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Monday, September 24, 2007

The coaching needs to improve also

Let me start out by relating the old adage about coaching: High school coaches adjust to things next game, college coaches adjust to things next half, NFL coaches adjust to things next play.

The coaching for the Dolphins right now is, shall we say, not getting it done.

As you saw Sunday, Dolphins special teams coach Keith Armstrong was pretty much out-coached by former Dolphins special teams coach Mike Westhoff. Not only did Westhoff get a TD out of his teams, it happened when Miami's kickoff team inexplicably had only three players on the side of the field where Leon Washington ran through for his 98-yard TD.

There were problems with the calling of a time out in the third quarter in what looked like an attempt to ice New York's kicker before a 21-yarde field goal, but really was caused because Miami didn't have the right personnel on the field. That's coaching.

There was also the now habitual penalty on Jason Allen that costs Miami field position. Why can't they coach this guy up?

And don't even get me started on that squib kick stuff. Squib the entire half until you get it corrected at halftime? That was Cameron's idea after Washington's TD.

To which I say, Brother, correct it on the sideline before the next kick.

Defensively, coaches seem to have resolved last week's arm-tackling troubles by working the first team offense against the first team defense in practice. But this defense is like an aging dam and when you patch one leak, another seems to spring up somewhere else.

So yesterday players were complaining about getting used to new positions along the line of scrimmage. Vonnie Holliday and Keith Traylor were playing defensive tackles -- even though Holliday is probably better suited for end and Traylor is a nose tackle. This while Jason Taylor and Joey Porter spent much of the day in three-point stances, when both have typically been successful as standup rushers in recent years.

It was a significant change. And it did not work.

Then there's the offense. The first reaction is that Miami is improving on offense. Ronnie Brown had his finest day. Things are looking good. Well, can I ask why it took three games for Cam Cameron to give Ronnie Brown the ball and end his infatuation with Jesse Chatman?

And even in a game when Brown is doing great work, why not feed him the ball on Miami's only drive of the third quarter. The Dolphins got the ball, down 24-13, and gave Brown the ball twice in a row, picking up a first down. Then Cameron passed three consecutive plays, the last one resulting in an interception.

The Dolphins didn't see the football again until 12:45 was left in the fourth quarter and they were down, 31-13. It's stuff like this that shows you Miami's coaching staff is still figuring out what it doesn't know.

But it's stuff like this that also costs the team a chance to win.

32 Comments:

Anonymous Alex in Tampa said...

I could not agree more...Another example of poor coaching is the final offensive drive in the first half. There was just under two minutes left and they were in Jets territory. Plenty of time to run the ball and chew a little more clock before a score. However, Cam decides to throw three straight times, and ends up having to kick a field goal, thus allowing the Jets enough time to go down the field and score a TD with 2 seconds left.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

all i have to say is wow...ted ginn is sooooooooo good! he looks just like he does on all those youtube videos! look at his breakaway speed that everyone was talking about as he gets tackled 3 seconds after catching punts! and have you seen him burn those cornerbacks as trent throws bombs to him for touchdowns?!! amazing!!!!..lets not forget about joey porter!!! those 20 million dollars in guaranteed money are really paying off!!! i think im going to buy a porter and ginn jersey but i dont know whose to wear bc they both are sooo good!

john beck better be who they think he is or this franchise is done for another 5 years...start playing him by the middle of the season

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Paul K said...

Armando, I agree with you whole-heartedly and will add this as well. I think a significant turning point came in the 2nd quarter at the two-minute warning. It was the possession right after Washington’s return for a TD and momentum shifted back in the Jets favor. The Fins are 1st and 10 right near the 20 yard line and we got there on the back of Ronnie Brown while taking the momentum back with a long drive beating down the Jets D-line. That is when we did not continue to run the ball, but passed three straight times consuming only 18 seconds off the clock and settling for a field goal. The insuing kick-off was the 1st squib kick that gave the Jets the ball near mid-field with more than a minute and a half remaining. They took advantage of it and scored a TD with a couple seconds remaining in the half.

Why did we go away from the run that had been producing so well all half? It should have been the Dolphins running out the clock on the other end of the field going into the half. WORST case scenario would have been kicking a FG with 30 seconds on the clock, best case…punching it in with a few seconds remaining with momentum back on our side.

I’m okay with this team growing and taking responsibility for their poor play, but I want to see that growth coming from our rookie head coach as well.

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is up with our third round pick Lorenzo Booker. Please tell me he is not a bust already. Cameron has all his eggs in one basket. That basket is called John Beck. He better be as good as we are told or we are done for the next three to five years. Our next two drafts we are going to have to draft defense because the one we have out there is old, tired, and emotionless.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good comments Armando, but you did not mention what the coaches did right, or do the players deserve all the credit when they rack up 420+ yards? RE coaches, Marty was at the game, and he serves as a good example of a coach getting all the blame. 14-2 and he's gone. Why? Ladanian is showing himself to be a classless guy. He was instrumental in moving Marty out, was a sore loser after the Pats beat them in the playoffs, was yapping his mouth prior to the recent Pats game, and now is yelling at his QB on the sidelines yesterday (and Rivers was having a very good game up to that point). One good thing about this Fins team is that nobody is pointing fingers, only at themselves. Yet nobody gives them credit for that. I'd like to see a 50-50 split of commentary on the negative, and the positive, and there are positives. Instead, its more like 80-20. What do you think CAM (and the players) did RIGHT yesterday?

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was thinking back and guess what I remember? I remember the Patriots playing the Chargers last year in the playoffs and I yelling at the T.V. for the terrible play calling in the second half of the game. I remember Tomlinson gashing the Patriots defense in the first half. Tomlinson getting 7-10 yards and the chargers dominating the Patriots in the first half. Then in the second half all they did was pass the ball. I was thinking how stupid Marty was, but I now know who was calling the plays. It was Cameron.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous JohnnyLetter said...

Dear Miami Dolphins:

The Browns are going to beat our a****.

This may come as a startling pronouncement, but I hope that red alarms and sirens went off at Dolphins’ headquarters (the “Fincave,” if you will) as you read that. I will even write it in bold print just to make sure you got it: If things do not markedly improve between now and October 14th, the Browns are going to beat our a****.

I know that we have excuses for the putrid state of the team this year. Ricky Williams, and Nick Saban both took their best shots at ruining the franchise. Rick Spielman didn’t do us any favors when he drafted Eddie Moore over Anquan Boldin and traded a second-rounder for A.J. Feeley. Jason Allen is, well, he’s Jason Allen.

(And who would have ever thought that performing a physical exam on Daunte Culpepper’s and Joey Porter’s knees would be a good idea? Ha! I guess you live and you learn.)

My wife and I watch this team week in and week out. The only things more apparent than Keith Traylor’s imminent and unavoidable cardiac arrest are that the once proud defensive players have quit (who can blame them?), Dom Capers has become more concerned about his stylish toupee than two-man blitz packages, and that it makes no sense to pick Ted Ginn (and his family) with pick #9, yet give him three snaps per game on offense.

All of my friends’ teams are doing really well this year. The Steelers look on pace to contend in the AFC North. The Broncos look good now, but have an even brighter future. The Redskins are even a surprise. What about the Dolphins? Well, the Browns are probably going to beat our a****.

I will say this: if we are going to be bad, let’s go all out and be really bad. If we are so-so bad or just mildly repugnant bad, then we will have to go and draft tiny little Steve Slaton, who will probably be eaten like a baby by Vince Wilfork.

Nope. If I am going to have to suffer through this abomination each Sunday, we need to be Darren McFadden bad. I will go ahead and call this “Superbad.”

So, this leaves us with two options: 1) Get better by benching sorry-ass Traveres Tillman, sending Jason Allen into exile to Elba, sifting the sand out of Ted Ginn’s pants that apparently slows him down so much in games, and somehow getting Ronnie Brown to quit smiling and start dominating; OR 2) Make Jason Allen a starting corner, call repeated pass plays that Chris Chambers can drop, and keep Lorenzo Booker inactive in order to cement our Superbad status.

Regrettably, I fear that no matter what path we choose we will still lose to the Patriots by 168 points…

And the Browns will still beat our a****.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous John in Alberta, Canada said...

Armando, though I am not going to pull the plug on Coach Cameron just yet, I am puzzled with his choice of plays at the end of the first half. With 2 mins left in the half and the ball on the Jets 21 yard-line why did he call three consecutive passes?? With a solid running game at that point why not pound it in, at the very least you run the clock down (or force the Jets to use all their time outs) and you kick a field goal with next to no time left on the clock. Instead you give the Jets 1:36 to march the ball and go into the locker room down by 8 intead of 1 or even leading.
By the way don't even get me started on that squib kicking stuff, you got burned once, make your corrections and keep going, don't short kick it and let the Jets start at their own 45 every time. Maybe if we had our 2001 defence back there but clearly this group is having trouble stopping anyone.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Well, Sunday morning came and I was a bit hung over from going to the USF game and watching them dominate North Carolina. I made some breakfast and watched some pregame shows and then it was time for my weekly jaunt to my local watering hole with my Zack jersey to watch my beloved Dolphins and I couldn't do it. I just couldn't do it.

I tried, I got the jersey on, I yelled at the mirror, I kicked the dog (PETA will be after me!) and told the girl friend to do her girly thing... But in the end I couldn't do it. I couldn't stand the humiliation of all those Jets fans I knew would be waiting for me.

The cell phone rang and rang, the email filled up... I sat and watched the Bucs beat up on STL. I didn't reply to anything. I was done, too sick of losing to go out of my own house. Too sick of being ridiculed by the likes of those lowly New York bastards that I hate so much.

In truth, I think I may have snapped if had to put up with one of them in my face. This is where I've come to, hiding in the closest, ashamed to show my colors. Afraid I would knock someone's teeth out if they pushed me just a little bit too far. I'm disgusted, completely and utterly disgusted.

I could go on and on about the coaching, about the players not showing up, about the draft picks in recent years, about the management being more consumed with bringing superbowls to the stadium instead of Dolphin fans, but I don't care anymore.

I don't care anymore! I DON'T CARE ANYMORE!!! Are there still those folks out there who don't think we should trade every player on the team? These guys may be great but they are losers. The coaches are losers, the management are losers. Scrap the whole thing and start over. I don't care if what anyone thinks.

I DON'T CARE ANYMORE!

4:26 PM  
Blogger Hal said...

I have news for you, Westhoff has been outcoaching Armstrong for 7 years now.

Westhoff took over the worst special teams in the division in 2001 (per Rick Gosselin's annual ratings, Dallas Morning News) and Armstrong inherited the best in the NFL from Westhoff.

By 2003 the 'Fins had the worst ST's in the division, and the Jets had the best.

Westhoff's special teams were big factors in at least two wins in 2000 (vs. the Lions and Packers); Armstrong's typically cost us a game or two a year in 2002-2003.

It's nothing new. Westhoff was Wanny's first big mistake. Unfortunately, not his last, or even his biggest (i.e. Moore, Fletcher, etc.).

4:33 PM  
Blogger j dizzle said...

LOL I been saying this since week one Cam is a decent offensive coordinator but he is not the Head coach Wayne really was looking for!!! Because Wayne has no football knowledge, he really thought Cam could turn this team around this year and get a wild card playoff birth!!! But in reality this is a "work in progrees " for at least 2 more years!!!! I truly think Cam has an eye for talent and a bit of offensive play calling talent, but he isn't ready to be the Head of the team responsilbe for all!!!!He has NO I repeat NO clock management skills and that is essential to be a head coach, and he's never really shown us he's always trying to win ie: getting the ball back in the washington game with 1 minute left and three timeouts(he settled for OT) Cowboys game, you have the lead in the second half and you know your Defense is old what does Cam do??? Pass the ball to hurry the offense off the field and get the old D back out there to get ran over!!

What does all this equal you ask. It equals a 0-3 team who are still learning along with a LYING rookie Head Coach with a passion for families!!!!

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very insightful. A team loses three games and you point out that the coaching needs to improve. Let's fire Cameron already. He got his chance.

-- Bebo

4:57 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Armando -

I do agree that the coaching can use some work. But Lombardi himself could do very little with this crew. You cannot survive in the NFL with bad drafts, and we've had so many I've lost count. The depth and level of talent on this squad is abysmal. We'll need Mueller to continue having drafts that match what - I think - was a good class of 2007. And we'll need several years of them to correct the mess on our hands.

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Khalid said...

I agree. Far too many questionable calls. Coaching and time management are so very important. We are simply not good enough to vercome so manu mistakes and they have been plentiful in the first three games. If we can minimize some of the mistakes we will start to win some games. They have to address the problem of getting pressure on the QB, Every QB we hqve played has too much time.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Armando Salguero said...

I will give the Dolphins a 50-50 split of the commentary between good and bad when they win 50 percent and lose 50 percent.

From where I stand, that's a minimum of three weeks away.

Sorry, but this is PROFESSIONAL football and these guys are paid handsomely to succeed, not simply try hard.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Scalzo said...

You cannot put all the blame on the coaches. The players have to perform also (IE Jason Allen) . Camron inherited an awful team and to expect him to turn this thing around in 1 season is ludicrous. This teams drafts and free agent acquisitions since Shula was forced out has been just horrible. It is time to trade a lot of the players on this team. Collect all the draft picks that you can, rebuild this team and let the new young players get in and play. Alot of you want to cry about Ginn but he is doing more for the team than Jason Allen.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Travis said...

Armando,

I'm not sure if you're just getting more confident, more frustrated, or are just being more honest than you were when you started this blog, but your insight seems to always improve. Don't get me wrong, it's always been a great blog, but now it is excellent. I can't wait to read what you have to say next.

1:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if Cam is so focused on his offensive coordinator duties, that it's affecting his decision's as a head coach!

3:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coaching is not the problem. Are there questionable calls, of course, as there is on any team, on every sunday. Talent is the problem. The Dolphins have very little of it. Special Teams is no number one place where lack of talent becomes clearly evident. I'm not the biggest Coach Armstrong supporter. They should have never gotten rid of Westoff, however, can anyone name one of the players running down on the kickoff team, exception Feely? Dolphin fans need to get real, NO COACH, I mean NO COACH, can fix everything that is wrong with team in one draft and one free agency period. It's going to take time. They didn't fall to this point in one season.

7:36 AM  
Blogger H.C.D. said...

First off people, Cameron is here to stay for at least another year. So quit wasting your hot air with the whole "fire Cameron" routine, because its getting old and its a useless wish.

This team is not very good right now. We could have Bill Walsh on the sidelines and I don't think our 0-3 record would be any different. Having said that, this team can still compete with the proper adjustments. If Leon Washington doesn't run that kick back for a TD, its a whole different ball game. Who knows what the outcome would have been then.

Positives: Ronnie Brown was running with some purpose. I was at the game and saw all three of his touchdowns right in front of me. He looked like he was a determined man. That was something I had not seen out of him until now. Thats something to build on. Chris Chambers also had a good game and Booker had some nice grabs. Trent Green managed the game well. He did have on INT, but thats because his protection broke down. For the most part, the OL played well.

Negatives: With no Zach Thomas out there, the defense looked like it was in disarray. Jason Allen is a lost puppy out there. Michael Lehan is still injured, Will Allen needs to toughen up. I saw Joey Porter get out run and his bad knee makes him look like he's dragging that leg. He's lost his zip. He's useless unless they run at him. We made a gimpy Chad Pennington look like a star, although we didn't get destroyed with massive amounts of yardage through the air.

Oakland is on deck. We can beat Oakland if we play a complete game. At this point, lets just focus on getting ONE victory.

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cam Cameron lost the game for us on Sunday. Plain and Simple. A veteran coach wouldn't have squibed kicked, passed 3 downs in a row at the end of the 2nd half, ice a kicker for a 20 yrd FG in the 3rd quarter! Bonehead, Bonehead coaching. I just don't get it, how are these coaches paid all this money to make logical decisions?? This is scarey

9:44 AM  
Blogger David said...

Just because a coach is a superior coordinator, it doesn't mean he's going to be a superior head coach, or even a good one. We learned that with Dave and we might be learning it again now. To say nothing of the Chargers' fall. Being inventive is good. What we've seen out of Cam so far though is a bit more on the quirky side though. It brings to mind what someone wrote earlier this season on another site about the new head coaches: someone will get a Bill Cowher-- someone else will get a Bruce Coslet. Yikes. I have a worse feeling it's coming true for us now than I did when I read it, for obvious reasons.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

It seems that last years defense was coached by Saban and not by Capers. Even though Capers was kept, the play calling, preparation and half time adjustment were way better last year. A lot of the time last year the defense didn't do too well in the first half, but brought the pain in the second while the offense sputtered. Looks like Saban was the brains behind last years defense and Capers was a gofer.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous KwameFinFanFaLife said...

Finally Somone who watched the same game that I did, Coaching and nothing more cost us this game Sunday. Cam and Dom blew it! Cam called same play 4 times in a row and the jets caught up to what we were doing. We play man-blitz scheme on goal line and get beat 1-on-1 in the back of the endzone, why not try a man-blitz package, it seems to be where we get all our sack from since are D is not as yound and explosive to the ball as it once was. I swear if these two dont fix this crippty crap now, we need to call the bills. PARCELLS OR COWHER, I dont care!

5:04 PM  
Anonymous KwameFinFanFaLife said...

Here is a Coincidence for ya, the Dolphins ore 0-3 right! The chargers are 1-2 right! The Dolphins have the understudy/student to so-called Offensive Guru Norv Turner. Our "O" has been slow to develop. Once Upon a time Norv Turner was our Off.Coord. We didnt do so great then, decent but not great. If an experience re-tread coach is off to a struggling start with a team that has more talent than you need and went 14-2 how do you explain it?Just as his student is struggling in his first year,the year to take chances hit teams by surprise do things with new wrinkles that havent been captured on film just yet. THE APPLE DOESNT FALL FAR FROM THE TREE!!!, SCHOTTENHEIMER BUILT THAT WINNER, NOT CAM. WHERE OUR 1ST YEAR PAYTON/MANGINI SHAKE UP. TEAMS CAN BE TURNED AROUND IN LESS THAN A YEAR. THESE JACKASSES WERE NEVER THE MEN FOR THE JOB! Let's see if Parcells wants one more shot at makin a winner! I'm sick of losing!!!!!!!!!!

5:30 PM  
Blogger Frederick said...

lets be clear on the 98 yd. td. Feely is squarely at fault on that play...I looked at the kick and said oh sh!t! The low, short line drive kick that resulted in the return outkicked any coverage, and killed any illusion of feelys ability to boot one out.

1:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I CAN'T BELIEVE HOW BAD OUR DEFENSE IS PLAYING AND THE MAIN PROBLEM IS WITH OUR DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR WHO LACKS ANY CREATIVITY.I BELIEVE THE DEAD RAT HE WEARS ON HIS HEAD IS AFFECTING HIS THINKING!!

11:19 AM  
Anonymous IPSE DIXIT said...

There are more insipid and outright moronic views spewed forth in Armando's football related blog and the comments section than any other place in the world of sports.

From Armando:

"Well, can I ask why it took three games for Cam Cameron to give Ronnie Brown the ball and end his infatuation with Jesse Chatman?" – Sept. 24

"In the coming month or so, be very vigilant of what is going on with the Dolphins running back situation. Despite the fact Brown remains the starter now and likely will stay that way for some time, Dolphins coaches are really intrigued with Jesse Chatman.

Chatman has shown, at times, an ability to break tackles that Brown has not shown the new staff yet. In the game against Jacksonville, you saw Chatman turn a dull offensive evening into something to feel OK about when he broke off a 74-yard run.

What coaches saw was that Chatman improvised, bouncing off a hole that was closed, cutting back, then out-running defenders to the end zone." – Aug. 15

It's easy to be a second-guesser and a rabble rouser - it's Armando's only skill.

As for the rest of you - PHHHHhhhhttt! Neither you nor Armando could coach your way through a successful play in a Pee Wee league Madden tournament.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Armando told us to watch the Rb situation before anyone else did. Eventually Chatman and Brown shared snaps the first two games of the season. I would say he hit it right on the mark.

But I guess it's too much to ask an idiot savant to understand that.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Add Mike Westhoff to your list of former Dolphins who hate the Dolphins. Getting rid of Westhoff was one of the worst moves the Dolphins ever did. If anything, Mike should've been interviewed as a candidate for the head coaching job. He's a heck of a coach and he doesn't take any crap from players. What's more, players were/are loyal to Mike. He has his guys ready to play every game. Not to mention, Mike has been dealing with physical/health problems and still outcoaches most teams while supporting himself on crutches.

I blame Dave Dopestedt for replacing Mike with Keith Armstrong--one of his former Bears assistants/lackeys. Dave is paying for his sins up in Pittsburgh. He'll soon be run out of his hometown and university.

As far as Camco goes, he hasn't shown me much in terms of being able to rally the troops. If anything, he's taking a very nonchalant attitude about starting out 0-3. Show some fire Cam! Let the team and fans know that you're passionate about making the Dolphins competitive again. Tony Dungy leads quietly, but everyone on that Colts team knows that a fire burns within. I hope the Dolphins' players eventually see that in Camco.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just want to know when Cameron will realize this is a lost cause, Dolphins simple are not in shape to content for a comodin spot, and I fail to see them content for the third place of the division.

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flipper’s new lyrics for the Dolphins Fight song:



Lyrics

(Verse)
Miami has the Dolphins,
The league’s worst football team!
We dream about going to the endzone,
A place we’ve never seen!
We're in the air,
We're on the ground,
We play like we are sick.
So when you say Miami,
You're talking first draft pick!

(Chorus 1)
Cause we're the Miami Dolphins,
Miami Dolphins,
Miami Dolphins Number 31.

(Chorus 2)
Yes we're the Miami Dolphins,
Miami Dolphins,
Miami Dolphins Number 31.

(Repeat)

3:39 PM  

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