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Don't expect sympathy, seek the silver lining

The New England Patriots are down a lot of talent today.

Vince Wilfork and Sebastian Volmer went to the injured reserve list long ago. Rob Gronkowski went to the injured reserve list this week. As I reported last night, the team downgraded two wide receivers from questionable to out for Sunday's meeting with the Dolphins. And backup right tackle Marcus Cannon may not play so they'll be using their third-stringer against Cameron Wake.

We all feel sorry for them ...

... Said no one.

The nature of the NFL is teams lose talent they counted on. The Dolphins lost Dustin Keller and Brandon Gibson.

And no one felt sorry for them.

The Dolphins lost Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin in the NFL's most publicized scandal of the year. And no one felt sorry for them.

But the Dolphins have risen out of that scandal. They have done what good teams with depth and heart do when they lose talent. They overcome. The find a silver lining to the storm.

And as I write in my column in Sunday's Miami Herald, there is a face to that silver lining for the Dolphins: Sam Brenner.

I tell you the improbable journey of the rookie and Brenner talks about what drives him.

As to what kind of player he is ...

“I’d say I’m a scappy guy. But at the same time, you can’t play this game and be dumb," Brenner told me last week. "You have to use your mind to excel. So I take aspects of both of those things into my game."

The amazing thing about the jettisoning of Incognito and Martin is that the offensive line is actually performing better without them. No, the line is not grading out better individually. No, they are not more talented.

But the sum of the parts seems to be an upgrade over the unit that included Martin and Incognito. Even coach Joe Philbin agrees.

"Well, we’re pleased with the way the guys are playing right now," he said. "There’s certainly still a lot of room for improvement out of our guys who are playing right now and we really haven’t sat back and said we’re playing a lot better this week than we did in week six or seven or eight.  I think there’s been some improvement, the guys seem to be working well together, this group that we have out there and that obviously has to continue on Sunday."

A silver lining out of a dark cloud.


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Every team has injuries, so boo hoo for the patsies.

good article on sam brenner, maybe it was devine intervention, maybe the stars that came into alignment that brought philbin to miami had something to do with sam brenner, maybe those same stars made philbin our coach who would inturn insert brenner into the lineup who's team would then win the superbowl....

There isn't a team in the league that scares me this year. We should be able to play with any of them.

Posted by: TruthhurTs | December 15, 2013 at 05:31 AM

Have you forgotten we lost to winless Tampa and worse to the Bills with a 5th string QB making his first start?

Yeah..Mando time to put a beat down on the Pats. They have no excuses and neither do we. We don't like stinkin excuses.

Brenner has done a fantastic job. No two ways about it.

Spector quit being a simpleton you troll. The week before the Bucs almost took down the Hawks and they did beat the Lions. Of course you lose some games in the NFL no thinks you should...Example no one thought the Chargers would beat the Broncos but it happens in this league. That's why they play the games on the field.

Truth, troll this....a 5th string QB making his first on the worst team in our division beats us? You conveniently don't comment on that. Don't blame me if your points are not objective.

Due to the inconsistency of both individual players and team; the Incognito-Martin scandal; questionable draft and free agent acquisitions and suspect coaching, it has become virtually impossible to quantify the 2013 Dolphins at this juncture.

As there is no higher validation than winning, then today's head-to-head battle against the Patriots should provide insight as to the future of many individuals in Miami and the future of this team. A home loss against the injury-riddled New England team will not be well tolerated by fans and cast a pall over the entire organization.

Worst team and winless because of Josh Freeman. Who cares what string QB he was...like it matters?..you guys get so caught in silliness. It was Glennon and he is good qb with some skills. I like that guy.

That team was surging and as I said before the game we need to be careful because they jumped on the Hawks early. I didn't like the matchup in the midst of our false scandal. Did I think the Phins would win yes...but they gave the Hawks all they could handle too and you will lose in this league to teams with worse records.

questionable draft and free agent acquisitions and suspect coaching,

Posted by: billcale | December 15, 2013 at 07:13 AM

What are you talking about? Were we supposed to acquire 22 new pro bowl players in the offseason? We had a fluke situation with the line. Here comes Brenner out of nowhere. Draft, FA, Coaching, are all doing just fine. We have a shot to win 4 out of our last 5 games today. How many teams can say that?

If the Fins pull out a win today, then we can say their officially on a "hot" streak heading into the playoffs!
But they'll have to take care of business against the inferior Bills & Jets!!
Then anything can happen come playoff time...

Questionable draft?

Vernon 3rd rounder playing like 1st rounder
Clay 6th rounder playing like a 1st rounder
Carroll, 5th rounder playing like a 2nd rounder
Keller and Gibson two outstanding FA acquisitions, unfortunately hurt.

Some of you have totally unrealistic expectations.

billcale..Huh? It's actually not that difficult to quantify...we are playing well with momentum, confidence and the right team first attitude. We are in contention for the playoffs in December...Hello?

Don't forget about my man FA Grimes...He could be the key to the whole defense. We haven't had this kind of consistent corner play in a long time. That guy can match up with anyone in the league. WTH were the Falcons thinking by the way? Unrealistic expectations absolutely but willfully ignorant too.

Reading the last blog about the Pats 2 young WR's being out and then seeing a lot of our regular, usually open minded posters predicting a Fins victory, was starting to make me nervous.

I kind of prefer the us against the world, under the radar type of vibe.

But then I began to think along the lines of this post by Mando. Hey we've had our trials and tribulations as well.

Armando mentioned Gibson and Keller and bullygate but he didn't mention Patterson who really hasn't been healthy all year and now out for the season. Or Misi, Wake, and of course Daniel Thomas who have battled injuries.

While a part of me would like the opportunity for us to beat a completely healthy Patriots team, the other says heck I wish Brady was out too. We just need a W!!

Don't fall into the trap Dolphins. This is the Patriots and Bellicek will have them ready one way or the other.

Go Fins!!!

I have posted all season that I feel that we have plenty of talent on this team,even though we lost some key people in Keller and Gibson. But Clay,Mathews,Jordan,Brenner,etc, have filled in nicely. My only complaint has been with the coaching,and especially the head coach. Poor clock management,poor play callng both offense and defense,have lost us at least three games this year!

Finally someone has realized that the offensive line is a unit and has to play as one.The individual positions are you guessed it the ones where the players line up separately or need to get separation to do their job,Qb,Wr,Te,Rb.

what a hugeeeeeeeee game. how fun is this gonna be

They are over there circling the wagons it's them against the world. We gotta respond with good smart aggressive play upfront on both sides of the ball. Nothing cheap !! Phins Up!!!

not sure about that, pats for what everyone is saying about them has the number one seed in the afc currently. sure doesnt look bleak to me for them

Truthhurts is a delusional homer. Of course he lacks objectivity.

truth u and about everyone else in here was ripping me when i was screaming for fins to sign grimes. told ya u would love him

Dolphins = four wins in their last ten games.

dolphins = 7 wins last 13

What's hugeeeeeeee ?

dusty bottoms thinks watching football is "fun"

How depraved.

lol didnt think u had an answer

7 outta 13 is something to brag about ?

Damn that's sad lol.

fins have 2 wins in last 2 games go finsssssssss

dusty no That's not true...I was ripping no one about signing Grimes. Maybe you are confusing me with some of the pretend fans. He was like a #3 corner by PFF.

FireRoss do you have some game today? That would be surprising. Let's see it. What have you got other than trollish non sense?

We're Dolphin fans FIRE ROSS we haven't had much to get excited about. What's your excuse???

Hey dusty ask the Giants if getting into the playoffs winning 9 of 16 games...is something to brag about...this is the biggest game in 5 years...try to leave all the negativity on hold...

rick must be a jets fan

This is the NFL it is HARD to win every...single...week...the Pats are coming to play...and play HARD...this will be NO easy game...throw in the biased officials...and you never know what's going to happen...

Like the attitude of the team all week. Do not accept the aura of the patriots as just another team. Been a long time since I have been this excited for a regular season game.

get over the officials for once. bad teams always make excuses with officials

I hope it doesn't rain on our parade today. It's raining here in central Florida right now.

rick we should pound the ball all day down there throat

Pats at 7 in a row against the Phins...3 and a half years...c'mon Dolphins...the time is NOW!!! Today...this field...punch the Patsies in the MOUTH and send them reeling!!!

truth u and about everyone else in here was ripping me when i was screaming for fins to sign grimes. told ya u would love him

Posted by: dusty bottoms | December 15, 2013 at 09:00 AM

You were ripping me for advocating winning. Calling me an idiot. You wanted to lose out for draft picks. Are you disappointed we have a great shot at the playoffs?

p.s. I don't expect an apology LOL

If you can't see it you're as blind as your usual dumbassed post...

Ridley is the one that scares me the most...I keep seeing what Sproles did to us...we must contain him...

Clearly, the Fins are not good. Yet. They are middling and improving. Which beats earlier in the year when they seemed to be regressing.

Even though teams like the Broncos would wipe their azzz with aqua and orange TP, this team has become fun to watch in the last couple of games. Even Tannehill, who still has some proving to do (e.g. Long ball accuracy), has shown grit and determination and, yes, improvement.

Sherman is still a weinie. Philbin is still not terribly innovative and not very good at clock management... Not to mention singularly boring. But he continues to be a nice guy and his team is winning.

I still truly dislike Ireland and he has made some awful choices over the years. However, some of his acorns are showing their stuff - overachieving perhaps? - but impressive. I will likely never like the man as he has publicly shown he lacks character, but that doesn't mean he hasn't done at least an acceptable job of putting talent on the field.

Overall, we as fans are being entertained and there is some reason, as of this morning, for hope. Of course, if NE beats them, it'll be back to the ripping, as bipolar as this fan base is. Of course, the last decade+ has made us that way.

Here's to a fun day of football!

you cant fire the owner stupid.and why must you yell your name,him with the lil guy syndrome.a lot of hate and anger there.its just football stupid

Terrible posts and posters this morning...just like last night...came back in here for the biggest game of the year...its been typical around here...

brenner > ingognito..the guys always down the field hitting someone on running plays and is decent at pass protection.#65 very active,a pleasant suprise indeed .good write up mando

Pitiful referees will try to help NE specially today in view of "all" the injuries they have. Pusies, Brady and Bellishit will try to use all the chicannery and tricks they have under the sleeves to come out with a victory. More than ever Philbin has to challenge the bad calls that we're about to see today.
The Dolphins need a win badly and give a lesson to the revolting Patriots. They have to play game by game, and avoid thinking about playoffs.

ridley?? hes third string now vereen is da man

WTF? NE was favored by 2 1/2 and now we are favored by 1. LV not sure, so much has been going on....

oscar some sites even have miami favored now, not good. underdog much better

oh yea anyone else notice when the fins run that read option no one keys in on the qb ever,there is yards for the taking for ryan .he is alot quicker than he looks,keep the ball and take off man

yes jaws we noticed all one time they ran it

Why is being underdog better, dusty, except for those who like to compete from that position?

never good when lines moves that much. all the casual bettors taking miami that means


The Pats are decimated and a skeleton of their former team. Fins 28 Pats 17.

just win baby. careless about score

The Dolphins offensive line has been much better and all that really tells us is that Martin was not that good at either position he played, but give Brenner and the rest of the guys credit especially the games without Pouncey.
Go FIns kick some serious ass please and not be a nail biter !!!!!!

scott win or lose u know this game is coming down to 4th qt and will be close. most every nfl game is

um dusty have you been watching?they run that play at least 3-5 times a game and ALWAYS hand to the RB (maybe why you havent noticed)so ill take your apology and move on

nbo they didnt, he faked to rb and took off for a 45 yard or so run

i know that ,the one time he kept it in the pitt game obviously,im talking if you look at the other times(other games) they have run that play in the past if RT would have kept it instead of handing off the holes for the qb look way bigger and the opposing D always keys in on the RB and has no one assigned to the QB

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