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Clearing out the notebook: Friday edition

The Dolphins have two home games remaining and that should be a big deal because Baltimore, for example, plays only one more home game. And playing at home is supposed to be better than playing on the road.

Except this year the Dolphins haven't exactly done a great job of protecting their house. They're 3-3 in six games at home and would have to win their final two games at home to merely tie the 5-3 home mark they posted last year.

So how would coach Joe Philbin grade Miami's play at home this year?

"About 3-3.  Seriously, we have to play better," Philbin said. "I think the fans have gotten their money’s worth in terms of excitement in relation to the games have gone down to, literally all six games have been almost to the last play of the game if I’m not mistaken.  We have to do better, we have to do better."


Do you recall the 2011 season-opener? The Patriots threw for 500 yards. They had a 99-yard pass play from Tom Brady to Wes Welker. They won the game 38-24.

Nolan Carroll remembers that game.

I talked to Carroll about that game this week. If you recall, both Vontae Davis and Sean Smith suffered cramps that night. Carroll had to substitute in for both players.

And as if on cue, the moment he came in the game, Tom Brady went to work on him. Three consecutive passes to Carroll's side went for completions including a TD pass. I asked Carroll if he agreed that he got picked on that night?

"Yes," he said.

Well, earlier this year, the Dolphins managed Dimitri Patterson's groin injury in such a way that he was able to start the October game at New England. And Patterson played well. But he had to come out in the second half for a series and when that happened, Carroll came in the game.

Carroll had started five previous games in Patterson's place but, again, as soon as he entered the game, Tom Brady went after him. And the Patriots connected on a 14-yard touchdown pass in which Brady went to Aaron Dobson who was matched out left against ... Nolan Carroll.

Carroll is a starting cornerback the rest of the season apparently with Patterson now on injured reserve. Is he worried Brady is going to be picking on him Sunday as has happened in the past?

"That doesn't worry me," Carroll said. "What happened years ago has no affect on me. I'm a different player than I was then. This is a new game."

Carroll better be ready because the Patriots seemingly always know where he is.


The Dolphins had no answer for covering Darren Sproles out of the backfield the fourth week of the season when they played New Orleans.

Well, on Sunday they face Shane Vereen (who missed the first meeting between Miami and New England due to his wrist injury) and he is a defacto wide receiver coming out of the backfield -- a matchup nightmare for linebackers.

Vereen has been active only five games but already he leads all NFL running backs with 74.6 yard per game receiving average. He has 40 catches for 373 yards. Last week he caught 12 passes for 153 yards against Cleveland.

Phillip Wheeler or Jimmy Wilson better bring their A-game on Sunday.


I hate doing playoff projections, but I feel the need to clear up some confusion that Thursday night's San Diego victory over the Denver Broncos may have caused.

Multiple people on my twitter timeline (Follow me @ArmandoSalguero) were saying that if the Dolphins, Ravens and Chargers all end up with the same record, the fact the Chargers enter the scenario and turn it into a three-team race erases Baltimore's current edge over Miami built by a head-to-head victory.

Not necessarily true.

If for example, the three teams finish 9-7 and are tied for the sixth and final playoff seed, the Ravens would still be the qualifying team if the one loss they suffer is this weekend to NFC opponent Detroit. In other words, the Ravens could lose to Detroit but if they beat two AFC opponents -- New England and Cincinnati -- they would still be the 9-7 team getting in the playoffs.

If, however, the Ravens beat Detroit but lose to either New England or the Bengals, they would be 9-7 but the 9-7 Dolphins would be getting in the playoffs ahead of them, assuming the Chargers are also 9-7. (If the Chargers drop off, the Ravens again win out over Miami based on head-to-head meetings).

Bottom line: The Ravens can obviously build a seemingly hefty lead in the playoff chase against the Dolphins and Chargers if they win this weekend while the Dolphins lose to the Patriots. But if the Dolphins recover the final two weeks of the season, and the Chargers keep winning, and the Ravens stumble in one of their two remaining games against AFC opponents, the Dolphins would jump ahead of Baltimore.

If we're talking teams going 8-8 that's a whole different formula that might involve other teams and it's too early for that now. 

Glad I made that totally clear for you.


The Dolphins have lost seven in a row to the Patriots. I picked Miami to win on Sunday. I think the loss of Rob Gronkowski is devestating to New England's offense. But looking at the last meeting, Gronkowski caught only two passes for 27 yards. I worry that Aqib Talib did not play and Brady threw for only 116 yards, had a 69.5 QB rating and the Patriots still won by 10 points.


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We know what the pats will do, quick screen left , quick screen right, some new play off the quick screen left or right, then pound the ball at us with with the no huddle, as much as I would like the phins to win I don't think we are physically tough enough yet to stop them when we have to, plus their kicking is hot and ours is not. Pittsburg was having success running the ball so NE will look to exploit this opportunity. I predict a close game but pats will win by a field goal or a missed one by us. I hope they prove me wrong.

GAME PLAN---patriots
is it just me or does it seem that the patriots do a lot of baiting, it seems as though they allow teams to execute certain plays through out the game(holding back the defense) thus building the opponants confidence in that play, and then when it matters most they have the answer which usually is some big play on defense, which in turn shifts the momentum and is then followed by a late brady drive for a score...well..i hope that sherman's gameplan is different this time, i think the best way to beat the pats is to save or have new plays for crunch time, and if certain plays appear to be effective during the coarse of the game avoid the temptation to revisit them during crunch time UNLESS that play has a wrinkle so severe that it ends up that sherm is the one doing the baiting. MANDO, i hope that the defense has some disguises for nolan carrol, i hope the defense can bait brady into throwing a few picks this way.

I think it's high time that one of our DB's jumps that quick screen left/right and takes it to the house, might make Brady think twice about using that play too often. But I agree they will use that play until we stop it.

I also think this is the game that Dion Jordan uses as a coming out party, he needs to be on the field in place of Wheeler for the majority of the defensive snaps for us to have a realistic chance at keeping Vereen in check, and in providing maximum pressure on Brady.

One more thing I think is key to success in this game, no matter who is lining up at TE for NE we MUST pound them on every play at the LOS to keep them from getting into their patterns unimpeded. I don't mean just a chip I mean a full bore slam to the turf if possible. That and if a back tries to slip out of the backfield, we slam them too.

If you constantly keep knocking receivers out of their planned path, you can seriously disrupt the NE offense, but you have to do it EVERY play!

How about just putting your playmakers in proper position to make plays, and then execute the plays properly, budtki.

the last time Miami really dominated the pats is when they broke out the wildcat. I think Miami needs to do something like that change thier offense up so NE is caught off guard. I know it is hard to put in new wrinkles in a offense at the end of season without a bye week, but if it comes down to which team exucutes better miami might be in trouble. even saying that this is the game miami has to win to make a statement. we are chasing NE not the other way around. Miami 30 NE 20

validation--SHOW TIME
pay off: dolfans had to wait 8 months and thirteen days but the day is finally here. on sunday fans(like me) who were dumbfounded on day one of the draft finally get to see a return on their #3 pick overall in the draft, or at least we hope so. it would be a shame if our top pick of this years draft ends up to be a devlopmental player. i certainly hope not as does most dolphans, it would be great to see sunday's game against the pats become DION JORDAN'S coming out party, we are all waiting to see dion jordan attempt his J.T. impersonation...GO FINS!

I am of the mind that if we hold Shane Vereen to less than 100 all-purpose yrds, we win the game. I hate the patsies like poison, but that kid deserves some props because he can play. You contain him and put Brady on his arse a few times......Happy days are here again.

Yeah, we need to see Jordan, we need to run often & well, we need to compete for each pass Brady throws.

Wondering does Denver's stumble give the Pats more to play for?

Brady's stats not that much better than Tannehill's this year, if we can just win the turnovers ...

It's simple enough. Win the turnover margin and win the game. Miami outplayed N.E. last time but handed them the game with untimely turnovers.

NE becomes the #1 seed if they win this week. Denver kinda shyte the bed last night.

Running backs catching the ball out of the backfield hasnt been nearly as bad as of late. they have tightened that up a bit. Now if only we could stop RB's from running all over us, that would be great LOL

This is the time of year I hate fantasy football. If I win this game, I get paid! The only problem is, I have Shane Vereen on my team. Decker already let me down this week!

Yes That is True Armando that they won but you forgot to mention all the help they got from the refs is what really made the difference in the game. I am no usually one to say anything about refs because there are a lot plays in a game but they literally marched the Pats down the field and stuck the ball in the endzone for them, that last penalty were we sacked Brady and he fumbled 30 yards and they called Vernon for swat the ball that was the one that really turned that game, hopefully this time Dolphins will get a fair shake if they do they will win they have more talent and getting closer every week, you can take that to the Bank.

@ 7:33
Knocking N.E. off their perch as the number one seed would add a little spice to beating them this weekend. I just hope the game is decided by an official.


I think last nights Chargers win, shows that any team in the AFC is beatable. If Miami gets into the playoffs, I mean when they get into the playoffs. People were saying they would be one and done. I mean we beat the Chargers and they beat the Broncos. We already beat Indy and Cincy and when we win Sunday, we will have beaten the Pats. So we will have beaten 3 of the other 5 Playoff teams and does KC scare anyone?

Now is the time to start believing in your Dolphins. I hope Dolphin fans in Miami come out and rock the house and we crush the Patsies!

So many people picking the Dolphins....I am the biggest Phins Fan north of the border (Canada) and this make me worry! I like being the underdog...No Pressure. Hope they pull this out!
Go Fins!


We need to see if this team can get it done. I really want the pressure to mount and want to see this team step up. In the past we havent and I wanna believe they can.

Just WIN...Miami....

rdubs we havent though, cant just give us a win before it happens. big hump here, can miami finally get over it?

I don't think any of us really want to see us at 9-7 counting on other teams to back us into the playoffs. The fact is especially with the injuries that the Patriots have had, we need to win this weekend.

Any given Sunday right? The scary part against the Pats imo is their abilty to run and pass. I think thats the thing that has befuddled our defense the most this season.

I think its more a learning curve than a talent issue. Players need to know their roles and come ready to play. Wheeler and Ellerbe are now 15 weeks in the system. It's time for them to make an impact if they are legit.

I don't know about the rest of you but I'll be major bummed if we lose this one. Gronk is out, Mayo and Wilfork are out,the game is at home. Time to make a statement!

Go Fins!!!


I am just putting on my homer glasses....doh!!!!!!

Fins win! I want to see Jordan on the f'ing field! He's the third overall pick, for christ's sake. And Brady needs to be hit hard, early and often. He doesn't play well when he's getting hit. Win the turnover battle, win the war! Unless the refs decide otherwise, of course; we all know how much they love the Cheatriots.

IMO this is setting up to be the classic statement game we've seen so many times where after all the pre-game hype, hopes are dashed and the team totally disappoints its fans...Remember the Bills game earlier this season? Let's see if things are different now and this team has a new attitude and winning way. Sure as hell hope so. Go Fins!

9-7 will most likely put fins in playoffs. i could even see balt going 0-3 to end year but def no better than 1-2 but i agree show u can finally take the next step and beat the pats this sunday.

jj he isnt good enough to get on the field over our other guys

Well maybe if the Fins didn't alienate so many fans over the years, we'd have some type of home field advantage. Instead we have a half empty stadium with half of those people being the other teams fans. The game day atmosphere is on life support during home games.

P.S. Fire Mike Sherman

We shut them down in the first game...in New England mind you, for 30 mins.

We got out coached in the 2nd half (with a little help from the refs).

I was down right giddy in that first half...drinking with my Pats friends and watching the disbelief on their faces as we ran up 17 points.

We had a great 30 min game plan...now Philbin needs to pull out the 60 min game plan

Dusty, Jordan should replace Wheeler.

true we play better on the road. zero atmosphere at home games and very depressing.

jordan cant make the tackles that wheeler does so no. thats not his pos he will need to play in nfl either

My guess would be that the stadiulm will be full this Sunday Shermanhater.

i doubt it rick, highly doubt it or be half pats fans

This is a statement game for the Fins, there is no doubt about it.

Win and we rattle the AFC and put the Fins back in the national discussion (in a positive way).

Lose...we continue to be irrelevant and probably miss the playoffs

What time does the circle-jerk start?

Jordan should be on the field at lb, shadowing Vereen all game.

The Dolphins have won a couple of games and all are whopping it up over a playoff game. I don't see the Dolphins winning out against the Pats. The Dolphin DBs are very suspect. Haven't seen much in the way of a pass rush either. Dolphins best pass rusher sits the bench over half of pass rush downs or is covering a TE. What would we rather see, Jordan covering TEs or smashing Brady to the grass Sunday? My vote is smashing Brady to the grass. Mando you know nothing about the game of football, the BEST pass defense is a balls to the wall pass rush. Brady can't throw TDs if he's laying flat on his back. (Y.A. Tittle, 1960 NFL championship game)

I picked the Pats to win the game on Sunday but I hope to God I'm wrong. We are TOTALLY capable of winning this game but we need to stop beating ourselves in games against the Pats. Pats are running on fumes and Dolphins are a confident bunch right now. Its there for the taking. Grab it!

I posted on Monday that the formula to beat NE is on film. Go back and watch how the Giants did it and how Baltimore did it IN New England last year, in the playoffs. Dolphins have the Defensive players to execute the same as the Giants & Ravens did. Therefore, the preperation for this game is critical. But, the coaches have to do their job. Of course if the offence can put 30 points on the board again the task of breaking the Pats 7 game win streak becomes easier. I'll be watching.

I think Brent Grimes should wear Nolan Caroll's jersey.

Craig M talks like he is on the team. What a delusional-thinking loser!

Don't look now but the spread for this weekend's game is now PK em..

The thing I am most afraid of this weekend is the officials protecting the patriots like they di in round one.

That's how you have a qb throw for 100 odd yards and score 27 points - refs game em 13 - undisputable...

It's already started ... It's Dikks Out Friday!!

Sorry, that's Fins Gear Friday and I have my polo, hat, and jacket on!

Right on Hypocrites....

But you KEEP making comments about my posts. If I'm a loser, what does that make you?


Regarding what you were saying about Dikks being out this morning. I say this "You are what you eat"

The refs have been exceptionally awful this season, especially favoring NE. It was great to see Brady come unglued after the non-call on the Keuchly/Gronk play. Some satisfaction! I truly enjoy watching Tom Brady get upset and frustrated.

If you shoot it in my mouth, I'll swallow it :-0

I can see the kiddies are out this morning. Have a good day fellas (minus the mental midget)

Interesting way to get your protein there, Craig.

rdubs, who's eating dikks?

Mission complete!

Posted by: NHFINSFAN | December 13, 2013 at 09:02 AM

I agree. Need this game. If we can beat a wounded Steelers team in the snow, we should be able to beat the Pats at home without Gronk.

Had we beat the Bucs or one or two of the other close games it might be different but I think if we really want to prove we have turned the corner we don't want to lose here and have to count on someone else.

That sounds like mediocrity all over again to me. Lets make a statement.

Every year we play against the pats, first meeting always a loosing in a tight game and make the dolphins players think they can beat the pats? Then come to 2nd meeting the pats just put some whooping!!! I hope it's different this year for the DOLPHINS!!!!


Plenty of people who post here

Ah, ok. Yeah, people can be stupid soetimes. but I think it's because they get the courage they get behind a keyboard that they lack in real life.

Anyway, just stick to the people you know want to talk about football in a rational manner and leave the rest alone.

By the way, any conincidence payton is coming back to earth a bit and the weather is getting cold?

I mean he is still playing very well but I think with that defense, he has to be September and OCtober Peyton for them to be a force.

Funny thing, if Peyton ahd decided to come here with the defense we have, and in the climate we playin, we may be gearing up for a super bowl run right now ...

mark....peyton knew better than to sign a contract with Ireland.

Manning never wins on a short week but the out of touch out of town homers who only read the box scores will never know that Eh?

uh yeah...

BUt NH, I can make a very good argument that if he signed here, this team would've been a muich better fit for him. Would've drafted luke Keuchly too, still had jake Long and Reggie too since team would've been all in for this year...

I would take 9-7, even if it did not mean playoffs, because I would also like to see a CLEAR SIGN this team is GROWING UP. However, we beat the pats, I need to see closing victories over both Jets and Bills.

This will signify not only is the team growing before our very eyes, they are also learning to CLOSE too.

Before becoming a REAL WINNER, a team first has to learn, CLOSE. That's what WINNERS do!

In order for Jordan to have a major impact in this game, the coaching staff needs to put him in more than the usual 15-20 plays. They won't do that, as NE is sure to run the ball alot.
If the Phins can only get into the playoffs... there are no really strong or hot AFC teams this year and the SB would actually be a possibility.
They key to this game? Will the refs actually call the game fairly, seeing how it's in Miami? History says no, but we'll see. Phins outplayed NE up in Foxboro and would have won that game if not for the downright cheating by the officials. They also cheated to make sure NE beat Cleveland last weekend, with a totally bogus PI call that led to NE's wining score.

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