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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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Posted by: Rdubs | December 11, 2013 at 02:00 PM

Problem is if Pats are down only 1 score then Brady doesn't need much time.

points are more important against them than running clock.


Im Italian/American, proud of both. Tortelloni ricotta and spinaci followed by apple pie and Dolphins victories are my perfect Sunday's.

With a little bit of desert too, you know, ba da bing ba da boom ???

Those are the average numbers for Marino's career what don't you understand??? Can't win the argument when presented with facts Marc and Marco so you resort to name calling and or change the jist of the debate. Also his CAREER QB rating is 86.4..now I am in no way saying Tannehill is a HOF QB or the next Marino....all I am saying is he is on the right track and may...MAY be a franchise QB.


I think if we are in the same boat this week. You need to try to get a TD, the situation in Pitt, crappy weather, etc. This was the right decision

rdubs, Brady's a faag. I mean, what kind of douche takes a pic looking like this?


Not to mention his stupid UGG boots and man purse.

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

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

Name calling what ???? Here's that post you missed or ignored for you again my friend. I guarantee you the name calling won't come from me ha ha.

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 ?

Posted by: Marco | December 11, 2013 at 02:01 PM

This game reminds me of the story of the "Little Engine That Could".

First Pats game, up 17-3, we're, "I Think I Can- Think I Can". But, not quite finishing that game off. Now, o only does this 2nd game has playoff implications, it also has 2014 "Kings Of The AFC East" implications.

A victory Sunday, not only does "The Little Engine That Could" says "I Know I Can" to a playoff appearance, It would be saying "I Know I Can" to a 2014 "New Kings Of The AFC East" royalty appearance as well.

I can not emphasize any more of how extremely important this game is to both sides of this previously elusive spectrum is. But, these are the feelings of little ole' me, so, make of it what you will.


He looks like an Olsen twin LOL

I hope we somebody Cody Wallaces' him this weekend. You would hear squeals of delight, cumming from the bottom of the pile

Sigh...Well, Marco, it's pointless

So, then it's just USA vs Canada then

Cherry-picking stats doesn't make any of you correct. 2 year sample? 4 game sample for MarK?

I'm done. This bores me.

A victory over Tom Brady Sunday, would be EASILY Ryan Tannehill's greatest feather in cap to date.

Also signaling in the emergence of the Tannehill led Dolphins as new heirs to the throne called "The Afc East".

There, now I've finally gotten it all out of my system.

Bill A,

Its more a friendly debate rather than an arguement. Im sure if we were all sitting down Little Havana playing checkers we would be civil and jovial talking football, like good honest NFL fans.

Im also saying MAYBE Thill becomes a franchise QB. I've given it a 55% chance. Thats means I more in than where I was on him 4-5 weeks ago. Im sure thats fair, no ?

I get it the QB position takes time, of course. However Im sure even you knew when to call time on John Beck ? Thill is better than any young QB we've had since DM, but its way too early to crown him. Again the next 3 games are huge for him as far as his future goes.

Cherry picking, Marc, stop it. That's nto cherry picking. 4 games is a quarter of a season - significant and I compare all stats, not cherry picking anything. Ur a stubborn muthafuka. Stay true to your beliefs - BUT DON'T TALK SHITE ABOUT MY STATS!!

Posted by: Rdubs | December 11, 2013 at 02:13 PM

ABSOLUTELY, that FG attempt was rediculous. A first down there was way more probable. I cringe now when I see them try any FG over 40 yards. There must be something in the gatorade that makes Dolphins coaches love these long FG attemps.

Marco please don't speak to me by name...you ALWAYS resort to name calling. Anyway I said you guys would try to change the perameters of the debte and it didn't take long. I was not speaking of QBR....I posted career avg numbers and compared them to the numbers that Tannehill will most likely finish with this year.
MIT where are you my fearless leader???

Posted by: Sam I Am | December 11, 2013 at 02:18 PM

Pats had a lot of help in that game from Refs....a lot.

Redskins could have quite the 2014 qb controversy on their hands. Curt Cousins plays the final 3 games and looks great, they'll have to seriously consider trading him within he next couple years, or lose him for nothing.

I liked Curt cousins coming out, and it could be possible he proves he's STARTER material. But, we still have 3 games to wait and see on that one, don't we?

MIT and Bill,

You have upset Marc, he has gone my friends.

Your arguements have been too overwhealming for him to cope. Shame he was doing so well tonight.

Bill you seem to think that Im not a Dolphins fan, why is this my friend ?

Yo, Billy, marco and I already had our chat. I see where he's coming from but he did miscontrue my original point and I called him out on it.

Marco, Marc is still here, no worries.

Just mention Ryan Tannehill and he miraculously appears.

Sam, there's something going on there at Michigan State. Their current Qb looks a lot like Cousins too... Fine program up there in the Detroit area.

Posted by: wallyfin | December 11, 2013 at 02:29 PM

Wallyfin, I'm not one to placed the onus soley on the refs backs when my team plays poorly enough to allow the refs calls to greatly effect them.

At some point, you also have to include piss poor play, into the malady of losing. Good teams more often than not, beat bad officiating.

Yo, Marky Mark I have been here all along supporting you quietly at first and then couldn't take it no more and jumped in with the Marino numbers....my fearless leader....throw a sub ledger at them or something!!

Marco please don't speak to me by name...you ALWAYS resort to name calling.
MIT where are you my fearless leader???

Posted by: Bill Arnsparger | December 11, 2013 at 02:28 PM

OK Bill I wont refer to you by name no-more...


Marco that's not what I meant...I meant don't make it personal. I feel like everytime I post something on here you are waiting in the wings to pounce on me....as you always do....my friend!

Sorry, can't resist and a slow day at work, but, allow me to compare apples with apples and cherry-pick. Marino's 2nd season stats over the last 4 games of the season:

16 TD's, 6 INT's 1406YDs (351.5 per game) 109.3 QBR 62.7 COMPL % 3W's, 1L

BEST GAME IN THAT 4 GAME STRETCH 404Yds, 4 TD's, 1 INT, 124.4 RAT, 70.73 COMP %

As I said earlier the field goal to end the half against Pitt was dumb in my opinion.

Sam I agree with about this being a big game for them this year AND next year.

The first game we had a great first half and a terrible third quarter, but were still in it right to the end. Sturgis missing a field goal and having one blocked killed us. Also, the Tannehill fumble for TD killed us too. Sherman abandoning the run towards the end did not help either.

We have a few things going for us this game though. No Gronk is a huge loss, even though Vereen now scares me (he missed the first game.) Looks like no Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins is questionable. Their WRs may consist of Josh Boyce, Amendola, Edelman, and Austin Collie. I like our secondaries chances vs that.

On offense I feel Tannehill, Clay and our O-line have all proved a lot. A deep strike to Wallace would be huge. Talib has not been as good since his hip injury. I also think we can run it well. They had a godo amount of success last game and our O-line seems to be better and gelling well.

Also no dumb decisions by the coaches and players and FINISH the game. This game really could be our coming out party to the national media. I'm pretty hyped for it, it should be fun.


He probably has better things to do then, ha ha.

You see you are the leader of the Thill Clan my friend.

MIT you are the flag waver, you are the man Thill gives the ball to in the back of the endzone when we win our first Superbowl with him as our QB.

Im 55% there on Thill, whats your belief rating on him my friend. 85 you can play too, if your not too mad at me my friend ?

Cherry-picking stats doesn't make any of you correct. 2 year sample? 4 game sample for MarK?

I'm done. This bores me.

Posted by: Marc | December 11, 2013 at 02:21 PM

But wait....didn't you just say this??? Mark wasn't cherry picking he was showing that Tannehill is getting better as the season goes on. We ALL know Danny was a great QB. WE don't need to see his last 4 games of his 2nd season!! No comparison to Dan was being made....you TOTALLY missed the comparison!!

I don't have a pct that I am on TH...I have stated and still state if he doesn't show continued improvement in year 3...he should be GONE!!
I would expect he will have a better line, running game and WR corp!

Actually that's EXACTLY what someone did pointing out the career stats of Marino. I simply applied MarK's formula of selecting a 4 game sample size of a second year QB and there you have your apples to apples comparison and it kinda puts everything right back into perspective.

RT ain't no Dan.

RT ain't no Dan.

Posted by: Marc | December 11, 2013 at 02:49 PM

From your mouth to Gods ears....lets hope this statement is correct because then Tannehill will have a chance to lead us to a Super Bowl trophy....something Dan with all his mighty stats could never do!!

Crickets...Exactly ;) Marco, he shoots, he scores!

.....and you still don't get the reason for stating a HOF QB's numbers....so due to the level of intelligence being exhibited here I am done with this debate. It's like debating with the wall!! You HATE Tannehill so much that nothing will EVER change your mind.

Oh, that's the backup argument

If X player never wins the SB they weren't good enough.

Disregard the MANY players in the HOF that never won the SB. Don't think Barry Sanders was one of the best ever?

Disregard the fact that it's a TEAM sport.

MarK uses this method frequently: How many playoff games has Marshall won since he left...


I apologize for mentioning the word "facts" -- but do you ever use them?

I not only UNDERSTAND the reason for pointing out the CAREER STATS of a HOF QB to make your argument. I used the same exact method that you have used to validate your new QB with a SAMPLE of that same QB's play.

"Level of intelligence" Very subtle insult. Believe me, you're not that smart, fool.

Also, if Marco were really Italian, he wouldn't call everyone "my friend." He'd call them "paesan."

Players don't play football to garner stats....they play and give up there bodies to WIN THE SUPER BOWL!!
Marino said he would give up all his records for a RING!! Barry Sanders said he would tooooooo!! But hey don't let these facts sway you...oohhh wait that right facts don't matter to you....now do they?

"Level of intelligence" Very subtle insult. Believe me, you're not that smart, fool.

Posted by: Marc | December 11, 2013 at 02:59 PM

Lest we forget the FACT that you spewed racist comments on here last week....racist are FAR from intelligent....as usual your resort to name calling....I kinda called that one way earlier today. When they cannot win they resort to childish name calling

MARC....I will be the "fool" if it makes you happy!!

NeMo, on first blush I thought (like you) the FG attempt end of 1st half was stupid by Philbin. Then I thought about those 2 pick-6's (only one ball was caught though) Tannehill threw to Troy. And in that light, the call looked a lot better.

But vs. NE, this is our anything goes game. We should take every chance there is, because if we win we put ourselves in a great position for the Playoffs, and if we lose we haven't set ourselves back that much (it's a game we're probably supposed to lose anyhow). I take every chance to extend drives and give my team extra shots at scoring. If the team has a special teams trick play up there sleeves, this is the game to unleash it. 4th downs on their side of the field, go for it. We need to maximize our chances, being up by 2 points with 1 min to go and their offense on the field is just asking to lose the game.

DC I think we need to play it exactly like Belicheat plays it and go for it on 4th and short. Especially if it is goal to go. No fist pump FG will win this game. We need TD's

Racist? I said Jews are cheap. No different than saying black people like watermelon. Stereotypes, sure, racist? Hardly. Throw enough red herrings out there and eventually the dog will lose the scent huh? Nice strategy

The spelling and grammar here is literally atrocious. I have seen 5th-graders who can express themselves more eloquently.

Instead of a football blog I would suggest a remedial English class for many of you.

ohhh BTW DC yesterday you told me to protect and serve...not stop and frisk....actually stop and frisk has saved more lives in the black community than any other police action in history. Just look at the decline in violence in NYC as related to DC, L.A. or Chicago. Remember it is mostly black on black violent crime stats in question.

Bill, exactly. If we're gonna lose for the 8th time, let's at least go out knowing we took every chance. We know what happens when we play not to lose...WE LOSE. So how about we have an aggressive strategy and PLAY. TO. WIN. Think about it Coach, the margin-of-error for your ball club is far too miniscule to try and eek out a conservative victory. It's time to let your hair down and put it all on the line. GO FOR BROKE!

DC, on the field goal I would have tried to run for the first. Called the last timeout and tried to get about 10 more yards for an easier field goal or the endzone shot. I see your point though.

Agree against the Pats we must be agressive. If there is a trick play or a gamble to use this is the game. The Dolphins should have no bullets left in thier gun so to speak after this game. Also, I agree with them not having a chance late in the game. If there's a chance to take a risk and put it away I would try to do it.

If Miami can win this game and take care of business against the Bills and Jets 99% chance they are playoff bound.

Oh. Bill is a dirty pig. All makes sense now. Kill yourself, or maybe we'll get lucky and one of the black kids will do it for us

Haha...you're a clown, dude

Oh. Bill is a dirty pig. All makes sense now. Kill yourself, or maybe we'll get lucky and one of the black kids will do it for us

Posted by: Marc | December 11, 2013 at 03:16 PM

Wow the gift that just keeps on giving.....so ONLY black kids kill cops??? hmmmm I'm not a racist he says??

The only things I've taken from this. Incognito wasn't very good and a loose cannon. Martin might be a good Tackle one day, and there is a team out there that will give him a shot. He's going to have to convince his team mates he can be trusted. But he won't be playing next to Incognito either. Jeff Ireland is a real question mark. Are any of his draft picks making an impact this year? Jordan, kind of. But then some of his former draft picks and free agent pickups are making an impact. But the o-line is much better. Even Clabo has improved. Glad this thing wasn't systemic, and that it seems to be fading away. GO PHINS!!! Beat the Pats.

Posted by: DC Dolfan | December 11, 2013 at 03:00 PM

Ha ha. Would you like me to talk to American bloggers in my mother tongue... non essere sciocco Traduzione Testo, my friend.

This is an American blog, Im a proud American, the language in this country is still English right ? I came to Miami when I was 9, only my parents speak in Italian, capire ?

You can probably speak more Italiano than me these days my friend. Back to football no ?

Well, maybe a methhead will take you out. Don't think there's too many in NY. I'm cool either way

Now that you mention it, yeah, probably 90% Irish.

What is the deal with them? Incest is clearly an issue with those people, too. Ever been to South Boston? Jesus. It's Appalachia on the Charles River.

Connecticut dolfan--I'm betting those kids are all Irish. They are the epicenter of White Trash culture.

Posted by: chris | December 11, 2013 at 03:21 PM

Is this like pseudo racist world Im stuck in??? Are you all MARC???? Holy Cow!!

Wait Marco you said on an earlier blog that you were from the Falkland Islands??

Well, maybe a methhead will take you out. Don't think there's too many in NY. I'm cool either way

Posted by: Marc | December 11, 2013 at 03:24 PM

Ohhh so wait your not JUST a RACIST but you also support the killing of Law Enforcement....hmmm you truly are a special guy.

Indians and Asians are the least criminally-minded people in this country. Their cultures are totally geared around hard work and education.

Privately, they often look down on Americans as inferior but guess what? They are right.


Marc isn't racist. The term 'RASCIST' gets tossed about way too often my friend, thus sets alarm bells ringing.

When people find out my origins then make hand gestures and do Don Corleone quotes to me, but you can tell when its in good nature or when someone is yanking your chain.

Marc. maybe identifying an accurate or inaccurate social pattern here, you've heard of Hofstede's 5 cultural dimensions right ?

85 try not to get too amped up my friend, Marc is a true Dolphins fan than loves to debate on this noble blog.

The NFL has managed this scandal quite well. One hopes that the NFL does not ask the officials to make sure Miami stays out of the post-season to ensure there are no new stories.

The Dolphins defeated the Jets and Steelers on the road. That's good, but those teams are NOT winning teams or playoff teams this year. This was not like winning at Seattle and Denver. Still, the Dolphins did play much better the past couple of games.

The New England game is a statement game. I actually wish the Patriots were at full strength (as I wish the Dolphins were as well). The Dolphins need to win this game. The last thing anyone wants is for the Dolphins to lose 2 of 3 games and miss the playoffs and a winning season -- and have Ireland return for his 7th year.

It should be a good game on Sunday.

I can not emphasize any more of how extremely important this game is to both sides of this previously elusive spectrum is. But, these are the feelings of little ole' me, so, make of it what you will.

Posted by: Sam I Am | December 11, 2013 at 02:18 PM

I was watching the Heat / Pacers last night and thought the Pacers were over blowing there win against the Champs in Dec. in what amounts to a very long Season yet to play out. Watching the Pacers Lance Stevenson yesterday and you would have thought it was game 7 of the Eastern Championship in June. Gonna attend their re-match next week at the AAA and bring a bag of my kids toy rings to toss on the Court near that guy

(Not kidding in the least!)

That said the Dolphins have on and off for a decade now flirted with having a Championship caliber D weighted down by a BAD O which has hampered their ability to seriously contend with the Pats. I believe it was in 09 when Henne beat them at home in Miami also in Dec. sealed on a C.Crowder pick at the end were you thought, MAYBE, just MAYBE were turning a corner only to have Henne fall flat after a promising start to his career the next few Seasons.

I feel this a different CORE Dolphins group than that one with better across the boards talent, not even close when analyzing potential really. If not for the leaky line and Coaching insistance on a scheme that didn't fit the group just maybe were tied with New England at 9-4 or 8-5. We lost some heart breakers late while the Pats have been just the opposite pulling out improbable win after improbable win.

In being strictly conservative we should be 2 games better and they should be 2 games worse, neither here nor there and don't believe that crazy luck holds for the Pats much longer! This could be the biggest game the franchise has played in a while given some better talent than that 09 team on O and for my money a QB who I felt grew up some last Sunday. For Miami this one has the potential to be a FRANCHISE BUILDER for the future!

I couldn't agree more with your assessment this is the biggest game for what it could mean to this Franchise with this particular core Group regarding the next decade that I've seen played since Marino's 1st career start Vs. the Bills in 83!

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