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3 posts from September 15, 2013

September 15, 2013

Philbin: "We got a helluva team in the making'

INDIANAPOLIS -- Joe Philbin is a planner. He's a professor. He's logical. He's not big on emotion. Basically, he's a vulcan without the pointed ears.

He definitely showed the media no self-satisfaction in beating the Indianapolis Colts, 24-20, on the road on Sunday despite it being perhaps his best victory as a Dolphins coach. Indeed, near the end of an emtionless press conference, I asked him if he was even happy he won.

"Absolutely, yeah" he said looking away, "real proud of the guys. Can't you tell?"

His wife, standing off to the side watching the presser, was among those who laughed.

But just before that presser, in the confines of the locker room right after the game, Philbin actually said something that was interesting. Yes, he read his bullet points off his card to the players as he often does in his postgame speech -- told you he's professorial -- but when he turned away from his notes he announced to his players:

"We got a helluva team in the making!"

Read that again.

"We got a helluva team in the making!"

Now, it's one thing if that's outspoken Pete Carroll saying that because Carroll looks at a Kia and thinks it has a chance to be a helluva Cadillac. That also wasn't emotional Jimmy Johnson. That wasn't Rex Ryan bragging as has been his style.

That was understating, undemonstrative, stoic Joe Philbin going all bright future on us.

And that speaks ... No, that yells ... It yells volumes about what the coach thinks is the celing for his young team.

As I wrote for Monday's Miami Herald, the Dolphins aren't quite yet a certain playoff team. You shouldn't be buying Super Bowl tickets yet. But the Dolphins now are relevant. They are rolling and about to gain more attention because they finally have playmakers as the game-clinching sack by Phillip Wheeler (Courtesy a Joe Rimkus photo) showed.Luck sack

And they're growing and becoming a good team.

I'm an outsider and I can see it.

Philbin, on the inside, obviously thinks it.

This team is headed in a good direction. And by the time the journey is done, the Dolphins might indeed be "a helluva team."

Dolphins beat Colts, 24-20 to stay unbeaten

INDIANAPOLIS -- This is what fine teams do. This is how good teams close.

The Dolphins and Colts engaged in an wildly entertaining and close game. And it came down to the final minute. And the Dolphins emerged victorious, 24-20, to improve their record to 2-0.

Feels good, right?

The Dolphins did it on the road. They did it in keeping Andrew Luck from authoring one of his trademark comebacks.

They did it throwing the ball to Mike Wallace and Charles Clay and showing just enough of a running game to make the offense balanced.

Live blog of statement game Dolphins vs. Colts

INDIANAPOLIS -- Statement game. But tough game.

On defense, there is reason to worry about the Dolphins vers the Colts today. That's the cornerback spot. Yes, Dimitri Patterson is active and playing. But he's nursing a groin injury and was limited in practice all week long and will only play vs the slot receiver.

That means Nolan Carroll will start at cornerback. Ouch! Yes, the Dolphins have confidence in Carroll. I don't. Sorry.

Patterson, meanwhile, has shown himself somewhat fragile in his time with the Dolphins -- getting hurt in his one game with Miami last year and getting hurt in his first game this year.

If Patterson can avoid re-injury, great. All good.

If, however, he tweaks the injury, you will see Jimmy Wilson against T.Y. Hilton in the slot. Not a good matchup for Miami.

As I wrote in my column in The Herald today, this game between the Dolphins and Colts will be a statement about the 2013 Dolphins. They win today and they are squarely and rightly considered playoffs contenders and even AFC East contenders.

How else to describe it after winning on the road, against a good quarterback leading a playoff team from a year ago?

Lose, however, and it'll look a lot like the Dolphins of the past few years.

In other issues, this is a big game for Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas. Neither had a particularly stellar preseason. Neither was very good last week in the regular season opener. One of them needs to show up today because if they don't, I won't be surprised if the Dolphins' personnel department starts looking elsewhere for help.

Beenie Wells, Willis McGahee, Michael Turner and Cedric Benson are out there and the trade deadline is next month.

The inactives today are: Pat Devlin, Danny Watkins, Dallas Thomas, Jamar Taylor Mike Gillislee, JoshKaddu, Danny Watkins and Will Davis.

Jared Odrick will continue to start at defensive tackle over Randy Starks. As he did last week.