Miami Dolphins Preseason: Week 1 Chicago Bears

Life is good. Football is back.

I know, I know it is only preseason. Still it is football. It is a slight peek at what we may see once the regular season arrives.

The first week is often a crap shoot. Sloppy play is not unusual. Teams get on the same page while also seeing the first live action against someone in another jersey. The final score is unimportant.

So what did we see when the Miami Dolphins met the Chicago Bears?

First Team Offense and Defense:

Ryan Tannehill and Ndamukong Suh both showed that they were worth every penny. Tannehill led a successful drive in his limited game action going 6 of 7 for 56 yards and the one touchdown the Dolphins would score. During Suh’s time on the field the defense was dominant against the Bears first team offense.

Offensive Line:

While some have worried the offensive line would fall to pieces during real-time game action they did not. Even Dallas Thomas(who may feel is the weak link) performed admirably. It was not perfect but it was enough to hold of signing Evan Mathis for now. The next few weeks will demonstrate just how good the line can be.

Rookie Linebackers

Second year linebackers Chris McCain and Jordan Tripp both left the game with injuries. Neither injury seemed significant with Tripp’s the more serious of the two. The silver lining was getting to see extended playing time from two of the rookie undrafted free agents: Mike Hull and Zach Vigil. Both players found themselves around the ball again and again. They showed enough that both players deserve a closer look which they may get in the upcoming weeks while McCain and Tripp heal from their injuries. More playing time could accelerate the learning process for these rookies making it easier to rely on them during the regular season.

One game in the books. Plenty to like, also plenty to learn from.

This week there are joint practices with the Carolina Panthers, followed by the 2nd preseason game.

Time to get back to work. Be better tomorrow than they were today.



Grayson Discovered

This column had roots in my previous column regarding the announcement of the ongoing series Grayson. It is nice to see how a series matches up against your own expectations.

Dick Grayson has always been one of my favorite characters in all of comics. I think part of it had to do with the fact that while he was coming of age and moving on from being the first Robin to becoming his own hero as Nightwing, I was going through my own teenage years and discovering who I was. Grayson always seemed to be the bridge between Superman and Batman, more human than one and much more compassionate than the other.

I looked forward to this series, feeling that it was a brilliant and much needed change for the character. I do have friends who simply long for the days when Dick will once again don the (blue and black)Nightwing suit once again.

The new series is written by Tim Seeley and Tom King. I had no familiarity with either writer going in, I was flying blind. In five issues they have rewarded my blind faith with an excellent series. Just enough spy action, paired nicely with great character beats. In short order they seem to know Dick Grayson, the man behind the hero. That is important. Yes these are comics but it is not all about the shiny suits. The men(and women) in those suits are what we come back for every month.

It does not stop with Grayson. They have created a fantastic supporting cast for him in short order. There is the far away shadow of Bruce sprinkled in as a lifeline to his former life but the key are his new partners so to speak.

The ‘Helena Bertinelli’ they have crafted along with artist Mikel Janin’s depiction of her, she is the definition of the seductive spy, has been outstanding. After seeing this version I would be happy to never see another version of the Huntress ever again. The experienced spy mentor for Dick, but you can see an almost envy for the way Dick still looks at the world without her cynical-worldview.

On the other hand we also have Midnighter as a rival, regular guest star. I love Midnighter and I am glad he is being used well since Stormwatch is over. It is easy to write his use off as taking the Batman role, but I do no believe it is that simple. As much as many of us see Nightwing as almost an equal to Bruce in some ways it will always be a teacher/student relationship. In Midnighter, Dick has a rival, contemporary who is his equal. He questions Grayson’s motives for doing what he does, much as Grayson does himself. Midnighter has faith in his abilities, in his powers but Dick has his resolve. I look forward to when they fight together rather than each other.

As I mentioned before Mikel Janin takes care of the art. I first discovered Janin on Justice League Dark, he quickly became on of my favorite artists. Here he is asked to do less, no mystical monsters or group scenes, but he does so much more. The characters come alive within these pages. When I see his Grayson I cannot imagine anyone else drawing him.

It has been a great ride so far and I look forward to the journey every month. For those looking for Nightwing, he is still here leaping into the unknown.

Grayson simply left the mask behind.


The Secret Adventures of Wally West

Yes I do realize that DC Comics introduced their own version of Wally into the New 52. This is THE Wally.

In DC Comics New 52, something is wrong, something is missing.

They tell me that Barry Allen is the fastest man alive. They tell me that Barry Allen is the Flash.

They are wrong. While Barry Allen is one of the fastest men alive, he is only ‘a’ Flash.

Wally West is the Flash.

More importantly he is my Flash. For some Wally was always the Flash, Barry a distant memory. I remember Wally as the original Kid Flash. I remember him as Dick Grayson’s best friend. I remember the Teen Titan. I was there when he hung up the Kid Flash costume and I was there when he first donned the scarlet colors of the Flash. Nothing can ever take those memories from me.

Barry Allen is a great hero, but for me he is just kind of there. He never really connected with me.

Wally on the other hand. I watched him grow into the hero he was. It was a true heroes journey. He had given up the super-hero life only to pick it back up to honor his mentor, his friend. Wally wanted to be the Flash but he never wanted to replace Barry. For years he was the fastest man alive, still never faster than Barry had been. In time he realized his potential, he realized being the hero he was meant to be did not mean making people forget about Barry. It meant reminding people of the man who came before, reminding them of his legacy.

From sidekick to man to hero to legend, Wally had a long twisting journey till he found himself side by side with his heroes. No longer the sidekick, the little brother, now he was a legend in his own right.

Now he is gone…

The Flash is dead. Long live the Flash.

Long live Wally West.

Artwork with permission by Brett Booth