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Team with no questions? I have some

A couple of weeks ago, amid the feel-good reflections of the offseason, guard Richie Incognito said the Dolphins had no questions. No, he wasn't suggesting the team is winning a championship in 2013. He was making the point he sees no obvious weaknesses or holes.

I suppose that could be fair.

Last year at this time, for example, we already knew the receiver corps was a problem. We already wondered about a rookie quarterback. We wondered where the sacks would come from if not from Cameron Wake.

Some of those issues have been addressed.

But are the Dolphins free of issues?

I'm not certain. (And neither can you be, by the way, because only a season of games will tell).

I can, however, present to you questions that will have to answered somehow in 2013. I'm not saying they're going to be problems. I'm simply marking them down in the uncertainty file.

Here we go:

Uncertainty 1: Will Ryan Tannehill be the QB everyone expects? Will he be a much-improved player from Year 1 to Year 2 or will the improvement -- assuming he makes some -- be more gradual? This is a big deal, by the way, because as Tannehill goes so will the Dolphins.

There's no doubt Tannehill is growing into his job.

"Last year at this time my head was spinning," he said. "I was just trying to figure out how things worked. I didn’t really know how the day went, how the offseason went, how practices went. So being in it a year, I am completely comfortable. Now I can go out and focus on all the little things that go into the game."

Now the question is will his play reflect his greater comfort level?

Uncertainty 2: Who is going to carry the running game? The question is obvious because Reggie Bush is gone and everyone who is left is unproven. The Dolphins love Lamar Miller. As I've written before, he is the heir apparent and is so talked within the team, owner Stephen Ross has mentioned him as a big playmaker for 2013. It's obvious someone internally has been telling Ross to expect big things from Miller.

But the Dolphins do have other choices. Daniel Thomas is a former second-round pick and he sees himself as the successor to Bush. He'll have to prove it. And he intends to prove it. So we have a competition building.

The darkhorse here is rookie Mike Gillislee. I keep hearing his name from club sources. There is an internal excitement about him. There is hope he can factor and perhaps even surprise everyone -- except you, of course, because I just told you what might occur.

Uncertainty 3: Health. Let's face it, the Dolphins are a skyscrapper of cards. Yes, they are looking like they can reach into the heavens. But they have a lot of fragile pieces. Brent Grimes, Richard Marshall, and Dustin Keller all had season-derailing injuries last season and are trying to stay healthy now. Can they? Rookies Dion Jordan (shoulder), Jamar Taylor (hernia), and Dallas Thomas (shoulder) all have injuries that are keeping them on the shelf until training camp the earliest. This issue deserves attention.

Uncertainty 4: Jonathan Martin as a left tackle. Yes, it's his job now. He succeeds Jake Long. And while Martin is expected to be healthier than Long, it is anyone's guess if he'll be any better. Indeed, Martin was no better in his stint as a left tackle last year toward the end of the year than Long was previously even though the veteran was constantly nicked. Perhaps that's the reason the team tried to re-sign Long and then flirted with both Brandon Albert and Bryant McKinnie as left tackle answers ahead of Martin.

This raises the question, 'How confident were the Dolphins in Martin?' Martin is a natural left tackle. He likes the position much more than he does the right side. Let's see if he plays like it.

Uncertainty 5: Can Dannell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler live up to the hype? Both players have performed well as complementary players, players signed on the cheap, players stepping in for stars, players without any pressure.

But now both these guys are very, very, very highly paid. They were brought in to not only start but make big plays. They were brought in as upgrades. That's a far cry from what they're used to.

Wheeler, you'll remember, played for Oakland on a one-year, $700,000 contract last year. He signed a $26 million deal with Miami. He played well last year. Will be play 40 times better for the Dolphins now that he's making nearly 40 times the money?

Ellerbe was supposed to be the heir apparent for Ray Lewis in Baltimore. But the Ravens couldn't afford to keep him. He had very good moments in Baltimore. He had some bad moments in Baltimore, particularly earlier in his career. Will he be the playmaker that Karlos Dansby was supposed to be but really wasn't? Or instead of another Ray Lewis, will Ellerbe be more like Dansby?

We'll see.

Prove it time begins in a couple of months.


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What a great win for the Heat. Haven't been in a place with that much excitement since the last Marlins World Series win. LeBron James might be the greatest player in all of sports right now and it's such a pleasure to watch him in Miami.

You guys think Indiana is a tough match up, wouldn't San Antonio be an even worse match up?

I can't lose any Focus now. We need this series vs Indiana so We can bring the SB here.

Opposite of the Dolphins, the Heat are a class organization and their dynasty is not by accident.

Joe Philbin could take last year's team to a 9-7 record this year. He's a very intelligent guy and knows how to make a team better. But, they went out and made some changes in the offseason and the team got better. Philbin has got to be like a kid in the candy store.

Baseball is probably the most tense of all Team Sports when Championships are on the line. Remember Renteria's hit?

so exciting watching guys slam dunk all night long and clank shots off the rim time and time again. i got 4.5 million hits when i type "why is the nba so boring" in my search engine. lol

If Martin has a little trouble on the left I could see Philbin slide protection to that side by putting Sims over there; maybe even Yeatman. Belichik has been doing that for years to protect Brady when he's getting pressure from that side; giving Brady more time to complete passes. I don't think Martin will have an issue but, if needed, I don't think Phiblin would have a problem doing something like that to protect Tannehill. Especially if it means that giving Tannehill the additional time will allow him to pick a defense apart.


Who said anything about cutting Odrick?

Mark, Spurs are def the tougher match simply bbecause theyve won championships before, never underestimate the heart of a champion

Gradually, We have built a great Sports tradition here in Miami, specially in Football.

Craig, some guy said there's a Bleacher report column saying Odrick and Egnew were on the edge of the roster or something to that effect.

Clue, I see it the same way. Spurs are boring but extremely efficient. Not that I know so much about teh NBA. I've never really got into it, but year after year I do notice their success. Popovich and Duncan ... now that is a great first overall pick and a true franchise player. We had the first pick once in Toronto. We got Andrea Bargnani ... sigh

Tannehill will be running for his life without Jake Long and his safety valve Reggie Bush.

difference being...in the nba you can buy the best team with only needing 5 players. in real sports leauges you pick a team and build it.

Actually, my paternal Uncle, Raul Canosa, was the Coach that introduced basketball zone-playing in Cuba in the 1950's. He came here to study it and had great success with it. Something of that knowledge must have stuck to me...

Of course, Cuba-USA-Canada have always been tied at the Belly. You don't see that, you Blind.

Oscar, did you know Hyman Roth?

Armando, don't fret, can you imagine the uncertainty that existed 1 day after the BIG BANG?

Literally you should count your LUCKY STARS!


I'm enjoying Sons of Anarchy, but you're right, it's not Breaking Bad. Still the best show on television, in my opinion.


Great point @ 11:36. Way to provide some good thought out insight on here that to be honest is often missing.

Does Debbie Downer proofread all if your stuff? Just curious...

Listen pay starks Ryan going to have a amazing year and i think Grimes going to return to 2010 shape but i think taylor is going to be better than him add wake and Jordan super bowl trust me im not a internet junkie so i don't profile names and all but u can believe dolphins going to win the super bowl this year trust me mando

It is peculiar that Mejico has not been included in this Big Sphere of Influence being border to border with the USA. I guess Great Cities have to be on the same Great Longitude.

usually in sports the end of the game is the most exciting except boringball. the end is always always this....timeout, foul, freethrow (make one) and repeat many many times. they have different rules for different players which always favor the stars and feeds the nba is fixed theories.

Even with a not so threatning receiving corps Tannehill was more even than uneven last year. Now this:

"Tannehill was in total command of Miami's offense during this week’s start of organized team activities. The Tuesday portion was open to the media, and Tannehill made several long completions to receivers Brian Hartline, Mike Wallace and Armon Binns.

Tannehill also made the routine throws underneath to tight end Dustin Keller and others. The second-year quarterback was quick with his reads and knew where to go with the football.

And this:

"I guess one way to describe him is he’s a gym rat. He loves football; he’s been here an awful lot,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin explained. “He's been working out with the guys on their own, nothing orchestrated by us, well before the offseason program began. Those are all good indicators that somebody wants to be good. That’s kind of step one."

Also this:

"It was clear that Tannehill put in the offseason work. If Tannehill can make significant strides in Year 2, that could put the Dolphins in position to make a playoff push this year."

And finally this:

It was clear that Tannehill put in the offseason work. If Tannehill can make significant strides in Year 2, that could put the Dolphins in position to make a playoff push this year.

Hyman Roth is in business with the Barzini Brothers.


Yeah, Craig, SOA is a good way to pass time and just relax. Same with Suits and Mad Men. Nothing that will blow you away though.

Anyone who didn't get to read james Walker's blog entry on ESPN regarding Tannehill, that's pretty much it cut and psated @ 11:54

A little different than what Mando posts, no?

The greatest uncertainty in the world is money. It isn't worth the paper its printed on. only faith in money gives it value.

Have faith Armando!

I see Everybody talking so good about these all these new TV series. My younger Son finally convinced me to watch something called Scandal. After 1 episode I concluded that it is something done for the Masses, and definitely not for me. I've always liked Ingmar Bergman.

T-Hill Will Always Go On Go.
That Is His Hut. Just Because He Isn't Saying Hut Hut. That Doesn't Mean Everytime It Is 48 go.

Some Qbs Use Hut, Some Qbs Use Go.

Disliking Someones Cadence Is A Petty Argument.

Posted by: Dashi | May 23, 2013 at 10:45 AM
Jeeze, I'm guessing you never played the game but even a fan knows you want to keep the D guessing. Here's football 101 for you: As the game goes along, the defense gets accustomed to the QBs voice (cadence) that's when a smart QB changes it up. Otherwise known as hard count. 48 Go Go is what Tannehill used 95% of the time. Late in the season, he used 48 GO. Same monotone, no variation, no change in voice inflection. But wait, there's more to it than that. A hard count usually has 3 HUTs (Tannehill's GO) space between the HUTs and inflection matter.

Got it?

Got it?

Sure, Mark, those are James Walker's observations and I respect them. Practically, everybody else that saw or participated in that OTA says the same thing about RT. But Sherman said it first.

Speaking of uncertainty, I wonder how many times did the universe's creator have to turn the igniton key before finally cranking up the universe.

Was it:

A) Once
B) Twice
c) Three times


Still, I won't be drawn into False Expectations. Nevermore.

But my point was NOT just cadence but all of the finer points that experienced NFL QBs have in this league.

Cadence? You talking about cadence?? We just trying to win games!!!

I'll go on record again with this.
The media and coaches keep "talking" about Gillislee, and he's only in shorts. So, they "love" Miller, and he's the heir supposedly, ...but they are "talking" about Gillislee.
I predict Gillislee will have more snaps at the end of the season than Miller. He can just plain do more things. Miller may upgrade his skillset, and form, in which case he may be way better than I imagine him, but if not... Gillislee is better.

And once again... I don't think either is a #1 feature back.
However... I do have to reserve the right to change that opinion if this 4 receiver set is more of a standard this year than the up-the-gut running of last year. With a wider set, and more open space, Gillislee and Miller are better suited than pile-pushing backs.
Hope so.

Mark in Toronto, Craig M. Ignore that bozo who says Odrick and Egnew will be cut. He is just a lying Troll making stuff up because he has no life. There is no report on Bleacher Report saying any such thing.

Nice to see you around JS...
and Prof Lou...

Mark, Craig, and Bobby.
The Bleacher Report article I read (might be the same) simply put out the argument that Odrick isn't going to get the DE reps he wants anymore, and that IF he can work as a DT then he's set. But IF NOT, then he's a man with a hazy future. I think we can agree that's probably true.

As far as Egnew? They liked him so much they signed a big free agent to start, and drafted another guy to "compete". Egnew is already a man with a hazy future.

So, you reserve your decision to flip again, JS? That's not allowed anymore.

Wow hard hitting stuff here and I love the part when you tell your readers they won't be surprised because you just told them! Like they haven't read any other article in the last couple months that said the exact same thing. I love the Dolphins but can't stand their beat writers.

I love you, Mr. Oscar, but you do not make the rules here.

I do.

It will be fun and interesting to see T Sizzle commanding this years O. It was fun last year too but we played a more "tradition" keep it close, don't beat yourself run first style offense...which I think was smart for the crew on the field...b ut this year...very very exciting possibilities...

I found this just for you Dashi. This guy from ask a coach explains it better than me.

For a "hard count' the quarterback will call out one phase of the cadence much louder than the rest. It may sound like: "4-3, 4-3 Blue 25, Blue 25, hut, HUT, hut." Because the second "hut" is so much louder than the rest of the cadence, the defensive linemen may jump offside giving the offense a free 5 yards with the penalty.

The other way the quarterback will try to get the defensive players to jump offside is by using a "long count". When the offensive team have been snapping the ball on the first or second "hut" for most of the game, the quarterback will tell the offensive team in the huddle that they are going to snap the ball on the fourth "hut" when they get to the line. In this case, the defensive players may jump offside after the second "hut" giving the offensive team 5 free yards.

Good quarterbacks will use both techniques to help their team move the ball down the field.

Coach Tom Bass

Still think cadence isn't important?

Don't discount Daniel Thomas... If he can clear his head and hold onto the ball he could be the best option as a starter... Weaken the defense then give it to Miller for a 3rd and long threat. spell Gillislee.

Facebook. Jesus!

Daniel Thomas should be our short yardage/red zone back but he gets knocked out at an alarming rate and provides surprisingly little push for a man his size. Like I always say size does not necessarily equal power. Case in point Jamar taylor had a better bench than Johnathan Martin in their respective combines ...

Flip again?
Oscar you know me better. If I miss, I own (I've missed and owned plenty before).
If I predict correctly, I crow (just a little).

I'm trying to allow room to say that IF the standard sets are different than last year, and the product is open space for backs .. then Gillislee and Miller are better prospects than the pounders that we needed last year. Bush would even work well in a open system. But he couldn't work well enough last year because the line running was so tight. That opens up, and Gillislee/Miller types are better suited.
So, I'm just saying my opinion is for what I've already seen, but should the scheme change (like it SAYS it is), then my opinion should change. Not rocket science.

funny story


Mark in Toronto, Craig M. Ignore that bozo who says Odrick and Egnew will be cut. He is just a lying Troll making stuff up because he has no life. There is no report on Bleacher Report saying any such thing.

Posted by: Bobbyd12 | May 23, 2013 at 12:17 PM


Bobbyd12 wrong again? LMFAO!!!!!


I have been on US 1 in Cocoa. There were many stores and restaurants.

I hope to go again one day.

True, JS. My bad.

Pay very careful attention to how Gillislee makes guys miss, stop on a dime cuts and acceleration, and deceptively fast bursts.


It didn't take long for Egnew to start burning up his goodwill, however, as the coaching staff quickly got on his case during training camp in front of the Hard Knocks cameras last offseason. He played just two regular-season games and didn't record any statistics in 2012.

The Dolphins got aggressive at the position this offseason. For instance, they signed tight end Dustin Keller in free agency and added Michigan State tight end Dion Sims in the draft. With Egnew and Charles Clay already on the roster, it's fair to wonder how many tight ends they will keep for the 2013 season.

Just one year after entering the league, Egnew could be the odd man out in Miami.

Egnew breaks out this year simply because Philbin has far better clue on handling and developing players than Sparano.

Sanchez disappoints Rex.
Ha! Ya think? How dumb is the media and the Jets organization to still after how many frikin years act like Sanchez is either a game away from losing his job (game after game after game after....). And yet they still cling to him like some drugged and beaten wife. Good lord.
They drafted their franchise QB (they think).
They tried to ditch Sanchez for anyone else the last 2 years, and still clung to him, and then paid him even more.
Tebow may have left, but the ignorant denial circus stayed. His circus was at least fun.
The Jets. snort.

Obviously Bleacher Report didn't read Sportrac before writing the article. Egnew is is over 600,000 in dead money, Clay only 56,000.

This is Clay's 3rd season. So Clay has to overcome his acute inconsistency and outplay Egnew by pretty considerable margin to avoid getting cut ahead of him.

Clay is also a much lower draft pick.

I am interested to se Thigpens roll on the team beyond ST...
Maybe a back motioning out a bit...?

Clay is also a Sparano offense brainchild. Philbin has been systematically washing away underperforming Sparano leftovers.

I don't know why, but I have always been very intrigued by Clay...

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