Dolphins News Archive

We Want Bush!

Friday, September 21st, 2012

With our legitimate reporter Alex moving to California I recently reached out to Dolfans NYC member Ross Barnes who often posts mini opinion pieces on our Facebook group to see if he wanted to start writing for DolfansNYC.com. He was excited for the opportunity so enjoy the first article by Dolfans NYC’s own British ex-patriot Ross Barnes. 

Reggie BushTo echo the sentiments that followed Reggie Bush’s exploits in last Sunday’s game, I want Bush! As I look down the Dolphins schedule I can see many winnable games, and for a team that many pundits had written off at the start of the season (I myself was/am reticent to get too excited just yet) there is a lot of promise on the horizon for this team. However, I do not believe that promise will translate into success without the continued play of Reggie Bush as he is currently performing. The Dolphins in 2012 are a far outside bet right now, but don’t write them off just yet. This team is a dark horse in the race and, if nothing else, we could play spoiler to a few other teams. The worst thing an opponent could do right now is underestimate what this unit is capable of, and to some extent the pressure will be on them, not us. But Bush will be key to our success.

In Week 1, Tannehill made some costly mistakes. He turned the ball over three times, twice of which came off of tipped balls at the line of scrimmage where Houston’s big defensive linemen were able to read and anticipate Tannehill’s throws as he stared down his receivers. In Week 2, Tannehill did not make these same mistakes. Sure, the Oakland Raiders are not on the same level as opponents like the Texans, but this is the kind of progression that is encouraging to see nonetheless – now we look to consistency. Tannehill was able to score on a run, this is something that we need to see more of him doing. One of the key factors of his game that did draw praise was his athleticism, his ability to get out of the pocket, extend the play and to bust open huge gains scrambling.
It is also important to note how many touches Reggie Bush got against the Raiders – in fact, the entire running game for that matter was more involved and, in doing so, Tannehill was not asked to do too much. Bush saw 14 carries against the Texans; the number almost doubled last week as he was handed the ball 26 times. Lamar Millar got 10 carries and, between he and Bush, they tore chunks out of the Raiders as they combined for 237 yards rushing.
Reggie Bush drew some attention during the offseason when he set himself the goal to be the NFL’s rushing leader, a goal that many people didn’t take seriously. Well, they may want to start taking him seriously now. After Week 2 Bush had amassed 241 rushing yards and currently sits at second on the Rushing Leader Board. The man in front of him is C.J. Spiller (292 yards), who just so happened to have ripped 169 yards off his total when playing against the Jets in Week 1.
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Hard Knocks Trailer!

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

I could not be more excited for this! We will have to do a party for the premiere on August 7th!

Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins

Behind Enemy Lines: Dolphins-Texans Preview

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

With the Dolphins facing off against the Houston Texans on Sunday, DolfansNYC collaborated with State of the Texans for an in-depth game preview, focusing on the burning topics for each team. We cover the Texans’ offseason; Wade Phillips, Mario Williams and the much-improved defense; the aftermath of the Fins-Patriots game; the match-up problems Reggie Bush and Cameron Wake pose for Houston; and much more.

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Welcome Back, JT

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Jason Taylor Dances Back to Miami

Hey, um, remember when this happened?  Me neither.

(Though honestly, I found the Dancing with the Stars appearance even more questionable than the New York Jets signing to begin with, but that’s besides the point).

It’s now official – Jason Traitor Taylor is coming back for his third stint with the Miami Dolphins.  He said so on his Facebook page and everything.  Aside from bringing leadership and a veteran locker room presence (and perhaps a copy of the Jets’ playbook?), the two-time Defensive Player of the Year is unlikely to see more than 15-20 snaps per game and add a handful of sacks to his 132.5 career total, barring an injury to Cameron Wake or Koa Misi.  The 36-year-old Taylor is clearly at the tail-end of his Hall of Fame career and should serve as the Dolphins’ third-down down pass rusher and outside linebacker.

Either way, pull out that aqua-and-orange No. 99 jersey from the bottom of your drawer (again) and cheer on one of the greatest Dolphins (and worst Jets and Redskins) players of all-time.  It’s yet another reason to forget all about 2010.

The Tyler Thigpen Era Begins

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

tyler-thigpenWith a short week and injuries to both Chad Pennigton and Chad Henne, Tyler Thigpen is in line to make his first start as a Miami Dolphin.

It’s probably safe to assume that most Fins fans don’t know all that much about the team’s newest quarterback.  He’s been the third-stringer behind Pennington, Henne, and (sigh) Pat White ever since he was acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs in September 2009, and had throw only one touchdown and three interceptions for Miami prior to last week.  In his most extensive game action to date, he threw two costly picks in a winnable game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17 of 2009.

A mistake-prone QB going up against the Chicago Bears’ fourth-ranked defense that’s tied for the NFL lead with 14 interceptions on the season isn’t exactly a recipe for success, but that doesn’t mean that Thigpen can’t get the job done.

In 2008, Thigpen wasn’t just good in his final ten games for the Chiefs (we’ll conveniently ignore his first career start) — he was one of the best QBs in the NFL.  No seriously, take a look at these numbers from Weeks 7 through 17 of that season.

Player Comp % Pass Yds Pass TD INT Total TD
Drew Brees 63.5% 3,396 25 11 25
Philip Rivers 67.1% 2,826 23 7 23
Aaron Rodgers 63.8% 2,764 19 9 21
Kurt Warner 66.0% 3,111 20 10 20
Peyton Manning 68.6% 2,700 19 7 20
Matt Cassel 62.8% 2,783 18 7 20
Tyler Thigpen 57.8% 2,292 16 8 20
Donovan McNabb 58.8% 2,620 17 9 19
Jay Cutler 60.9% 3,024 15 14 17
Tony Romo 59.7% 2,080 15 9 15
Chad Pennington 67.0% 2,552 14 5 15
Eli Manning 58.6% 2,010 14 6 14
Joe Flacco 58.8% 2,127 13 5 14
David Garrard 61.7% 2,637 12 9 13
Matt Ryan 64.0% 2,577 12 8 13

Only five perennial Pro-Bowlers and a QB playing with Randy Moss and Wes Welker at his disposal found the enzone more times.  The aggressive Thigpen threw the eighth-most TDs — three fewer than Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers — rushed for 386 yards and three more scores, and even caught a 37-yard TD pass.  Of course, the second-year player made his share of errors, and Kansas City lost 10 of the 11 games he started (though six of those contests were decided by seven points or less).  The spectacular numbers apparenty weren’t good enough for the Chiefs, who opted to trade for the marginally-better Matt Cassel and keep the legendary Brodie Croyle as the backup QB.

Last week, I speculated that Thigpen would get an extended look towards the end of the season to see if he can be the Dolphins latest QB of the future.  Miami hung on to him during the offseason despite getting plenty of offers, and instead cut ties with White, a 2009 second-round pick.  Don’t be surprised if the underrated Thigpen seizes the opportunity and establishes an immediate rapport with Brandon Marshall on Thursday night. 

At the very least, let’s hope he can make it through the game — I really don’t want to have to write anything positive about Patrick Ramsey.

Dolphins Bench Henne for Pennington

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Like most Dolphins fans, I was surprised (somewhat pleasantly) by Coach Tony Sparano’s announcement that quarterback Chad Pennington will start over Chad Henne going forward.

chad-penningtonA little over a year ago, when Miami started 0-3 and Pennington averaged only 138 passing yards per contest while committing four turnovers, the fans wanted him benched in favor of the up-and-coming Henne.  21 games later, there’s a growing sense of excitement about Pennington’s return to the field as a 4-4 team clings to its fading Playoff hopes.

According to beat writer Omar Kelly, the coaching staff felt that “Henne had become extremely predictable,” leading to decreased confidence in locker room.  Henne made too many bad decisions and committed far too many costly turnovers, throwing four interceptions without a single touchdown pass in Miami’s last two games.  Whether he’s still the Dolphins QB of the future remains to be seen, but it’s certainly not inconceivable that Tyler Thigpen will get an extended look later this year or during the offseason.

Offensive coordinator Dan Henning’s play calling has certainly raised a lot of valid questions, since his system has been more tailored to Pennington’s “water pistol” arm all along.  Henne averaged 6.9 yards per pass attempt and 10.8 yards per completion his season, both of which are below Pennington’s career averages.  After three surgeries on his throwing shoulder, Pennington doesn’t have the arm strength to throw deep passes, but then again, Henne has only two completions of over 40 yards in eight games.

One factor that can’t be understated is Pennington’s accuracy, which is miles ahead of Henne’s.  Pennington holds the highest completion percentage (66.1%) in NFL history among players with at least 1,000 pass attempts, and led the NFL in that category during his last full season in 2008 (67.4%).  He has the 12th-best career Passer Rating (90.1), and ranked second in the league behind Phillip Rivers two years ago.  While Henne has thrown four more INTs than TDs, Pennington has nearly twice as many scores as picks over 11 years (though it should be noted that he threw four costly INTs against the Ravens in Miami’s last Playoff game).

It’ll be interesting to see how the 34-year-old fares against the Tennessee Titans defense, which has given up the 10th most passing yards but leads the league with 3.3 sacks per game.   If Pennington improbably leads Miami back into the postseason, he deserves to win an unprecedented third Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Questions For Dan Henning

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Normally I take today to post pictures from the last Dolfans NYC meet up, but since I was at the game in Baltimore getting embarrassed by my team I don’t have club pictures to post. Instead I am going to post some questions I have for Dan Henning. Tomorrow is his media availability day and I have some questions for the guy. The press loves Henning because he is so charming when he talks to them, but they rarely get to the bottom of what the fuck he is doing out there. Today I woke up to find out that Henne was benched, which I think is a terrible idea. The real culprit behind this mediocrity is Dan Henning. He is the guy who needs to be benched.

  • Why the hell do you go empty backfield on third and short all the time?
  • Why have you stopped giving Polite the ball on 3rd and 1? I know he missed ONE 3rd and 1, but thats one out of 25.
  • Why do you not keep handing the ball to the running back who is actually gaining yards?
  • Why did it take you twice as long as we did to realize the Wild Cat isn’t working anymore?
  • Why during the Baltimore game did you have a 10 play drive without handing off once?
  • Why down 16 points with 3 minutes to go did you start running play action?

Seriously, our offense is garbage not because of Henne, but because of Henning. He is putting our players in a position to fail. Pennington might fare better than Henne, but it won’t be because he is a better quarterback. It will be because he is experienced enough and smart enough to play within this horrible system that Henning has created.  Everyone gives Henning all this credit for the brilliance of the Wild Cat, but that was all David Lee.  Let’s put David Lee in charge and send Henning to the nursing home.

What questions would you have for Henne if you were at his press conference tomorrow?

Will Miami Regret Passing on Randy Moss?

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Randy Moss is going to the Tennessee Titans, who claimed the enigmatic wide receiver off waivers from the Minnesota Vikings.  Since waiver priority is determined by the inverse order of the current standings, the 4-3 Miami Dolphins would have acquired Moss had they decided to put in a claim.  Did the team make a big mistake by passing up the chance to feature two 2009 Pro Bowlers in a revamped vertical game?

Tmoss-frohere were plenty of reasons for Miami to pass on Moss, who can be the best player on the field if he’s motivated, and a head-case who doesn’t respect his teammates or coaches and carries far more baggage than he’s worth if he’s disinterested. 

Despite playing for Bill Belichick, one of very few coaches who has earned Moss’s admiration, the wide receiver still found a ticket out of New England after questioning his role in the offense and getting into a spat about Tom Brady’s hair (I don’t actually think that last part is true, but it’s hilarious nonetheless). 

Through his career, Moss has been repeatedly chastised for his lack of effort, failure to finish routes and make blocks, and an alarming attitude in the locker room that largely contributed to his release from Minnesota.

But hate him or love him, Moss is one of the most talented WRs in NFL history, and players of his caliber are hardly ever so readily available.  He’s two and a half years removed from a season in which he recorded nearly 1,500 receiving yards and caught an NFL-record 23 touchdown passes.   For his career, he ranks second in league history in TDs (153), fourth in receiving yards per game (76.6), fifth in total receiving yards (14,778), and eight in catches (948).  Those skills didn’t suddenly diminish overnight.

Perhaps the Miami coaches didn’t think they could keep him happy in a run-first offense, or didn’t want to deal with the distractions and media circus that surrounds the outspoken and constantly unhappy Moss.  But his off-putting personality aside, the Dolphins sure could’ve used him on the field.

The team ranks 25th in the league in passing plays of over 20 yards (17) with an anemic average of 6.7 yards per pass attempt.  Miami hasn’t had a true deep threat (at least one who can catch the ball) in years, and Moss would’ve commanded double-teams and opened the field for Brandon Marshall — who publicly lobbied for the acquisition — and slot receiver Davone Bess.

It would’ve been a relatively low-risk and low-cost gamble for the Dolphins, since Moss is owed $3.388 million for the remainder of the season, the final year of his contract.  Even he has to realize that at this point, no team would hesitate to cut him if he continues to exhibit an oversized ego and a poor attitude, and that he could find himself out of a job in the offseason if he burns yet another bridge.  

The Dolphins could’ve gotten a playmaker whose talents could’ve single-handedly brought the division title back to South Beach.  Instead, they’ll have to settle for seeing Moss catch passes only once this year, when the visiting Titans come to Miami on November 14.

Return of the Mack: Dolphins Sign Clifton Smith

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Hate him or love him, the Dolphins were going to miss Ted Ginn Jr.’s speed and playmaking ability on special teams (not so much in the receiving game).  Sure, he’d run out of bounds and try to avoid contact, but he also ranked fifth in kick return yards (1,296) and 14th kickoff return average (24.92) in the NFL last season.

In comes KR/PR Clifton “Batman” Smith, who could end up rivalring Brandon Marshall as the team’s most impactful and game-changing addition of the offseason.  After being waived by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday, the return specialist chose to sign with Miami after also working out for the Green Bay Packers.

The 25-year-old was initially signed to the Bucs’ practice squad as an undrafted free agent in 2008, and went on to be selected to the Pro Bowl after ranking second in the NFL in punt return average (14.1) and sixth in kickoff return average (27.6).  Despite appearing in only nine games, he finished sixth in total punt return yards and (324), and scored on a 97-yard kickoff return and a 70-yard punt return.  Smith went on to improve his yards per kickoff to 29.1 (second in the league) in 2009, and his career average of 28.3 tops all active players and is the fifth-highest in NFL history.

Smith will likely take over primary punt-return duties from Davone Bess, who’s quietly been one of the worst at the position in the NFL.  Over the last two seasons, Bess has returned 49 punts, the 11th-highest total in the league, but his 8.98 yards per return rank 25th out of 35 qualified players.  Smith’s 12.09 average, on the other hand, is second behind only the New York Giants’ Dominik Hixon (12.15).

In even better news, Patrick Cobbs, who’s coming back from knee surgery, will now be relieved from handling kickoffs.  Since entering the league in 2007, he’s posted the second-lowest kickoff return average (20.48) among 72 players with at least 25 returns.  Fifth-round pick Nolan Carroll was also in contention for the job, but didn’t fare much better during the preseason by averaging 22.8 yards on nine returns.

Of course, Pro Bowl-caliber players in their prime don’t get released for no reason.  For all of his special teams contributions, Smith is virtually non-existent on offense, rushing four times for just seven yards last year.  There are legitimate concerns about his durability after a pair of concussions limited the 5-foot-8, 190-pound dynamo to 11 games in 2009 and lingering knee pain forced him to miss two 2010 preseason games.  He’s has also been extremely fumble-prone, losing the ball a whopping seven times (tied with Bess and Ginn, among others, for ninth among non-quarterbacks over the last two years) in only 20 games.

Despite the concerns, there’s no question that Smith is one of the best return specialists in the game and presents a significant upgrade for the Dolphins.  Barring injuries, he’s not likely to receive a lot of carries as the team’s fifth RB, but running behind a better offensive line in Miami should allow him to be a bigger factor on those rare occasions.

Smith will get his first test against the Buffalo Bills, who were held opponents to 21.5 yards per kickoff return (7th-best in the NFL) and 7.7 yards on punt returns (11th), on Sunday.

Dolphins Waive the White Flag

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

By now, you’ve probably heard that much-maligned Dolphins quarterback Pat White has been shown his walking papers after one disastrous season in which he became just the fourth QB to not complete a single pass with at least five attempts since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.  It’s hard to argue that it was the wrong decision, especially with three better-qualified players ahead of him on the depth chart, but I’m a little dismayed by how the situation was handled by the coaching staff.

Pat was White trash to the Dolphins... <em>(Chris Graythen/Getty Images)</em>
Pat was White trash to the Dolphins... (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The Dolphins never gave White much of a chance to succeed.  During the regular season, he was inserted into the occasional “Wildcat” formation in which he could never fully show what he had to offer aside from scrambling on the ground.  In the final game, he was thrown into the fire against a stout Pittsburgh Steelers defense in the thick of the Playoff hunt.  And then, in the 2010 preseason, White took nine total snaps (none in the fourth game), kneeling down three times and throwing (and completing!) four short passes in garbage time.

It’s clear that the Dolphins front office was convinced that White wasn’t part of the team’s future plans before the preseason started and didn’t bother to give him an extended look or attempt to increase his trade value for QB-needy teams.  And that’s the part that I’ll never understand.  The Dolphins are hardly the first team to give up on an early-round draft pick — hell, the Arizona Cardinals released Matt Leinart, the 10th overall selection in 2006 — but the fact that White wasn’t on the field for even a single quarter at the expense of injury-prone veteran Chad Pennington, who hardly needed the extra work, or given the opportunity to battle Tyler Thigpen for the third QB spot doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Of course, White isn’t without fault himself.  There have been indications that his heart wasn’t fully into football after he took a vicious hit that knocked him unconscious during last year’s finale.  Despite possessing the quickness (4.44 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine) and shiftiness that would make him well-suited to play part-time wide receiver, a la Brad Smith and Joshua Cribbs, White refused to switch positions and indicated that he’d rather play baseball.  Those aren’t exactly the kind of words that management wants to hear out of players on the roster bubble.

Be that as it may, White is gone and somewhat surprisingly, wasn’t claimed off waivers despite having most of his 2010 salary paid by the Dolphins.  I asked Sun-Sentinel reporter Omar Kelly to do some NFL Betting on where White will end up — the CFL, the New England Patriots, or the New York Yankees.  Kelly didn’t even rule out a full retirement from football to be a “regular Joe” in White’s hometown.

Other News and Notes:

*Did the Dolphins think they could save some money by releasing TE David Martin and then re-signing him after the first week?  It’s hard to believe Miami was prepared to rely on John Nalbone, who entered training camp fourth on the depth chart and didn’t blow anyone away during preseason, in its two tight end packages.  Martin ended up signing with the Buffalo Bills, who quite coincidentally, I’m sure, happen to play the Dolphins in Week 1.  The Dolphins could quickly end up regretting their decision.

*In a less surprising move, last year’s third-round pick, WR Patrick Turner, was released over the weekend and signed with the division-rival New York Jets.  Undrafted rookies Marlon Moore and Roberto Wallace must have extremely impressive during practice for the team to keep them at Turner’s expense, because there isn’t a glaring difference in the preseason numbers.

Player Rec Yards YPC Long TD
Marlon Moore 9 106 11.8 34 1
Roberto Wallace 8 101 12.6 31 1
Patrick Turner 5 90 18.0 34 0

Turner could revive his career with the Jets while playing alongside his former USC QB Mark Sanchez, but chances are slim after he couldn’t get on the field last season and was beaten out by a pair of undrafted rookies in camp.

UPDATE: Yep, Turner has already been cut and is now on the Jets’ practice squad.  So the Dolphins paid him a $714,000 signing bonus and $310,000 in salary to make zero regular season catches and become a practice squad player on a division rival a year later. Awesome.  (more…)

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