and getting Andrew Luck?

The answer is pretty clear.
It's darkest before the dawn.

I dont agree with giving up the season and losing every game which i think we will, but we need to start putting players in who are unproven to see what we have. Andrew Luck is a great college player, but how many great college QB's come in to the NFL and tank. As much as i hate the patriots and the steelers there great teams but they know how to make great decisions, until Miami doesnt start thinking and making the right decisions like those teams the will continue to struggle. Armando you the man, since ive moved from miami to houston 3 years ago you keep me well informed and love the radio show. LETS GO MIAMI!!!!!!!!!!!!!

None of this will happen it is to logical and makes sense.

Rallying to finish 6-10 and getting the No. 8-10 pick in next year's draft or biting the bullet on a 1-15 season and getting Andrew Luck?

The answer is pretty clear.
It's darkest before the dawn.

Posted by: Josephus | October 10, 2011 at 08:59 AM

Not "good" enough. Indy is doing worse than we are right now, we gotta be at least 0-16 to have a shot at Luck.

Mando, Right on regarding every single thing. They mystery is why they didn't do all this two games ago. Bush is a 3rd down back and return guy. Bess will never ever break a big one. He just doesn't usually fumble. Why oh why have they been so bone-headed about insisting on running Bush up the middle. Why oh why don't they spread the offense out a lot more for Henne when they had the chance? I don't get it.

First I agree with you mando all those moves makes sense it's really common sense that's what this regimes lacks commen sense but, u forgot one move , fire Ireland

Kyle Orten will be traded to Miami by Tuesday

A big mando supporter but I have a couple of quibbles here. #1, I think Fasano is in there as much as he is BECAUSE Columbo is so bad, they need the extra protection. #2, my impression was they already have the answer on Jerry, which is... not good. Can't do it. And that's why he's not playing.

Other than those two things, I agree.

One problem with spreading the field. The OL. The reason they are bunching everything up is to help the right side of the OL in pass protection because Colombo can't block anyone. So you're going to see even Mastud as much as Gates to protect the QB. How can they move Carey back to RT after he took a pay cut? I wouldn't do it unless my contract was restored to it's original form. And other than Colombo, the way they do & don't utilize Bush is the biggest indicator that this coaching staff does not know what the hell it's doing.

WOW! A bad team can really bring out the frustrated coaches! Including Armando!! I'm sure, even as bad as the coaching has been for these Dolphins, the existing coaches would out coach all of you...
After saying that, there is no doubt in my mind, the coaching is the heart of the problem. Some guys know how to get guys to play at a higher level than others, and the Fins do not have the higher level coaching guys in the organization. I just hope Cower sees it that way as well, and not that the team has no talent.
The silver lining is; the Fins are sucking at the right time. According to those who are SUPPOSED to know, Andrew Luck is the second coming of Peyton Manning, or Christ, or someone...And over the last several years, the Fins would have had to pay dearly for him to be their savior, and sacrifice a TON of money, they could otherwise use on other talent, in order to sign him. Thanks to the new CB agreement, the dude is going to be affordable. I never thought I would say this, but I am cheering for the Fins to lose this season. Even winless is VERY palatable this year. We can finally have our hands on a true replacement for Marino. Go Jets!!!

Turd, you're right. And here's a zinger from Carey that pretty much explains everything:

Carey has a theory for why the team’s run blocking is ahead of the pass blocking: “It’s the way we’re made. We’re big guys. We’re not finesse guys. We’re guys that like to run the ball.”

But Carey added the offensive line has “got to do better. We’ve not done enough to win games.”

And therein lies the problem. Yes, Carey would be MUCH better than Colombo at RT. But he's also right to notice that the oline was formed to RUN THE BALL. And now that the offense has evolved, the GM/HC didn't make sure to get the players to allow that evolution to happen. They stayed with their same stupid prototypical Oline player.

And that, folks, is why your Dolphins are 0-4. The left foot has no CLUE what the right foot is doing.

I wouldnt mind seeing some Wildcat too.

Thomas/Bush or Thomas/Gates or Thomas/Clay

I miss the wildcat.

If Brandon Marshall's performance doesn't improve with Moore at QB I think it will be time to accept that it's more than just a QB/WR chemistry issue, it's a Brandon Marshall issue and time to get Marlon Moore and/or Roberto Wallace some game time.

I have to believe that one of them can make a play in the end zone...I have to believe.

I still think we could end up with a winning record, but with a good chance at Luck, why bother.

I hear there are at least 5 good quarterbacks coming out this year, so as long as we end up with a good quarterback, I'm ok.

"And now that the offense has evolved, the GM/HC didn't make sure to get the players to allow that evolution to happen. They stayed with their same stupid prototypical Oline player."

Posted by: DC Dolfan | October 10, 2011 at 09:33 AM

I've been saying it for 2 years now. You can switch offenses & defenses all you want. If you don't have the personel to run it, it doesn't mean anything.

This regime cannot think ahead. Everything is done in rush mode EVERY offseason. Complete position roster turnover every season(OL, RB, WR, CB etc). New schemes every year without the personel to run them.

It's bad folks, real bad!

Ghost, seeing Stevie Johnson and Victor Cruz and Brandon Lloyd and others this weekend, I agree. These WR around the league are making acrobatic catches, unbelievable plays to help their teams.

Marshall needs to do more than be a possession receiver. He needs to do more than make a play or 2 a game. He needs to make a DIFFERENCE. He needs to make a play out of nothing. That's what elite players do. He hasn't done that really at all since he's been here (and this is from probably his biggest fan). Buffalo has far less talent at that position who's doing WAY MORE for their team than our guys, and shouldn't go unnoticed.

Lets hire Bill Belichick. Make him an offer he can't refuse! Miami's whole front office needs to go including the owner. Right when Miami announced that they will be using reggie bush as an every down back i knew right there and then that we had pop warner coaches!!!!!!!

Add some formations from Auburn's offense last year. Moore at QB, Hilliard or Clay in the backfield, Bush in the slot. Bush starts in motion, snap is timed so that Moore can hand off to Bush in stride, hand off to Hilliard/Clay or drop back to pass. If passing, a dump to Bush would work great, he'd have a half step just from being in motion.

It draws strengths from wildcat, but is as much a pass play as a run play. Our playmakers get isolation and the defense gets spread out. If Thomas learns to block, then he'd replace Hilliard/Clay and make it that much more explosive.

And oh yeah, get Clemons back in there. Better to never hear a DB's name then hear it for being burned.

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