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Crisis managed: For the Dolphins it's all about football

It's all about football for the Dolphins these days.

As I write in my column in today's Miami Herald, the Dolphins are focused on the New England Patriots and getting to the playoffs and little else. Yes, there is a troubling history with New England the Dolphins must overcome. But that's all about football.

The spectre of scandal and possible firings or suspensions stemming from the NFL investigation that dominated the headlines last month has faded.

The most obvious evidence the investigation has faded was an ESPN report Tuesday afternooon that said NFL investigator Ted Wells canceled his follow-up interviews with the Dolphins. The report also said the investigation may not be completed before the end of the year.

I have other news:

This investigation, completed or not, may not be released until after the Super Bowl.

Think of it, the last thing the NFL wants the final month of the season is the narrative to turn away from football and toward an uncomfortable scandal. It's unfair to the Dolphins, who are in the middle of a playoff hunt, and the league that is enjoying perhaps its most popular time of the year as fans, the media and teams gear up for the postseason.

So do the investigation findings come out now? No.

Well, how about right after the regular-season? Well, if the Dolphins are in the postseason -- which is a possibility if they win out the final three weeks starting with New England on Sunday -- that would pose a major distraction amid playoff preparations. So the findings aren't coming out then.

Indeed, even if the Dolphins are not in the playoffs the last thing the NFL wants is for the national narrative to turn away from the postseason and the league's best teams to focus on something that happened in an isolated incident or series of incidents between two players on a non-playoff qualifier months and months ago.

No, the NFL is going to make sure the integrity of its postseason is not damaged. And the postseason, as we all know, does not end until after the Super Bowl.

And that's when the league would most likely release the investigation's results.

That, of course, leaves some unresolved issues.

So let us resolve them.

I reported last month that Richie Incognito would not play for the Dolphins again once he was placed on suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. That report stands. Incognito's days in Miami are over.

There has been speculation that the Dolphins and Incognito's representatives came to an agreement that would bring the deposed guard back to the team. False. There was an agreement but that was one where the Dolphins agreed to pay Incognito in exchange for him not challenging the suspension via a grievance. Indeed, the agreement actually extended the suspension.

So Incognito basically agreed to sit out and be paid.

It has further been reported Incognito's suspension must end next week. Incognito's suspension will definitively not end next week. His camp will or has already agreed to extend the suspension through the end of the season.

Yes, he will be paid. But the suspension will continue.

The reason this is the course that must be taken is that neither the NFL (which is driving this entire situation) nor the Dolphins want to be placed in a position to make a roster decision or any type of decision on the player before the report's findings are released.

The Dolphins certainly don't want to spend at least one day next week distracted from their preparations for Buffalo because they're explaining why they cut Incognito and accounting for other Incognito-related issues like the resurfacing of questions about his, ahem, golfing escapades. Plus such a move would spark renewed interest in the whole issue and, remember, the NFL doesn't want that.

So Incognito will agree to simply remain suspended. No roster move. No headlines. No controversy. Just ... silence -- like the last few weeks.

Why, you ask, would Incognito agree to such a course?

Didn't Peter King of NBC and SI report at least one playoff-caliber team would take Incognito if he's cut? Wouldn't Incognito want that?

Yeah, whatever. The NFL doesn't want that. And Incognito is going to agree to do what the NFL wants.


That's simple: It is clear Incognito engaged in some behavior Jonathan Martin perceived as harassment or bullying. Incognito admitted to that voice mail so he's admitted to some harassment. So he is going to be punished for that. Also, bringing unwanted publicity and attention upon his team and the league -- which in of itself is a violaton of the NFL personal conduct policy -- also merits punishment.

So Incognito will agree to remain suspended the final couple of weeks of this season, with pay of course, in return for a guarantee that there will be no further discipline from the NFL beyond this season. He would be free to return to the league next season.

That return, again, would be with another team. He is an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. The Dolphins are not going to re-sign him.

As for Martin, I'm reporting his days with the Dolphins are finished as well. The Miami locker room that was clearly on Incognito's side in this whole affair will not be a suitable place for Martin to make his return. He'll be traded to the highest bidder at some point in the offseason.

Unless I miss my educated guess, that is how this story and scandal that was so explosive for multiple weeks in November will be turned into a much smaller story that captures the headlines for a short time in the offseason.

The NFL knows how to handle a crisis, folks.


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I've always signed in as Marc. 7 years now? There before it went to Typepad I was still Marc on Blogger. I've never, ever signed in with any other name, but to respond briefly.

The team isn't, and hasn't been good enough for over a decade. I'm not excited that they're slightly more successful than they were. I'm exhausted from rooting for a joke...

They've done so little that you all get overly excited at mediocrity.

"you said you'll start giving tannehill his claim of greatness, which even his biggest supporters aren't calling him, when he throws 3-4 TD's and 0 INT's each game."

Hell no,,,,what?! He didn't say this did he Jaison? You guys are being duped, this isn't a fan and by the looks of this post he doesn't even understand football. That's it, I'm convinced. LMAO dude, oh man you are too much. Great job fooling everyone.

Either you are a new fan to football and don't understand the sport or you are a non fan trying to get under everyone's skin. There is no alternative.

If you said the measure of a good qb is 3 to 4 tds per game and no ints than you just don't understand the sport. Or you're playing a part. I think I know which one it is but don't let me ruin your fun, Ill move on and leave it alone now. Enjoy.

ya'll knuxheadz kno that 1 of the overseas games next season is @ 1 pm uk time?
78.u'r gonna have 2 start getting ripped at 6 am like they do in buffalo

...You guys have a good one..Off to Bridger Bowl for the afternoon..20 inches of fresh the last 2 days..The weather has warmed up to a nice 18 degrees..Feels warm!

Marc, seriously kudos. One poster getting everyone riled up and talking to him, writing long posts, and trying to prove him wrong. Good work, Mando would be proud. ;)

No drinking for me for a while 2 watt, I don't do well with alcohol. The evidence is everywhere I go when drunk!

Martin won't play in the NFL again. His mom won't let him.

football isn't math you mumb-nut!!!
nick foles for instance. was he average last season? does that mean he will be forever average?? guess not, he looks pretty elite right now.
how about RG3 he's elite right? wait he is getting benched? how can that be??

do you even watch football or like the dolphins?? you throw out these comments and try to pass them off as facts then when called out you change the argument.
now anyone ranked from 11 to 21 i guess is forever average. forget circumstances on the field. bad line? elite QB's still win. i mean all you need is a QB, forget the pars around him. bad defense at the end of half or game? QB's fault. kicker missing kicks that should be automatic? QB's fault. no running game in 4 games? QB's fault.

it's funny you say you can't use a bad line as an excuse. but then you turn around and give every bit of credit for tannehill's good plays to everyone but him!!!! you really are a joke. i'm guessing when a ball bounces off a receiver it's his fault to. threw to hard. but when he is getting hit while throwing a ball that is under thrown it's all his bad pass, the defense doesn't count.

Rdubs, I was actually thinking the same thing this morning. This is NOT the team or the game to play to your tendencies. Bill Belichick will eat us for lunch if we don't throw any wrinkles into the mix.

The best part of the zone option (as DD says) keeper vs. Pitt was, if people noticed, every other handoff kept the defense guessing (not sure if Thill would keep it or give it to the RB). It really threw off their anticipation, forced them to wait a second to react.

That's EXACTLY what we need to do Sunday. And do it early. Make NE guess by early deception. Don't wait until the 2nd half to show your cards Sherman. Since you handoff up the gut EVERY FIRST PLAY OF THE GAME, why not play action and go long to Wallace? Or have Thill keep it? Let's not start the game with a 3-and-out and wait for them to make the first move before we start playing. We need to jump out to an early lead and keep the foot on the gas.


I think Tannehill will have a career high in rushing yards this week and we will see some wrinkles. I dont think we see the wrinkles until the second half. This game the Phins will have 2 separate game plans, one for the first half and another for the second half. Well I hope they do anyways LOL

Belichick on the Incognito/ Martin thing, "I think the media blew a lot of that out of proportion, the hype and everything".

YA THINK?! Hahahaa

Oh boy, there has to be some Belichick loving media member who's head is spinning right now.

Well that solves it the "Great Bill Belichick" said it was blown out of proportion by the media, story over, nothing to see here, the great oz has spoken.

Hahahaha Marc. Too funny. See ya guys.

DD, that is fascinatin. I don't have access to PFF metrics but I usually see YPA as a barometer of how effective of a deep ball thrower someone is. Now Keenum and Alex Smith were surprises to me on th list because they ahve lower YPA but I guess their's are deceiving because they have subpar completion percentages which effects that metric. Now this I find cool... yeah I'm a nerd ...

good point rdubs, good point.

Personally the only coach I've railed against is Coyle. Makes me angry how much he has to work with and does very little in the front 7.

I too expect the Dolphins to run all over the Pats. Unfortunately I think they will run up a nice tab on us too. Game will come down to red zone conversions.... whoever kicks fgs, loses.

By the time THill is done, he'll be the Fins best qb not named Marino. He probably won't be a Bree's, Rogers, Brady, or Manning. But he can be a top 10 qb for a long time. Maybe top 5 with better o line play and his own improvement in pocket presence and deep ball. Those 4 mentioned earlier are are all time greats and first ballot hall of gamers. They are the teams who know for sure their qb is going to ball week in, week out. All the other qb's , even the good ones have question marks. That's where Tannehill falls in.

BTW, I am aware that Griese is in the hall of fame and was a great qb in his own right. I see him as a guy in the situation of Wilson. A team leader on a great team in all areas who made the big plays when he needed to, but he didn't have to carry the team to victory with his arm.

Boring stuff.

Plus, it's really not that hard to be contrary on here when you guys think every QB is the next coming of Marino, and that Richie is a bully.

The main reason Thomas had his long run was the block the center made on a pull to the left, Pouncey is the center with the quickness to make that block on this team, the back ups are slower, I hope they can get better and the D can keep pressure on Brady. Bill

nick 2 tex?

Posted by: JUST FYI | December 11, 2013 at 11:11 AM

On of the best posts I have read in a long time.

Spot on!

Cousins to start...

ya'll knuxheadz kno that 1 of the overseas games next season is @ 1 pm uk time?
78.u'r gonna have 2 start getting ripped at 6 am like they do in buffalo

Posted by: 2 watt | December 11, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Truth, but in their defense it is a lot of fun.


You will find that there is a 'GROUP THINK', where bloggers want an easy agreeable chat with others.

Thill is currently rated.... lets see.....

1 Nick Foles,
2 Peyton Manning,
3 Josh McCown,
4 Aaron Rodgers,
5 Russell Wilson,
6 Drew Brees,
7 Philip Rivers
8 Tony Romo,
9 B en Roethlisberger,
10 Sam Bradford,
11 Matt Ryan,
12 Jay Cutler,
14 Matthew Stafford,
16 Cam Newton,
17 Andy Dalton,
18 Colin Kaepernick,
20 Mike Glennon,
21 Carson Palmer,
22 Alex Smith,
23 Andrew Luck, QB
24 Ryan Tannehill, QB

Ok now to me thats not a guarantee he is a franchise QB, its a fair comparison to his peers.

However he has improved on last year, rating up from 76 to 84. Thill has improved more than any other 2nd year QB we have had since Marino.

I came out to back him a little more after the Steelers game. During the game I even called it that he would lead us to victory, ene after the pic 6. The Bill A's of the world that go back and check for this will support that ha ha.

The MIT clan have gone overboard on Thill IMO, the same way I may have calling him a wasted pick. Where Im at with him is that he is improving, but hasn't shown me he is the future QB of the club. Im all in for going after a QB in the 3-4th round. Thill may well be fighting the starting job with a new OC and scheme to learn.

Marc you are right to expect high standards from the QB, because its rule 101 for your team to win championships. Before many friends start quoting, "Dilfer, Rutledge et al", they are the exception not the rule.

MIT should at least draw back on his crowning of Thill, just as his detractors should admit that he is improving and year 3 will tell us all we need. A QB needs competition and has to prove himself the best man for the job.

I like all Dolphin fans want to see our QB succeed no matter who that guy is, but if the play level falls form where its at now from year 3 then we need to be ready for change.

Why does Walter Camp have Kelvin Benjamin ranked so low? ROund 2-3. I tell you, if we have a shot at him in the first, he better be the pick.

I don't believe the rating though. At 6-5 235, if he posts a 40 inch vertical, he won't last through the top ten.

Those dimensions are Calvin johnson - brandon Marshall territory

OK, Marco, you want to call me out for my post. Go read it ... it says his performance for teh last four games.

You want to use rating as the sole baromter of the qb performance? That's extremely short sighted and ignores a lot of pertinent information but for arguments sake, look at his last four games ... which is what my post was about...

HIS AVERAGE RATING OVER THE LAST FOUR GAMES IS 90. Now where does that put him??? 90 WOULD PUT HIM 11th!!!

Group think... my arse ... I made this point alone...


Read my post my friend I've accounted for Thill's improvement over the last two games. I've commented on Thill's year to year improvement too.

However you are the biggest proponent of Thill on this blog, BARR NONE MY FRIEND.

You have also stated he is a franchise QB and we are luck to have him, well I disagree with you there.

When there is any kind of critque on Thill that points out his weaknesses you really go ape.

Now I get that you know your stats, we can all play that game, but Marc does have a point that Thill is not the guaranteed deal here. Im all in for giving him year 3. He is the best young we have had since Marino, Im in agreement with you there, but its way too early to crown him. Read my whole post's next time my friend.


To further your point, the ONLY stat that matters is record, so throw Matt Ryan and Sam Bradford and Glennon out of that list altogether. Like that stat is the end-all, be all of everything. Like ANY stat in a vacuum means anything. As you said, you must take things as a whole to truly understand them. And if Ryan Tannehill leads the team to a winning season for the first time in 5 years, then yeah, he's pretty dang successful.

Marco, I don't go ape when someone debates Tannehill. It's when tehy call me out in person in a post and totally misconstrue anything I say.

My stance has always been, he's improved significantly from last year, his current standing YTD is about 15th - give or take a slot, and I think he has undoubtedly earned the chance to call that position his. QB is not on the shopping list in 2014. And that the performance over the last four games is that of the top qbs in the game so he's trending up and finishing the year strong.

Now you imply that I say more than I do. That is why I lose it, not becuase someone attacks the QB.


Thill's rating is 90 you are correct my frind over the last 4 games, but its really in the last 2 that he has been playing at a top 10 level.

The season is also 13 games down the line so he have to look at the total body of work.

The next 3 games will tell us more about Thill's chances of becoming our franchise QB. If you break it into a percentage of Thill's likelyhood of being our future 10 year franchise QB, I'd give him a 55% chance of being that guy after what I've seen over his first two years. Which means I more for than against him being the guy, but not by much so far.

Is there anyone, either for or against Tannehill that doesn't think he is next years starter day one?

I think that is pretty obvious. Unless they drafted a backup that was exceptional he will start next year and rightfully so.

Philbin STILL not realizing that Antonio Brown running out of bounds is the only reason he won. Philbin keeps thinking thinking the Dolphins won legit. That's why www.DolphinsTruth.com is herre for us !

Yeah commonsense @ 1:32 that makes sense. I keep hearing Omar Kelly we need to bring in QB competition. He acts like the team has no other holes and infinite cap dollars.

Lets see how Tannehill finishes out the year and if he improves next season. Personally I think he will continue to get better and I am on board.

Why am I excited to play against EJ Manuel next week (instead of Thad)? I hope Manuel doesn't get hurt this week. That would be bad for us.

When the wind blows in the Midwest and Northeast most quarterbacks, even elite NFL ones have trouble going deep. T-hill has cleaned up his game but his rating @ 24th has him about right in his performance. The Dolphins have improved as a team helping the QB look better. We as fans should be thankful for what has transpired. Coach Joe Philbin as I have been indicating is a much better coach than Armando or this blog thinks he is.....

Philbin STILL not realizing that Antonio Brown running out of bounds is the only reason he won. Philbin keeps thinking thinking the Dolphins won legit. That's why www.DolphinsTruth.com is herre for us !

Posted by: PatriotPhin | December 11, 2013 at 01:35 PM

Haha, was waiting for this... Yeah lucky dolphins that the Steelers (At home in the snow) stepped out of bounds on a last second prayer play that already included an illegal forward pass. Yup, soooo lucky.

Posted by: CommonSense | December 11, 2013 at 01:32 PM

We should have a new OC and QB coach next year. Thill will clearly be the man to beat out. Moore is gone, too expensive and a FA and decent rookie will be allowed to go after the job.

If Philbin doesn't make the playoffs this year, then he really has to in 2014. Thill and Philbin come as a package and a new coach may well look for another option at QB. As I said I give Thill a 55% chance of being here in 8 years time as our franchise QB.

Posted by: GAfin | December 11, 2013 at 08:17 AM


So sick and tired of seeing Mark post stats to support the FACT that Tannehill is a good QB....Lets put this too bed once and for all...that means you MARC!

Here are the avg numbers for a HOF QB....can you guess who?

3610 yds per season
25 TD
15 Int.

After seeing this you MUST admit that Tannehill is at the very least a good QB!!

WTF? Is a PatriotPhin? That abomination should've been strangled at birth.


I'd agree that the team has allowed Thill to play better, as they should. The line couldn't have made it harder for him through the tough sledding in the middle of our season. But he's also playing better. He's going through progressions a little better, making the right reads, escaping the pocket when he needs to now, throwing a little more accurately, and is much more deceptive (more comfortable) in allowing screens and dumps to set up. The fact that the team surrounding him is doing a better job shouldn't serve as a criticism to his improvement.

Posted by: PatriotPhin | December 11, 2013 at 01:35 PM

Philbin and Coyle almost lost us the Steelers game for sure.

Time after time we have a turnover at our opponents 10 yard line and we scr.ew ourselves by running down a little bit of time and kicking the FG. That doesn't win you ,many games, when you have a D co-ordinator like ours.

The Steelers get a shot to win the game and jog towards the endzone, while our players were walking. CALL A DAM TO !!!!

We did the same against the Panthers on 4th with the ball deep in their territory, our players look lost and disorganised the Panthers convert and win the game. At the end of that half Coyle had players lined up on the goal line and allowed a 30 yard pass completion for an easy FG, whata joke of acoach he is.

Personnel wise our D should be top 10. We are truly under performing at 16th or so, not good enough. We have had a few injuries on D, but so has everyone this year, no excuse, its been in the formations and the play calling.

Against the Pats, if we are at the 10 yard line with 1st and goal after a turnover and we old lead by 3 with 3 mins to go, throw 3 times into the endzone, go for the win, Brady will get those points from you if you let him in.

When we have the sword at the throat of our enemies we have to go for the kill, every time. It's a war out there.

I thought the team played it right against that team in those conditions in that scenario.

If you can't hold a 6 point lead against a team with a 1:10 left and no timeouts in a winter storm - then you don't deserve scrotum.

having a 2nd year qb with that line throw in that scenario is dangerous and the exact same thing that cost us games against the Ravens and Bills.

I too did call for a timeout when it was 4th down and obvious they could run one more play. Pause, gain your senses, set yourselves up to defend.

I too do think Coyle has really underachieved with those resources he has - especially in teh front 7. There is no reason for Shelby to play the # of snaps he does. No reason to have Wheeler out there that much. No reason to be married to the 4-3. At least he unveiled the NASCAR package ... in WEEK 13!!!




krillian, read the post again, T-hill has gotten better as indicated in many facets of his QB game and the Dolphins as a team supporting him have elevated. There is no criticism to his improvement.....

WTF? Is a PatriotPhin? That abomination should've been strangled at birth.
Posted by: Mark in Toronto | December 11, 2013 at 01:46 PM


That like from Underworld, half vampire half werewolf.

Here are the avg numbers for a HOF QB....Dan Marino

3610 yds per season
25 TD
15 Int.

Tannehill is on course to have Better numbers this yr.

4000+ yds
17 Int.

After seeing this you MUST admit that Tannehill is at the very least a good QB!!

I may be wrong but I thought I saw a patriotphin on LOBSTERTUBE!!

Underworld. One of my favourites of all time!

Marc and Marco vs. MarK

What nationality Marco? Cuba and America vs Canada?

Against the Pats, if we are at the 10 yard line with 1st and goal after a turnover and we old lead by 3 with 3 mins to go, throw 3 times into the endzone, go for the win, Brady will get those points from you if you let him in.
When we have the sword at the throat of our enemies we have to go for the kill, every time. It's a war out there.
Posted by: Marco | December 11, 2013 at 01:48 PM

Agree, although we should be able to run it in on 3 carriers, go fotr the TD/kill!!!

You run the ball the 3 times, end of story. You dont risk a turnover or kill the clock. I might have tried a playaction QB sneak/run.I would not throw the ball. That is just smart football

Posted by: Bill Arnsparger | December 11, 2013 at 01:45 PM

Yeah, thats for a 10 year plus career.

So far Thill hasn't put up those numbers.

Thill is playing better than last year and I give him slightly better chance of being a franchise QB, than I doubt him. However please don't go talking HOF QB's yet, here's why ........

There are HOF QB's that have ratings of lower than 70,

Bradshaw, Namath, Blanda.... so what ?

Henne's career QBR is higher than 9 HOF's so your arguement has to be taken in that context my friend, which is one of very small compass no ?

Marco, I agree with Mark in Toronto about the coaches decision there. What I didn't agree with was the roughly 52 yard field goal at the end of the half on 4th and 1. Pick up the first, then try to get closer for a field goal or take a few shots at the end zone.

Mark, Coyle's use of Jordan sometimes puzzles me. I guess they don't quite trust him yet even though he flashes really nicely sometimes. The game against the Bucs where Misi and Jenkins were out hurt and Trusnik started at outside linebackers really pizzed me off.

Lets also praise "The Olivier Vernon" for his 2 enormous 4th quarter plays

Running down Ben Roethlismanbeegersteinman on that 4th down run and then the sack.

Superstar in the making

Average over 17 YEARS! Does that include injury shortened seasons? 2 year sample vs. 17 years. Come on man!

There are good games and bad games, good years and bad years. This is a bad year for Brady, but they are still winning.

My point has simply been that his GREATEST single game performance isn't really that great, and that's the peak!

Anyway, you guys keep hope alive. MarK is like the pied piper ;)

as phanz,we have no other choice but 2 root on #17 at the moment.
mark,moment ok?

Haha, rdubs, I do agree, Vernon at his age is special. He is younger than a lot of rookies. BRIGHT, BRIGHT future.

Marc, I do consider that a compliment, even if I don't think it's true, I would be honoured to lead these men!!

NeMo, don't get me started on Coyle again, please. I'm trying good vibes only!!

Tom Brady is married to a hot Brazilian model(which is impressive, cuz he found one without a schlong)

Why does she let him get away with his ugly haircuts? I swear to god, does he go to Great Clips

I read this debate on T-hill daily from the same guys. He is what the number ratings say 24th, which is indicative of his overall performance. I have seen completion percentage used by guys on this blog to make their point. Passing shorter is something that T-hill has cleaned up and increases his percentage but he has not demonstrated that he can go deep with accuracy. With the cold weather h and winds he will be asked to do that less...

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