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Mike Sherman defends abandoning the run

The Dolphins abandoned the run on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, seeing the nine runs he called in the first half not working all that well, basically abandoned the idea of running the ball in the second half.

The Dolphins called only three run plays in the second half.

And Sherman believes that was the way to go.

“I just did not feel at any point that of those 12 carries our longest run was three yards," Sherman said Monday. "We really haven’t had many explosive runs this year which is not good, we need to continue to build towards that.  A lack of productivity in the run game caused me to veer off into another direction."

And this is where the words sound fine but the logic is simply absent.

The run game wasn't working for the Dolphins so Sherman went in another direction.

Did he go in another direction when the passing game stunk? Or did he keep calling passing plays?

By abandoning the run, Sherman thought he was doing what was best for the Dolphins. Wrong. He was playing right into the hands of the Buffalo Bills.

The Bills wanted the Dolphins to pass the football. They were praying the Dolphins would pass. You know why?

The Bills lead the NFL in sacks. The Dolphins lead the NFL in sacks allowed. The only way the Bills were going to collect more sacks and build on the momentum those plays deliver is by having the Dolphins throw the football. And Sherman obliged.

Another thing: The Bills are not a good run-defense. They were ranked No. 26 in the NFL against the run. So by abandoning the run, Sherman was declining to attack the weakest part of the Bills defense.

And all this happened in a game where the score was 13-0 with over six minutes to play. So it is not as if the Dolphins were totally out of this game and needed to pass out of desperation.

Look, the Dolphins are passing team. I get that. They throw the football more than any other NFL team save one. Despite this, Sherman claims he believes in balance.

“Believe it or not, my history has always been with the run game," he said. "There is a definite place for it, as well as the pass game. You’re talking about post season play, people are going to defend what you do the best.  If you can’t keep them from having numbers to take away your run game by being able to throw it, then you’re going to have a tough time running it.  Because a of weather situations that you may face and the grunt and grind of it all you have to be able to run the football, I think to be successful.

"To be successful in the playoffs I believe this too and people are going to stop what you do best, if you’re a really good running team you can’t throw the football and capitalize on situations where there is an overpopulated box then you’re going to have a tough time too. I think you have to be able to do both and you have to be able to have balance."

To be able to do both you have to commit to both. The suggestion the Dolphins are committed to running the ball is a joke.

Running the ball requires persistence. It doesn't always work. It doesn't always work early. Teams that do it well stay with it.

The Dolphins don't stay with it. And not surprisingly, they don't do it well. 


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Only way to fix this 4-3 run defense is find another huge DT to play along side Soliai. Ala the days of Bowens/Gardner. Both Starks and Peewee Herman are smallish for 4-3 run stop D.

We may have our dumbest DC since the days of Olivadotti, in Coyle. This easily a top 10 nfl defense if Coyle had a brain.

He's never been a dc. Only a db coach. Too many damn GREENHORNS running this organization. Beginning with Ross/Ireland, all the way down to Kevin Coyle.

The worst move for the fins was letting Karlos Dansby go. Dansby has been awesome with the Cardinals. There were many fans on this blog that wanted Dansby out of here. You have to be careful what you wish for. We all congratulated Dashi as he said before it happened that Dansby and Burnett would be released. Looking back we see that was the wrong move now. As it turns out Phillip Wheeler can not hold Dansby's jock strap.

Posted by: Orlando Dolphan | December 23, 2013 at 08:17 PM

I never would have imagined anybody would find little boy dashi's comments interesting enough to even remember them.

Is it too much to ask Wallace to get at least 1 jump ball from the underthrows? I see receivers catch underthrown balls all the time. Just 1!!!! I mean this one rolled around on his chest for seems like 5 or 10 seconds. I thought this one was the one, but, alas, no.

Mando, The Bills are a match-up nightmare for us. Pressure up the middle against Brenner. Did you really think he was strong enough to play this year?

You said we would win because Tannehill was better than their QB. Don't be mad because you were wrong. It's the NFL

All we can do is hope this staff figures out how to make these square pegs fit into round holes before they join the many who failed before them as ex Fins coaches and its do over 6.0.

Though I wonder how come we can't build an o-line in 6 years, the reason for the o-line failing this year is easy to see. The most puzzling thing to me is why we can't stop the run this year after its been one of the few strengths the past 4 or 5 years.

Only three changes in the run D this year. Ellerbe, Wheeler, and Vernon in place of Odrick. Maybe Starks's attitude??? I don't get it.

How many columns have we seen this season that start with "Mike Sherman Defends...." ?

Guy is an idiot

Guy is an idiot

Posted by: Franchise On The Rise | December 23, 2013 at 08:36 PM

Well he is smart enough to get an elite position as an OC in the NFL and make way more than you ever will.


That is a great name Tom Olivadotti, lol. That guy took a beating down here from the fans. Yes, I agree that coyle is the worst DC this team has had since Olivadotti. Mike Nolan left this guy a top 10 defense that was stout. It was a 3-4 unit that was top 5 against the run. Now they are soft and the LBs seem to always be out of position. With the offense playing the way it has this year, if Mike Nolan was still the DC we would probably have 2 or 3 more wins. Coyle has destroyed this defense.

Posted by: Orlando Dolphan | December 23, 2013 at 08:30 PM

Huge difference, Soliai's impact in a 3-4 vs 4-3 stopping the run. In the 3-4, he's right over the center, making it tough to run into the A or B gap without doubling him, because the center can't block him one on one.

In the 4-3, he's lined up over the guard, you don't have to double him unless running to his side. Run away from him and he has no impact at all.

On the other side of him, the smaller Starks and peewee herman(Odrick) are much easier to RUN AT when you have big physical guards. In the 4-3, if you do not have to double either DT, the center has a FREE RUN at your MLB in the run game.

Bill Belicheat would put Misi at inside Lb and put Jordon at outside LB and more Jelani Jenkins... That's how he rolls. He is not afraid to rock the boat. I saw him bench Hightower a couple weeks ago. He makes adjustments with what he has instead of standing pat. I live in Patriot country and hate them but .....I will say everyone on his team knows he's not afraid to bench any player that doesn't carry his weight. He's not afraid to try different things with his personnel. Wheeler would be riding the pine by now.

Posted by: sirKa | December 23, 2013 at 08:31 PM

I have pretty good memory. Plus it was a pretty big deal the day that they signed Ellerbe and Wheeler. The blog exploded with people giving Dashi props for calling it before it happened. Unfortunately for him those moves have turned out to be pretty bad. We would have been better off with Burnett and Dansby.

I will make this statement. Playoffs or not, under contract or not, someone if not the whole darn lot would be fired if we lose to the Jets at home Sunday, if I owned the team.

It would show pure regression instead of progression and a lack of desire.

As much as I don't want to I'll give them the loss to Buffalo on the road in poor conditions after an emotional victory.

But you cannot lose to the Jets at home after spanking them in their house just a few weeks ago. Especially when you have to win to have any chance at the playoffs.

Coyle's INEXPERIENCE as a DC is obviously GLARING. No EXPERIENCED DC would try running a 4-3 D with personnel better suited for 3-4 or vice versa.

Obviously Coyle is in over his head as a DC. In a 4-3 defense, Your 2 DT's and MLB are you main run stop personnel. These 3 positions had better be of optimum performers. ALA, Bowens/Garner/Zack Thomas. The can not be non optimum performers.

If Rex is not interested in the defensive job we should give what ever Mr Nolan wants to come back here from Atlanta and sort out what should be in the top five Defense in the League!!....

I hate coach's who's philosophy is this is what we do and we will keep doing it until we are very good at it. That is the one thing I admire about bill Belicheat. Every time you play him you never know what kind of a wrinkle you will see. It gives o-Coordinators fits and makes them adjust to you.

Why are we standing pat and let o-coordinators have their way? Why not throw something knew at them?

Philbin will never hire Sexy Rexy. You think he was threatened by Dansby's personality ??????


This is why I don't blame Ireland as much as others do. When Ross fired Sparano, Ireland had to re-do this entire roster to accommodate Philbin. Coyle came in and the players he had were not suited to play a 4-3 defense. His OL went for big maulers to now finesse OL. The OL took a step back along with the defense. This is why I think Ireland and Philbin need more time. I just wish they had kept the 3-4 defense we had with Nolan. If it is not broke don't fix it.

J. Long...congratulations you made it to week 16 before going on IR for the consectutive 3 rd year in row. ACL & MCL tear.

The question was why wasn't he resigned.

I liked the way they ran the ball when they brought Will yeatman in as an extra O-lineman. Why not try something like that with another lineman or use an off set o-Line on some plays? How about two TE's or a two back set ? OR SOMETHING ? why just stay with the same thing every game ?

Sherman will be looking for a new job anyways next year, he is one of the main reasons this team lost time and again in the 4th quarter! Consistently abandoning the run to pass only to have the OL give up a sack or hit and cause a defensive turnover. Many game all Miami had to do was run out the clock and close out the game when their defense was playing good, but the offense was terrible time and again and has not cost them the season. Sherman must go, if not them both Sherman and Philbin must go along with Ireland.

Orlando, I totally agree. It takes three years for a coach/GM to implement a new philosophy and get the right players for it. Until then they need to be more creative with what they have. We are headed in the right direction. It's just hard to sit here and watch teams dictate how the games are played.

Does anyone notice when the ball go's to Egnew he makes plays .... Although its not to often. I don't recall him dropping anything. I think they should try to get him more involved. I believe he was a very good receiving TE in college. Also why is Thigpen not in more often? he seems like he would be a nightmare matchup against LB's. Also I don't see us bunch receivers like a lot of other teams.


I think the issue with Dansby was his salary being too high. Great player, just not worth the top salary at his position in the league.

Him and Burnett when healthy are better than what we have now, but Burnett was injured a lot, just like Dimitri.

In hindsight we should have kept them both.

Miami is the graveyard of Football Head Coaches. If Shula had to resign here, JJ quit and Saban abandoned Us, imagine other Coaches. Why? Probably a combination of the Organizations we've had here and the Media of SoFla. Also, Dolphins did better in Miami than where they are now near Broward.

Sam I Am: Good posts @ 8:31 + 8:40. I agree.

Orlando Dolphan: Ditto @ 9:05.

Brickhouse: 9:16 Well said

Chris @ 9:21: The Shermanator won't be going anywhere if it is left up to his old protege/employee Philbin. They are tied at the hip.

It's not coaching. That argument is too easy. It's talent. We can play well on a good day, but we have too many bad days.

To think a different coaching staff would get better results is not true. Talent wins.

Even Pee Wee Herman would have won championships with Riley's all world Laker team. Riley is a fraud.

I am in agrreance with the guys above calling for a return to the 3-4 defense. Problem with that is our coaching staff's #1 weakness ( defense and offense): FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE! They are stubborn to a fault. They refuse to put their players in the best position to win. They DO NOT ADJUST WELL AT ALL! Square peg ina round hole! I could go on and on. What does this tell us? Either they will learn and improve, just like players, OR they will be "riding the pine" at the end of next season, just like players!

Several players on Riley's Knicks said later that if he only did what THEY told him would work, they would have gotten a championship.

Riley is GQ. GQ is the equivalent of Dumb Blonde.

Eagles are doing well with their new coach in his first year with his new system. He made adjustments to the players he had and found a winning formula. Dolphins coaches keep trying to fit that square peg into a circular hole and it doensn't work.


If you think smart students can excel without good teachers, then I guess you think a man can have good sex without a woman.

Dolfan29 Buffalo was ranked #4 against the rush and #24 against the pass prior to last week.

Posted by: Bill Arnsparger | December 23, 2013 at 04:59 PM

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/dolphins_in_depth/2013/12/mike-sherman-defends-abandoning-the-run.html#storylink=cpy

You wanna check that comment Bill Armsparger

The bills were ranked 26th against the rush coming into yesterday and 6th against the pass before Sherman thought about attacking that secondary. Do some proper research before you attack my comment


History has shown that great students best their professors. Do you think Einstein needed a math teacher? Isaac Newton was light years ahead of everyone on the planet. Do you think Da Vinci's painting teacher was half as good as he?

You wouldn't know any of this because you probably haven't read 3 books of even bs your entire life.

Bottom line is Sherman is not a very good play caller. Whether or not he called more run plays is irrelevant, idiotic but irrelevant. He cannot make adjustments period. At no point did he try to do anything to avoid what buffalo was doing to us. If their d-line is killing our o-line why would you continue to call 5 and 7 step drop backs? I'm no NFl coach by any means but what they were doing wasn't working. Yet they continued to do the same thing all game long with no adjustments to take away the constant pressure from the bills d. All they did was blitz us every passing down and they did exactly what the bills wanted them to all game long! It's obvious to any one but the guy in charge of it. reminds me of Mike Martz the i'm smarter than everyone in the room mentality even though what you're doing is not working at all. Soooo frustrating to watch.

Football is a rather finite subject. These coaches all know the same things. Some have better players, some have a better knack for motivating the players they have, and finally, some are lucky to have the players that fit the only system they know.

That is all it is. Nothing more.

Mike Nolan is just what this defense needs. Ross needs to break the bank and bring in Nolan. With Nolan the defense goes back to a 3-4 defense with Soliai as the NT. I would then resign Starks and the D-Line would have Starks, Soliai, and Odrick. The linebackers would be Vernon and Wake on the outside and Misi and Ellerbe in the middle. I miss those days when the defense was led by Mike Nolan.

It is nice to dream but of course it will not happen.


This is why I don't blame Ireland as much as others do. When Ross fired Sparano, Ireland had to re-do this entire roster to accommodate Philbin. Coyle came in and the players he had were not suited to play a 4-3 defense. His OL went for big maulers to now finesse OL. The OL took a step back along with the defense. This is why I think Ireland and Philbin need more time. I just wish they had kept the 3-4 defense we had with Nolan. If it is not broke don't fix it.

Posted by: Orlando Dolphan | December 23, 2013 at 09:05 PM


Philbin was no BIG NAMED HC. Not only that, as GM, Ireland should know what type of personnel he had brought in and what system better suited that personnel.

The main criteria in the coaching search should have weigh heavily on bringing in a HC who could run the same or similar system as the outgoing hc.

After all, you've invested at least 4yrs bringing in that type of personnel right? When you fire a hc, you're basically saying we like our personnel but you the coach suck.

That's the inexperience of both Ireland and Ross doing a hc search. Neither considered the already assembled personnel as primary criteria in their hc search. By not firing Ireland, that's saying the personnel is fine.

Its the gm that assembles the personnel right? Why was Ireland clueless, about the personnel he had direct or indirect hand in assembling over a 4yr period, when bringing in a west coast offense hc, using zone blocking, then hiring a DC who goes direct to a 4-3 D.

All of this requires immediate changing of the guard of the personnel assembled for entirely different systems and philosophies. Square pegs do not fit into round holes.

This is so frustrating to read, so the run was not working Mr. Sherman so you abandon it, right Sherlock? Well the passing was NOT working either!!! This man is way past his prime as a coach as is acting based on senile hunch it seems.

Or how do you Mr. Sherman explain abandoning the run during the first NE game when it was working beautifully. Sir you could have been a good coach in the past (good never great) but you are a dated idiot today. Even if you gained -10 yds in the first half you never abandon the run or you get your QB killed, which BTW it almost happen.

If I was Mr. Ross I would sit with Philbin to demand changes, and demand that he puts his friendship aside and make things clear. I do not like Philbin, never did and totally gave up on him when I learned he gave his post game speeches off Aponte's cue cards, that is no leader of men, but for the sake of the team I understand continuity is indeed a beneficial thing. BUT he must, he must fire Sherman and his unqualified son-in-law. Disgusting stuff really.

Guys please. Just stop with all the Dansby talk. He was cut because he made way to much salary for the production he gave. How many impact plays did he make while with the Dolphins. I'd bet it wasnt more than a handful. Certain players are just able to shine in a certain system and in Arizona, Dansby has prospered so good for him. He cashed in bigtime with Miami during his free agent offseason. This team wouldnt be any better with him on this defense because its all about scheme and he just didnt fit into the scheme we currently run here.


Now if we squeak into the playoffs and win the first game, you will be gushing with praise how the team held together.

You are a flop flippin flip flopper at large.

The ol stinks we never ever make any kind of adjustments it's totally putrid this team will never win with these coaches how can you not have an answer to a corner blitz Stupid stupid men oh ps. I hate Kevin coyle

Eagles are doing well with their new coach in his first year with his new system. He made adjustments to the players he had and found a winning formula. Dolphins coaches keep trying to fit that square peg into a circular hole and it doensn't work.

Posted by: Chris | December 23, 2013 at 09:42 PM

Exactly! This is what my above post is all about!

Philbin/Ireland trying to put new wine into old skins. This is impossible because it will cause the old skins to burst.

Philbin is clueless to that fact he needed to come in and be able to adjust to the personnel already in place. It took 4 long years to assemble this personnel.

We're now left with many square pegs trying to be fit into many round holes. Cant really blame Philbin. We have to blame those in the hc search that were clueless as to what type of hc they must find.

Making things worse, Ireland traded up to the #3 spot to draft a 3-4 olb(Jordan). We no longer play a 3-4 defense. Absolutely clueless as to what type of defense is being run even as he drafts.

Dion Jordan is a 3-4 olb. WTH was Ireland thinking!

Steve Ross must be the stupidest owner in pro sports

Eagles are doing well with their new coach in his first year with his new system. He made adjustments to the players he had and found a winning formula. Dolphins coaches keep trying to fit that square peg into a circular hole and it doensn't work.

Posted by: Chris | December 23, 2013 at 09:42 PM

Exactly! This is what my above post is all about!

Posted by: Sam I Am | December 23, 2013 at 10:05 PM


And now for a dose of reality.

Philly's record is a mere 1 game better than ours.

1 game. And you HyperBoners are yappin with no perspective.

These coaches don't put us in a situation to win!!!!!!! Just wait till the jets jack us up next week. Will their jobs still be safe , please give us a f,,,,,,, break PLEASE fire someone

Orlando, why would Nolan leave a coordinator job for a coordinator job? Cordinators leave to become hc's.

Mike Nolan left Miami because he wasn't even being CONSIDERED for the hc job. Not even INVITED or an interview. He wouldnt set foot here for any amount money.

He feels HUGELY DISRESPECTED by Ireland/Ross. That's why he's no longer here.

58 sacks gee that's pretty good and we waited how long for tannehill he won't last 3 years

To Jeff,
Yes Jeff Ireland is a big part of this mess BUT you do not see Belichick using that same sort of excuse, and no team in the league saw a biggest drop off in talent on both sides of the ball and kept coming with simply beatiful game planning, the kind Sherman and Philbin, at this stage in their age and career, will never, ever be able to master.

With the current talent in this team this team is underperforming big time. The Pats not only lost players big time in free agency but suffer what would have been devasting injuries for almost any team in the NFL. Against that level of coaching we will never have a prayer with Philbin and Sherman. The Pats next year will be a much, much better team when all those injured players return to full health and with FA and draft additions.

Regardless of the outcome of this weekend games we all know we have no real hope in the playoffs. Jeff Ireland has done yet again a mediocre job especially when you consider all the ammo Ross gave him, and how could argue he has not gotten his fair share of chances to right the ship. We need a new GM who would likely bring his own HC.

Wake up miami this won't do I want a head on a platter

He feels HUGELY DISRESPECTED by Ireland/Ross. That's why he's no longer here.

Posted by: Sam I Am | December 23, 2013 at 10:08 PM

This here is the ultimate of DB's FlopFlips...because all he could say at the time was Nolan failed in SF and why would we want him here?

Our coaches suck


It was Ross that wanted to bring the high flying offense from Green Bay here. Ireland wanted to please his boss. Remember Ireland is from the old Parcel's school of big tough football players. Jake Long, Starks, Soliai, Incognito, and Brandon Marshall are the type of players that Ireland and Parcells like. This finesse garbage has got to be eating at Ireland but he is still trying to get Philbin his players. No way that Ireland would have brought a soft weak player like Martin to play under a coach like Sparano or Parcells. Martin was Philbin's. It was Philbin that did not want Brandon Marshall. Again, Ireland had to re-do this entire roster to accommodate a 4-3 defense and a zone blocking scheme. The defense under Sparano was built for a 3-4 scheme and a power blocking attack.

What has mike nolan done in Atlanta?. When that question is asked. All you hear is crickets. Lets no go backwards. Been there, done that

Todd Bowles is doing a great job in Arizona btw.

No good coach will ever come to this mess it would be a blemish ,we are the joke of the nfl

Todd Bowles should have been our coach


I mean come on man. Try to at least stay remotely true to your ideals if you have any. You are nothing but hot air. You are an old man version of baby dashi.

And now for a dose of reality.

Philly's record is a mere 1 game better than ours.

1 game. And you HyperBoners are yappin with no perspective.

Posted by: Havaiana | December 23, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Seems the hyperboners win. In Philbin's 1st year the fins were 7-9. Philly's 9-6 and atop the NFC East in Chip Kelly's 1st season. Hyperboners win!

Our team is an abortion , a still berth

Sam are you blind we should be 11-4 if we had a coach that knew what he was doing please Sam you are smarter than that

The run in this game was crap. I agree with Sherman. You have a couple of lightweights with a weak offensive line. Thomas runs like he is scared. Again I seen him running sideways into the line and turn his back before he got hit. So are ya gonna keep running? I don't think so.
Great runners face the player that is going to tackle them and do something to beat them. I ask you this, If Thomas is so big (yeah right) why isn't he running over people? Ricky wasn't a great big back. In fact Ricky was 228-235. Thomas is listed at 230. Is that 230 ounces? I see guys arm tackling him at the shoulders. Try that with Ricky or Ronnie or how about 90 percent of the backs in the NFL smash in the mouth, knee in the head and trampled like doggy doo in the park.
Miller, is definitely a lightweight so he needs a couple of good blocks to start him off.
Fullback please. Big mean fullback that loves to run over linebackers. Maybe have a couple of jukes and jives to put that question mark in. Tannehill will pass for Brady yards every game with a great back.
If Ricky type ball player were available again, I would trade my 3 top picks for him and sign a couple of o lineman. A guy like Ricky Williams would have smashed the bills to little girly men yesterday.
Our backs are pussies.

Agreed Mando.

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