[11/08/13] -- Dolphins Face Bucs; BullyGate Continues
Practically forgotten in all the hype over Jonathan Martin's charges of bullying by his teammates (not just Incognito) is the fact that the Dolphins face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night football next Monday. The Dolphins - who should win this game - have been so overwhelmed with the unwanted attention of the situation in Miami that it is hard to tell how well they have been preparing for the game. David Hyde of the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel thinks that this media attention is actually bringing the team together and believes the Dolphins will ultimately be stronger and angrier than they would otherwise have been. He predicts that the Dolphins will whollop the Bucs 24-10. Personally, the only thing I'm sure of is that we will know by Tuesday morning whether or not he is right.
On the Incognito vs Martin front, Phins.com Columnist Chris Shashaty has his say today in his latest article for us: Making Sense Out of Chaos.
Curt's Comments: For the record, my position on this situation is that I don't know enough about it to have an informed opinion yet. The only things I am sure of are that we don't have the whole story and that most of the media "pundits" are feeding us incredible amounts of unverified bullshit to gain readers. Personally, I have never been much of a Richie Incognito fan and I can see where he could be guilty of an inappropriate level of harassment of Jonathan Martin. On the other hand, there are an awful lot of holes in the stories of the alleged harassment and the nature of Martin's abrupt departure from the team is questionable to say the least. Plus, I think that Jonathan Martin's emotional problems are probably a lot more severe than we've been lead to believe.
Regardless of how the story eventually comes out, however, two men have had their NFL careers ruined and a proud NFL franchise has been permanently tarnished. Whoever turns out to be at fault - and I suspect it will be many more than just one person - the Miami Dolphins will carry this stain around forever. It is a sad, sad time for everyone involved.
[11/01/13] -- Dolphins Beat Bengals; Possibly Salvage Season
The Dolphins broke their 4 game losing streak last night, beating the AFC North-leading Bengals 22-20 in overtime to stop their slide and hopefully right the ship that has been sinking since their trip to New Orleans. The Dolphins' defense was the star of the night, holding off a tough Bengals offense and shrugging off fatigue and exhaustion to make the key plays in overtime to win the game. The final play was made by Cameron Wake, who blew through the Bengals' right guard to sack QB Andy Dalton just barely in the endzone for a safety and a victory.
Still, despite this dramatic victory, the Dolphins are in trouble at the halfway point in the season. Their offense is struggling - they scored just 13 points last night - and there is plenty of evidence of internal rifts within the team. If the Dolphins are to continue to right the ship, head coach Joe Philbin must exert control from his position and keep the Dolphins going in the right direction, while dealing forcefully but fairly with the distractions that have been plaguing the team over the past few weeks. Today, Phins.com Columnist Chris Shashaty goes into detail about the problems the Dolphins must resolve to keep this team driving forward in his latest column Time for Philbin to Act.
Curt's Comments: Once again, the Dolphins prove that it's not how you start, it's how you finish that counts. It doesn't matter if you fall behind by 2 touchdowns (like they did against the Bills) or jump out to a 2 touchdown lead (as they did against both the Patriots and the Bengals) that counts - it's what you do in the 4th quarter and overtime that matters. Last night, Cameron Wake -despite being exhausted from being on the field much too long on the second half - reached down inside himself and found the internal strength to make the play that won the game. Tannehill stepped up at the end of the game to drive the team into scoring position to put the game into overtime with several excellent plays.
And what works on the game level, works on the season level. The Dolphins are now 4-4, but must finish strong to have a shot at the playoffs. Joe Philbin must keep his team focused and keep them improving to have a winning season. The ball is in his court and the Dolphins must finish better than they started to call this year a success.
[10/07/13] -- Dolphins Fall to 3-2
The Dolphins lost to the Baltimore Ravens 26-23 yesterday in Miami after they failed to stage a late comeback. Miami's pass protection continues to be the weak spot on the team and was responsible for a late sack that took the team out of field goal range with under a minute to play. The Dolphins gave up 6 sacks on the day, with the offensive line taking most of the blame for the problems. At this point, Miami has given up 24 sacks in 5 games, which leads the NFL in sacks allowed and puts them on a pace to allow 77 sacks this season. If this keeps up, Ryan Tannehill will not live long enough to improve on his play and the Dolphins will wind up with another mediocre season.
Still, despite the problems with the offense, the Dolphins lead the AFC East with 114 points scored so far this season. The defense, on the other hand - supposedly the strength of this team - has given up 117 points which puts them in the bottom half of the league in points allowed. The extra pressure on opposing quarterbacks that was supposed to happen has not translated into better overall play. Last year, Miami gave up an average of 19.8 points per game. So far this year, they have given up 23.4 points per game.
Still, all is not lost. Before the season, a 3-2 record going into the bye week looked pretty good and the toughest part of their schedule is behind them. They need the time off to get Cameron Wake and Dmitri Patterson back and healthy and to work on the problems that have been plaguing them. Hopefully, the team can make some adjustments and come out stronger after the bye week. If they do that, they can make a strong case for the playoffs.
Curt's Comments: It's not how you start, it's how you finish and the Dolphins didn't finish this game well. Their weaknesses on the offensive line are now obvious and are being exploited by every team with a halfway decent pass rush. If the Dolphins can't figure out a way to protect Ryan Tannehill better than they have, their season is already over.
[09/25/13] -- The Dolphins are 3-0, but....
The Dolphins have shocked the football world this year, getting a fast start to the season and scoring some tough wins against some very good football teams. They are clearly a better team than they were a year ago and have progressed dramatically just from the end of last season. Between their free agent signings, their quality draft and the maturation of Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins are now one of the better teams in the league. But, unfortunately, they haven't always played up to their lofty record. This week, Phins.com Columnist Chris Shashaty takes a look at where the Dolphins are now and how they got there in his column "Are the Dolphins Lucky or Just Good?".
Curt's Comments: I have been pretty quiet this year, although there is one thing that I've been saying since the end of last season to anyone who'd listen: It's not where you start, it's where you finish. It doesn't matter how the Dolphins start a game, or how they start the season - it's how they finish that counts. One of the things that has driven me crazy is the sports commentators saying the Dolphins have to get off to a fast start this season to get to the playoffs. That's not true. In fact, it's not even close. What the Dolphins have to do to win games is to finish strongly, like they did against the Colts and Falcons. What the Dolphins have to do to have a great season is to win in November and December. I'm happy that they're 3-0, but they have a long way to go and while it's nice to be 3-0, it won't mean a thing if they don't end the season better than 8-8.
[08/30/13] -- Dolphins Beat Browns 23-10 to start season
The Dolphins beat the Browns 23-10 in Cleveland today, mostly on the strength of a suffocating defense that picked off Brandon Whedon 3 times, held Trent Richardson to 47 yards rushing and sacked Whedon 6 times. Miami's offense was just OK, with the running game being non-existent (the Dolphins had just 20 net yards rushing), but Ryan Tannehill played pretty well and Brian Hartline caught 9 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. Most importantly, the Dolphins did not beat themselves in this game, limiting their turnovers to just one, although they did have 10 penalties called against them. For more information, see the Phins.com News Wire.