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Keys to the game: Dolphins vs. Patriots

I picked the Dolphins to beat the Patriots in Sunday's Miami Herald.

Simply, I think the loss of Rob Gronkowski is huge. I think Ryan Tannehill is playing well, as I predicted he would, in December. And I'm not sold on the New England run defense.

Consider:

When the Dolphins pass the football: In three career games against the Patriots, Ryan Tannehill has not been very good. He’s completed only 51.8 percent of his passes, has thrown three interceptions, fumbled twice and thrown two touchdowns. He’s also been sacked 16 times which, obviously, is only not solely his fault. The point is if the Dolphins are going to overcome the Beast in the AFC East, Tannehill has to step up his game. The Dolphins expect the Patriots to match Aqib Talib against Brian Hartline and then double and roll coverages with Alfonzo Dennard (if available) and others to Mike Wallace. The problem for New England, the NFL’s No. 16 team against the pass, is that tight end Charles Clay has come into his own and is now a primary weapon in the passing game. Clay had two TD catches last week against Pittsburgh. ADVANTAGE: Even.

When the Dolphins run the football: The Dolphins plowed both the Jets and Steelers running the ball the last two weeks and they are much better against the run than the Patriots. Truth is, practically everyone is better against the run than the Patriots because they lost run-stuff Vince Wilfork, who is out for the year, and they are also ranked 31st in the category among all NFL teams. The question for the Dolphins is not whether they’ll be able to run the football but rather do they have the patience and will to stick with the running game. The answer to that question this year has been sometimes yes, sometimes no, so there’s no telling which version of offensive coordinator Mike Sherman will show up to Sun Life on Sunday. ADVANTAGE: Dolphins.

When the Patriots run the football: If Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniel are smart, and they are, they will try to resolve their team’s 2013 penchant for sleepwalking through the first half of games by playing smash-mouth football against Miami. The Patriots are a good running team – a fact that gets lost in the giant shadow cast by quarterback Tom Brady. The offensive line is good and well coached. The stable of running backs is deep, assuming a couple don’t fumble and get benched for the whole game. And that is why the Pats are No. 13 in the NFL running the ball. The Dolphins are, shall we say, challenged in their run-stopping consistency. Teams have been able to find a soft middle often times this season. This despite the fact Randy Starks, Paul Soliai and Jared Odrick are all having solid seasons. ADVANTAGE: New England.

When the Patriots pass the football: The truth of the matter is the Patriots are lessened by the loss of Rob Gronkowski. Without Gronkowski in the lineup they score fewer points, throw for fewer yards, have less success on third down and in the red zone. And Gronk isn’t getting back in uniform anytime soon after blowing out a knee last week. Aaron Dobson also isn’t going to factor this game so Tom Brady will have to make due with mighty mites Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. Kenbrell Thompkins, a South Floridian, is coming home but because he’s a rookie he does rookie things – which means he’s inconsistent. This group is not to be confused with the 2007 Patriots pass offense. The Dolphins are coming off a game where Ben Roethlisberger carved them up 328 passing yards and three touchdowns. But Brady doesn’t have the Steelers WR corps. ADVANTAGE: Even.

Special teams: Rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis has missed a field goal in six of the Dolphins last eight games. The Dolphins are a better kickoff return team, the Patriots are a better punt return team. Brandon Fields has the advantage at punter but the Patriots do a better job on kickoffs and punt coverage. ADVANTAGE: Even.

Coaching: Joe Philbin has yet to beat Bill Belichick so that is a problem at the moment for the Dolphins. Interestingly, both men handle the press more or less in the same manner, which is to say, they hate them. But that’s where the comparisons kind of end. Belichick has a lot more experience, regular-season success and championships. ADVANTAGE: New England.

Comments

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I actually dated a girl who worked at Hooter's years ago.

She used to tell me it was by far the worst job she ever had. She and the other girls thought most of the guys who came in were complete idiots---especially the ones who got drunk enough to actually think the girls had any interest in them when in reality they made them want to puke.

She also warned me the NEVER eat there. Kitchen was a total pigsty and the food cheap crap.

She OWNS a bar these days and guys who come in rolling like that on the a-hole express get tossed!

Good for her.

Ok I've jinxed us. Bought me a new cap with the dreaded new logo on it. Maybe if we actually become a legit football team they'll go back to the old one in some form.

Bill, Wilson throws the ball really well. Can't argue with how Carroll is bringing him along. He is the only one to back up his fine rookie year.

Posted by: Bodine | December 14, 2013 at 02:22 PM

Good heady competitor now sticking it to all doubters but he also has a very imposing OL led by the best O-Lineman today in Okung. A POWER rungame 3 RB's deep and a D with the best collection of DL in the now 20 Yr. old FA ERA.

As per NFL rules, once a team changes their logo they CANNOT make another change for at least 5 years. It's ironclad.

Personally, I really have zero problem with it and thought it was a needed update from what was, essentially, an anthropomorphic cartoon porpoise that (to me) could have passed for a stuffed children's toy.

Understood many don't feel that way but you may as well get used to it. It isn't changing back.


We are close to becoming a very good team. $39million in cap space....a new OC maybe DC and next year should be a lot of fun.

Posted by: Bill Arnsparger | December 14, 2013 at 01:53 PM


New OC only if it's a VERY SIMILAR wc offense. Frequent change of hc/oc have done more to ruin promising young qb's than anything else, except for the qb being an OUTRIGHT bust himself.

1 Step forward and 2 backwards has never been a winning formula. Bring in a new OC with a TOTALLY different offensive system means it takes Tannehill 2yrs ion the new sytem to get where he is after 2YRS in the present system.

If not fully successful, then we're clamoring for another new OC or qb. Changing either once again, places us 6yrs in, and still no guarantee we would have gotten the RIGHT OC or qb.

I would support changing from Sherman, ONLY IF, his replacement runs a VERY SIMILAR wc system. Do not want to HAMPER Tannehill's progress by having him learn an ENTIRELY NEW offensive system.

Does this make any sense?

need a new qb coach

Tannehill is the worst QB in the league on 3rd downs and in the 4th quarters. He also has well documented accuracy issues on the medium to deep routes. I think its safe to say he isnt the answer at QB.

Makes sense to me, Sam.

Look, fans are by nature the most impatient and rash creatures on the planet. "Stability" and "patience" are almost dirty words to many of them.

Yet, you look around at the traditionally successful franchises--those that sick with a plan (and with their people) over the long haul and you find they are the ONLY ones who see sustained success, even with the inevitable valleys that will occur.

Think of the teams that almost always have the most boring and uneventful offseasons. The Pats, the Giants, the Steelers, etc. They almost never go on wild spending sprees and just quietly focus on the draft. And then you have guys like Dan Snyder who BEHAVE like a fan and think there's always a quick fix on the horizon.

That approach does NOT work. Certainly not over the long haul.

The worst thing any franchise or owner can do is start reacting the way a fan does and just want constant upheaval and change. There is no better way to guarantee perpetual mediocrity--or worse--than that approach.

A new QB will help more than a new OC.

Russel Wilson was the steal of his draft. Looks like he is even better than Andrew Luck.

their will be no changes next year.


the team is improving.

Bodine RG3 was like every other run first QB....they never make it in the NFL. RG3 is basically a hard working Jamarcus Russell....in fact the Raiders love his type and would most likely give the Redskins 2 number 1's for him right now!!

Posted by: Bill Arnsparger | December 14, 2013 at 02:16 PM

I disagree here, I see more of a young Vick in RG3's game than Purple drank Russell's with the exception that RG3 really looks downfiled while Vick was more about the run but make NO mistake this kid when healthy (now I'm not sure he can get all the way back with the same explosion) can play. I have a sinking suspicion that Wilson and the Hawks are a good money bet to end the theory surrounding the multi-athletic QB anyway.

The game is evolving in a way that suits the need for the mobile, roll the pocket passer. The evolution of the 3/4's multi faceted zone blitzing is now common place in all 32 NFL Cities even the few 4/3 teams using these BLITZES when not shooting the LB's in the A-Gap. It's like everything in life the playing field shifts and you must counter to be Offensively effective. The key to these QB's is diagnosing which one can incorporate effective 60% plus into their Completion %. This is were they all fall flat because they don't develope the skill always looking to escape the pocket.

I believe that Dan Snyder (proving again to be the biggest cancer in the History of Sports owners in general outside Big Stein before 96) is once again attempting to prove the theory that money doesn't solve everything! He has run one of the premier NFL Franchises into the ground. He has final say in FA's and the draft as it's now common knowledge that sending 3 #1's for RG3 was his call.

The pressure to play him late last Season was a BIG mistake that Shannahan was bullied into by an owner self imposing alot of power in the Locker room on a wet behind the ears 22 Yr. old. Everything about the way he's being handled since the tail end of last Season seems a catastrophic error and it falls on Snyder's feet! I believe that RG3 and his now BIG head have been grossly miss-managed by all involved but starting at the very top!

Bill,

Winning is everything. I don't think it's fair to judge WIlson by what he can't do if what he can do is win games. Can't argue with results.

I'd take Dan Snyder over Steve Ross anyday of the week. At least he tries and isnt cheap about it.

Personally, I really have zero problem with it and thought it was a needed update from what was, essentially, an anthropomorphic cartoon porpoise that (to me) could have passed for a stuffed children's toy.

Understood many don't feel that way but you may as well get used to it. It isn't changing back.

Posted by: Looks OK To Me | December 14, 2013 at 02:33 PM

In honesty I agree and I'm a traditional lifer! I also liked bringing back the aqua pants we've rarely worn since the Marino ERA. I suspect they wore them so they wouldn't be all in white last week in Pitt. but I liked the look.

I don't think RG3 every gets his slinky legs back. Watching Justin Tuck catch him from behind was enough to see how much speed he as lost. It only takes a few milliseconds to be the difference between fast and too slow.

I would support changing from Sherman, ONLY IF, his replacement runs a VERY SIMILAR wc system. Do not want to HAMPER Tannehill's progress by having him learn an ENTIRELY NEW offensive system.

Does this make any sense?

Posted by: Sam I Am | December 14, 2013 at 02:35 PM

I agree here as well, I would like to see better design out of our formations and more innovative routes but he is best served staying within the system although Sherman and his son-in-law now our QB Coach could use improving upon. I understand making Tannehill a pocket passer and the work in progress of it all but I now 2 Yrs. in you watch and freeze a play look at our formations and can as a fan more or less diagnose what's coming, UNACCEPTABLE!

Posted by: fin4life | December 14, 2013 at 02:54 PM

And Tannehill was Ross's call. Lets not be a hypocrite.

I don't buy the OC/DC talk. Most of them all know the same thing. When you win games nobody every questions them. When you lose games I blame execution more than the coordinators. Even Marino complained about his OC. I don't think any other OC would have gotten him a ring.

Posted by: paul g. | December 14, 2013 at 02:44 PM


Exactly, can not run an NFL franchise like a change over from breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus.

Change usually carry both benefit and consequence. But first you had better be 100% sure the consequence does not OUTWEIGH its benefits. We're all human, there is not a such thing as a "PERFECT" anything.

As long as we're all human, we'll all err. Just some more than most.

People are criticizing Sherman. His last game plan just beat maybe the best DC in the history of NFL, with a patchwork line, second string back and young QB. He did his job in my book.

It's great to see that Tannehill has gotten better as the year's progressed. He's really showing some great poise and I look forward to seeing him continue his growth as a QB. If he throws for 230 yards and 2tds over the next 3 games he will eclipse the 4000 yards and 25 td mark.

He could actually end the season with 4010 yards, 26tds, and hopefully no more than 16 ints (he has 14 now). That would be a season no one expected except maybe Sherman. The kid's getting better each week, progress is the key.

That being said I don't see the Dolphins winning tomorrow unless the defense plays the best game of the year. I don't think they will but we'll see. If they can't stop Brady I don't think Tannehill can carry the team at this point in his career. Meaning, I don't see him going toe to toe with Brady matching every td. We're talking hall of fame qb Tom Brady against the sophomore Ryan Tannehill. Not many young QBs beat Tom Brady.

Phins, how many more times can you say

I don't,

I don't

I don't.

You sound like a worry wart. Enjoy the teams success without dampening every nuance of it with worries.

People easily get swayed by the hype. Well nobody saw the Chargers beating Denver the other night. None of these teams are invincible. We can beat any of them on a good day.

Posted by: Shula 73 | December 14, 2013 at 03:04 PM

stfu you stupid idiot that post doesn't even make sense. What a ridiculous moron. Keep hiding you pos.

Now the obligatory "Phins says people shouldn't call each other names".

YOU'RE NOT PEOPLE. You are a blog cancer that needs to be removed and you know it. Lucky for you the Herald doesn't give a F#@K, it's the only reason you are allowed to repeat your nonsensical statements every day you f$#@ing low life Jets fan. I'll call you every name in the book until you leave here for good because you ABSOLUTELY deserve it trolltard. Go fool around with your Sanchez blow up doll, do something useful for a change. GTFO of my teams site you coward.

Posted by: Phins78 | December 14, 2013 at 03:19 PM

This is the same guy that constantly tells others to ignore the trolls, he laughs at them for responding to the trolls, calling them idiots for responding to the trolls.

What does he himself do more than anyone but odinstank?

Respond to the trolls.

Posted by: Advice | December 14, 2013 at 03:14 PM

Here's some advice for you , go f$#k yourself. Hope that helps Shula73 and every other name you use. Have a nice night you fat lazy piece of crap.

Posted by: fin4life | December 14, 2013 at 02:54 PM

And Tannehill was Ross's call. Lets not be a hypocrite.

Posted by: Shula 73 | December 14, 2013 at 03:04 PM

I believe when taking into account that Ross passed on Big name Coaches and the Hot commodity that was Harbaugh in favor of Ireland it seemed to prove that the Owner had Faith in his GM. My point is I believe that Ireland gave the new Coaches their pick in Tannehill. I'm not sold given the Parcillian way that Ireland takes the #1 flier on what was deemed a project and Ross given his faith in him would have probably followed suit. So disagree with your assessment here.

Posted by: Phins78 | December 14, 2013 at 03:10 PM


I really do not see as Brady vs Tannehill. There will be 2 qb's on the playing field Sunday trying to execute their offenses to the best of their abilities, within the confines of their offensive systems. There will be 2 OPPOSING DEFENSES trying to throw a cog into this.

Neither qb's can contribute to this by beating THEMSELVES. The surest way to do this is by making BAD DECISIONS or costly fumbles.

Other than this, ALL THINGS WILL BE EQUAL. One team's defense or st's will operate slightly less efficient than the other. This will be the TEAM and QB most likely to claim victory at game's end.

A great man once said, "The greatest enemy one will ever face, is the one called himself". We are our own greatest advisory in life in all we do.

You sound like a worry wart. Enjoy the teams success without dampening every nuance of it with worries.

Posted by: Advice | December 14, 2013 at 03:14 PM

Here's the uneducated tard trying to sound smart. You obviously have no clue what the word nuance means, I wonder what state you live in that you could be so uneducated. I'm off to have fun, have a great time hanging in a blog with strangers Mary. lmao

Time to go. The turds are beginning floating to backwards in here. Enjoy the rest of your afternoon people.

BLAH BLAH BLAK BLAH Eh?
Stupid homers Eh?

Trolls 3, Phag78 0

Isn't this around the time that geriatric, delusional odin shows up in the desperate hope that somebody, ANYBODY (even if he has to make them up) will be entertained by his woeful attempts at humor and sad, fabricated tales of sexual conquest?

Because, hey, as everyone knows there is NOTHING a young "hottie" is craving more than a decaying, middle aged guy who dries a tow truck. It makes them feel like Cinderella.

Phins78 = Village Idiot


Trolls 3, Phag78 0

Posted by: Score Card | December 14, 2013 at 03:34 PM

LOL

Enjoy the teams success without dampening every nuance of it with worries.

Posted by: Advice | December 14, 2013 at 03:14 PM

Here's the uneducated tard trying to sound smart. You obviously have no clue what the word nuance means, I wonder what state you live in that you could be so uneducated.

Posted by: Phins78 | December 14, 2013 at 03:24 PM
==========================

I hate to break it to you PhinIdiot, but the word nuance is used correctly here. You are the uneducated one.

Posted by: fin4life | December 14, 2013 at 02:54 PM

And Tannehill was Ross's call. Lets not be a hypocrite.

Posted by: Shula 73 | December 14, 2013 at 03:04 PM

I believe when taking into account that Ross passed on Big name Coaches and the Hot commodity that was Harbaugh in favor of Ireland it seemed to prove that the Owner had Faith in his GM. My point is I believe that Ireland gave the new Coaches their pick in Tannehill. I'm not sold given the Parcillian way that Ireland takes the #1 flier on what was deemed a project and Ross given his faith in him would have probably followed suit. So disagree with your assessment here.
Posted by: fin4life | December 14, 2013 at 03:22 PM

Its a fact dummy. Guess you never read the news.

Ross didn't pass on Harbaugh! Harbaugh never had any intention of coming here. He just used Ross as leverage. Harbaugh was staying in California.

Steven Ross pushing Dolphins to draft Ryan Tannehill

NFL.com Staff | Tags: 2012 NFL Draft, Miami Dolphins, Mike Sherman, Ryan Tannehill, Stephen Ross


Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is the driving force behind the team’s interest in selecting Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the No. 8 overall pick in this week’s NFL draft, a league source told ProFootballTalk.com on Sunday.

Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman was Tannehill’s college coach at Texas A&M. But it’s Ross who’s making the push.

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King wrote on Monday that a source called him to say the original report from ProFootballTalk.com was correct, and Ross wants his team to select Tannehill.

THE DOLPHINS GOTTA RUN THE BALL..BECAUSE YOU CAN..AND THROW DEEP ON TALIB..HE'S GREAT ON UNDERNEATH STUFF CAUSE OF HIS LONG ARMS..BUT ON DEEP ROUTES HE CAN'T RUN..REMEMBER WHEN HARTLINE BEAT HIM EASY ON A OVERTHROW LAST YEAR.ALSO THE ONLY GUY THAT CAN SNEEK DEEP FOR THE PATS IS BOYCE..WHY?YOUNG LEGS..THE OTHER GUYS ARE UNDERNEATH WR'S..YOU CAN BET CHICKEN GEORGE'S RELATIVE IS GONNA GET SOME TOUCHES..ALSO WATCH OUT FOR RIDLEY...HE GETS BENCHED FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS AND THAN COMES IN AND PLAYS HARD..HE HAS BEEN A DOLPHIN KILLER ..NOBODY SEEMS TO TALK ABOUT.TIME TO PUT THE GREEDY PATS AND THERE FANS AWAY TILL NEXT SEASON...GO DOLPHINS 34 24!

More evidence that Stephen Ross wants Ryan Tannehill

Posted by Evan Silva on April 25, 2012, 11:09 AM EST

Citing a league source, Florio reported on Sunday night that owner Stephen Ross is “pushing hardest” in the Dolphins’ building for the team to draft Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the No. 8 overall pick.

A day later, SI.com’s Peter King confirmed in his Monday Morning Quarterback column that Ross indeed wants Tannehill.

Fanning the flame on Wednesday was Adam Schefter of ESPN, who appeared on Mike & Mike in the Morning and re-re-confirmed that Ross wants the Dolphins to draft Tannehill.

“I have heard — as has been reported — that the owner does want the quarterback,” Schefter said. “… It will be interesting to see how this plays out, if Stephen Ross does in fact get what he wants and exerts his will and says ‘we want this guy.

Only an naive fool would believe anything in the nonsense press.

Ross didn't pass on Harbaugh! Harbaugh never had any intention of coming here. He just used Ross as leverage. Harbaugh was staying in California.

Posted by: True B Dat | December 14, 2013 at 04:21 PM

Exactly!! Phins 78 is very mixed up.

Looky here...it is written in the newspaper! Must be true!

Not.


Most writers are lazy. They have a deadline for a story. They will inflate any bit of gossip to get their column written. Didn't we here only two weeks ago Donald Thomas was done for the season?

In the tight knit clan of sports writers, they just feed off each others gossip. Never are they accountable for the truth.

Ok people, it's like this; the dolphins have lost about 60 games in the last ten years by 3 points or less in the past ten years. This is a no brainer; score more points quickly. This is how the patriots have been winning so many games over the years. However, this philosophy was invented by the great Dan Marino! It did not matter who his receivers were, he knew how to get the most POINTS out of all of them! In every game, whoever scores the most points, ALWAYS win the game. If the dolphins had not score 30 points last week, they would have lost that game by less than a touchdown too. This why I was so animate about a qb who can get the team into the end zone regularly. If the dolphins could get the ball to Wallace and Matthews in stride, the dolphins can put all of their remaining games out of reach in the first half. Remember, this is what the Patriots did when they almost went undefeated. They simply outscored everyone! If Tannehill cannot get the deep throw right, we may have to bring in Moore or Devlin because I know they can make the deep throw in stride. One more time Tannehill; "when you throw the deep ball, you have to throw it high so that it drops down and Wallace and Mattews can catch it in stride. Tannehill the ball should be out of your hand within 2.5 seconds on the deep ball. Tannehill is waiting too long to throw the deep ball. Tannehill needs to understand that the higher he throws the deep ball ball, the sooner it can be thrown. The height gives a speedy receiver time to run under it and catch it in stride. I am batting a thousand in my advice. In other words, I have never been wrong so far! Perhaps, I will be compensated for my contributions.

By Jason Lisk April 23, 2012 4:35 pm ET


Last night, Pro Football Talk reported that Miami owner Stephen Ross is the person pushing hardest in the organization for Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill.

Ireland said everyone, coaches, scouts were All-In for Tannehill. He also said he was sweating bullets when someone, I think the Cowboys, moved up to #6. I don't think Jeff is that good of an actor to go through all that if it wasn't true.

If it's on the internet it must be true Eh?
Stupid homers Eh?

The press also convinced ignorant gullible Americans that Iraq was behind 911. If they can trick the public into war, imagine how easy it is to pass off gossip as truth on the sports pages.

Too easy.

It was widely reported and common knowledge that Tannehill was picked by Ross. Not a bad pick so far.

Monte is a reliable source.

When you have Ireland as GM you dont mind your owner meddling LOL

Posted by: True B Dat | December 14, 2013 at 04:39 PM

Sorry, but I think I'll take 4 different reporters facts over yours!! LMAO!!

These pretend fans are getting pretty desperate trying to discredit T-hill. You are laughable not knowledgeable. That guy has been great as of late especially since the Oline has protected him better and running game has helped. You guys just can't deal with realities. LOL

4 different reporters. They all drink together and bang the same ho's. They each make each others story more credible. Wake up.

NFL Draft: Miami Owner Stephen Ross Wants Ryan Tannehill, But Will He Give the Ultimatum to Take Him?


By Jason Lisk April 23, 2012 4:35 pm ET

Hey, don't take my word on anything.

But I do suggest you learn a little bit about how the media works. You will be very surprised...and disappointed. They play the media for fools and succeed all to often.


Posted by: True B Dat | December 14, 2013 at 04:39 PM

Sorry, but I think I'll take 4 different reporters facts over yours!! LMAO!!

Posted by: YIKES | December 14, 2013 at 04:42 PM

LOL

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