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2 posts from December 5, 2012

December 05, 2012

It's on: Dansby-Burnett vs Willis-Bowman

This is what's going on at Dolphins camp today:

I spent some time talking with Karlos Dansby today. I can report that the brace he was using on his left upper arm during the time he's been playing with a torn left biceps came off today. Dansby says he will not be using it anymore in practice or games because he feels well enough to go without it.

This is a big deal to him because the brace restricts his arm mobility and, he said, was one reason he missed an interception at Buffalo a few weeks ago. He wanted to reach with his left arm but couldn't so instead had to try and snatch the football with only one arm.

Dansby said playing without the brace will be better for him and as evidence he said he had an interception in practice today.

As you know, Dansby had questions about whether Cameron Wake and Jared Odrick should have been in against the New England Patriots late in the game Sunday. I know that Philbin doesn't like being second-guessed publicly. Who does?

But despite being uncomfortable with the topic, Philbin said he did not cover the issue with Dansby today -- the first day the Dolphins reconvened since Dansby's comments.

"I've made my comments in regards to my feelings about the play-time earlier," Philbin said. "There's always decisions that have to be made in a game with regard to who's playing, who's not playing. Those sometimes change in the midst of a game based on a variety of factors. That's done and that's been over with and now it's on to San Francisco."

So, I pressed, did Philbin talk to Dansby about it?

"No," he said under his breath. "Again, I'm going to tell you the focus on mine and our football team is on playing San Francisco."


Two things: Philbin did speak with the entire team when Chad Johnson was cut and several players, including Dansby, disagreed with that call. Also, it is possible Philbin will speak with Dansby either later today or later in the week about the topic. It's also possible it doesn't get addressed at all.

The coach clearly wasn't eager to discuss this anymore.

Dansby and Kevin Burnett this week believe there's an opportunity for them to make a lasting impression on the league because they expect comparisons between themselves and San Francisco linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.

"Those guys are great, they really are, they do a great job," Dansby said. "So KB and I know this is a chance for us to play our game and show what we can do so people will see how we compare."

If Dansby and Burnett, who have been good contributors, decide a little rivalry with Bowman and Willis is good motivation, then have at it, gentlemen.


Reggie Bush is expecting a hard-nosed game against San Francisco.

"It's going to be a tough game," he said today. "Make no mistake about it, this is probably going to be the most physical game we've played all year to date ... It's going to be a grind-it-out football game. It's going to be one by three points, seven points.

"We're going to have opportunities to make plays this game but it's going to come down to our effort, our ability to execute and how bad we want to win."

Bush went on to say the Dolphins will "have to play an almost near-perfect game to win."

As has been discussed countless times in this cyberspace, Bush is a mismatch against linebackers in the passing game. And yet, the Dolphins don't use him a lot in that role. Bush has only 28 catches on the season -- mostly on check-down passes.

You ever wonder why the Dolphins don't use him more in the passing game? Bush has.

"Yeah, I wonder about it," he said. "But it's not really my decision to make. The tape is there. The proof is there. If they need me to go run routes, I think they know I can do it. I've done it in practice. It's a matter of scheme and how they feel."

Through 12 gamess Moore was better than Tannehill

Remember when Joe Philbin, faced with a rebuilding year, staunchly refused to admit the Dolphins were rebuilding?

We all expected it to be a rebuilding season and knew for certain it was coming when rookie Ryan Tannehill won the starting job in the preseason. Let's face it, many rookies need time to acclimate and grow into the quarterback position in the NFL.

(Well, maybe not Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson but you get the idea).

The point is Tannehill has so far proven one thing this year and it is not that he's a future franchise quarterback. He's proven what everyone said before the draft was right. He's raw, he's inexperienced, he's a project.

The proof of this is not so much how Tannehill compares to the other rookie quarterbacks within his own draft class. It is how he compares with the veteran who played with basically the same cast of talent in Miami last year.

The proof is how Tannehill compares to what Matt Moore did with the practically same offensive group last year. And this is the perfect time for that comparison because Tannehill has started 12 games for the Dolphins. And Moore started 12 games for the Dolphins in 2011.

Tannehill has completed 210 of 363 passes (57.9 completion percentage) for 2,559 yards. He has thrown seven TDs and 12 INTs. His quarterback rating is 72.3. The Dolphins are 5-7.

Moore in the same number of 2011 games completed 193 of 321 passes (60.1 percent) for 2,330 yards. He threw 16 TDs and 8 INTs. His quarterback rating was 88.7. The Dolphins were 6-6.

The comparison is valid now because obviously the number of games between both players is equal. But the point is not necessarily that Moore was better.

The point is the Dolphins this year have taken a step backward in quarterback performance. Moore delivered better QB play than Tannehill but still was not deemed good enough because Miami drafted a quarterback in the first round and signed another accomplished veteran in David Garrard.

But now the Dolphins are accepting worse quarterback play with the expectation that today's pain will lead to tomorrow's gain. No one is saying that Tannehill should be benched -- even Philbin this week admitted he's not considered it at all this season.

And no is is suggesting the Dolphins will need to look for another (better) quarterback in the draft next year -- no one is saying it yet, anyway.


Because this is a rebuilding year. Tannehill is getting something of a pass this year.

Even if Philbin didn't want to admit it early on.