Keeping Tannehill in the Pocket Costs Us Wins

21 May

Take a gander at that glorious five game stretch last year.. You know the one, when Tannehill was slinging it, but also giving opposing defenses fits using his legs?

In consecutive games against the Raiders, Packers, Bears, Jaguars and Chargers Tanny Boy averaged 45 yards rushing. He also threw for 256 yards and 2 TDs per contest. The Dolphins went 4-1, the only blemish when “Coach Queasy” got indigestion at the mere thought of going for the jugular against Green Bay.

We inexplicably shackled Ryan in the pocket for the rest of the year. He would average less than 9 yards rushing the remainder of the season, as we finished out 3-5. For the year, outside of that 4-1 stretch, Tannehill averaged 7.6 yards rushing per game, with a 4-7 record.

So here’s hoping that we don’t experience nausea at the thought of Ryan piling up yards on the ground. Why would we make life easier for opposing defenses? The kid played wide receiver, for crying out loud. He’s not exactly a porcelain doll. He’s a dual-threat quarterback. Forgetting that could easily cost us a couple of wins, the kind of wins that are the difference between making the playoffs or not.

Or the difference between getting fired and still having a job.

GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @TheBottlenose

Pats Fans, Take Tom Shady’s Lead and Get a Grip

12 May

100-24. That is the Patriots’ record since the NFL allowed Tom Brady and the New England offense to provide the footballs in every game they played. During the ensuing eight years the team has enjoyed a fumbling rate that, by conservative estimates (the esteemed 528 site, and not Sharp’s original fumble study), holds a 1 in 297 chance of occurring naturally.

The stats tell the story, but so does common sense. Brady likes an illegally-deflated ball so he can get a better grip using his perfectly-manicured, porcelain, baby doll hands. If Tommy Boy has a better grip, then so does every other player using New England’s illegal footballs.

Include the texts, Tom’s defiance, an organization that has cheated in the past, and there is little doubt, outside of the small throng of sad, denial-ridden Pats fans, that cheating occurred and occurred for a long time.

Suppose the Football Gods arrived in Davie back in 2007 and said, “Hey, give us a 1st and 4th rounder, a million bucks, and four early-season games with your backup quarterback starting, and we will grant you statistically impossible ball security for the next eight years.

We would have taken it. Any team would have. The team with even a +1 fumbling differential wins 68% of games. We know Brady lobbied to provide his own balls, and it caused a drastic fumbling turnaround up there in Foxboro that lasted eight seasons before the NFL even thought to check.

Pats fans whining about how severe the NFL’s penalty is are wildly off base. The NFL uncovered just the tip of the iceberg here, and is content to leave it at that. The best move is to shut up and take your this miniscule lump. But no, the Patsies are in full-on tantrum mode. I’d expect nothing less.

This may have just been a quarterback wanting to grip the ball better, but its impact on ball security once it left Brady’s hand is profound. Eight years of a tainted turnover differential, the #1 stat in dictating wins and losses.

Shut up and eat your chowder, Pats Nation. You got off easy.

GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @TheBottlenose

The 2015 Miami Dolphins “Head Coach is a Limp Noodle” Mock Draft

30 Apr

For this year’s mock we are proceeding with the idea that Joe Philbin will not suddenly become Vince Lombardi, and that whatever intangible fire that may carry our SoFlo Sea Mammals into the postseason probably won’t come from him.

No, it will come from the players. It will hopefully come from Ryan Tannehill, who we’d like to see take charge of the huddle the way the greats do. He could use a little bit of nasty to go with that choir boy persona, and hopefully that will come. On defense, we have added one of the great tone-setters in the game. Suh is an intimidating beast, and his presence on the line will have a fantastic ripple effect on our D, both from a strategic and inspirational standpoint.

So, our annual mock tends toward players who fill a need, but also have potential to add the kind of on the field “swagger” that can hopefully transcend an index card-reading, inexplicably-extended, queasy coach with a tendency toward cowardly football (sorry, did that sound negative?).

ROUND 1. TODD GURLEY, RB, Georgia – We think even Breshad Perriman will be gone here as far as wideouts go. The good news is that perhaps the greatest single tone-setting offensive player in this draft falls to us at 14. Remember that brief glimmer last season when Knowshon had the entire offense playing with a strut? Imagine that for the next decade, only bigger, and faster. Lamar Miller is in a contract year, and has had his moments. Hell, we like Damien Williams too. But if the board falls the way we think, “Burly” Gurley will be the highest impact player on the board.

ROUND 2. SAMMIE COATES, WR, Auburn – A wideout with a knack for the big play, and a whole lot of swagger, Sammie’s yards per reception were off the charts against the best competition college football has to offer, and he put up his numbers with a QB that the pros are making audition as a defensive back. Sammie needs to work on his routes, but has #1 stuff. Landry in the slot. Stills as the speed guy. Coates as the emerging total package. Jennings as the Yoda of the corps. This is a passing league. Teams that realize it and act accordingly will see the results. Spread the field with WRs who win their matchups, toss Jordan Cameron, Todd Gurley and a QB with wheels into the mix? This team will score points, and 8 of the top 10 scoring teams in the NFL made the playoffs. The Eagles missed out but were 10-6. The Saints were a 1/2 game out of the dance, but had the 32nd ranked D in the league. Score, score, score.

ROUND 4. JEREMIAH POUTASI, OL, UTAH. This 6’5″. 335lb behemoth played LT for Utah, and was surprisingly agile. At the next level he’s expected to kick inside and play guard. We think he’ll do so for the next decade. At only 20 years old, Poutasi has room to improve. It would be nice to slot a beast with pass protection chops in there where we currently start Dallas “The Turnstile” Thomas. Not to mention his left tackle experience could be useful if the rehabbing Branden Albert experiences a setback. *Note, there is a chance that we acquire guard Evan Mathis during the draft for a pick somewhere down here, which would of course scramble things, and be a great boon to our o-line for the next couple of years.

ROUND 5. MIKE HULL, LB, PENN STATE. Simply put? A football player. Seen as plodding by some analysts, Hull showed up and ran a 4.68 at the combine. He was everywhere for Penn State, a tough, blue collar guy with potential to quarterback our defense. 110% effort on every play and at every practice. Hull could become a leader on this team faster than most.

ROUND 5b. STEFON DIGGS, WR, MARYLAND. Diggs is too big a playmaker to pass up here. The blue-chipper has battled injuries as a Terp, but is lightning in a bottle. You can’t have too many guys like him. A burner with return skills, Diggs could also replace the hugely important Landry and give our special teams a boost. We would expect Diggs to push Coates for playing time as a rookie. His ability far outweighs where he’s being drafted.

ROUND 6. JUSTIN COLEMAN, CB, TENNESSEE. Coleman is an aggressive corner who honed is skills over a long career in the SEC. A strong tackler with solid ball skills. We don’t have the ammo to plug all of our holes in one draft, but nabbing a CB with Coleman’s experience and moxie is a strong find this late in the draft. He will line up opposite receivers and fight tooth and nail.

GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @TheBottlenose

Expect More Playing Not to Lose in 2015

22 Dec

That’s our biggest worry with the announcement that “Queasy Joe” Philbin will be back in 2015.

Ryan Tannehill has gone a long way toward curing the Dan Marino hangover Fin Nation has endured for so many years. He’s only 26, and with a game left is 11th in the league in passing yards, with a 26-12 TD to INT ratio to go with 300 yards rushing. That was done with yet another Swiss cheese offensive line for a big chunk of the season. Lamar Miller has shown a spark, and Damien Williams has excited us as well. Jarvis Landry looks to be at least an OJ McDuffie-esque figure in our receiving corps for years to come, and Mike Wallace returns. We are currently the 6th highest scoring team in the AFC, behind only Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Denver and New England.

Our defense ranks 8th overall, although we’ve given up too many points and our rush defense has been atrocious. We like the money that should be coming off the books this offseason, and we expect us to show a lot of love to our defensive shortcomings this offseason via free agency and the draft.

Nope, it’s the playing not to lose we’ve witnessed that make us queasy about Stephen Ross’ “gift” announcement yesterday. Too many times we’ve watched Joe refuse to go for the jugular, instead losing close games with a whimper. Too many times we’ve seen our team not even get off the bus with their season on the line. Next year will we suddenly see a fiery coach, leading his men into war on Sundays, smelling blood in the water and “finishing” opponents when they’re on the ropes?

We’re crossing our fingers, but there are lots of permanent spots on a leopard by the time it’s 53 years old. We may have already witnessed Philbin’s wiring, and it doesn’t leave us too confident that his SoFlo Sea Mammals will get “nasty” at crunch time next year either.

So, thanks for the Christmas gift, Mr. Ross. We’ll put it with the socks from Aunt Beth and the fruitcake the neighbors brought.

GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @TheBottlenose, or my comedy Twitter, @vaguelyfunnydan

Solid Dolphins Getting Beached by Joe “Queasy Does It” Philbin

11 Nov

The 2014 Miami Dolphins are the 6th highest scoring team in the AFC, just a notch behind the juggernaut Steelers. The Dolphins field the #1 defense in the AFC. So how is it that the Dolphins face Buffalo this Thursday with their playoff hopes most likely hanging in the balance? We have to regretfully place blame on the shoulders of Joe Philbin.

In an alternate universe the Dolphins have been playing to win, and have put away six straight foes. We’re 7-2, and atop the AFC East thanks to our week 1 upset of the Patsies. In that alternate universe we’ve been playing to put games away, instead of handing the ball back to Pro Bowl quarterbacks and crossing our fingers.

Alas, this is the only universe we know. It’s a universe where our coach doesn’t believe in going for the jugular. He plays not to lose, and therefore tends to do so when the going gets tough. It is a universe where we claim Ryan Tannehill is “the guy”, yet don’t trust him to close the door on our opponents. And now it’s a universe where we’re once again in the muddled pile of Wild Card hopefuls we’ve grown so accustomed to over the years.

Detroit faked two punts this weekend, and went for it on a 4th and 6. While our masterful end game was to run Daniel Thomas and Damien Williams into the teeth of the #1 rushing D in football, they closed out the contest by trusting their signal caller, who slung passes on 11 straight plays, ultimately leading them to the end zone. They played to win. They did. They’re in first place.

And until Joe Philbin has some moment of clarity, or DirecTV starts offering Sunday Ticket Alternate Universe, such heights will probably elude us.

GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @TheBottlenose, or our lighter side is available at @VaguelyFunnyDan

How the Hell Did this Become the Most Important Game of the Season?

28 Sep

Perusing our schedule during preseason it was hard to glance at our silly jaunt to jolly ol’ England as a season-defining, must win trip. But you know what? We’re there, folks.

The stench of last year’s Sparano-esque losing of the team has returned. Joe Philbin spent the last week engaged in some bizarre game of no-confidence in Ryan Tannehill. No disrespect to the intricacies of coaching, but who among us doesn’t know several fellow fans who could serve as Offensive Coordinator for an Aaron Rodgers offense and look pretty competent doing so? But hey, Stephen Ross’ reputation precedes him, and with a laughing stock front office we’ll be shopping in the coaching candidate bargain bin for the foreseeable future.

But we digress. The season is still young, but not that young (if we may borrow from THE WEDDING CRASHERS). Does this team look like it has “the stuff” to take on San Diego and Pittsburgh (or Cincy) for a wild card? Whatever blip of spark we witnessed in week one has faded, and now this feels like a team in danger of collapse. Of course, Philbin presided over a collapse last year, with the playoffs on the line and two losing teams on the schedule. True to form, this led Ross to double-down on Philbin. This may have, as it did with Sparano, doomed us to a lost season. Unless…

Yes, there is an unless. The men in that locker room could do it for each other. They could look one another in the eye and refuse to lay down. They could use the adversity as fuel, and in a weird way, win in spite of their coach? Sounds ridiculous, but if a coach has lost the team (the signs are there, people) that may be the only scenario by which the SoFlo Sea Mammals don’t go belly up this year.

A loss to the hapless Oakland Raiders could set the tone. It could signal the end of the Philbin Era, and a painful repeat of the Sparano “bonus year” mistake. It could serve as another sign that the Dan Marino hangover will continue. Green Bay, Chicago, San Diego and Detroit loom in our next five contests, and to head into that string with a loss against the Raiders would be disheartening.

Or, today’s game could be another flicker of hope, a game that says, “We may be adrift, but we’re not Raiders bad.” From there we’ll still face that gauntlet of touch matchups. But being .500 heading into the bye, considering what we’ve been through already, and that 3 out of the 4 teams we’ve faced were in the playoffs last year? Hell, we’d take it.

Are we going to fight, or are we going to let the wheels come off? Strangely the fate of this year’s team may be decided in week four, across the pond. We’re certain Joe Philbin is preparing a rousing speech on his trusty cue cards. I mean really, Joe?

GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @TheBottlenose

The Index Card Still Haunting the Miami Dolphins

22 Sep

“You build a team from the line out.”

That’s the blanket generalization a guy named William Parcells repeated for years, and still stubbornly clung to heading into the 2008 draft. That April the Fins sat atop the entire draft board, a perch earned over a horrific 1-15 season. We were years into the Dan Marino hangover at that point, desperate for a new direction, pleading for a shimmering ray of hope in depressed Davie.

Bill completely ignored the direction the league was headed and instead completely revitalized the aura around the franchise by drafting… a lineman? The cure for the Marino hangover was in our grasp. Not a single scout had another signal-caller above Matt Ryan. Coming off a Cleo Lemon-led disaster of a campaign, with a chance to, with one index card, redirect the entire franchise, and Matt Ryan’s name wasn’t written on it.

That’s not a knock on Jake Long, who dutifully protected the blind side of mediocre quarterbacks for the next five years in Miami before moving on at age 27. No, this venomous rambling is dedicated solely to the man in nipple-high shorts who managed to irrevocably ruin our sports fan lives before yanking his golden parachute and disappearing.

And so with the Miami brass now debating whether to bench Ryan Tannehill (a player we aren’t in love with but also don’t believe is being deployed all too well, by the way), the Marino hangover continues. Dan last wore the aqua and coral in 1999, and it’s been a decade and a half of misses at quarterback ever since.

If the wheels truly are already falling off the Dolphins’ season, and we’re officially worried they are, perhaps this is all part of a horrific daisy chain of bumbling coaching and front office moves that leads us to a kind of cosmic reset button. Maybe this all builds up to another shot at the consensus top signal caller in the draft. And maybe, just maybe, whoever the hell in charge by then won’t botch it.

GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @TheBottlenose

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