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2 posts from November 28, 2012

November 28, 2012

Some Dolphins think Pats just another team

There seems to be an interesting debate among some Dolphins players as to what kind of team exactly they wil play Sunday when the New England Patriots come to town.

The Patriots, you may know, have won three Super Bowls this millineum while playing in the game another two times. They're .670 winning percentage (including the postseason) is the best in the league since 1994. They've won every AFC East division title since 2001 except for 2002 and 2008.

And this year, New England is leading the division, leading the NFL in points per game, and they have a future Hall of Fame quarterback named Tom Brady.

So how do some Dolphins react to this resume?

"They're just another team," quarterback Ryan Tannehill said today. "They're a really good team. They've won a lot of games this year. But it's not something that affects us."

That is not a singular opinion. Middle linebacker Karlos Dansby agrees the Patriots are a good team. But does he think their reputation allows them a certain degree of prestige?

"No," he said.

Why not?

"Why?" he answered.

"A lot of teams have been among the elite," Dansby said. "Everybody has prestige behind their organization. What makes them different than anybody else?

"Every team in the AFC East has prestige behind them -- even the Buffalo Bills. [Sheesh], they went to the Super Bowl four times in a row and didn't win it. So playing them is just like playing the New England Patriots."

If confidence is something you admire, then you're in heaven right now. By the same token, if giving the opponent something to fume about is a problem for you, then this also fits the bill. My take is that true or not, whether they are just another team or not, the Patriots will turn this into an internal topic of discussion.

But leave it to ripe and wise veteran running back Reggie Bush to want no part of the conversation. He clearly disagrees with Tannehill and Dansby.

"No, I don't think they're just another team," Bush said. "They've kind of been at the top for a while now. The body of work they've put out, the foundation they've laid out kind of speaks to their organization, to their program, to the character of players they got over there. So I have nothing but respect for those guys over there."

Babin doesn't make sense in Miami but don't discount the notion

[UPDATE: The Dolphins were reportedly one of eight teams to put in a waiver claim for Jason Babin. This obviously speaks to the idea discussed below that the team wants pass-rush help opposite Cameron Wake. Babin goes to Jacksonville and will face the Dolphins Dec. 16]

[UPDATE 2: Now we learn that reports saying the Dolphins put in a claim are not accurate. Apparently only three teams put in claims -- Washington, Jacksonville and Bills. Babin goes to the Jaguars. Still.]

Jason Babin?

He's available and he had 18 sacks in 2011. He is a 4-3 defensive end and the Dolphins play the 4.3. He fits an immediate need for a team needing pass rush help on the other side of Cameron Wake.

But ...

Babin wants to go to a winner and according to some reports he became something of a problem in the Philadelphia locker room because the team wasn't winning. Well, the Dolphins are 5-6 and not considered a team that's winning.

Is acquiring Babin Joe Philbin's style. No, in fact, it would go against his stated approach of having a certain kind of player that advances and fits into the program. Babin reportedly complained and second-guessed and, wait for it, had opinions during his time in Philadelphia.

Philbin doesn't want that in his locker room.

Babin's 32 years old. So what? The Dolphins are going to do exactly the opposite of what they've been doing -- that is, letting younger players such as Jared Odrick and Olivier Vernon show themselves and develop? Hard to fathom an about-face on this.

Babin is also something of an engima. He has only 5.5 sacks this year. He's had more games without a sack than games in which he got a sack. If you notice the Eagles' record the past two years, obviously Babin is not a difference maker. They stunk with him playing well, they stink with him playing poorly.Believe it or not, the Eagles have lost each of the last four games in which Babin has recorded a sack.

I'm not saying it is his fault they lost the game. I'm just saying his limited contribution hasn't made a difference.

Babin is also subject to waivers. There is one report that the Ravens will definitely claim him. The Ravens, by the way, are behind the Dolphins in the priority waivers claim order. So if the report is correct the Dolphins would have to claim Babin to get him. They would not be able to sign him as a free agent after waivers expire.

Claiming Babin means taking on his contract which has $1.75 million left on it in salary this year and extends through 2015 with salaries of $4.25 million next year and $6 million in '14 and '15.

You'll hear the term "Wide 9" scheme as it relates to what Babin is best suited for. Forget that. If a guy can rush the QB, he can rush the QB. Plus the Dolphins employ a bit of that anyway. Not a factor here.

Did I mention Babin is limited against the run? He's not that good against the run. There, I said it.

Yes, the Dolphins need a counter to Cameron Wake. Yes, Babin is probably a better pass rusher than anyone else currently on the roster.

But from waiver claim issues to locker room issues to age, there are serious reasons to doubt Babin fits. It doesn't make sense. (So, of course, don't be surprised if the Dolphins are interested).