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68 posts from November 2013

November 04, 2013

Did the Dolphins know? If not, why not?

The questions have to be asked as the embarrassment that is the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito-locker room misconduct story mushrooms and is about to get uglier because lawyers are now involved:

What did the Dolphins know and when did they know it?

What good is professing a locker room that coach Joe Phiblin says "I believe strongly in" when that locker room can spark this kind of scandal?

What kind of leadership do the Dolphins have ... or lack?

Those are some pertinent questions that might be at the crux of so many problems the Dolphins now face. And the questions don't just apply to this one national story that has sullied the Dolphins entire franchise. These questions affect the entire team going forward.

And the answers need to be found because otherwise it calls into question why some people should remain in the club's employ.

So let's take the questions one at a time. I will post the three questions in separate posts throughout the next 24 hours. Here is the first installment:

When did coach Joe Philbin and the organization know there was an atmosphere of alleged on-going harassment among players in the locker room -- one that went beyond Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito to include veterans and rookies?

The answer to that question might determine the survivability of Philbin, general manager Jeff Ireland and some assistant coaches.

The initial and obvious suggestion from the Dolphins is they did not know of the behavior that apparently helped drive Martin to leave the team and seek emotional help last Monday, thus jump-starting a week of scrutiny that has been embarrassing on many levels.

In their first of three statements delivered Sunday, the Dolphins said they didn't know of the Martin-Incognito situation internally.

"The notion of bullying is based on speculation and has not been presented to us as a concern from Jonathan or anyone else internally," the club said.

So the team's stance as of 11 a.m. Sunday was that no one within the organization knew anything was going on between teammates.

Is that true? That will all eventually come out because Incognito plans a represented and vigorous defense of his position and that will include unveiling a lot of details the Dolphins will probably wish weren't public. 

So the team that rightly suspended him for sending Martin "threatening texts" and leaving an email that used racial epithets should be bracing for a retaliatory nuclear strike.

Until that happens this space is going to operate on the assumption that Philbin & Co. were unaware of any problems.

And that leads to this question: Should they have known?

Is it part of the coaching staff's job -- not just the head coach but assistants also -- to have the pulse on the locker room? Should the Dolphins have known that rookies were being forced to pay for meals for veterans?

And should the coaching staff have known that all of this is a potential violation of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy?

The truth of the matter is the Dolphins seemed completely ignorant of the fact one of their players was allegedly tormenting another. Equally troubling is that the so-called victim in this either didn't feel comfortable enough to speak up or said something and was ignored.

(I can tell you that coaches do not live with their players. They do not and cannot know everything that happens in those players' lives. Teams get caught unawares all the time. The New England Patriots, for example, were apparently ignorant of the fact tight end Aaron Hernandez was possibly a murderer to the point they gave him a whopping new contract extension. But the difference between that situation and this is that Hernandez was allegedly conducting his misdeeds away from the team. In the locker room, he was apparently a model citizen. Meanwhile, this Dolphins issue was happening right under the coaching staff's and personnel department's eyes -- in the locker room.)

Incognito's actions, whatever they were, do not rise anywhere near the level of Hernandez's alleged crimes.

But the Dolphins out-of-touch state is every bit as complete as New England's was. Not only was Incognito considered a team leader, as his status on the team's so-called leadership council suggests, but club officials embraced him. They vehemently defended him against the early allegations of misconduct on his part.Richieross

The team trusted Incognito. When the Jake Long free agency tour was in full swing, the Dolphins called Incognito and requested he represent them and the team's interest with Long. They asked him to try and convince Long to return to the Dolphins, believing he, as Long's friend, could convince the tackle that Miami was the team for him. That is done by teams all the time. But usually the players the team picks to be their surrogates are trusted players that the organization sees as their best face.

Years ago the Dolphins used Dan Marino in this regard. During the chase for Peyton Manning, the team asked Jason Taylor for help. So Incognito was viewed by this team on that level relative to Jake Long.

The embrace of Incognito, who by his own admission and history was troubled when he arrived in South Florida, was so complete the team put him on display prior to every home game this year. That's right. The team made the video below of Incognito explaining to fans at Sun Life Stadium how to behave and be "civilized."


Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/dolphins_in_depth/#storylink=cpy


Is that ironic?

This shows the club fully believed Incognito to be a model citizen, to be respected and to represent the team.

If the allegations against Incognito prove true -- and you must remember the team is sufficiently convinced there is strong evidence against him to suspend him without pay -- it suggests the Dolphins were as an organization totally clueless what kind of player person they truly had in their locker room. It also proves the coaches have no idea what men in the locker room are good guys or not. Their expertise on the issue is none-existant.

All this also suggests if Joe Philbin and his coaches survive, they need to do a better job of finding out what's really going on inside the team.

November 03, 2013

Dolphins suspend Richie Incognito

The Dolphins this evening have suspended guard Richie Incognito, citing conduct detrimental to the team, in connection to allegations of harassment and bullying teammate Jonathan Martin.

“The Miami Dolphins have suspended Richie Incognito for conduct detrimental to the team. We believe in maintaining a culture of respect for one another and as a result we believe this decision is in the best interest of the organization at this time," the team said in a statement. "As we noted earlier, we reached out to the NFL to conduct an objective and thorough review. We will continue to work with the league on this matter."

Incognito allegedly was involved in behavior that made Martin feel he was in a difficult work place environment. That behavior including verbal abuse, and implied pressure over Martin to bend to Incognito's will, a source close to Martin alleges. The source also said Martin felt threatened by Incognito and said there is evidence of that threat in the form of text messages and voice mails.

The source said that evidence has been turned over to the Dolphins.

A Dolphins source said Sunday night whatever evidence is turned over to them will in turn be turned over to the NFL which is investigating the matter.

However, the fact the team has taken the significant step to suspend Incognito even as the investigation is in its infancy is a sign the team believes Martin and the evidence he's presented to a high degree.

The NFL was made aware of the team's intent to suspend Incognito before the decision was finalized. The suspension is indefinite.

And as Martin has no current plans to return to the team in the near future, according to a source, it means the Dolphins will be without their starting left guard and starting right tackle when they resume practice at 2:45 Monday afternoon.

The Dolphins are expected to work with Nate Garner at left guard and Tyson Clabo at right tackle. Both players manned those positions against the Cincinnati Bengals after Martin went AWOL from the team prior to the game and Incognito suffered a stinger in his neck in the first half and was unable to return to the game.

Incognito has not been available for comment. He is expected to seek representation to fight the allegations.

Sunday was a very active day for the Dolphins as they've been working this issue. Early in the day they released a statement saying, in part, "the notion of bullying is based on speculation and has not been presented to us as a concern from Jonathan or anyone else internally."

Following the release of that statement, Incognito went on twitter to suggest media accounts of his involvement were wrong and that he wanted his name "cleared."

Approximately five hours later, after the Martin camp presented a formal complaint of "hateful" behavior, a source said, the club released a statement saying it had allegations of player misconduct. And within seven hours of that, the club had made and communicated to Incognito the decision to suspend him.

The news of the suspension was delivered to Incognito by coach Joe Philbin.

This episode closed quite a week for the Dolphins offensive line. Center Mike Pouncey was served a subpoena in connection to the Aaron Hernandez murder case on Sunday. Martin went AWOL from the team on Monday. And then the Incognito suspension.

And here we thought the biggest problem with the Miami offensive line was sacks.

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/dolphins_in_depth/#storylink=cpy


Miami Dolphins hazing, pranks, bullying may run afoul of NFL Personal Conduct Policy

Players on the Dolphins, under review by the NFL, may have violated portions of the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy if allegations of harassment of offensive lineman Jonathan Martin and other allegations involving the treatment of younger players are proven true, according to league sources.

The NFL Personal Conduct policy imposes a standard of conduct for league and club employes, including players and coaches. That policy states employees of the NFL or a member clubs are "held to a higher standard and expected to conduct yourself in a way that is responsible, promotes the values upon which the League is based, and is lawful.

"Persons who fail to live up to this standard of conduct are guilty of conduct detrimental and subject to discipline, even where the conduct itself does not result in conviction of a crime."

Employees found in violation of the policy may have discipline imposed for any of the following circumstances: 

• Violent or threatening behavior among employees, whether in or outside the workplace.

• Conduct that imposes inherent danger to the safety and well being of another person; and

• Conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity and reputation of the NFL, NFL clubs, or NFL players.

In recent days there have been numerous reports of alleged harassment or mistreatment or even "bullying" of Martin. That alleged bullying included Martin being the subject of a prank in the team's lunch room when other players invited him to have lunch with them. Martin, the story goes, sat down and his teammates all got up and left him alone at the table.

ESPN and CBSSports reported today that Dolphins guard Richie Incognito is one of the leaders of the alleged poor treatment of Martin and gave examples of the veteran guard's actions.

Incognito and the club have pushed back against such reports. Incognito defended himself on twitter and the Dolphins released a statement saying the club knows of no bullying that is going on relative to Martin.

[Update: The Dolphins released a statement at approximately 4:30 Sunday saying, "We received notification today from Jonathan's representation about allegations of player misconduct. We are taking these allegations very seriously and plan to review the matter further. We have also reached out to the NFL and asked them to conduct an objective and thorough review. As an organization, we are committed to a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another."]

The NFL is conducting a review on the matter which could lead to actions if it finds violations of the Personal Conduct Policy. The NFL Players Association is also not conducting a formal investigation.

And this issue is bound to become more complex before it gets resolved.

Part of the issue is that Martin, which the club maintains is ill, is now through representatives apparently offering details and naming names in incidents of misconduct. But, interestingly, the club is aware of at least one incident in which Martin participated in what could be construed as pranksterism or hazing or, bullying.

Earlier this year, members of the offensive line took guard Josh Samuda's car keys and moved the car from where Samuda had parked it. Martin, a club source confirmed today, was part of that prank.

Also, one source tells me that the same joke that apparently sent Martin over the proverbial edge -- the lunchroom prank in which players abandon one teammate -- was done to guard Nate Garner the week before.

And Martin was allegedly involved in helping to perpetrate that one.

Another layer and tangential to this story is the Dolphins embracing of rookie hazing. The NFL confirmed to me that rookie hazing does indeed fall under the NFL personal conduct policy. And so at the point where players are forced to shave or dye their hair, or carry gear for veterans, or pay for meals out or bring ordered meals on team flights for veterans, it all falls under the policy.

There are numerous and well documented accounts of such hazing.

Do they rise to the level of bullying? That is unclear.

Are the acts subject to the NFL Personal Conduct Policy? Absolutely.




ESPN, CBS double down on Incognito as bully

Following a statement from the Dolphins that rejects the notion there is any bullying going on within the Dolphins and specifically the offensive line and a twitter barrage by guard Richie Incognito against ESPN, there is now return fire from media giant.

According to ProFootballTalk.com, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reports the reason Jonathan Martin has not formally complained to the team about Richie Incognito allegedly bullying him is because he's afraid of retribution from his teammate.

From PFT: "Shefter detailed a situation in which Martin was intimidated by Incognito to contribute $15,000 toward a trip to Las Vegas by the team’s offensive lineman.  Martin, according to Schefter, didn’t want to go and ultimately didn’t go — but he surrendered the money anyway.

If true, it’s the really rich guy example of someone stealing someone else’s lunch money.

Schefter also explained that there are text messages and at least one voice message proving harassment and justifying Martin’s fears for retribution.  Schefter added that Martin’s recent comments to Incognito explaining that Martin doesn’t blame his teammates for harassment also arose from concerns by Martin that he’ll face retaliation if he accuses Incognito of doing anything wrong."

Meanwhile, over at CBS, Jason LaCanfora paints an ugly picture of Incognito. He says La Canfora Incognito likes to intentionally walk into people, make "others feel uncomfortable and make threatening remarks" to Martin.

Ok, Salguero time out.

Let's be clear here:

This is a very complex and multi-layered story. There are multiple sides serving as sources.

There is the Martin side (which includes his agent). There is the Dolphins side (which is outlined in their statement). There is the Incognito side (which he has made clear through his twitter defense). All of these have a public side. All of these are also putting information out to the media as sources. All of them.

And somewhere in all of this is, well, the truth.

You cannot believe everything coming from the team because it has an agenda -- to protect its own interests with the least possible damage to itself. You cannot believe everything coming from the Martin side because it has an agenda -- to protect the player, get him back into the locker room, while also making Incognito stop whatever alleged actions he's been undertaking. You cannot believe everything coming from Incognito's side because he has an agenda -- to remove the focus from his as a bully, to deny the allegations, and protect his name.

All of them have agendas. All of them.

All of them are speaking to the media either directly or as sources.

And as they all have different agendas, you are getting different stories.

So what's my point?

This is a mess.

Dolphins: Not under investigation, no bullying concern

The Dolphins this morning released to the media a statement about right tackle Jonathan Martin. It reads:

"The Miami Dolphins, including Coach Joe Philbin and Jonathan's teammates, have been in communication with Jonathan and his family since his departure from the club and continue to be in contact.  Our primary concern for Jonathan is his overall health and well-being.  As an organization, we take any accusations of player misconduct seriously. The notion of bullying is based on speculation and has not been presented to us as a concern from Jonathan or anyone else internally.  The reports that the NFLPA is investigating our players are inaccurate. Additionally, the NFL offered its assistance during this time, which we appreciated and gladly accepted. We will continue to make Jonathan's health and well-being a focus as we do with all of our players."

The statement is push-back against a FOX Sports report citing unnamed sources stating Martin was victimized by bullying in the Dolphins locker room and an ESPN report that cited unnamed sources saying left guard Richie Incognito was the subject of an NFL Players Association investigation into bullying tactics against Martin.

Additionally, Incognito, who was the focus of the ESPN report written by Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen, went on something of a twitter rant this morning demanding the record and his name be cleared.

Incognito tweeted to Shefter: "Stop slandering my name.  You hide behind "sources" who are not man enough to put their name behind the BS you report."

And this:

And this:

It is interesting that coach Joe Philbin was asked directly on Thursday and Friday if indeed Martin was being bullied. He could have crushed the story right then and there. Instead, he said he was aware of the allegations but did not chose to confirm or deny them at the time.

“I’m aware of this report. I can say without question that we emphasize a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another. Any behavior that deviates from that is inconsistent from the values of our organization. That’s all I’ll say in regards to that."

He was asked directly if he has seen any bullying in the locker room.

"Again, this is something we take very seriously and will not be tolerated,"

So instead of simply saying on Friday he was not aware of any bullying or had not heard complaints of any bullying, Philbin let the situation fester, let what the Dolphins now say was wrong information continue to drive the narrative. Until, of course, the release of today's statement that answers the question three days later.

And the cost for that charade?

Incognito's name was associated with bullying. Martin's public image, already troubled after he left the team due to his emotional ills, looks worse because the bullying story made him look as if he has not ability to defend himself.

In other words, the Dolphins are now trying to manage a public relations problem they helped foster by talking in circles when asked direct questions last week.

November 01, 2013

Flex game PLUS Joe Philbin speaks

The Dolphins game against the San Diego Chargers Nov. 17 has been flexed by the NFL and instead of a 1 p.m. start will now begin at 4:05 p.m. That's actually something of an advantage for the west coast team whose players are more accustomed to later starting times for games.

Coach Joe Philbin, meanwhile, met with the media Friday. This is what he said:

(Opening statement) – “I thought it was a real team win last night. We talked to our players in the meetings before the game at the hotel that the real key was going to be how we played the game, not necessarily whether we played under or over or whether we ran the ball or threw the ball, but the play speed and that we would have to stick together and find a way with all three phases contributing to win the game. I thought that happened.”

(On if the coaching staff was able to get any sleep with the late night) -   “Yeah I think so. I think guys got some sleep. We came back a little bit later than normal. Yeah, when I got home I would like to get home a little earlier than that. Given the circumstances, I’ll take it.”

(On if running the football is the new blueprint for the offense or if it’s a product of matchups) - “I think we always felt like running the ball against (the Bengals) was going to be a good option. As you know, they have an excellent front-four. They have an excellent pass rush. They had an excellent blitz package. We wanted to keep the sticks in a manageable situation. So running the ball was part of that, and we had some success doing it. Usually, again, you have to adjust during the course of the game, but if something is working well typically you stick with it.”

(On Will Yeatman’s role as a third offensive tackle) – “I thought he made a nice contribution. Again, I think part of it would be how productive we were. We had some success with him in the game. We got a fair number of snaps.”

(On if the idea of a safety was even in the back of his mind before it happened) - “You are always optimistic and always thinking possible takeaway. I was thinking maybe a takeaway in disrupting the quarterback’s rhythm and timing, tip the pass or hit him while he’s throwing the ball. I can’t sit here honestly that I was thinking we were going to get a safety right then, but I’m glad we did.”

(On if there is a bullying problem in the locker room) – “Again, I’ll repeat what I said. I’m aware of this report. I can say without question that we emphasize a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another. Any behavior that deviates from that is inconsistent from the values of our organization. That’s all I’ll say in regards to that.”

(On if he has seen anything first-hand that he would consider bullying or harassment) -  “Again, this is something we take very seriously and will not be tolerated.”

(On if the bullying problem is a matter the coaching staff is looking into) - “I think I’ve responded to those questions already.”

(On if he thinks there will be any discipline as he looks into the locker room situation) - “Again, this is something we take very seriously and will not be tolerated. I’ve responded to those questions.”

(On if he was concerned about the field condition last night) - “I walked the field before the game. It seemed very good. In warm-ups everything seemed good. A couple of their players slipped a few times, and a couple of our guys slipped. I’m not exactly sure why. It looked like it was in very good shape.”

(On how he assess where the team is right now) - “Well there’s been a lot of good things on film, and there’s been things that aren’t so good. The big thing we have to stress moving forward is more consistency and more completeness in our play for 60 minutes or 67 minutes or 68 minutes, however long it was last night. We have to find a way to plan more consistently throughout the course of the game.”

(On the play of the defensive line other than Cam Wake) - “We had good contribution from a lot of guys up front. They did a good job. Obviously the second half we had a hard time getting off the field. Some of that was them. Some of that was other guys. Some of that’s a credit to Cincinnati’s offense. They executed well. I thought overall it was good.”

(On how Tyson Clabo played) - “He did a nice job. He did a nice job, yep.”

(On if it was nice to see Tyson Clabo play after everything that had happened) - “Absolutely, yes.”

(On if the leadership council will talk about Jonathan Martin) - “Again, any of those discussions that would take place with the leadership council would be between myself and them.”

(On if a win fixes or puts a band-aid on a locker room issue) - “I think we talked last Monday when we got together as a team, we talked about a family atmosphere. You are part of a family when you are on a team. You mentioned it. There’s 61 players, 20 coaches, and you have to have each other’s back. The theme for the week was we have to stick together and play like a team. The scheme wasn’t the important thing we wanted to emphasize last night. We wanted to emphasize playing like a team, sticking together and having everybody’s backs. I think the film bore that out. That’s what happened.”

(On if everything he had to deal with in the past week was the toughest test for him as a coach) - “Again, it’s not a comparison. You deal with reality as it is. I don’t necessarily compare this week to last week or this year to last year. You deal with the situations that pop-up one day at a time. At the end of the day, the way my brain works you think about why you are in coaching and the privilege and responsibility you have to represent the Miami Dolphins and to coach this football team. It’s an honor to do it, and you deal with things as they come.”

(On if there is a relief for the team after the victory) - “Not necessarily. Again, it’s one day at a time. It’s one game at a time. You keep things in perspective. You remember why you are in coaching, why you are doing these things. You go to work every single day. The idea of getting this team better and playing up to their potential, that’s what your job is as a coach. Sometimes stuff happens. Stuff happens in a family. Some of it is not always great, and you have to deal with it. That’s what we do.”

(On if he is satisfied with the chemistry on the team) - “I told (the team) again in our team meeting on Monday, the thing is I’ve never been on a team or a part of a team where there wasn’t respect among the players amongst themselves in the locker room, the staff amongst themselves, the players respecting the coaches and the coaches respecting the players. If you don’t have that in this league, in Pop Warner, in high school or college, you don’t have a chance. You have no chance. I believe strongly in the men we have in the locker room. I believe strongly in the staff. I don’t think you get a performance we had last night. It’s not perfect. There’s a lot of stuff to work on, a ton of it. However, I think the character of the football team was revealed.”

(On Lamar Miller’s performance) - “He’s been very productive as of late. He’s a guy who’s got very good ability, good vision and he’s starting to make more people miss. Early in the season I think he was kind of getting what was there. Now you are seeing some things where he is breaking some tackles. He’s kind of showing that illusiveness you kind of want to see out of a running back. Yeah, aside from carrying the ball a little too loose down there I think he’s doing some very good things.”

(On what the team’s wide receiver trio contributed in last night’s game)  – “I thought those guys made a nice contribution. Let’s call it what it is, it wasn’t the biggest day we’ve ever had throwing the football from a yardage standpoint, yards-per-catch, all of that stuff. But I thought they contributed to the game-plan well."

(On if the sack for the safety was an impactful play for the season)  – “It was a big play. We talked to the guys about if you analyze the season (and) look at the three wins early. We made plays in the fourth quarter. We made plays that decided the outcome of the games. If you look at the next stretch we went through, we made some but we didn’t make enough. Again, we had to come back. We had to put together a drive to force the game into overtime, which showed a lot about our offense. We kicked the ball and punted the ball back down there deep. Then our defense came up huge. It was a big play.”

(On what Caleb Sturgis showed rebounding from the missed field goal in the first half)  – “Just like we talked about with the rest of the team, (Caleb Sturgis) showed some resiliency. He showed the character of the individual that he is. I just watched again this morning on tape. (It had) all the qualities of a good kick, good fundamentals, the plant, the timing, the operation were all there. It was a big kick.”

(On if Bengals’ running back Giovani Benard’s 35-yard touchdown run was a great play from the runner or fundamental issues from the defense)  – “Yes and yes. Again, I don’t want to oversimplify the game of football. You can overanalyze schemes. I think Cincinnati has an excellent coaching staff, but if you just analyze the play call you would say, ‘Is that a great play call or is that a great individual effort?’ It certainly wasn’t a bad play call, but that was a tremendous individual effort by a football player making a play. That’s really what football is all about. Can we tackle better on that play? Absolutely, 100 percent. We have to tackle better. However that’s really what the game of football in the NFL is all about. It’s about guys stepping up and making plays. We have an obligation to put them in a position to make plays. But there’s no magic plays out there. Teams are well-coached on both sides of the ball. Teams have good players on both sides of the ball. That was a heck of a run. It was a heck of a run.”


(On having Cam Wake healthy and if he was limited in previous games because of his injury)  – “He was healthy and ready to go in those games. You want to have a gradual return for a player. Certainly you can feel his presence a little more. You can’t deny that. You can feel his presence.”


(On Dimitri Patterson’s strong performance this season) – “He’s been very instinctual. The thing I think is he’s put himself into position in terms of reading the routes based on what coverage he’s in. He’s very good at the top of the route. He transitions very well. He can plant and break on a ball. You’ve seen some of that on some of those interceptions. He’s certainly made a difference when he’s out there.”

Dolphins talk stirring overtime victory

It was early Friday morning when the Dolphins got to their locker room and were able to start discussing their stirring 22-20 overtime victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

It was early Friday morning when I filed this column that explains how the Dolphins saved their seasonn (for now) and helped keep multiple people I name from very uncomfortable questions and futures. (Please check out the column).

Back in the locker room, meanwhile, this is some of things the Dolphins were saying:

On Jonathan Martin, the starting right tackle who has been given a leave of absence from the team so he can seek treatment for emotional issues:

Joe Philbin: “I’d like to say, in regard to Jonathan, that any play with an injury or illness, our primary concern is for the health of the individual. And with respect to Jonathan, he’s been excused with a non-football illness. Our concern and support are with him, and really that’s all I’m going to say on the matter."

On Tyson Clabo, who returned to the starting lineup and replaced Martin seamlessly. He did not allow a sack:

Calbo: "I just want to do the job that I was brought here to do. I want to play at the level I’m still capable to playing at. You have to take your lumps and licks in life. When I got benched last week, I just said to myself if I got the chance to go back in there, I’m going to be ready."

On what a win does for the team's morale after suffering four consecutive defeats:

Ryan Tannehill: "It’s huge. We had our backs up against the wall for a couple weeks in a row, and we kept getting pushed further back and finally we got out of that whole a little bit.  This is a huge win for us.  Losing four straight, coming back and getting a team win.  The defense played great, made some huge plays, getting turnovers.  The offense didn’t score a lot of points, but we moved the ball when we had to there at the end of regulation, to get a field goal.  We kind of righted the ship, we’re back on track a little bit, it gives us a fresh start midway through the season.  We’re four and four, obviously it’s not where we wanted to be at, but that’s where we’re at.  Now we’ll have to build on this from here."

Mike Wallace:  "I think tonight was our first true, team win. I think everyone played great in all three phases of the game. We made some critical plays in all three phases, and it was just a big win for our team."

Phillip Wheeler: “It does a lot for us, not only record wise but our confidence, getting that losing streak off of us and I feel like we can start fresh at .500 and get some wins."


Dolphins beat Bengals 22-20 in overtime

Cameron Wake is back.

And so are the Dolphins.

The defensive end had a sack for a safety in overtime to give the Dolphins a 22-20 victory over Cincinnati.

It was Wake's third sack of the night. It was a bigtime player making a bigtime play.Dolphins01bb cameronwake jwr

"Most of you that know me know the past few weeks have been a little frustrating," Wake said. "But that's football. You get banged up. this game was a very important game for us. Losing games. Hard fought games. But finally having one come down to the end and guys showing up all over the place ... You couldn't win any other way."

It marked a night in which the Dolphins blew a 17-3 lead (sound familiar?) but rallied to tie the game with a 44-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal with 11 seconds left in regulation.

Then both teams were forced to punt. And with the Bengals backed against their end zone, Wake poured in over the right tackle, sacked Dalton in the end zone (barely) and sent everyone home happy.

The Dolphins are 4-4 now. They play at winless Tampa Bay in 11 days.

Suddenly things are looking up.

The Dolphins got multiple great individual performances.

Lamar Miller rushed 16 times for 105 yards. Ryan Tannehill didn't throw a TD but neither did he fumble or throw an interception. He had a 92.3 QB rating.

Mike Wallace caught six passes for 82 yards and drew a big pass interference penalty that led to the game tying field goal in regulation.

Brent Grimes returned an interception 94 yards for a touchdown.

Good work.