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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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Yeah Aloco,

The Vontae Davis thing is especially disappointing but it isn`t like they didn`t know he slides in his draft because there was alot of talk about him and his partying not practicing ect... Remember his big Bro Vernon was the same way and only now about 5 or 6 years in is he producing consistently.







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

ALoco | November 16, 2011 at 05:17 PM

Sorry pal but disagree with you here, the 60`s??

1) Civil rights movement in full swing with Nation wide riots after the assasinations of Malcom X and MLK.

2) Assasinations of both Kennedy Bro`s, who would have probably both been President with Bobby the better of the two.

3)Assasinations usher in the Nixon era with his paranoia and Gestapo ways.

4) 500,000 U.S. troops sent to Vietnam.

5) The U.S. on the verge of Civil collapse when Natl. Guard shoots Univ. students at Kent College.

6) Life expectancy 60 years.

7) The Cold War.

Every Generation deals with it`s set of trials and tribulations and we will persevere as well.


Fin4, I lived through it all, the 1960's were a better time than now....in spite of all that occurred! Things are worse now, look at the markets.....bad!


That coupla Injun Teams we beat the last 2 weeks, and we beat them handily, are NOT among the worse in the Leaue and just a bit below average. So, at this point, we can safely say that we are an average Team. Now, Buffalo is an average to slightly above above average Team, so if we beat them or lose but play them tough we'll be in their same category.


No I was born in 72 still 7 months shy of 40 but I did minor in History and loved it, am very versed on our History and won`t be answering any questions like who attacked the U.S. at Pearl Harbor with answers like the Nazi`s for example. Mistake about our History I`ve seen alot of people make amongst others. It`s the total loss of our Culture which is incredible with todays kids knowng even less


Now, Dallas is a very good, and the way they are playing now, might be an elite Team. Our game against them in a couple of weeks will be very helpful in clarifying where The Dolphins stand as compared to the rest of the League.

For me one of the reasons of the slow starts is the lack of cohesion in the offensive line. Starting each season the offensive line is different always experimenting with changes of positions, new players, player playing out of their natural position, etc. Take for instance, Samson Satele, Ireland exchange centers with the Raiders and Satele step up his game, the center we got from Raiders got injured again with us, and we ended with no one good at center.

Fin4, I lived through it all, the 1960's were a better time than now....in spite of all that occurred! Things are worse now, look at the markets.....bad!

redsky | November 16, 2011 at 07:19 PM

Good to hear from you been a while my friend, you and I have talked History before and won`t dispute you 1st hand knowledge of the facts but in the era your Generation dealt with great uncertainty as well. You were almost part of armageddon for real, in the Cuban Missle Crisis

The market?

Thing about the 60's that bothered me was the amount of my friends that died from overdoses, or on drug deals gone wrong, or simply got their minds blow off. But the market was fine.


"Oscar, I've told you many times you don't belong with this People", Rafael.

We need to find out by the end of the Season where we stand as compared to the very good Teams in the League so as to better direct the effort to match them next Season.

I bet you younguns don't know that an average to above average Team can beat a very good team if they use the proper Game plan. Shula used to do it all the time.(1st game vs Buffalo, 1990).

Poor Morris, he's very worried about all that $ he's going to lose if GB goes unbeaten. Don't worry, man, it's unlikely. Besides, you've made enough.

Fin4, I appreciate your knowledge of history and comments! My parents and I emigrated from Cuba in 1961. I became a cop in SoFla in 1975, I was 22. So I did live through the turbulent 60s. Served in Nam and served the SoFla community as a cop for 34 years. 11 of which were as a Lieutenant in Homicide. I loved our Dolphins then and now.....I hated to see the house that Shula built get torn down!!!

Oscar, you are always on point! I appreciate the intellect.

Yeah, yeah here I go again trying to make people follow my ways. But I can't help it. I think this Country is excessively $ oriented at the expense of other fundamental Human values; and look at the hole we are in.

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.

Posted by: dusty bottoms | November 16, 2011 at 04:48 PM

Huh? Many teams? How about NONE! Never! Hasn't happened, C'mon MAN!

Your sentence doesn't even make sense. Do you even read what you post? How does this work? In your mind I mean?

C'mon MAN! Do you really believe this? You think Ross will hire a new GM and Ireland will just hang around as what? A figure head? LOL! You got ta be out yo ever loving mind. Not even in Madden Bro.

1. How would Ross hire another GM and keep Ireland in ANY capacity?

2. THEN, how does having two GM's keep any other teams guessing?


A solid,broad based Education is essential to protect yourself from the attacks of Consumerism(and many other things). But this country survives in part from the huge push on People to spend as much as possible! No more, redsky; we have to match up to the rest of the Worlds now. There will be very difficult times ahead during the process of re-adjusting the American Dream. But at the end in my opinion, it will be better, much better.

Oscar, it's evolution! Survival of the fittest. Very simple! When it comes to politics it's dog eat dog my friend!

The team started 0-3 in 2008. That was Penny's first season. According to you, in this blog, Penny's game was not NFL level. That is why the team had to invent a BACKDOOR offense called the wildcat to cover up for Parcells giving Penny a $10mil contract without a physical.

Let's blame the slow start on Henne.

The thing was. redsky. that the Group that regulates the finances of the World wanted to downgrade us too much, too fast, and we rebelled. Now, I believe a compromise has been reached where both parts are satisfied.

THE BEST MUSIC WAS PRODUCED DURING THE 60'S ,PEOPLE WERE REAL ,NOT Fake like today.and chins nixon didn't even went there and taught them how to screw us yet .this happened in 71,,,,

worst mistake ever ,nixon went to china to show them how to become rich and they did...............

today we all the crap coming from china .

oscar...leave the finances alone ,please ..............

I think WE the PEOPLE have to take back this Government, FOR THE PEOPLE!

America FIRST, for AMERICANS!!!!

A greedy, slimy conglomerate or thieves have stolen this country and they're content to run it into the ground as long as they make a profit. They don't care about America or Americans, but they have control.

By whatever means necessary, we have to take back OUR country!

Unite with your local Militias and join forces with ARP(American Reconstruction Party). Act now, as the difficulty of this task is steadily increasing!

Your Apathy is lending to the Castastrophy!


It's even worse than that:

Companies swindle us for the benefit of the shareholders. The thing is everyone with a retirement account is a shareholder. So companies are swindling us for our own benefit.
And we don't even know that we are the owners and have voting rights to change the board of directors and therefore the management/policies of the companies.

Back to the QB, I like the go for the best available in the first round; but I also think we may have a chance of getting Flynn from GB for Henne and maybe a low rounder. Both are in similar contracts with only one year left, I think. Flynn won't stay behind Rodgers and I think Henne would be glad to for the possible development.That way both teams may get needed prospects for players they will definitely loose after their current contracts expire.
Each team covers their QB spot.


Thanks for the repost a few days ago. Grandma jumpimg off the buckboard to change a sissies diaper was fun to write...unfortunitly, sad to address.

At any rate, Glad to see the chimp, "0cliterious to rid Odinseye" has finally vanished. Hope that crowd drowns on a sodden log in mid-pacific. Or in a muddy ditch, for what it's worth.

Ironic, V. Davis Grandma is quoted in the Sentinal. Nobody commented. I did. You may snicker at this post.

Here is the post:

Please don't let your Grandma, and us fans down. Mostly your flesh and blood. We fans don't even begin to compare w/ that bond...

Will say one thing: I don't care if you are a partier. Like Ricky Williams didn't spend a pretty nickle on a great time here and there, duhhh... But Run-Ricky-Run still had his act together on game day.

Remember that Heisman Trophy winner? Yeah, of course... who doesn't?

You need to step up and warrent your 1st round draft with some crafty, serious, ball play... or you willl be remembered as a BUST!
Get an interception this week against the bills... or freakin get lost.

Refuse to use my old name...trolls jump upon that name like a freeway - even turning it black and blue in disregard...

Guess who I am Cy

Joe Schmoe,

I know U out there Dawg.

I know U creeping dis Blog!

I know you're avoiding Me.

But there's one thing I'd like you to See!

You said we keep Ireland until after the Draft.

But like Duh said, that ideas just Daft!

Here's a heads up, between you and Me.

Duh said it best and I have to Agree!

Joe, Joe, Joe, what do YOU Know?

You call yourself Schmoe, but I think you Blow!


Would this be the SECOND Time I recognized your writing style?

I'm about 99.9% sure, but I'm not tipping off the Trolls ;)

Yes, yes, YES!

We have a winter weather advisory calling for 2 to 8 inches of snow tonight, with high winds and Lake effect snow possibly delivering MORE!

I can't wait to get out in my Deer Blind in the morning. Fresh Snow ALWAYS makes for better Hunting.

I got a six pointer already so I have to do better to use my next Tag!

Let it SNOW, let it SNOW, let it SnooooooooooooW!


Another repost:

Will say one thing: I don't care if you are a partier. Like Ricky Williams didn't spend a pretty nickle on a great time here and there, duhhh... But Run-Ricky-Run still had his act together on game day.

You need to step up and warrent your 1st round draft with some crafty, serious, ball play... or you willl be remembered as a BUST!
Get an interception this week against the bills... or freakin get lost.

Posted by: . | November 16, 2011 at 10:58 PM

PS: Ditto - What "PERIOD" said!!!!

Armando, the simple answer to your question is because they suck!

ALoco caught sleeping in drunken stupor on donut #22 at Dunkin Donuts. Aloco fired and is now enjoying government cheese washed down by night train wine.

Ah the sixties...free love, no deadly STD's, Columbian Gold, Big Bambu, The Beatles, The Stones, Jimi Hendrix...free love...love free, and free love. Saying hello was the most effective pick up line! Take me back!

Salinger, you forgot Maui Wowee and it was Panama Gold!

The Sixties!

I was just a Baby then and missed out on most of it.

I remember my first 45 record though. It was Come Together on the original Apple Records Label.

I remember my first Baby Sitter too. She was a Beautiful Blue Eyed Blonde. She seemed Six Feet tall way back then, had a Rack like Raquel Welch.

She was so kind and sweet. She'd let me sit on her lap and I'd drool all over the Tie Dyed Bandana she called a shirt(yes, they wore Bandana's as shirts back then :)

I don't know if it was instincts or if I was just trying to Breast Feed. I do know those two were TRULY my Best Bosom Buddies!

Ah Yes, The Sixties!


PS: It was Colombian Gold and Panamanian Red!

Ty Stick when we could get it ;)

Thai Stick, and oh....hasheessh! We used to cut down bamboo trees, they make natural bongs! They are bright green and as they dry out turn colors. Double high!

The sixties turmoil was petty cash compared to todays nonsense. Nuclear threats, daily stock market meltdowns, fragil global economy, upside down mortgages, China and India kicking our buts in high tech, genetically modified foods - not even the bees can find their way home after ingesting that stuff and now you have to WORK for that FREE LOVE!

Has been a while since I've posted here. And the only thing Our beloved Miami Dolphins have been able to do since then is go for a field goal when We had Andruw Luck in the red zone. So be it.I recently heard that the USC qb would be welcomed. In essence, I am a Miami Dolphins fan.Plus a couple of years agoI saw him go into the horseshoe and beat the Buckeyes at home.Seems auspicious!

You people really need to start giving DC Dolfan and his sister Krissy some respect

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