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Bunch of thoughts about ... running the football

Normally I try to give you a clear and cogent theme on blog posts and try to do it in a logical manner that connects the dots so as to make sense.

Not this morning.

This post is about the Dolphins running game and that's as much as I can tell you. It's going to jump around. It's not going to flow. It's going to be like a stream of consciousness that perhaps makes sense only to me.


1. The Dolphins could not run the footballagainst the Cleveland Browns on Sunday and so today they are ranked No. 32 (last) in the NFL running the ball. So who's at fault? The offensive line, first, because there was no daylight. The Cleveland front seven, which I believe will prove itself to be formidable this year. The Dolphins running backs, who didn't make anyone miss or run through anyone. And finally, Miami's coaches who had no schematic answer to the Browns other than throw the football.

2. Talking to Lamar Miller on Tuesday, he's applying himself to watching more tape to get better this week. From that tape study he said the Colts are "pretty much the same front we played last week but faster." Well, that's not good news.

3. Miller said aside from watching more film this week the thing he's going to do to get different results is "try to get positive yards and run harder." He also said he has to "get more hungry and do better this week." Run harder? Get hungier? So he wasn't running as hard as he could against Cleveland? He's getting his first NFL start and he's not as hungry as humanly possible? Really?

4. Another week like last week against the Colts and the Dolphins better start shopping for available running backs. Willis McGahee comes to mind. (Does that make you hungrier, Lamar Miller)? Anyway, I'm told by a source the Dolphins have so far shown no interest in McGahee, who worked out for the Giants this week.

5. Tyson Clabo was bad against the Browns. He knows it. But he's convinced the Miami running game will get right.

"I feel like we're a unit right now," Clabo said. "We're all on the same page, communiction-wise. It's just a matter of execution. I think we'll be fine."

In the next breath, Clabo adds, "I think we have a chance to be really good up front."

6. By the way, Clabo draws lines of distinction on who is playing well up front for Miami. Good? Richie Incognito and Mike Pouncey.

"Obviously Richie and Mike are pretty good football players," Clabo said. "In my opinion, the rest of us are just trying to catch up, to play at their level. The bar is really high for us right now. I think we can get there."

And this:

"They [Incognito and Pouncey] are really talented but they do a good job, they do pretty much what they're supposed to do pretty much on every play. Physically, they don't get beat often. You're a competitor so you see that and, man, you want to do that."

7. The Dolphins have an interesting dynamic going on when deciding how to deal with a defense that is commited to stuffing the run at the expense of protecting against the pass. Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman likes to continue to try to run the ball to see if something busts loose. Head coach Joe Philbin is more apt to give up on running the ball altogether and simply throw it all the time.

“I think coach Philbin is certainly of that mindset, I don’t know if I’ve quite reached that mindset yet," Sherman said. "I like to be able to keep them honest, hand the ball off here once and a while just to eat up some clock time and also to say hey we’re still going to run the football but I think coach Philbin could possibly convince me otherwise."

That's all. Enough thinking for now.

Come back later for another update. And follow me on twitter @ArmandoSalguero






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I'd. Like to know if you're encouraged by what you saw from the team Sunday? While it was far from a perfect game, to me there were an awful lot positives. And yes, I realize it was Cleveland.


I'm with you on point 3 about not "completely" abandoning the running game. Like the long ball, you need that variety to keep the offense unpredictable. I'm just saying you favor it. Agree with everything else you said. Cheers.

On an unrelated note, why the hell do we keep having this schedule where we play the same teams away, rather than alternate and forcing them to come into our house. Would love to play the Colts at home.

Go Phins!


I've worked with some people that are the same way. Always expecting the Worst will happen.

Don't get me wrong I was the Same way when I was younger. But you learn that life isn't built for you to be angry all the time.

You need to enjoy life. And the way the fins are playing no need to be angry at the team.

Craig, you have a very good point. I sometimes struggle with balancing good with bad. I guess it comes after a decade of mostly losing, and coaching changes, and no playoff wins and only one playoff appearance.

But here is my thinking relative to this post:

Cam Wake is great. He was great last year. He was great the year before. And the team posted losing seasons. So it is not news he's great. And him being great is not enough.

The Dolphins need good play from Ryan Tannehill to take the next step and to get that consistently, he's going to need a compliementary running game. I know a lot of people would argue Brady and Manning never have had great running games, but Tannehill isn't as good as either of them.

Team people stress to me the importance of the running game. They yell it in my ear, basically. Joe Philbin spent 45 seconds talking about Cam Wake in the team meeting Monday. He spent 10 minutes on the running game. And so I am reflecting that focus to readers.

Now, I recognize you guys want the warm and fuzzies. But I don't see beating Cleveland as the goal this year. This team must go to the playoffs. And that's simply not possible with the kind of running game Miami showed Sunday. No matter how much we celebrate Cam Wake.

Armando, I hope that the fact that I am not seeing posts by Faking-it in------- means that you have banned that name. Some of his post were good but that name was offensive.

I too apologize for my "breaking into that line" comments

I will gladly accept the woodshed if it means this blog gets cleaned up.

Armando--how is the team/coaches feeling about Gillislee?--or not enough of sample size to say.....or simply neutral at this point?--ie. do we see enough in the kid to think he might be a (big) contributor down the road....or nothing special/borderline roster guy?


Great post @11:11. I get the 'tired of losing thing'. Ask Mark and I about the Blue Jays. I've been a diehard fan since about 1982 but have become disgusted with the franchise and their incompetence. It's clear tome their GM is in over his head.

Thanks for clarifying some things. I for one don't need 'warm and fuzzies'. Just need to hear a few more positives and to me there were a lot there Sunday. To me the Pats are prime for the pickings. They're doing it with smoke and mirrors and of course an amazing Brady. I want this team to realize the opportunity in front of them and stop the petty infighting.

Man these dolphin beat writers love to focus on the negative. Then they wonder why the fan base sucks! I mean sometimes the other team has something to do with it to. It was the first game of the year on their home field with a pretty good defense. No team is going to do everything well all the time. The bottom line is the fins still won the game and convincingly. They beat the browns easier than the colts beat the super sorry raiders.


In your post you talk about cleaning it up on the blog and keeping it civil sometimes easier said than done for all including you. When your heritage was attacked and your Family stereotypically pigeon holed you took offense and swiped back at the fellow who claimed to be a vet. This here is one of the biggest issues on the blog with some take there racially motivated stuff and push to hard which ruins otherwise entertaining chatter between the folks who frequent your site.

I drop my 2 cents because you can call me an A-Hole or whatever in a heated debate and while the post isn't always PG it never degenerates to the point it does when the attacks go from my opinion on a Football game to defending these types of attacks. I get it's a blog and all but some of us rather talk Football than watch endless TV Re-Runs it just sometimes becomes agravating to stay on point when you can't help but feel utterly provoked. If you ban someone for language then what about the other offensive stuff that sometimes provokes profane responses?

Philbin isnt saying to stop running the ball!!

He is saying "If running aint workin' and the passing game is, throw the dang ball1"

Philbin knows a running game is needed to be successful, but you cant run against some teams?
Its like running into a brick wall over and over, hoping to get to the other side, after several concussions, you might want to consider another way to get to the other side!

I love a good running game as opposed to a good passing game,its just more exciting for me, but if passing is moving the ball.....THEN THROW THE BALL!

Armando, have you not stated on many occasions that Philbin doesn't make himself available to media enough. Compared how he makes himself available compared to other coaches. Same with Ireland. I am not talking about players or "unnamed sources" who are clearly not following the team's mandate.

Yeah, for some reason I thought Gurley was coming out this year because of a comment made during the commentator last week.

Re-read my post. I said Duke, Gurly, and Yeldon will be a strong 2015 draft.

Posted by: Dashi | September 11, 2013 at 11:04 AM

I did and agreed strong group, by the way did you catch the Gators opener Vs. Toledo? They're is a RB in Toledo whose a Power runner named David Fluellen and looks like an under the radar Sr. in the 2014 draft in middle Rds. If not familiar look him up!

I'd bring McGahee in for a workout. I'm not blaming the running backs for Sunday but I think it would be a good wake up for them and you need to know how some of these other guys look. Don't get caught flat-footed here Ireland

Mando, we were discussing Tannehill's play yesterday. ESPN only wanted to talk about his QBR rating, and how he was lower than QBs that lost their game.

As far as his 3rd down % and 4th Qtr play, how do feel Tannehill played (also in relation to the others in his class who I think he outplayed all this week besides maybe Luck)?

Rdubs....you are correct.

Run is always option #1 for any team, if the run game is not producing on any given Sunday...go to the air.

Quite simple really, but some coaches (Sparano) were hell bent on establishing the run at the expense of giving his QB control of the game.

Tannehill seems to have more say in the huddle this year and if he sees 8 guys in the box on a run play...audible, quick out to Hartline for a 10 yard gain is much better than 2 yds and a cloud of dust.

how do you feel (was my question, I forgot the "you").

Craig I definitely agree on Mcgahee. Not to start but to push and mentor. These backs are young and have no one to look up to or learn from except the coaches most of whom if not all were never running backs to begin with. Someone who's been there and done that would help them imo.

using a 1st or 2nd rd pick on a RB doesnt make sense to me these days (with an exception now and then)--defenders are crazy fast/big so RBs take more punishment than in the past, IMO....most are shot by 29 or 30, to have a major role anyway....plenty of productive/good RBs are found in the mid/late rounds, or undrafted--and having a guy like Peterson is awesome, but hasnt made the Vikes very good for the most part--they're disposable unfortunately.....play them early, use them up and move on to the next

Mando, would you not agree that other than health, the single greatest factor in the Dolphins' success would be the quaterback's progression? On Sunday, the running game hung him out to dry.

Yet, he took the offense on his shoulders and scored 23 points. Yes, it was the Browns, yes it was not the goal. But is this not a sign of progression from the most important position in the organization? Progression we haven't seen in forever? I remember a game agains the browns were Henne put up like 3 points and threw a checkdown in the 2 mintue drill to Ronnie Brown.

Now wouldn't it be nice to have a worthwhile mention about the young lad with so many questions and harsh criticism surrounding him instead of what we got with the Soliai, Starks, and Wallace post for example? You do a fair job in handling Tannehill in your tweets, would be nice to see them carried forward here.

We know Soliai and Starks want new contracts, which players on one year deal don't? What #1 WR would be happy after producing one catch for 14 yards?

What about what is going right for this team? What about what is looking different than last year and the Sparano teams?

A team that produced three turnovers (most important stat in football), a team with a diverse and intense pass rush, a team that was resourceful enough to find avenues B and C to produce a convincing win where teams of years past could not?

I agree this post is fair and agree with many points you made, and made the same about needed 1800 yards to so this year rushing to be successful. But respecting the effort on Sunday would've been nice.

Sure it's a coaches job to focus on the negativ and to fix them. As fans, we want an opportunity to celebrate the victory. We are not a team that should take any victory for granted yet. Give us our moment as the leader of the blog...


and thoughs on my post from yesterday....about WHY GEE...since we are still talking about it...

Let's get this party started...


I'm not suggesting signing him at this point. Just to send a message and to do some homework on guys that are out there. It's mostly the OL right now. But I like the idea of looking at other guys too.

Ley's not talk around the ELEPHANT in the room...

nothing gets done that way.


We are gonna need you to change your Fantasy Football team's name. We dont want to hurt anybodies feelings!!!! LMFAO


On the T.Gurley talk I watched him this Yr. twice already Vs. good competition against Clemson and S.Carolina were he lit both up. In S.C. game ran through a couple of attempted Tackles by Clowney (playing either injured or dogged it during Off-Season) Seems to be as you like to say, the truth!

Aside I told you about Fluellen but another kid is Lattimore's replacement in S.C. Mike Davis. This kid runs with authority into a hole and breaks tackles but also has speed to get to the edge. In Georgia showdown there was a 3rd and goal that was all him getting into the endzone and then he swung the corner on a few others Vs. blazing fast Georgia D.

should have kept Jonas Gray...guy was money in short yardage situations...

Ireland let Bush go and even let Ricky Williams go a year too soon.The guy knows sweet FA about the running game thats for sure.

I also don't fully agree with some who are saying the running game not working last week isn't a big deal.

If the Phins come out and rush for 80 to 100 this week then great, maybe we can feel a little more comfortable.

But if they don't at least start getting it figured out I don't like our chances this season at making the playoffs. I try to think back and remember which playoff teams, meaning top teams in each conference, began the season dead last in rushing and I can't think of many. We all know balance is key especially since at this point (in his career), Tannehill needs all of the protection he can get. That means he needs the play action to work as well. No running game, no play action, no long passes to Wallace, and so on.

Ley's not talk around the ELEPHANT in the room...

nothing gets done that way.

Posted by: Kris | September 11, 2013 at 11:37 AM

I attempted to do just that on my 11:18 post seems Mando left?

Gurley is a beast, but will go high (yes, in 2015)--and Gray looked ok but not great, and I wouldnt keep a guy coming off an ACL over another who is healthy....assuming both looked similar from a skill/talent standpoint--gotta keep Gillislee of those 2

"Joe Philbin is more apt to give up on running
the ball altogether and simply throw it all the time."


That sounds bad.

I've always thought it's very dangerous to be 'One Dimentional'

The only QB that I know of that could pull off One Dimetional
was Dan Marino. (And that's because he could throw 40 yard frozen ropes.)

Tannihill is not quite there yet....

Maybe they should have have considered offering Reggie Bush a CONTRACT for this year (He gained 191 yards last Sunday.)

....Anyone Agree ?

Everyone keeps talking about reggie bush gaining 200 yards last week. Its a totally different offense people. He also left the game with a broken thumb and groin. He will not make it through the season at that rate. You don't try to fit a round peg into a square.

Kris, f4l, I brought it up too - to no avail. Alas, seems Mando is like the NFL officials. More concerned with teh retaliation than the instigation. Guess I'm just supposed to continue eating up comments about my mother and my nationality and take it ...

Funny that Mando didn't feel like he had to take it when it went his way like f4l brought up.

Armando, any reason you never post in the blog anymore? I really enjoyed the dialogue in the past.

Actually, that's a second question I have Mando, if you've spoken to Soliai, and what his thoughts are now? Is he being a good soldier, or is he still fuming and talking about being traded, sitting out?


pretty sure Gray is on the practice squad. Could be wrong. Regardless, do you think not having him was the reason or 20 yards rushing Sunday?

Now, I recognize you guys want the warm and fuzzies. But I don't see beating Cleveland as the goal this year. This team must go to the playoffs. And that's simply not possible with the kind of running game Miami showed Sunday. No matter how much we celebrate Cam Wake.

Posted by: Armando Salguero | September 11, 2013 at 11:11 AM
Very true! The GM went for the big splash and now not taking an OL and TE > POSITIONS OF NEED, may hurt this team but it's still early.


Since Armando can't/won't answer...

I will assume that he know that the actons of said poster are indefensible...

the questions then becomes....

Why does said poster get a pass....and others are scolded like children....

Let's make this place FAIR for all....not just a chosen few...or ONE....

"What about what is going right for this team? What about what is looking different than last year and the Sparano teams?"

Come on Mark how in the he#$ is the Herald supposed to sell their stories if they're positive in any way! Our society is miserable and spend more money when they can criticize and berate others while subconsciously making themselves feel better. lol

That's why Fox news is so popular, 90%negative. Nightly news, same deal. National Enquirer, top seller. Mando writes stories that are positive and pointing to the bright side and a few of us read. He writes about problems and the majority are on board and can't wait to throw the next stone.

I could be dead wrong but if you really take a look at what sells it only makes sense that sports would follow the trend of bad news being good news for someone selling any form of media to the public.

Thats my point Mark...

WHY GEE cn talk about people's family's...make racial slurs...and basically cuss out posters @ will....

But now Armando wants a Code of Conduct policy....


Set the example...and start with your boy.

I think Jonas Gray is on Baltimore's practice squad. Jonas is a dime a dozen RB in my opinion.


Weren't you the guy that harping on about the need for WRs and upping the passing game all offseason? They add Wallace, Keller and Gibson and NOW you're saying OL was a position of need.

Geez, with all your flip-flopping, you remind me of someone else on this blog......hmmmmm,.....

But Craig you actually made me see a different view and now I'm all for signing a vet! Hahaha

I think it would be great for the two backs to have a mentor who isn't a lead by example guy like Reggie seemingly was. They could use someone to be on the sideline with them pointing out schemes and little details that only a vet running back would be able to help them with.

Fair point, P78. I guess because this blog is my main way of conencting with Dolphins' fans, I should expect different. Maybe that one is on me - just wish it could be different.

The ability to run the ball down another team's throat in crunch time would be great. But I think Philbin has built this team to respond to various challenges we will meet during the year. Keeping only 4 wide receivers but keeping 3 TE's and 4 RB's leads you to believe something is going on.

It is such a change to have a coach who might, might be ahead of the curve.

Mark, your comment reveals an incredible amount of ignorance. The team doesn't talk to me? Bro, they're lining up to talk to me. You have no idea.
Posted by: Armando Salguero | September 11, 2013 at 10:59 AM
clueless out of touch out of towner.

I was away putting up a new post. Please go there.

Thanks for your loyalty. Gotta go. I'll be back later.

I want to make it my business to interact more with you guys in this format, day to day, now that the live blog has been changed by the Herald.

So Craig M your telling me that the Dolphins did not need to upgrade at WR. They needed a lot of things and staying with positions of need would have been the prudent thing to do. That's if the current GM wants another contract.

Mark it will be as soon as the team starts winning. And we will be puking our guts out over all of the love and attention the team gets. Well at first I'll lap it up like a thirsty dog but I'm sure it will get annoying after awhile! Hopefully winning is around the corner.

Of course you throw the Ball against a Defense committed (8-9 defenders in the box)to stopping the run. No Brainer!

A retread RB is not needed the Dolphins' RBs are very talented. The OL run blocking including the TEs is terrible. Lets not forget no effective run blocking FB (Lane) as well.

Hi Craig,

I don't hate the idea of bringing in McGahee, but it was only week one. I think our starters need the first quarter of the season to show that they're building upon something before sending them to the bench. I also think Gillislee(sp?) is deserving of a chance should Thomas and Miller continue to flounder. Having said that, our team's coaching and OL need to provide better opportunties for our running backs to succeed. It's not all on them.

And to your post about staying positive, I completely agree. We had 3 turnovers(!), a number of sacks from multiple players, solid coverage, an upgrade at kicker, proven play by Brandon Gibson, improved play from Charles Clay, and good signs from Tannehill. There are some things to look at positively from week one.

Daniel Thomas is not the problem. He will be a big answer for us if the line performs properly. The only issue is the concussions, the guy can run the ball well.


Have you checked out Lobstertube yet? They have really good football stats and what nut. They go into great detail of every position, some you never even knew existed. Under the search bar, type in tight end, they have a few videos of them catching balls from behind. Very impressive!!


If Lamar Miller can't get fired up during the game, it means theres no REAL LEADER
on offense.


To team, one of you $$$ makers needs to step up and lead this team.


Craig M if your going to be critical; do not make an absurd statement to make a ridiculous point. THE DOLPHINS NEEDED TO UPGRADE AT WR! WHAT DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND ABOUT THAT?

Phins78....I agree, the total lack of a running game, it's a huge deal. There will no doubt come a time, somewhere down the road, where we very much need that time consuming first down to preserve a victory. It's doubly important not even to try a pass for an inc. stops the clock. If we can't get it done then we stand the risk of, once again, getting that last second loss and losing by a FG or less.

fin4...I believe your correct in looking for what may be out there next draft. Thomas is Thomas and he appears, unless the light suddenly comes on, to be a bust. Miller, with all the hope he brought, hasn't done any more then Thomas. Granted there is time for him but 'you are what you are' and what he is now isn't all that encouraging.

The big question is how do we get through this year?

Who's to blame Mando? You have to go back to the offseason when players were being evaluated. And then evaluation of players drafted/obtained to help the run game . That's where the trouble started.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | September 11, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Mark I got your point and agree fully. Armando constantly tells us he can't get information out of the team and that they keep everything secret.

Your point was maybe they wouldn't do that to the media if they didn't seem to take such a negative slant against their hometown team. I don't think it has anything to do with talking about game stuff and more the he said she said bs the Florida/NY guys get caught up in sometimes.

My examples are many and there are three that pop to mind. The day after the win we had 'Finger Gate'/ 'Where's Wallace' (he left mad)/ 'Big Paul wants out' stories.

I mean those stories came out before anything about the putrid rushing effort. And is it me or does it seem like this media block (not discussing injuries and private conversations with players) has been going on through a few regimes?

So it's not just one coach or gm, it's a few of them that have felt the same way. That seems like a flag to me, maybe the media DOES have some fault in how they get treated by the Dolphins?

Mando,I hope you stick to what you meant on your post.I was very close to giving up on this blog. There are some very interesting and knowledgeable character's that post here that I enjoy reading their post's.Time to throw out the garbage.

Agree Armando. Here's my random thoughts:

1. Sherman's A&M offense looks like they were running in mud compared to Sumlin's A&M offense now. We have A&M's old offense.
2. We keep insisting on using quick, light shifty backs to run into crowded trenches, with no fullback, and expect different results. We either need stronger power backs, or get our lighter ones into open space.
3. We're still trying to run to set up the pass. Old school thinking.
4. We have 3 alpha-dog nose tackles, all starter quality. Someone is going to be pissed all year. Why not trade one for a power RB?

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