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THE key to the game on Sunday 'no question'

In this matchup between the Patriots and Dolphins there are two numbers that stand out that speak to the relative position -- the strengths and weaknesses, if you will -- each team is enjoying and suffering.

Turnover margin.

The Patriots are an astonishing plus-24 so far this season. That's the best in the NFL.

The Dolphins are at minus-10, which means they have turned the ball over 10 more times than they've collected turnovers. That ranks Miami tied for 27th in the NFL.

"I wish we were better, no question about it," coach Joe Philbin said.

Philbin definitely wishes the statistic is better on Sunday when the teams meets. If the Patriots play as they have and don't make mistakes while the Dolphins play to their turnover stat and give up one or two, that's a bad day for Miami. It makes the likelihood of winning much less probable.

"We’re playing a team that’s plus 24 and we’re minus 10," Philbin said. "That pattern is not good; that can’t continue on Sunday and be a good thing for us. So we have to do a great job of ball security and find a way to take the ball away from them. That’s going to be a key to the ball game, no question about it."

The Dolphins number is not good but it is much more attention-grabbing when compared to New England's plus-24. The next closest teams to the Pats are Chicago and the Giants and they are at plus-13.

Tom Brady, for example, has thrown 421 passes and has only three interceptions.

"It’s something we talk about a lot," Brady said. "There’s nothing more important than possession of the football. Our defense has done an incredible job taking it away. The offense has done a great job of keeping the ball away from the defense. It’s a point of emphasis every day in practice. It’s a point of emphasis going into every game, like most teams.

"It’s probably the one stat that correlates to winning and losing more than any other. It’s good that we’re in the plus-20s, but what we’re trying to do is get the edge in this game. Nothing that we’ve done this year means anything going into this game. We have to go out and try to put together a good performance this game. Hopefully we’re ahead in the turnover margin in this game as well."

Brady's care for the ball on Sunday must be matched by Tannehill who so far has have four times as many interceptions (12) in nearly 100 fewer throws.

“That’s impressive," Tannehill said of Brady's interception number. "When you’re able to take care of the ball like that, throw accurately and throw for that kind of yards and the amount of touchdowns he has, to go along with that, it’s impressive. I think he’s continued to get better and progress throughout his career and hopefully I can learn from that."

Why do the Patriots have such a good turnover margin? More importantly, why don't the Dolphins?

I blame part of it on the Miami defense. They don't catch interceptions. I can think of five interceptions they've dropped this year. That would cut their number in half. And Miami's running backs have lost five fumbles compared to only one by the Patriots.

"I believe they are the best in the football at protecting the ball offensively, so that’s a real credit to the players and staff," Philbin said. "Number two is they’re second in football, one behind Chicago I believe, at taking the football away. They catch the interceptions; they knock the ball loose on fumbles and come up with the ball. They do a great job. It’s impressive."

Better not be on Sunday if the Dolphins hope to win.

 

Comments

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Oscar,

I have no idea why he's called the honey badger. Im sure we'll find out why if Ireland drafts him.

What, another one of these under-priviledged, troubled Kids? I don't want him here!

Because we still have so many holes that need to be filled. IMO, Ireland should see this draft as a bpa draft based on filling those needs with his 1st 3 picks(1st-2a-2b).

If in position to do, T'eo, Matthieu, and a wr would be my 1st 3 picks. Give Vernon next season to see if he can round into becoming that C wake compliment. If not, 2014's 1st rd pick would be a pass rusher.

oscar,

The honey badger is well worth the gamble. Had he not had the substance abuse problems, he could easily have been a top 3 pick coming out of college this year.

You 100% know what you're going to get from this kid on the field. Its just off the field that can be questionable. Vonte Davis cant hold this kid's jock strap when it comes to on the field performance.

Last year this kid was a int, turnover, and td return machine. This kid does it all.

I would love to see Vernon begin to show signs that he can be that pass rush compliment to Wake going forward. It will make the 2013 draft a lot easier.

I would like to see Vernon rack up at least 3 sacks in these final 5 games to give us that indicator.

Still need a QB.

Pats- 60 Fins- 10

The way Ireland drafts it would be far better to trade the picks for established players.....if he will still be with team.

I'd like to see them take a chance on the Honey Badger as well. Since they have extra second or thrids I would use one of them, probably a second.

I don't see the guy falling as far as they are predicting.

Yeah the Honey Badger has the skills but Philbin is a No Nonsense, No Drama kind of guy. Ocho, Davis, Marshall all good players with problems are gone. If we invest in him and the drama starts that would be another wasted year and we are back to square one. I don't think Philbin is going to gamble, he wants a certain image for the team and troubled players don't fit the image.

If Philbin wants choir boys he's in the WRONG BUSINESS. Good football coaches have to be able to handle problems.

You're right about Mathieu YG. Unfortunately, probably makes WAY TOO MUCH SENSE for the Dolphins. He's not a boy scout, and Philbin/Dolphins want guys that are going to heaven only FIRST, and then want to win SECOND! I totally believe this. Miami can't handle players who need attitude adjustments. By the way, that's not the Honey Badger. He was probably the most popular player on those LSU teams. He just liked the sticky icky a little too much. HE'S A COLLEGE KID, BIG SURPRISE!!! I think with the right discipline, with the right mentors, he could become a model professional athlete in the NFL.

I just don't see the Dolphins brass wanting to even take a chance. Of course, when a guy comes out who has elite physical gifts PLUS all the intangibles (RG3), they don't want to take that chance either. Much of the reason we're stuck in the middle of the pack, we always seem to take the WRONG chances.

But it's a new leadership team. I liked what Ireland/Philbin did this past year. If they can grow that into a formidable team I'll forget all the mistakes done in the past.

If Philbin wants choir boys he's in the WRONG BUSINESS. Good football coaches have to be able to handle problems.

Posted by: mike | November 30, 2012 at 09:55 AM

mike, great post. Totally agree.

Opti/Pesti, I can definately see that point of it. Though I still think you take a chance on him, because talent wise it would be a steal to get him there.

As long as they saw it as a project player and not drafting a day 1 starter (meaning possibly pick up another CB draft of FA). I don't think it would effect them too much and is worth the gamble.

thanks DC

Guys,

I think Philbin would make it Kevin Coyle's call. Coyle's the supposed db guru. Im sure Coyle would love to have the honey badger. It would just be a matter of whether or not Coyle feels he can manage him.

Still, Im sure there are a many dc's out there that would salivate at the opportunity to take this kid. Even though Kiper projects him in the 4th rd because of the icky sticky issues. I wouldnt be surprised at all if a team out there rolls the dice on him in the 1st rd.

YG, If you know Ireland, you should know he never sign problem child, so dont get your hopes up for honey badger. Marshall was a Parcells signing. I think honey badger would be a good pro its just he cant stay off of trees

Sign or draft

I don't think the HC will make a drafting the DC's call. He might get his take on how helpful he things the guy can be (which is probably EXTREMELY helpful) but as far as talent acquisition, I think the buck stops with the HC/GM.

I'm definitely not getting my hopes up, but think this kid is special.

No denying Mattheiu has the talent and ability to be great but looking at the good troubled players its hard to change their personalities. eg.Dez Bryant, Pacman jones etc. I would hate to be talking and blaming either the coaching staff or FO next year if this is a bust. If he can be rehabed, he would be a great player and an asset for us.

Clue,

I really hope we're in position to and select Manti T'eo #1. If the honey badger is still available, I would use the first 2nd rd pick on him.

IMO, the honey badger is a true top 5 draft talent even in this draft. So if you can pull the trigger on him in the 2nd rd, Ireland really needs to be fired if he passes.

If you could get the honey badger 2nd rd then he becomes a solid citizen off the field. Matthieu could become a draft day steal of nfl historic proportions. If there's even a trace of respect for Jeff Ireland left in me. Even that would be gone if he has a chance to take this kid 2nd rd and passes.

It would be like turning one of those 2nd rd picks into a top 5 pick without giving up anything for it. You just cannot pass on that no matter what your citizenship policy is. I guarantee Jimmy Johnson wouldnt have passed on a defensive player like that.

Let's find some common ground on Jeff Ireland. Can we all agree that he is a personnel genius?

opti/pessi,

I seriously doubt this kid will be a bust. I doubt that ever becomes the conversation about him. What we run the risk of is this kid getting suspended for testing positive on the drug tes. Or getting a dui.

If this kid underachieves on the playing field, he'll still be the best corner currently on the roster.

A guy of Matthiue's talent would definitely amke sense however there are two big red flags:

1. Obvioulsy his caharacter. Is he just a party boy or he so flawed taht you just can't rely on him. I mean at the end of the day, you have to believe that the guy would prioritize his life well enough so that he wouldn't let his teammates down by getting suspended or ending up in the clinker.

2. He's missed and entire developmental year of football. We've seen what this has done to some football players at this level in the past. They get behind and then can never catch up again. Maybe he can overcome it and it can be seen as just missing a year through injury - who knows??

All that being said, I wouldn't spend more than a 3rd round pick on this guy. Your first and 2nd round picks MUST be productive. Blowing a top 2 round pick on this guy then having him fart out on you when you could've picked another safety like Eric Reid or TJ McDonald with a 2nd round pick just makes no sense.

YG,
If the kid can clean up his act I would be thrilled to see him in a Dolphin uniform for years to come. But investing in him and risking suspensions and having to compromise between his talent and personal issues might create controversy as to Philbins philosophy.

And Philbin's philosophy makes sense. You can't load your team up on Marshall's and Aqib Talib's and expect to win. Adding one on a low investment is one thing but to use a first or second pick is asking for trouble. It's not like he stole a laptop - this guy is playing with foreign substances that costs your team man games

Yes.

Some real football talk!!!!

Yg,

TM is/was Good. BUT RESPECT! He's NOT in T'eo Class. The Kid had a Great College Season!! 1 Season!! He's Not a NFL CB!! He can Cover! He's a Better Version Of JIMMY WILSON!! TALENT WISE!! U CAN COMPARE HIM TO BOB SANDERS! Sanders Was Bigger! But Same Height! LISTED AT 5'9! Wait to the PRO DAY! And they list him 5'8"!! 180 LB's!! I DON'T CARE HOW BIG RUDY'S HEART IS!! That's Not a NFL CB! Maybe a Safety! And How FAST IS HE? FOR REAL!

As A NFL Prospect TINY Mathieu! Is a 3rd Round Pick At Best!! As a SAFETY!! AND THAT IS IF HE TESTS OUT!! U KNOW COMES OUT THE PROCESS! BETTER THAN WHAT WE THINK! U KNOW 5'9 190 Runs a Low 4.4-40! Then with the character issues! He Might Be a 3rd RD Pick!! Remember he took a Year Off!! And he only really played 1 Season!! And He's more of a Safety than a CB(They Go Lower). J.Jenkins was last Years Matthieu! And Even Better Because He Was 5'10" 195lbs and Ran a 4.3! PLUS! Played College Ball for 1 More Year!! And The Rams TOOK J.Jenkins in the 2nd! So at Best TALENT WISE!! TM is a 3rd RD Pick! Add in the Character ISSUES! AND HE HAS A 5TH RD GRADE TO THE DOLPHINS!

U ARE TELLING ME! IF X.RHODES FROM FSU IS THERE IN THE 2ND RD!! U Will take TM over Him! REALLY!

Now as a 5th Rd Flier! Dashi/Ireland will take the RISK! Better NFL PROSPECTS! Than HONEY BADGER! Specially at CB's! Heck Give Me Elam From UF as a 2nd RD PICK Over Matthieu!

Opti/Mark,

Difference between this guy and say a Dez or a Pacman is he's NOT a problem in the way those guys were. He doesn't have issues with fighting, or problems with authority or any of that. This is a drug issue. Like Mark said, he's a party boy. Guess what, so was I. Didn't affect me "growing up" when the time came and taking care of my business. If this was an issue with alcohol, cocaine, heroine or anything else I'd be more worried. But this is the least "performance restrictive" drug you can take. People need to wake up. Mary J is such a non-lethal, non-threatening so-called "drug", I liken it (as a problem) to caffeine or sugar. People like to make it into some big issue, it's not. Luckily America is finally coming to grasp that reality.

Not saying I want this guy smoking like a chimney (right now you'll get suspended if you smoke in the league) but I think he can easily get past this episode in his life (youthful exuberance).

Dashi, couldn't agree with you more as far as where he should be on a draft board or his position or comparing drafting him to some of the first or second round grade DBs on the board. Well said, except for the !!!!!. Makes it hard to read sometimes.

OK FINFANS

READY FOR THE POLL OF THE DAY?


WHEN WILL TANNEHILL SHOW THAT HE'S AN ELITE QB?

A) IN 1 YEAR FROM NOW

B) IN 5 YEARS FROM NOW

C) NEVER,HE STINKS WORSE THEN HENNE

D) WHO CARES. LETS GO HEAT!!

Mark, I wonder if you would have gotten rid of Ray-Ray Lewis after that murder charge early in his career? I wonder what the Ravens would have been without him.

Some players are special enough to give extra latitude, and important enough to winning to make every chance available for them to succeed with your team.

I don't see the Lions getting rid of Suh, oh, and by the way, Fairley is playing pretty well also.

Like mike said, this isn't choir practice. This is a tough-nosed business, and you need tough-nosed players if you want to win.

With money and fortune the minor Shop lifting incidents disappears but substance abuse is an addiction and with the $$$ you make in the NFL is becomes only more accessible and a bigger problem. Bring him in if he is a 4th or 5th round pick but have a good back up if it dosen't work out.

Luckily science shows there's no addictive chemical in THC, unless you get addicted to Twinkies. You need to separate true "addictive" drugs (alcohol, nicotine, heroine, etc.) with the minor ones.

DC, we've seen what happens when guys can't put the weed down with Ricky - tore the team apart.

Now, not every case is the same and who's to say he can't "grow up" but he had chances at LSU and didn't. I'm not saying no way but I'm saying the team has to be careful and do the due diligence. To say that weed is not the same as coke (which I agree) is not to dismiss it because the NFL does look at weed like it does at coke or steroids. It's no joke like it is in real life.

This is football not church. GEEZ! To be a successful coach you have to be able to handle divas and problems. Most of the top QB's and WR's are divas. And most players have been in trouble at one time or another. Top coaches can handle them.

Pats 42
Fins 17

DC, that Ray Lewis case was interesting. I have to plead ignorance on that one because I still don't know all the details involved and don't care to since I've never been a huge fan of his. I've looked at him as Zach Thomas' nemesis (who I think the world of). Kind of like how Joe Montana was to Dan back in the day.

But look at Marshall for example - that case I know a bit about and how Darrent Williams got killed. That was all Marshall's fault. Now him, I'm glad he isn't on our team anymore. Never liked him at all. He's a garbage human being.

Mark,

Ricky's best years were when he was smoking pot. Its now legal in 4 states. 60% of NBA players smoke pot. Leap into 2012 Mark.

You have you be careful with these "party boys". Marino turned alright because of outtasite talent, but look at that white boy TE from the U(forgot his name now) wasted all his talent and I'm sure many others

I don't think the issue is weed. The issue is that he couldn't get his priorities straight and available to play college football. Weed isn't an addictive drug, but an addictive personality + money + fame = problems.

I'd still take a shot with the extra 3rd rounder (if he is still there), maybe even the last 2nd. Basically a freebie the way I see it.

Both sides of the arguement have valid points though. It's a risk plain and simple.

....I am totaly with Dashi here as far as the Honey Badger..First round top 5???? not even close..Take away his off the field problems and he is not a top 20 pick..He just isn't.

He made some highlight reel plays that changed some games. I'll give him that. He was exciting at points. But the true story of the Honey Badger was that he was a LIABILITY in coverage. He is no Earl Thomas. Go look at a few of the games starting with the National championship game where his name wasn't called...absent. Go back to the South Carolina game. He made a big play against Arkansas but was lit up for most of the game..

He is too small, and plays to much as a mercinary to be worth even a thought of a premium choice. If you want to pick off highlight reels rather then full bodies of work then understandably he may be your guy. Do a little homework and the truth is evident.

Mark, I agree with you there. NFL tests, and, like Ricky, if you fail you get suspended (see the Redskins). So, you're right, that's the risk. And it IS a risk, definitely agree.

Actually, your other point was pretty valid too. He lost a year, how did that affect him? Apparently, he kept in shape, because we at first going to play at a division 3 I think, but obviously it wasn't "football" shape.

But, I watched that kid, he was special. Not sure pure talent like that can get lost in a year. I'd definitely take a hard look at this kid. Sure, not a 1st-rounder, maybe not 2nd, but to get ahead of the pack, yeah, I'd take a chance with a 3rd. I mean, John Jerry, Daniel Thomas (who we I believe gave up a 3rd to move up and get), etc. Are these guys elite players we couldn't do without? Probably not. So I also look at what we've done at that spot in the past to include in my risk/reward analysis.

Man, we have enough problems down here. We really don't want to bring in another troubled fukkker.

Phins 319
Patsies 0

Hey, Ricky only smoked the organic pot. No pesticides, organically hyponic.

Haha, mike, I was saying what the NFL thinks, not what I think. Man, with some of my personal habits and vices, I'm in no position to judge someone who smokes weed...

...Because of Mathieu's trouble I wouldn't touch him. Is he even committed to playing football or just puffing ganja? He has to prove it.

Look, he was fun to watch. But this is a guy that has to play zone(cannot play man in the NFL..No way. Didn't do it a LSU) so he has to be scheme specific. 2 he probably will have to play saftey, not corner. No big deal. But I don't see any team usng a top pick on a guy that will have to move positions, that can't cover bigger recievers..It makes no sense.

Ill absoultely take the guy in the third round, my issue is does he really love the game. The guy had a chance to play Division 2 football somewhere but decided to stay at LSU. Dont tell me hes been working out Imn sure hes been smoking and eating all types of goodies.

DC,I would have no problem taking shots with 3rd round picks or later. Most of these guys don't turn out anyway so why not just take a shot on some upside. Even as returner he's pretty dynamic.

But as a first or second - no way in hades - cahracter wise he's not a building block and first and second round picks should be building blocks. have to be strong talent and character wise to help form a solid foundation for your team.

yeah, he's definitely a safety. NO doubt about it. Still a need though ...

Some of you guys would've dumped Rothlisberger,Ray Lewis, Michael Irvin, etc, etc. Jim Brown was a black panther. Babe Ruth was a drunk. Mickey Mantle too. And guys like Brady, Marino, Rivers, Brees, Farve are all divas. Good coaches can handle them.

Miguel Cabrera. Jim Leyland handles him no problem and he's arguably the best player in baseball.

DD-Dashi,

On the surface, Matthieu doesnt much resemble a football player at all. Yes he's undersized, he was undersized at LSU.

What makes Matthieu truly special isnt size, he's not a lights out hitter, the guy just has "IT". How the hell do you measure "IT". "IT" cannot be measured. "IT" just seems to happen for a very few select players.

Did you gys actually see Matthieu at LSU? The guy was a complete ball magnet. "IT" seemed to always put him in exactly all of the right places at all of the right times. "IT" always seemed to happen for him nearly evrytime he had the ball in his hands. Whether it was returning int's for pic 6's or returning punts for tds.

You can measure "it" with a rule, you cant measure "it" in the weight room, you cant measure "it" with a stop watch, you cant even teach "it". "IT" just seems to always show up on the playing field. "IT" only seems to lend itsel to very small select very few.

Matthieu seems so be one of the select few, who seems to be literally dripping in "IT".

Dennis Rodman. Phil Jackson handled him.

YG the guy cause I beleive 6 Force Fumbles, 4 int. 2 return punts. 4 Fumble Recoveries. Def a ball magnet

The problem wasn't the using with the badger. It's that he was running a mini enterprise. The Coach was just trying to save face! Then look at what happens after that. Heck! Mallet! Used! Honey Badger! Was Jerome Simpson! In COLLEGE!

ADD MIAMI IN THE MIX!!

Look what it did to GRANDMA's BOY!

-------------------------------------------------------------------

To Give U guys a PICTURE!!! On Badger in the NFL!

Gronkowski on Badger!

That sounds Like a Dish ALOCO!! Put it on Some Rice Pilaf!! With some Clam Chowder on the Side!!

College is Different than The NFL! Everybody is Good in The NFL!

Clue,

I think people here forget Matthieu was a heisman nominee as a freaking freshman at cb. He was defensive player of the year in college football.

Guys saying they would wait until 3rd rd earliest to take him. Guess what? You need not worry, I seriously doubt he will last 3rd rd.

Im thinking someone gambles on him 1st rd. Im thinking if still available Bellichik may snatch him up at the end of the 1st rd. Dont drink the Kiper koolaid. Its very doubtful Matthieu falls further than 2nd rd.

There have been comments about Choir boys and churches and we are not looking for Saints, Just good football players without personality issues. Philbin comes from GB, they have very good football players but you don't see or hear about them except for their playing ability and what the do on the field, not off the field. even fighting on or off the field is considered a distraction and socially unacceptable because you demonstrate that you have no respect for your, Wife, Mother or even fellow players. No respect for the league or it's image. There are always good players that fit the "out side the box" image, but given the weaknesses and needs of our team, and where we would like to be a couple of years from now, it is sound choices in the draft, FA and developement of players we need to make now, and not later as that would just keep us frustrated for years to come.

Mark,

OK. My !!!!! Tirade is Done!! For the Betterment of the Blog. (Take a Hint, Oscar)

------------------------------------------------------------------------

YG,

Tim Tebow Won The Heisman. So did Charlie Ward and he didn't even play in the NFL. Look at Johnny Football. Hate to BREAK IT to U GUYS. The Guy will be a Backup at the NFL or a 3rd Round Pick at BEST. Picture Russell Wilson. DOUG FLUTIE. Didn't Flutie Win the Heisman?

He had 1 GREAT SEASON. Why Didn't he Play Division 2?

Look at Ray-Ray Armstrong. The Kid got let go A lot later. And he still found a College to pick him up. Heck ANYONE would've taken a SHOT at having Matthieu for a Season. Just to Fill Seats. Pay him under the Books.

That REFLECTS BAD to Dashi, TM gave up on College Football. Then add to that he is Short and Slow.

At Best. Just cause the Fins have done it before. Badger is a 4th Round Pick at Best. But then Again. His Character is Very Questionable. And His Height and Speed are Also a Issue. Never mind His Smarts.

Is he better than Elam, or E.Reid?

The Badger is Definitely Not a Top 5 CB. Again he's Jimmy Wilson to me.

Yesterdays Gone says:

We dont need "safeties", we need a "safety". Singular, not plural. Reshad Jones is borderline pro bowl. Chris Clemmons is just "south of the borderline.
=====================================================
I will agree with that but we also need 2 CB's and an outside LB. The problem comes with also needing playmakers on the offensive side of the ball; 2 WR's and a TE.

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