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5 posts from September 22, 2013

September 22, 2013

Dolphins 'got a damn good football team'

If you didn't watch the game and merely started reading the box score, you'd be depressed.

Matt Ryan wasn't sacked.

Ryan Tannehill was sacked five times.

The Dolphins rushed for 90 yards.

The Falcons rushed for 146 yards.

The Falcons also won the turnover margin and time of possession.

Guess what?

Dolphins 27. Falcons 23.

It was a great come-from-behind victory. It was a game that led to a Gatorade shower in the locker room. And afterward, owner Stephen Ross left that very locker room and announced, "We got a damn good football team."

Now, my instincts are to suggest he slow his roll. But you know what?

Give it to him. And the Dolphins. This was a very fine win.

Really was.

Wake out of game with knee injury

The Dolphins and Falcons are locked in something of a shootout and perhaps one reason is the Dolphins have been without defensive end Cameron Wake for most of the first half.

Wake, Miami's sack leader, injured his knee on the Falcons first possession of the game. He tried to return the second possession but had to leave again and even went into the tunnel that leads to the locker room and X-ray machine at Sun Life Stadium.

The Dolphins officially have Wake as questionable to return.

The team initially substituted Vaughn Martin in for Wake. Then left end Olivier Vernon moved to right end while Derrick Shelby came in at left end.

The most effective substitution, however, was when Dion Jordan came in the game at Wake's spot. Although coaches are concerned about Jordan's run-stopping, he was allowed to play several early downs and even made a key third down stop on a run at Miami's own 3 yard line.

That stop forced the Falcons, who have 15 first downs, to settle for a field goal instead of score a TD.

Wake, meanwhile, has been prowling the Miami sideline trying to stay loose and obviously hoping to return in the second half.

Live blog of Dolphins versus Falcons here

The Dolphins begin their season home-opener at 4:05 instead of the traditional 1 p.m. kick of the glory years. (Fans are softer these days). And it is raining before the game during warmups.

The Dolphins will wear all white as they have been so far this season.

All the players that were questionable for this game for Miami are active today -- excpet for No. 3 QB Pat Devlin -- and available to play. That means wide receiver Mike Wallace, safety Chris Clemons and center Mike Pouncey are active and starting, as expected.

The Miami inactives are Pat Devlin, Jamar Taylor, Dimitri Patterson, Josh Kaddu, Danny Watkins, Dallas Thomas and Paul Soliai. 

Nolan Carroll gets his second consecutive start at cornerback. Both Jared Odrick and Randy Starks will start at DT.

Today's Falcons inactives: S Kemel Ishmael, RB Steven Jackson, S Zeke Motta, LB Jamar Chaney, G/C Harland Gunn, LT Sam Baker, DT Travian Robertson.

Join the live blog below:

Browns sell off does not include a Dolphins connection

The NFL pregame shows have been abuzz today with news the Cleveland Browns are having something of a talent sale. Well, I am reporting the Dolphins aren't part of that.

In the wake of the Browns' trade of Trent Richardson to Indianapolis, ESPN reported the team has fielded calls for receivers Greg Little and Josh Gordon and left tackle Joe Thomas.

The Dolphins don't need any more wide receivers right now (plus Gordon is one positve drug test from being suspended for the season) but they could use some help at left tackle, especially since Thomas is among the best in the NFL.

But a Dolphins source tells me the club is not among the teams that have called the Browns about Thomas and multiple networks are reporting the Browns has so far rebuffed the teams that have called about Thomas, saying he's not available at this time anyway.

Obviously, Thomas is a valuable commodity. He's only 28. He is consistent. He is durable. He is a great blindside protector.

The Dolphins could use all of those. Yes, they have Jonathan Martin at left tackle and so far that has been acceptable. But if they had Thomas, they could move Martin over to right tackle and sit Tyson Clabo, who has yielded three sacks in two games.

The Dolphins are not thinking this is a move right now, however. They believe Martin is improving. They're standing pat with Clabo for now. They will more likely address the offensive tackle spot in the offseason.

One more thing to consider about this Cleveland situation:

The Browns are shopping their receivers and it must be noted there is one AFC East team with a history of adding players such as Gordon despite their troubling history.

The New England Patriots.

I would not be surprised if the Patriots, needing receiver help for Tom Brady, have been looking into adding Gordon or perhaps even Little.

Something to monitor.

Sunday brunch: Everything on Brent Grimes

I've said on multiple occasions on various platforms -- radio, this blog, my column, my twitter -- that I believe Brent Grimes is the player the Dolphins could least afford to lose.

I simply think he's very good at what he does and the dropoff after him would be steep and significant. The fact Grimes is playing well so far this season suggests he was not only a wise signing, but is making a case for him being re-signed by the team because he's on a one-year contract.

I tackle that very topic in my Sunday column about Grimes. As part of the column I tell you that Miami has not offered Grimes a contract extension and isn't planning to do so (for now) until after the season when admittedly the player's price will be higher.

I talked to Grimes for 20 minutes or so last week. Here are parts of the interview that didn't make the column:

I asked him how it was adjusting to being in South Florida.

“It’s not tough for me to adjust to being anywhere," he said. "I just go and do whatever. I’m a pretty simple dude. My wife found most of the stuff as far as finding a place to live. And the other stuff, I just ask questions for the other stuff like haircuts.

"When I was staying at the little hotel when I first got here it was weird because you’re living out of a hotel but once I got a place, it was cool.”

I asked why the Falcons didn't re-sign him and how he feels about that.

“It was just a numbers thing," Grimes said. "They have to pay their quarterback a lot. You know how that goes. They had to pay Tony Gonzalez. It’s just the way it is. That’s what they want to be so they had to sign those guys. I’m not mad at it. I understand. They wanted to pay way cheap, but I said, ‘It’s good. I’ll just leave.’ But I got no hard feelings about it.”

I asked Grimes why he picked the Dolphins. 

“They wanted the one year deal. And that was cool. I wanted the one year deal. That was cool. And then when I looked at everything, I liked the coaches, I liked the scheme, the players they have when I watched the film when I came in. There’s a lot of talent on this team. I said we can do some good things. That’s why I picked here."

His thoughts on the Dolphins system: 

“It’s an aggressive system," Grimes said. "It’s very demanding on corners. You can’t hide your corners in this system at all. If you’re playing well, if you make plays, it’s great because it gives you a chance to make plays. We get after the quarterback so the quarterback isn’t really sitting back there comfortable. It’s a proven effective system. You just have to make plays when they come.”

Grimes told me his next stop -- either in Miami or elsewhere -- will be about what team comes with the best contract. He does, however, like South Florida. That's a plus in the Dolphins' corner, although it won't be a deciding factor.

“I love it here," Grimes said. "I never thought I would because I thought it was so hot and humid. But my wife always loved it here. And once I got down here and now I love it. It’s definitely hot and you have to get used to the rain but maybe it’s the palm trees. I love palm trees. I like the palm trees in California but they have palm trees here. I love palm trees.”