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What to think about the Dolphins, what to do with Carpenter

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- You saw the good and you saw the bad during Sunday's 24-21 overtime loss here. As I wrote in my column that appears in Monday's Miami Herald, this game had plenty of both and you can choose to view it as a failure today or as a game with promise for tomorrow.

Frankly, I'm so sick of covering a loser, I really want to believe this game is the start of something good for the future.

And so I see Ryan Tannehill's 431 yards as a big deal. This was the second most yards any rookie QB in NFL history has thrown for in a game -- behind only Cam Newton's 432 last year versus Green Bay. It also the most passing yards by a rookie on the road.

The 431 yards tied for sixth most in Miami history. Of the top eight such performances in club history, Dan Marino has the other seven and Tannehill joins that list.

It was also a breakout day for Brian Hartline and Cameron Wake and Sean Smith and others. All good.

But ...

This was a loss, folks, and this season is officially in a tailspin. So tomorrow looks good. Today looks like a heaping pile.

The Dolphins have played well enough to be 3-1 this year. They seem every bit as good as the Jets and Cardinals to whom they have lost in overtime the last two weeks. But the fact is the Dolphins lost against two teams that aren't any better than them. And this game was lost while wasting many great, great performances.

So even when guys play great, these Dolphins find a way to lose.

And if you cannot win when half a dozen players are having great days, when can you win?

Then there is this:

Mike Sherman's play-calling puzzled me in crunch time again this week. Last week the Dolphins offensive coordinator went away from the running game in the fourth quarter and they blew a lead.

This week, the Dolphins had a 21-14 lead with 3:45 to play. The team just converted a first down on two running plays. Sherman runs on first down again. Then on second down and eight from the Arizona 43 yard line he runs again, right?. It only makes sense against a defense that was blitzing right up the middle all day, right? You want to run clock, right?

Nope. Sherman called a pass.

And the Cards blitzed. And Richie Incognito missed the blitzer who had a free run at Tannehill right up the gut. And the Dolphins quarterback got hit and sacked and stripped of the ball. Former Dolphins defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday recovered at his own 43.

The Cardinals then converted the turnover into a game-tying touchdown drive in regulation. And they won in overtime.

Frustrating play-calling.

There was also the mounting problems with kicker Dan Carpenter. Last week, he missed two field goals including a possible game-winner.

This week he missed a 51-yarder that was no gimme by any means, but nonetheless a makeable kick. Carpenter, so solid before the season that Miami didn't even bring a kicker to camp to compete against him, could have turned a 13-0 lead into a 16-0 lead.

The miss meant more than three points. It was a momentum killer. It heartened the Cardinals and gave their crowd hope. It wasn't long before the Cardinals took a 14-13 lead.

So what should the Dolphins do about Carpenter now? I asked Joe Philbin if he's concerned about Carpenter now and whether a move might be necessary.

“We’ll have to take a look and see how he did," Philbin said. "When you send your field goal kicker out there, hopefully you know they’re going to make kicks. I’m not sure that’s a concern right now at this moment.”

Not concerned? Really? If not now, then when?

Does Carpenter have to help blow a couple of more games?

The trouble is the Dolphins are financially committed to Carpenter. They aren't really going to cut him at this point. Do they bring in a kicker to send him a message that he has to get his stuff together?

That might end up being another thing that an already worried kicker has to think about. Of course, it might also light the proverbial fire under Carpenter.

No easy answers. None.


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I'd be looking at Burress, Gaffney, and even Stallworth. If you guys don't think there'd be benefit at looking at ALL of these guys you're nuts. Couldn't be any worse than Naanee and I don't buy this contract crap. Season is a quarter over and they wouldn't ccount that much against the cap. Even if it was $2mil, we wouldn't be able to do something like that?

mike, im done with you. Until you prove what I posted then you can keep making up facts in your head.

Would you trade Bowe if he was your team....forget the tag rules. Phins can't afford him vs the cap. You have to have a long term deal in place before the trade. Would you trade him if he was on your team. Beside they can tag him 2 additional years if they don't sign him to a long term deal.

Marc, read the bleacher report. Pretty one-sided. Dansby part of one of the best front 7's in the league (not sure why that was on there as a bad decision). Back when it happened, word on the street was Parcells was high on Pat White (and if so, don't think Ireland would go against his boss). Getting rid of Marshall/Davis, ehh, that could go either way. Would they help this year, probably. Would they be part of the core Philbin envisioned for the future, probably not.

And bringing up what Joey Porter, Channing Crowder and Ryan "I Can't Play in Mile High Or I Might Get Sick" Clark think IMO is nonsense. Those are 3 suckers in the NFL (2 were has-beens, where are they now, and Clark used us to get paid in Pitt).

My list of Ireland's problems would be different. But I also notice it was Ireland who drafted Tannehill, which is the first 1st-rd QB drafted by Miami in 30 years. THAT'S HUGE, and almost makes up for every mistake if Tannehill becomes a franchise QB (and looks he's going that way).


Are you saying you can't trade a player who was franchised? What if KC signed him with the provision that he be traded? Perhaps there would be a way to spread that contract out over time, so that it doesn't hit this year, no?

All of our problems can be fixed this off season guys we have cap space and some tough decisions on free agents (big jake) and 5 top 100 picks in the draft so let's get this done

WHRB et al,
I have long been a proponent of trading draft picks for established players.
Because if you draft a player the best you can hope is that he will become established.
That being said a team like the Chiefs with 2 legitimate stars cannot trade one of them.
The most likely trade partner is for a player in the 3rd or 4th year of a rookie contract that does not want to re-sign with his team (ala Vontae Davis).

A team that loses it's QB to injury would be a good place to start like Tenn.

Is it possible that Tebow is the NYJ starter for the Oct 28th game vs. Miami?

Obviously, the trade would be complete with Bowe signing a long term contract, I wasnt looking just to rent the guy for a year.

I hope all of you who say Egnew needs time are right but in the last 10 Seasons more or less which has shown great evolution at the T.E. position players have come in and even when not very good blockers have contributed in the pass game with their teams exploiting the miss matches on the field. In the era of the hybrid T.E./WR you get an idea of what you have almost off the bat given teams will line them up even in the slot on occasion to max their talent.

Go back to the draft and remember the pick, Egnew was a pass catching not blocking T.E. and just about everybody said Miami jumped the gun in Rd-3. In the PreSeason we used him in a variety of formations and he dropped everything thrown at him except a deflection a good 25 yards downfield which ironically takes great consentration which gives some hope but with Mustrad suiting up it leaves you very discouraged going into Oct. and the lack of playmakers or multiple T.E. formations which we could be using with our 3rd rounder like the Pats did with both of their's from the word GO!

Say no to trades you build through the draft

Even though we lost, there is a lot to build on from this game. And please lets sign another kicker

Maybe I'm gettling a little ahead of myself but if the Dolphins do get a pass rusher in round one next year - they will certainly move Odrick inside which means bye to bye to Starks or Soliai once Odrick's contract is up. I'd hate to see either go but i'd really hate to see Big Paul go. This guy just crushes NFl centres. There were a couple of Cards run plays up the gut that were just comedic. It was like poor Ryan Williams just ran into a brink's truck.

Big Paul is just one of those guys you have to see play live to fully appreciate. Very similar to Ted Washington.

This doesn't feel like when Shula came in, or even JJ, when everybody knew they would coach the Team well and nobody questioned their in Game decisions. It doesn't feel like that now. Sorry.

fin4life, Plaxxco couldnt get open, his years in the NFL are done hint why no other team brought him in for a workout. The only thing hes good for is to catch fade route, not sure if you want to take a roster spot for a guy whos one dimensional.

Clue | October 01, 2012 at 12:11 PM

He was always a player who went over the middle and knew how to position and outbox DB's for the tough catch and doubt he still couldn't make that play for his team.

Once you sign a franchise tag you can't be traded unless you have a long term contract in place. The Phines have about 6 million in cap space, Bowe is making 9.5 million this year, he's not signing for less, so the Phins can't fit him in. Either at his present contract (tag), or on a long term deal because he's not signing for less than the 9.5 mil.

Re: Hartline
Coming into this season hartline had more than 100 catches for us and was averaging 15+/reception.

Armando owes Hartline an apology for saying over and over again,"...the Dolphins have no playmakers...".

If we draft a WR they take 3 years to develop into a reliable threat. I say trade for an established WR and draft everything else.

Clue, sound good clue, but once you have a good receiver, teams aren't going to give them up. Would you trade Hartline now. Absolutely not.

Re: Tannehill

We now have proof that Tanne not only reads this blog but takes my posts to heart.
Earlier in the week I challenged Tanne to put up a Henne like game with the same scrubs that Henne was throwing to. And he did. And he got the same result. (He did'nt do it on MNf against a division rival team that would go to the SB that year but hey let's take it one step at a time).

mike, what about the offseason, when all the Dolphins UFA come off the books?


All of whay you say is correct but I do believe there's a scenario where Bowe could be signed by KC, with the provision that he be traded and the cap money deferred to the point that it wouldn't greatly impcat the cap this season. I'm no expert on this stuff but I do believe it could be done.

I've said this before, you can criticize late picks Ireland and Co have made but the fact of the matter is that miami during 2008 to present has been top five or so in getting use from tehir first and second round picks during this time. Ireland nails the early ones better than most.

The most Dashi will give up for a Wr right now even Bowe is a 3rd. We are doing them a favor. Like with Reggie.

Matt Ryan has never thrown over 375 yds in his career.

And we don't even have the same Wr's or te!


And where is the Matt Barkley fan club?

Ur argument is falling faster than his draft stock!

Ha Ha!

Let's hope the Jets make the screw up and overdraft again. Nolan Carol is better than Kyle wilson. A top 10 pick!

Where is Vernon gholston? A top 5 pick in the Jake long draft!

Trust we fire Ireland and the first thing the jets are doing is hiring them. And we will know what his 1st move as GM will be to fire soprano again.

Ross is a business man. Even he's starting to see that business will be looking real good the next 5 years!

Yeah Clue, I thought you were a Barkley guy. What do you have to say.

DC and Craig M,

As to your Hartline slipping question. The thing that strikes me is that he is wringing EVERY bit of talent out of himself to sustain play in the NFL. To do so, even though he is obviously lacking some of the natural gifts other fleet footed WRs have, he is trying to make insane cuts to try and gain separation and be a better target for Tannehill.

When he presses so hard like that he starts to cut on the part of the shoe where there are no cleats. By twisting his foot so much in trying to make those crazy cuts he ends up hitting straight plastic or leather and down he goes.

We had a guy on our high school team that use to do the same thing and coach would always remind him to run ON/OVER your cleats or you will always fall down.

That's what I am seeing. Hope it helps.


Craig M, the only salary deferral you can do is to give him a bonus and spread the bonus through the length of the contract. He would still have to have his tag salary included in any salary cap estimation.

Cameron Wake is a stud. Miami fans highly appreciate the great work he does. He needs more help, but it was encouraging to see Odrick make some good plays on Sunday. Even Misi was getting to the qback, but we need much more from all these guys. Congratulations to Sean Smith for an excellent game, but even Sean was not perfect. We still have some big defensive backfield issues, but some of those would go away if we can increase pressure on opposing qbacks.
Why is Naannee still on this team? He needs to go.
Our kicker has failed us 2 (winnable)games in a row. Com'on Carpenter, you need to get your act together, you are BETTER than that. Despite not being given a chance by Las Vegas oddsmakers, the Phins played much better than expected. I think Philbin has the team improving and on the right trajectory, but the players on the field still have to step it up a notch. I think we can beat CIncy in their house Sunday. Go Dolphins!

Rob in OC, the thing you don't get is that he does have the talent. He's 4.4 in the 40, he was a champion high hurdler in college, he has great hand and route runner. He's also 6'2" 200 big enough to make a difference. That wring all the talent doesn't fly because he does have talent.

Big Paul is just one of those guys you have to see play live to fully appreciate. Very similar to Ted Washington.

Mark in Toronto | October 01, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Agree, Solia a real man crusher, no worries he was inked to a 2 yr. extension and will be a Fin in 2013. The worry is un-sung Starks who at 29 this Season is a player we need to look to keep. However there is a monster DE coming out next yr. from LSU (Barkevious Mingo) who if were to drop in our laps I feel we can't pass. Seems to have JPP potential written all over him and could prompt the move for Odrick. Although Starks has been a pretty CAP friendly guy and unless he looses his mind will get an offer to stay and keep one the NFL's better 4/3 DT tandems together.

Finished rewind and just confirms what I saw the 1st time: O-line was pretty bad pass blocking and horrible on run. Directly responsible for turnover late 4th quarter and what happened next? Our famous secondary gave up a quick TD tying the game with less than 2 minutes. All we had to do is run the clock out.

While Tannehill continues to improve, O-line needs coaching up. And D-backs? I expect to see some new faces next year.

Great game for rook QB and Hartline as well. Loved seeing Hartline catch long ball over the shoulders in stride.

excellent post dashi

You don't go for 250 yards without talent.

I see your using your name again, you must really be proud of Tanne's accomplishments.

Posted by: CadillacDeVille | October 01, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Dude, Repost this post around 6pm, Odinstand was posting for almost 14 hours yesterday, He's passed out from to much booze like he is everyday.

Rob in OC,

Good points. My fear is that when a guy like Hartline is cutting as hard as he is, this is when injuries happen. Broken ankles, knee injuries, groin injuries, hammies etc....Enjoy us playing like this right now because if one of these guys go down there is very little depth behind them.

There are some HOF receivers that had no great natural talent but developed other qualities, like getting open and hanging onto the ball. Fred Biletnikoff, Steve Largent, among others.

I would love to see them draft Marquis Lee for USC, great speed and good hand. Much faster than Robert Woods.

mike, I hate matt barkley, I hate all USC QBs

CadillacDeville,,shut up,,, you are a trolltards

Yeah, I'm worried about Carpenter too, but it was a team loss. There are so many things one can point to, and not just single out one thing. For example, if T doesn't throw the ball, and takes the sake on that play in OT, Arizona starts on their 15. Much better than mid-field when the games ends in sudden death.

Arizona is playing at a high level, and deserve elite status. And for us to play at their level was incredible. I'm not worried we are 1-3. There's a lot more football to play. It was the best game I've watched in three years.

We pick-up the next three games.

Clue,,shut up,,, you are a trolltards
oscar,,shut up,,, you are a trolltards

Who you gonna bring in to replace Carpenter now? All we can do is bring in some competition for him.

Personally, might not be a bad idea to pick up a kicker in the draft. I'm tired of retreads.

This is two difference teams from first half to second half. Has to be coaching right there.

Also, Henne threw for over 400 against the Pats, IIRC. I wouldn't be looking down the road just yet with Tanne. Even a dog catches his own tail from time to time. How about a string of good games before everyone goes out and buys their Tanne Jersey and throw away their Dan jersey.


Hartline is a good WR but he WILL NEVER BE as talented as Mike Wallace, Megatron, Dwayne Bowe, etc.

Don't let a few nice games fool you. A ton of guy in the NFL excelled at track and field, wrestling, weightlifting or something.

He is a good solid #2 guy. Let's see if he can sustain and stay healthy a whole season as a #1 before you can crown Hartline anything.

I never said he is devoid of talent...I was merely answering the "slip question" Craig and DC were asking about.


Who's up for

oscar,,shut up,,, you are a trolltards

Seriously? The Dophins secondary/pass defense is giving up big play after big play and letting the opposing offenses score and you're concerned about the Kicker? Yes, he missed kicks he shouldn't have, but that's not as troubling to me as the pathetic pass defense that week in and week out makes QB's look great.


Well, yes, in the big scope of Things it could be that this Team is overachieving. Then, nobody knows.

BTW the kick he missed was from 51 yards out, that was not a gimme like Armando said. It was no chip shot.

I would just like to say that I am proud of the way the team has played so far this season. I see a lot of good things happening out on the field. We just need to bring it all together for 60 min and show the rest of the NFL that this team will not be a pushover for anyone.

I flew down to watch us beat up on the Raiders. I will be at the game in Cincy this Sunday. And I have tix for the game in Indy.

Shame on the rest of you who live near Miami and are not supporting this team. I want to see bodies in the stands for our home games!


You are correct sir. It seems like their are always guys like Welker, Largent, Wayne Crebet, Danny Woodhead etc that seemed to get way more out of themselves then most looking at them could see.

Hence the reason why we get Welker after he is cut from the Bolts only to get a 2nd and 7th from NE for a free agent later.

Beauty is the eyes of any particular coach I guess.

I still cringe at the fact that Parcell's (whom had the small but scrappy Phil McConkey and David Meggett) took one look at KR Stephan Logan and said he is too small...get him out of here BEFORE he even saw him play when Parcell's took over. Logan ended up being a decent return guy and we still are searching for the right mix.


Broder, I thought that after I finished with Fidel Castro, everything would be easy. Now, I have to start teaching these Miami Dolphins Coaches and Fans. Broder!

It's all in the probabilities.

Maybe Carpenter needs Ace Ventura.

Rob in OC, he's more talented than Bowe, absolutely more. He has more speed. Bowe is a possession receiver. He catches lots of passes, but his per reception ave is 13 yard/reception. Hartline is more of a deep threat.

Craig M | October 01, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Was thinking the very same thing when I read that post by Rob, it was this very thing that killed Deion's vertical movement. An injury to the big toe from pushing off so hard he never seemed to recover from, same thing with OJ McDuffie. The problem with the big toe has been a bigger killer for players pushing off on cuts than the ankle's in terms of becoming chronic.

mike, cmon Hatline is a good WR but Bowe is a legit #1. 13 yards a reception is good, he has a first down eveytime he catches the ball, why wouldnt you like that?

So it's clear that the 1-3 season can't be pinned to just one thing or person. In the end we have to agree with that....right?

Well I am here to say the number one reason why this team is 1-3 and not 3-1 is Dan Carpenter. Before you scream and yell and tell me I am wrong consider two things.

1) I have posted twice that I think it was a bad decision on Philbin's part to have Carpenter kick a 51 yard field goal given his problems in the Jets game. That said, if we are to have confidence in Carpenter and not cut his butt then we need him to make kicks 45-52 yards consistently. So, I cant crucify Philbin. The team was up 13-0 and he wanted to give Carpenter a chance. OK...I'm past it...This is NOT a coaching issue.

2) So, I feel the #1 problem in Carpenter. The rest of the team is 'on stage' throughout the game. There are more opportunities for them to shine but there are more opportunities for them to fail as well. The nature of the position is they need to shine when given limited opportunities. They need to make the 'big ones' that will usually make/break the game for the entire team. He has failed so far!

Here are Carpenter's stats in the first four games:

5-8 Total 62.% success rate (longest was 41 yards)
0-0 < 20 yards
2-2 20-29 yards
2-2 30-39 yards
1-3 40-49 yards
0-1 50+ yards (51 yard miss)

Note he is is 1-4 over 40 yards. All of them were 'big ones.' He makes those three and the Fins win. When he missed the them the other team scored on the ensuing drives because they had great field position. He is only 25% in big kick situations. That is failure!

Oh and Wallace WILL not go over the middle. Wallace has and 18 yards/reception, but the most passes he's caught is 72. He's had 39, 60, and 72 in his 4 year career. So maybe he does ave more talent than Wallace.

Clue, and Hartline's is 15.8. But that doesn't prove anything, but for his career Bowe's long catch is 57 yards, how many times has Hartline done that. He an 80 yarder last game, a 67 yarder, and a 54 yarder. Plus 2 40 yarders this year.

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