John Clayton joined us for his weekly appearance on the Jorge Sedano Show on 790 The Ticket.
He weighed in on the Dolphins recent loss to Baltimore:
Sedano: The Dolphins simply lost to a better team.
Clayton: I’ll agree with that and particularly on the road too. Baltimore is a team that is definitely in the Super Bowl hunt and has a great chance to maybe end up with Pittsburgh as the number one seed, and that was the doom of some things at the beginning of the season. You know the schedule is going to be tough, you know the game is going to be there (Baltimore) and if you don’t play the perfect game you’re not going to beat the Baltimore Ravens.
Sedano: Chad Henne doesn’t take risks, he does what he’s told to do; at what point do the Dolphins let him loose, if that’s the right move to make?
Clayton: That’s obviously not a criticism of Chad Henne, but more of a criticism of the coaching staff because Chad Henne just runs the plays, he doesn’t call the plays. If you don’t have the ability to audible to big plays or you don’t have the desire to let him do that then you see that’s a recurring problem that has been a criticism all year. I don’t think Ed was being overly critical of Chad. I think at some point particularly with the talent that’s there, and yes, there’s no real solid deep threat as far as running. Again, there’s no Ted Gin with that type of speed but I think that’s a problem. And that’s something that I think they need to do. I went to the Atlanta v. Tampa Bay game on Sunday and there were some criticisms about Matt Ryan, similar type of thing when they go against cover two defenses, they don’t try any cover two beaters. Finally they started to figure out some things with the talented quarterback, fired a 43 yard pass down the left sideline to Michael Jenkins and it just turned the game around. The dolphins need to try to get some big plays and find some ways to get the defense from swatting on routes.
Sedano: There’s a lot of talk about the blame game being played and that’s usually the beginning of the end. Would you agree with that assessment or do you think that that may be just guys posturing at this point to make sure there guys are viewed in the right light?
Clayton: I think that show you that there is recognition that this is a season at the crossroads. With a lot of decisions coming up at the end of the season I think that is a normal case. I think you even see that in the locker room with some of the player reactions and the frustration really bubbling over. Whether they’re funneling at a Baltimore full back or internally, but I think you can see that that game on Sunday was an emotional one in the sense that now there’s a growing recognition that this team is destined to finish third place and if you’re third place, everybody’s wondering why. So yes, that is a reality. Some how, some way, Tony Sparano has to try to get the focus back into playing better football and trying to find a way to win some games because right now it looks like it’s going to end up being a 9 win season.
Sedano: Can Tony Sparano or Jeff Ireland find themselves on the hot seat?
Clayton: I think that’s been in the cards since Bill Parcells decided to step back and move into a different direction and hand the team over. Now with a new owner, there will be a review at the end of the season to see where it’s going. Steven Ross inherited this group and inherited a pretty good team and I think it’s up for review. Obviously 10 wins sounds better, 9 wins is alright, but I think that necessarily we shouldn’t be feeling real good right now if they don’t make the playoffs even though its going to be tough going in because you look at the Jets and the Patriots as being better teams. I think it would be unfair that anything happened to them but it’s an unfair league.
Caller: The Dolphins got away from Ronnie Brown after the 1st quarter. What else can we do to get our running game going?
Clayton: Maybe what it comes down to is that I know they want to set things up to have good balance and have more passing and maybe force a little more passing but sometimes running back rotations end up hurting. Running backs a lot of times need that 16 to 18. It used to be 25 but nobody’s getting that 25 carries anymore. So they always like to have that rotation but maybe in some ways they need to extend the rotation. Maybe go to three possessions as opposed to two. When you’re sharing the back field which is pretty much the case, maybe that doesn’t give Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams a chance to carry as much. Go back to last year when Ronnie was hurt and then Ricky had his chance to get more carries. The more carries he got the better he got but now it seems like they’re spreading the wealth but everybody’s getting poorer. They’re trying to pass the ball more and keep both backs with a certain number of carries and its simply not getting everybody working as well as they should.