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Dolphins need to get off rollercoaster, play to own ability

How does a team that beat Cincinnati on the road lose at Buffalo? How does a team that beat Seattle at home get blown out by Tennessee at home?

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2012 Miami Dolphins.

They are nothing if not inconsistent. About the only thing they do consistently is play to the level of the opposition.

They gave the Patriots and 49ers good games the past two weeks. At no time did they seem totally out-classed.

Yet they lost to Arizona in the fourth week of the season and the Cardinals haven't won a game since.

What does that tell you about the Dolphins? What does it say when a team plays up or down to its competition?

Well, first of all, assume nothing the next couple of weeks when the Dolphins play horrible Jacksonville and terrible Buffalo. And don't discount Miami the final week of the season against elite New England.

Also, it says this:

The Dolphins are the ultimate rudderless team. They have mediocre talent which would suggest they be a mediocre team. But most mediocre teams play well against teams with inferior talent and cannot play well against teams with excellent talent because they're outgunned.

Yet -- again -- the Dolphins can stay with the Pats and 49ers and beat Seattle. But they get dominated at Buffalo and by Tennessee.

Reader Tyson Crowley suggests and I agree, this kind of rollercoaster performance depending on the opponent, speaks to poor leadership on the team. Teams with good leadership do not let down against inferior competition and play like that inferior competition. Teams with good leadership play to a certain level -- be it high or low -- and maintain that level most of the season regardless of the competition.

They don't lose to Buffalo and look terrible doing it one week and beat playoff-bound Seattle and look great doing it the next.

"Obviously, when you’re so up and down, it’s a little tough and obviously we’re all judged, at the end of the day, we’re judged by winning (and) how we win and the amount of games that we win," Reggie Bush said today. "Obviously, it’s not fun when you’re not winning and you’re not achieving the goals that you set out to achieve at the beginning of the season. So it has been a little bit of an emotional rollercoaster."

Oh, and teams with good leadership don't ride emotional rollercoasters. They focus on the process of winning a game week to week without major spikes or letdowns of emotion.

The Dolphins need to focus more on the process and less on the results. If they do that, maybe the results will come in more consistent manner.

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12th

Perhaps it's not that they have poor leadership, it's they have non existent leadership. There is no Dan, Zach or jason on this team. Wake is our best vet but only has a couple of years under his belt in the NFL. Our other 28 years of age + starers are Big Paul, Incognito, Reggie Bush, and Randy Starks. Solid players all but not exactly All Pros. been saying this for months. It's a major reason why we are not a playoff team. The other being QB play.

I don't know if it's entirely emotions. It takes out the play of the other team entirely as being a factor. Even if we were completely even keeled at all times a bad opponent can still have a lights out game (See Arizona vs. Pats).

Armando,

I would challenge you that they looked 'great against Seattle'. They were the better team on the day true, but beating a team that has to travel all the way across the country by three points at home is not my idea of great. What New England did to Houston on Monday night was 'great'. What Tennessee did to us at home was 'great'. I'm not sure we've been 'great' all year and that speaks to the level of talent on the team.

In the NFL you go as your QB goes (see Luck, Manning, RGII, Wilson and the flipside, Kolb and Sanchez). We have a young QB that needs a big influx of talent and this is the offseason to do it. He deserves two more years before we can properly give him a thumbs up or thumbs down.

I agree with your post Craig, good insight.

Mark,

Not sure I'd blame the leadership. You don't have to be a Pro Bowler to be a leader. Sometimes the guys who go out every week and give it there all are some of the best leaders on the team. When I look at the Bills I think of guys like Darryl Tally and Steve Tasker as some of the leaders on that team. Pete Metzellars. Even Frank Reich. The Pro Bowl is a popularity contest. Guys like Brandon Marshall make it. He's NEVER a leader on ANY team.

Thanks Darkoak. Cheers!

Didn't Cleveland just beat the Steelers and the Eagles defeat a Tampa team that had been riding high (and at home)?

This is nothing new.

Does Miami need to be more consistent? You bet. Do a LOT of NFL teams get beat by inferior opposition wek after week, year after year?

Yep.

Welcome to life in the NFL for the 28 or so teams every year that are neither outstanding or terrible.

Darkoak--thanks for mentiong that those same Cardinals BEAT the Patriots, and in Foxboro no less.

None of that is non-critical of the Dolphins, only that the NFL is ALWAYS full of completely unforeseen upsets no matter who is coaching, drafting, playing or standing on the sidelines.

If you don't want to see that you're watching the wrong sport.

I totally disagree with Armando. This isn't college! NFL games are week to week. Anything can happen. This is a young team with new systems and coaches. We know they should be better than there record. A great QB will always be top of the food chain when it comes to leading an NFL team. We still lack that.

Mark in Toronto - from last article/post

Dion Jordan is an interesting choice. The guy is pretty raw as far as pass rush moves. He's very quick with very long arms but really has no moves. He always seems to try and run around the tackle. He also hasn't learned to dip that shoulder and gets a little too upright. BUT at 6'7" and 245ish and with his speed he can certainly disrupt plays. He plays to the whistle and has a whole lot of hustle in him too. I wouldn't mind him as our pick. With his athletic ability I really don't see why he couldn't learn those moves and really be a force at OLB.

Keep an eye on Quanterus Smith from Western Kentucky too. He's an intriguing prospect. Once the draft process starts he'll start flying up the boards.

Craig, do you think that the Bills were good because of Steve Tasker and Darryl Talley or Hall of Famers or borderline Hall of Famers - Bruce Smith, Cornelius Bennett, Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, James Lofton, and a couple of offensive linemen who's name are on their wall of fame. Come on, don't come here with Tasker and Talley. Those guys were Buffalo's Soliai and Incognito. Good role players but were not the straws that stirred the drink for those teams.

All I know is this, I feel way better about this team and future with Joe Philbin than Sparano!!!

I supported Sparano till the end too!!

This up coming draft and FA will ultimately define Jeff Ireland's future with Miami. No question.

Problem with this theory of leadership is that with this team most of the players are not this coaching staff's players. This team needs to follow the Redskins blueprint. Purge players, regardless of how well they supposedly perform and replace with your chosen players. Too much leftover losing mentality to be truly successful

Boooorrrrrriiiinnnnggg! Mando has lost his edge. I haven't seen a good article on here in months.

This is simple, well besides the team have mediocare talent its FOCUS. The team tends to focus a little bit better when they play a tougher opponent. They tend to loaf when playing not so good opponents.

Another reason Dolphins play good teams close is he fact that the other team usually loafs when the play the Dolphins HA

Truly believe that Philbin will strip away the fat this offseason.

It really stinks that Reggie won't be back. As a worker and leader, none better.

Texas, thanks for the tidbit on Q. Smith. I will be watching. As far as Dion Jordan goes, I could cut and paste your words and match it to posts made about JPP in 2010 (whom I loved so it explains why I like Jordan too). Point is, supreme athletes aren't taught - they are born. Moves, can be taught. Heck, Cam Wake didn't have these moves when he was tearing up the CFL and he certainly didn't have them at Penn State. Now that being said, for every guy that is a supreme talent and succeed despite sloppy fundamentals - there are as many guys that have the athleticism and don't apply themselves or never get it and fail. It can be a risky pick that is a colossal boom or bust. i.e. this guy won't become Koa Misi who we can put out there and chew up plays and not hurt you. he will either be a non factor or totally take over games. We need guys like that.

Mark,

I don't believe that's the reason Buffalo was good. They were an extremely talented team but talented teams don't always win. Take a look at last years and this years Eagles. Take a look at some of the most recent Chargers teams. There were some pretty good recent Cowboy and Redskin teams that did nothing too.

I'm just saying, don't confuse Pro Bowl teams with leadership. Spraky Anderson used to say, 'you don't want too many stars on your team or you won't win'. We've seen that with some recent Yankee teams.

All I'm saying is, I think therre is plenty of leadership on this team, including our rookie QB. For this team to be better the talent level has to be better.

Manning won SB's. Marino never did.

Posted by: Gregg | December 13, 2012 at 03:57 PM

Brady won one SB with no WR's and another with no RB's. P Manning won a SB with no D!. But keep making excuses for choker Dan....

Posted by: Gregg | December 13, 2012 at 04:00 PM


Gregg,

Manning only won one S.B. and his D ion 06 was ranked top 10. You forget he had Mathis, Freeney, McFarland and Raheem Brock up front with Brackett at MLB and a solid Secondary with B.Sanders, Mike Doss, Antoine Bethea and Nick Harper. You said he had no D and I beg to differ. You also stated Manning had NO RUN GAME and I remember rookie J.Addai running for over 1,400 yards that Yr.


You then say that Brady won his without WR's once and then without a RB, really?? Brady had the very game trio of Troy Brown (VERY underrated gamer) Deion Branch (traded for a #1 to Seattle and was there leading WR in their S.B.) and David Givens with Daniel Graham and Christian Fauria at T.E. and by the way Antwain Smith was a very good RB and Corey Dillon was better.

In going further without the tuck play and the D effort in the 1st S.B. they don't win because Brady played caretaker even sitting during that 1st AFC Champ game Vs. the Steelers were Bledsoe scored the winning TD. There original team to win it all gave new meaning to team. In the other 2 he dramatically improves his play but had pieces around him and hasn't won another S.B. because Belichik hasn't given him the complete team with dominant D he had early.

They were lucky to be there last Yr. after Lee Evans drops the game winner and the kicker misses a chip shot for the Ravens and his one shot to do it with his WR's he had his butt handed to him by the Giants and was lucky in those playoffs in some close ones especially Vs. the Jags were he has to carry a one dimensional bunch. Sorry but even Steve Young's record breaking S.B. win was stamped by an incredible D, go back and check those facts of yours.

The Dolphins did have two great games. The game against Oakland and at the Jets. Unfortunately, the game on the road where they destroyed the Jets, it was Matt Moore that lead the team to victory.

Possible landing destinations for Moore next year are the Jets and Chiefs. I am sure that Daboll and Sparano remember what Mooore did the last 9 games of the year a season ago when he went 6-3, was the 12th rated passer in the league, and the team MVP. With no RG3 or Luck in this draft, Moore should get a shot somewhere. I hope that we don't live to regret it.

I think DD is closer to the truth. This franchise has a 'loser' mentality for a long time. I'm hoping Philbin can change that but to do it the talent has to be upgraded and the players need to buy into the plan. Always important to have leadership but talent helps too. To me we're fine in one department but lacking in the other.

Btw, to me leadership is what Fields did last week on the punt, when he went down and kind of chewed out the guy for being sloppy for taking the ball into the endzone, unneccessarily. Guys need to be held accountable and not just be the coaching staff. Think Ray Lewis lets guys away with stuff?

Orlando,

I stand corrected. Those were two great games....you're right.

Mando, when a team plays inconsistent it means they have clueless coach. It's all about coaching and I think we've got a dud.

Boulder,

I think it's too early for that. I think he's a bright guys and I think with the right players he could win for a long time in this league. I haven't agreed with eveything he's done this year but I believe he's a pretty competent coach.

Mando,
There are only 2 posters in this blog: me and some maniac posting under 30 different handles.
I now know the name of the other poster:

Tyson Crowley

Leadership must be earned, it is not given. So as the Dolphins grow and mature so will their leadership. Plus the best players usually provide the leadership and as Taneehill grow he will become the natural leader of the offense and hopefully smooth out that rollercoaster.

Mando. It's a Game Of Match ups!!

We Struggle Against Fast RB's and Athletic Qb's! We Can Handle Power Rb's and Pocket Passers!!

On Offense The Other Defense Has To Suck!! For Us To Have a Good Game!! We have no Weapons!! NONE!!

With That Said Expect A Good Game!! We MatchUp Well Against The Jags!!

27-21!! Fins!

Darkoak,
I love to split you.
However for the past 5 years I have been splitting Irish Oak 5 times a week, every week.

When I want to split you again I will.

Craig, I didn't mean that you need a team full of pro bowlers to be good. We have pro bowlers - about 5-6 of them on any given year. My point is that your best players also need to be vet players. Your leaders must be the right combination of age, experience, and skill. Look at the best teams and I will point to those teams having significant contributors on the stat sheets that are also 28+ years of age. Dolphins have one guy in that category and he only has a couple of years in the league under his belt (Wake).

Good, Armando, good. Inconsistency can come from many sources but basically from Players(inexperienced, not talented enough, not motivated enough) and Coaches(inexperienced, not talented enough, not motivated enough).

Here, Sam is also saying it another way but bang on with what I believe....


Leadership must be earned, it is not given. So as the Dolphins grow and mature so will their leadership. Plus the best players usually provide the leadership and as Taneehill grow he will become the natural leader of the offense and hopefully smooth out that rollercoaster.
Posted by: Sam | December 13, 2012 at 04:57 PM

Chad Henne will be looking forward to this game. I wonder what everyone is going to blog if indeed Henne throws for over 300 yards and a couple of TDs? Also, what if T-Hill has a bad game will fans start regretting the departure of Henne? I admit I wanted him out of here and wanted Matt Moore to be the new starter but I have watched a couple of his games in Jacksonville and he looks like a new player. Maybe Henne was lacking adequate coaching. Some players blossom later in their careers. I think it will be a fun game to watch and a great one to blog on if Henne has a great game.

Mark @5:00pm,

I agree with your post. It's possible I misunderstood what you were saying earlier. Can't argue with what either you or Sam is saying.

If Mando is correct and the team plays down to crappy opponents then the Phins will play thier worst game of the season this Sunday.

Every knows I love Chad Henne and have since his first game as a freshman at Mich.

The talent that the Phins had when Henne was here is the same talent that Tanne has.

The talent on the Jags is on a whole other level.

Four of the Jags players that got the ball against the Jets WERE NOT ON AN NFL ROSTER 2 WEEKS AGO.

Also, from our Opponents perspective, other Teams, bad as they could be, are not exactly sucking their thumbs in regards to playing Miami.

Craig from your last post, there is a lot more to do in Miami vs Buafflo where all the fat ugly women resides. So people in Miami will not waste money on a bad product where as the folks in Buafflo dont have anything else to do well maybe shovel snow. LOL

Craig @4:51.

Agreed. Fields Is A Leader!

Now With The Example You Gave. I Take Away! Fields is a Better Leader Than Dansby!! (Dashi Agrees. ) that Is What It Sounds Like To Me.

No one wants to watch the 2 worst QB's in football. Will they have 15,000 at Sun Life?

Orlando,
Henne turned 27 this past summer so I don't think he's really that far into his career.
He played with the same players here now.
(True he had Marshall dropping his TDs in 2010 and Columbus blocking for him)

I do agree that he is playing better in J'ville. Too bad MJD has been out since week 3.

Leadership? Dansby thinks he is a leader. Not. Celebrating when getting butt kicked is not leadership.

Coach benches his star running back after a fumble. Coach? Not a wise decision. Do I think Bush deserves the benefit of the doubt? Yes I do. Benching Wake for a final quarter in a game we lost?

Ireland asking about a guys Mama who he already new his momma was not a nice lady? Ireland? Not a leader.

Leadership doesn't start with players. It starts at the top. You show them you are a leader who believes in the team and winning and I will show you a winning organization.

And you only have to look north to New England.

WhoTH is Tyler Crowley?

Mark,

I don't believe that's the reason Buffalo was good. They were an extremely talented team but talented teams don't always win. Take a look at last years and this years Eagles. Take a look at some of the most recent Chargers teams. There were some pretty good recent Cowboy and Redskin teams that did nothing too.

Craig M | December 13, 2012 at 04:46 PM


I get your point but you give flawed examples, the Bills never got over the Scott Norwood miss and would lay down in the following S.B.'s in an inexplicable fashion. That was the ERA of the NFC domination with 15 straight S.B. wins but if a team was built in the mold of an NFC squad it was Buffalo.

On O could throw it all over the field or shift power run game on D ferocious front 7 that dominated the head to head games Reg. Season with the likes of L.T.'s Giants and smoked Montana in Candlestick but would lay down in the big one making them the very definition of Choke artists. That team was stacked with leadership in Kelly, T.Thomas, C.Bennett and of course Bruce without mentioning Reed. You watched them in 91 (Skins) 92 (Cowboys) S.B.'s and they seemed like another finesse AFC bunch when they were anything but.

The Chargers team is one Coached by a man in Norv Turner who for reasons I don't get keeps getting the H.C. job in the NFL or don't you remember the 2010 Chargers loosing 3 out of the 1st five on S.T.'s gaffs and still Turner is there?? The Bolts finished 14-2 in 06 loosing a game Vs. the Pats in the last minute which didn't constitute firing the H.C. (Playoff lose were LT took acception to Pats stomping the Charger logo)

Wade Phillips was another career Coordinator in Dallas before being replaced with the biggest joke of a H.C. in the NFL. The Eagles brought in talent but left an OL in place nobody wants to play behind just watch tonight the beating Foles will take with Vick quitting on them about 6 weeks ago ect....

A good example of your point were the 95 Dolphins built to go all the way with 17 #1 picks on the squad before the Locker Room went acid on Shula led by Cancer Gene Atkins.

ALoco, form Last Blog.

Dashi Didn't say Greatest Qb Of All time!! Dashi said, "Marino Is The Most Prolific Passer In History!!"

Meaning Throwing The Ball!! NOBODY COMES CLOSE!!

Darkoak,
Now that I've given it more thought I think it is an over reaction to say that, "I always loved to split you".

The truth is I liked splitting you when my preferred coochies were unavailable but given the choice I would never choose you first. Nothing personal.

Clue,

So the fans in Buffalo are fans of the team 'cause there's nothing else to do'?

Sorry man, I don't buy that. There's lot of things to do, including watch hockey. People can always find things to do. There's a ton of things to do in Toronto but maybe still support their hockey team blindly.

If you were a fan of this team.....a TRUE fan....you'd find a way to be there every game. Don't the Marlins and Rays struggle for fans too? I'd suggest that maybe some of these cities aren't actually great sports towns and that's sad. Were the Heat a big draw every night before they added the big three? I don't remember them being. Am I wrong?

Can we all agree that the uneven performance of the Dolphins players is not the fault of Jeff Ireland?

There are $10 tickets to Sundays game on craigslist if anyone is interested.

As we do every year around this time it is time to talk NFL draft. The Fins are going to pick anywhere from 9 to 13 this year. Possible players avavilable include Bjoern Werner DE, Chance Warmack G, and DeMarcus Milliner CB. Unfortunately reaching for our biggest need here WR, is a big stretch. Bjoern Werner would be my choice here but a dominant guard like Warmack is not a bad second choice. Could you imagine Long, Warmack, and Pouncey on the line. This would instantly become the strength of the team. Our running game would take off and even T-hill could improve his accuracy with the upgraded protection.

oscar,
I believe Tyson Crowley is you (and Aloco/Kris/Dashi/Craig M/Mark in Toronto/Cuban Menace/Darryl Dunphy/bobbyd12/Butch/fin4life/Clue/Home/Darkoak etc)

Clue @ 5:07, only people in Miami think there are options to do anything in their city. I was in a game in New York City (6 days after a hurricane no less) that had 90,000+ people in the stands. Are there only fat, ugly, women in NYC too? I can tell you from my night out the day before the game at Lace Gentlemen's Club in Times Square that it it certainly not the case. I hate this excuse, makes me sick even. In Toronto, we have some of the most beautiful, ethnically diverse women on the planet, yet sports teams draw well (even though they all suck). Stop with that excuse already.

There ia nothing to do in Buffalo except bowling. Trust me!

Who, me? I'm a Cuber from Miami and I use my true name. I'm also a Doctor down here. Look me up.

It is all about playmakers and a stud QB. The Patriots are great because of Tom Brady not because they have all these leaders. It is great when that great leader is your best player but leadership alone gets you nowhere. Remember the Fins recently had a couple of great leaders in Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas and look how far that got us. In this league it is all aobut he QB and having more playmakers than everyone else.

Orlando, that Chance Warmack pick would be an intriguing one for the reasons you mentioned and may also be the right one but man, would the fandom explode with another OL first round pick. Interesting to see how it unfolds ...

I'm also a Psychiatrist down here, Cadillac. Look me up.

oscar,
I have looked it up.
I believe you are Dr Canosa's patient. I also believe that your presence here, in all of it's manifestations are a part of your therapy.
But that's cool.
Rock on dude and meet me in the hottub tonight for periscopes.

Craig and Mark, No offence but there isnt s h i t to do in Buafflo. You guys expect "true fan" to spend there hard earned money on a product that sucks?? The Dolphins have been bad for a little over a decade. I think the idiots who spend money on a bad product are the losers. I bust my a s s at work and you want me to tuurn around and spend my money on a lousty team.

Please dont question who true fans of the Dolphins are because they dont want to spend there money on a bad product. IMO only idiot blind homers fans would cough have money for season tickets to watch the Bills have a 6 and 10 record.

fin4life,

I would challenge some of the points you made above. First of all, there was GREAT leadership on those Bills teams, as evidenced by the fact they made FOUR straight Super Bowls. Unheard of anywhere else in the last 20 years. I agree losing the first one hurt them a lot but they did get back every year after that. They also had great leadership in Marv Levy.

I'm going back to the Marty Shottenhiemer Chargers teams too. Say what you want about the Chargers but there talent has been as good as anyone over the last 10 years. I don't see this years team as being nearly as good and part of that is the job Smith has done recently, the job Turner has done and the number of FA departures they've had. Point is....they should have gone further.

A lot of people picked the Eagles to go to the Super Bowl LAST year after all the FA P/Us they made. We're hearing now about all the internal leadership issues, as evidenced by the firings and releases. Yeah they're OL is a mess but that's most about injuries.

Again, I believe under Switzer the Cowboys only won one Super Bowl. They should have won more and I believe they would have had JJ stayed longer.

Psychiatrists are probably the highest educated Individuals in the World. They need to know about Everything in order to be truly effective.

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