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The candidates for delivering the big plays

CINCINNATI -- Exciting despite the fact it was only 17-13, wasn't it? This Dolphins victory caused your heart to skip a beat almost as much of the previous two games against Arizona and the Jets.

Admit it.

When the Bengals got the football with 1:45 to play, you were nervous that a victory might be slipping away. But as I write in my column today, the Dolphins finally found someone, anyone to make a play.

Reshad Jones did that Sunday.

"I read the quarterback and did what I do best, go and get the ball," Jones said.

Good. It's going to have to become something of a habit for the Dolphins because after nearly a month of watching games come down to the wire -- and sometimes extend into overtime -- I get the feeling that's just how it's going to be for much of the next two months.

The Dolphins are going to have to find a playmaker, a hero, a man of the hour, to nail down victories week after week.

There are candidates for the role:

Randy Starks: Playing great, had an interception and half a sack Sunday.

Sean Smith: Playing great the past two games in helping to shut down Larry Fitzgerald and A.J. Green. He led the team in tackles on Sunday.

Reggie Bush: He started fast but yards have gotten tougher to come by lately. Eventually when teams go back to playing more balanced schemes instead of selling out to stop the run, the field will open up for Bush again.

Brian Hartline and Davone Bess: They are really the only two dependable receivers the Dolphins have.

Ryan Tannehill: He continues to progress. Eventually he'll have a game put on his shoulder and he'll have to deliver.

Guys that need to improve to be options to come through in tough spots:

Dan Carpenter: He missed another FG on Sunday, this one from 53 yards out. That's a long field goal to attempt. Joe Philbin said he went with it because the wind was with Carpenter. Yeah, except Carpenter is in a slump and has missed three field goals the past three games. He did make a 46-yard attempt, but asking him to do anything from beyond that range is optimistic at best and more likely ill-advised.

So do the Dolphins continue to nurse their embattled kicker along?

I perceive the organization's collective patience is waning.

Charles Clay: There is a concerted effort to make him more woven into the fabric of the offense. But despite opportunities, Clay continues to disappoint. He dropped what might have been a long gain. And on his third-down reception inside of two minutes to play, he allowed himself to go out of bounds and stop the clock for the Bengals. Not good.

Anthony Armstrong/Jabar Gaffney: A source told me Gaffney was inactive for the game simply because he's still rusty after missing most of preseason and being unemployed the past month until last week. He needs to get in shape and ready ... Armstrong has been a disappointment in that he was basically handed snaps the first week but has been losing ground since. This says it all about Armstrong: He didn't play much, if at all, on offense on Sunday. And Marlon Moore, who had been inactive the past two weeks with an injury, did play on offense. So a player whose been injured has passed Armstrong.

Here's hoping the ones playing well continue and the one playing poorly improve. I say this because as my column makes the point: The way the Dolphins are playing, they're going to be in most games at the end and they're going to need someone to come through for them with one big play practically every game.

Comments

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Cut Armstrong and Carpenter! Sign a rookie kicker. Hey, if someone's gonna miss the long ones, he might as well be a rookie. Miami should sign hogan to replace armstrong. He at least caught everything thrown his way, and knows the offense.

Patience, Patience, Patience.....Hey, looks like we are finally on the right track. Carpenter is a proven kicker, don't think he just lost it,....all go through some inconsistency,...lets wait it out a bit with him.

The bigger picture is there are lots of winnable games on the schedule. This team is developing nicely.

Reggie didn't look the same yesterday. The DEF continues to look better and better. The front 7 play has been great.

There really needs to to be some offensive wrinkles each week.

Tanny is pregressing nicely, but sometimes he look straight at a reciever and throws to him with a guy all over him. No progression to look at the other recievers.

I'm sorry we should beat the Rams!! No excuses to lose to them

Forth.

What were we really expecting from Armstrong anyway, typically there's a reason why we cut him from our PS. He's fast? So was Clyde Gates. Can't we find a fast receiver (maybe .2 seconds slower on the 40) for a guy who has skill at catching the ball, route running, and reading the defense? Bess isn't fast at all but he's smart, has great hands, and runs excellent routes, any NFL team would love to have him. Armstrong has speed: and two teams have cut him...next!

also losing patience with Clay.....doesnt have great hands or at least is not consistent/dependable there....bonehead and unacceptable lapse at the end of the game, running out of bounds--bring Egnew up and let the kid play, sink or swim, because Clay aint giving you much--Armstrong is really a non-factor but was signed mostly for depth and Gaffney will eventually take those snaps; if he continues to show zip then bring Fuller up and give him a few plays--keep Carpenter but give other kickers a look.

Bengals are the first playoff team we've beaten in over a year. They are pretty solid on both sides of the ball. So I wouldnt read to much into the final 17-13 score. When beating good teams it does pretty much come down to wire at end.

What I really like about this team? The smiles, the relaxed atmosphere and the fun around the locker room. Tannehill has a great attitude. And even better he has the potential to become a very good, dependable qb.

Reshad Jones made a couple of big plays yesterday. We are getting to the qb. We are stopping the run and our secondary is getting a little better each week.

Love the way this team is progressing.

Not worried about Reggie. He ran it in from 15 yards. Do that every game and add 7 points a game. Who cares how many yards he rushes if he gets a td a game?

Nolan Carroll and Jimmy Wilson both grew up a little yesterday. Sean Smith and Reshad Jones continued thier solid play. Even Chris Clemens did nothing to hurt and had the recovery of Seanm Smith's forced fumble.

We all know if this secondary begins to give solid consistent play, this will be an nfl defense to be reconged with. What, we,ve had at least 6 turnovers and 11 sacks the last two games on defense? Been a long time since we've seen that on defense in Miami.

To all who thought Wilson was a better choice than Tannehill (based off of who knows what): Seahawks are considering benching him for Flynn, Miami is far from considering putting Tannehill on the bench.

Last week we had many great "individual"performances and still lost. Yesterday we had a great "team" performance and left Cincy with the win.

There's your difference Mr. Armando. Great team performances win games.

Our offense was basically shut down yesterday. Unlike Cinci who has multiple weapons in the passing game we were frustrated when hartline and bess got locked up. There were no answers but to force the ball to a sluggish Fasano that was tackled as soon as he caught the ball.

Running game has been shut down the last 2 games. If teams a selling out to stop the run there are no reasons why you wrs shouldn't be getting open. Unless that just can't consistently beat man coverage. Hummmm! Most teams pray at night to be singled up in man coverage down after down.

Good win..defense looks much better but you can't hide your offense and expect to win many football games in the NFL.

Rashad Jones made the big interception. But those run stopping tackles were even better, seems like he had great stops all day long. And all the worry about no number one receivers. Turns out we have two number ones

Stra8balla,

Offensively we made enough plays on offense to win the game. Dont forget we were also playing against a playoff calibre defense and offense. We made just enough plays on both sides of the ball to beat a playoff calibre team.

That we all should take solice in. This is the nfl, you're not going to "roll" the opponent every week. Right now, we look like a very young team finally learning how to "grow up". Just enjoy as they continue to grow right before our very eyes.

Belltide,

Exactly! Reshad Jones had one hit on one of Cincy's rb's that was so bone jarring it rattled my tv set.

Hopefully we continue to get "CONSISTENT" performance from the db's. The pass rush also seems to be now "WAKING & COMPANY" up.

This is great because just a few weeks ago pass rush and db's seemed liked a pressing 2013 draft concern. If this trend continues, our top 2013 draft concerns could be #1 wr and re-address the te position if Egnew doesnt come thru late.

Still, Jimmy Graham didnt begin making contributions to the Saints in his rookie season until around game 8. So Im still not completely folding the tent on Egnew just yet.

Armando,

I have posted before that the previous two OT loses were not as written due to play calling. The defense had to step up and make a play. They did just that in this victory over the Bengals.

may b,
could b,
just maybe.
lol

sooooo.
bob3 is ????

Another thing, yesterday I found that Andy Dalton moves in the pocket much better than I first thought.

We had 3 sacks on him, but, he must have evaded at least 3 more sacks. If he didnt move better than we thought, the defense at least has 6 sacks of the qb Sunday.

the coaches showed up.
" clap clap clap clap " !

bring back the scab refs,
these refs sux.
lol

so irecorn, who u gonna axe this week,
duh team gets the message.
lol

promichael,

Exactly! I've been posting for the last 3 weeks that the defense needed to make a game winning play. We had been getting better on 3rd downs each game. Still couldnt make the most crucial play in the most crucial moment of the games.

Yesterday this young d broke thru the turbulence of growth we've been expecting to see all along.

2watt,

Just like I explained to odin yesterday. Good teams dont put thier fate in the hands of the refs. The refs are not in the business of helping "bad teams" win games. It seems the better teams almost always get the call most of the time.

Good teams make plays on both sides of the ball. Good teams overcome shotty officiating. Bad teams never make enough plays. Bad teams never overcome shotty officiating. Bad teams are only good at whining.

Good teams may lose 1-2 games a season max to terrible officiating. Bad teams may lose 4-6 games to terrible officiating.

Its not the officiating that causes bad teams to lose more. Its the inability to make enough plays both sides of the ball, that allows officiating to control thier fate.

It's not the officiating that causes a team to become a perrenial loser. It's the perrenial loser that causes the perrenial loser to become a perrenial loser.

Yesterday we did what good teams do. We made enough plays to control our own fate. We did not leave our fate in the hands of the refs.

This is what "good teams" do.

Its been so long since this team was a real winner. The fanbase will also have to "re-learn" how to be fans of a real winner team.

As a fanbase, we've also been conditioned to be losers over the past 15yrs. Hopefully this team and our fanbase continues to learn how to grow up together.

I was at this game yesterday and was surrounded by Bengals fans including my son! The refs helped cincy for sure but don't get down on the phins they beat cincy, cincy did not beat themselves. Were making progress and if our secondary can shape up we will b a force to b reckoned with. As far as Ryan tannehill goes, he's making huge strides and made plays against a very good defense without alot of weapons. I did not want the dolphins to draft him and thought he would b a bust, he's making me look like an idiot and I couldn't b happier about it.

Even Armando's going to have to learn to become a more positive Dolphins sports writer when this team rounds into championship form.

This loser team has helped Armando become a loser Dolphins writer. Losing cast a dark cloud over everything it touches.

buckeye,

At first I hated the Tannehill pick too. All I could envision was the 2nd coming of "BLAINE GABBERT".

Like you, I couldnt be happier about being wrong. This kid has been extremely solid in every game, though there have been some hiccups. Zero turnovers yesterday was a HUGE number for him.

Feels so great to be a dolfan right now. The defense is playing better, all phases of the game. On offense, with Tannehill, it looks we finally found the centerpiece to build around for at least the next 10yrs.

Feels so great to be a dolfan right now!

I said last week that I thought Miami was about t go on a 6 game winning streak. Weak competition & this team is playing hard.

I don't know why people thought cincy would win. They haven't been a good team all year.

With that said, D. Thomas - another head injury. Enough of this guy already. He will NEVER be healthy!

Clay is garbage.
Bring someone in to compete with Carpenter.

Again, coaches trying to give the game away. Attempting the 53 yearder set up Cincy in GREAT position & got their ONLY TD.

Has Philbin not seen Carpenter shank his last few long attempts? Should have either gone for the 4th & 1 or punted.

At the end of the game, AGAIN, instead of running & draining clock or having the other team use TO's, Miami throws & stops the clock on 1 play & then Clay runs out of bounds on the next.

THIS IS NOT SMART FOOTBALL LATE IN THE GAME TRYING TO WIN A GAME!

But hey, at least they finally knelt on the ball at halftime & end of game.

At first I hated the Tannehill pick too. All I could envision was the 2nd coming of "BLAINE GABBERT".
Like you, I couldnt be happier about being wrong. This kid has been extremely solid in every game, though there have been some hiccups. Zero turnovers yesterday was a HUGE number for him.
Posted by: Yesterday's Gone | October 08, 2012 at 08:54 AM

FLIPER BREAD FLIP-FLOP AGAIN NO BIG SURPRISE
COME BACK IN 30 MINUTTES ANDF FLIPER WILL HATE TENNIHILL AGAIN

THE GARAGE MACHANIC

THE CORNBEEF COACH

THE CROHNS DIESASES

THE KNEE

THE NECK

THE CELLER

Armando,

I'm not sure we need ONE guy to step up every week. Each week it seems it's someone different. I've been critical of the secondary but Smith, Carroll, Jones and even Clemmons played very well yesterday and we all expected that Dalton and Grenn would carve this defence up. Also no rushing TDs given up by this defence now in 4 games. THAT's impressive!

Two guys that Ireland was wise to stay away from were Zach Miller and Eric Winston. I, for one, wanted Miller in a Dolphins uniform in the worst way. It would have taken up a lot of valuable cap space and he's done nothing since he went to Seattle. Similarly, there were a lot of people who lambasted Ireland for not adding Winston in FA. I like Winston too but he was much smarter to draft Martin and pay him a fraction of what Winston is making.

These are just a couple of other moves you'll hear very little talked about on here.

CRAIG M

TELL US WHAT YOU'LL BE DOING SUNDAY WHEN DOLPIUNS PLAY RAMS?
ARE YOU HAVING COOK-OUT WITH FRIENDS?

THE GARAGE MACHANIC

THE CORNBEEF COACH

THE CROHNS DIESASES

THE KNEE

THE NECK

THE CELLER

meant to say cincy haven't beat, not haven't been.

Safe to say, Craig will defend Ireland with his last dying breath.

Disagree, Armando. Cinci might not be the Packers or G-men but that trio of receivers with Andy Dalton throwing it nobody wants to face, plus, their D did not appear that soft to me either. You will find that, down the road, we are going to beat up on the bad to mediocre Teams we have to face.

Reality Check

Rally WEIRD post, bud.

Dolphins go on the road and beat a tough 3-1 Bengals team. 'Not that good?' Check out ALL the experts. They all picked the Bengals to win. Yeah the same Bengals team that went on the road and beat RGIII and the 'Skins. Beat Stafford and the Lions too. Yeah, OK. Not that good. Goo call!

'Weird' post, bud. Team plays their guts out and 90 per cent of your post is negative, negative, negative. What EXACTLY would this team have to do to get some positive comments from you. I'm so thankful you weren't my Father. Your kids must be basket cases today or on welfare.

WHY THEY HONORING ZACH TOMAS AND JASON TAYLOR SUNDAY?
IS DROOPY DOG OWNER TRYING TO SELL SEATS TO STADIUM?
WHAT DID ZACH AND JASON DO TO GET INTO HONOR ROLL?
IM SURE THE GREAT ARMANDO WILL BE THERE SEERING HOW JASON TAYLOR GOES TO ARMANDOS HOUSE EVERY SUNDAY FOR DINNER.

THE GARAGE MACHANIC

THE CORNBEEF COACH

THE CROHNS DIESASES

THE KNEE

THE NECK

THE CELLER

Dare I say this is the best looking team Ive seen in at least 5 yrs if not 10 yrs. They have heart, balance and dominance. If not for turnovers and missed field goals this team could very well be close 5-0 at this point. Even against the Texans they had the 3 turnovers you erase those and it was a very close game!! Im almost ready to buy sunday ticket. I havent had that in 4years!! GOOO PHINSSS!!!

Captain Obvious,

Instead of being the smart a** that you normally are. Why don't you try and rebutt my points? Reason you won't...because you CAN'T. So what do you do? You take the focus off football and attack.

Where's all the 'Odrick is a bust', 'Hartline another Ireland failure', 'Major reach for Tannehill at 8', 'Smith another wasted pick'.

Where are those guys?

'Five years of Ireland and he still can't get the OL figured out'.

'Drafts one bust after another'.

Come on guys, come out and play.....

I have to write exactly what I see on the day after the win in Cincy.This team at 2-3 looks a lot better than when they were 1-1.BTW I called the interception and was willing to bet but no takers.

Craig, GM's are graded based on the moves they make, not the ones they don't.

Winston was 1 of the prizes in FA. The top olineman available. He's earned his money.

You conveniently leave out the fact that Ireland wanted Winston but, couldn't afford him because he had Miami's cap so out of whack.

I like how you spin Miami not being able to afford him into a good thing in stayin away from him.

Look at the real, true picture.

Top 3 Rookie Qb's: How They Stack Up

1. Andrew Luck

7tds 5 ints 1,208yds. His team is 2-2 with 91pts scored.

The Colts are 10th in total offense, and 6th in passing offense.

2. RG3

4 tds 1 int 1,169yds. His team is 2-3 with 140pts scored.

The Skins are 7th total offense, and 17th in passing offense.

3. Ryan Tannehill

2tds 1,269yds. His team is 2-3 with 103pts scored.

The Fins are 7th in total offense, and 17th in passing offense.

This is how the top 3 drafted qbs stack up so far. Tannehills leads in yards passing(1,269). Luck leads in tds passing(7. RG3 has the least picks(1 int).

For what thier teams need them to do, all 3 qb's compare very favorably. Tannehill, thus far is pulling his 8th overall pick weight. The stats dont lie.

Reality Check,

Where is it written that 'GMs are judged on the moves they make not the ones they don't move'. Is there a handbook on this stuff? Can you send me the link?

The reality of the situation is that every GM has a finite number of dollars to spend. Mistakes can be costly. Ask the Titans how they're feeling about Chris Johnson these days. Coincidence that they are 1-4 and getting zero contributions from CJ? Think they'd like to get out from under that contract?

'Winston's earning his money'? How do you figure? The Chiefs are 1-4. What would their record be without him do you think? Has he made their team better in the W/L column? No. Then that would be a waste of money, no?

Meant Skins are 13th in passing offense. Seems Tannehill has the superior run game, but Luck/RG3 have the superior recievers.

Still, having the 17th ranked passing game with what in the beggining everyone percieved to be the nfl's worst wr corps, is vry amazing.

YG,

You forgot to mention that RGIII was obtained from three first round picks and a second. All Tannehill cost us was our pick at 8. I'll take that over the randsom that was paid for RGIII.

Craig, 90% negative? LOL OK "bud".

I suggest taking a reading comprehension course.

When I state that Clay is garbage, thats being honest.
When I state Thomas will always have head injuries, that's truth & honest.
When I state Cincy hasn't beaten a good team all year, that's fact & honest.

They beat Jax, Cleveland & Washington & had lost to Baltimore.

FACT IS: They haven't beaten a team with a winning record this season. AND that is why, I felt Miami would win.

I don't listen to the media prognasticators as if they know anything. Apparently you do. Worthless.

So you see, what you "perceive" as negativity is simply truth & honesty.

I am happy about the win. I said last week, that you apparently ignored in my 1st post, that I felt Miami would win 6 in a row. Is that negative or positive?
Try reading what I really said & not just find an excuse to always attack other bloggers because you can't grasp what they're saying.

That's pretty typical in your responses to everyone that I see.

Craig M.....

Looks like its you who has his hands full today......

I would be careful about using records to justify your argument....especially with OL...long has spent his entire career in the loss colum.....

Reality Check,

You can make players fit into your salary cap if you really want to. Contracts can be renegotiated and players cut. If Ireland deemed Winston to be the guy he really wanted he could have made it work. After all, we all knew that the weak link on the team last year was RT Colombo. So I'm saying he was wise not to chase the prize and instead draft a guy who could play some good tackle in this league for the next 10 years, at a much more reasonable price.

YG,
Can't agree with u anymore the fan base needs to learn and grow also and mondo quit being so bipolar are u a jets fan in disguise?

Arrmando stirring the Pot.(whoosh,whoosh)

So Craig, lemme get this straight.

GM's who sign players & fail are more scrutinezed & are less credible than Ireland who can't sign players because of the cap situation he put them in?

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOK!

I think we can agree this discussion is over LOL

Reality Check,

Just re-read it. Which part was postive? The shout out that they are going to go on a 6 game winning streak, followed by 'weak competition'.

'THIS IS NOT SMART FOOTBALL LATE IN THE GAME TRYING TO WIN A GAME!'

I really liked this comment put into capitals for emphasis.

So OK smart guy, can you specifically tell me which part was intended to be positive? Must be my Canadian education. Educate me.

CraigM,

Lets just put it this way. Joe Philbin has seemed to do more with the Ireland picks over the past 5 games than Sparano has done the past 4yrs.

We're no longer talking Smith a bust. No longer talking the Jerry a bust, no longer talking how awful the oline is. After the past 2 games, no longer talking no pass rush. No longer talking no turnovers.

Yesterday, we were no longer talking Nolan Carroll bust. There are still a couple more "no longers" to be ironed out on this team. But since Philbin's arrival, our no longer list has been getting even longer.

Im beginning to think Sparano truly was a greater problem than Ireland. Philbin seems to be much better at developing talent. I wouldnt be surprised in the least, before season's end if they had Egnew up and running, making a very meaningful contribution in the offense.

Under Sparano, players like Egnew were doomed to become busts. Philbin saved John Jerry from the endangered species bust list.

yesterdays gone goin to have to change your name to were back again stop being hater jet fan

Reality Check,

Don't you and others CONSTANTLY criticize Ireland for the moves that were made when Parcells was here? Gibril Wilson, the FA OL, Wilford the WR. I mean, am I wrong here? That's all I've read on here for 5 years. So isn't NOT throwing money at guys he shouldn't have part of the good? Where am I going wrong here?

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