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Tannehill, starting defense should sit Thursday night

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin declined to say this week whether his starters would play in Thursday's preseason-finale against New Orleans at Sun Life Stadium. Throughout the preseason Philbin has deftly avoided telling his plans for using players in the preseason by saying he won't "finalize" the plans until the day before the game -- which is always coincidently a day he doesn't have any media obligations outside the television broadcasters.

So don't ask me if quarterback Ryan Tannehill is playing in Thursday night's game and, if so, how much.

Don't ask if Cameron Wake is going to play and, if so, how much.

You may, however, ask whether Tannehill and Wake and those folks should play.

Here's my answer: NO WAY!

Here's my other answer: What for?

Here's my third answer: Are you nuts?

Here's my fourth answer: I would play some starters but not others.

I would not play Tannehill. I would not play Mike Wallace. I would not play Brian Hartline. I would not play Brandon Gibson.

That group has had a good enough camp and plenty of time to work in controlled practice conditions that they don't need to be exposed to a freak injury in a meaningless final preseason game 10 days prior to the start of the season.

In four preseason games, Tannehill has completed 34 of 56 passes (60.7 percent) for 377 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. That's an outstanding preseason and it shows significant progress from last preseason when he completed 41 of 78 passes (52.6 percent) for 414 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Personally, I've seen all I need to see from Tannehill this preseason. He's good. There is no issue he needs to solve that can be solved Thursday night. He and his receivers can use some more time together but that's precisely the reason you don't play any of them.

The truth is even a minor injury to one of the receivers, such as a groin pull or tweaking the hamstring or a calf injury, could set the program back as it will certainly cost practice snaps and possibly affect availability for the opener. Why risk that?

And if Tannehill gets injured, how would that feel? The fact is every other AFC East team has had quarterback injuries or at least a quarterback injury scare this preseason. The Dolphins are the only team immune so far.

The Jets had Geno Smith injure his ankle and Mark Sanchez is still day-to-day with a bruised shoulder. The Bills lost Kevin Kolb to a concussion and E.J. Manuel had to have minor knee surgery. Even all of New England held its collective breath for one evening this preseason when Tom Brady got his knee rolled into during a dual practice with Tampa Bay.

So it makes zero sense for the Dolphins to risk adding Tannehill to that list for the mere benefit of playing, at most, a series against New Orleans. The risk far outweighs the reward.

Now, those rules don't apply to other starters, in my opinion.

I would, for example, play the starting offensive line as a unit. They need the work together as John Jerry has been there only two weeks and one preseason series. It would be good to get him another series or two with his starting mates.

It also is necessary because if you're not playing Tannehill, you're going with Matt Moore and I wouldn't want to increase Moore's chances of getting injured in the meaningless preseason finale while playing behind reserve linemen.

The fact is Moore is also very valuable (I refer you to the 2012 game at New York) and I want him whole for the start of the season. Moore has taken enough punishment already behind mostly reserve linemen, taking some vicious hits and getting sacked a team-high six times this preseason. I'd start him and play him behind the starting offensive line.

By the way, Moore hasn't had a good preseason. He's only completed 55 percent of his passes, has thrown more interceptions (2) than TDs (1) and his passer rating is 64.2. So he could use the work and the confidence boost against the Saints' turnstile defense.

So starting Moore behind the staring offensive line makes sense on every level.

It also makes sense for Moore to throw to the young corps of tight ends, who need work very badly, and the reserve receivers, who are playing for a roster spot.

I also do not use either Lamar Miller or Daniel Thomas. Yes, it can be argued both need more work. But if that's the argument, I would say that reflects on the coaching because the Dolphins have already played four preseason games and you shouldn't be still searching for answers to a starting running back competition in the fifth preseason game only 10 days before the regular season.

If Miller and Thomas need more work, they should have gotten more carries earlier in the preseason.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins are looking for a No. 3 running back. Both Mike Gillislee and Jonas Gray are still on the team. Have at it, boys.

On defense, I don't play my starters. I sit all of them. I'm good.

Night off.

Everyone knows the Dolphins defense has been good for years under multiple defensive coordinators and this year should be no different. The unit has had a very good preseason. There is nothing to prove.

Let the backups who are still fighting for roster spots get their fill of snaps this game. It would give the coaching staff more evidence on which to make their final roster decisions. And if an unfortunate injury happens, you are dealing with a reserve player instead of a key starter.

Another reason it makes no sense to use the starting defense? They wouldn't be much tested anyway. You see, quarterback Drew Brees is not going to play for the Saints Thursday night.

Coach Sean Payton, who led the team to the Super Bowl XLIV championship, made that announcement days ago.




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OK, who wrote this blog entry?

A positive entry about Tannehill and the offensive skill group? I've been here since 2007 and I believe this si teh first I read.. and no I don't blame Mando for the entire period...

I agree Mando. Except oline. I don't want to risk them getting injured either. Heck, the Redskins are playing Pat White the whole game. Not sure why Moore needs more work. If he goes down then where are we (if Tannehill gets hurt)?

Agree with DC, none of the core guys ... start at roster position 46 or so and make your way down on who plays.

"In four preseason games, Tannehill has completed 34 of 56 passes (60.7 percent) for 377 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. That's an outstanding preseason and it shows significant progress from last preseason when he completed 41 of 78 passes (52.6 percent) for 414 yards with one touchdown and one interception."

WOO!!! Blow it out yer arses!!!

Mark last blog,

Whether it makes me happy or not??? No stake in that race.

Just an opinion on Griffin for reasons I posted as far as making me happy, I mean really! That would be Tannehill throwing for 4,500 Yards and 35 Tds.

Hey Mando. Can you check the statistics between QB rating and team win/loss numbers.

Given we're all in the pre-season prognostication phase of the year, I would like to know that on average, if your QB has a rating of 80/90/100 how many wins does that usually result in for a team.

Could be a good blog subject.

Armando quit acting like a baby just because Philbin won't tell you every single thing you want to know...or think you should know...it is getting a little embarrassing how you include a small hissy fit about it...in each article...
Go cover the Saints...turn west and start walking!!!

Agreed Jack! I love how Philbin strings these media guys along. Look at this way Mando, hes better than Belicheat.


Want to see more of Gray for obvious reasons.

Either my eyes or some lying bastards or the stats aren't very indicative of Offensive play thus far during the Pre-Season. I don't advocate putting my starters on the field for this one but proclaiming this Pre-Season a resounding success on O is a stretch! If you don't want your skill starters or QB on field for this one but do want to see your OL go then your a fool! The players up front are at more risk than any it was just thi situation in 09 that started the attrition of Jake Long in Dallas. Also the QB chemistry/timing with the guys up front (getting a feel for time he throws ect...) is crucial as well in avoiding injuries.

f4l, amen to that!

Hold on a minute...now Mando pretends to know more than the coaches?....or was it always that way?...

if the COACHING STAFF thinks a player needs the work...then he will get the work..

..Football has its injuries....pre-season...regular season...as well as practice..

...by Mando's reasoning none of the starters should play any contact snaps until game one, practice included....

...WOW....!!!...hey here's an idea...send them all on a 12 day junket to the Bahamas...

...but hey...no swimming or diving or windsurfing or ..ahem..leg and stomach straining activities...

.....never know when some player will pull a groin muscle or tweek a hamstring....

...why not wrap them all in marshmallow until the opener..

...and if someone gets injured on the first play from scrimmage in that opener, what then?

.....I think Mando is all wet on this one...it's strictly up to the Coaches whether a "starter" plays tomorrow night or not.....

Go Phins!!!


You got me there!! I just fell out of my chair after that artcile by Armando!!

Agree w/ Mando. I want to see all these bubble WRs play the whole game and each get targeted ... by Matt Moore, who can throw, not just by Devlin.

We seem to be all over the map whether McNutt's better than Bumphis, Tyms better than either, etc.

I don't care about winning this "game." I care about using it as a lab to test who's on the 53. Using RT and his top receivers does nothing to answer that question.

Factoid off ESPN: RT already has taken more snaps this preseason than any other expected starting QB.

Even if you don't count the HOF game, he's fourth.

32 weeks ago = 28-zip.
nothing has changed.

Unlike some of you, I don't have time to sit here all day and night each and every day.

Has anybody posted a convincing rebuttal to my 13-3 prediction?

If so, I invite you to meet me in a dark alley, and we can discuss it.

Moore's a gamer, he'll be ready when called upon.

Guys, easy on Mando. Almost EVERY other HC in the league is divulging who's in or out. Shanahan has already ruled the starters out on Thursday. So have a bunch of other coaches. I don't know why you need to be so secretive for a meaningless game (for everyone but a handful of players at the back of the roster). Mr. Ross promised more transparency. I understand during the Season why Philbin is tight-lipped, I actually like it (in all but the most extreme cases, like not allowing a player say he's playing with a fracture). But there's no reason for it here. Give the fans something for all their effort (supporting your franchise).

13 - 3 ???????? I won't make you sit here...I'll tell you right now.....I want some of that good stuff you're smokin' Bo....

....Here's the rebuttal....Las Vegas Dolphins : 7.5..

oh..and you can keep your dark alley nonsense...fighting over an opinion seems rather juvenille to me....

...but yo..if it's how you roll, I say go ahead on....


What 3 teams beat us? LOL.

I'm thinking 10-6 is doable, 8-8 is a disappointment.

Bo Jackson, our offense just isn't nearly good enough to go 13-3, although I would love it if we did. Our secondary is also still a question mark. Reshad Jones really tailed off the last few games last year, Clemons has never been more than average at best, and while Grimes will be OK, Patterson isn't exactly a pro bowler. And when you throw in Carrol and Wilson in nickel/dime packages it gets really, really scary.

DC, maybe El Philbino is teaching Mando a lesson?

MassDolphan, by your standards we should have a pro bowler at every single position.

Tanne's year:

Pro Bowl

Somewhere in between Bo and MassD lies the Truth...

come on, now tell me I'm not clever!@!!

Jordon's shoulder will be a career long problem... Mark it down.

^ Nick Saban's Miami Dolphins Team Doctor

Looking forward to the draft Sunday. Bad news is I won't be able to sneak the Dolphins D on to my roster late in the draft!

Miller and Thomas dont need more work--theyre not rookies, you know what you got with each of them--I'd sit them.

Another.....based on what exactly?

NeMo, Dashi is grabbing them 3rd round in my latest mock.

I hope the draft has a chat option, that would be a laugh

Nice punch at coach Philbin with the last sentence. You must have a beef with the coach because your posts sometimes have a negative undertone about the way coach Philbin conveys information to reporters.

Bill....agree--obvious and unecessary/petty shot--who cares what Payton did and why should Philbin or any other coach have to divulge more info than required?--so the media can have more info?--again, who cares--I'd give as little info as needed, always/for every situtaion....Belichik is famous for giving zip, Andy Reid and Tomlin too....and plenty of others.

With 4 games with the likes of the Bills and Jets that gives us 4 games that we SHOULD win. That's not saying we will but we should. That leaves 12 games up for grabs. If we win 50%, which a 'good' team would do, that's another 6 wins. Giving us ten on the season. On the other hand if we were to lose one to the Bills or Jets and go 5 and 7 with the others it would stink.

So I agree that 10 wins is both doable and expected. Anything more would be a super season for a franchise that's lost the winning way. And anything less would be a disappointment. With the ten we're bumping the edge to a playoff berth.

All in all, with all factors considered less injuries, a nine win season shouldn't be considered a triumph.

armando, spo is not a liar,
y wuld he bull chit the phinz with a rah rah homer chant.
he kno's nuttin is gonna work 4 them.

I completely agree with the closed mouth theory. The less info you give the less predictable you become.

Wow, Armando...I 100% agree with you on this one...absolutely no reason to risk anything other than bubble players and guys who have a longshot of a prayer of making the team....altho I would like to see Thomas with more work...

hard to sweep division rivals....even when they're crappy they and their fans get up for the game--could look it up but I cant remember the last time we swept the Jets, and whenever it was, it hasnt happened often in the past 15-20 years

actually, Jets have won 20 of the last 30 games--not good.

Fin4life....from the last blog...

RG3 is my 2nd most likely pick to have a Sophmore slump...but for different reasons than you stated....

I think the talent is there...but being here in the DC area...its har to breathe around here with out getting a whiff og the RG3 arrogance....I believe that this guy is reading his press clippings...he has bought into the HYPE...and believes he is the TEAM....

and the team will abandom him much like Carolina did NEWTON should things start to go bad....and that is the reason why I believe RG3 could be due for his COME-UPPANCE this year...

but the dude is ultra talented...and his arrogance may be for good reason...this year...time will tell...

How the F did Sanchez and Retard Ryan win all those playoff games? Wow.

In what decade do we get a franchise QB?

Swept them Henne's last full year I believe was the last time. Tedd Ginn was their kryptonite!

If these scrubs ever go 8-8 they'll throw a parade!!!!!!

I suspect that we might agree that getting two from the Bills isn't a stretch. Your right about the Jets in any other year. But doesn't it seem that the Jets are on the verge of a meltdown or an implosion? So that's why taking those 4 aren't, in any way, out of the question.

No one on the Jets whether it be the FO. coaching staff or the players seem to be on the same page. If the coaching staff is concerned about their future (and they should be) and the new FO isn't thrilled with what they have. That sort of leaves the players to individually try to reach goals that might not be meeting the teams needs but in their future self interests.

That's why I suspect that 2 wins against the Jets isn't out of the question. On the other hand if our team doesn't play up to the expectations of the fans, coaching staff, FO and Ross then all bets are off.

dude repeats the same thing...

day after day..after day..after day..after day..after day....and into infiniti...

could you be more pathetic....

I'm with Mando - 4th preseason game is about the bubble players anyway. Those are the only decisions left to make, so get them out there so you can gather enough info to make the best decision. Hell i'd sit the Oline too. If one of them get's hurt, throw in one of the bubble WRs at oline and see how they do. It'll be fun.

The answer is NO....

you could NOT ever be more pathetic....

you are text book pathetic....your Webster's definition of pathetic...

when a homeless guy sees you (on the RARE occasion you leave the home)...he shakes his head...and say..."pathetic"

I would play Devlin for a half and Corp for the other half,because I think that they will only keep two young QBs(ones with most experience)on the roster.
They need to keep more players that will be in the game and not backup Qbs that will most likely sit on the bench.
What do I think is different this year from last year,I am pretty sure they have a LOT MORE talent on the roster from the draft and aquisitions,and they have a hole at TE.
If they lose both T-Hill and Moore they can pick someone else up probably one of the two backups that are on the team now either Devlin or Corp that already know the system or a veteran QB that can play with a limited play arsenal until he learns Shermans version of the WCO.

Bengals, Chargers, Bucs, Panthers ... we should be able to pick up 3 of those, surely.

Split the Pats. Sweep the rebuilding Jets & Bills.

That's 8 right there. If we can't pick up 2 more from Browns/Colts/Falcons/Saints/Ravens/Steelers, then we suck, no question. Pick up 3, and we're 10-6 even if the Pats sweep us.

So 10-6 requires some things to go our way, but it's not crazy talk by any means. I think you have to be irrationally down on this team to say 8-8.

On the Gray/Gillislee competition:

IMO, if it came down to earning or not earning a roster spot, Gray needs to overwhelmingly beat out Gillislee. Which currently isn't close to happening. Think about it, if the competition is only hair pin close between your 5th rd pick and an undrafted rookie free agent, which would you keep?

Why of course, your 5th rd pick, for what he cost you would be nuts not to invest at least a year in developing him. The udfa is just a free discard.

Teh only starters that should see work are: Clay and Jerry. Both need to get their heads into a game and show some consistency. Once they show that, pull them out. Send a message to both of them. Step up for god's sake.

it would be nice to the offense play at least the opening drive and try to take it in and score a TD they have yet to accomplish that. I can see the defense resting and after the first series the Offensive starters too...

I agree with this post by Armando, but would add that J. Martin should probably sit out the game too as the OT depth is questionable at best.

The Dolphins cannot risk the QB or any of the top three WR in a meaningless game. Too much can go wrong.

Jordon should not play at all. He needs to heal, even if it takes an additional month. I disagree with the draft pick for various reasons, but there is no reason to risk another injury to him at this point.

The Dolphins might should consider trading Randy Starks if they can find an excellent deal for doing so - such as a quality TE and a draft pick.

Some here are projecting 10-6 for the Dolphins. For this to happen, at least 3 players on offense will need to be pro bowlers, then at least 2 offensive players will need to play at pro bowl crusp level.

3 definite pro bowlers and 2 at crusp pro bowl level. Who will these 5 players be?

We definitely wont see 10-6 without at least 5 players on offense playing at the levels I've indicated. If you think so, then you may want to consider drug rehab...

Going to be at the game tomorrow nite.....going to be on the field.....don't know how close I can get to the bench area, but would like to listen to see how much team participation there is on the sideline, how verbal the coaches are, etc..

...I know it's just a pre-season game, still I'll take it all in with interest...

Just because you say we have to have 3-5 pro bowlers on the team to reach 10-6 doesn't make it accurate, bro.. The pro-bowl is for all intensive purposes...a joke...And usually is a name recognition/popularity vote...PRO BOWL??? SMH...
Also...if we are 10-6 it is much more likely to have players visible and "in" the pro bowl...Usually a crappy/average team will not get teh pro-bowl nods...even if they are deserving...excluding the 2012 KC Chiefs...
But all that being said...PRO BOWL??? SMH... C'MON MAN!!!

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