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Without getting too crazy, things are looking up

When it was over Joe Philbin was dancing. And owner Stephen Ross was sort of dancing.

The Dolphins won their home opener for the first time since 2005 on Sunday and it should be a feeling worthy of being savored, as I write in my column today, because the Dolphins have been losing way too many home games in recent years and this was a departure from that.

So walk around with your head held high today, Dolphins fan. Feel good about this one.

But remember ... just as last week's opening loss was not the end of the season, Sunday's victory was not its culmination. This season is a process and Sunday was a step.

It was a nice step. A fun step. A feel-good step.

But only one step.

So please, all of you sending me e-mails or tweets that Miami is playoff-bound because it is tied for the AFC East lead at 1-1, you need to stop.

The Dolphins merely did what they were supposed to do. Remember that. Even I picked Miami to win this game and I stink at picking games. The Dolphins beat a team that had one less day to prepare after playing on Monday night, then had to travel across the entire country and play in black uniforms in temperatures that took a toll in the second half.

As one Dolphins official put it, "A decade ago this victory would have been overlooked because we would win games like this all the time."

How times have changed when some fans think beating Oakland is a huge deal. The truth is the Dolphins have pretty much blown out the Raiders each of their last three games. So again, this was good. But it wasn't the defining moment of the season. So tap the brakes a little bit.

I will say this:

The game offered positive signs.

Ryan Tannehill continues to impress because he continues to improve. He's playing like a solid game-manager quarterback right now. That's a compliment because, remember, the guy is a rookie. He's not making mistakes. He's not costing his team turnovers. He is making some plays that are helping the cause. That's really quite good for a rookie at this stage.

The defense is playing very stout against the run. The offensive push is very good in the running game to the point Reggie Bush is second in the NFL in rushing today behind only Buffalo's C.J. Spiller.

So there are good signs. There is progress.

Again, that doesn't mean this team is going to the playoffs. Sunday was one day, one game. 

But it does mean that good things seem to be happening for the Dolphins. Finally. 

 

Comments

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Per Armando:

""Ryan Tannehill continues to impress because he continues to improve. He's playing like a solid game-manager quarterback right now".

This is exactly how you bring a rookie qb along. He needs a reliable reciever. Hartline offered that today. He needs ground help. Bush, Miller, and even Tannehill himself(14yds td scamper)offered that today.

Then last, but not least. The defense held up its end of the bargain by allowing the Raiders only 10pts today. You dont ask a rookie qb to go out and win a game alone.

"13pts"

Great Post.

Agreed. It's a Step in the right Direction. Nobody should be thinking Playoff's?? Just Yet.

Now if We go on a Winning Streak? More than 3 Games in a Row. Then Yes, till then let's enjoy the Win.

We Need To Show "CONSISTENCY" (Dashi's Favorite Word for a Sports Team or Player or COACH)

Anyone can Have a Great Game! U need To Show CONSISTENCY If U WANT TO BE TRULY GREAT.

We need to see the Run Game Appear Week after Week. T-Hill keep developing. The O-Line Settle In as a UNIT. The 2 Safety's Working as one. Is Misi Really for Real This Year? If These things Show Up "CONSISTENTLY" We will have a Good Season.

(And Ireland Might Even Be Saved)

Fields! He had a great game. I know he is the punter but this guy is a stud. He was in on 2 tackles and a 54 yd. Ave. Come on! His kicking gave us field position all day. Give credit where credit is due. This guy is All Pro

Bush is finally realizing his talent! All that hard work he does is paying off. He is gonna lead league in rushing..And everyone laughed at that...He will have last laugh

Well I am excited but let's be fair, Hartline is a very average receiver who would be a 3 or 4 on most teams and they had their best CB on IR.

ddave

Jake,

Good Call. Other than Reggie Roby, I never really had a favorite punter.

I do in Fields and not just because he's tops in pinning them inside the twenty. Not just because he nails them, booms them or however you care to put it.

I love Fields because he's a Football Player! He gets in on the play. He doesn't just kick it and drift down the field. He covers his lane, CHRIST, I've even seen him shed blockers repeatedly and consistently-lol!

Fields doesn't tackle like a Kicker or a Punter either. He tackles like a Football player.

Fields is Da Shyt ;)

Give Bush, Starks and Smith new contracts immediately. Give Nolan a chance at safety. Clemons is not a good tackler. Takes bad angles. Hartline!

Yes, Armando. I really think it's time for a story on Fields. He was just amazing today. Coalition knows. We saw Roby who was great. Fields is in a league of his own.I have never seen a punter in on every tackle after a punt. Just so impressed with him. He is the Dolphin BADASS

Say what you want about Hartline. He's a Young-er receiver that missed virtually all of training camp and pre season.

He has come in looking IMPROVED and seems to be developing some INSTANT chemistry with Tannehill. That's some pretty important stuff.

Now, in the Big Picture, Two Things:

1. He's not a true no. 1, but he's proving that he can be an effective weapon. A no. 2 or 3 for sure. This is a re-building year. We have to cut the fat and really figure out what we have. Hartline, so far, is helping us in that regard.

2. Whether because of injuries, poor planning, lack of playmakers panning out etc, etc.......Hartline has been pressed into service. In the absense of Marshall, the cutting of Johnson and the injury to Armstrong, Hartline was asked to step it up and be that guy.

9 catches for 111 yards is called living up to the challenge. Sure he's not the end all answer. Sure he'll have it tougher against better Corners. But you know what? Every receiver has it tougher against better corners.

The bottom line: Hartline has responded well to the challenges the Coaching Staff have presented him with. It could easily be alot worse. But so far, so good!

Everybody and their brother knows we'll be addressing WR in the draft next year and probably free agency as well. Hartline knows this and isn't letting it slow him down. He's auditioning for next years 2nd or 3rd spot already. He's not the final answer, but the Kid is a Baller.

PS: When you think about it, we've really only seen him play with Henne. Then of course a few games with Moore under some extremely bad circumstances. So you never know just how good he can be with the right QB throwing him the ball.

I for ONE am NOT going to down play a 9 catch, 111 yard afternoon!

Go Miami!

would like to see:

1. more thigpin returns on punts (no disrespect to DB)
2. more millers carries
3. and some INTs from our secondary. Reshad should work with the recievers abit in practice or something.

anyway, awesome day, GO DOLPHINS!!

Thigpen is a bad man on those returns. I mean it seems like each time he touches it that's an automatic 15 yard return.


Well I am excited but let's be fair, Hartline is a very average receiver who would be a 3 or 4 on most teams and they had their best CB on IR.

ddave

Posted by: dolfandave | September 17, 2012 at 12:48 AM

The nfl's a "what have you done for me lately" league. Hartline's answer today was 9recs 111yds. Today, Hartline was not "an average" wr. Today, Hartline's numbers line says he was a "pro bowl" wr.

Even if only for one day.

YG apologize for calling me names the other day and then we can talk.

You thought I was calling you the troll or something, but I wasn't. I was pointing out that others were saying this and simply urging you, and giving you the perfect opportunity for you to blast them and set the record straight.

Besides, I always apologized to you when I owed you.
--------------------------------------------------

The last time we'll talk until you "Do The Right Thing".

Not being a smart a ss or trying to start fights. I'm being totally serious. I think you were a bit quick to give up on Miller. Or judging him to have speed but no burst.

While he could have a better burst, I think his strengths lie with his power, speed and MOSTLY his vision!

Thurman Thomas lacked a Great Burst, but more than made up for it with his SUPERB vision. And laugh at me all you guys want, but thats exactly who Miller reminds me of the most.

I'm not just knee-Jerking because of today either. I've said this before about Miller reminding of Thomas and I still feel that way.

I'm not saying his career will be equal or greater than Thurman's mind you, I'm just saying that they have very similar styles with similar strengths.

DolFanSF,

I agree, Reshad looks like he's responding(FINALLY)to Coyles new system. I think it's predominantly a Cover Two, but whatever......Jones is looking like he's off to a good year.

Clemons has just never shown much of anything in my opinion. He's there, he covers guys(sometimes-lol), he makes tackles(usually downfield-lol). But when can you remember him making any kind of significant plays?

PS: To be honest, I thought Culver was better than Clemons. And I didn't really like Culver either come to think of it-lol.

That's neither here nor there, right now, I'm a Happy Homer just enjoying this feeling. It's been awhile!

Oh man.......I hope somebody is going to stay up and savor this victory with me.

I got plenty of Booze in the Bar and I'm just getting started!

Miami tied atop the AFC EAST?

That's right Baby, Tannehill has led OUR Dolphins into a tie with Brady and the pats!

I know, I know, but like I said......I have Booze!!!!

Alright......how about any West Coast Dolphin Fans out there?

You guys should still be up, no?

I'm no Jack Sparrow people......I can't sit here and talk to myself all night!

PS: I wish I could get "Lit" with Coach Shula tonight and see how he feels about the current state of affairs!

Pssssssssssssssfpt!

PS: I think Jim Mandich would be pretty pumped up right about now.

I'm going to have a drink in Honor of the Mad Dog!

AwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwRiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight MIAMI!!!!

I agree, he does remind me of Thurman...

hey Odin, agree that the secondary tighten things up, but still waiting for some game changing plays (as Spoelstra would say) from our guys back there. especially from Sean and reshad.

those dolphins-bills games back then were so frustrating to watch usually that all i can remember are outlet passes to Thurman on 3rd and a mile; and of course he converts it to extend a drive.

I agree with Armando that this game is something we can enjoy and have a very pleasant week relishing. I freely admit Beating The Jests next week would set me off on a one month "I don't really care what happens next" tour, which after I gave it some consideration. Should not be the case. Miami soundly beat New York 9 months ago. And in truth, have had a winning record against them since 2008. When they split the year with them but kept them out of the playoffs (That was the Favre Season in NY) Miami swept NY in 2009, Split again in 2010 and again in 2011.
But enough of that for now... Beating Oakland and seeing Joe Philbin and his team as happy as they were, and finally rewarded for some very hard work was enough for today. MAJOR Props to Reggie, Ryan & Brian for a brilliant effort. (Anthony and Bess also).. and a "Heads up world" for seeing the beginning of "Miller Time"... A player Miami stole in the Draft and who I think will star in this league before long.

Sometimes all a group of people need to see is there is not only hope... But reason to believe what they are doing will work. Oakland's Offense was no Juggernaut... but their defense was nothing to scoff at, particularly the front seven who Miami FINALLY wore down in the 2nd half. Props to Steven Ross for understanding the importance of 1pm Home games, and for sucking so bad last year we really didn't have a choice... PffffT...!!!

Great day and great game Miami... Thanks for the shot of fun and good vibes for the week...

Love the win!

But, still have some things that need to be sorted out;
Where was Naanee? Is he one of those guys that is great a practice, but sucks in games?
And, what about Clay? Wasn't he supposed to be getting involved in this offense?
Misi had a good game last week, but not so much this week.
Lane isn't gonna be a secret too much longer that's for sure!

Anyways, that's stuff for Philbin to address this week, after the team takes a deserved day off for the win at home. I think there'll be a lot more people in the seats next week!!!

GO FINS!!!

Tracy474,

Philbin stated in the beginning the wco was all about exploiting matchup weaknesses. Proof of that was the constant exploitation Sunday of a Raiders replacement corner. Result: Hartline 9 catches 111yds.

As someone who has remained positive despite the unremmitting negativity often found in the comment section of this blog, I am compelled to state that this was, plain and simple, a fun day & a fun win......enjoyable in a way that has become all too rare in Dolphin Nation.

Now....................Beat Those *#@$! Jets!!!!!!

Cam-Philbin mockers can give a rest too. Took Cam nearly an entire season to get his one and only dolphin hc victory. Philbin gets his game 2.

Also those who tried to compare Sherman to Henning you can give it a break too. His adjustments:

1. Remove the 3 step drop at least for now.

2. Got Tannehill rolling with roll about passes. This seemed to ignite him.

Mike Sherman also got Reggie Bush 30 touches. 26 rushing, 4 recieving. Balanced offense and exploiting a defensive weakness(Raiders replacement corner vs Hartline) won this game on the offensive side of the ball.

Nice adjustments by oc Mike Sherman. Give him his props if youre also so willing to criticize him. As many of you did concerning play calling. BTW, which I didnt quite see as the real problem.

Last week was the 1st time Sherman got see his offensive personel on the field for an entire game. Based on what happened last week Sherman made nice adjustments that got the most out of what he has to work with.

The proof is in the performance and final score. Though I still think the road will be a little bumpy this season, something tells me we just may be still ok. Still need a beast deep threat wr. Not sure if Hartline repeats this performance against a big time corner.

Loved it, finally the 1 pm games are back to give us a big home field advantage. The Raiders were done by the forth quarter, maybe a little before. You could see it in the run game on both sides of the ball. They had no pass rush in the forth quarter and that was nice to run up the score just a little with our third string running back. No team has ever beaten the heat in Miami in Sept., unless the dumb ass owner changes the start time that is. Thank god he's learning, slowly, but learning that wins are important for filling the stands.

PS: Forgive the longevity-lol. Just another Chapter of my novel!

What can I say? When was the last time we were at .500 two games in?

Didn't SpAzano start 0-3 - 0-3 and 0-2? What does it matter? It's dead and in the past. If you don't bury the Dead(SpAzano)it starts too stink.

PSS: And thats what were going to do to SpAzano next week! We're going to Bury His Fist Pumping A ss!

hey Odin, agree that the secondary tighten things up, but still waiting for some game changing plays (as Spoelstra would say) from our guys back there. especially from Sean and reshad.

Posted by: dolfanSF | September 17, 2012 at 01:35 AM

Sure! As soon as I step away you show up.....just kidding.

Yeah, I heard Toronto Mark and someone else talking earlier about resigning Sean Smith right away.

I myself am not so sure. He's definitely shown some improvement and he's getting better with his consistency. I'm hoping for the best because I think he has all the tools. I'm just not as convinced as they are.

Just like most everyone else on this team, this year(being a re-build)is an audition. I don't think Smith has done enough to say he's safe and has passed the audition.

I have high hopes for the guy, but I want to see some more before I BUY!

JMHO

I agree, he does remind me of Thurman...

Posted by: Tracy474 | September 17, 2012 at 01:34 AM

Is this REALLY you Tracy? Or is it a Troll just humoring me?

I went over every clip, youtube, and highlight reel I could find with Miller after the draft. Seriously, what I saw was a young, raw, but very talented Kid that reminds me of Thurman Thomas in alot of ways.

I'm asking because, to date, I haven't had anyone agree with it.

those dolphins-bills games back then were so frustrating to watch usually that all i can remember are outlet passes to Thurman on 3rd and a mile; and of course he converts it to extend a drive.

Posted by: dolfanSF | September 17, 2012 at 01:41 AM

YEP! Thats a FACT!

Kelly would give him a little dump pass and Thurman Thomas would use his eyes. Not just to follow his blockers, but he seems to have been able to see the play develop and use his eyes to SET UP BLOCKS as well as running to daylight.

It's an inate and uncanny skill that I believe just can't be taught.

Look back over Millers highlights or even todays brief glimpses. He seems to have that ability.

Are you really going to continue to hurt my feelings?

I wouldn't care, except I've "Known" you so long and didn't think you were a Troll. I guess, if thats the way you want to play it. But all it would take is for you to do what you've asked me to do in the past: Man Up!
----------------------------------------------------

OK, last chance.....for real this time-lol. (Christ, I feel like a little kid)I really - REALLY mean it THIS TIME!?!?

Nice adjustments by oc Mike Sherman. Give him his props if youre also so willing to criticize him. As many of you did concerning play calling. BTW, which I didnt quite see as the real problem.

Posted by: Yesterday'sGone | September 17, 2012 at 02:24 AM


-I agree with all this basically YG.

But I did have one problem with Sherman's performance today. Early on, when Tanny was taking a pounding and running for his life(regardless of the reasons why), I felt Sherman could've and should've done more to take some of the heat off of him. Like some rollouts(which he did....later). More Shot-Gun(which he did....later). And maybe a few well timed WR and RB screen passes(which he didn't do).

I do think Sherman did a Great Job all in all and that this could be considered nit picking. But had Tannehill been injured on one of these breakdowns, it would be a whole different story.

I commend and congratulate Sherman. I just wish he would've been a little quicker in taking some of the heat off of Tanny!

ValHalla on a Job WELL DONE!!!!

Misi had something like 11 tackles week one. He didn't play QUITE as well as those stats make it look. But all in all, not to bad week 1.

This week, he didn't play as well. Neither though was he exposed as I thoguht he would be. Just like I predicted/suggested, as soon as the down and distance gets up there, Philbin/Coyle are yanking him off the field. We played alot of nickle and dime in those situations.

I don't want to take anything away from Misi, but we haven't faced Brady yet either. It won't matter if it's 1st, 2nd or 3rd down. It won't matter if they need 1 yard or 99~! Brady knows Misi and his tendacies and he knows how to exploit him. Brady has made a living off of getting our linebackers in mismatches with Welker and his Tight Ends.

I'm not looking past the jet game obviously, but Coyle has precious little time to figure out how to defend against Brady, Welker and the TE's.

A little HINT: Keep Misi on the Sideline!

Not sure if Hartline repeats this performance against a big time corner.

Posted by: Yesterday'sGone | September 17, 2012 at 02:29 AM

I'm not sure either.

But you never know. Anthony Armstrong just might draw the wets best corner(Is Reevis injured-BTW?). And that would mean Hartline draws the 2nd and/or 3rd corner.

Who knows? But here's to hoping for the mismatches!!!!

Hartline has restored my faith. Actually, I guess.......he's finally established some faith with me. As up until now, I was never sold on the guy!

Way To GO White Dude!

ValHalla!!!!

Looking up to what Mando? We beat a nothing team, with a QB you didn't like! It means nothing! Let's win out! Beat the Patriots, Jets, Colts....yeah, Buffalo! Ok, if we beat the 49rs, I'll be a believer!

finns ain't beatin the niners when they come out here. As mando has suggested before, Ross should have sent a fleet of brinks trucks to lure this guy, harbaugh.

If the Dolphins listened to the fans, we'd be a winning team!

Are you guys REALLY talking about playing the Niners?

Win or lose, ya think you might be getting ahead of yourselves?

Week 1 we had an embarrasing implosion. People were even talking about Tanny and the B-Word.

Week 2 we trounced one of the ONLY teams considered as bad as US.

You guys saw the Raiders. You know what their all about. As bad as they are, **THEY WERE FAVORED TO BEAT US BY VEGAS FOR CHRISTS SAKE**

And you guys want to talk about the Niners?

I mean we got a Rookie Head Coach. He's Coaching Rookie Systems on both sides of the ball. He's starting a Rookie Quarterback. Who hands off to Rookie Running Backs(Miller and Lane).

I mean we have 1st and 2nd year players, playing in brand new systems on both sides of the ball. To top that, EVERYBODY KNOWS we're re-building through the draft. The Youth monement is "So On" we've cut and traded away multiple Pro Bowlers.

And you want to worry about playing Playoff Teams?

Right now, like Coach Philbin, I'm just going to worry about the jets.

I KNOW! Hey everybody.....lets worry about the jets and then we can worry about working our way up? Huh? Ya Think?
---------------------------------------------------

I'm nore worried about the Mayan Calender than I am the Niners - ROTFLMAO!

Whoop-WHOOOOOOOOP!!!!

Odin, did you read my last 2 comments? They explain my thoughts in few words!

I lke to use as few words as possible!

I LIKE IT when we WIN! And we WON!

(OMG! Am I still awake?)

I might've celebrated a little Too much. I'll figure it out when I sober up-LOL! I LIKE IT when we WIN!

Unnnggggghh, I'm going to be hating life tommorrow-LOL. BUT WE WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!

But I LIKE IT when we win!

(Did I already say that? Am I typing out loud...............?)

Hiccup! Buuuuuuuuuuuuurp!

Val-Fvcking-Halla Baby!!!!

AwwwwwwwwwwwwRiiiiiiiiiight MIAMI!!!!

Hasta la vista baby!!! Goodnight!

Odin, did you read my last 2 comments? They explain my thoughts in few words!

Posted by: redsky | September 17, 2012 at 04:54 AM

Well hell yes I read them........over......them.

Over and over I read them...........

Whud they say.................?

(Hiccup - Buuuurp!)

Ha Ha Ha! I am TEE - Raaaaaaashed Baby ;)

Oh yeah......oh yeah.......I remember.........I remember.

But I LIKE IT when we WIN ;)

Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh Ha Ha Ha!

The oline deserves some props as well. They had it together.

Keep it up. Beat the Jets

Hey Redsky........HEY!

Hey Man........do you ever wish you were like........like a Space Man, Dude?

Do you?

Hey.......HEY! Redsky Man, do you?

I know I'd be like.........like..........I'd be like: This is Captain Odin T. Kirk of the USSR WinnaPrize!

Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I think I spilled my drink.

Redsky...........?

Hey! Redsky? Did you ever Win Anything Man?

If I was Captain Odin T. Kirk Man I would give Leutenant O'hara.............I.........I would peek under her skirt man.

Hey.....HEY! Redsky, do you remember how short her skirt was man?

Wait a second Redsky, my phones ringing.......I'll be right back.

Nope man.......NOPE. It was my ALARM CLOCK.

Fvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvck!!!!

I hear so much about how bad we played against the Texans last week, but we really had a good game. Aside from the 4 turnovers we were so in that game. I believe they scored 24 points off those turnovers where they got the ball in great field position. The problems have been identified and as we saw they are being corrected. We played well against a super bowel contender.

Awesome to get a win, all we need is some safety help and receiver help and more pass rush and we could be a solid team

yeah armando! lets temper this excitement with your notions of nothing to write about since not much negatives here to write about.

Now go find something. The minions will be watching.

Hey man a win is a win!!!! Go Phinsss

Beating the Raiders isn't necessarily a big deal. It's just exciting. Especially to see them dominate the game...and it was only for one half. Imagine if Tannehill gets better protection, more time to throw, and our OLine can continue to make holes for Bush? No we're not playoff bound but it was a damn good win for the fans who have been craving this kind of excitement for a long time.

dolfandave, you really have very little football knowledge. Your calling wasn't being a GM of a team. Hartline is 6'2" 200 with 4.4 speed and good hand. He may not be a no 1, maybe, but he's certainly a good number 2. So keep posting and showing your ignorance.

Battling is still young. A lot of number 1recievers take a few years to develop

Hartine. I really need to proof read. I hate the way IPad changes what I type

Last time. Hartline is still young

Amazing that the Dolphins have one of their best game in a long time and Armando's night has one of the quietest nights after a game EVER. I think that says a lot about some of the guys on here and the fan base.

Never mind Dolphins, you still have your loyal fans. Probably just means some of these guys didn't wake up as grumpy this morning or beat up their pets as much. Enjoy it while we can because the negative nellies will be back in full chorus soon enough...

'Armando's blog'....

Interesting the usual 'Ireland bashers' are still MIA. Haven't been heard from since the game. Are they dead or something?

Just to be CLEAR, Realist. I'm CONSTANTLY going to do it. Maybe you should find another blog, no? This is a blog for Dolphin fans after all. Not sure what you are, other than some pr*ck that likes to shoot his mouth off.

Clear?....

I think this game was a biiig confidence boost for this club. If there is any heart at all in this bunch this is the way to make it bigger. Hopefully they can take this into next week. If we can dominate the Jets next week I think the sky is the limit!! Do we have the talent to do it? We will find out in 6 days. Gooo Phinss!!! 1-1 baby

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