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2 posts from November 10, 2013

November 10, 2013

Some words between linemen actually help Dolphins

At a time the words used between Dolphins offensive linemen has come under national scrutinty, it's ironic the Dolphins themselves have instituted a one-word system of communicating between their left guard and left tackle that is used on every play to benefit the team.

Since Bryant McKinnie arrived in Miami via trade from the Baltimore Ravens two weeks ago, he's been working to learn the playbook.

"I'm pretty good with that," McKinnie said. "I'm not 100 percent, I'd say probably 85 percent."

The remainding 15 percent deals with important stuff. McKinnie, you see, is not quite sure about blocking adjustments against certain defenses. And so before each play or pre-snap, the left guard, more experienced in the Dolphins offense, will give McKinnie a translation of sorts on what to do.

Originally it was Richie Incognito giving McKinnie the code. Now it's Nate Garner who will be telling McKinnie the code pre-snap.

"It's one word we use," Garner said. "Just one word per play. That's what we're trying to get it down to."

"It's certain terminology we use with each other to to confirm exactly what we're doing," McKinnie said. "I know the run plays and the pass plays. It's just about combination blocks and who I have to pick up on the blitzes. Stuff like that. That type of communication."

The exchange between the guard and tackle has worked very well so far. McKinnie did not allow a sack against Cincinnati once the system was instituted. 

"We did a pretty good job of doing it last week and this week we had a little more practice at it during practice," Garner said. "Sometimes he doesn't even need my help. He's been around the league 13 years. He's a vet. He gets one word out of me and he knows what to do."

Incognito: Racism, bad words 'what I regret most'

There's a saying that any man who serves as his own lawyer has a dummy as a client. Well, here's a new corollary to that and it's, if you're suspended from your $235,000 a week job because you are being accused of racism and the NFL is investigating you, it's probably not a great idea to go on national television.

Yet that is what Richie Incognito is doing today. He taped an interview with FOX on Saturday and portions of it will be aired starting at noon on the FOX pregame show.

And in that interview, Incognito admits he used racial epithets with teammate Jonathan Martin. And he tried to excuse himself for doing that in his best social scientist approach possible by saying that's just the way things are in the Dolphins locker room.

"All this stuff coming out, it speaks to the culture of our locker room, it speaks to the culture of our closeness, it speaks to the culture of our brotherhood," Incognito says in the interview.

"And the racism, the bad words," here it comes, "that's what I regret most, but that's a product of the environment and that's what we use all the time."

[Update: Incognito tells FOX he and Martin just communicated differently. He said the week before Martin left the team, the tackle left him a text message that read in part, "I will murder your whole (expletive) famil." "Now, did I believe Jonathan Martin was going to murder my entire family? No," Incognito said.]

The sound you hear is Incognito's career going down the tubes.

One way Incognito could emerge from this NFL investigation with a light sentence, so to speak, is if he can show that he was compelled to treat Martin as he did. In other words, if he was acting under orders. He declined to address that topic in the interview. Another way he can get off easier is if he can show that his employer knew of the treatment and did nothing, thus tacitly approving of his behavior.

But if Incognito's logic for calling his teammate a "half-n----r" as he did in that infamous voice message is that it's just the culture and the brotherhood and an alternate approach to communicating, then the roof is going to drop on him.

In a preview of the interview released by FOX, Incognito says of the scandal: "This isn't an issue about bullying. This is an issue about my and Jon's relationship."

Wonder if Martin would agree?

Incognito says what we already know when he encourages people to ask teammates who they believed had Martin's back most. "They'll undoubtedly tell you me," he said.

I've been told Incognito in the interview claimed he and Martin where friends. He expresses concern for his former teammate, particularly his health. Incognito talks of being surprised by the Dolphins suspending him.

Will there be a bombshell? I doubt it.

But tune in anyway.