Sunday, September 30, 2007

State of the Franchise


The Miami Dolphins are completely lost.

There’s not a map or a compass that can lead them painlessly out of this dilemma.

The franchise is in a state of absolute darkness. Actually, there’s a slight red glow emanating – but that’s just from the crimson cheeks of embarrassment.

The season is a quarter of the way finished, and Miami sits at 0-4, without having put forth anything resembling a full team effort yet. Or, maybe the team is playing at full effort, and these god-awful results are the heights of their abilities.

I can count on one hand the number of players on this team who have performed admirably this season:

  1. Zach Thomas (and he’s missed two games with a concussion)
  2. Ronnie Brown
  3. Chris Chambers
  4. Jay Feely

That’s it. Four guys, one of whom is a kicker – and even they have been inconsistent (other than Feely. 7/7 on field goals, oh yeah!!). There are a handful of other guys who have been mediocre. The rest? Appalling.

Miami’s defense was outstanding last season. This year, they have officially rammed into a brick wall and are being mauled worse than Roy Horn in the presence of a white tiger. I never thought that the degradation process would happen so abruptly. Jason Taylor is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. This season, he’s recording more penalties than tackles.

Zach Thomas is rightly being held on the sidelines while he recovers from a concussion. Will this latest head injury make him question his continued emotional and physical sacrifices for this wholly undeserving organization? Everyone knew the day was coming, but who is going to replace Thomas and Taylor after they decide to hang up their cleats? Whoever that may turn out to be, I’m pretty sure they aren’t on the team right now.

To put it simply, the days of a dominating Dolphins defense are done. Over. And out.

On the other hand, the offense has been improving. Just not enough to actually, you know, win games.

I didn’t have a problem with Cam Cameron choosing his quarterback. Every new coach should have that opportunity. However, I was very displeased with the price Miami paid for Trent Green. Green, as you all may know, is 37 years old, and thus not in any team’s long-term plans. He is a bridge to John Beck and nothing more.

During the offseason, it was clear that Kansas City would release Trent eventually. However, Cameron was too impatient to wait for that release and chose to ship over what will most likely become a fourth-round pick in the draft. Now, having seen four games, my question is this: How much did it actually help having Trent in Miami a month early? Whatever was gained by his early presence pales in comparison to what the Dolphins gave away.

As the situation stands now, the defense is in a freefall and the offense is making baby steps toward improvement. The offense won’t have a chance to shine until John Beck is anointed the starter and the young offensive line finds cohesion. That won’t be happening for several years.

This leaves the franchise in a situation that I have never witnessed it in. Neither its offense nor its defense can be called dominant or even very good.

Neither unit is strong enough to carry the other, and the special teams are hurting more than they are helping.

This is a new, precarious era in Miami. There is no telling how, when, or if things will start to turn around.

But fear not Miami, for I am no fair-weather fan. I will continue to devote far too much emotion and time into you, even as you continually let me down. No matter how much you play the role of the horrible girlfriend, I’ll keep coming back for more punishment. I just wish I could lend you a flashlight so that you might find your way out of this abyss.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dolphins-Raiders: Week Four Matchup

Here's a rundown of Miami's week four matchup against the Oakland Raiders:

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

Injuries:
  • Dolphins: Questionable - LB Zach Thomas, S Travares Tillman; Probable - TE David Martin
  • Raiders: Out - LB Isaiah Ekejiuba; Questionable - DE Derrick Burgess, LB Robert Thomas; Probable - G Robert Gallery, C Jeremy Newberry, RB Oren O'Neal
Positional Breakdown:

Dolphins
Unit
Raiders
+
Quarterbacks


Running backs
+
+
Receivers

+
Offensive line


Defensive line
+

Linebackers
+

Secondary
+

Special teams
+

Coaching
+

Overall Advantage
+


Keys to the Game:
  1. Can Ronnie Brown capitalize on his momentum from last week? Brown had a career day against the Jets, but most of his best games have come against the Jets. It will be important for him to show that he can have similar success against other teams. The Raiders are allowing 125.7 yards per game on the ground. Ronnie will have opportunities to make some plays, but if he can't, the passing attack will likely struggle against a very good secondary.
  2. How will Daunte Culpepper fare against his old team? Will revenge fuel a Culpepper resurgence or will he get into trouble trying to do to much? If Miami had any semblance of a pass rush the past three weeks, I'd predict Culpepper struggling, but that hasn't been the case.
  3. Can Miami somehow play well in all three phases of the game? They haven't been able to put together solid performances by the offense, defense, and special teams in the same week yet and it has cost them. It's simple, this "team" needs to actually play like a team if it wants to win.
Key Players:
  • Miami: Jason Taylor - the run defense and pass rush have been abysmal, but it's clear that the potential to approach last season's level remains. Jason Taylor will be key in leading this defense back to its dominating ways. He's getting another target at QB this week who will have trouble evading him if he can only get into the backfield. More importantly, he's going to have to step up in run defense and stop LaMont Jordan from having a big game.
  • Oakland: Daunte Culpepper - in his first start this season, will Culpepper flourish, falter, or play somewhere in between. His performance could dictate the outcome of the game.
Prediction:
My heart says to choose Miami since they are at home and it's likely to be a close game. But they just haven't given me any reason thus far to put confidence in them. The Raiders have been playing better than their record suggests (although they are by no means good), and I think they'll steal this home game from Miami. Obviously, I hope I'm wrong, but until Miami proves they can win, it'll be very hard to predict that they'll win.

Oakland wins 24-23

Friday, September 28, 2007

Chambers has charges dropped

In a bit of good news for the team, Chris Chambers will have charges of impaired and reckless driving dropped. In turn, Chambers will plead guilty to speeding.

Chambers will not have to miss any practices or games since he will not have to appear in court. He will have to pay a fine and court fees, but he likely will not face any punishment from the NFL.

These charges stemmed from a July 14 incident when Chambers was found driving 74 mph in a 45 mph zone in North Carolina. Chambers then failed some field sobriety tests and refused a breathalyzer test at the scene. He later blew a blood alcohol level that was below the legal limit.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Jets-Dolphins: Game Analysis


Jason Taylor was kind enough to provide journalists with their headline this week, thus saving myself, and writers everywhere, the work of turning this team's disastrously schizophrenic performance into a bite-sized statement.

So here's the headline courtesy of last season's Defensive Player of the Year, and it might as well have been bellowed by the defense collectively personified:

"I suck right now. It's as simple as that. So there -- there's your headline."

Very well said. Short and to the point.

While that help is much appreciated, Jason, every Dolphins fan sure would like to see you help this defense stop the run or pressure the quarterback from time to time rather than helping out the journalists sell paper.

In all seriousness, however, I am positive that Jason is taking this team's failure squarely on his shoulders. As a team captain, it's what he has to do. And quite frankly, it's justified. This defense has been generally bad and at times awful this year. It has been quite the precipitous fall from the fourth ranked defense of last season. And all of a sudden, I have been forced to think the unthinkable:

Has this defense finally grown old overnight?

For me that is a very scary thought. Even in the worst of recent times, this franchise has always had the ability to confidently rely on its defense to at least give the team a fighting chance. It hasn't always equaled overall winning success, but the defense has been able to keep the team respectful.

Until recently.

What is going on here? With the painful drop-off of the defense, this team has had absolutely no identity this year. At the risk of over-generalization, let's look at how the first three games have played out:
  1. Week 1 - The defense was solid for most of the game, until getting trampled on the ground in overtime. The offense looked inept.
  2. Week 2 - A "total team loss." The defense again could not stop the run and surrendered 37 total points. The offense, "led" by Trent Green, coughed the ball up 5 times.
  3. Week 3- The offense finally shows up and plays very admirably, but the defense completely breaks down in the second half, and for the third straight week is gouged by the opposing running game.
One week the offense is most to blame, the next week it's everybody who is screwing up, and then the following week the offense rights the ship while the defense continues to take on more water than it can bail out. This season has been schizophrenic to say the least. It's as if the team is trying to stop several leaks but they only have one wad of gum to use. When one leak is plugged up, another one springs open.

Suffice to say, the Miami Dolphins need more gum.

Here's a closer look at the good and the bad from this week's game:

The Bad
The defense - The pass defense played relatively well, but for the third straight week, Miami was absolutely torn asunder by the opponent's running attack. When one of a team's few perceived strengths consistently fails in such a miserable fashion, it is a legitimate cause for concern. The Dolphins are giving up a bloated 166 yards per game on the ground, good (bad?) enough for 29th in the NFL. They are also surrendering 28 points per game, putting them at 26th in the NFL in that category. The strong and supremely talented leaders of this vaunted defense simply have yet to show up and play this season (with the possible exception of Zach Thomas, but he was forced to sit out this week with a concussion). NT Keith Traylor is getting manhandled instead of doing the manhandling, and Jason Taylor is showing a complete inability to pressure the quarterback. Even when he's not being triple or double-teamed, he has still found no success. That is worrisome. More worrisome is the unit's propensity to collapse after halftime. Suddenly, two halves of football has become too much for these guys. I thought age would creep up slowly, but it might have delivered a quick TKO to this bunch. For the most part, the defense has been very good during the first half. While it's not fantastic, the defense has yielded 34 points in the first half this season, compared with 50 points in the second half. The important thing is that the team has always kept the game tight at halftime. After the half is another story. The defenders look like they've hit a brick wall. Guys like Clinton Portis and Thomas Jones take quick advantage of that and simply pound the ball down the throats of guys who were supposedly near-elite. High-priced free agent acquisition Joey Porter hasn't helped one bit.

Special teams - Other than Jay Feely's perfect mark on field goals (6/6 on the season), the special teams unit has been a huge disappointment, and is actually turning into a true weakness on this team. I can't say that I'm surprised. Losing special teams stalwarts like Sammy Morris, Travis Minor, Wes Welker, and David Bowens all in one offseason is hard to deal with. It's clear the team doesn't have replacements who can play up to their predecessors' abilities. Last year's first round draft pick, Jason Allen, hasn't even been an average special teams player (let alone defensive back, which is, you know, kinda what the team drafted him to be). This week, the coverage unit let the Jets' backup kick returner, Leon Washington, take a kickoff 98 yards to the house untouched. Thereafter, the team turned to the embarrassing, stupid, and ultimately costly decision to squib kick to Washington rather than let him try a return. Look, if it was Devin Hester lining up back there to return kicks, by all means, kick away from him. But this was a backup kick returner. The coaching staff essentially said "We have no trust or confidence in your ability to do your job." A runner is going to spring a big return every now and again, and while that is not excusable, it shouldn't mean completely abandoning regular deep kickoffs. With the way this defense has been playing, it's suicide to give them starting positions approaching midfield. What has the greater chance of happening - 1) the kickoff returner returns one for a TD or 2) the defense surrenders points after starting near midfield? At this point I believe it's number 2, but if the coaching staff thinks differently, this team is in shambles.

The Good
Ronnie Brown - Brown may have had the best game of his career. Cameron finally awakened to the facts and fed Brown early and often. For once, Brown started off hot right out of the gates and he ended up with 23 carries for 112 yards and 2 TDs. He also contributed greatly in the passing game with several beautifully designed screen plays. He caught 6 passes for 99 yards and a TD. To top it all off, he scored a two-point conversion on a Statue of Liberty play (and we thought we'd never see that again after the preseason). It was nice to see Cameron stick with the running game even when the team was behind. Of course, this brilliant effort was wasted by the poor play of the defense. And not to be too pessimistic, but we have to remember that Brown is historically very good against the Jets. Let's wait and see if he can keep this kind of play up against other opponents before we declare him a breakout player. Nevertheless, for once, we have a glimpse of what a Cam Cameron running back is supposed to look like - and it looks marvelous.

Chris Chambers - Chambers continued his fine play this week, picking up another 100-yard game. He also didn't drop any passes which is very encouraging. He's shown good chemistry with Trent Green, particularly in the middle of the field.

==========

Play of the Game - Leon Washington's kick return was an absolute momentum-killer, pure and simple.

Player of the Game - I'm inclined to say Ronnie Brown, but his efforts were for naught. Chad Pennington did a great job returning from an injury, and he played smart, efficient football. He may have only passed for 124 yards but he threw 2 TD passes and he even ran for a TD. Going into the game, it looked like Miami would be able to tee off on him with blitzes and pressure, but he deftly avoided everything Miami could throw his way.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Jets-Dolphins: Week Three Matchup

Here's a (slightly abridged) rundown of Miami's week three matchup against the New York Jets:

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

Injuries:
  • New York: Questionable - WR Jerricho Cotchery, CB Andre Dyson, OL Brandon Moore, QB Chad Pennington, DL Dewayne Robertson, DB Eric Smith; Probable - CB David Barrett, LB David Bowens, RB Thomas Jones, TE Joe Kowalewski, FB Stacy Tutt
  • Miami: Out - LB Zach Thomas, S Donovin Darius; Probable - QB Trent Green, G Rex Hadnot
Positional Breakdown:

Jets
Unit
Dolphins
+
Quarterbacks

+
Running backs

+
Receivers


Offensive line
+

Defensive line
+

Linebackers
+
+
Secondary


Special teams
+
+
Coaching

+
Overall Advantage


P
rediction:
Jets pull out a win in a close and rather ugly game, 20-17.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ronnie Brown: A Statistical Breakdown

Ethan Skolnick of the Sun-Sentinel had a great article yesterday about Ronnie Brown's statistical tendencies as a runner.

I made this chart to more easily present his findings.


Average
Attempts
Long
Fumbles
Lost Yard %
Double-digit gain %
Carries 1-5
3.3
150
18
7
28.7
6.7
Carries 6-10
4.4
144
65
0
14.6
12.5
Carries 11-15
4.9
98
47
0
18.4
11.2
Carries 16+
4.8
78
58
0
16.7
10.3

We've all known that Brown gets exponentially better the more carries he receives. However, I didn't realize that the difference was so pronounced. He only averages 3.3 yards per carry and has 7 fumbles in his first five carries of a game! He also loses yardage almost 30% of the time on those carries. On carries 11-15, his average skyrockets to 4.9 yards per carry.

So what should we make of this? First of all, I think it proves that Brown is always uncomfortable to start a game. He hasn't really shown any ability to break out of this trend either. It puts the offense in a Catch-22 situation because when the running game inevitably stalls early in the game, the offense also sputters, leading to more punts and opponent possessions. That, of course, leads to more scoring opportunities for the opponent and the Dolphins generally find themselves losing early. Then, when the team is losing, it leans on the passing game more heavily in order to quickly catch back up and Ronnie can't get the desired number of carries.

So basically Ronnie can't get into a rhythm unless the team can stay ahead early, but the team can't stay ahead early if Ronnie can't establish a rhythm from the beginning of the game. It all just makes my head hurt because I can't see how he'll ever succeed under those conditions.

I also have to question how much of his success with an increased workload comes from his own comfort level and how much comes from the offensive line wearing down the defense. I assume it's a combination of both because Ronnie really does look like a different runner when he's gotten over 10 carries. He's more confident with his bursts and decisions and he seems to let what instincts he does have simply take over.

Unfortunately, those instincts won't be able to have an impact unless the team is able to keep the games close enough to allow for a consistent running game. The coaching staff must address his early game woes. If he even marginally improve his first five carries, he'll be more likely to see carries 15 and up.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dolphins-Cowboys: Game Analysis


I think Cam Cameron summed up this game the best when he called it a "total team loss." Since I can't say it any better myself, let's just move along to analyzing the laundry list of disappointing things uncovered in this game.

The Bad
Trent Green - One of the few players who looked good last week, Green really struggled this week. I mean, he looked bad. I would tend to lay some of the blame on the pass protection, except for the fact that the offensive line actually performed competently in that regard. Green was brought in for his leadership abilities, and that means raising the level of play of those players surrounding him. Well, it's hard to be a good leader if you are struggling so mightily yourself. Don't get me wrong, I am not calling for a QB switch. Green still gives this team its best chance to win - by a long shot. But he does have to get better. His smart, efficient play kept the Dolphins in the game against Washington. But this week, it was his poor throws and bad decisions that let the game slip away. This offense will only go so far as Trent Green is able to take it. If he continues to float his passes and severely overthrow his open receivers, don't expect much success.

Ronnie Brown - Every week it becomes more and more apparent that Cameron simply doesn't have much faith in Brown. Even though the run-blocking is generally atrocious, Brown is showing no instincts that are essential to being a good runner. He has tremendous physical abilities, but without the instincts to find holes and hit those holes before they close, he's going to continue to struggle. Cameron distrusts Brown so much that he spent most of the fourth quarter on the bench. Even when the score was still close, Cameron abandoned the running game, instead relying on Green to make plays in the passing game and that simply didn't work, even against a sub-par secondary. This offense needs a running game to work because the passing attack is not nearly potent enough to carry it, but so far Brown has failed to step up and make the most of his opportunities.

Ted Ginn Jr. - Ted is still not getting involved in the passing game even though he splits time with Derek Hagan in three-WR sets. He's run the same amount of end-arounds (2) as passes thrown his way. Thus far, his speed has proved inconsequential in the passing game. As far as special teams, he shows about once a game that he has the skills to be a great return man. Unfortunately, on all the other returns he stutter-steps and hesitantly dances around. I know it's only been two games, but thus far he's averaging a mere 21.2 yards per kick return and 8.1 yards per punt return. He can do much better, but when will he?

Time of possession - The Cowboys dominated this statistic, holding onto the ball for a whopping 35 minutes. Of course, that's to be expected when Green turns the ball over five times.

Pass rush - To put it simply, where the heck is the pass rush? What was so dominant last year, has become a huge disappointment. Jason Taylor isn't getting any significant pressure on the QB and the guy brought in to relieve the double teams (Joey Porter) isn't making any impact. With no pass rush, the opposing QBs have all day to stand in the pocket and find the open receiver. That's made even easier with a banged up secondary.

Travis Daniels - Speaking of the secondary, Daniels has been a big let-down this season. He can't seem to stay with anybody that he's covering, and as a result he's been victimized for multiple long gains. Luckily, Andre' Goodman should be returning within the next couple of weeks, but how effective can we truly expect him to be right away? Daniels makes a solid third CB, but the coaches have decided to start transitioning him to safety, where his skill set is more compatible. I'd rather see him stay at CB because a transition to safety may take a long time and Yeremiah Bell should be back next season. We'll have to wait to see how this plays out, but in the meantime it's certainly not clearing up the cloudy situation that is the Miami secondary.

Tackling - The defense had far too many missed tackles due to sloppy technique. That's inexcusable.

The Good
Jay Feely - As Olindo Mare continues to struggle in New Orleans (1/3 on field goals), it's nice to see that the team made the right decision by bringing in Feely. So far he's been perfect, nailing all four of his field goal attempts.

Chris Chambers - As a whole the WRs did a good job getting open this game, and it looks like Green has found some chemistry with Chambers in particular. Green threw in Chambers direction 16 times this week, and Chambers hauled in 9 of those passes for 109 yards. He reigned in his tendency to drop easy passes which was encouraging. Chambers now has 201 yards in two games. It took him five games last season to reach that mark. I know it's early, but if he can keep up this production, he may very well post Pro Bowl numbers again.

==========

Play of the Game - Patrick Crayton's 49 yard punt return. After pinning the Cowboys inside their own 20 on a nice punt, the Dolphins had to punt the ball again because of a stupid mistake by Edmond Miles. Crayton then made a tremendous return, and put his team in position to score the go-ahead touchdown. That series of mistakes and plays was a huge momentum shift in the game and Miami was never able to recover.

Player of the Game - This is a tough one, but I'll give it to Anthony Henry and his two interceptions. He led a secondary that was supposed to be vulnerable to the passing attack. Instead, the Dallas secondary took the ball away from Miami four times and prevented the Dolphins from ever having a chance in the second half.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dolphins-Cowboys: Week Two Matchup

Here's a rundown of Miami's week two matchup against the Dallas Cowboys:

Where: Dolphin Stadium
When: Sunday, 4:05 PM ET

Injuries:
  • Miami: Out - CB Andre' Goodman; Probable - RB Jesse Chatman
  • Dallas: Out - LB Greg Ellis, WR Terry Glenn; Questionable - CB Terence Newman; Probable - LB Kevin Burnett

Positional Breakdown:

Dolphins
Unit
Cowboys

Quarterbacks
+

Running backs
+

Receivers
+

Offensive line
+
+
Defensive line

+
Linebackers

+
Secondary

+
Special teams


Coaching
+

Overall Advantage
+


Keys to the Game:
  1. Will Miami's defense be able to stop the run? Last season, the Miami defense was consistently able to stop the run. While they may still be able to do that this season, they didn't show it against the Redskins. The defensive front four were easily muscled out of their lanes by a tough Washington line. Dallas boasts an even bigger offensive line - one of the biggest in the league. Jason Taylor may have a tough time stopping the run in the face of these guys, and it will be vitally important for Keith Traylor to get a strong push up the middle. Otherwise, Julius Jones and Marion Barber will consistently reach the second level and possibly break off some big plays.
  2. How on earth are the Dolphins going to cover Terrell Owens? Miami's secondary was already suspect before it lost Yeremiah Bell for the season. Now there's a chance it might collapse, especially against a high-powered aerial offense like Dallas' which features a wide array of big pass-catching threats like T.O. and Jason Witten. Miami doesn't have a corner who can match T.O. size-wise. Instead, they are going to have to stick two guys on him almost all the time. That might leave Witten matched up one-on-one with just a linebacker more often.
  3. Will Miami be able to generate enough of a pass rush to mask its depleted secondary? The Dolphins didn't generate a very strong pass rush last week, and it resulted in several long completions made against them. Tony Romo may be young and inexperienced, but he's shown a good degree of composure when given some time. It will be absolutely necessary for Taylor and Joey Porter to pressure Romo early and often. If they can't, Miami might find itself in an impossible hole very early.
  4. Will Trent Green be able to exploit a weak Dallas secondary? If there's one glaring weakness on the Cowboys, it's the secondary. S Roy Williams may be good, but only in run support. Starting CB Terence Newman may not play. That means that Chris Chambers and Marty Booker could see some favorable matchups downfield, and Trent Green will need to exploit them in order to give Miami a chance. Miami lacked big-play-ability last week. The opportunities will be there this week.
Key Players:
  • Miami: Jason Taylor - How effective will he be against the run, facing a large group of offensive lineman? In the passing game, he will need to keep his aggressiveness at full-tilt in order to fuel a pass rush that will lead to turnovers.
  • Dallas: Terrell Owens - Owens has to be licking his chops against this secondary. He can outleap, outrun, and simply dominate most of the guys Miami will line up deep. But Owens is inconsistent. Will he only show up for a half or a quarter? If he doesn't get involved early, will he simply disappear? He didn't do that last week, making all his catches in the second half, but if Miami can take away the deep pass by rushing Romo, they might be able to neutralize Owens.
Prediction: Miami's defense improves from last week and Trent Green is able to make a big play or two in the passing game, but ultimately the 'Boys offense will be too much to overcome.

Dallas wins 23-20.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Belicheat to League: "I AM ABOVE THE LAW!"


For this past week I’ve had a grin on my face wider than the gap between Michael Strahan’s two front teeth. Normally, I’d be pretty morose in the days following a Dolphins loss, but this week brought some added intrigue that warms me to the core.

The New England Patriots have been unceremoniously yanked down from their high horse, and there are few things I like more than to see the high and mighty knocked down a notch.

Yes, I’m talking about the same invincible and unassailable Patriots that for years have had commentators and analysts around the league racing to kneel before the glory that is Belichick (“Belicheat” as he will henceforth be called), Brady, and Kraft in order to kiss their feet and buttocks in supplication.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Before I continue, let me get this out of the way – I hate the Patriots. I loathe and detest them too, for good measure. I haven’t always felt this strong of a distaste for the hometown team. While I have always viewed them as a rival to my Dolphins, it wasn’t until the start of the new millennium that this rivalry turned into revulsion. What caused this change of heart? To put it simply: Tom Brady and Bill Belicheat. Upon their arrival, the entire Patriots organization became clouded in this incredible fog of smug arrogance and assumed genius. Belicheat was viewed as an unquestionable mastermind, correct and indisputable in all decisions. Brady was looked to as the Boy Wonder, and when he struggled it was inevitably someone else’s fault.

The Patriots went on to win three championships and they were summarily proclaimed the model franchise and a modern dynasty. Of course, while this windfall of success was happening before my eyes, I couldn’t help but look on incredulously at all the things being swept under the rug or pushed aside as unimportant. For years I have been openly and unabashedly calling out the Patriots as a dirty, dishonest, and deceitful organization. Few have listened to me.

For many people, this recent videotaping incident will seem new and unexpected. Perhaps they’d be less stunned if it happened to a historically nefarious team like the Raiders rather than the shining Pats. But if they’d have looked close enough, the telltale signs were all too commonplace.

Here’s a sampling of what Belicheat and the Patriots have done over the past several years that have raised my ire:

  • Not listing Richard Seymour on the team’s injury list despite the fact that he didn’t even travel to the game.
  • Attempting to make an “agreement” with Vikings head coach Brad Childress that each team would forego signing the other team’s released players to their practice squads. That constitutes tampering, of course.
  • Openly mocking and disrespecting the league’s rules concerning attire and appearance by donning a dirty and cut up team sweatshirt to almost every game, practice, and press conference. Hey, he’s wearing team-issued clothing, right?
  • Similarly mocking the idea of media obligations. If you’ve ever watched a Bill Belicheat press conference, you know it’s about as insightful and genuine as watching the new Bratz movie. Look, I’m sure no coach looks forward to answering the media’s questions, but it’s a large part of connecting with a team’s fan base. Belicheat stands behind the podium with legitimate disdain for the people asking him questions, as if he really can’t be bothered by these people who are so inferior to him. The fan base is the heart of any sports organization, but Belicheat couldn’t care less about treating his with respect.
  • Opposing teams’ headsets and radio communications mysteriously malfunctioning in Foxboro.
  • Rodney Harrison, one of the dirtiest players in the league (anyone remember him spitting in the face of Randy McMichael?) is suspended for using HGH. Somehow, he justifies it by saying the drugs were used to help him heal faster. And healing faster isn’t a competitive advantage how?

Suffice to say, this recent incident is only further proof that the Patriots live according to a culture of illegitimate tactics and behavior.

Videotaping is nothing new to the team either. In fact, it spans all the way back to 2000, the first year of Belicheat’s reign. Coincidence? Hardly. In the final game of the 2000 preseason against the Buccaneers, the Patriots videotaped all of the Bucs’ defensive signals. The two teams played each other again the following week to open the regular season. Tampa Bay won, and following the game Pats offensive coordinator, Charlie Weis, was overheard saying to Tampa’s defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffin, “We knew all your calls, and you still stopped us. I can’t believe it.”

Just last season, New England was suspected of videotaping their opponents on at least two occasions. When the Lions played in Foxboro, Rod Marinelli noticed “a camera pointed right at our defensive coach making his calls.” When the Patriots visited Green Bay, cameraman Matt Estrella (the same guy who was doing the taping against the Jets) was caught on the sidelines recording the Packers’ signals.

It is a very safe assumption that Belicheat had his camera goons active at every game.

So the real question is why haven’t these countless indiscretions been met with punishment until now?

Well, the obvious reason is that the league finally got its hands on irrefutable evidence of wrongdoing while it was happening. In the past, these allegations and suspicions weren’t raised until after the game had been whistled dead.

The other, more insidious reason has to do with the league’s prior inability to stand up against the all-mighty Belicheat. He believed he could operate outside of the NFL’s established rules, and league officials proved him right.

If any of you have as large a passion for the show South Park as I do, you’ll recall the “Chef Aid” episode, and particularly the record executive character. When confronted about the fact that he illegally stole a song to use with an artist on his label, the record exec loudly shouts, “I AM ABOVE THE LAW!,” and then proceeds to dab some SPOOGE brand gel on his hanging lock of hair. I can’t help but picture Belicheat as that man, standing in front of the league without fear of punishment and proclaiming that he is, indeed, above the law (and then snipping another inch of the sleeves off his homeless-chic sweatshirt).

All joking aside, the league has enabled Belicheat and the Patriots to quietly disgrace the NFL. Luckily, Commissioner Roger Goodell is putting an end to that.

What I can’t understand is the mass of people, mostly Pats fans, who have come out of the woodwork to ignorantly shout justifications for this behavior. Their protests include gems such as:

“He was just doing whatever it takes to win. You can’t fault him for that.”

“There’s no way he could benefit from videotaping the signals.”

“Everyone in the NFL cheats.”

This organization really had a lot of people fleeced.

Come on people, this wasn’t some make-work project that Belicheat established to keep Estrella and others employed. Think of how much tape he was able to amass over his tenure detailing countless coaches’ signals. You don’t have to be able to use that information during the game in which it was filmed (though he most likely did, during halftime for example) for it to be an effective tool in gaining a competitive advantage.

And no, stealing signals by videotaping them is not the same as using your own two eyes and trying to figure out the calls. If the results were the same, why would the Patriots risk punishment by resorting to videotape? It’s obvious that Belicheat saw some greater edge to be gained by using technology other than paper and pens.

If the NFL wanted to completely eradicate signal-stealing they would have to force everyone on the sidelines to wear a blindfold (or, you know, allow a defender to have a radio in his helmet). Of course, the most important distinction between the two methods is that videotaping is illegal and simply using your eyes is not. You don’t have to like the rule, but it must be respected. Teams can’t simply follow those rules that they agree with and indiscriminately break the others.

As we can all see now, that leads to an organization like the Patriots.

Now I’d like to hear from those people who call New England a model franchise. The only thing they are the model for is toeing the line while regularly ignoring said line. The league had warned Belicheat following that Green Bay game that videotaping was expressly against the rules. I guess that warning went in one ear and out the other – another example of how grossly arrogant the Patriots are.

And what about those three Super Bowls and Tom Brady’s ensuing meteoric rise from sixth-round draft pick to future Hall of Famer? Well, I sure am critical now.

As Dan LeBatard so nicely states it, “For a team that won three Super Bowls by three points each time, cheating only has to give you an advantage on one successful play to change the result and the champion.”

We’ve all seen how circumstantial evidence and allegations based on suspicion rather than concrete proof have wreaked havoc in other sports like cycling, track, and baseball.

The NFL is holding material proof of cheating.

I agree with Goodell’s decision to fine Belicheat and the organization as well as taking away draft picks, but why wasn’t there a suspension? The competitive balance of the league was tampered with. Wade Wilson, the Cowboys’ quarterbacks coach, was suspended for five games for taking HGH to deal with diabetic impotence. There’s no way that Dallas could have derived a competitive advantage from this indiscretion, but the league wanted to show that it was holding coaches to a higher standard. If that’s the case, then Belicheat should have been suspended for at least half the season.

As it stands, the team is facing absolutely no punishment that will affect them immediately. The fines don’t hurt the players. The draft picks don’t come into play for another year (plus the time it takes for rookies to develop). With the suspension levied by Goodell, the Patriots won’t see an adverse effect on the field for at least a year or two down the line. That is unacceptable.

And what if Belicheat retires after this season? Those lost draft picks won’t mean a thing to him.

He’ll smugly stride off into the sunset, threadbare sweatshirt flapping in the wind, and he’ll laugh to himself as he keeps repeating in his mind, “I am above the law.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Darius and Thompson signed

In an attempt to replace SS Yeremiah Bell (and no doubt prevent the prospect of starting Travares Tillman again) the Dolphins signed S Donovin Darius and S Lamont Thompson. In order to make room on the roster, Bell was placed on Injured Reserve and DE Akbar Gbaja-Biamila was waived. The team also completed its practice squad by signing LB Kelvin Smith, one of the team's seventh-round draft picks.

Darius (6'1", 225 lbs.) is a nine-year veteran who was originally drafted by the Jaguars in the first round of the 1998 draft. He is 32 years old. He signed with Oakland this offseason before being released prior to the start of the season. He has started in all 115 games of his career, but he has played in only 12 games over the past two seasons.

Here's a look at his career stats:
==========

YEARTEAM G TOT SOLO AST PD SACK FF REC INT YDS TD
1998JAC14 78 67 11 3 0.0 2 0 0 0 0
1999JAC16 78 64 14 12 0.0 0 0 4 37 0
2000JAC16 85 71 14 5 1.0 1 0 2 26 0
2001JAC11 77 71 6 7 0.0 0 0 1 39 0
2002JAC14 78 73 5 5 1.0 1 0 1 3 0
2003JAC16 83 60 23 7 0.0 2 0 1 4 0
2004JAC16 89 69 20 7 0.0 2 0 5 80 0
2005JAC2 6 5 1 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
2006JAC10 48 39 9 3 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
Career 115 613 510 103 49 2.0 8 0 14 189 0
==========

Thompson (6'1", 215 lbs.) is a five-year veteran who was originally drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 2002 draft. He is 29 years old. He spent the last four seasons with the Titans but was released prior to the start of this season. He became a starter for the Titans early in the 2004 season and went on to start 45 games for them.

Here's a look at his career stats:
==========
Career Stats Tackles Sacks Interceptions Misc
Season Team G
SoloAstTotal
SackYdsL
IntYdsIntTD
DefTDFFumPDSfty
2002Cincinnati13
12113
0.00
140
0010
2003Tennessee16
14519
0.00
000
0020
2004Tennessee16
551065
0.00
4771
1160
2005Tennessee16
621981
1.016
100
0130
2006Tennessee16
551873
0.00
3140
0080
Career77
19853251
1.016
9951
12200
==========

With the addition of Smith to the practice squad, here is what it now looks like:
  1. WR Marvin Allen (International Practice Squad player, does not count against roster limits)
  2. TE Aaron Halterman
  3. T Julius Wilson
  4. G Marquay Love
  5. S Tuff Harris
  6. G Tala Esera
  7. WR Kerry Reed
  8. WR Chandler Williams
  9. LB Kelvin Smith

Redskins-Dolphins Game Analysis


What a way to start off the season.

While this game flashed a few precious moments of hope for a Miami team in desperate need of some, overall it was the same unnerving story Dolphins fans have had to live through for years. If you've never heard this tale, it goes a little something like this: Miami's defense plays well enough to limit the opposing offense to a very manageable amount of points (in this case, 13 in regulation) and then a characteristically inefficient offense continually shoots itself in the foot until there's just a bloody stump where that foot used to be, thereby leading to yet another low-scoring game where the Dolphins get edged out by the slimmest of margins.

I feel like that's the story I've been treated to every Sunday for the past half-decade. It's almost akin to watching Groundhog Day mixed with Saw - repetitive and frightening. Throw in some intense frustration for good measure and that's the Miami Dolphins in a nutshell.

Overall, this game played out pretty much as I had surmised it would. Neither quarterback made the glaring mistakes that would lead to a loss, and in fact, both Trent Green and Jason Campbell performed admirably. I thought that whichever QB was able to avoid the big mistakes would win, but they both managed to accomplish that more or less.

Having removed the QBs from the equation, this game came down to the running attacks. To put it simply, Miami's offensive line did a terrible job run-blocking and the Miami backs didn't help out by creating yardage on their own (no easy task, obviously, but it's something the elite RBs are able to do). On the other hand, Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts trampled over the Miami front seven, gaining a combined 157 yards rushing. Portis alone averaged 5.8 yards per carry. This strong running game eventually wore down the Dolphins defense, and that stout unit ultimately collapsed in the OT period, allowing the Redskins to march down the field and into field goal range with ease.

All this brings me to another question I had before the game:
"Will Miami's defense be able to carry the team right out of the gates?" Well, it's hard to answer that question. For almost any other team, holding the opponent to a mere 13 points in regulation would be more than enough to achieve victory. But that's not the case for Miami. Although I expect the offense to improve as the year goes on, at this point they require the type of super-human effort that even Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas cannot consistently provide on a weekly basis. The defense is doing its damnedest to hoist the struggling offense onto its shoulders and carry the team to victory, but unless the defense is able to put up a touchdown or two of its own every week, it will continue to collapse under the incredibly disproportionate burden that it has been given.

Here's a closer look at what Miami can feel good about and what they'll need to improve:

The Bad
Run-blocking - As I mentioned above, the offensive line was atrocious on run plays, constantly getting pushed back and generally manhandled. Ronnie Brown and Jesse Chatman should get some of the blame for the poor running attack, but it's hard to have success on the ground when running lanes are few and far between.

Penalties - Miami finished with 8 penalties for 61 yards, most of which came on the offensive side of the ball at the most inopportune moments. On more than one occasion, a drive was stalled and eventually failed due to careless lapses in judgment. For a unit that struggles to move the chains even without penalties, adding those extra mistakes is like putting the nail in the coffin.

Dropped passes - Everyone thought that cutting ties with TE Randy McMichael along with another year of development would cure the team's problem with dropped passes. Not so. Miami receivers dropped at least 5 passes on Sunday. Chris Chambers, despite a solid statistical output, is showing everyone once again that he does not have reliable hands, particularly on the relatively easy catches. Marty Booker, usually the most sure-handed receiver of the bunch, dropped an easy pass himself. And then new TE David Martin made sure to do his best McMichael impersonation, dropping a pass that hit him square between the numbers on a play that would have resulted in a critical first down. Even Randy would have made that catch.

David Martin - Not only did he drop an easy pass, Martin was invisible all game long. He caught only one pass for 7 yards - and this is coming in a very TE-friendly offense with a QB who is known for targeting the TEs early and often. Maybe it was just the fact that he was facing a great secondary, but I'm not in the business of making excuses. He has to step up his game and find a way to contribute.

Game Management - The score was tied in the fourth quarter with less than two minutes remaining and Miami had the ball with timeouts to spare. Why didn't they try to move the ball into field goal range instead of playing for overtime? This was an away game with a jarringly loud crowd and the Miami defense had already been worked to exhaustion. Cam Cameron needed to trust his players in that situation not to make a game-ending mistake and try to win the game. Instead, they played for the tie and it ended up costing the team the game.

Bell's Injury - To top all this off, SS Yeremiah Bell tore his Achille's tendon and will miss the rest of the season. Bell was cause for much optimism over the offseason, as he was finally getting his opportunity to start from Week One. He was expected to bring a play-making ability to the secondary. Now the team may have to replace him with the guy he replaced midway through last season - Travares Tillman. If that is the case, Miami will be in trouble.

The Good
Trent Green - Green looked much better than he did in the preseason. He showed poise, leadership, and good decision-making - all qualities that the Miami QB position has been sorely lacking for some time. Although he almost coughed up the game by throwing a near interception to Fred Smoot, for the most part he was efficient and smart with the ball. A lot of his passes were dump offs to the RBs and that strategy became a substitute for a failing running game. He was let down on several occasions by his receivers as they failed to hold onto well-placed balls. I would have liked to see the offense air it out a bit more, but I don't think the receivers were showing an ability to get open deep down the field. In the absence of a deep threat, the Redskins could focus on shutting down the run and they did just that.

3rd and goal from the 1 - With only 4 seconds left in the first half and Miami down 0-3, Cameron had to decide whether to kick the chip-shot field goal or try for the touchdown. It's easy to say he made the right call by going for the TD since it ended up working, but even if it hadn't, the decision was still right. The team was struggling to move the ball and they were only a yard away from the endzone. It's an away game and you want to be aggressive and play to win rather than tie. The move also shows confidence in the offense. It was a gutsy call, and quite frankly I don't remember the last gutsy call I've seen from the Dolphins offense. After that play, it felt like something had finally changed, like the new Dolphins era had just been ushered in. Unfortunately, the team failed to carry that momentum into the second half and the defense allowed the Redskins to march down the field in 6 plays and score a TD on the opening drive of the second half.

==========

Play of the Game - Shaun Suisham's game-winning field goal in overtime.

Player of the Game - Clinton Portis grinded out 98 yards on 17 carries and scored a TD. His work in the running game helped to establish a rhythm in the Redskins' offense and he wore down the Dolphins defense.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Redskins-Dolphins: Week One Matchup

Here's a rundown of Miami's Week One matchup against the Washington Redskins:

Where: FedEx Field
When: Sunday, 1:00 PM

Positional Breakdown:

Dolphins
Unit
Redskins
EVEN
Quarterbacks
EVEN

Running backs
+

Receivers
+

Offensive line
+
+
Defensive line

+
Linebackers


Secondary
+
+
Special teams

+
Coaching

+
Overall Advantage


Keys to the Game:
  1. Which QB, if any, will step up? In my estimation, the QB situation for each team is about even. Miami has Trent Green, who is past his prime but still able to lead an offense effectively. Washington, on the other hand, has Jason Campbell, a young prospect who looked solid in his limited starts last season. Campbell will face a tough challenge against the Miami defense and could be confused by the pressure. Green could collapse behind a shaky offensive line. Both will have their work cut out for them, and the team whose QB steps up will have a big advantage over their opponent.
  2. Which team will more effectively establish its running game? Both offenses rely on a strong running game to be effective. Ronnie Brown and Jesse Chatman may have a hard time finding any holes. Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts form a fearsome duo at RB, but Portis' knees are already screaming from tendinitis and the season hasn't even begun yet. Additionally, they will be running against a defense that allowed only 101.1 yards per game on the ground last season. One group of RBs is going to have to grind out some tough yards in order to maintain the possession of the ball for their offense.
  3. Will Miami's defense be able to carry the team right out of the gates? In the past, Miami's defense has been able to carry the team to victory at times. The question is whether it will be able to do so starting with Game One. It will depend on the unit's cohesion, which shouldn't prove to be a big problem as the unit remains largely intact from last season. They are also facing a very green QB who could succumb to their blitzes and coverage schemes. The secondary will face a tough challenge against the Washington receivers, particularly WR Santana Moss and TE Chris Cooley. They will be responsible for preventing the big play that could change the complexion of the game in an instant.
Key Players:
  • Miami: QB Trent Green - Will he be able to lead this offense effectively and efficiently, or will he flounder and stall? The key for him is to make smart passes and avoid costly turnovers. He'll need to protect the ball if the pocket begins to break down.
  • Washington: QB Jason Campbell - How will he respond to the Miami defense? If he can find Moss deep down the field, the Redskins could jump out to a lead that Miami's offense cannot climb back from.
Prediction:
This will be a low-scoring game as both offenses struggle to get into any kind of a rhythm. I think Miami's defense will ultimately prove to be too much for Campbell to have success against. This is by far the best defense he has played against in his young career. Miami wins 14-13.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Roster Updates

There's been some movement on the roster over the past couple of days. Here's a rundown of what's gone on:

* Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald is reporting that the reports claiming RB Ricky Williams would be eligible for reinstatement in September are incorrect. Instead, he will not be eligible to apply for reinstatement until sometime in October. This means that there is very little chance that Ricky will return to the NFL before the Week 6 trade deadline. I was hoping that he'd be able to come back before then and Miami would somehow be able to swing a deal for something in the range of a seventh-round draft pick. If he does in fact return, it'd be nice to get some value in return for him.

* Thankfully, WR Ted Ginn Jr. is back returning kicks. I understand the desire to bring him along gradually, but it would be an absolute shame to withhold his amazing return skills. I wrote an article criticizing Cam Cameron's decision to use Ronnie Brown as the returner instead of Ginn. You can read that article here.

* Before training camp began, I predicted that the starting offensive line would be from left to right: Carey, Liwienski, Satele, Hadnot, and Shelton. Even though the first-team line went through countless permutations over the course of training camp, it finally ended up where I thought it would all along. Liwienski locked down the left guard spot and L.J. Shelton very recently reclaimed the starting right tackle spot after seeing all the snaps on the second team throughout the offseason. Of course, very few of those guys should feel secure in their starting job. With the new additions of T Cory Lekkerkerker and G Gene Mruczkowski, the starters will be pushed for playing time.

* As most everyone expected, Ronnie Brown was named the starting RB. Jesse Chatman will still see a lot of touches and could start in the backfield at the same time as Brown.

* The team claimed DE Rob Ninkovich off waivers from the Saints. Ninkovich (6'2", 252 lbs.) was a fifth-round draft choice of the Saints in 2006. He played in the first three games of his rookie season, all in a reserve role. He recorded 4 tackles (2 on special teams) and a pass defensed. He was then placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. Ninkovich will probably play outside linebacker in Miami's 3-4 defense. He will also be expected to play on special teams. In order to make room on the roster for Ninkovich, Miami waived rookie LB Kelvin Smith. The Dolphins still have one open spot on their practice squad so they may look to sign him there if he clears waivers.

* The team continued to fill its practice squad by adding G Tala Esera, WR Kerry Reed, and WR Chandler Williams. Esera and Reed were both in camp with the Dolphins this offseason. Williams was an undrafted college free agent with the Vikings this offseason before being waived.

The Dolphins practice squad now looks like this (there is one more open spot):
  1. WR Marvin Allen (International Practice Squad player, does not count against roster limits)
  2. TE Aaron Halterman
  3. T Julius Wilson
  4. G Marquay Love
  5. S Tuff Harris
  6. G Tala Esera
  7. WR Kerry Reed
  8. WR Chandler Williams

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

It's Haka Time!


A new season is about to dawn on the Miami Dolphins.

When foot meets ball for the opening kickoff this Sunday in Washington, the Cam Cameron era will officially be underway. As with any new head coach, the Dolphins can expect a good deal of change from last season's product. But the Cam Cameron era is bringing with it more than the usual amount of changes for a franchise.

Indeed, the Miami Dolphins are facing a paradigm shift.

No longer is the head coach a defensive mastermind - as has been the case with all of Miami's head coaches dating back to the 1960s (see Don Shula, Jimmy Johnson, Dave Wannstedt, and Nick Saban, defensive coaches all). Instead, for the first time in a long time, the Dolphins have a coach who has made his reputation as an offensive guru. Also changing is the power relationship between the head coach and the G.M. Whereas Nick Saban held complete control over personnel decisions, Cam Cameron and Randy Mueller have equal say when it comes to shaping the roster.

On the field, Miami will be trotting out a new starting quarterback and a completely reshuffled offensive line on which no returning starter will be occupying the same position he held with the team last season. Gone are the team's top two reception leaders from a year ago - WR Wes Welker and TE Randy McMichael. The special teams unit is also overhauled with a new kicker, punter, holder, and returner as well as several new kick coverage guys.

There is no question this roster was broken down and rebuilt in a new image. In fact, at least 25 of the players on the current 53-man roster were not a part of the active roster last season. That's almost a 50% turnover rate! Most impressive is the fact that 9 of the team's 10 draft picks made the final roster, with the tenth, G Drew Mormino, landing on Injured Reserve. Two other undrafted rookies earned a spot on the roster. Of these 11 rookies, four are slated to be opening-day starters (C Samson Satele, FB Reagan Mauia, PR Ted Ginn Jr., and P Brandon Fields). This is by far the largest and most significant infusion of youth that Miami has seen in some time.

The identity of the Miami Dolphins is clearly changing...but to what? Like a snake sloughing off its old scales, the new era Dolphins must shake off the franchise's bad tendencies and create a fresh team character - a winning character. The fan base must be re-energized. The only way to awaken the team's loyal followers from their dejected apathy is to display some newfound fire and tenacity. But how can this be accomplished?

Well, Harvey Fialkov of the Sun-Sentinel had a pretty genius idea in my opinion. His idea? Let the new young band of Pacific Islanders on the roster (specifically Samson Satele) lead the entire team in a pre-game Haka war dance. Not only would this fire up the team, it would be something unique to Miami - something for the players to rally around and call their own, something to be proud of and something to fight for.

What is the Haka, you might ask? It is a Maori dance generally performed to inspire warriors and to condition them for battle. It involves a throng of organized combatants chanting loudly and stomping their feet in unison. For a perfect example of what I'm describing, watch this video:

==========

==========

Among Pacific Islanders, the Haka provides a means of expressing one's national identity. Miami's young Pacific Islanders should take that tradition, import it to South Florida and use it to express the new identity of the Miami Dolphins. Obviously, Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas are the de facto leaders of the team, but it couldn't hurt to let the youngsters feel an immediate sense of leadership.

Granted, Fialkov was most likely suggesting this idea in jest. But I say, why not? Just imagine before every game, 53 men organized as one, chanting and stomping as a single unit. I can't help but think that would be at least slightly menacing to opposing teams. If nothing else, it will instill the type of unified character that has been missing in Miami for far too long.

Bring on the new era of the Miami Dolphins, and bring on the Haka!

(For more information on the Haka, see this website.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

New Depth Chart 9/03

The team released a tentative new depth chart on Monday. The team will release a new depth chart for the Redskins game on Wednesday. Here's how it looks at the moment:

QB
Trent Green
Cleo Lemon
John Beck

RB
Ronnie Brown
Jesse Chatman
Lorenzo Booker
Patrick Cobbs
FB
Reagan Mauia



WR
Chris Chambers
Derek Hagan


WR
Marty Booker
Ted Ginn Jr.
Greg Camarillo

TE
David Martin
Justin Peelle


LT
Vernon Carey
Cory Lekkerkerker


LG
Chris Liwienski



C
Samson Satele



RG
Rex Hadnot
Gene Mruczkowski


RT
Anthony Alabi
L.J. Shelton







LE
Matt Roth
Chase Page


OE
Jason Taylor
Akbar Gbaja-Biamila


DT
Vonnie Holliday
Rodrique Wright


NT
Keith Traylor
Paul Soliai
Steve Fifita

SLB
Joey Porter
Donnie Spragan
Abraham Wright

MLB
Zach Thomas
Kelvin Smith


WLB
Channing Crowder
Derrick Pope
Edmond Miles

LCB
Will Allen
Michael Lehan
Andre' Goodman

RCB
Travis Daniels
Jason Allen


SS
Yeremiah Bell
Travares Tillman
Courtney Bryan

FS
Renaldo Hill
Cameron Worrell







LS
John Denney
Jason Taylor


H
Brandon Fields



K
Jay Feely



P
Brandon Fields



KR
Ronnie Brown
Ted Ginn Jr.
Lorenzo Booker

PR
Ted Ginn Jr.
Marty Booker




In addition to the above 53 players, Miami's reserve list looks as such:
  • T Marion Dukes (Reserve/Left Squad)
  • G Drew Mormino (Injured Reserve, Shoulder)
  • T Mike Rosenthal (Injured Reserve, Shoulder)
  • T Joe Toledo (Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list)
  • RB Ricky Williams (Reserve/Suspended)
The practice squad is not yet completed, but this is how it currently looks:
  1. WR Marvin Allen (International Practice Squad player, does not count against roster limits)
  2. TE Aaron Halterman
  3. T Julius Wilson
  4. G Marquay Love
  5. S Tuff Harris