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Monday, November 13, 2006

Too little, too late?

The Dolphins are on a two-game winning streak and, yippie, they believe they can salvage the season by winning out.

How many of you believe that? I mean, actually believe that?

I do not. I believe the Dolphins still have a fine defense -- a playoff-caliber defense at that. But the offense is simply not good enough to get them into the playoffs.

They don't get enough plays out of the quarterback position to make this fantasy run everyone is talking about. Joey Harrington on Sunday didn't throw any interceptions or touchdown passes and everyone in the locker room was talking about him like he made some terrific improvement.

Actually, he did. That was his first Miami start without an interception. But the point is a good NFL team needs its quarterback to help things along, not simply get out of the way while the rest of the players do their jobs.

Speaking of doing their jobs, I've heard grumblings that some of you think Mike Mularkey tries too many gadget plays. Nonsense. The element of surprise is valuable and one way to get it is to do it so often that any team might think, 'They won't try anything now.'

That fumble on the reverse Sunday? Strictly the players' fault. Bad execution, not bad play-calling. But I digress.

Regardless of what you've seen in these two consecutive victories, I know no one is crazy enough to believe this offense has cured its ailments. Regardless of how much you've enjoyed this mini-streak, I would be stunned if any of you really think this team can overcome a three-game deficit in the AFC East standings.

You guys aren't crazy enough to buy that stuff, are you?


Anonymous Hank in the 400 said...

I think the wins over the past 2 weeks have shown a lot of growth on the offensive side of the ball however I sat in the 400 Sunday and wondered why with 8 minutes left and the lead we tried trickery when what we needed was 1st downs and minutes. At that point it seemed we were "needing" to score to come from behind. What it actually did was give "MO" to them. Thank goodness the defense is SUPERBOWL quality.
We could in reality run the table and ease into the plaoffs from the side, but then again, pre-season we were predetermined to be there. If we step up our play on offense, avoid injuries and the stupid mistakes, we could easily win out. But every week people by lottery tickets.
A little too late? You aren't eliminated until you are mathematically eliminated and no combination of wins and losses can change your chances. New England got in as a division leader with a worse record than the wild card. you don't play for the draft pick you play for te win and the chance to move on and a chance at te ring.
If you play and win every week you have a better shot at controlling your own destiny. I find it ironic that when we lose we are counted out when we win we are counted out. it was good to see the fans stand and yell in support until the final gun instead of bailing with 10 minutes left and the 300 mile drive home was easier this week because of the effort we saw as well as the outcome. In the Marines we had a term "BOHICA" (Bend Over Here It Comes Again)but BOHICA stayed home this weekend. Even after the botched double reverse that gave them closing points we did't give up and say "good while it lasted".
I think we play every game as if it were our Superbowl and see what falls out. as for Harrington he is a lot like Bret Favre in that he keeps both offenses on the field sometimes but he can put "W"s in the column and thats the main stat that counts. He got his confidence destroyed playing in Detroit but it's creeping back. Doesn't he have something to show the people in Detroit on Thanksgiving abd how ironic huh?

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Hank in the 400 said...

I also think it was great to see the killer "B"s

11:10 AM  
Blogger NYdolfan84 said...

"The element of surprise is valuable and one way to get it is to do it so often that any team might think, 'They won't try anything now"

I don't agree with that. The more often a team runs the trick play, the more often the opposition will(or should)look for it. A HB pass isn't always a bad play, but from inside the 10, there is much less ground for the defense to cover so it is easier for them to make a recovery on the play. I did like the way we set it up, with a similar looking run the play before. I just didn't like that we called it on such a short field. The double reverse isn't a bad play, but I didn't like the situation it was called in. We were doing a decent job running at them and protecting a two score lead at the time. And why would we ever run towards Jared Allen's side in the second half, he was a disruptive force all day. Anyways I totally agree that the play blew up because of poor execution, but why put the RB in a situation were he has to make a handoff. This is at least the second time Brown and Chambers have botched the play. The other time I remember the ball took a good hop and Chambers made something out of the play. The reason why the Steelers were so successful with Randle EL is because he played QB in college. He threw the best looking pass in last year's Super Bowl. We don't have a Randle El, although Booker has a great arm. Trickery isn't bad, but you need to have some bread and butter plays when you are nursing a two score lead in the second half. And I think flee-flickers and direct snaps to the RB are trick plays that have a less chance of a disaster happening. You need an awful lot of good blocking to execute a double reverse for a big gain. Not to mention a RB/WR exchange.

It's improbable but possible that they can win out. I mean stranger things have happened. I am not overly impressed with the upcoming opponents. New England and Indy are concerns, but I think we can take the Pats at home and Indy may be resting their starters week 17. If we play good ball control and limit penalties against Minny, the Jets, and Jacksonville we could beat them. They all have vanilla offenses and if we don't give them a short field our defense should fair well. Joey shouldn't have to play hero in any of the games. Although to achieve our ultimate goal, we will need better QB play. Can the team as a whole play consistently as well as they have the last two weeks? Only time will tell, but I have my fingers crossed.

11:38 AM  
Blogger NYdolfan84 said...

After going over my post, I noticed a lot of IFs. The odds of us making the playoffs are certainly long. Especially since it looks like 5 of the playoff spots are locked up. With 5 conference losses already 9-7 probably wouldn't cut it for us. Here's to hoping we run the table!

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Massachusetts Dolphins (and Red Sox) fan. After witnessing the sox beat the yankees in four straight, we know that anything is possible in sports.

Two weeks into our march into the playoffs...

12:51 PM  
Blogger The Dude said...

I agree with everything you wrote here Armando. Except for the Mularkey thing. Yes, the fumble was the player's fault but that call should have never been made. The running game was working, the passing game was going well. There was simply no reason for a gadget play and Mularkey's gadget plays have hurt us more than helped us and always seem to come at the worst possible time AND always seems to completely implode with disastrous results. The guy is in love with the damn gadget play and always manages to overthink it and try to be too clever with his play-calling. As much as a lot of commenters here have been calling for Saban's head, I'm calling for Mularkey's.

With that said, I really do not hope we rattle off another meaningless 6 game winning streak like last year. I'd rather tank the season and fix our offensive problems via the draft and re-tool in the off season. Harrington and Culpepper are not the answer and while our defense has been winning games, they can only carry us so far.

I don't mean to sound pessimistic but I'm thinking big picture here. And I agree with what you wrote in your post. It is simply too little too late. Why can't we start like this??? Ugh.

1:40 PM  
Blogger The Dude said...

By the way, I do think that ever since Yeremiah Bell stepped in, the secondary has been playing much better with a grittier attitude. Gotta love that.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I've been looking at schedules, and here's what I've come up with.

There are currently 4 teams ahead of us for the 2nd wild card spot: Jets, Chiefs, Jags, and Bengals. Our remaining games are: Vikes, Lions, Jags, Pats, Bills, Jets, Colts backups. In order to have any shot of making the playoffs, we need to win out. We should beat the Lions, Bills, and Colts backups; the challenge will be beating the others.

If we run the table, though, we would hold the tiebreaker over the Jags, Chiefs, and likely Jets. That means each team ahead of us would need to lose twice for us to get in. Here's how:

Jets: us and Bears, Vikes.

Bengals: Saints, Ravens, Colts (probably Indy's last meaningful game), Broncos, Steelers.

Chiefs: Broncos, Ravens, Chargers, Jags

Jags: Giants, us, Colts, Pats, Chiefs

Based on that, I think it's pretty much guaranteed that if we win out, we're in. That's a very big if, but it really comes down to 4 games.

As for tanking for a draft pick, I'm not sure it's really that great to spend a lot of money on a complete unknown. It's never a good idea to sacrifice a season just for a player that has never played in the NFL. I mean, who would you take? Right now, it seems that the needs on our team would naturally be better selected in the middle portion, rather than top 5. Go Fins!

2:12 PM  
Blogger Bloodlust said...

Armando... there is a lot to what you say,and I am kind of split on how to feel. "The Dude," has a point on getting a spot in the draft for a QB, but Marino, Montana, and Elway were all 7th round drafts. So, it is not always having first pick that gets you a winner. I am sure we all remember Dallas' losing season's, and that is how Johnson aquired Smith, Aikmen, and the others. It does not always turn out the way in your Draft picks. Farve, Bledshoe, and how many others were deemed the nxt Marino... not. Now they are saying Bradley, or Manning are the mold for the QB hero. If these guys did not have the players on offense and defense,they would not have their stats. Marino made plays, when there were no opportunities, that is the sign of greatness. Not having the very best of every player. You would never know the true capability of your QB because he would never have to use it.

Most of the time it is the melding of the offense and its QB, and right now we have neither a star QB, and a meld between QB and offense. We need to remember that just because he plays well in college does not mean he will be effective here in the NFL. There have been many that were claimed to be the answer for anyone, and turned out useless.

So I think we need to truly look at the talent on our team, and I do not only mean the first string, and make a truthful judgement of who can and will be able to play his given position. Trade up for better drafts, and possible free agents that are young enough to invest in. So if we do get a QB, we have men that will grow with the QB, and in performance between each other.

Everyone on that field, if he plays to his potential enhances the potential of each player on the team. This is what we are lacking most in our offense. If our present line gave more time to Harrington, opened more holes for Brown, the passing and running gain would no doubtively increase.

Trick plays are 40/60 deal. They work occaisonally, and we cannot afford running plays that do not work less than 90% of the time, especially with the execution we see out there. I will not alone blame Mularkey, or Saban because this is a problem that is in the whole team, including the headcoach and his staff.

Great job defense, and JT.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Bloodlust said...

Actually, I think there should be a ceiling on what you give to a draft pick, and he should not be able to choose where he goes. He has not been proven in the NFL, and he is not a free agent. This would solve some economic problems on keeping key players, and force these new players to play 100% if they want the big bucks in the NFL. Too many hold outs at the beginning of preseason, and that hurts his and the teams potential.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Robin S. Martin Jr. said...

I agree with the use of trick plays. The idea is two fold, it keeps defenses honest or it works for a significant gain. When defenses look for trick plays, because you have run them often, they don't sniff out the plays any sooner.

Why? If they look on every play, they will play the ball softer, holding back becasue they may get stung. So, they look for the play at times when they think it will be run, but as Mularkey if proving, these times are hard to determine.

The problem has been player execution. 1. Chambers said he ran a different route in the end zone and Ronnie should have held on to the ball. 2. It was a simple fumble on an exchange, players should be better than that.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Robin S. Martin Jr. said...

I totally expect the Dolphins to win the next game and I will think this way until they prove me wrong. Does this mean I think they will run the table, well...I reserve judgement on that. One week at a time.

Come on, Chicago and KC are two of the top tier teams...anything can happen. AND, the Pats lost to the Jets, 2 in a row...

We win 2, they lose 2...the race is on!!! It sure looks better this weak than two weeks ago.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Jon said...

It all comes down to the first 2 games in December against the Jaguars and the Pats, Considering of course they win the next to winable games against the Vikes and Lions. Hopefully, Daunte can be ready to go by December for a playoff push, but that might be asking to much. One thing to keep in mind though, The contenders for the wild card spots in the AFC have a tuff schedule, especially Jacksonville and KC. Does anyone really believe in the Jets? I dunno if Miami can win out, but 9-7, 8-8 might get it done in the AFC this year

12:18 AM  
Blogger DwinkinAle said...

No way they are making the playoffs. Should just be focusing on developing their young talent and try to get ready for next year.

4:40 AM  
Blogger Bloodlust said...

As I said, if we cannot execute trick plays, as yesterday, we need to stay away from them and focus on the executing of the regular game plan. We cannot execute the standard game plays without screwing up, protecting the QB, and assisting the running game. Why cause additional problems using trick plays to bring on more problems.

As Robin S. Martin jr. said, it keeps defenses honest or it works for a significant gain. When defenses look for trick plays, because you have run them often, they don't sniff out the plays any sooner. This only works if you can properly execute the play, and we have shown we cannot.

We first need learn to execute our game plan first, then invoke trick plays. I would rather see Saban allow Harrinton to audible his plays. This would bring difficulties to the opponents defense because he could change the offensive play at the last moment. If the defense has no time to adjust to your change, you have the advantage, and it is a play that should be already known and and practiced time and time again.

I mean, if we can fix the offense's weaknesses, we can work on additional plays, but lets get the plays at hand to work first.

I apologize if I seem to be repetitive, but the proof is in the pudding.

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Hank in the 400 said...

Here is the thing...Chambers needs to focus on the routine plays and the super plays will come with them. We have got to execute every play and not just on the miracle plays. You can't run a different route and expect the half back to adjust or hold the ball, he is doing it in the run with half the defense chasing him. Get seperation and run the designed route. A gadget play becomes a routine play if you run it once or twice per game. If Mularkey wants to try a trick play that will suprise the defense trying giving Ronnie the rock on 3rd and 1 1/2 sometimes. That might make it more difficult to vover when we do hit Welker or Chambers.
Another trick play would be hitting Welker on first or second. He was open all day. When they can double Chambers and Booker on first and second and only have to look for Welker on third downs it is an easier package to defend.
I also think that when Eckles can suit up it will open things up some as well.
I do agree with bloodlust in that changing the play at the line is a big tool. That's what seperates the Colts offense.
As for draft picks where did we draft Zach T again. Sometimes you get healthier in the bad spots with trades rather than drafts but either way winning makes it all feel better.

1:37 PM  
Blogger The Dude said...

I do agree with all you guys' points. But I do need to rebuttal here: Here's my thing with trick plays. They work when they're done once every blue moon. Not once every other game. The NFL is filled with guys who are just too fast and too good to fool -- especially when the trick plays are done so often.

As for the audibles ... it is a good idea. But, frankly, I'm not comfortable with giving Joey Harrington that much "power." The guy is a bone-head. Sorry but it's true. He tends to make bad decisions and audibles should be left to guys who have proven themselves, like Peyton and Brady.

As for the draft picks -- my main thing is getting and grooming a QB. There are maybe 3 guys who I think should do very well in the NFL but all three will likely be top 5 picks, which is why I think getting a lower pick would work. Hank makes a good point about where we drafted Zach, but that was Jimmy Johnson's draft -- a guy who was pretty good at finding diamonds in the rough. As far as I can tell, our current front office has no such skills.

Anyway, like I said -- I'd like to get a QB and build around him because the 3 guys we currently have are not the answer.

Either way ... that's not going to stop me from cheering for the Fins.

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Juan Carlos Del Barrio said...

What I believe is that we are always looking too far ahead. When the season started, we were thinking play-offs and even Super Bowl. After the terrible start, everyone was talking about the first pick in the draft.
The best way to go and as the players and coaches do, is on a week to week basis. Let's enjoy this week's win and wait for the next game to be played. This approach will help us to keep our emotions in check. If the dolphins are in fact able to turn this season around completely and become a factor in late December, we will have plenty of time to enjoy it. What we should do as fans is support the team every time they play.
Go Dolphins!

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

"That fumble on the reverse Sunday? Strictly the players' fault. Bad execution, not bad play-calling. But I digress."

Mando, I couldn't DISAGREE with you more and I say that respectfully because I do respect your insight. I think coaches are responsible to put their players in a position to be successful. A ten point lead with that time left in the game was no time to run a VERY high risk play like that. At that point, playing conservatively wins you the game. The Chiefs offense wasn't going to get two scores. That was bad coaching.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Debbie Downer, thanks for the somber view. Anything to knock Saban, I guess.

Anyway, of course Mularkey was wrong for the gadget calls. There's a time and a place for them and the timing of the reverse call was terrible. We're nursing a lead late in the game and he tries that crap? And they're not fooling ANYONE...other teams can pretty much count on us running a reverse or 2 everygame. Because we do.
We needed to protect the ball and let Ronnie and the improved o-line do their thing.

But I digress.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Bloodlust said...

Dude... I cannot agree more on how you feel about the audibles with Harrington, but it would be easier and possibly more effective to change the play on the line. He needs help understanding Saban's game, and he has not been given the opportunity with the tean until Culpepper was taken out.

He may not be our answer, but I believe he can play until we get, and train our franchise QB. He was dealt the same hand in Detroit. Never got the opportunity to build with his offense because of the massive yearly trades, and coach changes in Detroit. We have to back somone, and it sure cannot be Culpepper. Harrington is getting better in each game, and it is a shame that this is how we have to train a new QBs. Though right now we have no choice. So we need to give him a break.

Also, as we all spoke on the weakness of our O-line. Harrington would do much better if he more protection, and not having the defense breathing down his neck every time the ball is snapped.

We do not need to jump the gun and pick up a QB without thinking, just as we did with Culpepper. It maybe couple of years before we get a QB who will take our team all the way. Having him here to might allow us to keep our spending limit down, if we can work him in until find our guy. Lets see if he continues to grow, and if he cannot improve, then we have no choice but to replace him.

11:02 PM  
Blogger The Dude said...

Bloodlust ... I'm all for that. I think Harrington has done a fine job the last two games. I agree that we need to let him get more comfortable with the offense. Even if we did, by some miracle, draft a franchise QB, I'd be all for letting him sit a year and learn from whomever is starting -- be it Harrington or (gulp!) Culpepper.

12:19 AM  
Anonymous TimeForFaith said...

Miami winning out? Will they even win their first playoff game?

I believe if miami plays so that when they play their last game, its for a playoff spot and if Indy is 15-0....and miami wins!!!!!!
It would be one of the best games ever....i hope for that ending.

It would be better than the Super Bowl.

12:35 AM  
Anonymous finndolphan said...

this team is going nowhere,no one has ever came back from1-6 to even be close!there were too many bad decisions by saban and his staff early on!same as last year! hopefullt this guy can learn from his mistakes because he's only going to get maybe one more year from the bulk of this defense!i really don't think he's gonna be a top-flight nfl coach until he understands the offensive side of the game much better than he does now!

4:47 PM  
Blogger Bloodlust said...

Andrew... many of us over the last few weeks went over and over about coaching, and the players upon execution, and who should be here and not. Those of us who like Saban and Mularkey, and those who don't have basically come to an understanding. The coaches are most likely staying, and possibly most of the players. It is time that we back everyones play here regardless of what is going on.

We all know what we need, and have opinions on what should have been done by Saban and Mularkey. Maybe Saban's intent was to get a better draft spot, or his judgement on aquired replacements was poorly thoughtout. There is nothing we can do about it now.

I still think there is talent on the offensive line, but there are many reasons to why they are not doing well. It could be they find it difficult to make the change to Saban and Mularkey's game plays. It could also be they are beat up so bad they have a hard time performing, or want off this team. I dislike any of the reasons, but we have to now focus more on learning the new system, and fixing our weaknesses while trying to salvage our season with somewhat respect.

The Dolphins were never known for seasons like this, and this is what is causing so many of us to try and justify what s going on. None of us truly can understand our dilemma, so lets just take the games as they come. Honestly, citique our players, plays, and coaching at the end of the year, and hope we use this information wisely to pick what we need. And not waste draft or free agency picks on players who are possible answers, as we did with Culpepper.

We made our beds, and now we have to lie in it. So, lets give our team the backing they deserve because there are those who are still playing their heart out on this team for you and I.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this for real?

Do you people think they are winning out?


5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Listen....we need the fins to lose!
There are a few reasons for that.
1) We need a top 3 draft pick that we could use on a good QB.(Quinn or
John Stocco.

2) Lose Culpepper, keep Harrington.

3) Fire Saban's ass! This idiot does not know talent. After the Culpepper screwup, nobody believes
in him or his decisions.

4) Fire Saban's ass! If this moron would put half the effort into the Dolphins as he does to keep his wife happy we might win.(NOT!)

5) Fire Saban's ass already! I can't believe he's still here!

5:47 PM  
Blogger Bloodlust said...

Anonymous... if you remember Marino, Elway, and Montana were all 7th round draft picks. Getting a higher round pick is still no guarantee of a great player. We need to be patient, and look closely as Shula did at Dan. Dan had an injury, and did not show in college what he did here in the Dolphins. We need to find that diamond in the rough, and polish his talents, as Greise and Strock did with Dan. We messed up with the aquiring of Culpepper. We did not look closely enough, and worried on how he played before rather than how is he capable of playing now. Saban made the same mistake a lot of fans did when Culpepper was eligable, so now lets lick our wounds and learn from it.

8:48 PM  
Blogger NYdolfan84 said...

Bloodlust, I agree with your point that there are no guarantees in the draft, but you are mistaken with when those QBs were drafted. Marino and Elway were first rounders. In fact Elway was number one overall, remember he demanded a trade from the Colts. Montana was a third round pick in '79.

"The Miami Dolphins select Dan as their number one pick (27th overall) in the NFL draft. In an exciting and successful first year, Marino throws 20 touchdown passes, wins league Rookie of the Year honors, and leads the Dolphins to the playoffs. He also becomes the first rookie quarterback to start in the Pro Bowl." -Dan

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Hank in the 400 said...

You never lose games to get draft picks and then buid a great team out of those picks. When we got Marino as the 27th pick it was because he missed so much senior year football with a knee and other coaches didn't think he would ever make it in the pros because at the time we had a Michael Vick type quarterback named Woodley who ran the the option and Marino couldn't move enough to get out of his own way but that was wrong wasn't it. he only needed to move a little.
What you have to do is win every game you can and have players wanting to be traded to your team that have experience enough to start today. Any QB is going to need 2-3 years to be ready to play.Quinn couldn't do any better if the O-line doesn't protect.

3:12 PM  
Blogger praise said...

nice blog

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bloodlust's last reply shows that no one should read anything he writes. I don't think he had even one fact right in his entire post.

Quit talking if you don't know what you are talking about. Elway a 7th round pick????? Marino and Elway were 1st round picks, Montana was a 4th if I am not mistaken. Griese was retired by the time Marino was with the team (Woodley and Strock were the other QB's his rookie year). No offense, but are you 12 years old? Silly.

4:58 AM  
Blogger Bloodlust said...

Anonymous... do not even open your mouth, you have nothing correct out of your big mouth. Someone has to always be an asshole, and you are it today. Apparently you know and have nothing to say other than start shit as usual

8:05 AM  
Blogger Bloodlust said...

Marino like the others I mentioned were the 27th pick of the first round draft,and there was scepticis on his playing ability at that time. If you would open your ears you would have known that.

Anonymous... did you have to look it up that is why you waited to respond so late. I am not going to check up every detail when most people know what I am trying to get across. Get a life.

As I tried to say before, having the number one pick is no guarantee to a QB or any other player. It is the ability of the coaching that brings the diamond out of the rough, as Marino.

Anonymous if you are going to start the name calling again, don't blog here.

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Griff said...

All you Mularkey bashers will be eating your words as the seasnon goes on. He is the best thing to happen to the Dolphins since Don Shula!!! Time will tell. GO DOLPHINS.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Bloodlust,

You're right, everyone should forget that you put in facts that you apparently make up in your head to help you prove a point????

If that sounds resonable to you then you must hurry to your nearest psychiatrist.

You're a blithering idiot.

4:36 AM  

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