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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Why Dolphins can, should get out to fast start

In Thursday's Herald I write about how imperative it is for the Dolphins to get out to a fast start this year and how that hasn't been the case for the team, at least not the past three years.

Here's the column:

Anyway, I'm sure you folks have an opinion on this but before you are allowed to post that opinion you have to read mine because, well, it's my blog.

A look at Miami's first six games this season offers not only games the Dolphins can win, but games they should win.

Sunday at the Redskins? Let's see they start Jason Campbell at QB. No matter how few points you think the Dolphins are prepared to score, there is no way Campbell against the No. 5 scoring defense in the NFL from a year ago should be a matchup Miami loses. 1-0.

Sept. 16 vs. Dallas? I'll give you the Cowboys were a playoff team a season ago and they didn't graduate anyone. But Wade Phillips is a new coach, too and the Dolphins are home in September where the heat should be a considerable advantage. Nonetheless I understand Dallas has more overall talent so Miami loses. 1-1.

Sept. 23 at the Jets? The Jets swept the Dolphins a season ago and they've addressed needs in their secondary and at running back. So? The Jets were a mirage a season ago and I say they fall back to the pack this season. They're offensive line is not good and that means their running game can't be so great regardless of whether they have Thomas Jones or Tom Jones dancing around back there. I also say the Jets defense is light up front and can be had. So I'm picking a surprise here. Miami is 2-1.

J-E-T-S, lose, lose, lose.

Then comes a heavenly stretch with Oakland at home, at Houston and at Cleveland. If the Dolphins don't sweep these three games, this season is going nowhere. But I think Miami will do as it should and beat the snot out of these opponents. The Dolphins, by the way, have an especially fine outing if Daunte Culpepper is the starting QB for Oakland. Can you imagine him trying to get away from either Jason Taylor or Joey Porter? I don't think so.

So there you have it, Miami is 5-1 or 4-2 after six games.

Your thoughts?


Blogger Terry said...

what good is going 5-1, 4-2 when we are just going to end up 8-8 anyway? Hey, welcome to early 2000 again Dolphin fans!

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll take 2000.

That was the last year we won a playoff game. And the division. :)

12:06 AM  
Anonymous dx dolphan said...

I agree, Armando. The Dolphins could very easily get off to a 5-1 or 4-2 start. I don't know about the rest of you, but I am sick and tired of losing to the sorry ass Texans! There is no way that this team should be 0-2 against such a pitiful franchise. I still have that foul taste in my mouth of that 2005 loss to Cleveland. I don't care what Drew Carey says, CLEVELAND DOES NOT ROCK!!! CLEVELAND SUCKS!!! The Raiders? We've owned the Raiders over the past few seasons. McCown should be the starter for that game. Culpepper will be doing what he does best, whining and pouting on the sidelines like a spoiled child that doesn't get his way.

The Jets remind me of the 2006 Dolphins. Think about it, they played well above their expectations from a year ago. They traded a second round pick for a player that no longer wanted to play for his former team. Spent a first round pick on a DB that ended up holding out for most of training camp. Is this starting to sound familiar??? The Jets have an extremely tough schedule this year, and I'm not sold on Chad Pennington. Smart guy, but his arm is weaker than Fiedler's. The Jets are going to have a down year.

The Dallas game will be interesting. I think it's going to be a bit of a chess match. Cam Cameron versus Wade Phillips. A year ago, both of these men were the top coordinators for the San Diego Chargers. Cam knows how Wade runs his defense, and Wade knows how Cam runs his offense. Plus, Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett used to be the QB coach here in Miami. It'll be interesting to watch how both teams attack each other offensively and defensively. If you were to to include a win against Dallas, then you could be looking at a potential 6-0 start heading into the home game against the Patsies! That would certainly be one hell of a game!

Don't you love the beginning of football season? The time where hope springs eternal. Anyways, we can make all the predictions we want, but if Appalachian State vs. Michigan taught us anything, it's this. No matter how good a team may be on paper, you won't know until you play the games. Hell, is it Sunday yet? I'm pumped up!!!

Are you ready? NO, I SAID... ARE YOU READY?!!?! Then for the thousands in attendence, for the millions watching at home, and for Nick Saban. Because, rumor has it, he has some weird obsession with the South Carolina mascot, Cocky. Anyways, Ladies and Gentlemen...... LET'S GET READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!!!!!!

If you're not down with that, I'VE GOT TWO WORDS FOR YA..... GO DOLPHINS!!!!!!!!!!

12:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I have some of that stuff you guys are smoking? What a bunch of optimists with no basis in reality. Talking 6-0? Huh? We will be very lucky to be 4-2 because we are dealing with a brand-new offense scheme and a bunch of players who are unfamiliar with the playbook. I hope I'm wrong, but I think we only a team on the rise.

Ken in San Diego

1:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great column Armando. I'd LOVE to see them start 5-1 or 4-2.

As for Culpepper, I might be in the minority, but I think we screwed him over while he was here, and I think he'll be the comeback player of the year in the NFL. Just watch how well he plays in Oakland.

2:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your not going to beat washington at home with coach gibbs. this will be cams' first game he gets out coached. at best the dolphins can hope to start 3-3.

2:33 AM  
Anonymous John123 said...

"Then comes a heavenly stretch with Oakland at home, at Houston and at Cleveland. If the Dolphins don't sweep these three games, this season is going nowhere."


We are 0-2 against Houston... We lost to them in 2003 when we were 10-6 and we lost to them last year.. I'm starting to think that they have our number because both those Texans teams were awful. If we lose again it will defiantly confirm my suspicion. Cleveland Also beat the Phins 2 years ago (I believe that was the last loss before the phins went on their hot streak).

Point is we have lost to 2 of those teams before and they were in worse shape then than they are now and i'm not so sure we are better than we were then.

3:16 AM  
Anonymous Dnice said...

Culpepper did get screwed in my opinion too and he wil bounce back! As for our Phins I think we can be this yrs N.O. Oh and Joe Gibbs hasnt out coached anyone since he returned to the league. So far his teams have under achieved so thats an even match x's and O's wise. Let the GAMES Begin!

4:43 AM  
Blogger H.C.D. said...

If I've learned ANYTHING in my 30+ years as a Dolphins fan, its this: The Dolphins alway play at the level of their competition. That has always been the case. Sure, there have been some blowouts, but there have also been some non-excusable losses to lesser teams. Losing to Houston last year is a great example. Getting shut out at Cleveland the year before that is another. Point is, teams change from year to year, so the schedule doesn't mean squat. I'm sure there were teams like Dallas salivating last year when they saw New Orleans on the schedule only to get POUNDED.

For once, I'd rather see the Dolphins start with a decent record, but finish STRONG, just like they did a couple of years ago, but this time, actually make the playoffs. I know I'm dreaming, but so what?

Arrrrrrrrrmando, good write up today, but like I said, the schedule means NADA!!

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Armando I 100% agree with you they have a favorable schedule early and if they can use that time to win and jell maybe they can handle the tough second half schedule. I was trashed on the boards when the schedule came out and I said that it was easy, early. Keep up the good work.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Damn Armando I'd love to jump on this wagon, but I can't let myself do it. 1st off the Skins could be the N.O. of 2007. They had a lot of injuries last year and an inexperienced QB. They may have the best pair of safeties in the NFL in Landry and Taylor, coupled with two top CBs. The front 7 is solid.

Campbell has had two years to develop and he has all the physical tools. Portis is healthy and they have a great OL.

That said I would not even consider taking them lightly. What this game will come down to is defense and big plays. If we can spring a couple big plays and keep them from doing the same; we will have a chance at winning the game.

From what I have seen in the preseason I don't have clue what Miami team will show up. Too much transition, to many new faces. Cameron is certainly not walking into S.D. with a team that is a known entity.

So what's my point? Why not just take this thing one game at a time and see if this team is really any good? Why jump out and say the team should win 5 of 6 before we even know whether the OL can line up on an NFL field? Why place any inflated expectations on the team and Cameron before we even know what the product is?

I'm being a bit pessimistic, I know, but I think I'm also being realistic. I think we have turned the corner and the Dolphins are on the rise regardless of what our record is this season. It is going to take a couple of years to clear out the stink left by Whatshisname and Wannstedt. I will have patience and take one game at a time.

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Daunte's fans are right, we should be very afraid of him when he leads his nasty Oakland Raiders into Miami. He'll probably throw for five TDs and run for two more, just to show Miami and the Dolphins how they screwed up. The Raiders are scary, coming off that 2-14 record, and with their proven coach. There's no way Dolphin pass rushers like Jason T. and Joey P. will be able to chase down an athlete in his prime like Daunte, and great defense reader that he is, he'll easily out-think Capers' schemes. The Raider braintrust is starting McCown this week because the healthy Duante is already working on the Dolphin game plan. Man, the Raiders are smart, and Duante's fans in South Florida are perfectly objective. The Autumn wind is a pirate!

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Dolphins are going to be much, much better than people think this year. Watch, they're going to start by rolling the Skins Sunday - and they're going to do it on the ground, in a physical, dominiating way.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Oscar Wilde said...

With the Dolphins having undergone such drastic changes in management and personnel, I find it impossible even to hazard a guess as to their performance this season.

Whatever criticism the Shula-Marino teams deserved for their annual December swoons, at least, we could count on the team winning 8 games, playing meaningful late-season games (often nationally televised), and contending for a playoff spot.

The Dolphins' wretched ineptitude the past three seasons has been so uncharacteristic of the franchisem however that it has disabused me of optimism or for that matter, any expectation whatsoever.

I now ask of the Dolphins little more than.

1) a competitive season
2) marked improvement from the previous year
3) games in Nov-Dec. that carry some significance and allow me to entertain the illusion of playoff possibilities
4) one or more wins against the Jets.

Few could loath the Jets, their franchise, and their fans as much as I do. I live in NY. Which means I hold that special animus that being forced to live amidst an enemy stirs. The incessant press coverage. The gloating overconfident fans. The gratuitous canonization of their coach and GM as "geniuses" after a moderately successful season.

I went to law school with Mike Tannenbaum. (Trust me, he's no genius.)

Accordingly, if the Dolphins succeed this season only in exposing the New York Jets organization for the fraud they are, I'll consider the season a triumph.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the only problem I have is with the word "should", as in they "should win" a game. Every team has talent and anybody can beat anybody. The Dolphins definitely "could" win those games, but counting wins 5-6 weeks into the season is a big stretch. I sure hope the players don't buy into the idea of any easy wins.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4-2 sounds about right. If the D can step it up a notch over last year with O's having to account for both Taylor and Porter, anything is possible. The plan is for these guys to really disrupt the passing game, and if that happens 3 and outs and turnovers will really help our O.

12:44 PM  
Blogger John said...

Culpepper did look very good in the preseason. Can he lead the Raiders to respectability? Absolutely. The fins treated him like s**t.

Armando, I believe the Dolphins can and will beat the Cowboys in game two at home.
I am not giving any points to the 12th man as we have no 12th man in Miami. The turn out at Dolphin Stadium is dispicable.
Whats it been like 2000 years the Skins always fill the stadium up real big. I give three points to them on this account, which could never be done in Miami.

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dolphins 6-0 and Duh'ta is going to get his head handed to him if Duh'ta play's. He will fumble fall down and throw interceptions.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

C'mon Cpep did not look that good; he threw interceptions, fumbled and has a real slow release. Get off his band wagon already. He just looked good because after last year anyone would. Give it a rest!

2:13 PM  
Blogger muckdog said...

Well, you're highlighting the defense. And if Miami only has to play defense, maybe the wins come easy.

But what about the Miami offense?

Lets say Trent Green gets about 2 seconds in the pocket before the pass rush is on top of him. Chambers and Booker can't get open (as usual). Interception or fumble returned for TD? Another concussion and Cleo Lemon at the helm? Or an inexperienced John Beck?

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dumbte Suckpepper sucks. He is lazy, selfish, and stupid. He is a "me first" player that will never accept a backup job. Josh McCown is much better suited for the Raiders offense. Daunte is not that mobile anymore, he still holds onto the ball way too long, takes too many sacks, throws lots of interceptions, and always fumbles because of his extra small hands. He can't read defenses because he is a moron. He always thought he could win games with his mobility alone, there's more to being a quarterback than just being an athlete. I hate Dumbte Culpooper, and I hope he injures his knee again and is forced into retirement.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous AJ said...

A lot of naysayers in this blog... Are you fans or whiners? Last year, Miami was picked by "the pros" to be a super bowl team... This year, "the pros" aren't giving them a chance. For the first time since Marino they will have an aggressive offense to go along with their defense. I'm not predicting the super bowl, but they have a far better chance to do well this year than they had the last several years.

And to everyone talking about 6 years ago, 4 years ago, 2 years ago... Hello? Much different team!!! No more pathetic Jay(s) or semi-pro QBs... Trent isn't a savior, but he's been solid, and is an outstanding leader on the field. I'm looking forward to this season -- really much more than the past several. They may not make the playoffs, but there's a good chance they will be IN every game.

Oh, and by the way, Daunte will get sacked 5 times or more if he's playing when the Raiders come to town. He was "getting loose" in preseason because THEY WERE 2ND & 3RD STRINGERS... get a grip...

2:28 PM  
Anonymous gummer said...

Armando.....i count you as one of the smart ones.....and i agree with you.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed---1st half is the easy half. 6-2 is a must if wildcard is to be obtained. Anyone take a look at the 2nd half schedule lately? Philly and Pitts back to back, and yes, both on the road...NE and Buffalo in December, oh yeah, on the road...Cinn and Balt? YIKES! 8-8 at best but next year now, look out!


5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Fins will probably be 4-2 after the first 6. By the way, Armando, I don't know where you got all this optimism concerning the Dolphins recently! Probably the fact that Cameron is a good coach who actually has a CLUE about offensive football, and above that, knows how to treat his players as adults.

Anyway, everyone needs to keep in mind that Cameron is going to mask weaknesses on offense with FORMATIONS and MOVEMENT. Now, I know these offensive tactics are really unfamiliar to all of us who have been watching the Fins over the past 10 years or so, but it's part of good offensive football. Do you think that Ted Ginn isn't going to run any end-arounds? Fake end-arounds? No "jumbo" formations? If you don't have the talent to beat the opponent straight up, you have to be creative. Cameron will do that. As for the defense, I love Dom Capers as a defensive coordinator. God, he probably popped open a bottle of champagne when he learned we got Joey Porter!
Porter is someone the offense will have to account for when he's out there, even though he hasn't gotten his reps this summer, and is trying to mesh with the crew.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have all this hope - it stems from cameron's offensive creativity. we'll have an average year (7-9) - but it will be FUN to watch fins football again.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

#1 Oakland has a LOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT of young talent & speed. advantage oakland. Houston on offense has the same, clevland sucks, Bottom line teh Fins do play to the level of their comp & we will have to see what they do, but historically they lose games thye should win at least in the past 5yrs. Hopefully Cam has got them ready to paly & respect everyone but only time tells. I'll still be rooting for em tho.

11:36 AM  

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