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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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...cocoajoe..I agree with you about Thomas. I had to eat a bit of crow yesterday concerning Thomas. I hope he can keep it up. I hope this is the Daniel Thomas that the team sees. I am not buying it yet. We have seen nice games by DT before. Yesterday was impressive. But can we can we count on solid efforts like that for the remainder of the year?

"Fatigue makes cowards of us all", guess who.

Man on that last play i sat with my mouth open and couldnt beleive Brown only had Clemmons to beat for the TD. I almost threw my beer at the TV.

Anyways i must admit ive been hard on THill but the guy has def made me eat crow the last couple of games. He looks to be the real deal and ill be satified if he becomes a too 10 QB.

On to the Pats, we need more D Thomas and like Mark said the Nascar package i want Wake, Vernon, Joedan to lay a flush hit on Brady. Will make my day!

Mark I remember you said we dont hve to worry about Polamu well the pick 6 almost cost us. He may not be what he used too but you cant just dismiss him.

Dont let me get started on Philbin hving Sturgis attempt a 57 yardsr in tho conditions and Hartline begging him to throw the red flag i hope he really disnt have to be convice to throw the flag on that play

Mike Wallace was open again and THill threw it short again. Why does THill always underthrow him?? Overthrow him!!

Did anyone watch Brees destroy the Panthers in the dome?

When the Fins can do that to a team that's better than the Jets I'll get excited. Beating a less than stellar Steelers team because they stepped out of bounds is no reason to get pumped.

It's always nice to win, but, it's rarely a pretty thing. You never know what you'll get drive to drive, or half to half

DD, we have luxuries a lot of defense don't have stacked with a lot of quality in the front 7 in many positions ... about time we get around to using it.

Darryl, that's just the thing. Thomas's good games have been few and far between. I want to see more.
Clay on the other hand, has steadily progressed.

I'm on my way to adjust my pacemaker, don't want to Go, just yet.

DD, cocoajoe, Thomas has ran hard all year. This is not the first time he's had results in a game but overall he hasn't been able to deliver over a full season. He has three games left and one game in Buffalo that we will be calling his number often to save his career as a Dolphin.

I have to call out Rashod Jones ever since he got payed his play has been lackluster. He got beat on the crossing route to Brown and in general hasnt played up to his pro bowl level like he was before he got payed. He has to step up his level of play these last couple of games

And BTW Darryl, you were probably right about the forward lateral non-call.

It is Truth that many here should use the spell-checker more often, here.

Truth, Polamalu is done but he on that one play showed that greatness is always there, just not as often as it has been. he made me look foolish on that TD but Clay also reminded him that he's done on that last TD. A few years back, nobody was going to break that tackle.

RDubs looks like i need to have Dez Bryant have a good game to get the W tonight I blew my chances when i saf D Thomas and started Cam instead of Alex Smith. Fml. Looks like you had an off week but can still get the victory

cocoajoe, I loved that look off play too. What I didn't love is the 2 pick-6's to Troy P where he stared right at the receiver and fooled no one (though Troy dropped one of those).

When you do something you haven't done in over 2 decades, no matter what the circumstances, yeah, it's a pretty big deal. So if you can't get excited over something no Dolphins team has done in 23 years, then consider yourself pathetic!

Somebody get a big titty and stick it in Marc's mouth please... no worries marc in a year or two Tannehill will be doign that to more than a few teams. Even Brees wasn't born Brees, it was a process.

...Who ever it was that claimed the nickname the Claymaker for Charles Clay must step up for their deserved props...Awesome nickname.

Oscar if your refering to all the misspelled words in my posts who cares as long as you guys get what im saying. Im submitting a paper to any of u

Mark, I do hope Thomas will continue to have games like this. But results are the name of the game. He had 'em yesterday, I want to see more.

Nobody should be surprised at Clay's strength. In College, used mainly as RB, he was a load to bring down.

Say what?

Thomas is up to a respectable 4.1 yard per carry and 5 TDs now. I'd like more consistency, but great game yesterday. Our O-line is playing a lot better in general both in pass blocking and run blocking.

I feel that next year with another year of development for Tannehill, beefing up the O-line a bit, resigning our key guys, and getting another playmaker or 2 each side of the ball on offense and defense this could be a very dangerous team.

It could still be a dangerous team this year, a win over the Pats would be huge.

The key to the season hinges on the last 3 games, as we all know. Let's not kid ourselves: Anything less than a playoff birth would be a disappointment, what with all the money spent on free agency and the expectations for 2013, and then throwing in the added bonus that MIA has been relatively healthy for most of the season (which is something that cannot be counted on every year). Someone mentioned beating the Pats as a major milestone for the season, and I agree, if we beat the Pats I could see us winning out and finishing 10-6 and grabbing the #6 seed. Asking Baltimore to lose 2 of the last 3 games and MIA getting in at 9-7 is really hoping for a lot. MIA really needs to beat NE at home and prove to themselves that they are a team moving in a positive direction, and then finish strong against the bottom teams in the division. There is absolutely no reason MIA cannot win all 3 games, especially with NE at home and also decimated by injuries. Time for all the free agents, high draft picks, and key contributors to step up and make this season different than the usual "middle of the road" we have come to expect over most of the last decade.....

DC, I have seen Tannehill slowly add a few techniques this year all good QBs have. Varying his cadence in a couple of games, a few look-offs but yes, he does still stare down recievers. But I've seen enough improvement to believe he had yje ability to improve.

Now, if he can just learn the pump fake?

Don't none of you Canadians here be committing any spelling or grammar errors. It is permitted of these miserable Colonists here but NOT of your British/French Education. You do, We will get on your bottom immediately.

Mike, I disagree. While a Playoff berth would be awesome, I don't think that "anything less" would be a letdown. Let's not kid ourselves, we're not going anywhere if we get into the Playoffs. We're not "there" yet. I would be satisfied with a 9-7 season (1st winning season in 5 years) and just missing out on the Playoffs. I still think that's huge progress from last year. True, it's only 2 games better, but in the context of this season, where we had the OL debacle, it's amazing.

And where do you get off saying the team is "relatively healthy", you follow the Dolphins? Let's see, our projected #1 TE (Keller), OUT (before the season ever started). #3 WR (Gibson), OUT. 2 starting OL (though not for injury), OUT. Starting C, OUT (2 games). Defensively we're pretty good (besides Patterson), but I'd say we've been far from healthy this season.

cocoa, just no pump fakes when he's about to get sacked. But overall I agree with you, those that say he hasn't done enough to get another year to prove himself are insane. The kid's improved in his 2nd year, and is playing pretty good football right now.

I bet that crybaby softie J Martin sitting in his child hood room in mommy and daddy house stuffin his pig face mad the Dolphins are winning. The guy single handley tried to destroy the franchise for being a putz


Mark I remember you said we dont hve to worry about Polamu well the pick 6 almost cost us. He may not be what he used too but you cant just dismiss him.

Posted by: Truth | December 09, 2013 at 11:52 AM

MIT this isn't a "I told you so" post. Only confirming even in "diminishing form" still have to be "well aware" f where these player types are on the field at ALL TIMES. I'll take a "diminishing" Polomalu over our younger starting safeties.

"Half a Polomalu" is as good as an "above average" safety right now.

Oscar, we're colonists too. We just got freedom the political way instead of polluting our waters...

DC, don't forget Wake was out for a while too. And he and Solii both looking like they are playing through injuries.

Keys to beating the Pats. Tannehill must be able to hit some deep passes. Belicheat always takes your strengths away. he will flood the intermediate routs and take clay out of the game. We have to hit on some deep routes early to loosen them up.

We will get a heavy dose of the run game from them. that's where we are weakest on defense.
I hope Philbin plans accordingly.

True Mark, and Thomas was out week, now looks like Miller might be out with a concussion (we don't know yet). Misi's been out too. Healthy to me is your key starters are available all season. We've had key starters out (mainly on offense) all season. When you lose your #1 TE (who was supposed to be a huge part of the offense) pre-season, then you've already started off behind the 8ball.

Guys are stepping up, it's refreshing to see. I have to give the coaches credit for getting backups ready to play. Especially on the OL. Too bad these guys didn't start for us (not sure why they didn't think Garner could start).

Posted by: Marc | December 09, 2013 at 11:53 AM


LMAO! You totally flip-flopped in one post.

1. Did anyone watch Brees destroy the Panthers in the dome? When the Fins can do that to a team that's better than the Jets I'll get excited.

Then:

2. It's always nice to win, but, it's rarely a pretty thing. You never know what you'll get drive to drive, or half to half

Also, this team was on their way to destroying the Panthers, being young young, they had yet to learn how to Finish an opponent.

The main thing to get EXCITED about in victory over Pitt, this team took a MAJOR STEP towards learning towards FINISHING an opponent after having them down. This team too a major step in learning to fish. This time, the fish di not steal our bait off of our hook.

Any of this may not EXCITE you, but my woody is very hard to conceal.

Lucky you, Mark.

Posted by: DC Dolfan | December 09, 2013 at 12:24 PM
=======================================================
Point taken, it helps to have time to do the 'little' things

Thomas and Miller may not be capable of 'carrying the load' as full time RB's. Splitting time makes sense but I'd rather use Miller as a scat back on third downs and give the 1st and 2nd down runs to Thomas. Thomas hits the hole faster/harder and is more capable of getting positive yards when hit by the 'run pacakge' of the defense on 1st and 2nd downs. I think Sherman should adjust to this go forward.

- I'd like to see Fins pick up a bruising RB this week to help provide depth while Miller is out. Someone who can play special teams while Jones is out and help gain the tough 1 -2 yards the Fins have sruggled with.

- I'd like to see the Fins stick with Clay and Simms and let Egnew go in offseason. I'd like them to give Keller one more year to see what he can do. Start by not playing him in preseason games. If we had a healthy Keller, Clay and Simms I would be fine with TE next season...saving picks for another position of need.

- I'd like to see Coyle try mixing in some 3-4 from tim to time. He is fixed on the 4-3 and that limits the looks we give veterans like Brady and Roth. I'd like to see Jordan standing up as a 3-4 OLB on some plays and see what he can do. Maybe we try this against Jets and Bills?

At this moment in the Season, EVERY starter in any Team in the League is playing thru injuries. Whatsoever, no excuse.


I have to call out Rashod Jones ever since he got payed his play has been lackluster.

Posted by: Truth | December 09, 2013 at 11:57 AM

I don't know, think I have to call Coyle out for this even more. Coyle completely changed Reshad Jone's safety responsibilities this year. Hence, a completely different result.

Jone's 2012 performance wasn't broken, so shy in hell did Coyle feel he needed to "fix it" in 2012? If it isn't broken you don't fix it. You just leave it alone, right?

Don't forget that stretch where Wake was out and then came back and was far from 100 percent.

I am happy with the fins. If we had just 1 more win we could be challenging the Patriots for the division. We would be 2 games behind them instead of three and with a chance to cut the lead to one this week. There is probably no chance for the division anymore but we are still alive for the final wild card spot. If we go 10-6 and miss out on the playoffs then we did all we could and I will be looking forward to next year. Give Ireland one more draft and another off season and I am confident that we will be contenders.

By the way, how good is Cameron heyward on teh Steelers? Ironhead's son is every bit as tough as his old man. Up in heaven, Ironhead must be smiling.

Still, with Reshad Jones, he should be better laying his "new responsibilities next year. This season may have been a rough transition into his "new duties" as a safety.

Most want to simplify it as "he got the paid, now we're getting played". I see it as he's not transitioning into his new safety responsibilities as seamlessly as Kevin Coyle had hoped.

Hence, if it isn't broken, there isn't any need to fix it.

And by the way, does anyone kow what pass interference is anymore? Seems like just as long as the DB is looking back at the Qb when the ball is in the air, anything goes.


I'd like to see Fins pick up a bruising RB this week to help provide depth while Miller is out. Someone who can play special teams while Jones is out and help gain the tough 1 -2 yards the Fins have sruggled with.

Posted by: JPAO | December 09, 2013 at 12:43 PM


If you can tell Philbin exactly where that store is located, I'm sure he'll even hold the door open for you. :)

I will be watching three games closely this week. The Dolphins game of course, the Monday night game with the Detroit Lions and Ravens and then the Bengals at Steelers. I will be a huge Lions and Steelers fan this week.

The biggest game of the week (besides ours) is the Bengals game. If the Bengals lose that game the fins control their own destiny, no matter what the Ravens do. If the Ravens run the table and the Bengals lose in Pittsburg, then the Ravens win the division and the Bengals are out of the Playoffs. The Bengals would lose a tie breaker with the dolphins. It is going to be fun. Enjoy the ride. I thas been a long time coming.


If we go 10-6 and miss out on the playoffs then we did all we could and I will be looking forward to next year. Give Ireland one more draft and another off season and I am confident that we will be contenders.

Posted by: Orlando Dolphan | December 09, 2013 at 12:47 PM

BINGO!

I'm sure every SENSIBLE DOLFAN in the nation feels the EXACT same.

Sam, JPAO, I think the two guys that might have fit the bill without special teams anyway, were Peyton Hillis and Brandon Jacobs. Both off the market now.

Yes, someone PLEASE put a big titty in my mouth, and not you Craig ;)

Is that right, Orlando? Didn't know that ... go Pittsburgh!


And by the way, does anyone kow what pass interference is anymore? Seems like just as long as the DB is looking back at the Qb when the ball is in the air, anything goes.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | December 09, 2013 at 12:52 PM


It's whatever that team of ref interpret it to be on any given day.

The NFL now has such an OVER-Saturation of rules and rule changes, even the refs are at times confused.

Hence, the final play of the Panthers/Pats game.

Sam, that's why some people are saying the Dolphins got away with some pass interference but on all three of those calls, teh Db was looking back at the Qb whn contact was made ... seemed like they were ok to me ... guess it all comes down to what side of teh fence you're sitting on.

I guess you just have to thank god Gene Steratore wasn't officiating this game.

Marc how about the chick in Mark profile are thos big enough??

Seen many nice nominations for best Dolphin play of the year.

But my new #1 play is Tannehill/Hartline all but ripping the replay challenge flag from Philbin's pocket themselves.

That's my new "Fins Play Of The Year"! :)

And I keep reading about the Tampa loss. Just so you know, their record at the time that we played them was not a good indicator of the talent on that team. They have a TON of talent and have had only one loss since we played them. Like us, they just took some time to get everyone on the same page. Granted, we looked deplorable in that first quarter, but otherwise played a really hard football game against a team that at that very moment was launching/emerging into a respectable opponent.

MIT that's why I believe bad and good ref calls kind of even themselves out over the long haul. We've certainly seen our share.

Yes, great noncall on that play.

Our record is 2-4 versus teams with a .500 record or better. I cannot really get very excited about that and how this team has performed in its last two games against the 6-7 Jets and the 5-8 Steelers. Should they manage to get into the playoffs, they are one and done.

I'd rather miss the playoffs and bounce this GM and coaching staff at the end of this season, then hang onto them only to have the same discussions about job security before the midway point of next season.

Posted by: Krillian | December 09, 2013 at 01:07 PM


Exactl! Tampa Bay was always a team that had far greater talent than their record indicated. Actually, with the right qb, I would argue that Tampa bay has legit PLAYOFF TALENT.

Just imagine plugging in Drew Brees with the talent currently on that Buc roster. 12-4 is far from being out of the question.

I can't believe some fans (and even worse, some announcers and writers) are still sticking to this nonsense about the Steelers coming an "inch" from a miracle win.

On that last, wild play when Roethlisberger had the ball for the second time he CLEARLY tossed a forward lateral. Not even debatable.

That's an illegal play. Game over right then and there. Period.

Any "touchdown" would have been reviewed and quickly reversed.

How is it that so many seem to completely ignore this (even though I did see it mentioned in the ITTSBURGH paper)?

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