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Miami Dolphins recovery good, slow starts bad

The Dolphins have changed and that is a good thing, a thing that deserves some notice and some praise. This team of late is more full of life, particularly early in games. The offense attacks and does the unconventional, like a Wildcat flea-flicker against Washington. The defense blitzes, flies around and celebrates.

There is simply more life to this team early in games and lately it is carrying over into full-fledged results we didn't see early this year. Those results, by the way, are called victories.

And those victories have come with the starting quarterback on the shelf and his backup in the games. They've come with the full knowledge that there will be no playoffs in 2011 and folks are getting canned at the end of the year.

The flat lines have definitely jumped. The Dolphins live in 2011.

You have to applaud that.

And that leads me to the next logical question: Why did it take so long?

Can you imagine if the Dolphins were playing like this when the season began in September instead of waiting until November to wake up?

They probably would have beaten Cleveland. And Denver. They are better than both those teams and yet wasted opportunities and basically seemed to be going through the motions against those team to the point of being upset by them.

If only this team had found itself earlier. They might be staring at 4-5 and in the hunt instead of 2-7 and out of it.

Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

The truth is this Dolphins team is no different from every Miami team under the current administration in that it stunk early in the season. Simply, they weren't ready to win and didn't win early on.

And that cost them and left them lamenting what might have been once the alarm clock finally sounded.

Consider that since the Parcells-Ireland-Sparano administration took over, the Dolphins have a 3-9 record in September in four seasons. They have a 6-9 record in October in four season. And when November hits, stuff finally clicks and they're a very competitive 18-12 through the end of the season.

Let that marinate, for a second.

This organization, as currently constructed, is good enough to figure things out, and keep players interested, and keep working hard in the face of adversity to salvage its reputation with wins once the leaves start to change colors.

But they're simply not very good at getting ready for the start of the season.

The Dolphins this year suffered their second winless September in three years -- they were 0-3 this year and 0-3 in 2009.

Even in 2008, when they eventually won the AFC East, they started out 1-2. (Remember when that was unacceptable and such a huge surprise that the desperate coaching staff installed a brand new and unconventional wing to the offense called Wildcat?).

Anyway, this year's typical slow start might be blamed on the lockout and the fact the offense is brand new and blah, blah, blah. Except that Miami started slow in 2008 and 2009 and the 4-3 start in 2010 wasn't exactly awe-inspiring either, although outstanding by comparison.

The lockout also doesn't explain how the defense, which didn't really graduate any seniors, was terrible early in the season despite playing a familiar system with familiar personnel under familiar coaches.

The Dolphins, folks, are simply a slow-starting team -- lockout or not. The record speaks for itself.

Now, that can be overcome when the streak that typically starts in November and lasts throught the remainder of the season is defined by an 8-1 record as it was in 2008. That type of recovery saves seasons.

But that kind streak is simply hard to do in today's NFL. No one should bank on that to save a season.

So why do the Dolphins get off to such frustratingly slow starts?

This year the question must be asked how well conditioned was this team? Karlos Dansby told me after Sunday's victory over Washington that he weighed 270 pounds when he reported to camp? Was that typical of other players?

I know John Jerry wasn't ready to compete when camp started -- that's why he was running third team after starting much of last year. I know Vernon Carey struggled early in camp -- and that earned him a paycut and move from guard to tackle. I know Jake Long wasn't healthy, which has nothing to do with his weight but still affected his conditioning and play early on this season.

So there's that.

And then there's the idea that this coaching staff takes a good while to figure out its players. It is only recently that Reggie Bush has been settled into a niche he's comfortable with and effective in. It's just recently that these guys figured out Kevin Burnett would be better off not calling the plays for the defense.

(Story I'm told: During the San Diego game, Burnett calls a defense. The Chargers shred the Dolphins on the play. Afterward, players in the huddle are chattering about the call and Burnett tells them he didn't call that play even though many of them heard it and went with it.)

Karlos Dansby now calls the plays up front full-time.

One cannot blame early-season injuries on Miami's recent uptick even though cornerback Vontae Davis and running back Daniel Thomas have lately been more healthy and ready to contribute. Why do I dismiss those injuries as excuses?

Because everyone else in the NFL suffers injuries! It is an unacceptable rationalization to say, we have injured players so we stink.

The Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl last year with 15 players -- including seven starters -- on injured reserve. They won it starting Erik Walden at OLB after the Dolphins cut Walden (nice decision, by the way).

So I am at a loss. Why the constant early struggles? Why does it take so long for this team to roll, to reach potential?

I remember Don Shula's teams typically played great early in the season. For decades, the Dolphins had the NFL's best record in September and October. That carried on through Dave Wannstedt. (Unfortunately, Wannstedt's teams wilted in December and beyond, but that's another story.)

Yet, even late swoons seem better than having zero chance to play meaningful games in December because you failed to sprint off the line when the gun sounded and everyone else started running.

Frustrating? You bet.

I could more readily accept a team that is simply overmatched from the start of the season until the end than a team that is consistently slow in starting but teases by meeting its potential later in the year -- after it's clearly too late to really matter.

[Video reminder: If you want to discuss this or any Dolphins topic with me, you can call me. My radio show, Armando and the Amigo streams live video every Monday thru Friday right here at The Herald website. You may call in toll free from anywhere in the United States at 1-888.640-9385.]

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Catch me if you can...

Darn it! Almost caught him.

But yeah, Mando, Agree with you 100% - it is UNBELIEVABLY FRUSTRATING-

Meanwhile I gotta watch the Niners out here every week start hot and Staying hot

...Very frustrating. There isn't an identity to this team. Usually the case with losing teams. I would say that each individual is on an interview for the next regime. Try as a group to show there is something to build from. There are a few players who's job will be safe for next season, and obviously the next regime cannot cut everyone. But for many of the players here. Their future with this team, or in the NFL will be dependant on how they perform..Practices included.

As the football minds say. Try to get as much stuff on tape as it is the only way for some to be evaluated. Any lack of effort, or continual poor play will be a death sentance for the individuals career. This should keep most of this team competive. Even in this disater of aseason.

You want a story about Lettuce?

There once was a Lettuce - and we traded for it by giving up our GM and Coach.

The lettuce went 11-5 the next season and won the division.

Go to hell Fasano. Let's see you do it for a full season when it matters. Lose for Landry or blow for Barkley baby. Lettuce is great.

WOW! A well written, coherent blog entry! Refreshing, Armando.

I think it took them four weeks to recover from game one. Brady had them running all over the field. They didn't know if their arse was punched or bored. The coaches did not get them ready after that because they didn't believe in themselves.

A weak Oline also cost them some games.

Play calling during Sparano's reign has been for the most part poor. He is cheering on the team, instead of making the right calls at the right time. You can' be analyzing and fist pumping at the same time. Good coaches, like good chess players are 2 or 3 steps ahead of opponents.

the Sparano years have been really boring: no big plays, lots of field goals, inconsistent play...
I can only remember one truly fun game under Sparano (the Wildcat unveiling vs NE)

great bit a-man,but lets save the shoulda,coulda,woulda for golf.lol.I use that all the time with my game.

Everyone else and their mother knew reggie bush was not a guy who would pound the ball 20 times a game, and the coaches did not know this? They should not even be coaching in the nfl if it took them this long to figure that out. Please get rid of these a##holes!

This regime has run it's course. I hope Ross don't get fooled and think the ship is headed in the right direction. He can't retain Ireland. He must get a real GM with knowledge of the upcoming draft. Sparano, even thou the players play hard for him is not HC material. I don't think the fan base will react positive if no changes are made.

ARMANDO.

RECOVER GOOD,MY FOOT.THE WORD (( RECOVERY )) IS THE RIGHT WORD HERE,ONLY IF YOU HAVE THE CHANCE TO COMPLETE THAT RECOVERY AD OVER COME THE MISSTEPS AT THE START.................. THIS THE WRONG WORD TO USE AFTER 0-7............NO TEAM WOULD RECOVER FROM THAT .......................................................................................


PS...IT'S AMAZING ARMANDO CAN'T USE THE RIGHT WORDS I ENGLISH WHEN HE WRITES HIS POSTS EVEN HE' DIDN'T FINISH HIGH SCHOOL..............

(( BUFFET OF KNOWLEDGE ))..............

DON'T GET TOO EXCITED ARMANDO IT WAS JUST 2 GAMES AGAINST NOT VERY GOOD TEAMS WE WILL SEE MORE THIS SUNDAY, BUT YOU ARE RIGHT THEY WERE TERRIBLE THE FIRST 6 GAMES OR SO

This team wasn't ready to play at the start of the season. They wouldn't play complete games, they were gassed and there's been too many nagging injuries. That's on the players. They're supposed to be professionals and if they were serious about this season they would have been in tip top shape before the gun went off. They weren't, so they deserve what they get. The team and more importnatly the defence is only now ready to play....too late!
On top of that, you have to remember when they were losing they weren't playing all that bad and now that they are winning they aren't really playing all that good. Anybody think this team beats New England or Green Bay right now? No, me neither. They are doing enough to get by and when they were losing they were doing just enough to lose. I, foe one, am thankful that they are very likely going to have a top 5 pick and with that hopefully a young QB to help this team in the long run. I didn't want another 7-9 or 8-8 season. Be thankful for the close loses.

Dear Mr. Salguero

Captain Tony Sparano

The RMS Titanic

Captain Tony Sparano had this to say, Our lookout, Marc Colombo missed a block allowing the faster moving iceburg to sink the Titanic....we will get Marc Colombo some TE help on faster moving iceburgs in the future

The Exxon Valdez

Captain Tony Sparano had this to say, our lookout, Vonte Davis may have had one to many drinks before we struck a reef and spilled 750,000 barrels of crude oil.....we will get Vonte Davis some strong Coffee before we set sail again.


Soiled :)

mr soiled................

THE GARAGE MANAGER HAVE LEAKED THAT INFO ABOUT DAVIS'S DRINKING ,IN ATTEMPT TO SAVE HIS JOB...TOO LATE .

Thankyou for the info about Burnett, Arrmando. The difference has been seen with Dansby calling the plays. But, but, why should they let Burnett, who is new to the Team this year and that obviously does not know all the plays, call the defensive signals? Those are the kind of things with this Team that baffle me and make me suspect that somebody there doesn't have It all together.

Sure, now that we are winning lets bring in a new regime and start over. There is a reason sports writers don't coach. They are reactionary, not innovative.

Has anyone noticed we have several new free agents, a new offensive coordinator, and had a lockout? It took this long for them to gel, and they may still have some glitches to correct. If we keep the current team and coaching staff, and add another right tackle, a right side pass rusher, another defensive back, and another tight end, we move into top five territory.

Even if that takes two years, at least we can see the end in sight.

Starting over is not the solution.

Judging by these posts I see dolphin fans have digressed more then the team. Was there a sudden influx of no-nothing soccer fans added to the base?

Most of you would have hated the 72 dolphins, because of their 3 yards and a cloud of dust approach.

Wake up! Successful running teams are winning teams, no matter how you slice it. Look at the 49ers, they feature a two tightend running game. Passing is great, but Dan Marino will tell you it won't win the Super Bowl.

Hawk, wake up, if you compare the records of the top 101510 passing teams to the top 10, rushing teams you see a stark contrast. A .634 winning percentage vs a .522 winning percentage. Put the leather helmet away.

Oscar @ 7:59.....

That was an actual football post...congrats...and it was a good read...2 for 2...good job...why would anybody in their right mind take the play calling duties from 'THE BEST LB EVER....PERIOD!....that is baffaling tome.

HAWK1052....

lol...thanks for bring ing comedy to the blog....laughter is good for the soul....

That should be top 10 passing teams....

Anybody else notice how these sports writers in south Florida have been stealing off our blog?

After mando took the day off to siesta we started discussing qb options outside the top 3 college guys. We discussed peyton and matt Flynn in particular. Today I go to the sun sentinel and low and behold there are 2 different articles discussing peyton and Flynn as options.

Last week mando jumped all over kris' idea of Ryan mallet.

Thieves, didn't they tell you guys in journalism school to credit your sources and not simply take them as your own?

Erased my name by accident...the above is ofcourse....none other than your truly....KRIS...

Mark in Toronto...Thanks for the acknowledgment...

and your right...it woudn't kill ARmando or these other rip-off artist to credith their readership....when credit is due...

I'm on a differnt computer and this keyboard is to sensitve...especially the mouse....guess I will mostly read today....

coaching PERIOD

IF they keep attacking on offense and defense they will continue to won.

IF they get a lead and decide to sit on it like they did against the Giants and every other time they had an early lead they will lose.

omg. it was 2 useless wins."in the big pix", against 2 bottom feeders.lol

Erased my name by accident...the above is ofcourse....none other than your truly....KRIS...

Posted by: .... | November 16, 2011 at 08:49 AM

Hahaha...Nice try. BUSTED....

Bloggers....kris is one of the blog name changers here.... accident my azzzzzzzz

I'm on a differnt computer and this keyboard is to sensitve...especially the mouse....guess I will mostly read today....

Posted by: kris | November 16, 2011 at 08:53 AM

Nice try #2! Haha....sensitive keyboard especially the mouse? Wow that is a reach...and just what the heck does that mean? Sensitive mouse changes bloggers name hehe....does oyr mouse type?

kris...how many names DO you have..come clean now......

why are you at a loss mando. This is all coaching. Get rid of fat tony and bring in a coach that know how to prepare his team ready to go september 1st. Not november 1st. Tony is the problem.

craig, the players are suppose to be professionals but they are not. Unless you have a coach that can pound it into them they won't do it. If dansby showed up 25 lbs over weight then he should have been benched a couple of games and missed a couple of paychecks. No accountability is the reason this team is where it is and thats all on the coach. Tony should have never been hired. He's too nice to these guys. Well it will cost him his job.

If we want the Geico Caveman playing quarterback for our team next year this team needs to lose the remainder of it's games this season. Otherwise, they have no shot at him.

Wy would a guy(Burnett) be calling the plays for the Defense? He just got to the team during pre season. It decisions like these we ponder WTH Sparano is thinking?

New Players, New Captains, New Offense Coord, and new playbook. - Whatever.

Players looked Gassed in the begining of the season. They were not in game shape.


I'm on a differnt computer and this keyboard is to sensitve...especially the mouse....guess I will mostly read today....

Posted by: kris | November 16, 2011 at 08:53 AM


Nice try #2! Haha....sensitive keyboard especially the mouse? Wow that is a reach...and just what the heck does that mean? Sensitive mouse changes bloggers name hehe....does oyr mouse type?

kris...how many names DO you have..come clean now......

Posted by: Hehe | November 16, 2011 at 09:05 AM
------------------------------------------

Glad that you have taken so much intrest in an ADMITTED MISTAKE nameless/random blogger....
Kind of Ironic that YOU of all people....with a name that is rarely seen is accusing me of switching names...but whatever....I won't be your source of entertainment today....

This is the one and only post you will get on the subject....

read it as many times as you need to....after all...this post to YOU...HEHE...is proof that somebody took the time to write to you today....enjoy....just don't come looking for any more sympathy post from me....

Like others have said here, no mystery, coaching and organization is awful. Tony has his strengths like keeping his players motivated but he's obviously intellectually challenged. He's been consistently one step behind in 4 years here except for that one day in foxboro when the wildcat was unleashed.

KRIS HAS REVELED HIMSELF AS A GANG OF DEFEAT MEMBER AND POSTS UNDER DEFFERENT NAMES,HES PROBABLY CUBEN MENACE,HE IS NOW LOOKING FOR NEW PLACE TO LIVE AFTER PINAPPLE PRINCESS KICK HIM OUTTA HIS HOUSE.

Parity.

Every NFL team has very good players. Some teams have Better Players, but few have rosters that couldn't beat a college team.

Parity.

So the only thing that distinguishes a good team from a superior team may be a few extra superior players, and/or a concept more difficult to describe.

Parity.

If you take two teams that have similar stats and records and histories, say GreenBay and NewEngland, both in their prime, it then comes down to an intangible. Like having homefield advantage or better motivational signs in the locker room.

Parity.

These intangibles, I believe, include team psyche; which is very difficult to quantify. Maybe when science is more advanced we'll understand why Baltimore beats good teams, then loses to lesser teams...and why Miami's current regimn is so bad in September.

It's Me guys, Ill be posting for the next 8 hours with absolutly nothing with substance, And wondering why my employer is about to file for bankruptcy due to no production.

Blah Blah Blah HENNE,Blah blah blah SPORONO,Blah blah blah .

kris, thank you for your courteous response and admission. How many names do you blog under?

I nominate you as the first President of the Gang of Multiple Name Bloggesr.

(please tell us how the sensitive mouse can keyboard changed your name so it won't happen to the rest of us)

Blah Blah Blah.

While it was nice to get a couple of wins and not go into the record books as one of what I believe are only 3 Teams (Detroit, Cinncinati) to have 1-15 Seasons in a span of 5 years and I`m not sure if the Saints or Bucs aren`t part of that historically putrid group or even worse the only undefeated team in history with a winless Season as well, I still don`t see how you can associate the word recovered with any part of this throw away Season, a top to bottom change is needed and in my estimation you start with the "ARCHITECT OF THIS TRAIN WRECK" Ireland and work your way down, after all who assembled this underachieving bunch who quite frankly don`t really have the guns to compete.

At this point it wouldn`t suprise me to see the Rams deal their pick allowing somebody to move up for Landry, they have alot of needs and aren`t giving up on Bradford yet. This of course after the Colts take Luck, just don`t see Manning being able to do anything late this year making the Colts decision the most interesting in an Off-Season maybe ever!!! The Dolphins need a level headed decision maker pulling the trigger next year maybe even moving down a few spots as well in taking Barkeley. If not then we indeed will be stuck at the bottom for many Seasons to come.

As far as the players and their respective conditioning, I lay that at the Coaching staffs feet. The Lockout was over in time to get your feet under you and have a PreSeason to get in hitting shape, no excuses. I didn`t see alot of other teams saying that. The Dolphins just seem to have become a team full of excuses without the results, if anything what we saw were a rash of hamstring injuries do to not being in the right Football shape but not people sucking wind on there knees by Qt.2 of the opener like we were.

CHANGE THE CULTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

lol,u rogues r terrible.

DC, excellent posts today! I read them all twice! Keep it up.

I agree this is about coaching and terrible conditioning. This administration needs to go, need a new look, a new feel. Unfortunatly we have had 4-5 of those over the last 10 years some way or another. Maybe just maybe we get it right this upcoming year.

It is good to see Dansby play like the guy he can be. This is a VERY frustrating season. I wish more pieces were being removed so we could see progress to a "hopeful" change next year.

Thank you Unemployed, May I add Blah, Blah Blah Blah Blah. Oh and also, Blah blah blah... Blah.

TO THE TROL POSTING,AT LEAST DC HAS JOB AND EATS AT RESTERAUNTS NOT AT HOME LIKE YOU DO,YOU PROBABLY HAVING BREAD AND GOVERMENT CHESE WHILE DC EATS AT BURGER KING ORDERING THE LARGE FRYS.

The way the Dolphins are playing and how the schedule looks makes me think that the owner will say "Hey they could turn it around. Let me give them one more and let them run out their contract!" NOOOO!!! Actually, Sparano has the players respect and they play hard for him. Ireland ...mmm...not so much. I'd wish he'd go pick acorns somewhere else. Anybody wonder if Mr. Ross is going to fire Sparano/Ireland or is going to keep them for one more year. How about if they go a very possible 8-8?

Good morning guys,

I read Armando's piece and haven't read any of your post yet so I'm just shooting from the hip on this one.

First off this team beat KC and Washington. At KC is always tough but they have lost some of thier best players to injury this season in Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry and were over achieving before crashing back down to earth. And Washington please, they stink. When Grossman is your best option you know you have problems. So I'm not feeding into this team at all nor do I want to at this point. I am hoping they don't screw themselves out of Matt Barkley or Landry Jones.

As far as the early season woes the past few years we can blame Ross for that one. And unlike many I think Ross is the right owner trying to make a Miami franchise what it should be unfortunately for him he had to deal with Parcells and band of merrymen because of one fluke and wild(cat)season they preserved themselves for 3 more painful years. But Ross was the one who wanted the night games and the early season away games and that was what was once Miami's early season advantage. Because let's face it Miami isn't the loudest stadium by any means and their stadium is a joke but at least the weather was what they took advantage of.

Just my thoughts......

kris, thank you for your courteous response and admission. How many names do you blog under?

I nominate you as the first President of the Gang of Multiple Name Bloggesr.

(please tell us how the sensitive mouse can keyboard changed your name so it won't happen to the rest of us)

Posted by: Hehe | November 16, 2011 at 09:46 AM

Post of the Day!

Mark in Toronto, 9:36AM post, it is the sad reality of the Miami Dolphins...

Yea, not my biz, But if you don't like DC's posts, ignore him. But to mimic/put him down, is accomplishing nothing. He is a good poster here and usually respects everyone else.

If you have a personal issue with him, and your trying to get 1 up by coming here. I don't think it's working.

DR.ROBERT, "GANG OF MULTIPLE NAMES" IS NOT A CERTIFED GANG LIKE GANG OF DEFEAT.
( BUFFET OF KNOWLEDGE)

He is a good poster here and usually respects everyone else.


Posted by: Poizen | November 16, 2011 at 09:59 AM

Not to butt in, but that statement is not true. DC is hair trigger sensitive and goes off name calling and ridiculing many bloggers if he doesn't like their posts.

Glad that you have taken so much intrest in an ADMITTED MISTAKE nameless/random blogger....

Posted by: kris | November 16, 2011 at 09:30 AM

It's a blog...why would anyone go about using different names unless it was to add humor to a post? It's not spy vs spy over here it's a football blog

Yea, not my biz, But if you don't like DC's posts, ignore him. But to mimic/put him down, is accomplishing nothing. He is a good poster here and usually respects everyone else.

If you have a personal issue with him, and your trying to get 1 up by coming here. I don't think it's working.

Poizen | November 16, 2011 at 09:59 AM

DITTO !!!! Well said !!

Not to butt in, but that statement is not true. DC is hair trigger sensitive and goes off name calling and ridiculing many bloggers if he doesn't like their posts.
Posted by: Dr. Robert | November 16, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Many people do that, they prefer to fight about a topic rather than argue their points.

ALoco, large fry's. I'm still laughing over that one!!!


"(Story I'm told: During the San Diego game, Burnett calls a defense. The Chargers shred the Dolphins on the play. Afterward, players in the huddle are chattering about the call and Burnett tells them he didn't call that play even though many of them heard it and went with it.)"
________________________________________________

L...M...A...O!!!

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