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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

'Tis Tuesday a day for questions

You know that you can ask your questions today, but let me turn this around a little first.

On Monday -- the day after the Dolphins yielded 5 sacks to Tennessee -- coach Nick Saban said sack ratio is not really all that high on the list of critical factors needed to win a game.

Do you agree with that?

I'm wondering if it's not as important, why do teams pay so much money to defensive ends, pass-rushing linebackers and left tackles?

Anyway, tell me what you think and I'll answer anything you have for me.


Anonymous finndolpfan said...

applying pressure to the quarterback has always been important!i'd take a high sack total any day!saban's just trying to save face in the midst of this negative media onslaught!what happened to the dolphins own supposedly record-breaking qb onslaught? i think nick should be more concerned about the lack of pressure his defence is generating!

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think teams will throw money at any playmaker at any position. They'll throw money at any position they feel is a weakness for their team. All saban was saying is that it's not at the top of the list and probably below turnovers and big plays. What he did point out though was negative plays kill drives. When multiple drives are killed that leads to an inability to score. I think sacks are just a smaller piece of the pie that contribute to losses.

Probably the most overlooked position is the offensive line. Proof is in how our own coached overlooked it. I feel that he felt we were pretty set because of the improvement they showed last season.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous craig said...

the d-fence is OK. not great, but good enough to win our division. They aren't going to be able to carry the team though. The only way the FINS make the post season is if we get some protection and open up the passing game. D-fence is not the concern now. Give Culpepper and the O line 1 more game to get some chemistry and flow. If it's not there against the Texans we have to see what Harrington is about......the end!

3:50 PM  
Anonymous finndolpfan said...

i beg to differ there craig! the defence looked very vulnerable against a weak titans team!what would a good offence have done to them?blown coverages and missed assignments seemed like the order of the day!the supposedly stout front seven have looked pretty shaky so far!i guess those young stud lineman will have to wait until next year to play!

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

The "sack ratio" is significant if you quarterback is getting living crap kicked out of him every game. Kinda accumulates don't you think?

4:13 PM  
Anonymous craig said...

Again. The Defence was not the problem against the Titans. I am saying this as a life long fan......The FINS ARE (were) overrated. In my opinion we are still in a pretty weak division, and should contend for AFC East.

4:24 PM  
Blogger VAPhinFan said...

I think Nick's point is that a sack is not as important as throwing a pick or making other poor decisions. I think he'd rather see that than decisions like he made at Pit or against the Jills where he threw picks. Sure throwing it away is the best choice...but at least he's standing in the pocket and reading what's going on and not just flinging it out of bounds without letting the play develop. Which is the other end of the spectrum. I am sure they are coaching Daunte to make quicker decisions, calling plays with some additional "outlets", and telling him to run if he sees the opportunity.

Sure Nick is down playing things for Daunte's what...would you expect anything less from someone trying to help his QB regain some touch and confidence?

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are two examples that illustrate what ol' coach Saban was trying to say: when the Fins played in New England in '99, they gave up (I think) 8 or 9 sacks. This was the game where Marino's nerves went dead in the 1st quarter, and Damon Huard had to fill in. The Fins won, 31-30. I think this was the game where Olindo kicked 6 FG's. Another example is the game in '02 when the Bills came to Miami. We sacked Bledsoe I think at least 5 times, but the Bills won, 23-10. Saban is saying he'd rather take the sacks than the red-zone INT's, like against the Bills and (almost) the Steelers.


4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Saban to some degree. Sacks aren't as important as turnovers but they can produce them, and often do with Cul-Fumbler, and they help with field position and momentum swings.
The line is terrible and has been since the JJ days. The philosophy seems to be, "bring in any 350 lb. oaf and let Hudson Houck teach them how to get in the way." It's like giving Monet 5 dollops of poop and asking him to paint a masterpiece.
The Phins still have a poor O-line protecting a below average QB. Not much hope for the playoffs with that formula.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous LeftCoastPhinPhan said...

You guys have it right. Saban was counting the sacks in the "negative plays" column, which also include the drive killing penalties. He likened a sack to 5 or 10 yard penalty, and pointed out how it can turn a 3rd and short into a 3rd and long, which changes the dynamics of the game. If you had 5 sacks and no other "negative" plays, you would have a pretty good chance of winning the game, right?
Now, the statistic that I think is *truly* ridiculous is the one I keep seeing pop up in the articles about the Fins running game. The one about how when the Fins run the ball 30 or more times in the game, they have won something like 85 percent of their games? Armando, don't these "sports writers" realize that 90% of the time "winning creates running attempts", not the other way around. OF COURSE you are going to have more running attempts if it is close, and especially if you are ahead, than if you are behind! Now I agree that you if you can run the ball effectively you have a much greater chance of winning, but the number of attempts doesn't seem to be a determining factor. More of an end result. What do you think?

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the same breath, I think he said 3rd down efficiency was important. So, is converting a 3rd and 16 (after a sack) easier than converting a 3rd and 6 (w/0 a sack)? Bingo, sacks ARE important.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous LeftCoastPhinPhan said...

No one said sacks are not important. But 3rd and 6 can just as easily become 3rd and 16 because of a holding penalty. The point is that a sack is a negative play, and the more you reduce the total number of negative plays, the better your chance to win.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

Armando, thanks as always for the blog. Sacks are important only in that they are negative plays and create 2nd and long and 3rd and long situations which so far the offense has not excelled.

My question to you is this, are they making any adjustments to the secondary and the schemes or are they figuring that once everyone gets healthy and acclimated to the defense the secondary will stop looking lost?

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sacks arent important until Culpepper gets drilled and cant finish the game.

protect the QB...and i think the Offense starts showing up...

11:52 PM  
Anonymous JC said...

Armando, after the game against the Titans everyone saw that the Dolphins are a bottom dweler team. On paper they should have dominated this team, instead they almost lost it (I'm not looking at the glass as being half full). The way they are playing I don't see then being able to beat another team except for the Raiders and they don't play them this year. Do you think Saban will bench Culpepper at any time? If he does when do you think he will? Last thing what do you think their record will be now? I say 3-13. Man, there gonna loose to the JETS twice this year, CRAP!!!

1:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I just say that I don't see how the Bills are less talented than Miami. I hate to say it, but as of now, their play has been far better than ours. In the game against the Jets, their passing game and running game were both succesful, and were it not for a few bad plays by the protection, they probably would have won that game. Losman has looked much better, McGahee looks better than ever, the line is improved, Parrish looks like a playmaker, and the D got Spikes back and is playing well. I fail to see how they are less talented than us...Culpepper is still hurt, clearly. The protection has sucked. The DL got no pressure last week outside of Traylor, and the LBs have looked slow. The Secondary still has big probblems (why is Tillman still starting???). I think the Bills, as of now, may very well be the best team in the AFC East.

1:31 AM  
Blogger Kid Neutron said...

Sacks make a difference.

1. They end drives.
2. They lend themselves to bad decision making by a Quarterback trying to "make" something happen.
3. They are momentum killers.

(unless you have our secondary - then a 3rd and long is the perfect setup for a blown coverage and a touchdown pass to a TE nobody has ever heard of.)

7:08 AM  
Blogger porthos said...

Only tangentially related to the Dolphins, but why isn't the Herald making desktop wallpapers from pictures of each week's game? I loved that feature last year.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Armando Salguero said...

Joseph, the Dolphins adjust their secondary almost every week. They tweak and correct the errors from the week before and move on.

But they can thank God they haven't played a Pro Bowl caliber QB yet. I see them as unit that is learning on the run. Maybe by the time they play Brett Favre, Tom Brady, Pennington, Manning, Trent Green and others, they'll have their stuff together.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Armando Salguero said...

JC, I still stick with my original prediction of 10-6. As for benching Culpepper, I don't think Saban will do it.

Saban didn't bench Frerotte last year when he stunk, so why would he do it to Culpepper for stinking? The only way Culpepper comes out is if he gets hurt.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Armando Salguero said...

Porthos, tangentially? Wow, that is an SAT word for sure. I Christen you the most articulate writer on this blog. Seriously, I will ask about the wallpaper.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for "stealing Culpepper."
I can watch the Vikings again.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You can get the desktops on Dolphins Central on the Herald's Sports page, you have to open it up and click what game you want and they are at the bottom of the pop-up.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Ken in San Diego said...

Sacks may not top the "critical list," but they allow the QB to be beat up unnecessarily, possibly even injured, and they put the team into a hole in terms of yardage needed for a first down. If I were the QB, I would be ticked that my coach didn't find preventing sacks a priority.

12:13 PM  
Blogger seamus said...

I'd like to see a regression of sack totals against propensity to win a game. It seems reasonable that compared to other meaures -- time of possession, red zone efficiency, big plays, interceptions, penalties, blocked kicks -- sacks would be considered a lower impact stat.

That said, if Culpepper is also going to fumble half the time he's sacked, then sacks become a very big deal.

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Randy said...

Armando, obviously sacks are important, but they can be washed away if the team gets a first down after the sack anyway. So, it all depends on when and where they happen and whether or not they stop the drive. if the team overcomes the loss of yardage, then a sack isn't any different than a penalty that pushes a team back. and, actually, there are plenty of instances where a sack occurs and causes the team to throw the ball to make up the yardage and they end up making a huge pass play where they may never have called that play in the first place if the sack hadn't occured. frankly, it's a silly arguement/question. giving up a sack is no more or less important than any other mistake a team makes other than a turnover. Unfortunately, when your team gives up 9 sacks a game it makes a difference because of all the negative yardage you need to make up.

and don't forget to quote me when you use my insight to write your next column.


1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do people keep saying that the offense, particularly Culpepper, needs time to adjust to the offense? Wasn't Mularkey supposed to learn our offensive system that Linehan installed? He may call different plays but it is the same system so why is that used as an excuse?

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Joe Berger said...


Now that I am back practicing, don't you think that the OL will be solidified?

Joe Berger

2:18 PM  
Blogger Nando said...

I think our offense is to basic they need to step it up in the play calling.Where is Chris Chambers?

7:41 PM  
Blogger Kid Neutron said...

OK, I won't call anyone out here - I'm in agreement with the sentiment of the hypothetical argument. “If everything else on the team was fine, how important are sacks?”

But come on. On this team? You guys sound like a bunch of toga-clad ancient Greeks trying to hear a tree fall in an empty forest.

If this QB gets sacked more than three times a game – we will see crappy things happen. Maybe some other QB with some other OL would shake it off and rack up 4 TD’s on the way to a 109 passing rating. Not this team, not this QB, not at this point in the season.

If the Fins give up another 5 sacks to Houston it will take more than a rookie block-in-the-back penalty to save the day.

You guys go ahead and “regress your sack totals” all you want, and tell me I’m wrong.

Armando – The only receiver that seems to give Daunte a crack at the quick drop is Wes – are we going to see him more in the first half – or is he going to continue to be a 3rd-4th quarter option. Mularky seems to favor the quick shot to the stationary wideout versus the quick slant that Wes usually takes for 8-10 yards.

Is Wes effective only AFTER we stop the running game?

11:54 PM  
Blogger DwinkinAle said...

Surely Saban knows the biggest problem with this team is the Offensive line. What are Houck and him doing to fix it? I hope they are not just waiting for the unit to 'gel'.

2:21 AM  
Anonymous Pete said...

A sack for 1-3 yards is very minimal on 1st down. A sack for any yardage on 2nd & 3rd downs has more of an impact. A sack for a BIG loss(10 yards or more) is almost always a drive/momentum killer.

Pressure without sacks is minimal. Pressure and hitting the QB has more impact as the game goes on. Sacks along with consistent pressure is the best of both worlds.

Are sacks more important than a pick or fumble? Depends on when/where it happens in the game. A sack in the first qtr....minimal......end of the 2nd or 4th qtrs......huge impact.

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are all of you buying into this "Culpepper is still hurt" line as the reason for he's lack luster performance? Sacks, fumbles and interceptions that’s be the norm for many years. Most NFL QB's should be able to put up decent yardage numbers if all the team does is pass the ball due to a lack of a running game but with 2 or 3 pro bowl caliber receivers such as it was during much of his time in MN. But there are two sides to that equation and if you look at the numbers they clearly show a pattern. And then you have to deal with the “attitude”, ego, and lack of taking responsibility as well. It appears there’s always an excuse or reason that leads away from Culpepper. Why is that? Yes his injury was major and most people may not be on the field at this point but there are others out there that have done as much. If he truly is not healthy then he wouldn’t have been cleared to play. So why is he? Then I ask, what has being slow to read defensives have to do with his knee?

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Evan said...

Do the Phins have any long term plans on improving the O line ?? Their past plans on plugging the line with other teams cast offs isn't working. One day the are going to have to spend some money.

8:36 AM  
Blogger brutus said...

sacks are worst than penalties because you also lose a down. Anyone that says sacks are not important is because they are getting sacks too much. Giving up sacks are very important because they move you out of what you're trying to do

9:51 AM  
Blogger brutus said...

I think constantly getting new O line people is not the solution. You need to find 5 players that work well together and stick with it. Last year the oline was starting to gell. Why did we make such enormous changes this year. We were running the ball well and were one of the least sacks allowed teams in the NFL. Why change that?

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sacks by themselves, without a significant loss of yardage or turnover, are not critical, which was Saban's point, technically.

Howver, most of the time, alot of sacks are usually accompanied by plenty of hurries and pressures.

And if the O line is letting em through to the QB, they usually aren't helping the RB either.

Sacks, as the obvious symptom of an ineffective O line, are no small thing.

10:14 AM  
Blogger porthos said...

Armando, thanks for the kind words. Me did good on SAT. Kinda.

Anon-Thanks for the tip. I see what you're talking about, but they're game photos. I'm talking about desktop wallpapers at nice, big sizes. Go to the Herald's main Dolphins page and scroll down to "Dolphins Extras". Compare the "'05 Wallpapers" and "'05 Photos" to see what I'm talking about.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're killin me buddy, you have to click on the INDIVIDUAL GAME that you want the desktop from on the right side of the pop up, when that comes up, it's the 4th icon at the bottom that is a pic of a computer screen, that's where the treasure is. Trust me, I have them on my computer right now!!!!!

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Nick Saban said...

You all can say what you want, but we have a process and will see it through. The O line will come around and the rest of the offense will fall into place. Another note.....You all need to stop booing your team....What a moral killer

3:27 PM  
Blogger porthos said...

Ho-lee crap. That was a veritable archaeological dig to get to those. Thanks for the treasure map, anon.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick Saban,

You also have Daunte Culpepper. Regardless of what your O-line does, that's the fact. Trust me, I've seen it for a long time.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous said...

I think the Dolphins and Saban are going to improve and by next season will be working like a well oiled machine---right now they need time to learn how to work together and that takes time. So, let's stick together, wish them the best for this season, but don't expect very much this season.
Go Dolphins-next season!

4:29 PM  
Blogger whatif said...

Basicly, the Dolphins have messed up.
They should have traded up for Leinhart instead of going for two also-ran quarterbacks. They should also play Vick instead of leaving him on the practice squad.
I wish I followed another team because this team will definitely finish poorly due to bad coaching!

11:39 PM  

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