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Miami Dolphins: Clean It Up

Five games.

Five wins.

The year was 2008 last time the Miami Dolphins won five straight games. That was also the last time the Dolphins reached the playoffs.

Will they find a way to return to the postseason this year?

Not so fast. There is still a lot of work to do. So many things to clean up. Penalties, defensive breakdowns…all the little things.

While the win last Sunday in Los Angeles was great it was also frustrating. The Rams defense held our offense in check for fifty-five minutes, while our defense just barely contained Todd Hurley and rookie quarterback Jared Goff. The most frustrating play could have broken the game open much earlier.

After Kiko Alonso force and the recovered a fumble(Kiko continues to impress) the offense tried to strike quickly. Going for a deep passing touchdown after a turnover is what you always hope for. It is an aggressive move which pays great dividends when successful.

When Successful…

It was not. Ryan Tannehill launch a beautiful deep ball towards Devante Parker in the left front corner of the end zone just like it was drawn up.  All Parker needed to do was time his jump and put his 6’3 frame to work. Touchdown right? Wrong. Parker jumped a step or two early and the ball flew just out of reach to be intercepted by Rams safety Maurice Alexander.

The timing was off by just this much…

My first reaction to the play was: “Seriously!?”.  A combination of frustration and disbelief. It was born not of anger because of the turn over but of shock. I had seen this movie before. We all had.

A nearly identical play Tannehill to Parker for a missed touchdown turned interception…that is how the week two game against the New England Patriots ended. Thankfully this time the Dolphins managed to recover to claim victory from the jaws of defeat. Even so this is something that needs to be cleaned up.

A play like that can be such a weapon if they can just get it right. Timing takes time. And repetition. And more repetition.

Get it right and the offense can be explosive. You have a threat to score at any time. It makes the entire offense better. More room for Jay Ajayi to run(as if he does not create enough on his own), more opportunities for Jarvis Landry to exert his will on the defense. It can build confidence on both sides of the ball. It opens up so many possibilities.

So clean it up…and see what transpires.

 

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The Little Things

Every football coach stressed technique. All coaches talk about execution. From Lombardi to Shula, from Bill Belichick to Dan Campbell they focus on the little things.

Often fans and media want to dissect the box score. So many love the big plays, the big hits.

They want the shiny.

The shiny does not win games. The shiny does not exist-not without the little things.

On Thursday night the New England Patriots beat the Miami Dolphins 36-7.

Looking at the final score many would call it a dominant performance. It was more efficient than anything. There were not a bunch of big plays, the defense was not suffocating. Simply put the Patriots did the little things throughout. The Dolphins did not do enough.

During Rob Gronkowski’s 47-yd touchdown reception they did the little things to make a good play into a great play. First Gronk broke the initial tackle, then when he worked his way downfield the rest of the team ran downfield to block. Not so unlike Jarvis Landry’s catch and run against the Texans. The little things made the difference.

Just by doing the job in front of them teams can go from good to great.

Stop doing the little things and games can get away from you quickly.

The little things…they are often the big things.

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Pick Up the Helmet

The Miami Dolphins started the season 1-3. The fans, rightfully so, wanted blood. They were offered a sacrifice.

Head coach Joe Philbin and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle were fired last week.

Only problem is that when you feed the beast it just wants more.

Now with the coaches fans wanted gone shown the door many fans have turned on the players. First man up is quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Fans are frustrated understandably, however their anger may be misdirected. Yes Tannehill could play better, so could 52 other players on the roster.

In fact unless your name is Reshad Jones or Jarvis Landry as a player you should be taking a hard look at yourself. It is not one player making mistakes causing problems, it is all over the place.

Sometimes it is the defensive line, other times a tackle whiffs on a block letting the quarterback get killed. Receivers dropping passes, players getting ill-timed penalties, backs hitting the wrong hole. The team has been stuck in the one step forward-two steps back rut all season long.

There is no easy fix. Players need to win the battle in front of them. If they cannot play for the name on the front of the jersey, fight for the name on the back. Show some pride.

They have had those helmets knocked off their heads thus far this season.

Time to pick up the helmet and go to work.

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Miami Dolphins: Sometimes It Is Ugly

The first game is in the books.

One game. One win.

Just like everyone expected, right?

Actually no. Few expected the game to look like it did. Most expected domination by the Miami Dolphins, a blowout. No one believed the Washington Redskins had a chance.

That is why we play the games on a field, not just on paper. Fans often forget the other team gets paid too. The other players are among the best in the world. Nothing is promised.

There were struggles: offensively and defensively. Cut blocks and chop blocks frustrated the defensive line for much of the first half. That led to Washington controlling the ball for 38 minutes of the game. The Dolphins offense took time to get in a rhythm. Ryan Tannehill only had 57 plays, only 22 minutes to work with a new group of receivers in their first real action of the season.

Rust was inevitable.

Jarvis Landry showed that not everyone would struggle. Even without the punt return that would give Miami the lead Landry was a force. Every time he touched the ball he made the defense stop him, fighting for every yard. Without him there may have been a very different result.

A win is a win, even an ugly one. Fighting through adversity is a good thing. There will be tough games later this season. Learning to grind your way to victory on your worst day only helps to prepare the team for the best.

Take the Washington game for what it is…a lesson. Work on the mistakes. In a word-Be Better.

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Miami Dolphins Kickoff the 50th Season

Fifty years.
Five. Zero.
Half a century.

It is a long time. An achievement. A milestone. The Miami Dolphins celebrate their fiftieth year as an NFL franchise this season.

Christmas Day Game. The Undefeated Season. The Hook-and-Lateral. The Fake Spike. The Wildcat. So many great memories. Wonderful people took part in those memories: Shula, Langer, Csonka, Wakefield, Scott, Duhe, Marino, Clayton, Moore, Taylor, Taylor, Thomas and far too many more who deserve mention.

This season should not be about the past though. It is about the future. A bright future. This season will be about Tannehill, Suh, Landry and Wake.

This season should be about a quickly ascending 4th year quarterback hitting his stride. It should be about a ferocious defense being led by one Ndamukong Suh. This season should be about making that next step.

No this season should be about making a giant leap.

It all begins Sunday at 1pm as these Dolphins face the Washington Redskins.

Time to make new memories worthy of this franchise.

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