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Victory Monday: Ireland safe, locker room well, Philbin good

PITTSBURGH -- I reported in my column that appears in Monday's Miami Herald that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has given Jeff Ireland assurances he is safe in his job as general manager.

It has been long speculated around league circles that Ireland could be something of a scapegoat after this season if the Dolphins didn't reach certain heights -- most likely making the playoffs -- or if the continuing NFL investigation finds some sort of lack of institutional control within the organization that led to Richie Incognito to somehow harass Jonathan Martin.

That speculation was fed the evening of November 11 when Ross spoke in glowing terms about coach Joe Philbin but did not mention Ireland other than to say he would be on one of his committees.

It was as if Ross was supporting his head coach while throwing his GM under the bus.

But I'm told Ross and Ireland have discussed the GM's status and the speculation is not accurate -- at least not right now. Obviously, there are three games remaining in the regular season and the Dolphins are neither in the playoffs nor out of the playoff hunt so no final declarations or assertions of fact can be made on the matter.

But for now, that which is being widely assumed -- that Ireland is a goner after the season -- is not correct.

And you know what?

Right now, keeping Ireland would seem to be the right call. Indeed, keeping the current administration -- personnel dept., coaching staff -- as status quo seems right based on the results the team is getting.

That's not how I felt back when the Dolphins lost to winless Tampa Bay and the NFL investigation was in its infancy. At that point it seemed as if the Dolphins were a mess internally and Ross needed to clean house.

But the team has won three of four games since then, the so-called "Code Red" reported by two South Florida media outlets has been debunked by team sources, and the locker room that was supposedly in disrepair has come together.

Even the offensive line that seemed to be a mess doesn't look so bad now. (The Dolphins averaged 7.5 yards per carry against Pittsbugh).

That all requires credit given to the players and coaches that previously came under earned criticism. Fair is fair. Tyson Clabo was a turnstile to the quarterback early in the season. He's been good the past month. Offensive line coach Jim Turner, offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, and yes, head coach Joe Philbin, made mistakes and were criticized earlier this seaosn.

Lately, they've made corrections, corrected course even as they remained convinced what they've been doing is right, and it has worked. 

This team's course has changed. And that must be noted and accepted as fact now.

Obviously, the season is not over. And if this NFL season has proven anything it's to expect the unexpected. So no one knows whether the Dolphins will continue their current hot streak and perhaps finish the season 10-6. No one knows if the Dolphins might also collapse and finish 7-9.

The point is to draw conclusions on what will happen based on what we know today is unwise. To say the offense or defense is this or that based on what we saw early in the season is unwise.

The wise thing, I believe, is to see what actually happens before we make proclamations about the 2013 Dolphins. Let's see what happens first. Let's watch the next three weeks and judge afterward.

Enjoy.

Comments

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We need to play a whole 60 minutes versus the Pats. To the last play. Not just 1 Half.

Glasskowski is out. But it wouldn't matter because D.Jordan can cover him. Just have to watch out for Ridley lining up wide. And Hit Brady. Hit Brady Early and Hit him often.

Armando,

Here is an idea for your next blog. How about you talk about what a great job Philbin has done guiding this team through turmoil and adversity? Isn't this the best way to judge a leader ? Its a lot easier to get credit when things are going well. A true measure of a man is how he does when the going gets tough.

Do you think he deserves some credit for keeping this team ( witch had every reason to lay down ) focused, competitive and improving ?

Or how about asking if we would have been better off trading all those picks for RG3 ? or if Andrew luck the four year starter at Stanford in a pro style offence vs. T-Hill two year starter in a option read offence is better at this point in their careers. How both Indy and Miami have similar problems with their teams ( pass protect and poor running game ) Shouldn't Luck be way ahead of T-Hill right now if he I the best QB to come out in a generation.

Anyone have any opinions ??? I doubt you will get any of this from Armando !
Armando, Win me back. Post these questions.


dmb, I always said I would never go watch a game in Buffalo that late in the year, but considering where we are at, I ahve to do my part. i will be there, I will dress warm, layer up and hope for the best. Considering nobody I know is crazy enough to pay to join me, I have to pay the way for someone else too. Going to be fun!!!!

Can you believe that the Fin's staff was so desperate to get Daniel Thomas well last week? I wonder if they actually know more about football than their local reporters and fans?

It appears that Thomas is actually a pretty good back that has been a victim of his O-line and predictable play calling.

It all still goes back to Tannehill. If he is not rolling out, running wild and generally picking Pitt apart, Thomas does not get squat.

And, YES they should have given Tannehill the ball and let him roll out and throw a TD or slide down on the last possession.

You just saw a very good QB play. AND, he gets better every time he drops back!!

All is well in Finville!!!!!

...There are probably 3-4 quarterbacks in the NFL that are allowed to throw the ball in the same situation that we found ourselves in at the end of quarter 4.

Tannehill is getting better. But there is reason why IMO he was not allowed even to roll out. What would have happened if he gets sacked and fumbles? What happens if the competitor in him takes over and he forces a ball. The windows get smaller in the redzone. Could you Imagine the outrage today if there was turnover because we were throwing it?

Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton, Aaron Rodgers..They get to throw it in that situation. Ryan Tannehill does not.
Not yet anyway...

Dashi, Coyle is a pure moron sometimes. Seeing that the Steelers could get their offense in time for one last snap, he should've called timeout and put up the fence near teh goaline. He lost his head- again.

2 watts,

Atlanta had Julio jones when we beat them my friend. They were a better team. Beating pittsburg in pittsburg in that weather and overcoming adversity is a big deal.

Mark,

I'm pretty sure they did call timeout. It was right at the end of the game.

I agree with DD (big surprise), I have no problem with the coaching staff playing it that way in those conditions when already so many things have gone right. If you can't defend a 6 point lead with 1:10 left adn no timeouts for that team, then you don't deserve anything in life. If we had played it the same way against Buffalo, we may be sitting in the pole position for that last spot.

Philbin and Sherman got that one right!

Craig, I could be wrong but I remember Miami's defense not being entirely set and being way too close to the line of scrimmage... then again, I was bordering on a stroke at that time yesterday.

Who would you rather have? T-Till and the picks or RG3?
Is Luck a better QB right now?

We will only keep enjoying if the Dolphins keep winning, if Brown would not have stepped out of bounds this article would be a different one for sure.I agree with keeping Ireland I think but Sherman should be replaced. However i am buying in to Tannehill now and will order my Jersey and think he is the future when he gets time to throw the ball he can be deadly, maybe the snow slowed the Steelers rush but outside the pick six he played well and brought us back, Tannehill is the Man!!!!

RAGE...I'd rather have Wilson and a 10-1 record thank you very much.

I was the only person on this blog who advocated to draft Russell Wilson and got laughed at by everyone.

While I'm very happy with Tannehill's progress to date, Wilson has overachieved everyone's expectations.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | December 09, 2013 at 10:05 AM

MiT,

I hope you can enjoy the game, win or lose. You pay for a body guard if you have to pay for someone else. I have had A LOT of really bad experiences in Buffalo. It doesn't help that I always deck out in Dolphins gear, but hey I'm a fan. I was at the Thursday night game last year and it was AWEFULL! Got into two skirmishes just while walking to our seating area. Security there is crap. 4 minutes into that game, a fight broke out 6 rows behind my group. It was Buf fans vs. Buf fans no less. Security never even came. As of right now, I'm wavering on the idea of going or not.
Good luck to you.

dd...how did Montana do against Coastal Carolina in the freezer-bowl?

This is DUMBEST FEAKIN OWNER in the history of the NFL!!

To keep these people in place (IRELAND AND PHILBIN)with mediocre results like this IS FEAKING PATHETIC!!
THIS TEAM WILL NEVER BE RELEVANT AGAIN AS LONG AS ROSS IS THE OWNER and he keeps IMCOMPETENT WEASELS as employees!!

These lastest victories ARE FOOLS' GOLD....team not STILL NOT GOOD. NO REAL QB, BAD PLAY CALLING and DECISIONS.... WHAT A SHAME

This team SLIGHTLY reminds me of the 91 Cowboys. RELAX folks and listen first: Aikman was hated and everyone wanted the backup. They had GOOD emerging players, but they lost some pretty bad games (remember that year they got blown out @Detroit in the playoffs). My point about this comparison is that you have to LEARN how to win. This learning includes tough losses. We lost to the Bucs, but that loss no longer looks that bad after they went on a winning streak. There is only one game we lost (Saints) where I felt we were out of the game. Yesterday's win was important because we FINALLY finished. This was the same game we played against the Pats and Ravens where we took leads only to have them slip away. That is what I see: A team that is winning with everyone stepping up.

..That last play was bizzare. I think our defenders quit. It started with my boy Jimmy Wilson. He gave a weak effort off the bat. Now the all gets flipped back. Dion Jordan is walking!! Walking. Ellerbee makes a lam effort, Soliai falls down trying to swat it. and the ball goes to Ben.

Reshad Jones who is playing at half speed tries to catch Ben. Grimes sees Brown, but is also playing half speed until Ben throws it to Brown. Grimes cannot get into gear and misses what should have been an easy tackle. Now we are in no mans land. Clemmons does a good job of not letting Brown cut back and keeping him on the boundary. Brown IMO wanted to cut it back across the field. But Clemmons cut off the angle. It slowed him down enough that he couldn't make the tackle. But, it did make Brown lose enough balance to make him step on the line. Again, this is how I saw it.

Crazy play. Should we have called timeout? I have seen a lot of these plays were the defense just plays it out. I can't recall a team calling a timeout in that spot. I think if we want to question the effot...go for it. I can't question, or fault Croyle right there. If our guys are playing at full speed..That play never happens.

For the record. I'm not so sure the forward lateral would have been reversed. I think it was an illegal forward pass, no doubt. I'm just saying are we all sure the refs in the booth would have overturned the play? 50/50

I notice even Tannehill's biggest detractors don't have much to say today. Before the season I said I hoped for 4,000+ total yards and 25+ total touchdowns. A few of the trolls told me I was crazy. Well, he has 3,535 total yards and 21 total TDs with 3 games to go.

Yeah, the pick 6 and turnovers are a bit of a concern. He fought back though. With a decent O-line and running game to supplement him he put up 34 points against and old, but still pretty decent defense. He led a 4th quarter TD drive to pull the team ahead.

If he keeps improving next year, the sky is the limit.

Dbmfins,

I was at that game too. Never had any problems. I'll be there. This year again too and i'm glad we still have something at stake. Be great to win Sunday too!

IMO I think that the findings of the NFL investigation will not be revealed to the media and the general public until either the season is over or they absolutely have to come forward with the details because of the issue of if the corporation has to pay or release Incognito.IMO I think this is more predictable than what the Dolphins final record will be,why because humans can manipulate this outcome and not the other unless a key player takes the fall for money.

I think I turned gay over the weekend. I have fallen in love with a young black man who plays for Auburn. His name is Tre Mason and he is amazing. If I could pick one player in college to play for my Phins, it is him. This kid is amazing !!!

Any people here who follow college and draft projections. Is Tre possibly entering the draft this year? Where would he likely go, if he does.


Thanks

AND GO PHINS

dbm, been to a few games myself and have seen and been involved in several messy sitautions.

Almost got thrown over the top of that stadium at one point actually.

You're right, security is non exixtent. I still go there and cheer my team but I stopped wearing the colours for that reason.

people in Buffalo have nothing to lose. Getting thrown in prison is a life improvement for many of them.

I will be wearing red and black - throw everyone off

Darryl, I agree Coyle/Philbin need to rip the D a new one for that effort that last play. I mean I know they are prob gased by the end of the game, but bad pursuit and hustle.

I kind of was strange because they tried something the play before and tackled Sanders I think in bounds. The clock was ticking down and they got the snap off with one second. I didn't think they could do it, but they did. Actually I'm not even sure they were set up right.

Should Coyle/Philbin have called a time out when the game was about to possibly end to give the guys a rest and get them set up right? Possibly, but it was 50/50 that they would run out of time. If they called timeout for Pitt people would probably be calling them idiots, but I think a timeout might've been the right move.

NHFINSFAN, I'm up here in Mass. Sucks living in Patriot territory. If we passed on T-Hill and someone jumped us and got Wilson we would be screwed. If T-Hill had that defense and run game he would look great too. If Wilson were on the Fins would he be the same Qb he is now? I think not.

..NH..We got rolled...I don't want to talk about it.. Here is a story about WTF officiating.

So the Griz are getting fingered by Coastal..35-14 at halftime. We trade td's at the start of half 2. Then shut them down. They have 7 yards of offense from tha point on...We make the comeback. Get within a td..Then this happens. We get the ball. Are driving there is a conversion on 3rd down where our guy makes a diving catch. First down..We run a play a screen down to the 2 yard line. The refs spot the ball, the clock is running. And they blow it dead. Say they want to replay something.

Here is where it gets weird. The refs say they are replaying the 3rd down conversion. The play before the play that was just run..I have never seen anything like it. Their excuse was that the refs buzzer went off but he couldn't hear it because of the noise. Not 1 of the refs blew a whistle to stop the first down play. Not 1 of them was out of position trying to stop the play..It was business as normal.

So they say that the 3rd down play that they replayed a play after it happened was indeed a good catch, but the first down play was negated. And the ball spotted back on the 17 with the time that ran between the plays not reset..So we lost 45 seconds that could have cost us at the end of the game..

We ended up losing by 7. They stuffed us on 4 downs after that debacle. Instead of having it first and goal from the 2..Firt and ten from the 17..It was outrageous. Final score 42-35

Kudos to those CC kids..They outplayed us in the first half. I didn't think they had a chance. Only the second third home loss in the playoffs out of the last 24 games...It was worse then the Wofford loss.

Rdubs, Mason is a junior, so he could come out early or stay for his senior year. Gil Brandt actually said he had Tony Dorsett like quickness and is the best college RB he has seen this year.

Not sure what round he will go, but I'm guessing pretty high.

rdubs, i was researching a bit of tre mason too. he is a junior so he may declare if his projection is good enough I guess. He's 205 pounds but man is he strong...

FYI, his father was in the group De la Soul.

I would take Tre Mason with our first round pick. I dont care where he is projected to go and I know you can get running backs in later rounds, bt this kid is special!!

NeMo, considering the ball was on the 10 yard line - it was absolutely the right play to call timeout and set it up and get everyone's head in the game. They were obviously not ready/set and unfocused and it almost cost them.

They called timeout on defense earlier in teh year and it worked well for them. I like the idea.

Craig M,

Maybe if I sit in the non-alcoholic section I would have a safer time. Lol. I am wavering on the idea of going. And your right, the excitement of something to play for is fantastic. Should we beat the Pats this week, which I think we will, and the Ravens lose to a pissed off Lions team in Detroit, that excitement will skyrocket!

This just in, Coastal Carolina's biggest booster is Robert Kraft!

Awesome win. Can’t believe the 4 quarter-- as dolphin fan you rarely get to snatch a victory like that. F’ing patriots. Officials handing them the win.

One complaint is I would liked to see the read option on one of the last 3 plays to seal the win –T-hill getting a TD would have been sweet.

I have been saying for weeks T-hil pocket awareness has been improving and hopefully deep ball will in the offseason. Mikinnie has been awesome and wicked block by Pouncey to open hole for Thomas 55 yarder.

the fins sure know how to make game interesting! I just about fell out of my chair on that last play! sheesh!

mark, I will always b a dik so get used to it
.
lol

...Mark in Toronto..@ 10:46. I think Bellichcks son plays quarterback on the team too. Third team.

Updates from Barry Jackson this morning.

Drew Rosenhaus expects Miller to be back on Sunday.

48 snaps for Brenner compared to 16 for Garner.

25 snaps for Dion Jordan.

12 snaps for Patterson. Hopefully he can step it up next week, he had a nice pick on Brady in the first game.

Just to give Barry credit, he has some pretty good articles here, so check it out if you want.

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/sports-buzz/

heartattack kids!

So Gronkowski tore his ACL and MCL. I hate to see players end up on IR, although the Dolphins will benefit from this. At this point, could Gronk miss all of 2014? He has shown himself as someone who needs extra time to heal from serious injuries.

mark, actually I was cooking burgers on the island the last 2 min so I didn't c the last play but I heard everyone cuxxing real loud on the boat
.
lol

dbm, not 'til the ravens lose,
all is moot

Barry Jackson is the man!

dw went 10-6 and was home in jan.
.
lol

Armando,
There seem to be a lot of readers in agreement that the refs are favoring certain teams.
What is going on with the investigation of Bob Kraft ref
bribes.
The NFL is worried an investigation would lead to fans getting disgusted and jumping ship.

I think its a good reminder to all of us (fans and media) to not hit the panic button every week and scream for the firing of coaches, GM's and players. We all get excited and equally we get frustrated. But the NFL season is a long one.

It's filled with highlights, lowlights, injuries, etc. We need to understand teams are not built over night, consistently getting to the playoffs is difficult and the Super Bowl is extremely elusive. We have to understand playing an NFL position is very very difficult and it's especially hard for younger players (rookies and 2/3 year players). Patience is needed but very seldom is it utilized (myself included).

I get frustrated with Ireland, Philbin, Sherman and Coyle. I have ups and downs with the players. But the reality is these guys are trying to build a consistent winner in a league built for parity. This takes time and patience.

I do see the progress. I do see a core of players that offers potential (THILL, Thomas, Miller, Wallace, Hartline, Gibson, Mathews, Clay, Pouncey, Wake, Vernon, Jodan, Ellerbe, Wheeler, Grimes, Carroll, Wilson, Taylor, Jones, etc.

Will they perform perfectly every week? Hell no. But are we showing progress over last year? Absolutely. Do I think they will improve next season? Yes, I really do.

Will they make the Playoffs via Wildcard this year? Man, I really hope so.

Unless it is Adrian Peterson/Gore/McCoy talent. I don’t like the idea of drafting RB in first round. Rarely works.


One weapon I am worried about in the Pats game is Shane Vereen. Reminds me a lot of Darren Sproles who tore the team up earlier in the year. Very good at catching the ball out of the back field.

Tannehill and the O is gonna have to put up 30+ again to beat this team and the refs I think.

investigation into Kraft bribing refs ? Where did you here that?

Dbmfins,

I usually wear my colours when I go the games in Buffalo but I always remember where I am and don't get too loud. What a disappointment our team gave us last year. Hopefully they play better this year.

The Lions are due, so I expect them to beat the Ravens this week. pats are running on fumes. We beat them this week IF we don't beat ourselves. That's a big IF.

This is Ireland's chance at redemption for moving up to no. 3 to get Jordan. He said the way to beat the Patriots was by getting to Brady. That's why he made the move. He noted that was how the Giants were able to beat them in the super bowls. Lets see if it pays off in this game.

....So the last 4 games. The Pas have scored 10 first half points..10..108 in the second half. We saw this phenomenon first hand.

This team has to play a complete game(breaking news here)..Can this team keep it together in the second half this week? Again..10 first half points...108 second half points.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention. Yes.

The thing that the pats are the best at besides getting gift calls from the refs are forcing turnovers. We keep that battle to even and the game will be there for the taking.

In case anyone was noticing, we finally used the NASCAR package this week in the 2nd half near the end. Wake and Jordan on either end and Vernon standing up in the middle. Noticed how Ben was pestered at the end of that game? Not coincidental. More NASCAR please!

So pleased with the fact that we finally (FINALLY) won again in the snow. Not only that, but we beat an established team who is accustomed to winnng in December more often than not. I evaluate in the now, and as of right now this minute we are a team to be reckoned with. Go Phins!

Hey, odin, any Special Players a la Kuechly in next year's Draft?

Craig M,

We watched the game yesterday surrounded by Steelers fans. My girlfriend and I were very respectful and generally low-fiving under the table (hahaha). We've now unofficially put the final nail in the coffin for two teams this year in the Jets and the Steelers. Was definitey stoked, but after going through that pain for 30 years, I know what that feels like and didn't want to kick them in the teeth while they were down. Still ridiculous, exhilarating win. Still on a high this morning from it.

...Mark..I noticed that as well.. It reminded me of a Rob-Rex Ryan scheme. Where the pass rushers are upright in all sorts of spots on the line. Chaos and confusion.

I like the zone read stuff as well(please people read option is redundant stop with this)..I like the idea of 10-12 zone read plays each game..That is what we gave them yesterday. It works because IMO we have run blocked well enough out of the 11 personnel package the last 3 weeks. If we can't trust the run blocking out of this personnel package, IMO you cannot think about adding zone read plays..More pages open in the playbook now that the line is playing better.

A few thoughts.....

Tannehill showed why he just might be the real thing yesterday. Loved the way he looked off left side and threw right. He really made the D-backs bite.

Had given up on Clay last year. Solid performance glad I was wrong.

Good performance by Thomas but I'm not sold on him just yet.

Coaching? Still see bonehead decisions.

And Darryl is right, team quit on run back

I hope Mark is now FULLY CONVINCED this team has soul!!!

Just kidding, that's me who's FINALLY convinced. Even though we blew out the Jets last week, I found things to criticize. This week, though there's some critiquing that could be said, I have nothing to say but that was as satisfying a win as I've probably ever seen in my lifetime as a Dolphin. Almost EVERYTHING was going our way. Calls were going our way, the offense, defense, special teams responding and working in unison, coaching for the most part was good, all around GREAT WIN!!! It's too early to say, but if we go 10-6, after the rollercoaster that was this Season, I would advocate erecting a statue to Philbin in front of the stadium. Very proud of my team not folding like so many others (Buffalo, Washington, Oakland). The Dolphins have heart, and pride. And that's a good start.

MVP = Charles Clay!

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