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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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Yo Jeffy,

Is your momma a hooka?

Some one signed Brenner and left him on the PS during the great sack fest. Philbin had no idea what he had in Brenner until it was almost to late. These football brains running the Dolphins should all be placed on the PS, we need talent evaluators, any idiot can walk the sideline, Brenner should have starting from day one.

"Chad Henne is the 2nd coming of Dan Marino".......Stephen(Clueless)Ross haha

The team is brimming with confidence. As long as RT does not make the one bad play he usually does each game, things should go well. I'm looking forward to a great game today.

thats harsh dragon.not defending anyone but that happens all the time.it usually takes injuries or extreme conditions before these guys actually get a shot at playing.tom brady the best example i can think of.what do you do? start a proven veteran or some unkown 6th round pick or undraftee when your az is on the line.

Theres some cap information in Barry Jackson's column today - $38 million, maybe more. Enough to fill needs if Jeffy does this correctly.

Easy win today. The Pats are just going thru the motions and trying to avoid any more injuries going into the playoffs. Dolphins 27-13.

Theres some cap information in Barry Jackson's column today - $38 million, maybe more. Enough to fill needs if Jeffy does this correctly.

Posted by: NaplesFin | December 15, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Ross is way too cheap to spend the money. Thats just part of the reason the team stinks every year.

looking at espn QB ratings and found some interesting tid bits.RT is #26 overall but its a bit misleading.where the QB money time is RT ranks 7th overall in pass epa which is"clutch weighted expected points added on plays with pass attempts"(which means overall pass effeciency) hes 13 th in run epa.what brings his numbers down is a 29.9 sack epa,shocking to find bradys is similar 23.9 sack epa

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


14-15 J.Philbin Eh?

I hate my son the assshole.

i didnt know they had apes in canada eh.strange brew eh.moron eh.toolbag.eh

another tid bit from the QB ratings RT QB par rating which is "accounting QBR,amount played,points contributed by a QB ranked above an above average QB is a -3.8 and by comparison chad henne is a -25.6//so much for the henne/tanne debate

Terrible posts and posters this morning...

Posted by: Jack! 10.6 | December 15, 2013 at 09:34 AM

Including you.

The only thing that sours a win today is that since 10:00 AM you have the NFL Networks crew already talking that "IF" the Pats lose it will be due to having played with a short deck. In other words even winning today we'll likely get little respect for it. I for one would have preferred Gronk and Dobson played today because I have a feeling that unless our team doesn't have a pulse (and are in reality dead) they should have rolled out of bed today on a mission!

We have the Big-n-Bad Pats at home with Playoff implications on the line, it can't get any bigger in terms of stage for our young team! If we come out for this one flat with little to no emotion then I'll wonder more than I already do about the H.C. in all honesty! I would only remind the players of the stage and Nat'l audience with Sims and Nantz calling the game this week which CBS has headlined.

Keys today are our DL (LIKE IT NEEDS TO BE SAID!) We need Wake and Vernon to show Big but I believe even Bigger would be Odrick and Starks collapsing the pocket back into Brady's face. We've all heard how Talib will shadow Hartline and they'll roll coverage the other way doubling Wallace so aside form Clay we could use an Egnew sighting or Sims breaking down the seam which he's done a few times already this Yr.

I like us 27-17 in this one!!!!!!!!


biggest game for the fins in years

Agree dusty. Huge game and the bulk of the ESPN crew are going with the Pats.

Just the way I want it. I like the underdog status.

Looks like all of the smart money is going on us in Vegas. We've gone from 3 point underdogs to open to 2.5 point favorites. I really hope we can come through.

Until the Ravens lose, there is nothing to get to excited about.

Omar Kelly has also picked the Patriots. Say what you want about Omar but he is 11-2 picking Dolphins games this year. I hope he is wrong.

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