« Looking ahead to the Bills who may or may not stink | Main | Plagued by 'moving parts,' coaches continue to nurture moving parts in the secondary »

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.]

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b26169e2015436ef8c77970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Miami Dolphins recovery good, slow starts bad:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

We seem to be in agreement fin4life......DC and I were looking to the future draft and building the team up for next year

The blog topic still doesnt address why "home cooking" has been so terrible over the past few seasons.

However, the slow starts, above average medium, and nose dive finishes can easily be explained. Actually it can be explained by none prop[erly addresses issues exististing on both sides of the ball.

When the trifecta took over, on offense right off the bat qb/wr wasnt properly addressed. Lets begin with qb:

Chad Henne always had history of playing down to competition at Michigan. Even the staunchest Michigan fan would tell you that. Yet this regime made him a 2nd rd pick.

Chad Pennington had history with shoulder injuries. Thats why he became available from the Jets. A good game manager does not a complete qb make.

Add this to the huge mistake at wr(bust Ernest Wilford), then The injury prone olinemen(Grove?Smiley).

This fo has had a huge issue with taking one step forward and two backwards at least for the past 3yrs. Depending how this 2010 offensive class turns out, I'll currently give them a pass on this class.

I was kidding about wanting to go 7-9...just trying to make a point. That would make it 3 years running and I would feel perpetually stuck in a Twilight Zone-ish, Groundhog season if it were to happen.

Out of curiosity, I checked to see the last time a 9-7 team earned a Wildcard in the AFC.

I would have bet that it had been many years and was very surprised to see that both wild card teams (Jets & Ravens) were 9-7 in....2009?

True story.

We'll prob beat the Bills because they are we we thought they were a 500 team. But Dallas, Philly, Jets, Pats will trounce us.

Breaking news!! For thoughs of you who care. The Vikings have just signed Benny Sapp! Missing some Sapp anyone?

I'm not so sure the Jets will trounce us Spiderman.

I think they are overrated

any new rumors on who our new coach and gm will be??

Ohio, They are overrated but what offense do we have against there defense.

I like the assisant gm from the the Steelers and the QB coach from the Panthers. Although Cam looks like he coming back down to earth.

Jets could win that, but there is a good chance it wouldn't be a trouncing.

Ohio D,

I tend to agree about the Jets being overrated but if they`re in it when we play again Miami would need it`s best game to win while the Jets won`t, there in lies the difference. Rex who should be our HC by the way will have his team believing at Seasons end and we might by that point have some guys looking not to get hurt ect.. These guys aren`t playing for Sparano fisty pumps but themselves and they won`t be looking to give the same type of effort IMHO.

If the Jets were going to playoffs wouldn't they be the one's trying not to get hurt, while we would have guys trying to play hard for jobs next year? (whether on this team or a different one)

..Here is a thought. Far off, but not too unrealistic knowing the recent history...

Does anyone think that if Snachize continues to play at a Henne-esc rate. That Fat Rex would be done with him, and the jets would be the team looking to trade for Peyton Manning, knowing they have about the same window Manning does for a run at the cup?

...@4:33 Sorry for the long sentence. My mistake.


DC, I'm not convinced Ireland will be following Sparano to the unemployment line.

He may stay until after the draft at least to aid the transition. Possibly remain GM. Will depend on if we hire a big name or a 1st timer.

Big name will want his own guy but will likely keep Ireland, at least until after the draft. Young candidate & Ireland may remain the GM.! Heaven help us!

Don't get too excited just yet!

Posted by: Joe Schmoe | November 16, 2011 at 03:23 PM

Don't want to burst any bubbles, but, in the history of the NFL, NO GM EVER stayed on to "aid in the transition" until after the draft.

Besides, if the new regime wanted Ireland to hang around for ANY reason, they'd be too stupid to consider hiring.

That's just what we need, a dumb front office and even dumber fans.

Buy a clue man.

Clarence,

Your eloquent well written posts seem suspiciously familiar but in any event I`ll humor you. Do you truely believe the players trust Sparano to lead them to a title?? At the end of the day isn`t that what it`s all about the elusive S.B. ring, I don`t doubt there are players in the Locker room who truely like Sparano as a person but doubt the Vets believe in him much. Three of his best players since arriving in 2008 have been critical of him in the press.

You now who the last so called "Players Coach" was on the Dolphins?? It was Dave Wannstedt who the young JT and Zach swore by and defended tooth and nail. I don`t doubt at the end of the day they like him personally but doubt if his style or Coaching staff have complete control of their collective attentions at this point. If that is the case on such a young team what would be the effect when adding Vet leadership which might call him out and this we all know has also been part of the problem regarding Vet players under this bunch which in Sparano`s case has more to do with not wanting to be called out than it does anything else, I honestly believe this.

I by the way picture you as a little red headed girl with freckles, gapped toothed from being a thumb sucker with the curious nature of sniffing everything she scratches, so I believe I will refer to you as Dorthy Fleming from now on.

DD, I do think the jets would be in the running. 3 years on here and the jets passing game is barely average at 20th overall. Even their once vaunted run game has become poor. The only thing they do well is defend the pass. The jet empire is indeed regressing. I don't see much difference between the jets and us right now in terms of talent. We do some things better, they do some things better but in the end ...

The Jets are in the running for any high profile free agent. Holmes, Plax, Tomlinson, Scott, ect... It seems to be their way now.

hopefully we hire a great mind for offense finally. and a new fresh young gm. cant wait to get this season over and start the revamping! draft will be great, we better stay in the top 5 picks

..fin4life...I agree. Both Bong Pipe, and Chowder were critical of this regime. Maybe a little out of frustration, maybe a bit from their own deficiencies. But they both spoke out against the team, and how it was run during their time here. I go back to this point a lot. But if you look at some of the free agents brought in here over the last 4 years... How many have been better here, then before? Wake? Maybe CP, but he had some good years as a jet. There has to be a reason that the system here has been a failure.

duh u couldnt be more wrong, they may keep ireland around till after the draft, but the new gm will make all the decisions. many teams have done this as they dont want any other team knowing who they like and want.

If the Jets were going to playoffs wouldn't they be the one's trying not to get hurt, while we would have guys trying to play hard for jobs next year? (whether on this team or a different one)

Ohio Dolfan | November 16, 2011 at 04:04 PM

I think it`s the other way around how many teams have you seen fold when mathematically out. How many teams in contrast have you seen a half game out or holding a one game lead play lights out, You only need remember the 2009 Jets who were a Shone Greene injury from shoking the Colts at home to go to the SB. I don`t want anybody to come at me with some non-sense about being a Jet fan or anything like it because I hate the puke green and the idiot in the fire helmet as much as anybody but facts are facts if they have a chance Rex will have them ready to go, just not sure we have the same fight competely out of any shot at anything.

Blaw Blaw Blaw Blaw, Also Blaw blaw blaw Blaw, And Finally Blaw Blaw Blaw Blaw.

Who Said play-offs?. Really?, Really?

.fin4life...I agree. Both Bong Pipe, and Chowder were critical of this regime. Maybe a little out of frustration, maybe a bit from their own deficiencies. But they both spoke out against the team, and how it was run during their time here. I go back to this point a lot. But if you look at some of the free agents brought in here over the last 4 years... How many have been better here, then before? Wake? Maybe CP, but he had some good years as a jet. There has to be a reason that the system here has been a failure.

Darryl Dunphy | November 16, 2011 at 04:47 PM

It`s been one of their most damning failure and have often read you refering to it and always agreed. I don`t think they (Bifecta) have the juice to land anybody at this point unless they pull a Dansby (highest paid at position)Look at Harbaugh in one year at S.F. and ask yourself at what point do you call the kettle black and pull the plug


fin4life................. RECOVERY GOOD .7 LOSSES NO GOOD .

Dorthy,

Shula was hated by some but respected and the players followed ther leader. I see a big difference here with how the players feel about Sparano the man as opposed to the Coach, that`s my point in a nut shell. How is the weather in your Irish mountain side sheep ranch by the way, ahh Dorthy just think it will all one day belong to you and Sheamus.

Trust past history about the fins, They lost there last 5 games last year(Including abeatdown by the pats where at halftime the score was 42 to 0) these loser players will fold up the tent in another two weeks., Sporono and Ireland should be tried for crimes against humanity.

DID ARMANDO FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL ? WHY DID HE STEAL KRIS'S IDEA AND LINES WHEN HE WROTE HIS POST ABOUT MALLET ?


GOOD 2 WINS,
7 LOSSES NO GOOD .

heading home, catch everyone later

THE WORST THING IS....

THE GARAGE MANAGER and THE PIZZA MAN WOULD NOT ALLOW THIS TEAM TO DRAFT FIRST OR SECOND ...WE WILL WIN SOME DUMB GAMES AND LOSE IN THE DRAFT..................

EAT A diCK CLARENCE.

Aloco, Whats for Dinner tonight?, Any Ideas?

BUFFET OF KNOWLEDGE ///


2 WINS ,GOOD
7 LOSSES ,NO GOOD

MORE WINS..GOOD
WE LOSE BIG IN THE DRAFT , NO GOOD .

FAKE ALoco @ 5;11 pm...I NEVER USE THAT LANGUAGE

LOL At Clarence. Thats some funny stuff.

MY DINNER..........

FRIED WHOLE CAT FISH AND CALAMRI.

RICE PILAF
PANNA COTTA

I WISH I LIVED IN THE 1960'S ....WAS MUCH BETTER WORLD .........................

Aloco, Iam getting take out, Should I go for Pizza or Chinese food?

MAndo, who is replacing Darlington? The tweets about opponent calls have stopped. Are you guys even on those con calls? What did gaily have to say? what did jackson have to say? Come on someone in herald needs to step up to the tweeter.

NEITHER.............. PIZZA TAKE OUT IS THE WORST FOOD WHICH IS DELIVERED IN PLASTIC BAG FOLLOWED BY CHINESE WHICH IS DELIVERED IN BLACK PLASTIC BAG LIKE THE MAFIA .

BOULDER,


DOES IT MATTER WHO REPLACES DARLINGTON ? HE WILL BE REPLACED BY OSCAR .

Repent and Turn to Jesus/Messiah and be saved before the soon Wrath of G-D comes to punished the Wicked !

http://www.youtube.com/user/MrArpas123

doesnt take a genius to know we are one of the worst teams in the nfl. but changes are coming fellas, a new staff and gm will do wonders and draft a qb

DUSTY, (( WILL DO WONDER )) COMMENT prove THIS FAN BASE ISN'T REALISTIC AT ALL .........


2 WNNS, VERY GOOD
7 LOSSES ,NOT GOOD ...FROM ARMANDO'S DESK .

lotta games left in the season.

Fasano is very underrated and under-appreciated.
Do we still need a pass catching TE? Yes 100% true but not to replace Anthony Fasano. To compliment him and create mismatches in the middle of the field. IMO Fasano has been close to pro bowl good for this team and is a very valuable player.

Madame Foo, that's a valid point re: Shula. Obviously his success made the 'hatred' come with a healthy dose of respect as well. Sparano doesn't have that, no question.

What's the best way to season a wok, anyway?

Clarence | November 16, 2011 at 05:12 PM

Dear Ms. Dorthy Fleming,

It pleases me we finally agree on something by the way a Wok is a frying pan, learn child, however I do highly recommend Dim Sum for Sunday brunch. I was wondering if you recommend Haggis in a pre heated oven or if stewed was better. Im sure you`ve had plenty on your sheep ranch and by the way when you castrate the sheep do you do it in the traditional Irish mode of removing with your teeth.

It'd be nice to get a 6"6 pass catching TE like Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert or Stanford's Coby Fleener. Depending on how draft goes both should be available 3rd round. Both great receivers and 6'6.

FASANO SHOWED UP IN THE LAST GAME VS AND THE OTHER 8 GAMES HE WAS NO GOOD.


FASANO GOOD LAST WEEK .


FASANO NO GOOD LAst 18 games ...


GIVE FASANO THE PRO BOWLER A RAISE .

disagree w that ALoco. He had a stint of drops couple years ago but otherwise has been very solid.

BEERPHIN,


OUR PLAYERS NEED A NEW COACH THAT SCARES THE HELL OF THEM ,NO PLAYER SHOULD GOING THROUGH THE SEASON LIKE THIS YEAR .

MISI
ODRICK
BESS
BUSH
FASANO
BERGER
SMITH
THE DRUNK DAVIS
DANSBY ...THE BEST PLAYER WHO EVER PLAYED THE GAME ,WITH RECORD 4-20 IN THE LAST 24 GAMES ................................


FASANO ..SAME RECORD .............BUFFET OF CRAP .

WHY OUR GARAGE MANGER PASSED ON ANDY DALTON AND GOT GATES,POUNCY AND D.THOMAS ........................

Aloco,

I`ll give Dorthy credit, the Mrs. June Ridgehart thing is pretty funny. You just need to flip it on Lil Miss Fleming. You after all have been one of the best at running with a gag and turning it on people. By the way in which gang will we put Dorthy anyway. I figure the Pineapple Express works, your thoughts???

FIN4LIFE//////

LIFE IS SHORT.................
AGREE WITH YOU ON YOUR CHOICE OF THE ,PINEAPPLE EXPRESS .....

Aloco,

That is exactly what this team needs, a HC that will kick them all straight n their keesters. I believe your being hard on Garbage Managers when you refer to the G.M. I hear it`s a tough gig and you gotta deal with Gangsters to boot. Ireland woud probably end up in a dumpster some place if you gave him that job. Ireland is now the septic tank poop inspector

DID ANY ONE HEARD FROM THE CUBAN SINCE HE WAS KICKED OUT OF HIS GIRL FRIEND'S CONDO AND AFTER HE WENT TO LIVE DYING BREED IN HIS STUDIO ?

Aloco,

I`ve got it, "THE SEPTIC TANK POOP EVALUATOR"

FIN4LIFE...................NOW I REMEMBER I CALL YOU A MEMBER OF THE GANG OF DEFEAT HEADED BY DB ...

I AM SORRY TO YOU ,PLEASE ACCEPT ...

Aloco,

Unfortunatly Cuban Menace got DB a job at the Police property room and all the drugs went missing. There both unemployed now and Breed is hanging at the Soup Kitchen. Cuban went to a trailer park in Jersey but he will get back on his feet.

« 1 2 3 4 5 »

The comments to this entry are closed.