Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dolphins-Giants: Week 8 Matchup

Here's a rundown of Miami's week eight matchup against the New York Giants:

Where: Wembley Stadium, London
When: 1:00 PM ET

Injuries:
  • Miami: Out - DT Vonnie Holliday, TE David Martin, LB Zach Thomas, S Travares Tillman; Probable - S Courtney Bryan, NT Keith Traylor, LB Abraham Wright
  • New York: Doubtful - S James Butler, WR Steve Smith, RB Derrick Ward; Questionable - WR Plaxico Burress
Positional Breakdown:

Dolphins
Unit
Giants

Quarterbacks
+

Running backs
+

Receivers
+

Offensive line
+

Defensive line
+

Linebackers
+

Secondary
+

Special teams
+

Coaches
+

Overall Advantage
+

Keys to the Game:
  1. Can Miami maintain a ground game? The Giants' boast one of the best pass rushes in the game. If Miami finds itself having to pass in order to dig itself out of a hole, Cleo Lemon will probably get mauled. To put it simply, the Giants' pass rushers might be serving Lemon a few sack lunches on Sunday:
    ==========

    ==========
  2. Will Plaxico Burress pull a Randy Moss on this secondary for a second straight week? Plax is a Randy Moss-lite, and we all saw what Moss did to this secondary last week. Well, this week that group is even more banged up than ever with Cameron Worrell and Jason Allen starting. Plax will likely have a field day going deep and leaping up for jump balls.
  3. Can Miami keep the game from being over by halftime? In order to avoid another blowout, Cam Cameron must not stray from the run despite the loss of Ronnie Brown. He should feed Jesse Chatman a healthy amount of carries and not be afraid to take shots deep with Ted Ginn Jr. Lemon doesn't throw a very accurate deep ball, but Ginn can catch up to most passes. Give him the chances to do so.
Key Players:
  • Miami: Offensive line - This unit is going to have its hands full against a superb pass rush. They've been playing very well all year, but if Miami gets forced into obvious passing downs, they will probably be overmatched. We all want to see John Beck get his chance, but not because Lemon goes down.
  • New York: WR Plaxico Burress - He certainly saw the way Randy Moss had his way with this secondary, and he will be salivating for his chance to do the same.
Prediction:
Giants win 28-18

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gado claimed off waivers


The Dolphins have claimed RB Samkon Gado off of waivers after he was released earlier this week by the Houston Texans.

Gado (5'10", 226 lbs.) is currently in his third season. He was an undrafted college free agent of the Packers in 2005. He is 24 years old. He played significantly in his rookie season after starter Ahman Green went down with an injury. He started five games for the Packers that year and scored 7 TDs. His production has slipped since that initial success, and he was averaging only 2.6 yards per carry this season before being released.

While Gado clearly has some talent and is still young, I hope that his acquisition does not result in an absence of opportunities for Lorenzo Booker. The coaches need to get Booker on the field to see what he can bring to this team. Booker will likely be active this Sunday, so he must make the most of any opportunity he is given if he wants to continue being active on future game days.

Gado was unable to get his paperwork in order in time to make the trip to London with the team. The Dolphins will have a week to clear a roster spot for Gado. They should be able to cut one of their many defensive linemen in order to make room.

Here is a look at Gado's career stats:
==========
Career Stats Rushing Receiving Fumbles
Season Team G
RushYdsY/GAvgTD
RecYdsY/GAvgLngYAC1stDTD
FumFumL
2005Green Bay8
14358272.84.16
10779.67.7306.241
41
2006Houston8
5421727.14.01
168010.05.0194.630
10
2006Green Bay1
2-7-7.0-3.50
155.05.058.000
00
2007Houston3
184615.32.61
85919.77.4208.520
10
Career20
21783841.93.98
3522111.16.3306.191
61


==========

Week 8 Friday Injury Report

INJURY REPORT
Did not participate in practice
  • DT Vonnie Holliday (ankle)
  • TE David Martin (groin)
  • LB Zach Thomas (neck)
  • S Travares Tillman (knee)
Full participation in practice
  • S Courtney Bryan (quadricep)
  • NT Keith Traylor (illness)
  • LB Abraham Wright (knee)
STATUS REPORT
Out: DT Vonnie Holliday, TE David Martin, LB Zach Thomas, S Travares Tillman
Probable: S Courtney Bryan, NT Keith Traylor, LB Abraham Wright

Friday, October 26, 2007

Week 8 Thursday Injury Report

Did not participate in practice
  • DT Vonnie Holliday (ankle)
  • TE David Martin (groin)
  • LB Zach Thomas (neck)
  • S Travares Tillman (knee)
  • NT Keith Traylor (illness)
Limited participation in practice
  • S Courtney Bryan (quadriceps)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Halterman activated


TE Aaron Halterman has been activated from the practice squad, most likely to prepare for the possibility of David Martin missing a game.

Also, DT Jesse Mahelona was released.

Week 8 Wednesday Injury Report

Did not participate in practice
  • DT Vonnie Holliday (ankle)
  • TE David Martin (groin)
  • LB Zach Thomas (neck)
  • S Travares Tillman (knee)
  • NT Keith Traylor (illness)
Limited participation in practice
  • S Courtney Bryan (quadriceps)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Moses and Schulters signed



As long as players continue to go down with season-ending injuries, the Dolphins will continue to scour the free agent scrap heap for replacements.

This week, they have signed rookie DE Quentin Moses and veteran S Lance Schulters.

Moses (6'5", 260 lbs.) was a third-round draft choice of the Oakland Raiders this year. Given his draft status, it was surprising when the Raiders cut ties with him before the season. The Cardinals then signed him and subsequently released him as well. Entering the draft out of Georgia, he was one of the top-ranked DEs.

Here is what Scout.com thought of him coming out of college:
"A top-flight athlete who failed to meet expectations last season, Moses is watching his draft stock free-fall. Did not play with a great degree of intensity as a senior and was a non-factor at the Senior Bowl. May get consideration at outside linebacker in the NFL, yet clearly needs to quickly get his game back to prior form.

Pos:

Athletic, pass-rusher coming off a disappointing senior campaign. Explodes off the snap with a quick first step, possesses speed in every direction and immediately alters his angle of attack or redirects to plays. Effectively uses his hands to protect himself, gets tremendous force going up the field and exploits immobile blockers. Displays a solid head for the ball, transferring his classroom intelligence onto the field.

Neg:

Seemingly suffered from a case of senioritis last year. Did not show top instincts and did not always chase hard to make plays. Undersized, is slow to shed blocks or easily removed from his angle of attack by blockers. Does a bit of grab-tackling."

Despite his past problems, this is the kind of free agent acquisitions the team should be looking for at this point. Moses is obviously a risk, but he provides substantial upside to go along with that risk. This team has nothing to fear about risks like him at this point. If he doesn't pan out, just cut ties with him after the season. On the other hand, maybe he will finally get his head screwed on straight and realize his potential for the Dolphins.

In order to provide help to the ailing safety corps, the team signed S Lance Schulters. Schulters (6'2", 202 lbs.) played for Miami in 2005 and was actually one of the team's best defensive backs that year. However, it's clear that since then he has lost a step or three. He is 32 years old. Last season, he played in 7 games for the Falcons, but couldn't hold onto the job and wasn't on any team this year. I don't think there were any viable young free agent safeties on the market this late in the season, although bringing back Lamont Thompson might have been the better choice. In any case, he's simply a warm body to throw out on the field. Hopefully, the team still fully intends to give Jason Allen as much playing time as possible.

Here is a look at Schulter's career stats:
==========
Career Stats Tackles Sacks Interceptions Misc
Season Team G
SoloAstTotal
SackYdsL
IntYdsIntTD
DefTDFFumPDSfty
1998San Francisco15
26430
0.00
000
0010
1999San Francisco13
55964
0.00
61271
1090
2000San Francisco12
613091
0.53
000
0330
2001San Francisco16
52961
1.08
300
00100
2002Tennessee16
731386
2.016
6560
00110
2003Tennessee16
652085
1.04
000
0080
2004Tennessee3
12214
1.06
000
0010
2005Miami16
572077
2.022
4780
0160
2006Atlanta7
819
0.00
000
0000
Career114
409108517
7.559
192611
14490

==========

The team also signed two players to its practice squad. Those players are QB Casey Bramlet and TE Buck Ortega.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Projecting Brown's Stats

Obviously, to call Ronnie Brown's injury unfortunate, would be a major understatement. He was the best back in the NFL so far this year and definitely had a Pro Bowl selection coming. But that all vanished in the time it took for his ACL to tear.

Still, I was curious as to what Brown's numbers would have looked like if he finished the season. Granted, this is an imperfect science as you can't account for statistical fluctuations such as slumps or hot streaks. Even so, 7 games is a large enough sample size to project out over a full 16 game season to get a relatively accurate idea of what we could have expected out of Brown.

I also projected out his stats over 14 games, since that is the average amount of games he played in during his first two seasons.

Take a look at the numbers (I added his 2006 stats as a point of reference and to show just how much he improved this season):

Rushing
Year
Games
Attempts
Att/Game
Yards
Avg
Yds/G
TD
1st Downs
1st%
20+
40+
FUM
2006
13
241
18.5
1,008
4.2
77.5
5
49
20.3
6
1
4
2007
7
119
17
602
5.1
86.0
4
39
32.8
2
1
0
2007 Projection 1
16
272
17
1,376
5.1
86.0
9
89
32.8
5
2
0
2007 Projection 2
14
238
17
1,204
5.1
86.0
8
78
32.8
4
2
0

Receiving
Year
Games
Rec
Rec/G
Yards
Avg
Yds/G
TD
20+
40+
1st
2006
13
33
2.5
276
8.4
21.2
0
2
0
12
2007
7
39
5.5
389
10.0
55.6
1
5
1
18
2007 Projection 1
16
89
5.5
890
10.0
55.6
2
11
2
41
2007 Projection 2
14
78
5.5
780
10.0
55.6
2
10
2
36

Wow. If Ronnie had finished off this season maintaining his current pace he would have had 1,376 rushing yards at an amazing 5.1 yards/carry average to go along with 89 receptions for 890 yards. That is 2,266 yards from scrimmage. He also would have tallied a total of 11 TDs.

While those rushing statistics are certainly a major improvement from his first two seasons, it's the catching totals that most surprise me. We all knew that Cam Cameron loves to utilize his RBs as pass-catchers, and he certainly did that with Ronnie.

Sadly, all these numbers can be are statistical projections. Maybe next season...

Monday, October 22, 2007

When ACLs start snapping...

Wow...this season is turning into a bloodbath before our very eyes.

Last week, QB Trent Green was placed on Injured Reserve because of the concussion he received during the game against the Texans. He has acknowledged the fact that his playing days are likely over. I would like to give kudos to the Dolphins organization for making the correct call in this situation. There would be no sense in bringing Green back to play this year. Forcing him to miss the rest of the season is the morally correct decision for the player's long-term health and wellness. Too often, teams fail to make decisions with those factors in mind. Of course, it's a little bit easier to do when the team is winless and has no hopes of accomplishing anything this season.

I doubt that Green attempts to return next season as a player, but Miami should certainly try to retain him as a member of the coaching staff. Hey, the team idiotically spent a fifth-round pick to bring him here, they might as well get the most of his services. Green has agreed to stay on with the team in a coaching/mentor capacity for the rest of this current season, so hopefully he will be amenable to continuing in that role into the future. I think it would really help John Beck's development.

Speaking of Beck, with Green out of the picture, Beck is now one play away from getting live game action at any given time. Of course, the team may simply decide to go with Beck as the starter following the bye week, but in the meantime it's important to watch Lemon and make a judgment as to whether he should be brought back next year to serve as the backup QB. At this point, I would say he should be. He knows the system well, and he is a serviceable backup who is still young. His skill set is admirable, and the team wouldn't be completely lost if Lemon had to come into the game. Then again, some team may be willing to offer him a contract this offseason that Miami simply shouldn't try to match.

To fill the roster spot vacated by Green, the Dolphins activated WR Kerry Reed from the practice squad. In the preseason, Reed caught 5 passes for 68 yards.

==========

Following Sunday's game against the Patriots, the Dolphins were dealt even more injury woes - this time of the catastrophically crippling variety. Both S Renaldo Hill and RB Ronnie Brown are out for the season after tearing their ACLs.

Hill tore his ACL after landing awkwardly when defending against Randy Moss in the endzone. Hill was the most consistent player in the secondary, and with the loss of Yeremiah Bell, he was the best safety on the team. The Dolphins are now in a tight situation regarding the safeties. The starting tandem to open the season - Hill and Bell - are both on IR. Travares Tillman, a very poor player, is still recovering from knee surgery, and Cameron Worrell, another poor coverage guy, is hobbled by a shoulder injury. The available safeties on the roster right now are Worrell, Jason Allen, and Courtney Bryan. (I just puked a little in my mouth) The team faces the possibility (and probability) of starting Worrell and Allen this week. That will be hands-down the most awful pair of starting safeties that I have seen in a long time. At least we will finally be able to see Allen start and get some much needed game action.

Just prepare yourself to see this group get beat deep...often.

As far as Ronnie goes...what a tough break. This kid was going gang-busters this season. Without a doubt, he was the best running back in the entire NFL this year and was on his way to a surefire Pro Bowl selection.

Now, he has a torn ACL, and although the success rate in recovery and rehab from those injuries is in the 90% range, there remains the possibility that 1) he will never regain the same form he finally showed this season or 2) that he will never fully recoup from this injury to the extent that he can play again.

Even if Ronnie does make it all the way back from this tragedy, this situation only underlines the need to avoid overlooking RBs in April's draft. I will always be an advocate for taking the best player available, and this is further support for that route. I always use the example of the Chiefs picking Larry Johnson when they had Priest Holmes. With RBs especially, one play is all it takes to wipe out everything. Having a healthy Ronnie Brown should in no way preclude this team from looking at the top running backs in the upcoming draft.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Miami vs. New England Picture Album

In order to raise Dolphins fans hopes before Sunday's game against the Patriots, I thought I'd post some of the best pictures of past Phins-Pats games. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dolphins-Patriots: Week 7 Matchup

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

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

Injuries:
  • Dolphins: Out - QB Trent Green, DT Vonnie Holliday, S Travares Tillman; Questionable - TE David Martin, LB Zach Thomas; Probable - CB Will Allen, RB Ronnie Brown, NT Keith Traylor
  • Patriots: Doubtful - RB Sammy Morris; Questionable - LB Eric Alexander, CB Randall Gay, RB Laurence Maroney, S Mel Mitchell, G Steve Neal, WR Donte' Stallworth, LB Adalius Thomas, WR Kelley Washington, TE Benjamin Watson, DE Mike Wright; Probable - QB Tom Brady
Positional Breakdown:

Dolphins
Unit
Patriots

Quarterbacks
+
+
Running backs


Receivers
+

Offensive line
+

Defensive line
+

Linebackers
+

Secondary
+

Special teams
+

Coaches
+

Overall Advantage
+

Keys to the Game:
  1. Can Miami mount an effective four-man pass rush? Miami is going to have to be able to consistently get in Tom Brady's face and pressure him in the pocket with just four men because they will need all the guys they can to stay back in coverage. Obviously, no one on the team can cover Randy Moss one-on-one, so a safety must stay on him. Of course, even if Moss can somehow be stopped, there is still Stallworth and Welker to deal with. And to top it off, the Patriots execute screen passes perfectly. If Miami can't get to Brady with only four guys upfront, then they will have to send additional guys on blitzes, and that will inevitably open up space in the secondary for receivers to settle down and Brady will find them if they are open - guaranteed.
  2. How long can Miami sustain its ground game before resorting to a pass-first mindset? Ronnie Brown and the offensive line will need to have a big day if Miami is going to have a shot at winning this game. The ball needs to stay out of Tom Brady's hands, and the only way to do that is by churning up the clock. If Miami falls behind early, Cam Cameron will probably abandon the run as he has done in the past. The game can be kept close if Miami can avoid quick three and outs on offense.
  3. How much magic will be in the air? If you look at my previous post, you'll see that Brady historically struggles in Miami. Will history repeat itself? How opportunistic will Miami's defense be in coming away with turnovers. Can Ted Ginn Jr. do as he did last week and take one to the house (albeit without the penalty this time)? Miami can't win this battle straight up. They need to create turnovers and make the most of their opportunities with the football. It's happened plenty of times before. It can certainly happen again.
Key Players:
  • Miami: DE Jason Taylor - He has sacked Brady in every game that Brady has played in Miami and generally been the biggest disruptive force in those games. For some reason, Brady and the Pats offensive line crumbles under Taylor's skill and sheer force of will. It will be crucial for him to keep up that level of play.
  • New England: QB Tom Brady - Brady takes loads of sacks when he plays in Miami and often looks like a completely different player, making stupid decisions and turning the ball over. Will he overcome his problems in Miami or will he put up another dud? If the Pats can't count on Brady, they will have to rely on a running game that may be without both Maroney and Morris.
Prediction:
I simply can't ignore the way these games have played out in the past. But I'm also a reasonable person. Therefore I'm going to give two predictions this week. You can call it a cop-out; I call it covering the bases.

If things play out as assumed, then the Pats win 35-16.
If things play out as they usually do when the Pats visit Miami, then Miami wins 30-28.

It's a Trap!: Dolphins-Patriots


There are so many kinds of traps: Boobytraps, sand traps, mousetraps, speed traps, Venus Flytraps,...I think you get the picture.

The point being that for every situation, there's likely something waiting in the bushes (or the fairway), hoping to catch the person/animal/golf ball unawares.

In the NFL, this occurrence is known as the "trap game." A team seemingly on an unstoppable roll faces off against a team that can barely stand on its own two feet. Whether the better team looks past its opponent or simply underestimates it, the underdog comes up with the win, leaving the favorite to wonder what the hell just happened. Trap games can either be minor bumps in the road or they can derail a team's momentum completely.

In Week 7, the New England Patriots, at 6-0, are facing a trap game - in every sense of the word. They are taking on the Miami Dolphins, who are 0-6.

It's the undefeated versus the winless.

For most of the analysts, the outcome of this game is a foregone conclusion: The Patriots are going to put a whooping on the Dolphins.

But I say not so fast.

The Dolphins and Patriots are bitter divisional rivals. As most teams know, anything is liable to happen in a divisional game. But that is not reason enough to proclaim this matchup a trap game.

All we need to do is open up the history books to see how this matchup has played out in the past - under very similar circumstances.

Let's take a look at a certain set of parameters that have defined this particular matchup for the better part of a decade: Tom Brady is the starting quarterback of the Patriots, and the game is being played in Miami.

Now, knowing what most people know about these two teams - that Brady has led the team to three Super Bowl championships and the Dolphins have been shut out of the playoffs for five straight seasons - it may come as a surprise to see just how much the Brady-led Patriots have struggled in Miami.

Here are Brady's stats in the six games that he has played in Miami:

  • 2001: 12/24, 86 yards, 4 sacks, 58.7 rating
  • 2002: 17/31, 240 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 3 sacks, 74.7 rating
  • 2003: 24/34, 283 yards, 2 TDs, 1 sacks, 115.2 rating
  • 2004: 18/29, 171 yards, 3 TDs, 4 INTs, 2 sacks, 73.3 rating
  • 2005: 21/36, 275 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 2 sacks, 77.9 rating
  • 2006: 12/25, 78 yards, 4 sacks, 55.1 rating

Suffice to say, most of Brady's worst games (and he doesn't have many bad ones) come when he makes the trip to South Florida.

Over the past three seasons alone, his TD/INT ratio in those games is a decidely non-Brady-esque 5/6 with a completion percentage seriously sagging at 57%. There is one statistic that trumps all the others, however. Brady is only 2-4 in games in Miami. Bill Belichick himself is even worse in Miami - posting a record of 2-5.

And don't get it confused. These were not good Dolphins teams that New England has been losing to. The 2004 season, following the retirement of Ricky Williams, produced one of the worst Dolphins teams in memory (perhaps only rivaled in suckiness by the current squad). Yet that very team, which ended the season at 4-12, managed one of the most miraculous wins I have ever witnessed. Trailing by 11 points on Monday Night Football with a mere 2:07 remaining in the game, the Dolphins dug down real deep and found it within themselves to topple the giant. The Patriots finished the season at 14-2. Not coincidentally, that win was made possible by one of the worst games that I have ever seen Tom Brady play.

Just last year, the Dolphins shut out the Patriots in Miami 21-0. Brady played so poorly that he had to be benched with five minutes left to play in the game.

So, how can this phenomenon be explained? I think part of it has to do with the fact that whenever these two teams play, Miami has generally been beaten down to such a pulp that it faces two options - simply give up or work themselves into a berserk frenzy. More often than not, it's been the latter.

It's hard to point to aspects of the Miami squads that have persistently made trouble for the Patriots. That is mostly due to the fact that the Dolphins roster has experienced so much turnover on a yearly basis that Brady faces off against a new team every time he faces them.

However, there is one consistent threat that has made a huge difference in these matchups - Jason Taylor. Taylor is the kryptonite to Brady's Superman.

Taylor excels against New England to the same level that Brady struggles against Miami. Here is a look at Taylor's stats in his games at home against the Brady-led Patriots:

  • 2001: 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1fumble recovery, 1 TD
  • 2002: 6 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble
  • 2003: 1 tackle, 1 sack
  • 2004: 8 tackles, 1 sack
  • 2005: 3 tackles, 1 sack
  • 2006: 6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble

That's simply spectacular production. There has yet to be a game in Miami in which Taylor fails to bring Brady down to the turf.

Having said all of this, I know that this year's Patriots team is different. It is honestly the best football team I have ever seen play. But that doesn't mean it is any less prone to falling prey to the trap game.

I'm not going to outright predict a Dolphins win, but do not be surprised if the mighty Patriots are toppled in Miami this Sunday.

Week 7 Friday Injury Report

Out: QB Trent Green (concussion), DT Vonnie Holliday (ankle), S Travares Tillman (knee)
Questionable: TE David Martin (ankle), LB Zach Thomas (toe)
Probable: CB Will Allen (groin), RB Ronnie Brown (foot), NT Keith Traylor (ankle)

Did not participate in practice
  • QB Trent Green (concussion)
  • DT Vonnie Holliday (ankle)
  • S Travares Tillman (knee)
Limited participation in practice
  • TE David Martin (ankle)
  • LB Zach Thomas (toe)
Full participation in practice
  • CB Will Allen (groin)
  • RB Ronnie Brown (foot)
  • NT Keith Traylor (ankle)

Week 7 Thursday Injury Report

Did not participate in practice
  • QB Trent Green (concussion)
  • DT Vonnie Holliday (ankle)
  • S Travares Tillman (knee)
Limited participation in practice
  • TE David Martin (ankle)
  • LB Zach Thomas (toe)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Yet another defensive lineman signed


The final open spot on the roster was filled today with the signing of DT Anthony Bryant.

Bryant (6'3", 335 lbs.) was a sixth-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2005. He is 25 years old. With his size, Bryant will likely serve as additional depth behind Keith Traylor, Paul Soliai, and Steve Fifita at the nose tackle position. Miami now has 12 defensive lineman on the roster.

Here is a look at his career stats:
==========
Career Stats Tackles Sacks Interceptions Misc
Season Team G
SoloAstTotal
SackYdsL
IntYdsIntTD
DefTDFFumPDSfty
2005Tampa Bay4
213
0.00
000
0000
2006Detroit4
448
0.00
000
0000
Career8
6511
0.00
000
0000
==========

In other news, the team has begun to use RB Lorenzo Booker at wide receiver in practice. Anything that will increase his chances of seeing the field on game day is a good move at this point. Coming in, we all knew he was going to struggle as a pure runner. His strengths are working in space and catching the football. With Chambers gone, there is now room for an addition to the WR corps and I think that Booker could definitely fill it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Two defensive linemen signed


The team filled two of its three open roster spots today by signing a couple of defensive linemen - DT Jesse Mahelona and DE Derreck Robinson. With Vonnie Holliday and Rodrique Wright nicked up and Chase Page on IR, Mahelona and Robinson will be expected to provide depth to the defensive line rotation.

Mahelona (6'0", 310 lbs.) was a
fifth-round draft choice of the Titans in 2006. He is 24 years old. He played in ten games last season, including one start. Mahelona is the newest member of Miami's Samoan contingent.

Here is a look at his career stats:
==========
YEARTEAM G TOT SOLO AST PD SACK FF REC INT YDS TD
2006TEN10 11 9 2 0 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
Career 10 11 9 2 0 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
==========

Robinson (6'4", 290 lbs.) was an undrafted college free agent of the Chargers in 2005. He has played in 16 games in his career, all in a reserve role.

Here is a look at his career stats:
==========
Career Stats Tackles Sacks Interceptions Misc
Season Team G
SoloAstTotal
SackYdsL
IntYdsIntTD
DefTDFFumPDSfty
2005San Diego2
112
0.00
000
0000
2006San Diego14
8614
1.511
000
0030
Career16
9716
1.511
000
0030
==========

Week 7 Wednesday Injury Report

Did not participate in practice
  • QB Trent Green (concussion)
  • DT Vonnie Holliday (ankle)
  • LB Zach Thomas (toe)
  • S Travares Tillman (knee)
Limited participation in practice
  • TE David Martin (ankle)

Help! I'm Going To Be Sick

Quick! Somebody get me a bucket...I think that I'm going to be sick.

Well, why is that, you might ask? Excellent question.

As long as I can choke back my vomit and tears long enough, I'll be more than happy to tell you all of the reasons why my gag reflex is in overdrive. (St. Louis fans, feel free to commiserate with me.)

Here we go:

* I'm sick of being winless after six games. (OK, that was an easy one, but I'm just getting warmed up.)

* I'm sick of Joey Porter running his mouth.

Hey, J-Peezy, maybe it's not a good idea to guarantee a win if this team hasn't won a single game since early December. Oh, and to then go out and allow a third-string running back to shred you apart for 179 yards rushing? Awesome job backing up your mouth.

But, alas, the lesson was not learned, and you found it necessary to call out Kellen Winslow before last week's game. You claimed that your personal feud with him couldn't technically be called a battle since he'd never won anything. Well, I think it's safe to say that it's officially a battle now. He put you right in your place on Sunday.

Here, I'll make a deal with you. You can resume talking trash once you record a sack. That should be easy enough, right? After all, that's why you were handed that $32 million contract this offseason. Except getting a sack is something you haven't accomplished since Week 13 of last season. That's a whopping ten games without a sack. Maybe you could invest some of that money in a writer who can concentrate on penning your trash talk, while you concentrate on actually earning your salary.

* I'm sick of stupid penalties in the return game.

Ted Ginn Jr. had his first kickoff return for a touchdown nullified by the handiwork of Derek Hagan, on a penalty that had absolutely no influence on Ginn's ability to break free. Imagine how many doubters might have finally jumped off of Teddy's back had they looked at the stat sheet and saw a return TD. Now I have to put up with more of the same premature and misguided shouts of "Bust!" Lame.

* I'm sick of already resorting to looking at mock drafts for the 2008 NFL Draft.

Seriously, October is barely halfway through and I'm already pondering what fortunes April holds for my team. Can it get any worse than that? Miami isn't going to be good any time soon, so maybe I should simply forego the college scouting reports and go directly to the Pop Warner fields.

Hey, maybe Cody Paul is the answer to Miami's troubles.

* Speaking of the draft, I'm sick of the fact that bad teams are forced to fork over $30 million or more for a kid who has played exactly as many downs in the NFL as myself...And this is supposed to help make the bad teams better?

* I'm sick of watching the post-game interviews and seeing my favorite active player, Zach Thomas, almost reduced to tears by how awful this team is playing.

Guys like Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor deserve much better than what they are getting. Sadly, they aren't going to get it.

* I'm sick of the fact that the kicker may just be the best player on the team.

* I'm sick of the fact that an undrafted rookie (Courtney Bryan) is getting playing time in the secondary ahead of last year's sixteenth overall draft pick, Jason Allen.

* I'm sick of the fact that Ronnie Brown is blossoming on a team that is headed south. I'm also sick of the idea that by the time this team has turned things around, Ronnie's prime years will have been churned into the dirt, with little more to show for the hard work than a dissipating cloud of dust.

* I'm sick of Chris Collinsworth saying that Miami made a bad deal by trading Wes Welker.

Had Welker remained in Miami, he would still be little more than a 60 reception, 700 yard receiver with a lot of heart. He's exploding in New England because the Patriots are an organization that already has an established core of great players ahead of Welker.

* Speaking of the Patriots, I'm sick of Tom Brady's butt-chin.

* Moreover, I'm sick of the fact that after six games, Brady has thrown more TD passes than all of Miami's passers did last season.

* I'm sick of the fact that the last time Miami won a game was the last time the Patriots lost a regular season game. (December 10, 2006)

* But most of all, I'm simply sick of being sick.

Does anyone have some Pepto-Bismol?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Chambers Traded to San Diego; Darius cut

With the trade deadline looming, the Dolphins managed to work out a trade with the San Diego Chargers, sending WR Chris Chambers to the Chargers in return for their second-round draft choice in the 2008 NFL Draft.

The team also released S Donovin Darius and placed DT Chase Page on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury.

I think the move to release Darius is a good one. He played well, but he hardly played. The guy is fragile, and with the season already completely lost, it's time to start thinking about the future. I actually sensed this move coming. In my post-game analysis of the Browns game I made the following comment: "
Donovin Darius can't stay on the field, so what good is having him here?" I'm really hoping that this move signals the coaches' decision to finally give Jason Allen his chance to play for an extended period of time in the secondary. With Darius out of the picture and Worrell struggling, give the job to Allen and let him sink or swim - just find out what we really have in him.

The team now has three open roster spots. I expect one of those spots to be filled by a quarterback since Trent Green will be returning in a month at the earliest and perhaps not at all. Gibran Hamdan is currently a member of the Buffalo Bills practice squad, and I think the Dolphins should sign him to its active roster. He's young, cheap, and he has experience in the system. There's no need to go out and sign a washed up old QB.

As for the remaining two spots, T Joe Toledo is now eligible to be activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list and would be a solid depth addition to the offensive line. Remember, he has been hurt for most of his NFL career, and Miami really needs to see if he can help this team down the road. With Chambers gone, I would also like to see Miami sign WR Kerry Reed from its practice squad. He was really good during the preseason, and the experience he could gain by getting some playing time could really help him. He could be an option for Miami's fourth or fifth receiver next season, so now is a good time to see what he can bring to the table, particularly on special teams.

As far as the Chambers deal is concerned, I think both teams made out pretty well. It's well known that San Diego has coveted a true number one receiver for some time now, and Chambers can provide that.

Many Dolphins fans will lament the fact that the team is losing the best receiver that it has had in some time. But if we can step back and look at this deal in the larger context, it is easy to see that the right decision was made.

This team is not going anywhere this year. If that is not already clear to you, then you should have your head examined. Everything is now about the future. In Chambers, the team had a 29 year old receiver, whose strength lay in his speed. Speed is the first asset to go once a player reaches the wrong side of 30. I think Chambers could have maintained his career average production in Miami for a couple more years down the line, but is that really something that the team needs? This team isn't going anywhere next year either, and realistically, by the time this team is prepared to contend, Chambers will be washed-up or close to it.

Better to get rid of him now while the value is still there.

And boy was the value there. Chambers was a second-round draft pick in 2001. It's now 2007, and the team just got that second-round pick back. Now think for a moment what the Raiders received for Randy Moss - a fourth-round pick. Sure, Moss had character issues, but we've all seen how winning football games can cure that. Getting a second-round pick for Chambers is great value.

This team desperately needs to establish a core of players that will be together 8 or 10 years into the future. Players like Samson Satele, John Beck, and Ted Ginn Jr. mark the beginnings of that foundation. Well, Beck and Satele were both second-round picks. If Miami can use this new pick to nab a solid secondary player or offensive lineman, that's one more piece of the puzzle.

I wish Chambers all the best. He was a great team player during his tenure in Miami and always seemed like a nice guy. Unfortunately, the team just never fixed itself in time to fully realize and utilize his abilities. He will get that chance now in San Diego.

Of course, losing Chambers means that there is now an opening in the starting lineup for Miami. With Marty Booker firmly entrenched as one starter, the opposite spot will either go to Derek Hagan or Ted Ginn Jr. Either way, each player is going to get more playing time as a result of this trade, and that is certainly a good thing. I am hoping that Ginn is given the second receiver spot, so that he can continue his progression as a receiver. Ginn is slated to be a future starter, so let that future begin now. If John Beck unseats Cleo Lemon as the team's starter in a month, then both of these guys can start forming the type of chemistry that will fuel this offense long into the future.

Browns-Dolphins: Game Analysis


I'm going to make this a bit briefer than usual, since most of the points I am bringing up are the same things that have gone wrong in weeks past. The team might be looking for solutions, but they clearly can't find any.

I also want to concentrate on the upcoming game against the Patriots. The Miami-New England games are always the biggest games of the season for me, as I am a New Englander. These are the games that stir the most emotions in me and the games that I usually have the most riding on in terms of pride and enjoyment. I hope to get into some more in depth analysis about the Pats game in the coming week so check back for more on that.

Also, if you haven't seen it yet, go watch the postgame interviews from the Browns game. The video is on the team's official site. Specifically, fast forward to the 12:20 mark and watch what is probably the most depressing interview I've ever seen a Dolphin player give. It hurts that much more because it's Zach Thomas, who happens to be my favorite active player, and second favorite all-time behind Dan Marino.

I have often extolled the values of Thomas as a player on this site, and in this video it is clear that he is now broken down emotionally. I've seen him very upset over poor performances before, but nothing to this effect. It's actually a bit scary. The tone of his voice seems to suggest that things have simply gone too far and have become too much for him to continually deal with. If this isn't a prelude to a retirement at the end of a season, I don't know what is. (I'm not saying he will retire. Attitudes always change during the offseason, but it is certainly a looming possibility.)

Here are a few of his quotes from the interview:
  • "We're not the same defense that we used to be, and we're horrible."
  • "If we don't pick up on defense, we're not going to win a game this year, and that's the honest truth."
  • "What more can I say? I try not to be negative here, but you got to be, and like I said, I've never played with a defense this bad."
  • "It's never been this low. Never."
More than the quotes though, it was the tone that scared me. He sounded like a man on the verge of tears who has finally given in to his fate. I really feel for this guy.

Here's a quick recap of what went wrong and what went right:

The Bad
Third down conversions allowed - I don't need to go into any detail here. It's the same problem the defense has had all season - getting off the field on third downs. What's most frustrating is when the defense can't even stop the third and long situations consistently. They gave up two first downs on 3rd and 11 in crucial situations. Overall, the defense allowed the Browns to convert on 8 of 12 third down attempts.

The secondary - Donovin Darius can't stay on the field, so what good is having him here? Cameron Worrell is almost as bad as Travares Tillman in coverage, and inexplicably the team was playing Courtney Bryan. Let me get this straight. The team actually thinks it will be better by playing an undrafted rookie than by putting in last year's 16th overall selection, Jason Allen? I know that Allen was just moved back to safety, but when is he going to get a chance? Will he ever be given a chance? We've had to endure Tillman, Worrell, and Bryan struggle in the secondary. What's the worst that can happen by putting Allen out there? I want to see for myself that he can't do it, if that's what the coaches think. It's not like he would be unseating a star. At the very least put him out there so we can tell if he can one day be a starter. This secondary couldn't cover Braylon Edwards at all, and they didn't make any plays against a guy that had 8 INTs coming into the game. This unit needs help.

Cleo Lemon - Let me qualify this one. Lemon played well, but only in the second half. He started off very rocky and while his stats look good at the end of the day, he did not look good to start the game. His accuracy really needs to improve. He missed Chris Chambers multiple times on deep routes, and the offense lacked a killer punch because of that.

Derek Hagan - His penalty on Ted Ginn Jr.'s kickoff return was a killer. Can you imagine what would have happened had that TD stood? A whole mess of people would finally get off of Ginn's back and stop prematurely calling him a bust. As it is, a quick look at his stats seems to say he's been disappointing, but he's really been getting better with each week. The worst thing is that Hagan's penalty did not factor into Ginn's ability to spring the return.

Joey Porter - Will you stop talking now? Kellen Winslow put you in your place. I guess you can call this a battle now, since he finally beat you.

The Good
Ronnie Brown - For the fourth straight week, Brown went over 100 yards rushing and he caught 9 balls for another 69 yards. Like Jason Taylor last year, Brown is turning into one of the only reasons to get excited about watching team.

Jay Feely - Maintained his run of perfection. He is now 12/12 on field goals this year.

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Play of the Game - Derek Anderson's 24 yard TD pass to Edwards on the first play following a Leigh Bodden INT. The score put the Browns ahead 24-3.

Player of the Game - Derek Anderson. He really looked good out there against this defense and always found the open man. He went 18/25 for 245 yards and 3 TDs. He also rushed for a TD.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Porter-Jones Brawl Video

FOX's Jay Glazer obtained a copy of the film showing the casino brawl that took place over the summer between Joey Porter and Levi Jones.

Here it is:
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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Trent Green Update

On ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, Chris Mortensen is reporting that Trent Green will miss at least a month as he recovers from a Grade 3 concussion.

I would expect the team to sign another QB in the meantime, either to the roster or the practice squad. However, they do have the option of going with only Cleo Lemon and John Beck and relying on WR Marty Booker as the emergency third-stringer.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Browns-Dolphins: Week Six Matchup

Here's a rundown of Miami's week six matchup against the Houston Texans:

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

Injuries:
  • Browns: Out - RB Jamal Lewis; Doubtful - TE Darnell Dinkins; Questionable - S Gary Baxter, WR Joe Jurevicius, S Brodney Pool; Probable - RB Charles Ali, TE Kellen Winslow
  • Dolphins: Out - QB Trent Green, DT Vonnie Holliday, S Travares Tillman; Questionable - WR Derek Hagan, DT Rodrique Wright; Probable - RB Ronnie Brown, LB Channing Crowder, K Jay Feely, C Samson Satele, DE Jason Taylor, S Cameron Worrell
Positional Breakdown:

Browns
Unit
Dolphins
+
Quarterbacks


Running backs
+
+
Receivers

+
Offensive line

+
Defensive line


Linebackers
+

Secondary
+
+
Special teams

+
Coaches

+
Overall Advantage


Keys to the Game:
  1. Was last week's effectiveness at stopping the run a fluke or a true sign of improvement for the Dolphins defense? The return of Zach Thomas worked wonders for Miami's run D last week. This week the defense gets Channing Crowder and Donovin Darius back as well. In addition, the Browns' starting running back, Jamal Lewis, will not be playing. Things seem to be leaning in favor of Miami putting up another solid week stuffing the run. Then again, Vonnie Holliday won't be playing and Cleveland's offensive line has been playing pretty well. It will be key to force Derek Anderson into becoming one dimensional by shutting down the running game.
  2. Can Miami's secondary take advantage of Anderson's mistakes? Anderson leads the AFC with 8 INTs this season. He is prone to making mistakes. However, it's unclear whether Miami has the ability to actually force him into making mistakes. The pass rush has simply not been there on a consistent basis. The secondary will need to step up its game this week if Jason Taylor and Co. can't pressure the QB. It's basically a matchup between a guy who throws a lot of INTs versus a secondary that doesn't come up with many INTs. Whoever comes out on top in this battle will give their team a large advantage.
  3. Just how stupid will Joey Porter look after this game? I realize the coaching staff isn't using Porter in ways that play to his strengths as a pass rusher. Still, he should stop spouting his mouth until he's proven that he can at least make a single play for this team. This week, he's calling out Kellen Winslow, and I have a bad feeling that Winslow is going to victimize Porter at least once in this game. Porter couldn't back up his talk against Oakland and I don't think he'll be able to do it this week either.
  4. How will Cleo Lemon adjust to being the starter? We saw last year in Week 17 that Lemon can turn in a solid day's work as a starting QB. I think he'll be able to do the same this week, especially since he's playing against a porous Browns secondary. The opportunities to air it out will be there since Cleveland's top priority will be stopping Ronnie Brown. If they put 8 men in the box, look for the play-action to spring Chris Chambers and maybe even Ted Ginn Jr. down field. One knock on Trent Green was that he couldn't reliably throw the deep ball. Lemon's got a strong arm, so hopefully it will be put to good use.
Key Players:
  • Cleveland: WR Braylon Edwards - Miami doesn't really have a cornerback who can shut down Edwards single-handedly all game (I don't think most teams do). Edwards will have his chances, and he could find himself open deep a time or two.
  • Miami: QB Cleo Lemon - The Browns have a surprisingly good offense, so Miami will need some big plays in the passing game in order to keep the score close. The Browns secondary is a weakness. Lemon will have to remain calm under pressure in order to take advantage of that weakness.
Prediction:
Although this game has the possibility of being somewhat of a blowout for the Browns, I think Miami will be able to keep it close. Unfortunately, I think that Cleveland's offense has been too efficient and Miami's defense has been too prone to collapse for me to predict a win.

Cleveland wins 23-20.