Saturday, December 29, 2007

Week 17 Friday Injury Report

OUT
  • NT Keith Traylor (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE
  • CB Travis Daniels (ankle)
  • DE Jason Taylor (foot)
PROBABLE
  • DT Vonnie Holliday (ankle)
  • S Jereme Perry (ankle)
  • LB Joey Porter (shoulder)
  • T L.J. Shelton (ankle)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Week 17 Wednesday Injury Report

Did not participate in practice
  • CB Travis Daniels (ankle)
  • DE Jason Taylor (foot)
  • NT Keith Traylor (ankle)
Also, the team placed CB Andre' Goodman on Injured Reserve with a knee injury that he suffered against the Patriots.



To take his spot on the roster, the Dolphins signed G Ikechuku Ndukwe (6'4", 338 lbs.) off the Ravens' practice squad. Ndukwe is 25 years old. He was an undrafted rookie free agent in 2005, when he went to camp with the Saints. Ndukwe went to Northwestern. In 2006, he played in 5 games for the Ravens in a reserve role.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Patriots-Dolphins: Week 16 Matchup

Here's a rundown of Miami's week sixteen matchup against the New England Patriots:

Where: Gillette Stadium
When: Sunday, 4:15 PM ET

Injuries:
  • Patriots: Questionable - TE Kyle Brady, G Steve Neal, TE Benjamin Watson, G Billy Yates; Probable - QB Tom Brady, S Rodney Harrison
  • Dolphins: Out - LB Channing Crowder; Questionable - RB Jesse Chatman, DT Vonnie Holliday, LB Joey Porter, DE Matt Roth, T L.J. Shelton, DE Jason Taylor, NT Keith Traylor
Positional Breakdown:

Patriots
Unit
Dolphins
+
Quarterbacks

+
Running backs

+
Receivers

+
Offensive line

+
Defensive line

+
Linebackers

+
Secondary

+
Special teams

+
Coaches

+
Overall Advantage



Keys to the Game:
  1. Mount an effective short passing game in the face of expected heavy winds. The wind will likely be gusting at game time, so deep passes are probably out of the picture. Cleo Lemon will need to rely on intermediate and short passes that are high percentage in nature. Lorenzo Booker should see plenty of use here.
  2. Don't play scared. I'm sick of seeing teams roll over in front of this Patriots team. There's no chance of beating them unless opposing teams bring everything they have and don't give up just because they fall behind by one score. The defense needs to pressure Brady and bang him around the defensive front seven needs to play stout and stop the run. Most importantly, the defense needs to get to Brady in a hurry. If they stay back and try to cover everyone without any sort of pass rush, Brady will simply hang back in the pocket and pick apart the secondary - he's too good for that. Dom Capers needs to call blitzes all day long.
  3. Don't give up on the run too quickly. This Pats defense can be run on. It is essential to maintain long drives and keep Tom Brady off the field. If Lemon is forced to throw and Miami winds up with multiple three-and-out possessions, then the Pats will blow the game open in a hurry.
Key Players:
  • Patriots: WR Randy Moss - Moss absolutely roasted and toasted Miami the last time they met. This team, the Dolphins secondary has a new look, but it will be hard pressed to come up with better results. Moss is the key to the big play, and stopping him is a top priority.
  • Dolphins: Offensive line - Cleo Lemon is going to have to make several plays in the passing game in order to give Miami a chance. To do so, he needs to have time to go through his progressions. The offensive line play has been slipping a bit over the last month, and they must correct their issues. They will have an opportunity to open some holes in the running game and must take advantage.
Prediction:
It would be a true Christmas miracle for the Dolphins to win this game and achieve the greatest upset in NFL history (in my opinion). If Santa could bring me just one thing this year, it would be a win this Sunday.

Of course, I can't realistically make the Dolphins my pick, so I'm going with the Patriots, 33-11.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Crowder to IR, Bramlet activated

LB Channing Crowder had arthroscopic knee surgery this Tuesday and has been placed on Injured Reserve, ending his season. This could potentially be problematic in the future, as Crowder had several knee surgeries in college, and was an injury risk coming out of the draft. Hopefully, this injury does not linger into training camp, as Crowder looks to be an important part of this team's future defense.

To take Crowder's spot on the roster, the team signed QB Casey Bramlet from the practice squad.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Week 16 Wednesday Injury Report

Did not participate in practice
  • LB Channing Crowder (knee)
  • LB Joey Porter (shoulder)
  • DE Jason Taylor (foot)
  • NT Keith Traylor (knee)
Limited participation in practice
  • RB Jesse Chatman (ankle)
  • DE Matt Roth (groin)
  • T L.J. Shelton (ankle)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Look at Parcells' Drafts

Here's a look at the most recent drafts that Parcells has overseen in a general manager-type role. Even though he was the head coach of the Cowboys for four seasons, he had great control over the drafts during that time.

2000 - New York Jets
Rd Sel # Player Position School
1 12 Shaun Ellis DE Tennessee
1 13 John Abraham LB South Carolina
1 18 Chad Pennington QB Marshall
1 27 Anthony Becht TE West Virginia
3 78 Laveranues Coles WR Florida State
5 143 Windrell Hayes WR USC
6 179 Tony Scott CB North Carolina State
7 218 Richard Seals -- Utah

2003 - Dallas Cowboys
Rd Sel # Player Position School
1 5 Terence Newman CB Kansas State
2 38 Al Johnson C Wisconsin
3 69 Jason Witten TE Tennessee
4 103 Bradie James LB Louisiana State
6 178 B.J. Tucker CB Wisconsin
6 186 Zuriel Smith WR Hampton
7 219 Justin Bates -- Colorado

2004 - Dallas Cowboys
Rd Sel # Player Position School
2 43 Julius Jones RB Notre Dame
2 52 Jacob Rogers T USC
3 83 Stephen Peterman G Louisiana State
4 121 Bruce Thornton CB Georgia
5 144 Sean Ryan TE Boston College
7 205 Nate Jones CB Rutgers
7 216 Patrick Crayton WR Northwestern Oklahoma State
7 223 Jacques Reeves CB Purdue

2005 - Dallas Cowboys
Rd Sel # Player Position School
1 11 DeMarcus Ware OLB Troy State
1 20 Marcus Spears DE Louisiana State
2 42 Kevin Burnett LB Tennessee
4 109 Marion Barber RB Minnesota
4 132 Chris Canty DE Virginia
6 208 Justin Beriault DB Ball State
6 209 Rob Petitti T Pittsburgh
7 224 Jay Ratliff DE Auburn

2006 - Dallas Cowboys
Rd Sel # Player Position School
1 18 Bobby Carpenter LB Ohio State
2 53 Anthony Fasano TE Notre Dame
3 92 Jason Hatcher DE Grambling State
4 125 Skyler Green WR Louisiana State
5 138 Pat Watkins FS Florida State
6 182 Montavious Stanley DT Louisville
7 211 Pat McQuistan T Weber State
7 224 E.J. Whitley C Texas Tech

Tuna Fish

After rejecting an offer to join the Atlanta Falcons as their head of Football Operations, Bill Parcells will sign a four-year deal with the Dolphins to become the team's Vice President of Football Operations. Contingent on this deal is the fact that Wayne Huizenga will refrain from selling the team.

Parcells is expected to sign a contract within 48 hours.

Parcells is a guy who demands full say over the team's personnel decisions, so the jobs of Cam Cameron and Randy Mueller are now very much in jeopardy.

My initial reactions to this news are mixed. There's some things that concern me about the move, but there are a lot of positives to be had as well. I'll be back with more on this situation as it develops.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Infamy Avoided


I have a feeling that most Miami Dolphins fans felt a little bit like Johnny Drama this past Sunday...VICTORY!!!

While this day will most likely be forgotten quickly by anyone who doesn't root for the Fins, December 16, 2007 will forever be remembered in the minds of the aqua-and-orange faithful as the day that infamy was avoided.

Most people think that there isn't much of a difference between going winless and going 1-15. I'd ask those same people whether they think there's much of a difference between going 16-0 and 15-1.

The distinction of making history means everything.

Long after the individual players leave the gridiron, the achievements they were a part of remain to tell their story. Proud players do not want the spectre of such a negative debacle to taint their legacy forever. Poor individual performances can be erased the next week on the field. There's no erasing the ink on the pages of history.

With a mere three opportunities remaining for the 2007 Dolphins to secure a win, I had severe doubts in their ability to avoid infamy.

Hell, I'm still shocked that they did win. How in the world did Baltimore lose that game? I don't know and I don't really care, but I'm hoping an EMT was on hand in Miami to perform the Heimlich on the Ravens.

With the Miami defense utterly collapsing in on itself with less than two minutes to go in the game, Baltimore moved with ease to within 18 inches of the goal line. One half of a yard stood between the Ravens and a victory over a winless team. Sure, the chip-shot field goal would tie the game and send it to overtime, but when you have Willis McGahee running behind one of the better offensive lines in the league against the absolute worst run defense in the league and you only need 18 inches...

They went with the field goal. Infamy avoided.

Then after winning the coin toss in OT, the Ravens predictably ran the ball right down the throats of the Miami defense, getting to within FG distance. Mind you, Matt Stover was a perfect 5 for 5 on overtime field goals in his career coming into this game. He's one of the most accurate kickers in league history, and then...

He pushed it. Wide left. Infamy avoided.

It took Cleo Lemon throwing the first TD pass by a Miami QB since October to win this game, and he threw it to a guy (Greg Camarillo) who had one career reception going into the game.

Like I said, I don't know how exactly all that happened, but Dolphins fans everywhere should rejoice.

And screw those people like Deion Sanders who have criticized the Dolphins players for how jubiliantly they celebrated over one single victory.

This win meant more to those guys than any of New England's 14 wins this season have meant to the Patriots players.

Few fans know what it is like to go through what Miami fans went through this season. We faithful went more than an entire calendar year without seeing our team win a single regular season game.

Think about that.

Living in New England, I see first hand that constant winning dulls the enjoyment received from each victory. At this point, they are just going through the motions. For a team like that, the ultimate measure isn't a regular season game; it is the Super Bowl.

Well, there are teams for whom that isn't the case - Miami being the poster child. For this team, jubilation can rightly be attained from a single victory.

I'm not asking for you to root along with the Dolphins, but I am asking for you to not begrudge us faithful fans this opportunity to revel in victory. This was our Super Bowl.

And it felt damn good to finally win.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

REJOICE!!!


DOLPHINS WIN!
INFAMY AVOIDED

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dolphins-Ravens: Week 15 Matchup

Here's a rundown of Miami's week fifteen matchup against the Baltimore Ravens:

Where: Dolphin Stadium
When: Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

Injuries:
  • Miami: Out - LB Channing Crowder; Questionable - RB Jesse Chatman, RB Patrick Cobbs, DE Matt Roth; Probable - WR Marty Booker, T Vernon Carey, DT Vonnie Holliday, CB Michael Lehan, LB Joey Porter
  • Baltimore: Out - WR Demetrius Williams; Doubtful - CB Samari Rolle, S Gerome Sapp; Questionable - DT Justin Bannan, TE Todd Heap, LB Ray Lewis, DT Haloti Ngata, LB Terrell Suggs, TE Daniel Wilcox; Probable - C Mike Flynn, DT Kelly Gregg, RB Willis McGahee, T Jonathan Ogden, S Ed Reed, T Adam Terry
Positional Breakdown:

Dolphins
Unit
Ravens

Quarterbacks
+

Running backs
+

Receivers
+

Offensive line
+

Defensive line
+

Linebackers
+
+
Secondary


Special teams
+

Coaches
+

Overall Advantage
+


Keys to the Game:
  1. Stop the bleeding in run defense. It's pretty obvious that Baltimore should run all over Miami. The Ravens have a great RB in McGahee paired with a below average QB and they are facing the league's worst run defense. If they come out passing, they are idiots. To this end, Miami's run defense won't be good - that's a given, but they do need to be good enough to give the team a chance. Keep the Ravens from busting out huge runs. As long as the score can be kept close, the Phins will have a chance.
  2. Use the short-passing game in place of a consistent ground attack. The Ravens run defense is superb, and I doubt a banged up Chatman or healthy Samkon Gado will be able to run effectively against it. Instead, give Lorenzo Booker his most extensive playing time yet, and work the middle of the field with short safe passes to the backs and tight ends. This should substitute for a running game, while lulling the Ravens secondary to sleep before hammering them deep with Ted Ginn. The Ravens top CBs are hurt, so the opportunities will be there. Cleo Lemon needs to connect when he goes deep, though, which is no certain proposition.
  3. Pressure the QB, whoever it is. Whichever QB lines up under center for the Ravens, he's going to be inexperienced and liable to make big mistakes under pressure. Opposing QBs have had a lifetime to sit in the pocket and find their open receiver all season. The linebacking core is depleted, so much of this pressure is going to have to come from Jason Taylor. He must come ready to have a big day.
Key Players:
  • Miami: QB Cleo Lemon - the running game won't be reliable for Miami's offense, so it will be up to Lemon to make plays downfield. The chances will be there since both of the Ravens' starting CBs will be out, and their replacements have been giving up big plays. He will need to be extra careful to avoid Ed Reed, of course.
  • Baltimore: RB Willis McGahee - the Ravens would probably like to feed the ball to McGahee on every single play, and they very well might do that against this awful run defense. His ability to punch the ball into the end zone will be key.
Prediction:
Like last week, this is a very winnable game for Miami, perhaps more winnable than the Bills game. I still can't honestly pick the Fins to win at this point, but I really would not be surprised if they pulled out this upset this week.

Ravens win 20-17.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Week 15 Friday Injury Report

STATUS REPORT
Out: LB Channing Crowder
Questionable: RB Jesse Chatman, RB Patrick Cobbs, DE Matt Roth
Probable: WR Marty Booker, T Vernon Carey, DT Vonnie Holliday, CB Michael Lehan, LB Joey Porter

PRACTICE REPORT
Did not participate in practice
  • LB Channing Crowder (foot, knee)
Limited participation in practice
  • RB Jesse Chatman (ankle)
  • RB Patrick Cobbs (hip)
  • DE Matt Roth (groin)
Full participation in practice
  • WR Marty Booker (knee)
  • T Vernon Carey (back)
  • DT Vonnie Holliday (ankle)
  • CB Michael Lehan (groin)
  • LB Joey Porter (shoulder)

Week 15 Thursday Injury Report

Limited participation in practice
  • RB Jesse Chatman (ankle)
  • RB Patrick Cobbs (hip)
  • LB Channing Crowder (foot)
  • DT Vonnie Holliday (ankle)
  • CB Michael Lehan (groin)
  • DE Matt Roth (groin)
Full participation in practice
  • WR Marty Booker (knee)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Santa please...


"Santa, please...just one win."

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Bills-Dolphins: Week 14 Matchup

Here's a rundown of Miami's week fourteen matchup against the Buffalo Bills:

Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium
When: Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

Injuries:
  • Buffalo: Out - DE Copeland Bryan, DE Chris Kelsay, RB Anthony Thomas, LB Coy Wire; Questionable - CB Jerametrius Butler, WR Justin Jenkins, RB Marshawn Lynch, T Jason Peters
  • Miami: Questionable - WR Marty Booker, RB Jesse Chatman, LB Channing Crowder, DT Vonnie Holliday, LB Joey Porter, DE Matt Roth, NT Keith Traylor; Probable - T Vernon Carey
Positional Breakdown:

Bills
Unit
Dolphins
+
Quarterbacks

+
Running backs

+
Receivers


Offensive line
+
+
Defensive line

+
Linebackers


Secondary
+

Special teams
+
+
Coaches

+
Overall Advantage


Keys to the Game:
  1. Finish the game this time - all four quarters. Last time these two teams played, Miami outplayed Buffalo for almost the entire game. Buffalo was completely inept on offense, Miami didn't turn the ball over, and yet the Dolphins still lost because they couldn't finish off the opposition. This team must learn how to win, especially when it has an advantage. Buffalo does not have any significant talent advantage over Miami. This game will come down to which team wants it more when the game is on the line. Unfortunately, Miami has yet to take control in those situations.
  2. Let Ginn get deep. Last game, Ginn was able to get open deep on several occasions but Cleo Lemon missed him on the throw. John Beck has a better deep ball, and it should be utilized this week. Buffalo gives up huge amounts of yardage through the air (254 yards per game), and it will behoove this offense to find some big plays deep to Ginn. He should be able to beat this secondary with little problem.
  3. Chatman/Gado must make something out of nothing. Whether it's a hobbled Chatman or an inexperienced Samkon Gado, the running game has to get something going. I'm not saying they have to be dominant, but they must provide some sort of downhill running threat and between the tackles options. If Buffalo doesn't feel the need to respect these backs, then Beck is going to have a hell of a time finding any open space in the secondary.
Key Players:
  • Buffalo: QB Trent Edwards - J.P. Losman started the last game against Miami and the Bills offense was inept. It will be up to Edwards to put a spark in it, although he has struggled in finding the endzone.
  • Miami: CB Will Allen - Allen will probably be put on Lee Evans all game. Evans is another one of those AFC East WRs who habitually finds ways to brutalize the Dolphins. Allen has been playing well as of late, and he will need to shut down Evans deep.
Prediction:
This is a very winnable game for Miami. I think being the favorite going into last week's game against the Jets actually hurt their chances as it made them overconfident. That's not the case this week. Most people now expect them to go 0-16. I don't. However, that doesn't mean that I'm going to pick them to win. I just would not be surprised if they do.

Bills win 22-14.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Week 14 Friday Injury Report

STATUS REPORT
Questionable
  • WR Marty Booker (knee)
  • RB Jesse Chatman (ankle)
  • LB Channing Crowder (foot)
  • DT Vonnie Holliday (ankle)
  • CB Michael Lehan (groin)
  • LB Joey Porter (shoulder)
  • DE Matt Roth (groin)
  • NT Keith Traylor (hamstring)
Probable
  • T Vernon Carey (back)
PRACTICE REPORT
Did not participate in practice
  • CB Michael Lehan
  • DE Matt Roth
Limited participation in practice
  • WR Marty Booker
  • RB Jesse Chatman
  • LB Channing Crowder
  • DT Vonnie Holliday
  • LB Joey Porter
  • NT Keith Traylor
Full participation in practice
  • T Vernon Carey

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Week 14 Thursday Injury Report

Did not participate in practice
  • WR Marty Booker (knee)
  • RB Jesse Chatman (ankle)
  • LB Joey Porter (shoulder)
  • NT Keith Traylor (hamstring)
Limited participation in practice
  • T Vernon Carey (back)
  • LB Channing Crowder (foot)
  • DT Vonnie Holliday (ankle)
  • DE Matt Roth (groin)
As expected, WR Kerry Reed was resigned to the practice squad today. With the addition of Reed, the practice squad now looks as such:
  1. T Tala Esera
  2. QB Casey Bramlet
  3. LB Marcello Church
  4. RB Stefan Logan
  5. G Marquay Love
  6. K Matt Prater
  7. WR Kerry Reed
  8. WR Chandler Williams
  9. WR Marvin Allen

Two LBs added



To fill the hole left on the roster by placing Zach Thomas on IR, the team signed LB Mark Washington (above) off of the San Fransisco 49er's practice squad.

Washington (6'3", 250 lbs.) was eligible for the 2007 Supplemental Draft but went undrafted. He was later signed to the 49ers practice squad. He is 22 years old. He played in three preseason games this year, notching 5 tackles (2 solo).

He began his college career at Arizona State, but later transferred to Texas State. He is a hybrid-type defender, best suited to playing linebacker in a 3-4 defense. He has experience playing DT, DE, MLB, and OLB. As a linebacker, he possesses good size and quickness and he's shown the ability to rush the passer.


The team also added LB Marcello Church (above) to the practice squad. Church (6'1", 230 lbs.) was an undrafted college free agent this year out of FSU. The Steelers signed him, but later released him.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Week 14 Wednesday Injury Report

Did not participate in practice
  • T Vernon Carey (back)
  • RB Jesse Chatman (ankle)
  • LB Channing Crowder (foot)
  • DT Vonnie Holliday (ankle)
  • LB Joey Porter (shoulder)
  • DE Matt Roth (groin)
  • NT Keith Traylor (hamstring)
Limited participation in practice
  • WR Marty Booker (knee)

On a side note, the team also waived WR Kerry Reed. I doubt that any team will make a waiver claim for him, and I would except him to wind up back on the Dolphins practice squad in the near future.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Thomas, Worrell to IR

I'm too disgusted to talk about the loss to the Jets, so I simply won't, except to say that this team is on the verge of splitting apart in what would be an incredibly messy process. Just last week after the Steelers game, I mentioned how Cam Cameron should be applauded for keeping the team together through all of its struggles and keeping the players' effort up for tough games like that Bog Bowl on Monday night.

Well, something changed this week. The effort just wasn't there against the Jets. Cameron may be losing the team. If he is, it will be evident this week against the Bills. I really hope that isn't the case, as that just adds more questions that the organization doesn't have the time or energy to be answering at this point.

Also, while Cameron must bear the brunt of the blame for any rifts that are being created amongst the team, it's also reasonable to ask whether it's simply the frustration of being 0-and-a-dozen. Any team that goes 0-12 is going to be frustrated and the players are going to question the motivations of others. At this point, it's unclear whether that is indeed the case or if Cameron truly has lost the team.

==========

In what should come as little surprise, the Dolphins have had to place another safety on Injured Reserve - this time it's SS Cameron Worrell. Worrell tore an ACL against the Jets. He joins Yeremiah Bell, Renaldo Hill, and Travares Tillman as safeties who have been shut down for the year with injuries. Miami's safety unit is now down to Jason Allen, Lance Schulters, Courtney Bryan, Jereme Perry, and Tuff Harris.

And in other sad news, LB Zach Thomas was placed on IR today with lingering concussion issues. He has said that he will be back for another season, but this move may force him to reconsider. I really hope to see him back playing next season, but only if he's fully cleared to do so. Either way, he's a first-ballot Hall of Famer in my opinion.

Taking Worrell and Thomas' place on the roster are T Julius Wilson and LB Kelvin Smith who had been on the practice squad. This means that the team now has two open practice squad slots to sign other players.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Dolphins-Jets: Week 13 Matchup

Here's a rundown of Miami's week thirteen matchup against the New York Jets:

Where: Dolphin Stadium
When: Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

Injuries:
  • Miami: Out - LB Zach Thomas; Questionable - DT Vonnie Holliday, DE Matt Roth; Probable - RB Jesse Chatman, LB Edmond Miles, NT Keith Traylor
  • New York: Out - WR Jerricho Cotchery; Questionable - CB David Barrett, WR Laveranues Coles, TE James Dearth, DT Dewayne Robertson; Probable - TE Chris Baker, WR Chris Davis, TE Joe Kowalewski, DE C.J. Mosley, WR Brad Smith
Positional Breakdown:

Dolphins
Unit
Jets

Quarterbacks
+

Running backs
+

Receivers
+
+
Offensive line

+
Defensive line


Linebackers
+
+
Secondary


Special teams
+

Coaches
+

Overall Advantage
+

Keys to the Game:
  1. Chatman's health. Is Jesse really healthy enough to once again tote the load for an entire game. He looked pretty gimpy against Pittsburgh last week, and if he is ineffective, the offense will sputter. John Beck is already going to have to step up big this week, but an ineffective running game will put even more pressure on him.
  2. Keep pressuring Clemens. The Jets allow a lot of sacks, so with or without Holliday and Roth, it will be up to Taylor to sack the team that he hates the most. Dom Capers has been returning to his more aggressive form lately, and I look for that trend to continue against the Jets.
  3. Ted Ginn as X-factor. I think that this will be a low scoring game, and much of it will come down to field position. Ginn will have his opportunities in the kicking game to make some big returns, and he must take advantage. If he gives this offense good starting field position a majority of the time, then I'm confident that Beck will find a way to drive into scoring range.
Key Players:
  • Miami: LB Channing Crowder - The defensive line hasn't been getting the job done in run support, so it will largely be up to Crowder to ensure that Thomas Jones does not have the same kind of big game that he had the last time these two teams met this season. He needs to avoid getting taken out of a play by play-action and wrap up when he meets the runner.
  • New York: WR Laveranues Coles - He usually plays lights-out against Miami, but this week should be different since Cotchery is out with an injury. That should allow the Dolphins to concentrate more on shutting down Coles and forcing the other less experienced and less skilled receivers to make plays.
Prediction:
I don't think that Miami will go undefeated this season. And by that line of thinking, this game seems like it has to be the one that they win. It's at home and they are playing a team almost as bad as they are. It'll probably be close, but I'm cautiously optimistic that the Phins will get their first win this week.

Miami wins 19-16.

Let's get it done, boys!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Week 13 Injury Report

Out
LB Zach Thomas (migraine)

Questionable
DT Vonnie Holliday (ankle)
DE Matt Roth (groin)

Probable
RB Jesse Chatman (ankle)
LB Edmond Miles (ankle)
NT Keith Traylor (ankle)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Steelers-Dolphins: Game Analysis


Sadly, Ricky Williams' return to the football field came and went in a heartbeat as he suffered a torn pectoral muscle that will sideline him for the rest of the season. It will take four months of recovery and rehab before Ricky is completely healed. This development severely hampers the Dolphins ability to trade Ricky in the offseason since he can't be showcased. While that is certainly unfortunate, I've made the case before that it can still be beneficial for the team to hold onto Ricky going into next season. We don't know how far along Ronnie Brown will be in his recovery when next season begins and Jesse Chatman could potentially leave via free agency. Keeping Ricky around during the beginning of next season would give Miami another chance to showcase him before trying to trade him before the Week 6 trade deadline.

Hopefully, Samkon Gado didn't stray very far after Miami released him to make room for Ricky.

As for the game itself (which I am dubbing the "Bog Bowl"), Steve Young said it best when he declared that nothing can be concluded from this game. Pittsburgh should be ashamed of that field and the condition it was in. There is no excuse for why Heinz Field does not have Field Turf.

Because the field conditions negate any substantive review of individual performances, let me keep this very brief:
  • John Beck played very well despite the weather. He showed a lot of poise in the pocket and made some tremendous decisions with the football.
  • Joey Porter looks like he is finally rounding into shape after his latest knee surgery. He was around the ball all night.
  • Will Allen continues his strong play, and he showed a nice ability to rush the QB on CB blitzes. I've always thought that Will Allen was a positive asset for this team and that he could help this team in the future, and finally other people seem to be coming around to that opinion as well.
  • I know it was soaking out there, but these receivers continue to drop the ball. They have to got to step up and give Beck some help.
  • The entire team showed some character by putting in maximum effort during a game which they could have taken easily and not exerted themselves for. This team isn't giving up, and I think that Cam Cameron deserves some amount of credit for keeping this team united despite being winless this far into the season.
Take those for what they are worth.

I'm really looking forward to this week's game against the Jets. It's the only game left on Miami's schedule which I think they have an above average chance of winning.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Week 12 Injury Reports

STATUS REPORT
Out: LB Zach Thomas (migraine)
Doubtful: DE Matt Roth (groin)
Questionable: RB Jesse Chatman (ankle)
Probable: NT Keith Traylor (ankle)

PRACTICE REPORTS
Did not participate in practice
  • LB Zach Thomas (Wed, Thurs, Fri)
  • DE Matt Roth (Wed, Thurs, Fri)
Limited participation in practice
  • RB Jesse Chatman (Wed, Thurs, Fri)
  • NT Keith Traylor (Wed, Thurs, Fri)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Eagles-Dolphins: Game Analysis


The first half of this game was pretty exciting to watch as a Dolphins fan...and then the second half rolled around. I felt pretty good about Miami notching its first win when they went in at halftime. McNabb had been knocked out and replaced by A.J. "Pick-Six" Feeley. The defense was playing well and the young guys on the team were all stepping up. Surely, that's a winning formula.

It is, but only when it's applied for a whole game. Once again (and I sound like a broken record) Miami failed to maintain its play over the course of an entire football game.

Let's get into the good and bad:

The Bad
Beck's accuracy - Obviously, this is an area that can be corrected, and an area that Beck has proven to be adept at in the past, but for this game he was inaccurate on many of his passes. The rain and his nerves clearly played some part, but he will have to pay particular attention to this facet of his game during practice this week.

3rd down efficiency - 2/11...pitiful.

Run defense - The run defense collapsed again in the second half, allowing Westbrook to run roughshod over them. Philly averaged 5.2 yards per carry for the game. Come the second half of games, I have absolutely no confidence in this defense to make any kind of stop whatsoever.

4th and goal play call - That pitch back to Jesse Chatman was truly abysmal. You never never never pitch the ball backwards 5 yards from the one yard line in an attempt to score, especially on fourth down. I have no problem with the decision to go for the TD in that situation. But if you are going to go for it, give yourself a chance. Pound it straight up the middle with Chatman and let him try to jump over the pile or burrow his way under. The line has been playing well; they should be expected to be able to get a half yard of push. That was the nail in this game's coffin, and it could have been avoided.

The Good
Ted Ginn Jr. - Teddy had a nice little game for himself this week. He finally had a TD return that wasn't called back and he proved to be Beck's favorite target, making some nice catches downfield. It's good to see that Beck and Ginn had some immediate chemistry since that will be the tandem that is going to be fueling this offense for some time.

Beck's poise - While his accuracy needed work, Beck did show tremendous poise and composure in the pocket, particularly for a rookie making his first start. That's something that can't be taught, so to see him display it from the get-go is a great sight. The plays that stand out in my mind were his 3 yard scramble for a first down and his audible at the line into a running play that picked up big yardage.

Jason Allen - Seriously, Jason Allen had a great game. I've always said the team needs to give this kid at least 2 full seasons before making any judgments on his potential, and it finally looks like he's settling in. Not coincidentally, this marked improvement comes on the heels of the coaches' decision to make him a starter. Let's see if he can keep this play up for the rest of the year. If he can, I think he gets a shot at starting next season. At the very least, he can play well enough to avoid being released after the season.

==========

Play of the Game - The 4th and goal pitch play to Jesse Chatman. Ugh.

Player of the Game - Brian Westbrook. 32 carries for 148 yards. He powered the Philly offense for the entire game and was the key player when it came to closing the door in Miami's face at the end of the game.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Eagles-Dolphins: Week 11 Matchup

Here's a rundown of Miami's week eleven matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles:

Where: Lincoln Financial Field
When: Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

Injuries:
  • Philadelphia: Questionable - RB Brian Westbrook; Probable - WR Jason Avant, WR Kevin Curtis, C Jon Dorenbos, CB William James, DT Mike Patterson
  • Miami: Out - DE Matt Roth, LB Zach Thomas; Probable - DE Jason Taylor, NT Keith Traylor
Positional Breakdown:

Eagles
Unit
Dolphins
+
Quarterbacks

+
Running backs

+
Receivers

+
Offensive line

+
Defensive line

+
Linebackers

+
Secondary


Special teams
+
+
Coaches

+
Overall Advantage


Keys to the Game:
  1. Establish a running game to keep the pressure off John Beck. Jesse Chatman will have to continue his stretch of tough running, in order to eat up clock and prevent the game from devolving into a high-scoring game where Beck would be forced to pass on a majority of downs.
  2. Maintain awareness of blitzes. Everyone knows Philly loves to blitz, but they are still damn good at doing it. Miami's O-line has been very good at protecting the QB so far, but this will be a different kind of test. Miami should keep a tight end back to chip block or a running back in the backfield to pick up a free blitzer. Either way, Beck must keep his wits around him and maintain ball security.
  3. Open up the play book. When Beck does pass, let him air it out early to open up some running lanes and possibly jump out to an early lead.
Key Players:
  • Philadelphia: Trent Cole - a tremendous pass rusher, Cole will have the responsibility of both pressuring Beck and containing Chatman on the ground.
  • Miami: Jesse Chatman - Chatman needs to be Beck's best friend on Sunday, gaining significant yardage on first and second downs so that the rookie QB doesn't have to face many third-and-longs, especially in critical situations.
Prediction:
Philly wins 23-15.

Tillman to IR; Harris activated

This is news from the past week that I never got a chance to post, but S Travares Tillman was placed on IR with a knee injury. He had knee surgery in early October, but his recovery was coming along very slowly. This is the third safety to be placed on IR this season for Miami. In all honesty, Tillman was pretty poor even when he was healthy. Hopefully the team will cut ties with him for good after this season. He just can't offer this team anything at this point.


S Tuff Harris (that's him getting some incredible air in the picture above) was activated from the practice squad to take Tillman's place. Harris played in all four preseason games, finishing with 12 tackles (11 solo) and one pass defended.


K Matt Prater was signed to the practice squad spot vacated by Harris. Prater played in two games this season for the Falcons. He was 1/4 on FGs. He had 4 kickoffs averaging 71.2 yards with 3 touchbacks.

Week 11 Friday Injury/Status Reports

STATUS REPORT
Out: DE Matt Roth (groin), LB Zach Thomas (migraine)
Probable: DE Jason Taylor (ankle), NT Keith Traylor (ankle)

INJURY REPORT
Did not participate in practice
  • DE Matt Roth
  • LB Zach Thomas
Full participation in practice
  • DE Jason Taylor
  • NT Keith Traylor

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Week 11 Wednesday/Thursday Injury Reports

WEDNESDAY
Did not participate in practice
  • DE Matt Roth (groin)
  • DT Paul Soliai (illness)
  • DE Jason Taylor (ankle)
  • LB Zach Thomas (migraine)
Limited participation in practice
  • NT Keith Traylor (ankle)
THURSDAY
Did not participate in practice
  • DE Matt Roth (groin)
  • LB Zach Thomas (migraine)
Full participation in practice
  • DT Paul Soliai
  • DE Jason Taylor
  • NT Keith Traylor

Welcome Back, Ricky

Can't you just picture it: The League announces that Ricky Williams has been reinstated, and suddenly the delightful tune courtesy of a classic 70's television sitcom starts playing all throughout South Florida.

It goes a little something like this:

"Welcome back, your dreams were your ticket out.
Welcome back to that same old place that you laughed about.
Well the names have all changed since you hung around,
But those dreams have remained and they're turned around.

Who'd have thought they'd lead ya
Back here where we need ya

Yeah we tease him a lot cause we've got him on the spot,
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back, welcome back."

What a fitting jingle for the situation.

Everybody, it's time to open up your arms wide and welcome back Ricky Williams.

I have always been an ardent supporter of Ricky - not just as a player, but as a person. (You can read my impassioned defense of Ricky following his most recent suspension here.)

Most people will disregard him as some combination of foolish, selfish, or cowardly. I would call those people callous and insensitive.

Because Social Anxiety is a less tangible disorder than say alcoholism or the abuse of pain killers (anyone remember that shining episode of Brett Favre's unsullied career?) critics were quick to mercilessly jump all over Ricky for the decisions he made. Granted, I can't defend the way that Ricky abruptly left the team with no warning, but the decision itself should be free from criticism.

It was obvious that from the very beginning of Ricky's pro career, he was essentially swept along by a tidal wave that he couldn't stop. He wasn't comfortable with the situations he was being placed in, but he couldn't really stop the process either. Eventually it just became too much for him to handle, and he made the decision that was best for his own mental state.

Now that he's been away from football for an extended period of time, he seems ready to make another entrance. He has said that a return to NFL action is a personal test that he wants to engage in as a way to prove his mental resiliency. Others say he's just doing it for the money. You know what? Both are likely contributing factors to his return.

Miami will have a two-week roster exemption for Ricky as they decide what to do with him. According to ProFootballTalk.com, league sources say that Miami presently intends on welcoming him back.

And that is absolutely the correct decision - for several reasons.

First, the trade deadline has already passed, meaning that Miami can no longer get value for Ricky unless they hold on to him into the offseason. They can bring him back this year and let him work himself back into playing shape, and then gradually showcase him during the last month of the season. Once the offseason rolls around, the front office can explore every available option to trade him on or before draft day. At this point, I would gladly accept a seventh-round pick for Ricky, but I would not be surprised at all to see some team offer up as high as a fifth-round pick for him.

Secondly, even if no team makes a deal for Ricky in the offseason, it will still be worthwhile to hold onto him. Ronnie Brown recently tore his ACL - an injury that requires a rehabilitation period of approximately a year or more before the player is capable of their normal performance. Brown was the best running back in the NFL this season before going down with the injury (yes, better than Adrian Peterson) and the Dolphins cannot afford to rush him back onto the field and risk further complications. With Ricky on the squad, Brown could safely be placed on the PUP list for the first six weeks of the season to continue his rehab unabated, leaving Jesse Chatman as the starter with Ricky backing him up. That is still a very capable duo.

Like every season, the attrition rate on running backs will strike some team early in the year, and they will become desperate for help at the position (see: Green Bay, Tampa Bay, St. Louis this season). One of those teams would likely be interested in Ricky, and the Dolphins would be able to use that team's desperation to nab a draft pick before the trading deadline. Ronnie Brown would be able to come back after Week 6, and the Brown-Chatman combination would resume.

Thirdly, as I have mentioned before, Miami must avoid going 0-16 and the inescapable shame that would accompany that feat. If Ricky can help the team win a game, he should remain on the squad.

Finally, Ricky only costs the team around the league minimum in salary. For a player of his caliber, that is a bargain. There is no financial reason not to keep him.

Oh yeah, and if he were to be released and the Patriots picked him up and rode him to another Super Bowl victory, I think I would cry myself to sleep for a long time.

I'm sure most of you are waiting to gnash your teeth and rip into Ricky for the umpteenth time, but before you do that I am simply asking you to read the article that I linked to above.

Then all you have to do is hum that little ditty, open your arms, and welcome back Ricky.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Beck Era Begins This Sunday

A new era of Miami Dolphins football will officially begin on November 18, 2007 when John Beck takes his first snap from under center as the starting quarterback of the Fins.

Cam Cameron announced his decision today, and he said the plan going forward is for Beck to start for the remainder of the season, barring any injuries. From here on, he will be getting 80% of the snaps with the first team in practice.

I previously stated that I would not have had any problem with Cameron choosing to sit Beck for the rest of the season. After all, I still trust his ability to judge and develop quarterbacks. Thusly, I fully trust Cam's decision to hand over the team to Beck with seven games remaining on the schedule. If Cam and the coaching staff think that he's ready, then I'm betting he's ready.

And I don't want to sound like a sensationalist, but this truly does mark the beginning of a new era for Dolphins football. So much of Miami's struggles can be directly linked to the organization's inability to find a competent successor to Dan Marino (the greatest NFL player of all time - yeah, I said it). The last time that the Fins actually invested one of their own draft picks into a rookie quarterback was all the way back in 2001 when they used a 6th round pick on the legendary Josh Heupel (if your response to that was "Josh Who??," you are not alone). Heupel never made it onto the field.

Instead, the team has thrown its valuable draft picks away in return for the cast-offs of other teams. Naturally, the QB situation has rotted.

Here's a look at all the draft picks that have been uselessly traded away in Miami's futile quest for a QB and the stats those players put up while wearing the aqua and orange:
  • 5th round pick for Trent Green (5 starts, 85/141, 987 yards, 5 TDs, 7 INTs, 7 sacks, 2 FUM, 72.6 rating)
  • 2nd round pick for Daunte Culpepper (4 starts, 81/134, 929 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 21 sacks, 3 FUM, 77.0 rating)
  • 6th round pick (and A.J. Feeley) for Cleo Lemon (5 starts, 134/234, 1,335 yards, 5 TDs, 5 INTs, 15 sacks, 2 FUM, 71.8 rating)
  • 2nd round pick for A.J. Feeley (8 starts, 191/356, 1,893 yards, 11 TDs, 15 INTs, 23 sacks, 10 FUM, 61.7 rating)
  • 2 6th round picks for Cade McNown (didn't get on the field at all)
  • 7th round pick for Sage Rosenfels (1 start, 20/48, 314 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 3 sacks, 2 FUM, 51.9 rating)
So, that's 2 second-round, a fifth-round, 3 sixth-round, and a seventh-round pick for 23 starts with 25 TDs and 32 INTs and a cumulative rating of 68.15 (I just vomited a little). None of those players lasted for more than half a season as the starting QB.

But finally, the team wizened up and used a high draft pick on a QB prospect. John Beck is finally the player that every Fin-fan can rally behind. He's our own. He is going to grow up and develop under the auspices of this team, and if all goes according to plan, he will flourish with this team.

Developing home-grown youngsters from the draft is the proven way to win in today's NFL. Beck's first start is just the beginning of this transformation, but it's also the most important piece of the puzzle.

For Miami, the future begins on Sunday.

BREAKING: Ricky Williams Reinstated

ESPN's Chris Mortenson has been told by sources that the NFL has reinstated Ricky Williams after his 18 month suspension. Ricky had filed for reinstatement on October 1.

The team is in an interesting situation now. The trade deadline has already past, so the Dolphins must either keep him on the roster or release him. If they keep him on the roster, they can try and work out a deal with another team in the offseason.

I am all for stashing him on the roster until the season is over. I'm sure someone would be willing to part with a seventh round pick for Ricky, and the Dolphins may be lucky enough to snag something as high as a fifth-round pick.

Also, remember that Ronnie Brown must make his way back from an ACL tear. He may not be able to go at the beginning of the season. Should Cam Cameron and Randy Mueller welcome Ricky back, they could put Ronnie on the PUP list for the first six weeks and let Jesse Chatman and Ricky form a one-two combination.

[Update]: The NFL released this statement today regarding Williams:
“Ricky Williams was notified this morning by Commissioner Goodell that he has been reinstated as an NFL player. Williams can begin attending team meetings and practicing immediately, but will not be eligible to play in games until Week 12 when the Dolphins play at Pittsburgh (Monday night, November 26). The Dolphins will receive a roster exemption for Williams for up to two weeks when he begins practicing, starting no later than Monday.”
This means that Miami does not have to make a decision immediately regarding Ricky. In my opinion, even if they plan to release him (which I am not in favor of), they should still hold onto him for the entire two week roster exemption. You never know what could happen in that time span. Another one of the team's running backs could get injured, and then room on the roster would open for Ricky. It would also prevent any other team (New England, I'm looking at you) from picking him up early.

In any case, I think the best move would be to keep Ricky for the rest of the season, and let him get back into game shape. Then showcase him during the last month of the season to drum up interest from potential trading partners during the offseason.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dolphins-Bills: Game Analysis


Sometimes things just don't go your way, and Miami's latest loss, nay the entire season, is proof of that axiom.

This game against the Bills was the closest that Miami has come all season to winning a game. One look at the stats will tell you that they should have won they game. They generally outplayed Buffalo for three quarters...but we all know that a complete game lasts four. And if there's anything that this team routinely fails at, it's finishing out a complete game.

Just for fun (and pain), let's look at some stat comparisons between the Bills and Phins to get a better idea of why this loss is so frustrating:
  • 3rd down efficiency: Buffalo - 2/10, Miami - 9/19
  • Yards per rush: Buffalo - 2.5, Miami - 3.8
  • Turnovers: Buffalo - 1, Miami - 0
  • Time of possession: Buffalo - 23:01, Miami - 36:59
So, judging by those stats alone, one would make the assumption (correctly, I might add) that Buffalo was absolutely inept on offense, particularly running the ball, and could not sustain long drives. One would also note that Miami actually won the turnover battle and avoided turning the ball over at all.

And yet...the team lost.

A lot of people are quick to crucify Cleo Lemon for the outcome, and while he certainly played a significant part in the losing effort, this was not all his fault. Hell, he didn't throw an interception or fumble the ball away. Under those circumstances, with the defense playing stoutly, this team should have been able to win. Yes, he should have known to throw the ball away in the endzone instead of taking a sack and he missed a deep throw to Ginn, but this loss is not entirely Lemon's fault. However, angry fans will make it seem that way so that they can continue to complain about not seeing John Beck. (Disclaimer: I don't think Lemon is the answer either, but I realize that it's not going to make much difference whether Beck starts 5 games or 7 games this season. It is absolutely critical that impatience be avoided when dealing with Beck's development.)

The real culprit in this loss is once again a late game collapse, this time courtesy of both the offense and defense (plus some normal special teams ineptitude).

Here's a quick list of what was good and bad:

The Bad
The WRs - I don't know if it was the playcalling, but the receivers played a horrible game, especially Marty Booker - the most consistent guy of the bunch. He had three critical drops, which is one more than the number of catches he made. Other than a very few occasions, no one was getting open deep. Of the 16 receptions by Miami players, only 5 were by wide receivers.

Cleo Lemon - He really needed to throw that ball away and avoid a safety. He also missed Ginn open downfield, and he resorted to his check-downs more than I would like to see. Still, that very well could be a fault of the playcalling, and at the very least, he didn't turn the ball over.

Penalties - How many more kicks does Ted Ginn Jr. have to return for a TD only to have them called back. He made an impact play, taking it back to the house directly after a Buffalo score, and got the momentum back on Miami's side in a big way, only to have it nullified because of a boneheaded penalty. Miami's coverage and return units are atrocious.

The Good
Jesse Chatman - This guy is a warrior. He puked on the field and went on to put up 124 yards rushing. 'Nuff said.

Will Allen - Did my eyes deceive me, or did Will Allen actually catch a football? It's amazing, I didn't think those two stone blocks could accomplish such a feat. Joking aside, that was a clutch play in the endzone, single-handedly taking points off the board for the Bills.

Joey Porter - JPeezy in the house! Finally, a good game out of the $20 million man. Porter was able to pressure Losman all game and provide solid run support. He recorded 6 tackles and a sack. If he can keep up that kind of play for the rest of the season, the case could be made that he was hampered by that knee injury for the entire first half. If so, he won't be a complete bust. Still, this is only one game out of nine. Let's see if it continues.

==========

Play of the Game - Marshawn Lynch rumblin', bumblin', and stumblin' his way to a TD by churning his way through first, second, and third contact.

Player of the Game - I would say Chatman, except he was on the losing team. I guess by default it goes to Lynch.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Logan added to practice squad


I didn't get around to adding this little bit of news when it happened last week, but the team released TE Buck Ortega from the practice squad and signed RB Stefan Logan to take his place.

Logan (5'6", 180 lbs.) played his college ball at South Dakota but went undrafted. He is a small back who has some similarities with Lorenzo Booker. Here is an excerpt from his profile at Football's Future:
" Logan has the explosiveness to make it in the NFL, in a similar role to Darren Sproles or Dante Hall. He has the all around skills as a runner, receiver, and return man to provide a variety of roles a player of his size has to be capable of. His age and playing at a lower level of competition may keep Logan from being drafted, but he could be a player that makes a team out of training camp."
With the addition of Logan, the practice squad now looks as such:
  1. T Tala Esera
  2. QB Casey Bramlet
  3. S Tuff Harris
  4. RB Stefan Logan
  5. G Marquay Love
  6. LB Kelvin Smith
  7. WR Chandler Williams
  8. T Julius Wilson
  9. WR Marvin Allen

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dolphins-Bills: Week Ten Matchup

Here's a rundown of Miami's week ten matchup against the Buffalo Bills:

Where: Dolphin Stadium
When: Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

Injuries:
  • Miami: Out - LB Zach Thomas, S Travares Tillman; Probable - NT Keith Traylor
  • Buffalo: Out - TE Matt Murphy, TE Derek Schouman; Questionable - LB John DiGiorgio, QB Trent Edwards, WR Roscoe Parrish, WR Josh Reed, DE Aaron Schobel; Probable - LB Leon Joe, CB Ashton Youboty
Positional Breakdown:

Dolphins
Unit
Bills

Quarterbacks
+

Running backs
+

Receivers
+

Offensive line
+

Defensive line
+

Linebackers
+

Secondary
+

Special teams
+

Coaches
+

Overall Advantage
+

Keys to the Game:
  1. Can the safeties step up in run defense? Zach Thomas won't be playing, so an already weak run defense will struggle more than usual. Cameron Worrell and Jason Allen are starting at the safety spots and they will need to step up into the box in order to effectively stop the run. Marshawn Lynch is adept at reaching the second level of defenses, and it will be up to Worrell and Allen to keep him in front of them and hopefully keep him in front of the linebackers as well.
  2. Can the defensive front seven generate a consistent pass rush against J.P. Losman? The thing that Losman does best is to air out the deep ball, especially to Lee Evans. That requires time in the pocket. His effectiveness diminishes sharply when he has to make quick decisions and short throws. Obviously, the best way to take away this strength and force him into his weaknesses is to pressure him with blitzes. Miami hasn't been successful doing this in the past, but they will need to be able to do it this week if they want to have a chance to contain the Buffalo offense from exploding.
  3. Can Cleo Lemon avoid the early hook? If Cleo Lemon gets yanked from this game in favor of John Beck, chances are that things won't be going to well. If Lemon is careless with the ball and forces the coaches to make a change, the game will most likely be out of reach, regardless of what Beck can do.
Key Players:
  • Miami: DE Jason Taylor - The pressure up front needs to start with Taylor - even if he is just drawing double teams to open up other guys along the line. If he doesn't prove that he is a threat, the Bills won't have to constantly devote a second or third guy to him and they can send more guys out in pass patterns rather than keeping them in to block.
  • Buffalo: RB Marshawn Lynch - Against this porous run defense, Lynch really has an opportunity to shorten the game by grounding out the clock and chunks of yardage at the same time.
Prediction:
This game will be somewhat of a nail-biter. I'd like to think that Miami will be re-energized following its bye week and will be able to take advantage of its home field advantage, but until this team wins, I can't confidently choose them.

Buffalo wins 20-19.