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Starks back but who has the overall advantage?

The Dolphins got good news Saturday when Randy Starks, who missed the entire week of practice due to a personal reason not related to injury, returned to the team. He was promptly taken off the injury report. The Dolphins had previously listed him as questionable because they didn't know his status and now he will be available to play today against the Buffalo Bills.

I presume the Dolphins will play him.

How does the rest of today's game stack up?

Like so:

When the Dolphins run the ball: This was supposed to be a major advantage for the Dolphins in the first meeting between the teams but it didn’t work out that way. The Dolphins are a decent running team (16th in the NFL) while the Bills are terrible against the run (30th overall). The Bills were actually the worst rush defense in the NFL on the day in November the teams played. But Buffalo limited Miami to only 60 rushing yards and a paltry 2.5 yards per carry. That was the worst rushing average for the Dolphins in the past eight games. The troubling thing is Buffalo didn’t always sneak safeties into the tackle box to guarantee a numbers advantage at the line of scrimmage. When this happens, the Dolphins must win hat-on-hat assignments. ADVANTAGE: Even.

When the Dolphins pass the ball: The Bills are merely mediocre against the pass, but after a slow start, Mario Williams has shown his offseason signing to be a good acquisition. Williams has 10.5 sacks. The Bills typically line him up over the right tackle so Nate Garner, who is a better run-blocker than pass-blocker, will face perhaps his stiffest test since becoming a starter two games ago. The Miami receiver and tight end corps is a walking M.A.S.H. unit this week. Tight end Charles Clay is out for the season. Davone Bess missed last week, didn’t practice this week and is also out today. Brian Hartline also missed practice this week although he will play. Both Bess and Hartline are nursing back issues. None of this suggests a big day for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. ADVANTAGE: Buffalo.

When the Bills run the ball: C.J. Spiller was a bit surprising to the Dolphins not only because the degree of speed and agility he showed in the last game was unexpected but because he actually broke some tackles and Miami defenders weren’t really ready for that. If you like Reggie Bush, you should like Spiller because he’s younger, faster and more productive. The Miami defense had trouble with Spiller and Tennessee’s Chris Johnson earlier this year so it must prove it can handle the small, quick type of back. This will be a battle of wills. It will test how much the Bills insist on running the ball – they ran 31 times last game – and will test whether Miami linebackers and safeties are willing to play downhill to support the defensive front. ADVANTAGE: Even.

When the Bills pass the ball: Ryan Fitzpatrick has enjoyed team success against the Dolphins, as he’s 3-2 in games he’s started against Miami. But his individual statistics against the Dolphins are unimpressive. He’s thrown five TDs and seven INTs against Miami and his quarterback rating is a sub par 74.9. Fitzpatrick has completed 61 percent of his passes against the Dolphins and that mark would be higher if not for a game in 2011 in which he managed to complete only 51 percent of his throws. The Miami secondary has handled trades (Vontae Davis), injuries (Richard Marshall) and better quarterbacks (Tom Brady) so Buffalo’s pass attack won’t scare them. The Dolphins haven’t yielded more than 238 passing yards in six games. ADVANTAGE: Miami.

Special teams: Leodis McKelvin set the tone for the last meeting when he returned the first Dolphins punt of the game 79 yards for a touchdown. The Dolphins are certain that won’t happen this time because McKelvin this week went on injured reserve. What the Dolphins are hoping can repeat was the kickoff return TD Marcus Thigpen authored against the Bills. Dan Carpenter (groin) is done for the season but the Dolphins have added a solid and accurate kicker in Nate Kaeding to take his place. ADVANTAGE: Miami. 

Coaching: Remember Dave Wannstedt? The former Dolphins coach whose teams historically struggled in rematches against AFC East opponents? He’s the defensive coordinator in Buffalo now. The Bills defense got the better of the Miami offense last time. But they’re going to play the same style, without blitzes or disguises, which is Wannstedt’s approach. This is an opportunity for Miami coaches to step up. ADVANTAGE: Miami.

Remember: Live blog today. I'll also update when inactives come out and as news warrants.

Comments

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I think that the term: "Building Thru The Draft", could be one of the most misunderstood terms amongst team fans.

IMO, "building thru the draft" is a 3-level phase in which franchises look to:

1. Add at least 1 immediate impact player.
2. Add at least 1 high upside starter.
3. Add at least 1 1 great contributor, starter or not.

IMO, this represents the first 3 rds of the draft. After this, 4th-6th rd, youre looking to upgrade the bottom of the roster, st's, and draft kickers(if needed). 7th rd is for gems in the rough and developmental or ps players.

In the "building thru the draft phase", youre acquiring players that hopefully are with youre team 4-5yrs. This is called "building a foundation".

Free Agency, on the other hand, is "solidifying the foundation" already built. IMO, here is where you want to add 4th-6yr players. Or players playing out thier first contract of the team originally signing them.

FA can be used to sign a high impact player, above average starter, or to add depth and or churn the bottom of your roster. Because of the great impact of injuries, your roster at times is only as strong as it's weakest link.

The waiver wire can also be a source of upgrading your weakest link. But I would stay away from aging high priced vets as much as possible.

The most difficult thing to gauge about who wins this game is what we have or the lack of what we have on offense. There's no real consistency in our skilled reciever unit. That's wr and te positions. Exactly why we struggle to score.

Then when you thow in a qb with "limited college starting experience", it is what it is. Both the good and bad of it.

That's what makes it so difficult to say we beat one of the worst teams in football, even though we're supposed to be 10pt favorites. Because of our offensive inconsistency, nothing's ever a "done deal" with this team.

Last week, Chad Henne wouldnt let us lose. I still believe Fitzpatrick is an upgrade over Henne. So this week, that may not be the case. Especially if this offense starts slowly, even more if we begin to miss tackles and turn the ball over.

This is not an offense that can survive turning the ball over and winnig games, unless the opposing offense does the same. Even that's a problem because this defense is near league bottom in coming up with turnovers even when they force them.

Vegas may have made us 10pt favorites, but, I call it even. Today's game could go either way. Buiffalo's awful, but, our offense is terribly inconsistent.

There's only 1 nfl rb that can still run against 7-8 run defenders in the box. That's Adrian Peterson. He doesnt play for us.

Our entire recieving corps needs to be upgraded during the offseason. Even if that means allowing Hartline to walk. Hartline may be the only 1,000 yd wr in the league with onlt 1 recieving td. IMO, that does not merit a big pay day this offseason.

If we cant get him signed for under $4 million a year, let him walk.

Overall team play looked better in the Jax game than it had in the past several games, including the first Bills game. If they play at that level vs the Bills today, they'll be more than a match.

I'm hoping Tannehill continues to build on last week's game. Although he will be missing much of his supporting cast, he has been very careful most of the year with the football and maybe someone will rise to the challenge today and help out in the passing game.

As usual for the Dolphins, the surest way to a win is to limit their mistakes. Maybe, with some new blood in the secondary, they can take advantage of the mistakes Fitz is almost sure to make.

The Bills are hoping to be the team that ends the Dolphins playoff aspirations so they've got some motivation. I hope the Dolphins have more.

I wouldnt put much credence in how the team looked against an injury riddled Jaquars team.

Both Bess and Hartline are nursing back issues.
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Receivers are paying a price after the catch. DB's are hammering the receivers when they are close with a legal hard shoulder pad hit to the back. OUCH! Teams need depth at the receiver position. The Dophins have got to go TE and 2 WR's in their first five picks for the 2013 draft.

The Dolphins have been trying to upgrade the team in the wrong way. Picking up scrubs dropped by other teams just keeps you in the cellar. The way to improve is to acquire NEW STARTERS whether it be by trade, draft, or FA and pushing your previous starters to quality backups. This is how you build depth, not by acquiring junk off other teams practice squads or waiver wire.

Yesterdays gone says:

If we cant get him signed for under $4 million a year, let him walk.
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I agree with possibly letting Hartline walk. Going 2 WR's and a tight end within the first five picks should be considered even if the Dolphins pick up a receiver like Jennings in Free Agency.

Get some guys that make Hartline, Bess, and Fasano our backups. Then we will have some receivers.

Same ole sh** different day. Bills vs the Dolphins, the game for the ages. This game could be the second tie this season. Bills 13 Dolphins 13. Oh and I promise I wont be watching.
Jeffery will prove just how stupid he is by not resigning Hartline. Can you immagine this yr without him?

Fin 77 are you dumb?? What are you supposed to do half way through a season? This is what every team in the league does MORON..... I guess Burnett and Bush are both scrubs? damn you are a clown.

And Hartline for under 4 million a year? THAT'S ABSURD. That's a disgrace to him and the hard work he has put in.

We have a load of MORONS. On this board today compared to what the WR market is these days Hartline will almost CERTAINLY get about 22 mill over the next 4 years probably by the Dolphins. And then Fin 77 proves how big of a joke he is....Dolphins had more injuries than the Jaguars

The IQ level of some of you people is ridiculously low. AR 15 did you know if the Dolphins win and the Bengals lose in pitt...Miami will have a chance to into the playoffs on the last day. Hater.

Hartline wouldnt start for any other team in the league.

We have the draft choices and the money to replace Hartline, Bess, and Fasano AND keep them as our backups. Thats the proper way to upgrade and build depth.

How many TD's does Hartline have? 2? LOL

Hartline wouldnt start for any other team in the league.

Posted by: Jay | December 23, 2012 at 10:33 AM
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LMFAO He's 13th in the NFL in recieving yards MORON. Stop embarrassing yourself

Hartline would be a solid number 2 WR for 70% of the teams in the NFL...Sadly when we had a nuber 1 WR our QB never looked his way even when he was wide open. When we get in the Red Zone we either run the ball or look for the tight ends. If you didn't know we are actually above average in red zone offense.

When you debate bring facts to the table or you'l look like a clown.

Kris,

Will you introduce your brother to this scuz below that you talk to all the time???
------------------------------

DO YOU LIKE SUCKING D I C K??

Yes Or NO!!

Posted by: Dashi | December 21, 2012 at 07:46 PM


And Hartline for under 4 million a year? THAT'S ABSURD. That's a disgrace to him and the hard work he has put in.

Posted by: jordan | December 23, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Hard work? 6 tds in 4 seasons.

Hard work? 1 td recieving this season.

1,000yds and 1 td recieving hasnt kept any dc's up all night game planning for Hartline for any game this year. Its not who has the most yards that wins the game. It's who scores the most points.

1 td in 13 games isnt going to help your team win very many games, even if he had 2,000 yds recieving. "You Play To Win The Game".

Everyone in the nfl "works hard" but some still get cut.

Hartline would be a solid number 2 WR for 70% of the teams in the NFL...Sadly when we had a nuber 1 WR our QB never looked his way even when he was wide open.
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Hartline is a solid receiver but your pushing his abilities further than they are. He does not come out of his break fast enough to create separation like Johnson from Houston and Calvin Johnson from Detroit or Welker from New England or many #2 receivers like Julio Jones etc....


LMFAO He's 13th in the NFL in recieving yards MORON. Stop embarrassing yourself

Posted by: jordan | December 23, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Im ROTFLMAO too. Hartline is basically a contributory reciever forced to be a starter on a team that doesnt have a "real legit" starting reciever. Dont embarrass yourself. LOL...

I've said it before on here but being at the game in Buffalo you could see when Miami was going to run the ball from a mile away. If I could see it from the stand many yards away you have to know that the Bills coaches and players could see it long before we could. I put that on Sherman.

For the Dolphins to win today I think they need to do a better job disguising the plays. Bills defence was in the backfield last time long before they should have been. So I put this game on Sherman, Bush, Tannehill and our defence. It would be nice to see some play-action calling today and some big play gains.

Go get 'em Dolphins!!.....

Except for the one 80yd td catch, I would be shocked if Hartline has more than 50 Yacs this season. Please awake us next time he has a "REDZONE" td catch. That's even more rare than him pick up YAC yardage.

I did a bit of research on some of the WRs coming out in April and watching some of the film clips on them . I came away very impressed and even more convinced that we should be picking a guy in the second round. I don't see a Megatron or Andre Johnson in this draft but I do see a number of guys that could help this team. I'm impressed with their size and their speed.

Walter does a nice job of listing these guys and describing them. Spend some time looking at some of these guys and I think you'll see answers to what we're looking for in April.

CraigM,

HUH? Every offense in the nfl you can spot a run play from a mile away. That's why you have play-action passing. But, to be very succesful at playaction passing, you need wr's who are actually a threat.

Its much easier to run when you have a legit passing attack. Of course, unless you have AP in the backfield.

YG,

I wouldn't be too hard on Hartline. He's done his job this year. You can't ask any more of your 4th round pick. Yeah he has only 1 TD catch but nobody else is lighting it up either. He was never drafted to be a number one guy but that's what he is by default right now. You've also got a rookie QB trying to find his way right now and an OC trying to figure out how to best use him and how to get some of these guys open. I'm not the least bit disappointed in what Hartline has done this year at all.

jordan must be Hartline's mother!! HAHA

Henne missed Hartline 90% of the time. Hartline has had 4 dfifferent QB's and 3 different OC's in 4 years. What could you realistically expect? Not long ago Cris Carter was saying Megatron wasn't elite.

Have fun bashing him now, just come back to admit you were wrong if he ends up on NE, NO, GB, INDY, WA and becomes a coveted player.

Just to put Hartline in perspective, Dez Bryant has NINE TD's, Hartline has one.

CraigM,

I know you deperately would like to see a pass rusher drafted 1st rd. I highly doubt Ireland will go that direction. Please put yourself in Ireland's frame of possible thinking.

As gm, you have Cam Wake, and you just spent a 3rd rd pick on Vernon. Do you actually realistically believe Ireland's going to give up on Vernon after just 1 season?

I know you want a pass rusher 1st rd, but seriously, how likely do you think it is that Ireland's giving up on Vernon after only 1 season? What you want is a huge longshot on Ireland himself agreeing to it.

Craig M says:

You've also got a rookie QB trying to find his way right now and an OC trying to figure out how to best use him and how to get some of these guys open.
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All true but keeping the debate on Hartline's value in context; paying him $5.5M to keep him with money to spend, 5 draft picks in the first 3 rounds may not happen. The Dolphins should make an effort to keep him but if they can get a Jennings in FA and draft another receiver in the 2nd round Hartline might be expensive.

YG,

We've had this conversation a million times. Drafting a pass rusher doesn't mean you are giving up on Vernon. Vernon is a dpeth piece and I don't believe he'll ever be anything more than that. I don't see this guy as ever been a fulltime impactful starter.

You're just after saying this morning that when you 'build' through the draft you're drafting impactful guys, and starters and contributors. I see Vernon as a 'contributor'. Ginats have about 6-7 guys they use in a rotational basis on their line. I believe Vernon will be one of those guys. A lot will depend on what happen with Starks (who I believe they will let walk) and McDaniel (who I'm not sure what will happen with yet). You can never have enough guys for your DL, and if we have a chance to get an impactful guy at 12-15 that's exactly what I'd do. Lots of WRs available second and third round.

CraigM @ 11:09,

Im not being hard on Hartline, just being factual. If Im a gm, 1,000 yds recieving and only 1 td, I would see as a possible contributory player forced to be a starter. Im mean, who else could your qb throw to?

Bess? Bess is a smaller slower version of Hartline. Neither gets open in the redzone or consistently pick up YAC.

Truth be told, 1,000 yd and 1 td, its difficult to swallow paying that wr even top 25 pay. You play to win the game. Hartline's 1 recieving td in 14 gms doesnt quite state that.

promichael,

That's a possibility. I like Hartline but I'm sure sure he's a guy you keep 'under any circumstances'. I think he'd be a useful guy to keep.

My only caveat is that if we don't resign him, I believe he'll end up in New England and then his days of one TD a year will be a thing of the past. The fact he has one TD this year isn't all on him. We don't have the QB, the weapons, the play-calling or the system of a team like NE. Watch him go there and be Welker Part Deux.

Hartline is a below average backup forced into a starting role.

YG,

Hartline is the perfect guy for what the Pats like to do. As I said above, let's see if he's a one TD a year guy in NE. I believe a lot of his issues are not about him but rather about the environment he plays in. Let's see who's right.

Whatever you do dont use Hartline on your fantasy team! lol

Would Peyton, Brady, Brees, Cutler, Luck, RG3 find Hartline in the EndZone?

You betcha!

Some of you need to look at the big picture and consider all the reasons for someones stats.

Heck, there isnt a receiver on the planet that Tom Brady wouldnt make look good.

CraigM,

Did you not hear Ireland state that drafting Miller and Vernon was like getting 2 1st rd picks 1yr early? Didnt you hear him state he believed both Vern and Miller would have been 2013 1st rd picks had they stayed in school thier final seasons?

So, if Ireland drafted a pass rusher 1st rd in 2013, it would mean that he's already given up on Vernon. If he truly believes Vernon would have been a 2013 draft pick, then why the hell would he, after only 1 season spend the 2013 1st rd pick at pass rusher?

That means he blew the 2012 3rd rd pick on Vernon. He drafted Vernon with the intention he was getting a HUGE STEAL 1yr early. I dont know what that suggests to you, but, I know what it suggests to me. Dont hold your breath on that 2013 1st rd pass rusher.

Last week at this time Yesterday was posting endlessly how RT is playing to the downside of is scouting report and that his potential is greater to the downside. I said he was looking at RT with a negative bias and only wanted to see the negative. Then RT has a great game. Since then, we don't hear another word from Yesterday about how RT has a bigger downside than upside. Nor does he acknowledge RT outplayed the scouting reports.

Some can not acknowledge things that go against their opinion. Some people want to hang on to being right even when they are wrong.

Actually YG, that's just YOU reading into Ireland's comments. Doesn't mean that at all. Ever hear of a coach or GM saying something to motivate a player? Don't believe everything management says to the media.

Not going to debate this with you because it's all hypothetical. We see it different ways. If Starks and McDaniel leave that opens up two holes for guys to move up. One Vernon and one the guy we draft in the first. Let's see.

It doesn't mean he is giving up on Vernon. Why does it mean that? Wake is over 30. Having depth at pass rush in a pass happy league is a good thing.

CraigM,

Believe it or not, but I dont think Hartline is perfect for what the Pats like to do. He doesnt have the quickness of a Welker. He doesnt consistently get yacs.

Welker does get separation in the redzone. Hartline's big with speed and very little quickness. Also, though he's big, he isnt overly physical. So, how does he really fit the Pats system?

Ireland never said that BTW. It was the Canes coach that said that.

One other thing, I haven't heard ANYONE who feels that Vernon should have been a first round pick. Didn't read it anywhere, didn't see it mocked anywhere. Believe what you want but sometimes what people say to the media means something entirely different.

CraigM,

Lets wager something on if whether or not Ireland drafts a pass rusher 1st rd. Thats how confident I feel he will not. If I lose I'll pay up on whatever youre willing to wager.

i think yesterday just randomly twists his arguments to his opinion of the day. he is not consistent at all. i think this is just a game for him for cheap entertainment. it's not worth taking the debate too far with him. now today he is an expert in who will fit into belicheks offense. ok.

Razo,

You can't reason with YG sometimes. He doesn't want a pass rusher in the first for some reason and will do everything he can to make his case.

I happen to think it will be the best thing for this team LONG TERM and that's all I care about. I believe I'd follow that with TE and WR in the second and safety in the third. Undecided on whether the other pick should be CB or WR or G or T.

Craig

I look at it this way. Besides a pass rusher we desperately need WR, TE too. He may just go BPA for each of those position with each of his first few picks.

I wouldnt put much credence in how RT looked against an injury riddled Jaquars team.

Craig M: Most mocks I see show draft is strongest for DT/DE right now at approximately where Dolphins will pick. I believe too that Fins should go that way. Never can have too many good pass rushers. Receiving talent best for round 2 where Miami has 2 picks.

I agree with YG , but if Ireland is still doing the drafting he could take a friggin kicker in the 1st rd! LOL!

CraigM,

You think everyone that doesnt agree with you is against you. Thats not the case. I dont care if Ireland drafts a pass rusher 1st rd. I merely state in my opinion he wnt.

I base "my opinion" on him drafting a pass rusher 3rd rd last year(Vernon). Because of this I state that "I believe" its "highly unlikely" he'll spend a 1st rd pick on the position this year.

Especially considering "pass rush" isnt a #1 need. Arent we like well inside the top 15 fl teams in "SACKS" this year? What about that suggests to you that's urgent enough to draft a pass rusher 1st rd?

I never said I didnt want a pass rusher 1st rd. I said I believe based on evidence(where we rank in sacks, Vernon drafted 3rd rd), its highly unlikekly to happen. I never said I didnt want it, nor it's an impossibility, just "HIGHLY UNLIKELY".

Cant we please not discuss this again, unless you would like to make a "friendly wager"?

CraigM,

Remember, I posted to you a couple pass rushers slated to go around 3rd rd? They were guys with better sack numbers than the supposed 1st rd'ers.

Hell, the guy Seattle took 1st rd last year was rated 3rd rd by Walter Campbell. Walter Campbell isnt always right in thier player evaluations. Ask Seattle.

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