Posts Tagged ‘Clyde Gates’

Coach Joe Philbin Talks to Dolphins Season Ticket Holders

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Last night, newly-hired Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin participated in a teleconference call with the team’s season ticket members, and DolfansNYC had the opportunity to listen in on the interesting Q&A session.

During the 45-minute call, Philbin touched on a variety of topics, ranging from the team’s biggest needs in the upcoming Draft to his visions for the offense, openly asking the fans to have “faith and confidence” that he will deliver results in 2012.

*Philbin said he’s happy with three quarterbacks on the roster – Matt Moore, David Garrard and Pat Devlin – and praised Moore and Garrard for being proven, winning players. He did, however, note that the starting job is still a wide-open competition between all three QBs.

“We haven’t promised anyone anything,” he said, suggesting that the winner may be the player who learns the offense the quickest and exhibits the most comfort in the system.

*Regarding the Draft, in which the Dolphins have the 8th overall pick, Philbin disclosed the Dolphins are in final preparations and that the team’s biggest needs are at pass rusher and wide receiver (somewhat surprisingly, not QB).

“You can never have enough pass rushers,” he said. “Probably 30 teams out of the 32 are talking about acquiring pass rushers and guys that can put pressure on the quarterback.”

*As for Miami’s receivers, a topic which was understandably asked about several times during the call, Philbin reiterated he plans to develop the current corps on the roster — including Clyde Gates, Roberto Wallace, Julius Pruitt — but noted the Dolphins may still bring in a free agent.

*Phiblin hopes to take advantage of Reggie Bush‘s talent and versatility and use him at running back, as well as wide receiver, in different formations to create more mismatches for opposing defenses.

“With Reggie, we want to be multiple – we’re not just going to hand the ball to him,” he said.

*Philbin said while the West Coast Offense has a lot of unpredictability and that the ball will be spread around, the Wildcat is not a likely option.

*Philbin’s praised the coaching staff, including offensive coordinator Mike Sherman and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, and revealed that the team will use a more collaborative approach in calling games.

“This is not going to be a one-man operation on any side of the ball,” he said.

*Philbin declined to predict whether the Dolphins will make the playoffs or his expected win-total, stating, “you’re never totally sure exactly what you have” with the roster.

“It’s a disservice, I think, to the guys that you coach to sit around here on April 3 and say, ‘We’re going to be a 7-9 team and that’s good enough, or 9-7,” he said. “We have a broader perspective at this point in time, but we’re excited about getting started, we’re optimistic.”

All in all, the head coach offered an intriguing inside look into the team’s plans and philosophy in the first of several calls that he, as well as owner Stephen Ross, will hold this offseason with Dolphins the season-ticket holders.

Partying with Tracy Morgan and the Dolphins

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Barely 72 hours later, it still feels surreal.

Michelle and I, along with a couple of our friends, had the opportunity to go to a Tracy Morgan charity comedy show in Miami, which was presented by Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano to benefit Veteran’s Housing. Thanks to the event organizers, Lunar Sports Group, we had invites to the pre-show VIP party, backstage passes and tickets to the after-party at the Shore Club.

We were informed beforehand that several of Fasano’s teammates could come out for the show, and sure enough, Reggie Bush, Davone Bess, Brian Hartline, Jared Odrick, Clyde Gates, Steve Slaton, and ex-Dolphin Lousaka Polite were among a dozen or so players in attendance. Michelle and I volunteered to check-in the VIP guests, meaning we had to put tiny orange bands around the massive wrists of professional football stars and the tiny wrists of their supermodel girlfriends. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it.

 

I made sure to tell Polite that he remains one of our all-time favorite players and that we miss chanting “Louuu!” whenever he’d get a first down.  He thanked me and said that he’s continuing to work out, waiting to “get the call.”

Once the pre-show party concluded, the players and VIP guests were ushered down the hall, where Morgan came out to welcome everyone to the show. Well, he didn’t so much welcome them, as much as launch into an impromptu stand-up act, explaining that he’s the sole reason why both the NFL and NBA lockouts had ended. That’s probably the one part that I can repeat with a straight face, much less reprint here.   Let’s just say the majority of his topics had a lot to do with bodily functions and bedroom acts most people would probably never want to try. Morgan walked up and down the hall, cracking everyone up with his unique sense of humor, driving home the point that absolutely nothing and no one was off limits (more on that shortly).

Before he went back to his dressing room, I made sure to shake his hand and tell him how much I enjoy his work, figuring it would be my one chance to speak to him.

The Dolphins walked to another section of the theater to pick up food and beverages before the main act, where MiamiDolphins.com beat writer Andy Kent introduced us to Bess, Michelle’s favorite player. Bess was extremely nice and personable, openly talking about Miami’s heartbreaking last-second loss on Thanksgiving, and taking the time out to pose for pictures. Michelle was star-struck and giggling in delight after Bess walked away – pretty much exactly how I’d react if I ever talked to Candace Parker.

 

As for Morgan’s actual stand-up, he began the routine by pulling no punches about Bush’s relationship with Kim Kardashian and her E! reality show, and continued to spew (heh) unfiltered raunchiness and crudeness for the next hour-and-a-half. I don’t think there’s a person on earth who can get away with anything he said or make such absurd topics so hilarious. My face actually hurt from laughing so much.
Soon afterwards, we walked several blocks to the Shore Club, where none other than Tracy Morgan and a few of his friends sat on a bench outside, with no bodyguards or bouncers in sight. When he saw us, he dove right back into his comedy act, telling us a few jokes he forgot to say during the show.

At one point, he said (I’m paraphrasing for language, clearly) that men can’t live with or without women.  Michelle laughed and told him I was learning all about that.

“Nah, he’s a good boy,” said Morgan. “He’s domestically trained, like me. He knows not to pee inside the house.” I can’t argue with this.

He then asked us if we were coming inside (as if we’d miss it for anything), at which point one of his friends told Morgan that I look like Jesus.

“He’s got the long hair, the beard – all he’s missing is the sandals,” he said.

Morgan took it a step further, declaring that I actually look like Moses’ mother. I still have no idea what to make of that, but it was fantastic. He then asked me if I’d seen the original Planet of the Apes, and for whatever reason, I told him I hadn’t. It didn’t matter – he went right into a Charlton Heston impression from some movie none of us knew; regardless, we laughed hysterically.

Inside the club, I spotted one of the comedians who opened for Morgan and had to get a picture with him, obviously because of that amazing mustache. Somewhat disappointingly, his act barely mentions the sweet ‘stache, with just one quick line about Super Mario being on stage.

We hung  around in the back for a while, where some of the guests played pool and hit on scantily-clad women, and went home around one thirty in the morning. After spending some time with him, I can safely say that Morgan basically plays himself in 30 Rock (within the confines of network television, of course) – an outrageous and unpredictable character who’s always on and lives for making others around him laugh.

Needless to say, it was an unforgettable experience with the hands-down funniest person I’d ever met.

DolfansNYC Podcast, Episode 5: Tony Sparano

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Last week, DolfansNYC attended Web Weekend, an annual event hosted by the Miami Dolphins for the team’s top fan websites. Prior to Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans, Coach Tony Sparano addressed the crowd and spoke about a number of key topics, after which we he took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for our podcast.

Below are the main portions from the group Q&A, followed by our exclusive one-on-one interview with Coach Sparano, in which he talks about his football playing career, the decision behind hiring offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, and his thoughts on New York and DolfansNYC.

On under-the-radar players to watch for:

I think a guy that you should watch out for, predicated on what I’ve seen throughout training camp – and I don’t like singling any players out, as I’m sure you guys know – I’ll tell you that Reshad Jones is a guy I would watch.   This guy had 13 tackles (against the Patriots), and has had a really good training camp, has really good range and ball skills back there.  I think he’s a guy that could have a really good year as a young player for us.

I’m hoping that Jared Odrick will continue to get better.  He needs to play, and he obviously hasn’t played in a long time.  So, Jared would be a guy that I would say the same thing about.  And then maybe a young guy like Daniel Thomas.

On the roster decision-making process:

The first thing we identify, is where the need is – obviously, just because there’s a player out there, he might not satisfy our needs at that particular time.  There were a lot of good players out there when free agency hit at the end of the lockout, but we had a particular plan in mind, knowing what we had coming back and knowing maybe a little bit about what we needed.

This year, business was done a little bit differently, only because the draft was done before free agency.  So, in the draft, we got to fill some needs like Clyde Gates, in getting speed, or Mike Pouncey, in finding a center, and Daniel Thomas, in finding a (running) back.  At that point, it became, “okay, we’ve got Daniel Thomas – what’s the next piece?  Well, there’s this Reggie Bush that might be out there.”  That was a scenario there where (it was) a hunch on our part, only because Reggie had made a lot of money where he was, (and could have been) a cap casualty.  And we had all of those things – our scouting department has a list of players that we think are going to be released, a list of players that are free agents, and potential cap casualties.  And this was a scenario where we were able to get a good player in that situation and bring him to our team.

But the way the process works, is identifying the problem first, then Jeff (Ireland) and I will sit down and go over the possibilities.  We’ll have what we call a “short list,” a list of players in that area, that we’ll start putting together, we’ll go through, and if we feel like there’s a chance that we can strike a deal with somebody there that might be a good deal for us, then we’ll push towards that.  So, it’s mutual, both of us together, but most of the time, it’s about me bringing a need first.

On his thoughts about bringing back the Wildcat:

No, no real thoughts about the Wildcats right now.

The reason the Wildcat originated, was that at that particular time, we didn’t have the personnel that we have on our football team right now.  You look at Brandon Marshall, and Davone Bess, and Brian Hartline, and Clyde Gates, and Reggie Bush, and (Anthony) Fasano, and these types of people that you can get the football to – we didn’t have that necessarily; we had Ronnie (Brown) and Ricky (Williams) at the time.  So, (with) Ronnie and Ricky, how can we get them on the same field at the same time and maybe get the ball in their hands enough times?  That was kind of the reason why we went with something like that.  I don’t know that the Wildcat is something that we’re really too interested at this time.

(After audience applauds) You weren’t clapping way back when – it was genius at that point.

On the biggest difference in Chad Henne this season:

I would say that the biggest difference isn’t necessarily in Chad – the difference is in how the team perceives Chad.  Chad is the same Chad that I know from the previous years.  The difference is, if the lockout was good for anything from my end, as a football coach, the lockout was good because Chad had to be out there running these workouts on his own.  He had the keys to the closet and he was the only guy that really knew about the offense, contrary to popular belief out there.  The players needed him – they had to come to him for the answers.  So, in these player-only workouts that took place out there, Chad had all the answers for them, so obviously he got them lined up, he organized the practices, he did everything from that standpoint.  So now, when Chad says something, it isn’t, “well, let me go find somebody else to get the answer,” it’s, “I got it, Chad.”  At the quarterback position, he drives the bus, and at the end of this thing, it really sets on his shoulders.  So he needs to have that respect, and I think that Chad clearly has the respect right now.

DolfansNYC Podcast with Coach Tony Sparano:

[buzzsprout episode=”32100″ player=”true”]

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Music Credit: Solo D, “DolfansNYC Anthem”

Coach Sparano, in which he talks about his football playing career, the decision behind hiring offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, and this thoughts on New York and DolfansNYC.

DolfansNYC Podcast, Episode 1: Andy Kent

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

We’re excited to introduce the official DolfansNYC Podcast, which will feature special guests, including many of the team’s top writers and media members, players, and most passionate fans, as well as the return of our weekly fantasy football feature.

On the premiere episode, MiamiDolphins.com senior writer Andy Kent joins us to talk about Chad Henne’s remarkable improvement, Brandon Marshall’s season outlook, Reggie Bush’s workload, the most impressive players in camp, and much more.

[buzzsprout episode=”30656″ player=”true”]

Subscribe to the DolfansNYC Podcast on iTunes and get all future episodes.

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Music Credit: Solo D, “DolfansNYC Anthem”

Dolphins Preseason News and Notes

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

More often than not, preseason statistics are completely meaningless. Coaches rarely reveal their game-plans, test out new and sometimes faulty plays, and most importantly, give rookies and fringe players a chance to solidify their roles or make the final roster. It’s no surprise then, that through two games, the NFL passing, rushing and receiving yards leaders are Stephen McGee, Stevan Ridley and Chastin West, respectively, while Michael Vick has thrown three interceptions en route to posting a 50.7 QB rating.

With that in mind, the Miami Dolphins have yet to officially name a starting quarterback, have two new running backs to integrate into the offense, and no less than three players vying for the fifth and likely final wide receiver spot.  Let’s take a look at how the position battles have gone so far.

QB Comp Atts Pct Yds Y/G TDs INT Long 20+ Sck Rate
Chad Henne 19 32 59.4 271 135.5 1 2 44T 4 0 71.2
Matt Moore 17 28 60.7 196 98.0 2 1 28T 3 1 90.8
Pat Devlin 0 2 0.0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 2 39.6
  • After a poor preseason opener (4-of-8 passing for 77 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions) against the Atlanta Falcons, Chad Henne looked better against the Carolina Panthers (who doesn’t?) in the second contest, completing 15-of-24 passes for 194 yards with no turnovers. His biggest problem so far has come with the deep ball, as he has continued to miss open receivers downfield.
  • Even though Matt Moore outplayed Henne in the opener (11-of-18 passing for 123 yards and two TDs)  and has posted a higher QB rating two games, Coach Tony Sparano has so far made it clear there is no competition for the starting quarterback job. Moore hasn’t played with the first-team offense in the preseason at all, indicating he will enter the season as the primary backup, barring a couple of disastrous outings from Henne.
  • The battle for the third quarterback spot is shaping up to be epic:  Pat Devlin is 0-of-2 with two sacks in clean-up duty, while Kevin O’Connell has more kneel-downs (two) than pass attempts (0).
RB Att Rsh Yd Avg Y/G TD Lng Rec Rec Yd Lng Fum
Reggie Bush 8 48 6.0 48.0 0 17 2 33 17 0
Daniel Thomas 16 57 3.6 28.5 1 10 1 25 25 0
Kory Sheets 17 43 2.5 21.5 0 8 2 5 3 0
Lex Hilliard 8 28 3.5 14.0 1 8 0 0 0 0
Nic Grigsby 10 21 2.1 10.5 0 8 0 0 0 0
  • Playing one half, Reggie Bush had eight carries for 48 yards and caught two passes for 33 yards in his Dolphins debut on Friday. Early reports indicated the coaching staff planned to give Bush, who averaged only nine touches per game over the last two years with the New Orleans Saints, a heavy workload on offense without using him as a punt returner, and so far, the RB looked quicker and more exciting than any RB the Dolphins have had in years.
  • Daniel Thomas has sported an unimpressive 3.6 yards per carry average, busting out just one run of 10 yards.  Expected to be a power-back capable of breaking tackles and moving the pile, he couldn’t get into the endzone on two carries inside the five-yard line early against the Panthers (Lex Hilliard scored on the next play).  Thomas did have a four-yard TD run in the second quarter, and while he’ll need time to get used to the NFL, his workload should increase as the season progresses.
  • Hilliard all but solidified his hold on the number three RB job after scoring at the goal line, while Kory Sheets managed only 43 yards on a team-high 17 carries against second-stringers.
  • The Dolphins released Sheets on Tuesday and unexpectedly signed veteran Larry Johnson, who hasn’t played a down in the NFL since Week 2 of last season with the Washington Redskins. Johnson had five carries for two yards in 2010 and a terrible 3.2 YPC in 2009; at age 31, he makes little sense for Miami.
  • Undrafted rookie Nic Grigsby hasn’t done much (2.1 YPC) to suggest he’s in the team’s immediate future.

(more…)

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