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A quickie look at the week past, present and future

Joe Philbin is a structured man with rules he likes followed. It is the reason everyone on the Dolphins traveling party -- players, coaches, even staffers -- have a curfew on road trips. It is the reason he changed the timing of the weekly press conferences for coordinators Kevin Coyle and Mike Sherman.

While practically every other team in the NFL makes their coordinators available on Thursdays, the Dolphins typically do it on Mondays because Philbin has a 24-hour rule and doesn't want his assistants answering questions about last week's game four days after it ended.

The point is Philbin likes his team focused on one game -- the one coming up next.

As we are not burdened here by those rules, I want to look at the broader landscape of three weeks -- last week, this one, and the one ahead.

The impetus for this view was Thursday night's game between the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals -- the opponent the Dolphins just played (Arizona) and the one they will play after Sunday's game at Cincinnati.

I watched that game and, frankly, became a little annoyed.

I was annoyed that Arizona could be defeated seemingly so easily by the Rams, 17-3.

I was annoyed that St. Louis did pretty much what the Dolphins did to the Cardinals offensive line, with nine sacks to Miami's eight, and that pretty much was the ballgame. The Cardinals did not, could not attack the Rams secondary like they did Miami's.

I was annoyed that the Rams won despite making very few big plays on offense. Yes, Sam Bradford connected on a  51-yard touchdown pass. But he completed only seven passes all game. Seven! The Rams threw for a total of 141 yards. And they still won.

Meanwhile the Dolphins completed 26 passes for 431 yards and still lost.

I was annoyed that Miami basically played better on offense than St. Louis, produced as much in the front seven defensively, and still lost. I can't escape the feeling that such a major effort was wasted.

Looking ahead, meanwhile, the Rams concern me now. Jeff Fisher, who turned down the Dolphins coaching job last winter, is getting a lot out of a team that doesn't seem all that talented. The Rams are 3-2.

And it is troubling that having defeated the Cardinals, the Rams now have 10 days to rest and prepare for the Dolphins on Oct. 14.

I will say that the Rams do not have a very good wide receiver corps and it is about to get worse. Danny Amendola sustained what the Rams called a shoulder injury during the game and did not return. I saw on the sideline when he was talking to trainers and it looked like they were looking at his collarbone.

Judging that and how Amendola reacted after the injury -- throwing his helmet as if something terribly serious had happened -- I would not be surprised if he has some sort of fracture that will keep him from playing against Miami. It may also keep him out much, much longer than that.

Never want a player injured, but that injury is a plus for Miami.

And what about this week?

One thing that has slipped under the radar the past couple of weeks is the injury to cornerback Richard Marshall. The starter has not practiced so far this week and I would not be surprised if he misses practice Friday.

Frankly, I would not be surprised if he misses the game against Cincinnati Sunday.

Marshall is severely limited and even painkillers haven't helped him from playing at a subpar level the past couple of weeks.

The Dolphins may decide they need to shut him down for a week or that he is too much of a liability to put on the field against Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. Even if Marshall is active, it is clear he is diminished. It's been that way for a couple of weeks.

That means Nolan Carroll will have to perform at a higher level. That means RJ Stanford may actually have to get significant playing time. And heaven forbid if the Achilles' injury that has hampered Carroll the past two weeks -- limiting him in practice -- rears up during the game.

None of this gives me a good feel about Sunday.

And that too annoys me.

Comments

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Vontae is blowing games for Indy and we're reaping a high 2nd round pick for 4 years of a low 1st round pick's service. We definitely got the better end of the stick in that one. Indy was aggressive but they're going to regret losing those draft picks. Ireland or whoever the GM is SHOULD build us a nice team with the 5 high picks we'll have in the first 3 rounds

Phil M,
So youre saying that a high 2nd round pick and a conditional pick for a high 1st rnd pick that always came into camp out of shape and never hit his potential until mid season each year is pennies on the dollar? He was mentally immature, I mean watching HBO Hardknocks and the look on his face when he immediantly wanted to call his grandma made me feel sorry for him... He isnt doing so hot in Indy right now either.. Philbin and Coyle are getting their guys in there and Vonte wasnt one of them.

If history has proved something in football, is that this sport is statistically a fair game. What do I mean by that ? Specifically, that the Cardinals have been "lucky" and the Dolphins "unlucky". Don't be surprised to see the Cardinals loosing 2 or 3 of its next 4 games and the Dolphins the opposite, with a field goal or so difference in the loosing and winning matches respectively. That would be different if the Cardinals have shown to be dominant and the Dolphins dominated. No, that is not the case, which demonstrates that sooner or later the coin will flip to the other side for both teams. That, I can warrant.
I see the Dolphins winning on Sunday.

Mattb, good point that needs to be mentioned. This is all about Philbin getting his guys, bringing in a winning culture to Miami. He wants people that are here for the team, that want to win as a team and aren't in it for themselves or their stats. Marshall was a diva, ochocinco took his opportunity in Miami to act as out of bounds as he could and gave everything the impression it was about himself, Vontae was all about doing his own immature thing on his agenda (out-of-shape, and hungover, not following team rules). Get these guys out of here and give me a winning culture

We need to be scouring the streets right now to find DBs. We have only 1 who is not severely injured with a broken back or torn achilles!!!!!!!!!!

Holy crap this could get ugly.

We need to have an open tryout like the Eagles did in that movie with Mark Wahlberg.

We literally don't have 2 healthy DBs, let alone 6, let alone 6 that are NFL quality!!!

Unless a miracle happens:

Bengals 45
Fins 17

I don't believe addition by subtraction is a way to build a winner, but in Davis's case, there was reason he did not go higher in the draft and that manifested itself during his time here in Miami. I think the number two makes it worth it...

Another really good post by Mando. I know you guys won't believe me and my day job is not to be the Dolphins' beat reporter (or any kind of sports reporter), but I swear that I could have written Mando's post today.

In any event, I totally agree with Mando.

The PATS got hot in the 4th quarter against a BAD Bills team....

but if they continue their poor play...

the AFC EAST is there for the taking.....

Armando,

First of all, its a copy cat league. If you have a great weakness exposed, the following week the next coordinator will go for the juglar. We gave Fisher the blueprint on getting to Kolb.

Secondly, the game last should get you even more excited about the prospects of Tannehill, both now and into the future. He well outshined Bradford's performance. We're talking 4 game rookie vs 3rd year vet in terms of performance. Clearly Bradford is supported by the superior secondary. Hence his defense was able to make 17pts sticks, where ours coulndt make 21pts stick.

3rdly and finally. How about the Rams made that crucial 4th and goal to stop defensively, where our defense could not. How about the Rams had the ball at game's end to milk out the victory.

How about we had the ball at game's end to milk into overtime. Everyone and Vontae's grandmother knows we have problems in the defensive backfield. If you dont believe me, Im sure Vontae will be glad to give his grandmother a call.

God damn it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Screw you gaaaaaaaaaaz.

I'm going.....hooooome.

Guys,

Say whatever about Vontae Davis. The guy showed up on gamedays whenever he felt like. He could look all world against a Moss-like wr, then get his pants beaten off by a "Sponge-Bob" type wr.

Regular shows up to camp out of shape or "out of booze". Then when traded all he can think of is to call his grandmother. I dont know about you guys, but, I say good riddance!

Also guys,

If you'll remember, we werent a great secondary with Vontae Davis. You guys have heard Davis speak, seriously now, we al know something's seriously wong with this kid upstairs.

MiamiD20,
The Ocho cut and Vonte and B Marshall trades were all a part of doing what is best for the team in the future and Philbin getting his guys in. Coyle did a great job developing DB's in Cincinnatti and he will do the same here..
Im an avid Duke fan as well and Coach K does the same thing. He doesnt always get the top players in the nation year in and year out but he will get smart guys that will play as a team, in his system, and usually stay there for more than 1 year..
Philbin seems to be the same type of player, lets not forget Bill Belichek did the same thing when he took over in New England. And no im not comparing Philbin to BB.

Same bloody convesrations every f*cking day. Vontae this, Marshall that...

NEWSFLASH, the team wasn't winning shyte with this two guys in the lineup. We have a rookie QB and a new HC. This was never going to be our year. 6-10 and 8-8 aren't good enough. We're rebuilding from the ground up and it starts with the QB and the HC. I'm loving the effort every week. This offseason we'll continue to fill the holes and we'll be even better next year.

Dashi, get off the linebackers! It's not the problem on this team. It's actually one of the strengths. You get rid of those two guys and you're just opening up two new holes that dpon't need to be opened up. You can only do so much in one offseason and to me the priorities need to be WR, S and TE (in no particular order). Good Egnew still be that TE? Maybe. But I think we need to see something before the end of the year or TE becomes a priority. For me, Clay and Egnew are the biggest disappointments so far.

We should be 3-1!!!!!

God fvcking damn it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rams are a mirage and so are the cardinals. Both will have losing records by year end.

YG, Not everyone can be as sophisticated as you so lay off Davis. I agree that it was a good trade, Vontae got burnt way too much for what a #1 CB. I say we bring Bryant McFadden in maybe Im bias because he went to my high school McArthur Mustangs!

Armando,

The greatest difference between lastnight's game and ours, was the Rams defense made stops that prevented crucial Card scores, where ours could not. Thier secondary stepped up where ours could not.

Really, the only real stops our secondary made the entire night, were the 2 Smith picks. Even Smith gave up a crucial score while trailing on the play.

Philbin seems to be the same type of coach* for my earlier post

How come so many of you uneducated morons can't spell "lose."

The Dolphins usually lose.

Your sister is "loose."

Try reading something and educate your stupid, ignorant self just for once.

MattyB......

I think that's a fair comparison Belicheat and Philbin)......

Don't beat me up WHRBs......

I think we have Belicheat 2.0 in Philbin.....This guy is GOING to rule the AFC EAST for a LONG TIME....in a very short time.....

Cartman, STFU tool head, are you the president of the grammar police. Hows this. f*CK Off

Clue,

I'd be fine with Bryant McFadden. He'd add good depth to this team. Cool that he went to your high school. Is Yeatmann still on this team? What's he contrbuting?

Craig M.....

pretty much EVERYBODY is in agreement that dumping Davis was the right decision....

and were 1-3.....

how can you NOT be happy about that....

Kris @ 10:59pm,

I sure hope you're right. That would be great! I think he has a chance.

Vontae is just clearly as immature as they come.

Mattb, exactly, it's about the benefit of the team. I remember Bill Belichicky trading Richard Semore for a 1st round pick and people were up in arms like what is he doing Semore is a beast. Bellicheat has won Super Bowls since then and Semore had accomplished nothing. Point is, these "good" players need to fit your team, its chemistry, and the coach's vision, Marshall, Davis, and Ochocinco did not

Yes Clue I agree on McFadden and said so earlier. What is there to lose? I laugh every time I see someone use the tired Belicheat moniker. Say what you want, but you have to respect BB's coaching abilities (he needed to cheat about as much as Lance Armstrong did). The guy is very good (although I cannot stand him) and turned a perennial losing franchise into a dynasty. Having said that, I hope they never win another super bowl...

Kenny, that was bad. You forgot an apostrophe.

Google it. I know for a fact that you don't know what an apostrophe is, you punk. Shut your loser mouth.

Kris, with Vontae last year we started what 0 and 7, Davis doesnt make a difference in our record.

Kris,

I know you disagree on this point because I know you had us at 11-5 this year but it was never about this year. The team added some good pieces in the offseason and there ae more to come this year. Best thing for this team is to finish something like 4-12 and add some good talent in the draft, as opposed to what happened to us in '08. We're not there yet and there are still some holes to be filled. Let's get some talent from the first three rounds this year and see what we've got next year.

Craig M....

The bump in our "proverbial" road is this....

by most accounts....SHERMAN has said he wants to be a HC again....and if that is true...this is obviously just a stepping stone for him....

how long does he stay....

Does Philbin already have a Plan B.....is he searching for Plan B.....can he convince Sherman to stay for 4 years to help the young QB with continuity....

This will be our challenge going forward....

Clearly, coming into this season, we all knew this wasnt a complete team. If you dont believe me, ask Vonte to call his grandmother, Im sure she'll also agree.

It's the good things Im seeing thats surprising me, not the bad. I expected bad in even more abundance this year. The arrow's pointing up, not down guys.

Clue...

I agree...

Ok, it is time once again for me to educate you clueless sheep.

We are due for a letdown game. We've played *great* (except for the win/loss result) the last 2 games. That is why I am so god damned pissed off that we lost the Jets and Cards games. Those were "wins." We can only expect so many great games like that--games we should have won comfortably and which should not have even come down to FGs.

That's why it is 90% likely (not certain) that we will come back down to earth this game, play badly, and now we'll be 1-4 when we should be 3-2 after this game.

Bengals something like 45

Fins something like 17

Within 3 years Philbin is grooming this team to be a young, talented, top-notch team. Within 3 years Tannehill will be caught up, experienced, and a top QB. Our OLine is young and will be good. Our WRs are young. Our DL may be on their last lap and our LBs will need to be replaced.

BUT

Within 3 years the Patsys will be heading downhill with Brady inching closer to retirement. Belicheat will be uncloaked as an ok HC when he doesn't have a QB and the rest of the teams have a ton of holes. The jests will be rebuilding and the bills will be rebuilding. Working 3 years the AFC East will have to go thru us

Craig M...

definitely disagree......

I think the AFC EAST is wide open for the 1st time since the Brady injury....

Let's WIN NOW...

and then...

WIN LATER....

Miami D...

Belicheat has RYAN MALLETT waiting in the wings...(MAN CRUSH)....

we will see some good QB duels between Mallett and Tanne in the future....

cartman, suck a di*k

Kris is right. Each year is a new year with 32 brand new squads. No reason to accept losing in any year. Win now. We should have been 11-5 this year but now our best hope is 9-7 because we gave away 2 of the wins.

You sophisticates like Craig M, Mark in Canada, and DC Toolfan, while being the most earnest, are often the most wrong fans! Don't you watch NFL football? Every single year teams turn it around, in one year, and go from, say, 1-15 to 11-5. Seems like I saw that recently even with our team.

Each year is a new squad. If we had an NFL caliber defenseive backfield we'd be 3-1 right now.

YOu don't lose on purpose and start bantering about the names of college children after game 2 of the year.

You win NOW.

Duh.

CraigM,

Good point. 2008, while everyone was so happy about the 11-5 one and done playoff appearance, I knew it what death to a team previously finishing 1-15.

Had we finished 6-10 even in 2008, we could have added at least 3 higher grade starters with a higher level drafty position. Instead, 1 season after finishing 1-15, we drafted in the 27th spot I think it was. We were far to talent starve to be drafting so far back.

Kris,

I don't see Sherman as a legitimate candidate for a HCing gig any more. Too many guys ahead of him. You'll have some of the retreads that are out there (Chuckie, Cowher etc..), some hot assistants (Zimmer etc...) and some hot guys in College. Some guys were meant to be assistants and I think Sherman fits that description. However, you're right....that doesn't mean it WON'T happen. It would be nice to see some continuity with this coaching staff for a few years. The issue will be, as the offence gets better and Tannehill gets better, Sherman will get the credit and as you've said will likely be in demand.

Kenny = YG = #losing

YG @ 11:13.....

Even if we had finished 6-10 or worse that year...Ireland, Sporano.....and Parcells would have most likely blown the picks on OL...and maybe hit on a DL man....

but the philosophy was flawed....so it really wouldn't have mattered..because the pick would have been wrong...In Accordance with the flawed offensive philosophy.....

Now that we have an UPDATED offensive approach....we can make better use of these picks...

CraigM,

Still though, this team isnt nearly as talent starved as the team that finished 11-5 in 2008. Yes, a 4-12 season could add much higher talent level to the team, but we have enough talent on the team that 4-12 isnt highly neccessary.

If the wr situation holds up and the D's newfound pass rush isnt a fluke. Going into the 2013 draft, the primary focus can be fixing this wretched secondary.

The LB Play is the Biggest Weakness!!!!!!!!!!

Craig Dansby is a Avg MLB at Best. Burnett SUCKS!!! Misi is Serviceable and makes under $1 Mil with his Rookie Contract!!!!!!!!!!!!

The LB'S ARE NOT THE STRENGTH. THE RUN D!!!! IS DUE IN PART THAT Soliai weighs 350+ and Stuffs the Middle!! Odrick and Starks are Both Above 310+!! And Wake and Misi are Both Over 250+ and Basically are DE's.

Dansby and Burnett are not That Good!! Not $16+ Million Good!!!

Let's SAY We DRaft 2 LB's With the first 2 Picks! Top 10 and Top of 2nd. Their Cap Value Won't Exceed $4 Mil a Year for the Next 4 Years for 2 Players in their Early 20's!!!!!

AGAIN, NOT $16 Mil for 2 3-4 LB's in their 30's!

Craig get off the WR's and CB's!!!

We have 2 Decent Wr's. We Can Draft 1 in the 2nd or go after a FA. The Fins are in talks to resign Hartline as we Speak!

So Bess and Hartline will be back next Year!! Now If Gaffney can do a OK Job this Year! And Matthews Develops. We Can Even Draft 1 in the 3rd to Justify the Marsha Trade!!!

On the CB's. Re-Sign Smith for a Reasonable Price. If U want Craig. The Fins Can Use The 2nd from Vontae on a CB and the 6th on a KICKER! Marshall will do as a Nickelback. Don't see the Need for a #1 CB next year we have BIGGER HOLES ON DEFENSE!

Dolphins Biggest Defensive Needs

1. MLB, $12+ Mil. for a AVERAGE 30+ Year Old LB
2. FS, Will Fix alot of Multiple Cb's Mistake (not Vice-Versa)
3. OLB, Burnett Makes $4+ Mil., Injury Prone, And Average and over 30 next Season!
4. CB, Young CB's. If we Keep S.Smith, Don't see the Need going CB #1. U Can Do that Year after.

Remember U don't Fix All Ur Problems in 1 off-Season.

The best thing for Miami is to continue to improve and continue to lose. This team does not have enough to go anywhere this year but additional high picks could contribute greatly next year and the all important year three of the Philbin project. Talks regarding the demise of the Pats are silly. They have multiple high picks and don’t forget, they were able to go 11-5 in 2008 without Brady. The Fins just need to continue moving in the right direction and all will cure itself.

kris @ 11:17 AM,

What you say could very well be true. However, fastforwarding to today(Parcells/Sparano gone), we could still be in a little better shape roster talent overall.

Philbin could now have a few more talented pieces to work with right now.

Mr. Cartman....

I agree...

we blew 2 games we shold have...and could have won.....

11-5 is now a very tough road to travel....

But with the mediocre play of the PATS....i think it's still possible....

:/

Also guys who are great now will be a year older and perhaps less healthy or lucky next year.

For example, Hartline. He won't keep up the 2,000 yard 100 reception pace, but he will get 80 and 1500 yards this year. Monster year.

Bess will go 70 for 1000 or so.

But they will fall off next year.

And there is an 80% chance that whoever we draft as WR will have attitude problems similar to Vontae, Channing Crowder, Joey Porter, Chad Johnson, Brandon Marshall, and most other black players.

So next year we could have a better secondary but an injured Hartline and less production there.

Chances are Tannehill will get banged up because Jake Long keeps letting his man put his helmit in the small of Tannehill's back at full speed 19 MPH.

You try to win with the team you have, every year.

You guys that think you are so sophisticated by saying that the 11-5 2008 season was actually *bad* for the team are dead wrong.

You never know if a draft pick will be a bust. Look where Marino and Brady were drafted. Look where Long and Ronnie Brown were drafted.

You can't say that 11-5 year is the reason we have sucked since then. Sparano/Ireland or whoever is to blame have sucked.

This year we have Hartline and Bess as stud WRs having career years.

What we need is a defensive backfield to step up and for Tanne to stop throwing interceptions.

We can be 9-7 this year and build from that next year with draft and free agency.

We don't *want* to go 1-15 just to get the number 1 draft pick.

Grow a brain.

I love the Vontae Davis deal and I'll take that pick all day long for a player who is lazy and never really showed a thing in his time with the Dolphins.....

YG....

quite possibly.....

I still think it's AMZING that Philbin and crew have done in ONE OFF-SEASON what Sporano and crew couldn't do in 4 FULL SEASONS...

make the OL serviceable....

lol.....

We look like a real NFL club....

Kris, Granted the Pats have played poorly this year thus far but I still do not see an answer given our secondary for the two starting tight ends for the Pats.

There's noway to add any significant secondary pieces this season. Therefore my over-under is for the Fins to finish no better than 8-8. Right about .500 is where I see the overall talent of this team this year.

I only say 8-8 in anticipation that Ryan Tannehill will continue to improve. If not for Tannehill, I put this team at 5-11, at best.

Dashi,

Not going to argue with you on the LBers. We've been down this road too many times. You're the only guy I know who has this viewpoint that our linebackers suck. They are far from being the achilles on this team. Once again, I'll stick with the premise that if you open up the holes by getting rid of these guys, you are unnecessarily making holes on your team and having to use picks and money on areas where it shouldn't be used. Worse than that, you're taking picks away from the aread that should be addressed.

We literally don't have 6 healthy DBs on the team right now. How can we play a dime defense on third down?

Odinsdumbeye, for the love of God, SHUT THE F--- UP!

Long Island...

Good point....

Mando, serious question, because I don't know: DO WE HAVE 6 HEALTHY DBs ON THE TEAM RIGHT NOW?

It doesn't count if they have spondiolisthesis (slipped disc) in their low back or an injured achilles.

Thanks.

I fully expect that Dalton and Andy Dalton will have their ways with the Dolphins secondary this Sunday. I also fully expect this blog with be full of trolls Sunday night, Monday morning and several days next week, criticizing Tannehill, Philbin, Ireland and anything else that looks like a Dolphin.

Cue the predicatability in 3, 2, 1......

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