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Earth to Dolphins: Let's be realistic, honest

A quick survey of the Dolphins locker room these days gives you an interesting perspective of the players' world versus the real world.

In the players' world, this team is much better than its record. This team is truly gifted. This team has the horses to compete with anyone. In the players' world, the season still offers some grand opportunities and, depending on whom you ask, the Dolphins still have a chance at the playoffs -- it's the "We're not out of it until we're out of it" mentality.

You have to take some of this in stride. I love an optimist as much as anyone. I admire men who fight to the last bullet and then, lacking ammo, throw the gun at the opponent. I will never criticize the idea that until the math says otherwise, any reach at extending the season is possible.

But I draw the line at cross-eyed analysis of what is otherwise a very clear picture.

On Monday I heard Davone Bess say the Dolphins "can play with upper-tier teams." His suggestion is that Miami is every bit the equal of those teams.

Well, that is simply not true.

The Dolphins have not beaten a winning team this year. The Chiefs, Bills, and Redskins -- the teams Miami has beaten -- are all under .500. Overall, the Dolphins are 3-2 against teams that are under .500.

And the Dolphins are 0-6 against teams currently at .500 or better.

Miami has five games left, with three of those -- Sunday versus Oakland, at New England and the Jets in the finale -- against teams that are over .500. The Eagles and Bills are currently under .500 so one assumes Miami has a good chance of actually winning in those games given the season's trend.

Talk to other players and the common thinking in the locker room is there is lots of talent in there. I had a very enlightening sit-down with Brandon Marshall a few weeks back and one part of the conversation that was not published was our exchange about the talent on the team.

I told him flatly, that the team doesn't have enough talent.

"I don't agree with you," he said. "We have ballers in there. I look at all that talent and talent isn't the problem. We're just not executing."

Marshall and I had to agree to disagree on the topic because while the Dolphins do have ballers -- Jake Long, Marshall, Yeremiah Bell, Bess usually, Cameron Wake, Karlos Dansby among them -- they don't have enough ballers. They don't have consistent ballers. And they don't have ballers in all the right places.

They don't have ballers in positions that make a big difference -- such as OLB, WR, KOR, FS, PR, QB, and RB.

They have solid players at TE, CB and DE, but none of those guys have proven to be difference-makers (Jared Odrick has potential, so the jury is still out there and I still have not given up on Vontae Davis).

So "all that talent" talk is relative. There is talent.

But it's not busting out the seams of the locker room. Dolphins coaches didn't pound their heads on desks in disgust, knowing good players were about to be let go, when they needed to make roster cuts. There hasn't been a big number of players that have left Miami this year and gone on to grand accomplishments with other teams.

So that abundance of talent is a myth.

Quick, name me which offensive players on the Dolphins would start on the Patriots? Marshall. Long. Mike Pouncey. That's it.

The Patriots, meanwhile, have eight players that would start on the Miami offense. That's the talent gulf between the teams on offense.

The Jets?

Marshall, Long, Incognito are the only Miami starters who would start tomorrow for New York. Sorry, Nick Mangold would start ahead of Pouncey and Matt Moore would not start ahead of Mark Sanchez. Sanchez is no prize. I'm not a fan. But he's more consistent than Moore.

This is not to put down Miami players.

I'm simply trying to be real here and not write about elves and unicorns.

The interesting thing I see in the Dolphins locker room is an attitude that I would expect in a college locker room. I see guys giggling about celebration dances. Really?

I don't see grown men understanding that they have issues and then talking seriously about those issues so that they can find solutions.

I don't hear players saying, "We need to fix what is obviously broken because we realize if we don't, we might not be around here next year."

I don't hear, "What has happened this year is unacceptable and I am making it my business to pick my personal game up the final five games so that I can be counted among players who are part of the solution rather than part of the problem."

I don't hear guys saying, "I am focused on playing at the top of my game the final five games, better than I've played at any portion of my career."

Last week, Clyde Gates told the Miami Herald he was "having fun" playing this year and seemed oblivious to the idea that he has been a non-factor on offense this year. I grant you he is a rookie, but, c'mon man! This is professional football. Stay at the facility an extra couple of hours and learn how to break down the opponent. Ask more questions so you can know what exactly you must work on. And stay on the field after practice and work on those things until you bully your way into some gameday snaps. December arrives tomorrow. Giddyup!

You know, the Dolphins coaching staff and personnel department talks about getting players with "the right makeup."

I grant you a never-say-die-attitude should be part of that right makeup. But a sober and stubborn desire to improve something that's obviously not right or good enough should also be part of that makeup.

And that means recognizing and then addressing those things that are messed up. That means not wasting time thinking that there is enough talent and the goal is still to make the playoffs when, in fact, every shred of tangible evidence says that's not reality.

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Flossing....brb

DUDE--Let's be honest about something else.

YOU ARE DEBBIE DOWNER IN PANTS!

Isn't it bad enough that we have to watch another pathetic Dolphins season? Why do we need some never-played-ball putz constantly pouring salt in the wounds?

They suck! We know it! Now find some positives because all you're doing is taking something from depressing to suicidal!

You can write my man. "cross-eyed analysis of what is otherwise a clear picture" ...

Dang!

Yawn.

Analytically, you write some of the best articles. I agree with 98% of what you said, but would give a little bit more credit to Matt Moore & Anthony Fasano.

Geez...it would be great if the players could walk around with their heads down and acting all gloomy.

BTW, they have played with everyone on the sked.

Sorry Armando....gotta crash your blog with a few thoughts of my own....
-----------------------------------------------------
The Colts should be fined for the way that have conducted themselves since learning Manning would be out for the season....

They have done nothing to even remotely attempt to improve themselves....and everything to make themselves worse.....

Garrard.....sitting out ( he has recently had back surgery be cause of lack of interest).....why isn't he the QB of the Colts...

No....they have decided that Dan Orlosvky is a much better starter.....never heard of Orlovsky???me neither....but the fact that he had a hand in the Lions 0-16 season should tell you everything you need to know about HIM.....and the Colts motives....

Instead of taking money out of DB and FS pockets for what should be LEGAL.....hard hits....he should be looking into taking draft picks from teams that tank the season......especially as blatant as this.....

This is NOT the equivalent of resting your players for the play-offs.....this is out right FRAUD and COLLUSION purpertrated against the NFL BRASS....the other 31 teams.....and most importantly....the FANS......

Posted by: kris | November 29, 2011 at 07:40 PM

The Colts are gonna bench Curtis Painter......because he suck?????possibly....

but more likely they don't want him to accidentally figure out how to play the QB position.....that could lead to a win....can't have that....

So the Colts with nothing to lose....and a Back-up QB with everything to gain (in terms of experience for next year)....will bench Painter....and prepare the team and fans for final approach....as the descent gets steeper.....one can look out the window and see their final destination.....

......Andrew Luck

Posted by: kris | November 29, 2011 at 07:49 PM

Peyton Manning may be out for the season.....did the Colts even make an attempt for VY.....Carson Palmer.....shoot....Brett Favre.....

and the Commish loves it...because soon....one of his darling franchises will be back on the way to the top.....

Posted by: kris | November 29, 2011 at 07:53 PM

Or so they think.....Luck will have to earn it....like everyone before him...

Posted by: kris | November 29, 2011 at 07:54 PM

Now.....back to your regular scheduled blog.....

wasn't kris one of the suck for luckers? what a hypocrite.

Nope Troll...I was not.....Go find it...the post it.....until then...STFU....

OK?

OK......

I agree with the players that there is a great deal of talent on this team who have not showed up until the past five to six games. I was expecting us to be very competitive this year because we do have a great deal of talent and for whatever reason (shortened offseason, new players/system) we came out the gate unprepared. I do believe we will finish the season strong and with a foundation to build on.

Armando.....GREAT ARTICLE......below is my favorite part.....
----------------------------------------------------
I don't hear, "What has happened this year is unacceptable and I am making it my business to pick my personal game up the final five games so that I can be counted among players who are part of the solution rather than part of the problem."
---------------------------------------------------

Can't add to that....outstanding......

talent? we are 3-8, must not have much talent

i was def a suck for lcuk, wish we had shot at him. now a pointless 3 wins is killing our draft

Armando again you are nailing it. I have never played a professional snap but I certainly know that jobs are on the line the rest of the way. Dolphin players better wake up!

Never could get on the suck for Luck wagon.....and I could never condemn those that were on it....

I understood both sides....and couldn't commit to either.....

For me it was a gray issue.....even DC got to call me what I usually call him....a fence rider...i rode the fence.....

I don't know why I am explaining myself troll....most likely you will come back with a childish insult.....and I will ignore you from that point forward.....

thats how these conversations go....right?

kris just wish that we had kept losing. maybe we can still get barkley

The players know that they have the talent to be a competitive team and that they underperformed and did not execute for the first 7 games of the seasons which is inexcusable. Since the Denver game there has been improvement in play each week just far too late for this season but we do have something to build on next year.

good god, go back on hiatus you ugly dumbass, every article you've written since you've come back has been negative, you're a waste of life.

..Armando. I agree with your critique. The orginization must be taken to task by the local writers, fans, and even within. There is absolutley no reason that this franchise should be in the straits in which it is now.
If those who care about the future of this team are offended by your objective stance on the state of our team..Too bad..

Be vocal. Let it be known that 3 wins isn't good enough. 8 wins isn't good enough. Marc Columbo isn't good enough. Not having a quality quarterback for a generation..Not good enough. Finally. Jeff Ireland, and Tony Sparano. Not good enough. I understand that Miami is a different place. That for most. there are better things to do on a Sunday, then watch the garbage product that we have been forced fed. I understand people have lives, and could care less about something so inconsequencial as a football team. But for those who do care, that want to see a product they can feel proud to support. Who doesn't want to be the laughing stock of their friends every Sunday. Say it Loud..Make it known that you will not settle for mediocre.

lets see we beat an awful kc team, a horrible bills team, and barely beat a horrid washington team. pointless wins costing us our future

Dusty....the fan in me won't allow me think like that.....but I do understand that way of thinking....

My guess is that RGIII slips.....and we possibly pick him up.....OR....they trade up to get him after the top 3 fall off the board.....

and don't forget my VERY UNPOPULAR Mallet scenario.....

But thats OK...because My chants for Palmer were meant with equal jeers....and he seems to be finding his way quite nicely in Raider Nation....


This was spot on Mando.I bleed aqua and orange but I have picked up the same vibe by just reading player interviews. I think its mostly lack of leadership. That starts with the HC.

Reggie Bush had a great quote during training camp. The press was marveling at how he would stay after practice and work on strength and conditioning and Bush said something along the lines of "I don't understand how I'm the only one out here."

Enough said.

just get US A NEW COACH,GM AND QB AND WE WILL START TO WIN


Geez...it would be great if the players could walk around with their heads down and acting all gloomy.

BTW, they have played with everyone on the sked.

Posted by: Hayden Fox | November 29, 2011 at 07:57 PM

Mando didn't say the players should be gloomy. But realistic. Do you understand reality?

It means the idea of playing with teams on the schedule is a loser's way of thinking. The idea is to BEAT everyone on the schedule, not play with them you dope.

Single Malt......

That is it in a nut shell.....Leadership and coaching.....

Patriots win by 30.....Belicheat tells the press and his players their is room for improvement....and then expects them to improve.....

We lose our 7 consecutive game....and get to 11 straight losses at home.....and Coach Tony tells us ALL...how hard their working...and how the players are improving.....and who had how many snaps....

I expect the Phins to dominate the next 5 games- Phins 33 Raider 9

Folks that are getting mad because Armando is telling it like it is.

Reality bites...

Full disclosure.....

McNabb was my 2nd choice behind Palmer.....that one....didn't work out so well......

fins dominate,loooooooooooool

mcnaab and palmer suck. cant wait till we finally draft a qb in april

We will see Dusty but they are hitting there stride unfortunately too late this season

I am a debbie downer in pants. And in my pants I have an enormous schlong that I beat the Dolphins over the head with whenever they lose.

stride? they just lost another game. beat 3 reallt bad ones. any wins the rest of the way hurt our future

Dusty....Palmer is going to win HIS division after joining the team 5 games in....

Do we have a QB that can say that.....

not in recent history....in 2008....we had Pennington step in and do the same thing late in the off-season.....

Carson is quality.....and his intangibles are immeasurable.....like Pennington....

Jags just fired Del Rio...NOW is the time to fire Sprano and go after Cowher before he signs on with Jax!!

When is Ross going to grow some balls and fire Sparano then Ireland, why does he have to wait until seasons end, its unfair on TS who knows he's done and we want to see decisive action towards making this franchise great again,not talk......action!!!!

raiders easy schedule, awful div, great d and running game. palmer just a caretaker, campbell was better

We fire TS now, we get a head start on Cowher and co. They take the franchise serious as they know for definate there is a vacancy and also we end this farce that the players are trying to win and play hard for Sparano even though they shafted him for 7 weeks. Play the season out without winning and start again from week 1 this time next year after we draft our QB. Incoming coaches will know already who is staying and going next year, the last 5 weeks will change nothing except our draft position!!!!!

cowher wont come here but hopefully we get a great coach for offense, andy reid anyone?

Husketeer...I like your thinking......don't like Cowher tho....but i'm with you.....whats the point of waiting......

I don't think any new HC will take over mid-season....to much fear of losing....which in turn could cause you to lose your fan base before you can even implement a system.....

but fire Sporano....and give Daboll or Nolan the reins....

daboll and nolan better be gone also

Dusty....would love to get Reid....Also agree with your post about Raiders and their D.....bad div....and by default...and easy schedule (who knew the chargers would fall so hard)....

I strongly disagree that Campbell is better than Palmer......thats were we differ on opinions....

either way kris i wouldnt want either being our qb. we better draft barkley

End of season yes....they should go......interim bases...until the end of the season....

agree dusty.....

I say work a trade for Mallett.....if thats a no-go....draft RG3.......

unpopular....yes.....but thats my stance....ann i'm sticking to it.....

I mean I don't want to go talk to the man down the street. Whose daughter is who my son was banging. Before he ran him out of the house. I got to talk to the guy. Before I go to watch him preach at church. I don't want to do it. But that's the reality. You do what you have to do. Correct the problem. And move on. Why be in denial about it? It only slows progress.

I'll keep saying it until it hurts

Rob Chudzinski

Oh and btw - the Jaguars just became that much more attractive to new coaches because of the possibility they might one day be in LA - some day soon with the new owner from out of state.

So that's what, 2 Florida football franchises owned by out of towners? Where have all the good billionaires gone?

3 Things killed This Franchise During The Tri-Fecta Era:

1. All of the players they refused to sign during free agency.

2. Nearly all of the players they did sign in free agency. With exception of Marshall, Dansby, now Burnett(did suck early).

3. The double down drafting.

The double down drafting hurt because one of those picks eventually didnr workout. Not only was it a wasted pick, the one that did make it, has been an average player for us at best.

Now combine this with, the fa players we refused to sign, the busts we did sign, and only 2 impact players(Long, Pouncey)in 4 drafts. Vonte has been borderline impact player.

Vontae a borderline impact player? didn't he get into a fight with another borderline player?

Telling it like it is, Armando, Keep up the great work. I really think you do a lot of in depth reporting regarding this franchise and so to You and for You, HIP HIP Hooray !!!!

Ireland really needs to go. All that's certain about Ireland is if you give a #1 pick he'll get you a very good olineman(Long/Pouncey).

After that its worse than playing nfl russian roulette going into draft day with Ireland as your gm.

Too bad the only 2 real impact players in 4 drafts by this regime are olinemen(Long/Pouncey).

For real. Does Ireland have a draft board or a dart board?

I see that we suck and need to get better..oh yeah, and we need franchise QB

I feel like I'm reading a Jet blog awful I'm done with this...

its true armando you suck as usual....

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