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23 posts from October 2012

October 01, 2012

UM-Notre Dame tidbits; Marino on Tannehill; Heat

Some quick hits on a Monday night:

 

### It will be fascinating to see how this steamrolling UM offense fares against a Notre Dame defense ranked third in the country in scoring defense (9.0 points per game) and 19th in pass defense (178.7 yards per game).

 “I don’t think I’ve seen a mistake” by Notre Dame on film, UM offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said Monday. “No one scores against them. They’re ninth in the country in sacks…. [But] Georgia Tech was ranked really high going into the game [against UM]. North Carolina State was a good defense.”

 ### Though Stephen Morris threw for a UM-and ACC-record 566 yards against North Carolina State, Fisch doesn’t want him to become content. “He missed some passes he never should have missed,” Fisch said.

Morris is completing 60 percent of his passes, and Fisch wants the number at 68 percent. “A lot of it has to do with drops, forcing the ball a little bit.”

 ### Thanks to UM’s no-huddle offense, the Canes are averaging 73 plays a game, up from 61 last season. “We want to be plus 10,” Fisch said.

### According to rivals.com, UM athletic director Shawn Eichorst is a candidate for the same job at Nebraska.

 ### On CBS Sports Network's new weekly NFL quarterback roundtable show, Dan Marino made clear he has seen enough of Ryan Tannehill to conclude "they can build around this kid. He's a tall guy, he can run. He can move in the pocket. I like what they're doing with him early, where they're moving him out of the pocket some. I like the fact, too, there were a couple times he changed the play at the line of scrimmage late in the game. He took some shots down the field, so he's not afraid to make a change at the line."

### Norris Cole is making a strong case to remain in the Heat’s rotation, even though the Heat theoretically could use a three-guard rotation of Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen. Erik Spoelstra said Cole's shooting and playmaking skills have developed, and “he’s arguably our most improved player right now.”

### An Eddy Curry sighting: The former Heat center – who “slimmed” down to 295 pounds last season – has surfaced at San Antonio’s training camp.

### NOTE TO READERS: If you see a twitter account using my name, ignore it. It's a fake.

Monday Dolphins update: News from Philbin's day-after press briefing; another Tannehill feat

No NFL starting quarterback has thrown fewer touchdowns this season than Ryan Tannehill’s two.

Only three have thrown more interceptions than Tannehill’s six (Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel, Ryan Fitzpatrick).

Only two (Weeden and Jay Cutler) have a lower quarterback rating than Tannehill’s 66.4.

But none of those numbers give an accurate gauge of what the Dolphins are witnessing with their rookie first-round draft pick.  

Sunday’s setback in Arizona left the Dolphins at the intersection of hope and heartbreak – heartbreak over a second consecutive overtime loss, but hope about Tannehill’s uplifting performance.

Tannehill’s negative “statistics,’ coach Joe Philbin said, “are a little bit deceiving.”

The Dolphins’ eyes tell them this:

“He’s making good progress. We like what we see,” Philbin said. “We’re interested in overall development and is he making progress in terms of becoming a consistent production starter in the NFL? I think we’re seeing signs he’s doing that. He’s diligent, prepares well, is obviously smart. He’s not surprised by what he sees when he comes back to the huddle. I thought he played well enough to win.”

Tannehill’s 431 passing yards Sunday were just one short of Cam Newton’s record for an NFL rookie and catapulted him to 14th in the NFL in passing yards.

Asked if Tannehill deserves any blame for his two costly turnovers late in the game, Philbin said, “It’s more of the blitzers” – meaning the Dolphins’ pass protection was deficient on those plays.

Fullback Jorvorskie Lane took responsibility for not picking up the blitz on Daryl Washington’s sack of Tannehill that forced a fumble with the Dolphins protecting a 21-14 fourth quarter lead. Vonnie Holliday recovered and Arizona went on to tie the game.

“Lane’s blocking was a little sporadic at times,” Philbin said.

On the overtime interception, Richie Incognito decided to help Mike Pouncey on Sam Acho, leaving Paris Lenon a clear path to Tannehill, who was hit by Acho as he threw the interception to Kerry Rhodes.

“Our pass protection was not good enough,” Philbin said. “We need to do a better job of recognizing” the blitz.

Generally, Tannehill did very well against the blitz. According to ESPN’s Stats Inc., Tannehill faced extra pressure on 25 of 44 dropbacks and completed 16 of 22 passes for 306 yards, with a touchdown and interception.

ESPN reported that’s the most passing yards by any quarterback against at least five pass rushers since the start of the 2008 season.

What’s more, Tannehill’s 94.8 rating in the fourth quarter this season is 11th-best in the league.

Philbin said where Tannehill has shown the most growth is his accuracy. Though his completion percentage ranks 26th in the league, he has been victimized by at least 12 drops. And he completed 63.4 percent of his passes Sunday (26 of 41).

Tipped balls remain an issue, Philbin said. “We had a couple tipped [Sunday] – first play of the game, I thought we were going to have a good completion.”

Among Philbin’s other remarks Monday:

### He said the running game, which averaged 3.0 yards per carry on 29 attempts, “was sporadic – too many negative runs.”

Asked if Lamar Thomas (four carries for 13 carries) or Daniel Thomas (four for four) has emerged as the No. 2 running back, Philbin said: “It’s by game plan more. We have confidence in both of those guys. Both have skill. Both do some very good things.”

### Though Brian Hartline set a Dolphins record with 253 receiving yards (on 12 catches), Philbin said: “The passing game is not predicated on he’s our No. 1 guy.”

### On Legedu Naanee’s fumble after a 19-yard catch: “I thought it was a heck of a throw. You’ve got to hold onto the ball.” He said the ball that Charles Clay dropped after being smacked by Adrian Wilson “was an excellent throw. You’ve got to catch those.”

### The Dolphins have allowed the league’s fewest rushing yards but third-most passing yards.

“We do give up a few too many pass explosives,” Philbin said. But “you have to caution that when you look at our run game statistics, some head coaches or offensive coordinators will say: “Why are we running the ball against those guys? I don’t know. I’m just thinking out loud.”

### He said Sean Smith “did a lot of good things” but was responsible on Andre Roberts’ 15-yard touchdown reception that tied the game with 22 seconds left. “The guy ran a semi-double move,” Philbin said. “We’ve got to have tighter coverage over there.”

Regarding Roberts’ 46-yard touchdown catch earlier in the fourth quarter, Philbin said: “Richard Marshall has got to be in better position to play that ball.”

### Philbin bemoaned Miami’s three turnovers in the final 11 minutes of the game. The Dolphins have a minus five turnover differential this season (five takeaways, 10 giveaways).

### Philbin said he told his team “we have to be accountable to one another to do better. We’re all men. This is not a profession for the faint of heart.  I told the team in the locker room: “We’ve got a heck of a challenge this week [Sunday at Cincinnati]. We’re coming off a west coast trip, coming off two tough losses, going to play a very good team on the road. It will be a test for our staff to see how good of a staff we have.”

News, notes from Joe Philbin's Monday news conference

Highlights from Joe Philbin’s Monday press briefing with reporters:

### On Ryan Tannehill: “I thought he played well enough to win. He threw the ball well. The [low quarterback rating] statistics are a little bit deceiving. We’re interested in more overall development. Is he making progress in being a consistent starter in the NFL? We’re seeing signs he’s doing that. He seems to be making good progress – he’s diligent, prepares well, is smart. He’s not surprised by what he sees when he comes back to the huddle.”

### What’s Tannehill’s biggest area of improvement? “Probably his accuracy.”

### Philbin said tipped balls remain an issue with Tannehill.  “We had a couple tipped yesterday – first play of the game, thought we would have a good completion.”

### Philbin said Tannehill bears no blame for either of his late turnovers. “It’s more [players not picking up] blitzers.”

Jorvorskie Lane took responsibility for missing the blitz pickup on Tannehill's fumble late in the fourth quarter. Richie Incognito allowed Parris Lennon to hit Tannehill on the overtime interception because he instead chose to help Mike Pouncey with another Arizona player. 

### On his running game: “Reggie Bush wasn’t limited. Our run game was sporadic – too many negative runs.”

### Has Lamar Thomas or Daniel Thomas emerged as the No. 2 running back?  “It’s by game plan more. We have confidence in both of those guys. Both have skill. Both do some very good things.”

### He said Brian Hartline “had a rare day” but that “the passing game is not predicated on he’s our No. 1 guy.” Philbin said the presence of Davone Bess “is comforting for the quarterback.”

### On the offensive line and blitz pickup: “Our protection wasn’t good enough. We need to do a better job of recognizing [the blitz].”

### On the offense: “We needed to be able to make explosive plays in the passing game. The good news is we made a number of big plays in the passing game. I don’t know we’re going to be able to throw the ball for 400 yards every week.”

### On Jorvorskie Lane: “We still thought Lane’s blocking was a little sporadic at times. He did a nice job on one or two of the kickoff returns. On one kickoff return, he splattered a guy."

### On what he told his team: “We all have to be accountable to one another, to improve and do better. This is not a profession for the faint of heart. We have to accept responsibility for where we are. We’ve got a heck of a challenge this week. This will be a test for our staff right now. We’re coming off a west coast trip, going to play a very good team on the road.”

### On Legedu Naanee’s catch and fumble: “I thought it was a heck of a throw – You’ve got to hold onto the ball.”

### On Charles Clay dropping a pass after he was smacked by Adrian Wilson: “That throw by Ryan was an excellent throw. You've got to catch those.”

### On what especially irked him: "We had [two] giveaways in the last five minutes. That’s not a good recipe to win games in the NFL, Pop Warner, anywhere."

### On his pass defense, which continues to give up big yardage: "We do give up a few too many pass explosives. You have to caution that when you look at our run game statistics there will be some head coaches or coordinators who say: Why are we running the ball against those guys, possibly?"

### Philbin said "Sean Smith did a lot of good things. There were a couple impact plays he made – quality plays. He did a good job."

### Philbin said Richard Marshall was responsible for the 46-yard touchdown pass to Andre Roberts that put Arizona ahead, 14-13. "Richard has got to be in better position to play that ball."

On the 15-yard touchdown pass to Roberts that tied the game with 22 seconds left, "Sean was over there. The guy ran a semi- double move. You need tighter coverage."